Pagdanganan thinks golf can give PH its first Olympic gold
MANILA, Philippines — Bianca Pagdanganan, a star in the making in women’s golf, believes the sport has a chance to deliver the Philippines’ breakthrough gold in the Olympics.
As confident as her steadily-improving game, Pagdanganan may be shooting for the moon, but aiming high and keeping modest expectations have always been part of her mantra.
“It’s important to aim high and yes, I think that’s possible,” said Pagdanganan on Tuesday during a Zoom press conference where she was introduced as the newest Smart Sports ambassador.
The 23-year-old Pagdanganan, who made quite a first impression in her rookie year at the LPGA, feels the Philippines has the players who are capable of getting over the hump.
“I think seeing how we played throughout the years, the Southeast Asian Games, the Asian Games, I think we do have a good chance especially with the players that we have now at the moment,” she said.
The top 60 players for both the men’s and women’s are qualified for the Olympics with host Japan guaranteed a slot.
Pagdanganan is on track at No. 41 along with Yuka Saso, who is well ahead at No. 21 in the official Reallocation Reserve List for women as of Jan. 18. The two won the Asian Games gold in the team golf event in 2018.
“I think so, there would be a good chance and that would be pretty cool if golf would be the first gold medal,” said Pagdanganan, a product of the University of Arizona which she helped win the 2018 NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championships.
“Aim high and work hard for it. You have to believe.”
Pagdanganan turned a lot of heads in her LPGA Tour debut last year with her booming drives and a third-place finish in the Drive On Championship.
The SEA Games gold medalist has been having a solid campaign so far through 11 events played.
But competing for the country will always have a different feel to it.
“For me, playing for the country is always one of the greatest things that golf has given me or the greatest opportunity because not everyone is given that chance,” Pagdanganan said.
“It’s just different when you’re playing for something bigger than yourself like representing your own country so it would definitely mean a lot,” she added. “It’s always been a goal of mine to play in the Olympics.”