High balls, low odds for LSU’s Ingrid Lindblad at Augusta National Women’s Amateur

High balls, low odds for LSU’s Ingrid Lindblad at Augusta National Women’s Amateur
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EVANS, Ga. – With brand-new greens at lengthy Champions Retreat playing firm and fast, along with another major-championship test potentially awaiting Saturday at Augusta National, it’s no secret that long and high-ball hitters should fare well this week at the Augusta National Women’s Amateur.

That’s why when it comes to the short list of favorites, uber-powerful Ingrid Lindblad is right near the top.

The LSU junior enters Wednesday’s opening round as arguably the hottest college player in the country. She’s won three of her past four events, including Sunday at the Clemson Invitational, to push her school-record total to eight.

With 21 top-10s in 26 starts in college, Lindblad always seems to find herself in contention, so it was no shock that was the case last year at Augusta National, where she tied for third and finished a shot out of a playoff.

“I’m super excited to be back here,” Lindblad said. “I just need to hit my putts higher and softer…”

Lindblad’s putter is what ultimately cost the Swede a chance at the title last year. She didn’t make a birdie until the penultimate hole, and two holes prior she three-putted the par-5 15th green after knocking a 5-wood on the putting surface with her second shot.

“She didn’t play poorly,” LSU head coach Garrett Runion said, “she just couldn’t get anything to fall.”

The third Augusta National Women’s Amateur takes place this week, with 72 of the top female players in amateur golf.

Runion says Lindblad, in addition to adding a lower-bounce 59-degree wedge (bent down from 60 degrees) to her bag to help her with straightforward chip shots, has worked tirelessly on her putting. Lindblad tends to get too in-to-out with her stroke on the greens and now religiously begins each warmup by hitting putts on her stroke trainer.

“I tell her, it’s like brushing her teeth: Just because you brushed your teeth yesterday doesn’t mean you don’t do it today,” Runion said.

In the past, Runion has compared Lindblad to former LSU quarterback Joe Burrow. It’s a fair comparison in that they both put up crazy numbers and know how to win. Despite a loaded field this week with 41 of the top-50 players in the world, the second-ranked Lindblad believes that she can get the job done.

If she succeeds, Lindblad is well aware of the career implications that such a victory can have.

“You know, to get invited to all the majors and everything and have the name on the trophy,” Lindblad said, “it would be super cool.”

Back home in Sweden, the final round of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur will be broadcast on live television, a rare occurrence for any golf event in the country, let alone an amateur tournament. Lindblad says that when she wins, members at her home club bake cake, specifically Princess Cake, a Swedish treat consisting of sponge cake, raspberry jam and lots of whipped cream.

Pun intended, that would make a Lindblad victory on Saturday even sweeter.

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