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Rocky backside windup drops Pagdanganan off the lead

MANILA, Philippines – Bianca Pagdanganan threatened to dominate the Wistron Ladies Open with a blistering frontside 33. But she lost her touch and rhythm in the last nine holes and wound up with a 73 as she fell to joint fourth instead halfway through the NT$4 million LPGA of Taiwan in Taoyuan City Friday.

A double-bogey on the par-5 closing hole typified Pagdanganan’s backside meltdown that saw her drop a stroke on the other long hole (No. 13) and yield shots on Nos. 11 and 16, both par-3s, of the Sunrise Golf and Country Club.

It was a big foldup by the ICTSI-backed ace, who started the round just a stroke off Vivian Hou after an opening 68 and quicky wrested control with birdies on Nos. 6, 7 and 9 as the erstwhile leader slipped with a 38.

But Pagdanganan’s closing 40 coupled with Hou’s 35 turned things around for the big-hitting Filipina shotmaker although another local, Wei-Ling Hsu, emerged on top at 139 after a 71.

Hou slipped to joint second at 140 with compatriot Phoebe Yao, who shot a 70, while Pagdanganan dropped to a share of fourth at 141 with Thai Wichanee Meechai and Taiwanese Ching Huang, who shot 71 and 73, respectively.

Four others pooled 142s to guarantee a wild last two rounds in the 72-hole championship, including Japanese Yuna Arakawa, Green Poruangrong and Supamas Sangchan, both of Thailand, and Taiwanese Yu-Sang Hou.

Arakawa and Poruangrong shot identical 70s, Sangchan matched par 72, and Hou settled for a 73.