Tokyo Olympics

Bianca Pagdanganan opens Tokyo Olympics golf at joint 7th, Yuka Saso falls to 47th

Beatrice Go
Bianca Pagdanganan opens Tokyo Olympics golf at joint 7th, Yuka Saso falls to 47th

TOP 10. Bianca Pagdanganan notches the top spot in the first five holes.

Toby Melville/REUTERS

Bianca Pagdanganan stays within the top 10 in the opening round of Tokyo Olympics women's golf

Bianca Pagdanganan crashed into the top 10, while Yuka Saso would have to mount a huge comeback in the next rounds of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics women’s golf tournament on Wednesday, August 4, at the Kasumigaseki Golf and Country Club.

Pagdanganan had a stellar start to her campaign as she took the top spot after her first five holes, and ended the first round with a two-under par 69 at joint seventh.

She is tied with eight others including Korean LPGA star Inbee Park, who has won seven major titles on the Tour.

The 23-year-old power player hit back-to-back birdies to start the opening round and made three more at the 5th, 14th, and 16th holes. She bogeyed the 4th, 11th, and 15th holes.

US Women’s Open champion Saso, meanwhile, shot a three-over par 74, making only two birdies in the 5th and 14th holes, while committing five bogeys.

Canadian caddie Lionel Matichuk, who was vital in Yuka Saso’s US Women’s Open and Japan LPGA Tour triumphs, has been recovering in the hotel due to heat stroke.

Saso and other major winners like Canada’s Brooke Henderson and China’s Shanshan Feng need to bounce back from their lackluster opening round.

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Sweden’s Madelene Sagstrom took the top spot at the end of the round with a flawless five-under 66, while American No. 1 Nelly Korda lurked a stroke behind.

World No. 75 Sagstrom upstaged the game’s global stars on a hot and muggy day as she racked up five birdies in a bogey-free round.

“I am very excited with the layouts, with my eye. And the greens are rolling phenomenally, which works with my putting too,” Sagstrom told reporters.

“It’s hot. I’m not going to lie. It’s very hot, but it’s manageable.”

Korda has taken the LPGA Tour by storm this season, winning three titles including the Women’s PGA Championship in June, and she continued her good form with a six-birdie 67 after shrugging off two early bogeys.

“I drove it really well. I mean, I’ve always kind of struggled there on greens,” Korda, sharing second place with India’s Aditi Ashok, told reporters.

“And I just started to figure it out, the greens out there. But I’m hitting it solid. And if I’m giving myself looks at birdie, I am eventually going to make a few.”

South Korea’s world No. 2 Ko Jin-young was a stroke further back on three-under with Finland’s Matilda Castren and Spaniard Carlota Ciganda. – with a report from Reuters/

Beatrice Go

More commonly known as Bee, Beatrice Go is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Philippine sports governance, national teams, football, and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.