LPGA Release, 26 August 2019: Seven birdies this afternoon on the Dinah Shore Tournament Course at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif., paved the way to a 4-under par 68 final round for Bianca Pagdanganan (Quezon City, Philippines) and LPGA Qualifying Tournament Stage I medalist honors.
The three Indian golfers that made the third round cut met with disappointment, despite their best efforts this week. Nikita Arjun was well placed at the end of two rounds, but after starting the week with a 71 & 72, she conceded a bunch of bogeys through the weekend. She posted 76 and 81 in the final two rounds to finish at 12-over 300.
Astha Madan, similar to Nikita, started off in great style with back to back 71s in the first two rounds. But she ran out of steam as the week progressed, posting 77 & 79 to end the week at 10-over.
Her sister, Nishtha Madan was the best-placed Indian at 9-over in T129. Even though she had a disappointing start, Nishtha fought her way back from an opening-round 78. But after scoring 71 & 72 in the middle rounds, she slumped to a 76 on Sunday to let the opportunity slip away.
Having graduated from the University of Arizona this past spring with a Bachelor’s in Sports and Society, Pagdanganan will now return to Tucson and take one final class to fulfil her degree requirements. Back on campus, the amateur will also be able to prepare for Stage II after a solid showing in Coachella Valley.
“I usually have no expectations coming into a tournament, so I can just do my thing and not put pressure on myself,” said Pagdanganan, who ended at 13-under par overall. “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.”
Hira Naveed (Perth, Australia) came in just behind Pagdanganan at 10-under par overall for a runner-up result. She pointed to her performance in the recent LPGA Qualifying Tournament preparatory event as the main reason for consistency of 70-70-69-69 across the four rounds at Stage I.
“I was just trying to give myself a chance to make it to Stage II and didn’t want to go overboard,” Naveed said after a 3-under par final round highlighted by five birdies. “Had a good prep event a few weeks ago, played decent and won it. I came in with a lot of confidence and wanted to put a decent number on the board every day. I managed to do that and am really happy.”
Meanwhile, Ana Ruiz (Chihuahua, Mexico) got a small sampling of a final pairing’s competitive nature and managed a steady 1-over par 73. An outright third finish for the University of Oklahoma alumna had Ruiz satisfied with what she was able to accomplish.
“It was weird because I mentally prepared a lot before the round and felt really calm all day,” said Ruiz. “That was kind of unusual because I thought I would be really anxious. Today was the round I felt most comfortable on the course, but made some silly mistakes. Overall, I’m really proud of how I competed this week and it was a great learning experience to be in that final group.”
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.