LPGA’s Madeleine Sackstrom takes a big chance at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship

SUMMAMISH, Wash. – Second Sting finish for Madeleine Sackstrom.

Despite blitzing the rest of the field with a 72-hole total of 13 shots at 22-under a month ago at the Cognizant Founders Cup, the Swede came up two shots short of her second career LPGA Tour victory since the final. Round battle with eventual champion Rose Zhang.

Although he played flawless golf that week, carding rounds of 65-66-66-69, the loss was painful for Sackstrom, who has not won on the LPGA Tour since the 2020 Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio. But the veteran took many positives from that disappointing finish and is now working to apply the lessons she learned in New Jersey at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.

„Being in this position, this is what we’re trying to do,” an emotional Sackstrom said Sunday at the Cognizant Founders Cup. „We’re trying to feel these nerves. I was nervous today. You don’t learn by not being here. I played unbelievable golf this week. (Ross and I) were just two down. I have to look positive. It’s boring right now. It hurts a little bit. It hurts my time on this course because I love the place so much.”

That time may have come knocking on Sackstrom’s door at Sahaly Country Club. He started the week with the under-70s in Sammamish, Wash. A solid start saw him make two bogeys and five birdies on this challenging course and an effort he was pleased with given how short Chahali is off the tee.

„I was a little nervous coming into this week because I knew it was going to be short,” Sackstrom said after his first round in Washington. „If you look at my stats, I might not be the best short golf course player, but I think I’m going to come here and see how beautiful it is.” , it’s kind of straightforward. You can’t bail left or right or anything. You need to hit good golf shots. I think trying to do that makes it a little easier.

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„It’s challenging. But at the same time, it’s very rewarding if you hit good shots out there.

Friday was tougher for the 31-year-old, who recorded four bogeys and four birdies in the second round, including three in a four-hole stretch from 15 to 18. When bogeys get frustrated, Sackstrom knows them. We hope to walk away and tweak a few small things before Saturday’s third round, so avoid those mistakes over the next 36 holes.

“I have been playing well. „I hit the ball really well off the tee on the front nine, my front nine and my back nine,” Sackstrom said. „I putt really solid. I missed a few fairways on my back nine, and it was the front nine, when you’re going to struggle, so I made a few bogeys, and it wasn’t obvious. But it’s this type of golf course, so I went to the range and hit some balls off the tee a little bit. Going to hit straight.

It’s easy for a player to get down on himself when things don’t go his way, especially when the conditions are major-championship caliber. Sackstrom is an athlete who expects a lot from her game, which hasn’t always served her well in the past. But even if she still holds herself to a high standard on the golf course, she’s quick to accept mistakes and move on, knowing that those who love her will be with her whether she’s 65 or 75.

„I don’t think you ever learn. I’m really hard on myself now. I can hide it a little better, but you let it go quickly,” Sackstrom said. „It’s still a big part of my life, that’s what I do, your golf. Life is very easy. When you play well you are happy, when you play badly you are not happy. It’s about trying to remind myself that every day, at the end of the day, I’m still going to be okay. I have great people around me who keep me in the moment and appreciate me for who I am.

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Sackstrom has a lot going for him over the next 36 holes. A win would turn a game around for the 31-year-old.

But at No. 38 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Ranking, Sackstrom still has a chance to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics. She currently sits 11 places behind fellow Swede Lyn Grant in the world rankings, a gap that will close rapidly if she wins at Chahali on Sunday afternoon.

Sockstrom hopes to stave off a lot of pressure and nerves as he works to move up the leaderboard over the next two rounds. It can be difficult for an athlete to keep emotions in check with a monumental feat, but that’s what the Swede will have to do as she pursues her second LPGA Tour title at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.

„I think everybody doubts their own game a lot of the time. I think I do, too,” Sackstrom admitted. „We just go out there and try to hit the best shots I can. Whatever you did, it’s easy to go into the future or stay in the past. So I think for me it’s about trying to be present and trying to embrace it. As is.

„Don’t get frustrated this week because you’re going to hit bad shots. You’re going to be in trouble. It’s about being present and accepting that you’re going to make bogeys, but you can make birdies there.

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