Madeleine Sackstrom shines despite coming up two short in the Cognizant Founders Cup | LPGA

CLIFTON, NJ – It bit Madeleine Sackstrom. The 31-year-old came up two shots short of her second career LPGA Tour win at the Cognizant Founders Cup on Sunday, losing to Rose Zhang after carding a four-day total of 22-under.

But she didn’t lose it. Sackstrom just won.

The Swede opened his week with a 7-under 65 at Upper Montclair Country Club, then backed it up with a 66 under the most difficult conditions of the week in Clifton, NJ on Friday, eventually sharing the lead with Jang. 36 holes. Saxstrom then went bogeyless on the day of the move, and shot a 66 to take a one-shot lead into the final round.

Sunday saw Sackstrom get off to a slow start, with a bogey on the first hole to erase his early mistake on No. Recovered immediately with a birdie at 2. She settled in after that, picking up a pair of back-to-back birdies on holes five and six and another birdie on the par-3 8th hole to return to 22 under and hold a two-shot lead on the ninth. Holes to play.

Sackstrom extended his advantage to three with another birdie on the par-5 12th hole, but Zhang made a late run carding four birdies in his last five holes, Sackstrom couldn’t keep up, the par-4 16th hole and his first LPGA Tour title since the 2020 Cainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio. After finishing two shots shy, it’s a disappointing end to a wonderful week at Upper Montclair Country Club.

„I felt like I gave myself a lot of good chances today. I played some good golf,” Sackstrom said. „Then, it’s like everybody else. You want to get nervous and hit good shots. I didn’t really pull it off. Rose had an amazing finish. I couldn’t have done more. I felt like I gave it my all. I can’t be disappointed, but at the same time, I am.

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„I’ve done a lot of good things this week and my game is in a really good place, so I’ll look back and I’ll be very proud of that. It’s a bit sore at the moment.”

Those positives are what Sackstrom will work on from a disappointing finish in the Garden State. According to KPMG Performance Insights, the Epson Tour graduate made 384-foot putts at the Cognizant Founders Cup this week, the most of any event he’s played this season. Saxstrom totaled 23.1 strokes at Upper Montclair, the third-most of any player in any event over the past three LPGA Tour seasons, this week behind Zhang and Minchi Lee at the 2022 US Women’s Open.

But more importantly, Saxstrom now understands exactly what recent developments have led to his stellar stretch in golf in New Jersey, and will look to copy and paste them not only at next week’s Mizuho Americas Open, but also in his other tournaments this season. .

„I think I’ve built a playbook in the last few weeks — my whole career, really,” Sackstrom said. „We’re really starting to notice what drills are working, what thoughts are working, what emotions are working. When you’re playing well, it’s easy to forget about that and you can go with the flow. You can really sit back and say, 'Why? What are we doing to make me play well?’ ?’

„Me and my team – they’re still here – we’re going to sit down, talk about it, do good things. Golf still has to go your way. The key is to do good things and hopefully speed up.

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Despite failing to convert, Saxstrom had the support of her LPGA Tour peers after Sunday’s challenging loss. Although her fiance Jake Clarke was said to be waiting for her greenside after the final round, what surprised Sackstrom a little was that many of her friends on tour showed up to see her finish.

Swedes Anna Nordqvist and Pernilla Lindberg were there, as were her European Solheim Cup teammates Gemma Triberg and Leona Maguire, which made the usually stoic Sackstrom a bit emotional from the 18th green.

„It made me tear up even more,” admitted Sackstrom. „Today felt like my time. Like I said, I’ve played well here before. I think that’s why it stings even more. I fought for it for the first time here in ’22. I played well in the final group on Sunday. I saw the win that week.

If this week’s performance is any indication, Sackstrom is more than right that a second LPGA Tour win is surely in her future, as the Swede has proven she has what it takes to win again on women’s golf’s biggest stage.

While she’ll have to wait a little longer for that moment than she’d like, Sackstrom can take solace in the fact that she’s certainly figured out how to play Upper Montclair Country Club the past three years and be a contender. Cognizant Founder’s Cup for many years to come.

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