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Saso, Pagdanganan kick off Match Play bids

MANILA, Philippines – Yuka Saso and Bianca Pagdanganan face early challenges in their respective T-Mobile Match Play bids as they drew late tee-times at the start of the novel $2-million event beginning Wednesday in Las Vegas, Nevada (Thursday Manila time).

Saso, who tied for 13th in last week’s Ford Championship in Arizona, will start at 12:16 p.m. on No. 10 of the 6,804-yard Shadow Creek course alongside Korean Hye Jin Choi and Thai Jasmine Suwannapura, while ICTSI teammate Pagdanganan drew Roberta Liti of Italy and Wichanee Meechai of Thailand in the last flight at 12:49 p.m. on the first hole.

The big-hitting Pagdanganan aims to bounce back from a sorry campaign in the Ford Championship where she shot a solid 66 in the second round but still missed the cut by one.

Meanwhile, Nelly Korda headlines the stellar field with the world No. 1 seeking a fourth straight championship start after recent victories in the LPGA Drive on Championship at home in Florida, the Se Ri Pak Championship and the Ford Championship.

The Tokyo Olympics gold medalist will clash with Aussie Minjee Lee and Swede Linn Grant at 12:15 p.m. on No. 1.

Instead of the group-based match play, the event will now feature a combination of stroke and match play to determine the winner, who will also earn 500 Race to the CME Globe points.

The top 65 and ties after 36 holes of stroke play will advance to the next round, another stroke play format, on Friday with the top eight players advancing to the knockout phase. In case of ties for the last match play spot(s), a hole-by-hole stroke-play playoff will be utilized to decide the qualifiers.

The quarterfinals will be held Saturday morning with the winners disputing the finals slots in the afternoon. The championship is set on Sunday.