Golf: Maturity key in Bianca Pagdanganan’s LPGA debut, says dad

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 06 2020 07:13 PM | Updated as of Aug 07 2020 01:06 AM

Sam Pagdanganan says 22-year-old daughter Bianca showed poise in her LPGA debut over the weekend. Handout

A day after her debut LPGA event concluded at the Drive On Championship in Toledo, Ohio, Bianca Pagdanganan was back on the course to prepare early for the Marathon LPGA Classic, her second event on the Tour.

This time, the 22-year-old, the current driving distance leader, will try to conquer Highland Meadows, site of the $1.7-million championship from August 6 to 9 (US time).

Pagdanganan, who finished tied for 28th over the weekend, does not want to rest on her solid showing, as she guns for another strong showing -- or a better one -- this week in Sylvania, Ohio.

“She showed maturity into the game as she starts her career playing with the best of the best. She has a lot to learn and experience to bring her where she wants to be,” her dad, Sam Pagdanganan, said, stressing though that his daughter is not in a hurry to succeed.

“She has a lot to learn and experience to bring her where she wants to be. One step at a time and I’m sure she will get there and make the country proud.”

Like the Drive On, the Marathon Classic will be without spectators. LPGA commissioner Mike Whan said the entire tournament team is working hard to protect the health and safety of everyone involved in the event and the Northwest Ohio community.

Meanwhile, Bianca Pagdanganan said she expects to improve on her performance in Toledo.

She finished tied 28th in the Drive On Championship, earned $6,862 for her first paycheck as a pro, and was the long distance queen off the tees with an average drive of 295.33 yards.

Pagdanganan actually played Marathon in 2018 as an amateur and wound up 67th. 

Now, the double 2019 Southeast Asian Games champion is back in familiar territory and that could work in her favor as she continues her quest for maiden tour title.

“I have dreamt of playing this tournament as a pro. I am here and I want to make the most out of it,” she said.

She tested the course AT Highland Meadows twice and noticed that it was shorter and narrower with small greens. And the way she hit tee shots the previous week, she may have to pick her holes when to use her driver. 

“I have to play smart here. Not too aggressive as accuracy will be important,” said Pagdangan, who will have Mick Taley carry her bag again to help her to the right numbers.

“He’s not the typical caddie but he sure does know his numbers,” she said of Taley.

Pagdanganan will have American Jennifer Chang and Daniela Darquea of Ecuador as flightmates on the first tee at 7:11 a.m., Thursday (US time).

Dottie Ardina, who was cut at Inverness, is hoping to hit the ball better, according to her coach Jeff Manore.

Manore, who caddied for Ardina at the Drive On, said: “She had bad draw and a few hiccups. She was hitting the ball beautiful in Australia. She'll bounce back fast.”

Ardina will be paired with local star Lindsey Weaver and compatriot Sarah Burnham in the 2:10 pm flight at Tee No. 10.

Clariss Guce, the US-based Filipina, is in the company of Muni He of China and Stephenson of the US at 12:42 p.m. om the 10th tee.

For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.