Bianca Pagdanganan has emerged as a budding star in the LPGA Tour, and she hopes her success will convince young Filipinas back home to also take up the sport of golf.
Pagdanganan burst into the national consciousness when she won bronze in the 2018 Asian Games while helping the Philippines win team gold, together with Yuka Saso and Lois Kaye Go. In the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, she won gold in both the individual and team events.
Since turning professional, Pagdanganan's star has only continued to rise. She got her best finish earlier this month, when she finished tied for ninth in the 2020 Women's PGA Championship.
"It was a pretty amazing week, with that being my first major and finishing in the Top 10. That was also my best finish in like, any event that I played this year," said Pagdanganan in a chat posted on the LPGA Facebook account.
"I was like, 'Wow, I can play good in big events.' So I just need to learn how to do that in regular events and just have that same mindset for every event that I play in," she added.
With her performance in her very first major, Pagdanganan earned qualification to the US Women's Open in December.
As she continues to pile up the accolades, Pagdanganan's profile in the Philippines becomes even bigger.
She told the LPGA that her notifications have been blowing up, and she definitely sees the support from her countrymen on social media.
"The support has been pretty crazy. I see it a lot on Facebook, I get tagged in all these posts, and sometimes I get to read the comments," she said.
"Just seeing how much support, and you can just tell that people are getting excited, knowing that more Filipinos are getting on tour," said Pagdanganan, noting that veterans Dottie Ardina and Clariss Guce are also competing in the United States.
"It's just nice that more people are getting out there and we're getting represented," she said.
Pagdanganan is hopeful that she and the other Filipinas on the LPGA Tour can inspire more kids in the Philippines to take up golf as well -- particularly young girls.
"Hopefully we get to inspire younger girls to pick up the sport. I think that's one of my goals as a professional golfer is to encourage younger kids to take up the sport," she said.
"It's really fun, you get to learn so much. It's not even about just the competition. It's just more of learning about yourself and developing your own character," added the 22-year-old.