MELBOURNE, FLORIDA (AP) – To borrow a metaphor from another extremely successful LSU grad, putting practice is as routine as brushing your teeth in Ingrid Lindblad’s world.
“She really works on it hard,” LSU head coach Garrett Runion said, “and we sort of call it brushing your teeth, which we got from Madelene Sagstrom, where she’s like, just because you clean your teeth one day doesn’t mean you don’t brush them the next day.”
“(Ingrid has) done something similar with her putting, working on it every day, which we refer to as cleaning your teeth.”
If there was a flaw in Lindblad’s game, it was putting speed and an inside-out move, but Runion now sees a clean stroke in his star Lindblad on the greens.
Lindblad reigns supreme in collegiate golf on the East Coast. She’s held the title for so long because she’s been so consistent.
Lindblad has six wins in two and a half years of college golf, the most recent being the Moon Golf Invitational on February 22. She’s had 19 top-10 results in 23 events, with the only time she’s finished outside the top 25 coming in the NCAA Women’s Championship last spring, when she placed 44th.
When pressed to explain her track record around the greens, Runion replied, “She doesn’t give anything away around the greens.” “She never feels out of it, whether she’s 5 under or 5 over, and she’s just really efficient around the greens.” She grinds and doesn’t seem to make any bogeys. She does, but all she does is grind. “I guess she wills it in.”
Lindblad didn’t have much of that resolve working in the final round of the Moon Golf event on February 22 at Suntree Country Club. In a round of 1-over 73, she hit 15 greens but only made one birdie, putting her at 10 under for the tournament, three shots ahead of runners-up Kendall Griffin of Louisville and Beth Lillie of Virginia. “It didn’t feel like I should have won,” she said, citing the figure.
She accomplished it in part because her game is so comprehensive. Lindblad has also spent time studying how to work the ball in both directions. With only a fade in her repertoire, she couldn’t compete in Europe.
“You can’t just shoot for the far left because you’ll miss it,” she explained.
What is it that makes Lindblad tick? A genuine passion for the game of golf. Her mind is constantly churning on the game because she has few other pastimes. A puzzle will suffice if Runion needs to turn it off. Last spring, Runion dispatched assistant coach Alexis Rather to Wal-Mart in search of one so Lindblad could rest before the Ally, a Mississippi State-hosted tournament with an SEC-heavy field.
“She was sort of concerned about school and just wasn’t satisfied with where her game was at,” Runion explained. “Practice round didn’t hit it very well.” “I told Alexis to go to Wal-Mart and buy a puzzle for her,” she stated. She stayed there for three hours straight, working on a 1,000 or 2,000-piece puzzle, and then texted me afterwards to say, “Thank you, I needed that.”
“Of course she finished in the top ten and performed quite well.”
With Lindblad, you get exactly what you see. The low-key Swede could be well on her way to a promising pro career right now, having won a free pass into the second stage of LPGA Q-School thanks to her top-five performance in the final Golfweek/Sagarin College Ranking last spring, but she didn’t even enter.
“I enjoy my time at LSU. “I like my coaches and teammates,” she explained. “I don’t have much of a problem with school, so I just keep going.” Since I was a child, I’ve enjoyed school.”
Lindblad plans to stay for at least four years.
It may have been a different situation if Lindblad wasn’t improving in Baton Rouge, according to Runion. Coach and athlete are close and discuss a variety of topics. It’s also his job to push her, and one way he can accomplish so is to make Lindblad uncomfortable.
Runion spent six seasons as an assistant coach for the Tigers men’s team before taking over the women’s squad in 2018. Sam Burns, a two-time PGA Tour champion, was a member of that group, and when asked for a comparable player to Lindblad, Runion immediately mentions Burns.
“Their work ethic, as well as their games, are similar. They smacked it high and far. They have a lot of power, so they can hit a lot of birdies and get down low. In fact, I’d say those two are quite comparable.”
It’s a good indicator of the kind of professional career Lindblad might have when she’s ready to pursue it.