BIANCA Pagdanganan carded a four-under 67 for a two-stroke lead over Thailand’s Atthaya Thitikul in the first round of the Philippine Amateur Open Golf Championships on Thursday at Riviera’s Langer course in Silang, Cavite.
The Asian Games bronze medalist birdied four of the first seven holes on the front nine, rallying from two strokes off Asiad teammate Lois Kaye Go to seize control in the early going of the 72-hole championship sponsored by the MVP Sports Foundation.
“The wind was so strong so I had to analyze everything. But I played aggressive at the front and got my birdies,” said Pagdanganan, enjoying top form coming off a victory in last week’s National Doubles with Jed Dy.
Go birdied three of the first four holes to negate a bogey on No. 14 and took command with a 34. But she bogeyed the first two holes at the front and hobbled with a 37 to slip to third with a 71 in the event held as part of the PLDT Group National Amateur Golf Tour and backed by Cignal and Metro Pacific.
Thitikul, who won the inaugural Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific crown in Singapore last year, was ahead by a stroke over Pagdanganan after nine holes but could not keep up when the Filipina caught fire.
Mikha Fortuna groped for form and submitted an 80 in a tie with Inez Ng of Singapore and Bernice Ilas with Callista Chen carding an 81.
Korea’s Jang Sung Hun took a two-shot lead over Singapore’s Lucius Toh in the men’s side, cashing in on an early tee-start to shoot a 69.
Gen Nagai and Weiwei Gao are tied for third with 72s, while Japan’s Atsushi Ueda carded a 73 for fifth followed by Aidric Chan and Thai Vanchai Luangnitikul, who turned in identical 74s.