Bianca powers into weekend

I had some pretty rough bumps since Thailand, and it’s great to see something coming your way.

Bianca Pagdanganan guns for a big paycheck when she made it into the weekend of the LPGA Portland Classic. | Gregory Shamus/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE


September 18, 2022

Bianca Pagdanganan ended a string of missed cuts doing what she does best — grip and rip it off the tee.

Averaging 296 yards, the 24-year-old Filipino bomber birdied all four par-5 holes to save a one-under-par 71 and a spot in the weekend in the LPGA Portland Classic at the Columbia Edgewater Country Club in Portland, Oregon Friday.

Pagdanganan finished 36 holes on even-par 144, right on the number.

Needing to improve on her opening 73, the back-nine starter Filipina birdied 10 and 12, both par-5s but reached the turn on 1-under after bogeys on 13 and 17 against a birdie on 14.

A double bogey on the par-3 second hole dropped Pagdanganan below the projected cut but she came through in the last five holes with birdies on 5 and 7.

She missed five fairways but reached 14 greens in regulation. She, however, still needed 30 putts to complete her round.

It marked the first time in four tournaments that Pagdanganan will be playing on the weekend.

The last time she made money was last June when she placed 65th in the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.

Meanwhile, Germany’s Esther Henseleit broke out of her LPGA rut, carding an eight-under par 64 to share the lead with American Lilia Vu.

Henseleit fired 10 birdies to build a 36-hole total of 10-under par 134 at Columbia Edgewater in Portland, Oregon.

It was a welcome change from the doldrums that had dogged her since a tie for 12th in Thailand in March.

“I had some pretty rough bumps since Thailand, and it’s great to see something coming your way,” the 23-year-old said. “It just felt like nothing really came together.”

“I’ve been working really hard and felt like every part of my game has been improving, but couldn’t really get the scores together. So yeah, just good that today kind of happened and I didn’t have to fight too hard for it.”

Henseleit said some “easy putts” helped her cause.

“I had many chances, but they were not gimmes,” she said. “I didn’t have a tap-in birdie at all.”

Former top-ranked amateur Vu had an eagle and four birdies in her first seven holes on the way to a 66.

The leading duo were one shot in front of Spanish veteran Carlota Ciganda, who signed for a 66.

Sweden’s Maja Stark was in a big group on 136 alongside Ecuador’s Daniela Darquea, China’s Zhang Weiwei, Japan’s Ayaka Furue, Australian Hannah Green and American Andrea Lee.

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