Pagdanganan medals at 1st stage of LPGA Q-School
26 Aug 2019
by Julie Williams of AmateurGolf.com

see also: Bianca Pagdanganan Rankings

Bianca Pagdanganan (USGA photo)
Bianca Pagdanganan (USGA photo)

It has been obvious for nearly two years that Bianca Pagdanganan performs well under pressure, so it’s no surprise to see the former University of Arizona player at the top of the leaderboard after the first stage of LPGA Q-School, arguably the most pressure-filled experience in professional golf.

Pagdanganan, who has exhausted her college golf eligibility even though she has one class remaining to finish her degree at Arizona, safely advanced to the second of three qualifying stages. She was 13 under for 72 holes at the Dinah Shore Tournament Course at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif., three ahead of former Pepperdine player Hira Naveed.

You’ll remember that Pagdanganan was the player who holed a you’re-kidding-me eagle putt on the final hole of the 2018 NCAA Women’s Championship to start her team’s run through the match-play bracket to an eventual national title.

“I usually have no expectations coming into a tournament, so I can just do my thing and not put pressure on myself,” Pagdanganan told the LPGA. “This week was pretty good, my ball striking was solid and that helped a lot. Also made some putts, especially a decent amount of birdies and just happy with how I concluded this event. As a competitive person it’s great to see my name at the top of the leaderboard, but I still need to work on a couple things in my game to keep getting better.”

Pagdanganan remains an amateur as she works her way through Q-School. In all, 84 of the 361 players who teed it up at Mission Hills were amateurs, many of them active college players.

A total of 96 players finished at 5-over par or better to advance to Stage II in Venice, Fla., from Oct. 14-17 on the Panther Course and Bobcat Course at Plantation Golf and Country Club. Among those players, 40 are amateurs.

Other notable finishes by amateurs include a tie for fourth by Min A Yoon, who played her way to the third round of the U.S. Women’s Amateur earlier this month.

Furman senior Natalie Srinivasan, who competed in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur, tied for eighth at 4 under.

A group of three current college players were part of an eight-way tie for 21st at 1 under: Texas senior Emilee Hoffman, Duke senior Ana Belac and USC junior Jennifer Chang.

Kent State senior Karoline Stormo tied for 29th at even par and Florida State senior Amanda Doherty was another shot back in a tie for 35th.

Florida senior Sierra Brooks, runner-up at the NCAA Women’s Championship in the spring, moved on to the next stage with her T-69 finish.

More amateurs join the mix at the second stage in October, where the top five players in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings as well as the top five players in the World Amateur Golf Ranking receive an exemption into the tournament.

Florida State’s Frida Kinhult, Stanford’s Andrea Lee and Albane Valenzuela, 16-year-old Lucy Li (who will turn 17 on Oct. 1) and 18-year-old Yuka Saso will all take advantage.

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