Bianca Pagdanganan fires near-flawless 66 for two-shot lead in Philippine Ladies Open
Bianca Pagdanganan hit seven birdies against a lone bogey at Wack Wack West.

BIANCA Pagdanganan fired a six-under 66 to take a two-stroke lead in the first round of the Philippine Ladies Open Golf Championship on Wednesday at the wet West Course of Wack Wack Golf and Country Club’s in Mandaluyong City.

With the lift, clean and place rule in effect, Pagdanganan hit three straight birdies including a chip in from 20 yards on No. 14.

The 19-year-old sophomore from Gonzaga University hit four more on the homeward nine, including three straight from No. 6, to take the top spot.

Pagdanganan suffered her only bogey on the closing hole.

“I did not expect to hit this way today as I struggled at Riviera last week,” said the sports management student.

“But it all worked together for me. I was able to put my ball on spots where I wanted and my putting was just as awesome.”

Pre-tournament favorite Pauline del Rosario fired a four-under 68, while national ladies amateur champion Yuka Saso shot a 70, which was matched by Thailand’s Atthaya Thitikul.

Harmie Constantino, a former national champion and winner on the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour last year, fired a 71.

Malaysia’s Geradline Wong and local bet Kayla Nocum carded 74s, while Cebu’s Lois Kaye Go and 12-year-old Annyka Cayabyab of Pampanga shot a 75 to share eighth place with Singaporeans Jacqueline Young and Aloysa Atienza and Thailand’s Tunrada Piddon.

With the weather expected to improve, Pagdanganan braces for the favorites’ charge in the last two rounds of the 54-hole championship.

“I have to play better because there are so many good players around,” said Del Rosario, who shared runner-up honors with Saso in last year’s edition of the event won by now pro Princess Superal at Midlands.

“Somehow, Wack Wack is challenging with tight fairways and unreceptive greens. But it’s not all about power, which is probably my strength. So I will just try to keep the ball out of trouble,” Del Rosario added.

Saso, seeking a follow-up to her runaway victory last week, suffered a bogey on the closing hole in the tournament presented by Champion Infinity, backed by Cherrylume, Alveo, Manila Golf, G&W Clubshares, Alabang Ladies Golf Chapter, Inquirer, Canlubang Golf Club, Forest Hills Golf Club, Sta. Elena Golf Club, Tagaytay Higlands, Gatorade, Ladies Philippine Golf Tour, Vermogen,  Gilberto Duavit and Water World Trading Inc.

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