Sun.Star Baguio

Bianca & Yuka

- AL MENDOZA

BIANCA Pagdangana­n is out but Yuka Saso still in.

Bianca got cut after two rounds in her first crack at the rain-delayed 75th U.S. Open. Whine not. It’s just one tournament.

Use it to further hone talent and skill inherent in you.

Many athletes became great after suffering multiple failures— Michael Jordan, basketball’s greatest of all time, being just one of them.

The early exit does not diminish, in any way, the fact that Bianca, 22, still holds the record of being the longest hitter on the Tour. While it is true that length in golf is not a surefire guarantee to make one a winner—if not great—it is a lethal weapon almost as permanent as a tattoo, or a scar. It is a talent and, as all talents go, it cannot be taught. It is lessons that can be learned—as in one failure easily convertibl­e into victory anytime.

So, take heart, Bianca. It is not the end of the world.

As to Yuka still alive and kicking in the U.S. Open—the prognosis says she’s out of a podium finish. Only a miracle can save her the day.

Yuka is eight shots behind Japan’s Hinako Shibuno going into the final round that was moved to Tuesday due to 0.73 inches of rain that

caused mud and flooding at Houston’s Champions Club in Texas.

Yuka was 5 strokes behind after 2 rounds, until 3 bogeys and an uncharacte­ristic double bogey in her final 9 holes gave her a terrible third-round 6-over 77—her worst this year—for a 4-over 277 that dropped her to joint 25th.

If this were basketball, Yuka was like being 20 points behind with 2 minutes left in the game. Defeat was as sure as night follows day.

Should Shibuno, 22, win, she becomes the third to capture the 2019 British Open and 2020 U.S. Open in succession after Koreans Se Ri Park and In Gee Chun.

Only Amy Olson appears to be Shibuno’s chief rival as the 28-year-old American is just a shot behind, with the 13 other pursuers 5 or more strokes adrift.

But Shibuno sort of got a lift as Olson is in grief after her father-in-law suddenly died a day after Round 3. That forced Olson’s husband, Grant, to leave her and fly to North Dakota. Condolence­s.

And Yuka? Chin up, kid. Like I told Bianca, it’s just one tournament. And Yuka, you’re only 19, remember?

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