No lengthy wait for LPGA glory for Pinay rookie
MANILA, Philippines – Forget about her finishes, they’re not much of a serious concern at this early stage of her rookie campaign. But focus on her length, which has impacted her game four tournaments into the LPGA Tour.
Bianca Pagdanganan has time and again downplayed her immense power, a gift she has honed and developed since she picked up a set of plastic (golf) clubs out of curiosity about her dad’s sport at age seven.
She would blossom into a top-notch player that she is today although she knows she still has a lot to learn, expressing her readiness and willingness to go into the process to improve her craft, particularly on the other aspects of her game, and reach a highly competitive level.
“You just start to realize that there are other parts of your game that you need to polish,” said Pagdanganan in another full-length article in Golfweek this week.
In fact, Laura Ianello, her coach at Univ. of Arizona, sees a bright, lucrative future for her ward sooner than later.
“Bianca is eventually going to make a ton of money on the LPGA once she can dial in those numbers with her short irons,” said Ianello.
The SEA Games double gold medalist, who shot an NCAA record-tying 61 to help power the Wildcats to the 2018 championship, has made the cut in her first four LPGA tournaments although her best finish of tied for 28th at the Drive On Championship at Inverness in Toledo, Ohio is something not to be proud of.
But time — to improve and get better — is definitely on her side.
Just 22, Pagdanganan currently leads the LPGA in driving distance with a 287.462-yard norm, four yards better than erstwhile No. 1 Maria Fassi of Mexico on the LPGA stats list and another yard longer than smooth-swinging Anne Van Dam of the Netherlands.
Ianello points to what she described as Pagdanganan’s “insanely” fast hips and use of the ground as the keys to her power although the Filipina ace would insist she does it without “trying to force anything.”
That should make her a lot scarier.
While still with the Arizona Wildcats, Pagdanganan played alongside long-hitting Angel Yin in the first two rounds of the Marathon Classic and routinely outdrove her 10 to 20 yards, according to Ianello, who carried the bag for the former that week.
It was clear that Pagdanganan, who also carries her 3-wood to 245 yards, would be among the longest — if not the longest — on tour.
“I literally just try to hit it as hard as I can and it goes far,” she said. “I guess the reason, they say, is the lag in my swing.”
A reserve entry in next week’s Shoprite LPGA Classic in New Jersey, Pagdanganan is among the starters in the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, one of LPGA’s five majors, on October 8-11 at the Aronimink Golf Club in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania and the 2017 Philippine Ladies Open titlist can’t wait to flaunt her vaunted power and improved short game — and deliver.