It was a big week for LPGA rookie Bianca Pagdanganan. In her first major championship, she rebounded from anopening 77 to eventually tie for ninth at even-par 280. Her birdie at the 18th hole on Sunday – one of only five that the 407-yard hole yielded in the final round – earned her more than just a few more dollars from the purse. By getting inside the top 10, Pagdanganan earned a spot in December’s U.S. Women’s Open at Champions in Houston.
And adding to her special week was her Sunday grouping, as she played alongside World Golf Hall of Fame member Inbee Park, a 20-time LPGA winner and winner of seven major titles. Two years ago in the Philippines, Pagdanganan was walking to her hotel when she and some friends saw Park hitting balls on the driving range.
Fast forward to Sunday at Aronimink: “I get to the first tee, and I’m like, ‘I’m playing with Inbee Park,’” she said. “I can’t really explain how I feel. It was unbelievable. ... I don’t really have the right words to express how I feel. But it’s amazing just to see her play, and it’s definitely inspiring.” Pagdanganan shot 73 on Sunday after going 65-65 on Friday-Saturday.
Also earning a U.S. Women’s Open spot was Lauren Stephenson, who closed with a 2-under 68 to also tie for ninth. Mina Harigae would have garnered a spot into the U.S. Women’s Open as well, but a bogey at the 72nd hole moved her out of the top 10. She tied for 13th.