TOKYO – Bianca Pagdanganan of the Philippines kept her cool on a day when the temperature soared to the mid 30s Celsius, firing a two-under par 69 on Wednesday to keep the leaders in sight after the opening round of the Tokyo Olympics’ golf competition.
Keeping herself fresh with an ice pack and a pamaypay in between shots, the 23-year old LPGA campaigner birdied the first two holes to create momentum then kept her composure when the sweltering heat started to bear down on the Kasimugaseki Golf Club in Saitama.
Pagdanganan made two more birdies against one bogey in her last five holes – including a near ace on the 16th – to put her in a share of seventh place, just three shots out of the lead held by Madelene Sagstrom of Sweden.
She is joined at seventh spot by eight others, including LPGA winners Inbee Park of Korea and American Danielle Kang.
In contrast, Yuka Saso went the other way on a day when the humidity that put the Fil-Japanese’s caddie Lionel Matichuck in a hospital the day before after a heat stroke left Pagdanganan’s coach Carito Villaroman in a clinic inside the course due to dehydration.
Saso couldn’t get going all day and finished with a three-over 74 that left her in a share of 47th place and needing to make up ground in Thursday’s second round to get back in it.
The reigning US Women’s Open champion made an early bogey on No. 2, steadied herself in mid-round only to slump with successive bogeys from the 16th.
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