EVANS, Georgia — It’s no secret that long and high-ball hitters should do well this week at the Augusta National Women’s Amateur, with brand-new greens at long Champions Retreat playing firm and fast, and another major-championship test looming on Saturday at Augusta National.
That’s why Ingrid Lindblad, the uber-powerful, is near the top of the short list of favorites.
The LSU junior is perhaps the hottest college athlete in the country heading into Wednesday’s first round. She’s won three of her last four competitions, including the Clemson Invitational on Sunday, bringing her total to eight, which is a school record.
Lindblad has 21 top-10 finishes in 26 college starts, so it’s no surprise she was in contention last year at Augusta National, when she tied for third and ended one shot out of the playoffs.
Lindblad remarked, “I’m extremely excited to be back here.” “All I have to do now is hit my putts higher and softer…”
Last year, it was Lindblad’s putter that cost him a chance at the title. She didn’t make a birdie until the last hole, and she three-putted the par-5 15th green after hitting a 5-wood on the putting surface with her second shot two holes earlier.
“She didn’t play badly,” LSU head coach Garrett Runion explained, “but she couldn’t get anything to fall.”
Lindblad has worked extensively on her putting, according to Runion, in addition to adding a lower-bounce 59-degree wedge (bent down from 60 degrees) to her bag to help her with basic chip shots. Lindblad’s stroke tends to get too in-to-out on the greens, so she now starts every warmup by drilling putts on her stroke trainer.
“I tell her it’s like brushing her teeth: just because you did it yesterday doesn’t imply you won’t brush your teeth today,” Runion explained.
Runion has compared Lindblad to former LSU quarterback Joe Burrow in the past. They both put up ridiculous numbers and know how to win, so it’s a reasonable comparison. Despite a competition that includes 41 of the top-50 players in the world this week, Lindblad, who is rated second, feels she can win.
Lindblad is very aware of the ramifications of a triumph for her career if she succeeds.
“It would be really nice,” Lindblad added, “to get invited to all the majors and everything and have my name on the trophy.”
The final round of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur will be televised live on Swedish television, which is unusual for any golf event, let alone an amateur championship. When Lindblad wins, members of her home club create cake, notably Princess Cake, a Swedish confection made of sponge cake, raspberry jam, and heaps of whipped cream.
That would make a Lindblad victory on Saturday even sweeter, pun intended.
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