Mendoza: Ardina, not Saso, leading PH cause

·2 min read

Dottie Ardina is suddenly leading the Philippine cause in the KPMG, the PGA of women’s golf, at The Highlands in Atlanta, Georgia.

Relegated into the background by Yuka Saso’s spectacular win in the US Women’s Open only a while back, Ardina fired a second straight two-under-par 70 yesterday to stay solidly entrenched at No. 10.

At seven strokes behind, Ardina has a mathematical chance of contending for the crown as there are still two rounds left in the year’s second women’s major.

And who is Ardina again?

She made history when, at age 12, she played for the Philippines to become the youngest ever participant in the 2006 World Amateur Team Championship.

Now 27, Ardina has quietly earned her professional card with her resilience and patience, joining Saso and Bianca Pagdanganan in this year’s money-rich LPGA Tour.

Saso had recently put the country on the world map with her US Open victory, becoming the first Filipino to win a golf major.

The daughter of a Japanese and a Filipina from San Ildefonso, Bulacan, Saso, turning 20 on June 20 who has compiled more than P70 million in golf earnings the last two years, rallied somewhat with a 70 yesterday after opening with a 73 and was tied for 32nd.

She is 10 shots behind halfway leader Nelly Korda of the U.S. But with still 36 holes left to play, Saso is not totally out of it. Golf is one sport whose winner is not actually decided until the last putt is dropped.

But Pagdanganan, the Tour’s longest hitter in 2020, was not as lucky in the KPMG event as she could only come up with a 74 yesterday. Adding her opening-round 76, she bowed out with a plus-6 after missing the cut pegged at plus-2.

It’s not the end of the line, though, for Pagdanganan, who was Saso’s gold-winning teammate in the 2018 Asian Games. At age 23, Pagdanganan still has a lot of golf ahead of her. Golf rewards the patient. Didn’t Phil Mickelson recently win the PGA major at age 50?

In the NBA yesterday, the Milwaukee Bucks, behind the exceptional dominance of two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, routed the Atlanta Hawks, 125-91, to even their Eastern Conference Finals at 1-1.

They play Game 3 on Monday, a day after the Los Angeles Clippers try to forge a 2-2 deadlock against the Phoenix Suns on Sunday in their Western Conference Finals.

Sports in June is a never ending thrill, I tell you.

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