San Beda nears football crown
Bianca Pagdanganan put on a career-best bogey-free 65 in overcast skies yesterday and moved onto the threshold of a breakthrough Philippine Ladies Open victory as she padded her lead to five over Thai Atthaya Thitikul in the second round at Wack Wack Golf and Country Club’s West Course in Mandaluyong.
Pagdanganan, 19, kept pounding the par72 layout with brilliant shotmaking, superb iron shots and solid putting as the Gonzaga University sophomore bucked tough pin placements and produced seven birdies for a 32-33 card that served as a fitting follow-up to her opening 66 that put her ahead of the event’s fancied players, including Pauline del Rosario and Yuka Saso, Wednesday.
But while del Rosario grappled with her irons and putter and Saso faltered in the early going, Pagdanganan romped with her near-impeccable game, rattling off four birdies at the front, highlighted by a 20-footer on the first, then finishing with three more at the back, including the last two inside 15 feet.
That gave her an impressive 13-under 131 total, moving her 18 holes away from nailing the coveted crown in the Open division of the country’s premier championship presented by Champion Infinity and organized and conducted by the Women’s Golf Association of the Philippines.
“The pins were a bit tricky but it was my day
San Beda banked on Mike Daniel Riconalla’s late goal to repeat over title-holder Arellano University, 1-0, and inch closer to reclaiming the seniors title in the NCAA football tournament yesterday at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
A graduating Marketing student, Riconalla headed home the match winner off a beautifully-placed corner kick of Adolfo Abada in the 81st minute for the team’s 8th straight victory since the elims. and it couldn’t get any better than this,” said Pagdanganan, who also moved closer to ending a two-year title spell after topping the Edeon Ihlandfelt tournament in the US. “It’s actually my personal best and I’m ecstatic for doing it.”
Thitikul also turned in an imposing 66 spiked by a superb closing 30 but the 13-year-old Thai junior champion still stood far behind at 136 following a mediocre 70 in the opener and Pagdanganan’s flawless second day performance.
But she remained upbeat of her chances, so do the rest of the field still in the hunt for the coveted crown.
“My coach told me to follow the plan, which is to think of my own game and not of others,” said Thitikul, who actually rebounded from a two-bogey mishap after six holes with a stunning run of eight birdies in an 11-hole stretch, including three straight from No. 15.
Del Rosario, who started the round just two strokes off Pagdanganan, birdied two of the first eight holes but stumbled with two bogeys in the next six and flubbed three makeable birdie putts. She settled for a 72 and slid to 140, nine shots behind.
Saso, who finished tied for second with Del Rosario in last year’s edition of the annual event topped by Princess Superal at Midlands, also floundered in the early going and needed to produce a fiery windup to salvage a 72 and a 142.
It was the second win by the Red Lions in the semifinal round – a follow up to their 2-1 win over Lyceum last Tuesday – and also their second over the slumping Chiefs.
They beat the Chiefs, 6-0, at the close of the first round elims. The loss practically dethroned the Chiefs who dropped to 0-2 in the round.
The Red Lions could clinch a league-best 22nd championship if they could beat the St. Benilde Blazers on Tuesday next week.
Bianca Pagdanganan makes a putt on the 9th hole during the second round of the Philippine Ladies Amateur Open at the Wack Wack Golf and Country Club in Mandaluyong City yesterday. (Rio Deluvio)