Bianca Pagdanganan’s return to action suffers a very rough start as she ended with a 4-over 76 at the first round of the 2022 LPGA JTBC Classic, Thursday (Friday morning, Philippine time) at the Aviara Golf Club, Carlsbad, California.
The 31st Southeast Asian Games champion could not shake off the rust of more than a month’s hiatus, to see herself at a share of the 137th spot — 11 strokes of the leader Ko Jin Young.
It was a fairly smooth start for Pagdanganan as she carved pars along her first five holes back, one month after that final push in the Drive On Championship in Florida. However, she encountered her first roadblock on No. 15 where she needed an extra shot for the hole.
Another dropped shot at No. 18 took the 2017 NCAA champion further down to 2-over at the turn.
Needing to gain some shots to stay afloat, Pagdanganan instead had troubles in the front nine. She bagged another bogey at the onset at No. 1 and had to take two more shots three holes after.
Fortunately, the Tokyo Olympian had a good approach on the par-5 No. 8, where she ended up tackling in four shots — her lone birdie of the round.
Ko, the current world No. 1, closed out her day with a turkey — three straight birdies off Nos. 7 to 9, to take the two-shot lead over three women in Gemma Dryburgh, compatriot Choi Hye-Jin, and Cheyenne Knight.
Pagdanganan will look to bounce back and try to make the cut as she returns to the course on Friday.