Golf: Bianca is individual leader, boosts Filipinos to the top
TARLAC—Eagle-eyed practically all day, Bianca Pagdanganan got some putts to drop late in the first round on Wednesday to shoot a two-under-par 70 for the individual lead that also bolstered the Philippine squad to the team lead over heavy favorite Thailand in the 30th Southeast Asian Games at rain-softened Luisita here.
Preparing for a career in the US LPGA, the long-hitting Pagdanganan hit 17 greens but only got to birdie three of her last five holes as the Filipinos wrested command on both sides of the women’s event with her strong finish even as Sean Jean Ramos returned a 69 to be just a shot off a three-man lead in the men’s individual race.
“I could have done better, like shave 2-3 strokes [off my score] if not for some mistakes,” the 22-year-old Pagdanganan said as she chases individual glory here after pocketing the bronze medal in the Asian Games in Jakarta last year and winning the team gold together with LK Go and Yuka Saso.
Saso is not in this team as the talented Filipino-Japanese is trying her luck in the lucrative Japan LPGA.
Go counted with a 73 for the Filipinos, who threw away the 79 of rookie Abby Arevalo for a 143, two strokes ahead of the powerhouse Thais.
Kan Bunnabodee of Thailand trails Pagdanganan by a shot after shooting four birdies that went with three bogeys, but the reigning champions were slowed down by the 75 of the world’s top-ranked amateur, Atthaya Thitikul.
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