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Hot finish pulls Pagdanganan within one after 68

MANILA, Philippine – Bianca Pagdanganan matched her strong start with a blazing windup as she shot a 68, just a stroke behind local ace Vivian Hou at the start of the Wistron Ladies Open at the Sunrise Golf and Country Club in Taoyuan City Thursday.

Exuding confidence coming off a pair of brilliant efforts on the LPGA Tour, Pagdanganan hit back-to-back birdies from No. 2 then snapped a run of backside pars with birdies in the last two holes, climbing from a share of seventh to joint second with Ching Huang and Wei-Ling Hsu after 18 holes of the four-day championship of the LPGA of Taiwan (TLPGA).

She dropped a shot on No. 7 but cashed in on the par-5 ninth to preserve a frontside two-under card.

Earlier, Hou birdied three of the first five holes at the back then recovered from a mishap on the par-5 18th with three frontside birdies, including on the ninth, leading to a 67 and the lead.

Meanwhile, Huang, a former winner on the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour inTagaytay, gunned down five birdies against a bogey while Hsu turned in a flawless pair of 34s as the local bets tied Pagdanganan at second.

Pagdanganan, whose campaign is backed by ICTSI, is actually seeking a second TLPGA victory after a dominant final round performance that netted her a six-shot romp over multi-titled PK Kongkraphan of Thailand in the inaugural Anvaya Cove Ladies Invitational in Bataan last February.

The power-hitting Filipina posted a career-best joint second place finish in the Ascendant LPGA Benefitting Volunteers of American in Texas three weeks ago. Counting her tied for third effort in the NW Arkansas Championship, she crashed into Top 52 in the Race to CME Globe Season ranking last week before settling for No. 56 this week with 528.780 Globe Points.

The Top 60 points earners after the Annika Drive by Gainbridge at Pelican tournament on Nov. 9-12, where Pagdanganan is entered, will earn berths in the rich CME Group Tour Championship, a $7-million event slated November 16-19 in Naples, Florida.