The opportunity to make history in Saturday’s final round of the second Augusta National Women’s Amateur isn’t lost on LSU golfer Ingrid Lindblad.
“It would be really cool” to win, Lindblad said Friday. “I’m the first LSU golfer here and I’d be the first Swede to win, so it’s a lot of firsts.”
Lindblad parlayed one of the best rounds of the tournament at Champions Retreat Golf Club in nearby Evans, Georgia, Thursday to claim a share of the lead at 1-under par 143. She shot a 2 under 70, rebounding from a double bogey 7 on the par-5 ninth to come home in 5 under 31 with five birdies on the back nine.
Now the actions switches to legendary Augusta National Golf Club, home of next week’s Masters tournament, where the 30 players who made the cut will vie for the newest but one of the most prestigious prizes in women’s amateur golf.
“I’ll be a little nervous,” Lindblad said. “It’s not the easiest tee shot on No. 1. I’ll to get a good target and swing with confidence.”
The final round will be televised on NBC starting at 11 a.m.
The 20-year old LSU sophomore, ranked as the world’s No. 4 women’s amateur, is tied for the lead with 17-year old American Rose Zhang, who is the No. 1 women’s amateur. They have a one-stroke lead over Vanderbilt golfer Auston Kim of the United States and Arizona State golfer Olivia Mehaffey of Northern Ireland.
All the players in the field regardless of whether they made the 36-hole cut were invited to play a practice round Friday at Augusta National. Lindblad and the other competitors were there Tuesday for a dinner in the clubhouse, but this was her first chance to actually play the course.
“It’s an amazing golf course,” she said. “I was shocked how big it actually is.”
Lindblad’s swing coach, Thomas Lindstrom, was her caddy the first two rounds, but she decided to switch to a club caddy for Saturday. She said he was impressed how high she hit her iron shots, a huge plus to better hold Augusta National’s swift, sloping greens.
Ingrid Lindblad walked right past the courtesy shuttle to take players on the long stretch from the ninth green to the 10th tee Thursday at Ch…
“The greens are pretty firm,” Lindblad said. “You need to land the ball before the pin and let it roll out.”
Lindblad was one of three finalists for the ANNIKA Award last season given to the nation’s top women’s college golfer. This year she has a win and a top-10 finish in all seven of the Tigers’ starts.
LSU women’s coach Garrett Runion said Lindblad is ready for the moment.
“I think she’ll handle it fine,” said Runion, who is attending the event. “She likes the big moments. She likes to compete.
“Her game is on form. She’s driving it well, hitting good iron shots and putting it well. She’s a bit in awe of everything, but she’s here for business.”