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Pagdanganan stays in hunt with clutch eagle

MANILA, Philippines -- Bianca Pagdanganan moved to joint third with a scrambling 71, but fell farther back by four as Taiwanese Wei-Ling Hsu pulled away with a 69 for a three-stroke lead compatriot Vivian Hou after three rounds of the Wistron Ladies Open in Taoyuan, Taiwan Saturday.

But the Filipina ace needed to cash in on a big break on the par-4 12th, which she eagled to bounce back from a one-over card, salvage a 36-35 and stayed in the hunt for a second LPGA Tour of Taiwan title at 212 despite another struggle at the Sunrise Golf and Country Club’s unpredictable surface.

The power-hitting ICTSI-backed shotmaker is gunning for a second TLPGA title after winning the inaugural Anvaya Cove Ladies Invitational in Bataan last February. But she won’t be able to join the other Filipinas in the Party Golfers Ladies Open in two weeks time in Hsinchu county to honor a previous commitment on the LPGA Tour.

She is set to play in the Annika driven by Gainbridge at Pelican on November 9-12 in Belleair, Florida, where she aims for a strong finish in an attempt to improve or keep her spot at No. 56 in the Race to CME Globe Season for a spot in the rich CME Group Tour Championship on November 16-19 in Naples, also in Florida.

“I’m currently in the bubble for the CME Group Tour Championship,” said Pagdanganan. “My game feels good, so hopefully, I can put together a good final round.”

But Hsu has built a big cushion for the final round battle, bucking a bogey-bogey start with birdies on Nos. 4 and 8. After another birdie-bogey exchange from No. 10, she rattled off three birdies in the next five holes then rebounded from another miscue on No. 17 with a birdie on the last.

Her 36-33 card and a 208 kept her three shots clear of Hou, who birdied two of the last three holes to rescue a 71 for a 211.

Thai Wichanee Meechai, meanwhile, tied Pagdanganan at 212, also after a 71 while Ching Huang battled back from a frontside 39 with a 33 to salvage a 72 for a 213.