Ernst, Sagstrom To Represent LSU Golf at Solheim Cup

by Kent Lowe (@LSUkent)
Ernst, Sagstrom To Represent LSU Golf at Solheim Cup

DES MOINES, Iowa – When the Solheim Cup women’s golf event begins between the United States and Europe on Friday, the dream of two former LSU women’s golf stars will be realized in completely different ways.


For Austin Ernst, the 2011 NCAA Individual Champion as a freshman who helped LSU to back-to-back team third place NCAA finishes in 2011 and 2012, her first U.S. Solheim appearance probably comes two years later than she thought it would.


For Madelene Sagstrom, the 2015 SEC Player of the Year for LSU and the 2016 Symetra Tour Player of the Year, her appearance on Europe’s Solheim Cup team comes as a rookie on the LPGA Tour.


Ernst was hoping she would be a captain’s pick in 2015 and for much of 2017 it looked like she would play her way in on points rather than being a captains pick,


“I think it’s one of those things when you grow up and watch it, you’re like that would be so cool to be able to represent the United States and do that,” said Ernst earlier this week. “And I know when I got to play Curtis Cup that was probably the highlight of my amateur career, just to be able to represent the United States and compete on that team. So I think anytime you have that opportunity, I put this right up there with winning a major.


“I think when you look at the end of your career, you look at, okay how did I play? What tournaments did I win? How many Solheim Cups did I get to play on? How many did we win? I think its right up there in that category of majors and wins,” Ernst said.


Sagstrom was given the suggestion by Solheim officials and Captain Annika Sorenstam that even with her LPGA membership from her Symetra success she should attempt to qualify for the Ladies European Tour. She not only qualified, but she won. While Ernst has five years on the LPGA Tour, this rookie with success this year will step on the tee sometime this weekend with a partisan American crowd looking on.


“It’s a very natural and just fun environment to be around,” Sagstrom said at her press conference. “It’s been building up all week, so it’s kind of starting off slow and then you are building it up day-to-day. So I’m taking it slowly, but I think it’s starting to hit me soon. I’ll be excited when the matches start on Friday.


“What I have heard is – what everybody keeps saying deep breaths, deep breaths, deep breaths. It’s going to be loud, I’m assuming. And hopefully a lot of singing. But I enjoy the audience. I enjoy people watching in general. So I think it’s going to be fun. I’m obviously going to be nervous. But just take my deep breaths and enjoy the situation that we’re in and take it from there.”

Both Coach Karen Bahnsen and assistant Alexis Rather are on the grounds at the Des Moines Golf & Country Club to take in this first-ever appearance by LSU players in this international event. 


The opening ceremonies are Thursday and the first two sets of matches are set for Friday. Coverage all day Friday will be on the Golf Channel from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. The 1-3 p.m. portion of Friday’s coverage will be on Golf Channel Digital only. On Saturday, coverage is from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Golf Channel and 3-5 p.m. on NBC. On Sunday the singles matches will air from 11-3 p.m. on Golf Channel and 3-5 on NBC.