With Madelene Sagstrom’s spot on the European Solheim Cup team now secure, she's focused on finding the form that earned her that captain’s pick by Suzann Pettersen. And she might have just found it in Portland.
Friday, Sagstrom carded her second-consecutive round of 67 at Columbia Edgewater Country Club for her strongest start to a tournament since March. The Swede hasn’t recorded a single bogey through the first two days and sits at 10-under par heading into the weekend at the Portland Classic.
“I haven't really had my A-game coming in here. I've been struggling a little bit on the course,” Sagstrom said after her round on Friday. “I must say I just really haven't made any mistakes. I've been keeping it in play.”
Two weeks ago, the Swede got the nod from captain Pettersen to compete in her third Cup later this month in Spain. And with that pressure now off of having to make the squad, Sagstrom shifts her focus to regaining the form that has eluded her this season. Sasgstrom has just two top 10s this year including one earned in Scotland, one of the few bright spots in an otherwise rough stretch in which she’s missed five of her last six cuts.
What has been the biggest challenge this season? Putting.
Typically, putting has been a strength of Sagstrom’s game as she was ranked 10th in Putting Average on Tour in 2022, but has dropped to 76th this season. Also, she says she hasn’t been as consistent with her irons this year which has impacted her ability to make proper club selections with her caddie Shane Codd.
Sagstrom said she hasn’t been concerned before about her form heading into a Solheim Cup, but she also knows what it's like to play in the match when she has had her A-game and when she hasn’t, and she’d rather have the former.
“I haven't really worried about it before, but at the same time it's always in the back of your mind,” Sagstrom said about her game ahead of the Solheim Cup. “I played Solheim not in form and one in better form so you always want to try to be there, play as well as you can. That's been the goal now, where we're trying to find form, trying to find the shots out here, and play well leading up.”
And while Sagstrom admits to not having her A-game heading into Portland she says she’s changed up her approach this week at Columbia Edgewater where the tight, tree-lined fairways haven’t typically suited her game. She has two prior appearances in Portland where her best finish was a tie for 64th in 2020. This year, Sagstrom says she’s focused on hitting the fairways, however possible, and aiming more towards the center of the greens rather than going pin-seeking with her approach.
“This challenges that part of my game which I don't really -- like where I'm not as comfortable,” Sagstrom said about the layout in Portland. “So I think it's good for my game to play courses like this, and especially good to play well.”
Next week’s LPGA Tour stop in Cincinnati is the final event on the LPGA Tour schedule ahead of the Solheim Cup. The Tour then will take one week off before heading to Spain for the match. Sagstrom is currently listed in the field to play again next week in Cincinnati.
But first, Sagstrom has 36-holes to play in Portland.
“Not trying to make it too complicated,” Sagstrom said about her approach to the weekend. “Going to go hit some balls on the range. Just keep working on those tendencies. Just kind of strike the ball in the middle of the face. That normally works out pretty well for me.”