Bianca Pagdanganan went below par at the right time to ensure Saturday’s T-time at the US Women’s Open.
Defending champion Yuka Sasso finished six strokes off the cutoff after finishing his reign in the second round 74.
Dotty Ardina fired a powerful 70 shot anchored in three birdies, but that wasn’t enough for her disaster in an opening round, leaving Pagdanganan, who fired a one-under 70 in the second round, as the only Filipino in Pine needles Lodge and Golf Club in North Carolina.
Pagdanganan, a Tokyo Olympian like Saso, had a double bogie at 14 and a bogie at 17 that also threatened to shorten his week. Even with his four-birdie card, Pagdanganan had two strokes from the projected cut line of +1, before taking the cut mark to +3 in a difficult situation in the afternoon.
Sasso, who played for the Philippines in Tokyo before being granted Japanese citizenship earlier this year, finished with a total of 9-overs after two rounds. Like his first round 77, Sasso also had bogeys in four, five, seven, eight and nine holes.
With a bulky driver, Sasso hit 36 holes with just 14 of 28 fairways.
Australia’s Minji Lee climbed to the leaderboard on Friday with a 5-under-par 66 for a 36-hole lead by Mina Harrig.
Lee, the world’s fourth-ranked player, made six birdies and a boogie to catch Harrig, who was ahead after one round and posted a 69 on Friday. After two rounds, both of them are nine-under 133.
South Korea’s Choi Hai-jin scored 64 for the low round of the day and joined the two leaders of Sweden’s Anna Nordkvist (Friday 68).
World No. 1 South Korea’s Ko Jin-Young (67) and Swedish amateur Ingrid Lindblad (71) are fifth in 6 under.
Lee rolled four birdies in his front nine before cooling off. He won his first major title at the Evian Championships in France last July and returned to the winning circle at the Cognizant Founders Cup last month.
“The golf course can come to you really fast, so I’m trying to take what is in front of me,” Lee said. “Whenever I have a birdie opportunity, I try to take advantage of it.” – Investigative golf and reports from Reuters
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