May 12, 2022
Clifton, New Jersey, USA
Upper Montclair Country Club
Q. I'm here with Bianca Pagdanganan. What a round out there today. Just take me your thoughts through this first round of the Cognizant Founders Cup.
BIANCA PAGDANGANAN: I really tried to stay patient out there. This course is very narrow, so I just kept my mindset very, very simple. Just tried to hit fairways and greens, and that's exactly what I did. I think for the most part I stayed very, very patient, but I made sure to give myself a lot of good looks on birdies. Just tried to take everything hole-by-hole. I had a pretty good break last week to just kind of reset, and I think it did me pretty well this week.
Q. What did you do in that break?
BIANCA PAGDANGANAN: I literally just rested, stayed at home. Well, I was home for three days, which is nice. It's always nice to sleep on your own bed even for that short period of time, but it's pretty much what I did. Did some journalling, just reflect on what I've been doing so far, and tried to think of new ways to make things better.
Q. I know you've recently moved to Florida in the past couple of months, so I'm assuming when I say "home," you mean home in Florida now on the East Coast.
BIANCA PAGDANGANAN: Yes. It's kind of weird.
Q. It's weird because I feel like now this isn't the same kind of flight. This isn't the same kind of preparation.
BIANCA PAGDANGANAN: Exactly.
Q. What was this week like for you, as you said, looking at your mind set and going about it a different way?
BIANCA PAGDANGANAN: It was something new, but in a good way. I think for the past few years I've based myself in California, and every time I would fly to Jersey, I would have to take into account the new time zone, flying across the map. Well, I guess, the U.S.
It was nice just having a two-hour flight and not struggling with a time zone waking up three hours later than what I should be waking up, but I think it's a good change, so I'm looking forward to what good luck Florida brings me, my new home.
Q. That was a 66 that looked to all the world like it could be a 62. Do you walk away saying, I played really well today, or do you say, man, I left some out there?
BIANCA PAGDANGANAN: I guess I just tried to take the positives out of this game. At least I know that I could play good golf on this course. I would say that it was -- I wouldn't say it was the best 66, but you can't really complain over a 66. 6-under is 6-under, and it put me in a good spot. Especially for tomorrow. I guess you always just try to look at the brighter side of things.
Q. What happened over the course of the last week and a half that you saw this coming because you've had some struggles leading into this.
BIANCA PAGDANGANAN: I guess, like I said, a reset was good. I've been struggling with tendinitis, so it's been tough trying to take a break just because the only way to really kind of heal from this would be rest and just self-care I would say.
I don't know. I just try to take things day-by-day now. It's hard when you know that you've had a couple of bad weeks, but having a break, having a few days off I think it's very good for me just because I get to just focus on myself, think of what I could do better and just go on from there.
Q. And you've got 431 relatives in the area. How fun and how difficult is it having that many people around that are your cousins and that sort of thing?
BIANCA PAGDANGANAN: I think it's fun. For the past two nights -- so I'm staying with my aunt, and for the past few nights, three nights, I've been having dinner with my cousins, and it's really nice because I don't really get to see them that often. Especially with how busy my schedule gets, but I just moved to Florida, so it's a shorter flight, but I think especially during tournament weeks where it's just going to be stressful emotionally, mentally, and physically, it's nice to kind of have that break and see familiar faces.
Q. Taking a look specifically at the round: A birdie on 2, 6, 7, and 9 to have a bogey-free front nine. What was working so well there, and how did it feel to have a birdie as you made the turn?
BIANCA PAGDANGANAN: I honestly just hit every one of those birdies very close. Like I mentioned earlier, I feel like I probably could have made more birdies, but I did try to capitalize on the shorter ones and just made sure that I got the job done on those, but I don't know. I just try to take everything hole-by-hole, and I think it's been working out pretty well. Kind of figured out a new way to help myself out on the course, so I think it's been good.
Q. What's the new way?
BIANCA PAGDANGANAN: Kind of like -- I don't know if I want to share it. I'm kind of shy.
Q. That's okay.
BIANCA PAGDANGANAN: Before this my competitive round was the U.S. Open Qualifier, and I tried to apply it there, and it worked very well, so heading into this week I was, like, let's see if it works again, and I think it's done -- I've been doing good.
Q. You talk a little bit about getting through to the U.S. Open. I know there was a playoff, I believe, as well. I mean, to be able to get through to the U.S. Women's Open, how much was that kind of a momentum starter as you got here? You said a little bit earlier that this -- when you got here, you said that you thought you could do well on this course. Was it just because you like this course, it brings out good game, or did that really kick-start some momentum for you?
BIANCA PAGDANGANAN: I could definitely say that the U.S. Open Qualifier was a bit of a kick-start. I wasn't playing great leading up to that week. I was very, very stressed. I didn't even tell anyone how stressed I was heading into that. I mean, it just felt like I had no control over my game, and I just told myself this is something new. Brand new week. Brand new day. Anything can happen.
Golf is just -- it's a crazy game. One week, one day you could have a really bad round, and the next you could shoot a 61. I just try to erase everything that's going on in my head just to start fresh, and I think it really helps mentally just to not focus on the bad stuff that's been happening. I would say the U.S. Open Qualifier was a very, very good kick-start to the momentum.
This is the first time I've actually gone through a qualifier, so I think it's a lot more fulfilling and rewarding.
Q. Absolutely. Before we go back to you real quick, I just want you to take me through that eagle on No. 12 today, the Aon Risk-Reward Hole. What was going on there?
BIANCA PAGDANGANAN: It's a pretty narrow hole, and I just made sure I hit it right down the middle. My caddie and I just chose a good target. I was, like, just hit it. Honestly, I kind of treated it like a long par-4 maybe I would say, but for today I knew that I was hitting it good, so I just hit it a little bit right of center of the fairway. I had 150 in. I hit a 9-iron. I think it was, like, 15 feet maybe straight up the hill. It was a pretty straight putt. I was, like, back of the cup, let's go. I executed it well, and I made the eagle. It was, like, let's go. Give myself a pat on the back.
Q. You were able to also reach 9 and reach 14 with an iron.
BIANCA PAGDANGANAN: Yeah.
Q. I don't think anybody else reached 9 today.
BIANCA PAGDANGANAN: I didn't think I could reach 9 honestly. So I hit a draw on that hole, and I was, like, okay. I'm in a pretty good spot. Entering the practice round my caddie and I already have that down as a three-shot hole. Especially with the water on the right it gets pretty tight. I was in a good spot, and I knew that. I felt good hitting into that hole, so I don't know. I guess I had a lot of trust in my club, and I knew that I could hit it where I wanted, so I just went for it. I kind of just missed it long, but I converted the birdie.
Q. What iron did you have into 14?
BIANCA PAGDANGANAN: 14 I had -- that was a 4-iron.
BIANCA PAGDANGANAN: 218, I believe.
Q. 218? The driver is obviously one of the most effective weapons in your bag. This golf course, as you say, is pretty narrow. Is it something that you feel comfortable with on this golf course?
BIANCA PAGDANGANAN: I feel like for this week I feel pretty good about my driver, so if I feel like I can hit my driver straight, I'm going to hit my driver, and as long as I really know where to miss, I think I'll be fine. I think there's a decent amount of bail-outs off the tee just knowing where to miss, and I think it worked out pretty well. Just making sure I have the right targets just so if I miss it, I still would be in a decent spot.
Q. The tee shot on 9 was 290. Was that the longest of the day?
BIANCA PAGDANGANAN: I didn't know that, but maybe. (Laughing). I guess.
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