ERNST BACK IN FAMILIAR TERRITORY
Austin Ernst is two weeks removed from her first Team USA Solheim Cup appearance, and has a little extra bounce in her step this week as she walks around Columbia Edgewater Country Club. The 2013 LPGA rookie returns this week to the site of her lone LPGA victory (2014) and the site of her career-low round (62, 2013).
“I’m trying to win,” Ernst said before she teed off in the Wednesday pro-am. “Obviously there is not a number in mind, but I know you got to keep it in the fairways out here. You kind of just plod along. Just hit in in the fairway, hit it on green. Just want to give myself a lot of looks at birdie. If I give myself a lot of looks at birdie I know I can make a lot of birdies out here.”
When you look at Ernst’s history at the tournament, it’s easy to see why she feels so confident.
Ernst at the Cambia Portland Classic
|2016||72-66-69-73 — 280 (-8)||T4|
|2015||72-66-70-68 — 276 (-12)||T5|
|2014||69-69-69-67 — 274 (-14)||Win|
|2013||67-75-62-72 — 276 (-12)||T9|
Ernst will tee off in the first round off the 10th tee at 7:59 a.m. alongside Team USA Solheim Cup captain and LPGA Hall of Famer Juli Inkster and two-time major champion World No. 6 In Gee Chun.
TOP AMERICAN THOMPSON BACK IN PORTLAND
World No. 2 Lexi Thompson is teeing it up this week at the Cambia Portland Classic for the first time since 2013, but in classic Lexi fashion – she only has one thing on her mind.
“I go into every event wanting to win,” Thompson said. “That’s my number one goal any time I tee it up.”
Thompson tied for ninth in her last start in Portland, and she’s certainly playing some of her best golf this season, with a win at the Kingsmill Championship and seven additional top-10 finishes.
“I think my game is in a great spot,” Thompson said. “I worked extremely hard in the off-season on improving on things like my short game, my chipping and putting, and I think that’s showing just coming into the year. I just really wanted to play consistent golf and put myself in a position to win.”
Thompson will tee off on Thursday off the first tee at 1:32 p.m. with World No. 1 So Yeon Ryu and major champion Mo Martin.
ROLEX ANNIKA MAJOR AWARD WOULD BE ‘VERY SPECIAL’ FOR SO YEON
World No. 1 So Yeon Ryu, who has triumphed twice this season among her 10 top-10 finishes on the LPGA Tour, is in prime position to win the 2017 Rolex ANNIKA Major Award (RAMA) for the best overall record in this year’s five major championships.
Following her victory at the ANA Inspiration and a tie for third at the U.S. Women’s Open, she has a healthy lead of 18 points in the RAMA standings heading into the year’s final major, the Evian Championship, being conducted Sept. 14-17. Should she go on to clinch the RAMA award, she would follow in the footsteps of the three previous winners – Michelle Wie, Inbee Park and Lydia Ko.
“If I’m able to join that group, it’s going to be very special,” Ryu said on Wednesday. “It’s going to give me more extra motivation to keep playing well, and it’s going to prove how hard I worked to get this award. It would also mean that I’m able to handle all the pressure. It’s really an honor to have the Rolex ANNIKA Major Award.”
“I saw her in the locker room today and I said, ‘How lucky are you?’”
- Austin Ernst, on being paired with her Team USA captain Juli Inkster in the first two rounds
“Probably chipping in on 15. That was a pivotal point in that match. If they would’ve won that hole we would’ve only been 1 up. I chipped in and the crowd went crazy. Me and Paula went crazy. It was a lot of fun.”
- Austin Ernst, on her favorite Solheim Cup memory
“There is nothing like representing your country. To have Juli Inkster as a captain is a huge honor. She is a huge role model to me. To be part of a team in an individual sport, we don’t get that opportunity very often, so it bring us all together in a very different way. And to be able to get that win – I mean, the Europeans played some amazing golf. It was just a very special week.”
- Lexi Thompson, on playing in her third Solheim Cup; Portland will be her first tournament since the Solheim Cup