Ardina shoots 70; Saso ties for 39th

Published June 25, 2021, 2:05 PM

by Waylon Galvez

Yuka Saso of Philippines plays her shot from the ninth tee during the first round of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club on June 24, 2021 in Johns Creek, Georgia. (AFP)

Dottie Ardina of the Philippines fired a two-under 70 for a joint 10th place while Yuka Saso carded a one-over 73 in the first round of the KPMG Women’s PGA Thursday (Friday in Manila) at the Highlands Course of the Atlanta Athletic Club in Georgia.

Ardina, who is now in her eighth year as a professional golfer, finished the first round of the $4.8 million event three shots behind leader Lizette Salas of the US who shot a five-under 67.

Ardina birdied on 2, 4,13 and 17, but made bogeys on 6 and 14, which put her in position to make the cut after the second round since she missed the championship rounds in the previous two years.

Ardina, a one-time champion in the LPGA Tour (Symetra Tour), is tied for 10th with 12 other golfers, including Nelly Korda of the US and former world No. 1 and 2-time major champion Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand.

The 20-year-old Saso, on the other hand, struggled with three bogeys and a double bogey on 10, while making birdies on 5, 12, 13 and 18. She is tied with 23 others for 39th to 62nd places.

Two weeks ago, Saso became the first Filipino to win the US Women’s Open when she edged Japan’s Nasa Hataoka at the Lake Course of the Olympic Club in San Francisco, California.

Among the players that were also at one-over is former Women’s PGA champion Danielle Kang and Lexi Thompson, both of the US. Thompson placed third overall in the last US Women’s Open.

Saso, a double gold medalist in the Asian Games and two-time tour champion in LPGA Japan Tour, is eyeing a second major title in the LPGA Tour.

Meanwhile, Bianca Pagdanganan – also of the Philippines – shot a four-over 76 to finish tied for No. 93 to No. 109.

Pagdanganan only had a birdie, which she made on 5, but the opening round saw her commit bogeys on 8, 10 and 15,and a double-bogey on 13. The projected cut for this year is two-over 74.