“I’m like a whole new person.”
In nine previous appearances at the Marathon LPGA Classic, Mina Harigae has only made the cut three times, with her best finish at Highland Meadows Golf Club a tie for ninth in 2018. But after carding two straight bogey-free 66s (her career-low in Toledo), Harigae has firmly put her past performances behind her. She sits two strokes off Nasa Hataoka’s lead at -10 and in Saturday’s final grouping for what she said is the first time she can remember on the LPGA Tour.
“Historically [Highland Meadows] hasn't been great to me, but this year I feel it's like a whole new golf course to me. I'm a much better golfer now than I was before,” said Harigae. “It honestly feels like I'm a new person and I really like this golf course now. I feel like it really fits my game.”
With six top-10 finishes since August 2020, Harigae has been slowly climbing the U.S. Solheim Cup Team Standings and currently sits in 15th with 122 points. She said making the team has been one of her biggest motivators this season, as she continues playing comfortably at a course just over 7 miles away from Solheim Cup host site Inverness Club. Harigae attended a team-bonding experience last week at Reynolds Lake Oconee, the site of the second LPGA Drive On Championship last season, and a practice session at Inverness this past Monday, which only added fuel to the fire to continue her hot streak. A Junior Solheim Cup participant in 2007, the chance to make the return trip to Toledo in September would mean the world to the 31-year-old.
“You know, after going on that bonding trip with the other girls to Reynolds and hanging out with them Monday, it really, I mean, I really, it makes me really want to make the team,” said Harigae. “I think that's, it's kind of fueling me this week. It's like, well, you know what? I'm really ready to play.”