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‘Morale-boosted’ Bianca sees action in Texas

CHARLEY Hull will have her hands full defending the title and earning her first crown after four runner-up finishes this year.(PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF

TEXAS — Filipino golf star Bianca Pagdanganan will try to strike it while it’s hot, competing in The Ascendants LPGA starting Thursday just a week after a breakthrough finish.

Pagdanganan, hoping to earn a card in the LPGA, placed T3 during the Walmart NW Arkansas, her best over the past two seasons.

“It was certainly a confidence booster. I felt like I was putting up so much work over the past weeks.” Pagdanganan said.

“It gets so frustrating when you don’t see good results. But this helps a lot and I can tell myself that my hard work has been paying off when I was hitting shots that I want.”

Fellow Filipina Dottie Ardina will also vie for honors in the $1.8 million meet which was won by British superstar Charley Hull last year.

The LPGA Tour will make a quick trip from Arkansas to Texas for one final tournament in the United States before a four-tournament stretch in Asia.

A tournament full of history, The Ascendant LPGA benefiting Volunteers of America has seen many of the greatest names in the game — Inbee Park, Stacy Lewis and Angela Stanford just to name a few — hoist the Kathy Whitworth trophy.

After five top-10 finishes and a couple of near misses, LPGA rookie Hae Ran Ryu finally made it to the winner’s circle last week at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G, extending her lead in the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year race by over 200 points.

Hull only had a week of rest after helping Team Europe secure its third straight Solheim Cup, but returning to The Ascendant LPGA benefiting Volunteers of America after her victory last year was a no-brainer for the Englishwoman.

She won the 10th playing of the event by one stroke, finding one final birdie at the 17th to take home the Kathy Whitworth trophy and a crisp, new pair of cowboy boots. The 27-year-old is having arguably her best season on Tour since her debut in 2015 and looks poised to defend her title.

Hull has recorded five top 10s this season, four of which were runner-up finishes, and has earned nearly $2.3 million — her most ever in nine seasons on the LPGA Tour. Her most recent runner-up result came in her last outing on the LPGA Tour at the Kroger Queen City Championship presented by P&G where Hull lost in a playoff to Minjee Lee.

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