Bianca Pagdanganan clinches LPGA Tour card at Pinehurst

Bianca Pagdanganan slowed down a bit at the finish but her closing 78 still netted her a berth in next year’s LPGA Tour as she wound up tied at 38th after eight rounds of the LPGA Q-Series at Pinehurst No. 9 in North Carolina Saturday.

Bianca Pagdanganan

Bianca Pagdanganan (File Photo)

Safely within the Top 45 plus ties cut at joint 18th heading to the final day of the gruelling elims, Pagdanganan fell off the standings with a 38 start and found herself in danger of missing it altogether when dropped four strokes in a three-hole stretch from No. 15 of Pinehurst No. 9.

But the country’s spearhead in the SEA Games closed out with a gutsy par for a 78, barely gaining the coveted card with a 576 total for joint 38th with five others finishing tied at 41st at 577.

Pagdanganan thus became the latest Filipina to join the LPGA Tour although former card holder Dottie Ardina fell short of her bid with a 579 total after a closing 74 for 48th.

Clariss Guce also skied to a 77 and wound up tied at 56th. Ardina and Guce settled for Symetra Tour spots.

China’s Muni He capped her run of under-par rounds throughout the Q-Series with a 710 and took the low medalist honors with a 551, three strokes ahead of Korean Hee Young Park, who pooled a 554 after a 70 with American Yealimi Noh snatching third place with a 557 after a 69.

A bogey-free, eagle-spiked 64 in the pivotal sixth round put Pagdanganan, the Asian Games bronze medalist, in the mix and a scrambling 72 virtually assured her of an LPGA card Friday.

But a double-bogey on No. 3 and a bogey on the sixth in the final round somehow hinted at the coming off a challenging day for the Gonzaga U product, who double bogeyed the par-5 15th and bogeyed the next two holes.

It was, however, a sad finish for Ardina, who bogeyed two of the first six holes, recovered the strokes with birdies on Nos. 9 and 10 but dropped out of the cutoff line with another double-bogey on No. 11 and a bogey on No. 13.

She birdied the par-3 17th but ran out of holes in her comeback bid.