They’ve been close for some time, but the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational will be the first time they’ve teed it up as partners. Bianca Pagdanganan and Andrea Lee first met at the 2017 Dick McGuire Invitational, a college event in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It was Bianca’s first year at the University of Arizona after transferring from Gonzaga University and Andrea’s sophomore year at Stanford University where she was recognized as one of the best amateurs in the world.
The two tied for first.
“We were co-champions,” Bianca said. “That was pretty cool. We just got to know each other there and stayed friends ever since.”
Throughout the rest of their college careers, Lee and Pagdanganan saw a lot of each other. “Being the same conference (the Pac 12) helped,” Bianca said. “Then we played against each other in the NCAA (Championships, which Arizona won, beating Stanford in the semi-finals and Alabama in the finals).”
They both finished T2 in the individual portion of that championship, two shots behind Jennifer Kupcho of Wake Forest. When they met in the semi-finals, Bianca edged out Andrea. But there was never really a rivalry between them. They have always appreciated each other’s games while enjoying one another’s company.
“We wanted to play (the Dow) together last year, but neither of us were in the tournament so we couldn’t partner up,” Bianca said. “I got in last minute and ended up playing with (Sarah Schmelzel). But (Andrea and I) said, maybe next year it’ll work out, and it did.
“We were rookies the same year, so we saw each other often and have played some practice rounds together.”
Pagdanganan currently ranks second on the LPGA Tour in driving distance while Lee ranks second on Tour in driving accuracy.
“Every time people ask me who I’m playing with and I say ‘Andrea,’ they say, ‘That’s going to be a really good partnership,’ because, apparently, a long hitter and a really good short-game player work out pretty well,” Bianca said. “Andrea has a really good short-game so that should be an advantage.”
How they play as partners is still an open question, one that will be answered next week at Midland Country Club. And there’s also no doubt that Andrea and Bianca, Team A & B, will be a treat to watch.