Pagdanganan sputters, drops to joint 40th with 72

Pagdanganan sputters, drops to joint 40th with 72

MANILA, Philippines — Bianca Pagdanganan failed to check a roller-coaster backside start and dropped one more bogey in a birdie-less closing nine, ending up with a two-over 72 and dropping three rungs to joint 40th in the third round of the Pelican Women’s Championship in Belleair, Florida Saturday.

Sei Young Kim bucked Ally McDonald’s ace on No. 12 that pulled the American to within one as the Korean world No. 2 rattled off four straight birdies from No. 14 to shoot a six-under 64 and pulled away by five with a 14-under 196.

McDonald followed up her rare feat with a birdie on No. 14 but dropped a stroke on the 16th and wound up with a 68 for a 201 while England’s Stephanie Meadow also shot a 68 for third at 202.

The rookie Pagdanganan had sought to sustain her second round 69 in an attempt to improve her joint 37th ranking but after two pars, she went on a bogey-par-birdie-bogey-par-birdie-bogey run from No. 12. She missed giving herself good looks for birdies at the front and even failed to go up-and-down on No. 5 for a pair of 36s.

With a 214 total, the ICTSI-backed shotmaker and Tour’s driving leader dropped to a share of 40th that includes Mexican Maria Fassi (71), Japanese Nasa Hataoka (72) and Korean Jeong Eun Lee (73) with world No. 1 Jin Young Ko finally breaking par with a 69 after a 72-71 to move to joint 28th at 212.

The $1.5 million championship is the fourth-to-last LPGA tournament in the pandemic-hit season with the field heading to The Colony, Texas next week for the Volunteers of American Classic before moving to Houston for the year’s final major – the US Women’s Open on Dec. 10-13 – where Japan-based Yuka Saso is expected to reunite with Pagdanganan for a rare chance to compete with the world’s best and brightest players.

The circuit winds up with the CME Group Tour Championship on Dec. 17-20 in Naples, Florida.

Coming off a three-week break, Pagdanganan had hoped for a strong finish this week after a remarkable joint ninth place effort in a major, the Women’s PGA Championship in Pennsylvania, and a career-best third place in the Drive On Championship in Georgia, both last month.