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Pagdanganan and NCAA field challenged by difficult conditions in first round

Courtesy: Gonzaga Athletics Courtesy: Gonzaga Athletics

By Gonzaga Athletics

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SUGAR GROVE, Ill. – Bianca Pagdanganan completed her first round at the 2017 NCAA Championships at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill. on Friday, shooting an eight-over 80 to sit in a tie for 56th.

Combined with a difficult setup, 20-25 mph winds and pouring rains, sometimes coming in sideways, with temperatures in the mid 40s and a wind chill pushing it to freezing, the scores reflected the difficult conditions. She opened her round with a birdie on number two, but three bogeys and three double bogeys followed through the next 16 holes.

No one in the field shot under par, with just August Kim of Purdue and Elodie Van Dievoet of Michigan leading the way at even par. Nobody in the field shot under par on the par four holes on the day and only three players had more than three birdies in their round.

Pagdanganan kept her domination of par-five holes at the NCAA Regionals, where she went six-under overall, going at the NCAA Championships early on, birdieing the par-five 459-yard second hole after opening with a par. She ran into a bit of trouble after that, picking up bogeys on the par-three third and par-four fourth. She then recovered with pars on the par-three fifth and par-four sixth. The weather continued to be a factor and after a par on the par-five seventh, she bogeyed the par-four eighth and doubled the par-four ninth to go +4 (40) on the front nine.

She opened the back nine with pars of the par-four 10th, par-five 11th, and par-four 12th. She kept it rolling with pars on the par-three 13th, par-four 14th, before running into a double bogey on number 15. She went on to par the par-three 16th and par-four 17th, before double bogeying the final hole to go +4 on the back.

“That was one of the hardest days of golf I have been around in my 20 years of coaching,” Gonzaga head coach Brad Rickel said. “The weather was absolutely brutal and it was just as hard as golf could possibly be, as evidenced by all the scores. Bianca fought hard and grinded as hard as possible. Tomorrow we need to find a way to hit more greens and just keep a positive attitude.”

The score of 80 is Pagdanganan’s second-best round in her four rounds at the NCAA Championships dating back to last year. Northwestern led the team field after day one at +13, with Kent State two strokes back. Karoline Stormo of Kent State and Janet Mao of Northwestern are one stroke off the lead, and four golfers are tied at +2.

Pagdanganan will begin her second round on hole number 10 tomorrow at 6:25 am PST, joined by Laura Fuenfstueck of Charleston and Camila Serrano of Florida International.

The 2017 NCAA Championships hosted by Northern Illinois at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill. began on May 19. There will be three 18-hole stroke play rounds with the top-nine individuals not an advancing teams, and top-15 teams, advancing to the round on Monday, May 22, live on the Golf Channel. The individual champion will be crowned following Monday’s 18-hole round.

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