Lending star power to Anvaya Cove tilt, Pagdanganan gets LPGA comeback bid started
Hoping to light a fire that took her all the way to the grandest stage of her sport, Bianca Pagdanganan is back where it all started—her journey back to the US Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) to begin in faraway Morong in Bataan.
Aside from providing star power to the $100,000 Anvaya Cove Ladies International that tees off on Wednesday, the 25-year-old Pagdanganan tries to gather her game back and regain that supreme confidence needed to be able to again slug it out with the best women on the planet.
“I’m eager to be playing competitive again and to be able to play in front of a home crowd,” said Pagdanganan, who lost her tour card in 2021 and fell short in Q School last year. She will use this tournament, littered with the best talents from the Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand, as a tuneup for the Epson Tour that starts next month.
After wowing the world with her length off the tees and even becoming the longest hitter on the LPGA, Pagdanganan’s game hit somewhat of a slump.
During the 2020 season, she was so good that she made nine out of 10 cuts to stay as a Tour member for the following year. Her membership last year came from the Q-Series where she finished in a 10th place tie.
The 25-year-old, however, struggled the past year and is more determined than ever to return to a familiar place. And that journey will start right where the first one began.
Pagdanganan hasn’t played for money at home, with her last stint in the country coming in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games where she led Team Philippines to a sweep at Luisita in Tarlac together with Lois Kaye Go and Abby Arevalo.
“I’m excited and looking forward to playing my first professional event in the Philippines,” said Pagdanganan, who also represented the country in the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 and finished in a ninth place tie in the Women’s Professional Golfers’ Association Championship that same year.
The 54-hole championship, the kickoff leg to a full Ladies Philippine Golf Tour season bankrolled by International Container Terminal Services, Inc., won’t be a cakewalk even for a talent like Pagdanganan as the field features formidable foes, one of them being a former University of Arizona product like the Filipino ace.
Ya Chun-Chang, the Taiwanese No. 1, actually was a Wildcat together with Pagdanganan in her senior year.
PK Kongkraphan, Thailand’s second-ranked player, is also in the field and looms as one of the favorites.
“It’s always a pleasure playing against the top players from other countries,” Pagdanganan said. “It brings out the best in us.”
Also carrying the local fight are Chihiro Ikeda, Chanelle Avaricio and Harmie Constantino.
“I haven’t played with a lot of them in a while, so I’m looking forward to being in the same field as them,” said Pagdanganan of the trio of local stars that dominated the circuit last year. “There’s so much talent in Philippine women’s golf.” INQ