August 08, 2020

RIDING the crest of a magnificent finish, a resurgent Bianca Pagdanganan of the Philippines submitted a four-under par 67 on Friday (Saturday, PH time) and moved in a strong position of contending for the crown going into the final two rounds of the LPGA Marathon Classic inSylvania, Ohio.

The 22-year-old Pagdanganan eagled the last two holes from 10 feet, highlighting a solid round on a bright, sunny day that gave her a six-under 36-hole aggregate of 136 in a tie with three others in her second leg appearance in the tour that was rudely stopped in February in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic that's sent the sporting world grinding to a halt.

The reigning back-to-back Southeast Asian Games titlist is tied for eighth place with American Lexi Thompson, Carlot Ciganda of Spain and Sophia Popov of Germany, seven shots behind former wold No. 1 Lydia Ko of New Zealand who carded a 65 for a 13-under par129.

Her gameplan?

"I'm just going to stick to my game plan--hit fairways and be aggressive when I can," Pagdanganan told veteran golf writer Rey Bancod of Tribune Golf.

Teeing off in the backnine, found little use of the driver again in the round, but this did not stop her from reaching the par-5 17th and 18th holes in two . Both shots ended just 10 feet from the hole, giving her easy putts for eagle.

"My putting was really solid today. I took advantage of thosebirdie putts that I knew were makeable," said the Filipino shotmaker, who needed only 27 putts, three less than an average LPGA tour player makes.

Ruining what could have been a more solid round were four bogeys as Pagdanganan missed five of 14 fairways.

"I haven't been hitting my driver that great. I used it our times today and missed the fairway twice," said Pagdanganan, who saved pars only two times on six occasions she failed to land the greens.

"Yeah, I missed it on the wrong side of the hole. Completely short-sided, in the rough and downhill," she said.

Two of Bianca's four birdies came off par-3 holes, the first on No. 2 from eight feet and the other ,which was  her for the day, on No. 8 from 20 feet.

The two other Filipinos in the field-- Dottie Ardina and California-based Cariss Guce--took contrasting routes with the former making the cut with a 70 and the latter missing it with a 73.