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OUT OF THE RUT — Bianca cashes in P8.1M, bolsters bid for LPGA card

‘Feels great. I felt, no I didn’t really play a lot of events this year because of my (conditional LPGA) status.’

THE Philippines’ Bianca Pagdanganan may have been known as one of the longest hitters in the LPGA, but according to her, it was her putter which was ‘saving grace’ this week. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF

Bianca Pagdanganan scored her best performance of her career, finishing tied for second place in The Ascendant LPGA in Dallas, Texas, on Sunday and pocketing a windfall of $143,411 or roughly the equivalent of P8.1 million.

It was her biggest prize in the Tour where she hopes to score a card after getting relegated last year.

And she didn’t hide her emotions after that.

“Feels great. I felt, no I didn’t really play a lot of events this year because of my (conditional LPGA) status,” the 25-year-old Pagdanganan said haltingly as she fought off tears.

“I’m feeling relieved. I’m gonna give myself a pat on the back. It was a good week, I take that. I’m feeling happy and proud of myself.”

Pagdanganan sizzled with a 65 on the final round to salvage the runner-up finish along with Thai Attahaya Thitikul, four shots behind champion Hyo Joo Kim of South Korea.

“That comes with a lot of pressure more, more internal that anything else,” Pagdanganan added.

“It feels really good to see all the time I was putting in has been playing off. It’s hard when you didn’t see the results you want and felt that that fell on hard times.”

She certainly climbed out of the rut because only a week ago she finished third in the Walmart NW Arkansas in a hope to score a permanent card.

“It’s funny because I kinda like focused on the small stuff and end up reaching bigger goals of mine. My conditional status, my hope to reshuffle and bump my way up, it’s a step by step process for me. I think I’m in a good position to stay in the top hundred.”

Kim strolled to a wire-to-wire victory at The Ascendant LPGA in Texas on Sunday, shooting a two-under-par 69 to win by four strokes.

The 28-year-old world number seven had opened up a commanding five-shot lead after Saturday’s third round at The Colony in Dallas and never looked in danger of surrendering that cushion on Sunday.

Kim reached the turn at one under for the round, 12 under overall, after two birdies and one bogey on the front nine.

A bogey on the 11th dropped her back to 11 under, but two more birdies on the 14th and 17th holes ensured victory by four shots with a 13 under aggregate of 271.

Pagdanganan’s final round included six birdies on the back nine but the 25-year-old from Quezon City was unable to close the gap on leader Kim.

Atthaya was similarly impressive down the stretch, making five birdies in her final seven holes to march up the leaderboard.

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