Firing her best round of the year (66), Bianca Pagdanganan said her strategy during the first round of the Cognizant Founders Cup was “knowing where to miss.” She hardly missed however, hitting 10 of 14 fairways and 16 of 18 greens while showing off her solid ball-striking abilities. The 24-year-old made four birdies on the front nine, highlighted by an impressive drive and approach on No. 9 to reach the green in two.
“I didn't think I could reach nine honestly. During the practice round my caddy and I had that down as a three-shot hole, especially with the water on the right, but I was in a good spot and I knew that I felt good heading into that hole,” she said. “I had a lot of trust in my club and I knew that I could hit it where I wanted so I just went for it, kind of just missed it long, but I converted the birdie.”
Recently dealing with tendonitis, Pagdanganan has missed the cut in her last two LPGA Tour starts but found her form last week during the U.S. Women's Open qualifier in Fort Myers, Fla. In fact, she’s utilizing a secret strategy from the qualifier to achieve success at Upper Montclair Country Club. And combined with support from a large family presence in the area, Pagdanganan stayed grounded throughout the round.
“I would definitely say that the U.S. Open qualifier was a bit of a kickstart. I wasn't playing great leading up to that week. I was very, very stressed. I just felt like I had no control over my game,” she said. “I’ve tried to take everything hole by hole and I think it's been working out pretty well and I’ve figured out a new way to help myself out on the course.”
Time will tell if this new strategy leads Pagdanganan to her first LPGA tour victory.