Ingrid Lindblad felt nervous Saturday morning, on the driving range and the first tee, no different than anyone else who has played in the last pairing in a final round at Augusta National Golf Club.
By day’s end she finished one shot shy of the sudden death playoff that decided the Augusta National Women’s Amateur, unable to overcome a trio of three-putts on the second nine.
Although the outcome wasn’t what she wanted after sharing the lead to start the round, the sensational LSU sophomore headed back to Baton Rouge buoyed by the experience.
“My game is really good. I can actually say that,” Lindblad said. “I need to try to work a little bit more on breaking putts. A couple of putts I thought I held it up enough and then you hit it and you’re like, ‘Oh no that’s not enough.’”
She’s hardly the first to encounter an uncooperative putter or underestimate the break at Augusta National, either. There are wicked slopes and spirits all around those greens.
Still, she trailed by only one shot on the 15th tee and, after a mammoth drive and towering approach, faced a 40-foot eagle opportunity for the outright lead. The first putt blazed 10 feet past, and she missed the comebacker, settling for par.
Another three-putt from 25 feet on 16 dropped her two shots off the lead but she rebounded with a 25-footer for birdie at 17 to stay alive headed to the final hole.
“I’m very proud of her. She played great out there,” LSU coach Garrett Runion said. “It’s an extremely difficult golf course and a big stage. Lot more people out here than we all thought. That made it exciting with the roars and applause. She was definitely out there trying to win. Could tell by the way she fought and made a couple of birdies on the back side that she never really gave up.”
A closing par produced a final-round 75, 2-over 218 total and tie for third.
It’s another strong finish in an outstanding season. She has finished no worse than ninth in seven tournaments for LSU in 2020-21, winning the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic in Georgia two weeks ago thanks to an opening 64. She’s ranked fourth in the Golfstat individual rankings.
“Lately I’ve been focusing on trying to just get a good target and swing a confident swing and that’s what I was trying to do today,” she said. “It didn’t always work out. It’s tough out there and I didn’t hit my very best shots, so I’m not surprised.”
Lindblad said it was a treat to play a course that’s such an integral piece of golf history.
“It’s really cool to be here, it’s nothing like it looks on TV. I was kind of in shock when I played a practice round that it looks like this,” she said. “The course is amazing but you need to hit really good shots out there too to get good birdie chances.”
Runion knew Friday his star player was mentally sharp and focused on the task of winning a tournament. When they arrived at the 12th tee during the practice round – her first time seeing one of the most iconic holes in golf – Lindblad was still contemplating her strategy off the tee on No. 11, not at all in awe of the picturesque, albeit devilish par-3.
Lindblad will be an obvious favorite Tuesday and Wednesday when she and LSU teammates play host to their Tiger Classic. She hopes to return to Augusta National as well.
“I want to play in this again,” she said. “Kind of taking it one day at a time right now and you never know what’s going to happen.”
original article link https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2021/04/03/lsu-ingrid-lindblad-greens-augusta-national-womens-amateur/