The Cognizant Founders Cup marks LPGA Tour rookie Sanna Nuutinen’s fourth start as a Member and through two rounds, it’s set to be her best showing of the 2022 season. The Finn fired a 5-under 67 on Thursday, highlighted by an eagle and six birdies, and backed it up on Friday, carding a 4-under 68 with four birdies and a lone bogey. These are the first two rounds in the 60s she’s recorded on Tour all year and with Upper Montclair Country Club being a new venue for the Founders Cup field, Nuutinen is making the most of the level playing field.
“I'm enjoying that it's a new course for people,” said Nuutinen who hit 15 of 18 greens and 12 of 14 fairways on day two. “Being a rookie, every course is new for me so now the other girls know how I feel every week. It's been tough coming from LET, from Europe playing professionally for seven years out there. I didn't think the difference would be this big, especially around the greens, so I've been struggling with the putter, with chips. My caddie has been a big help because he's new here also. This is my fourth event so we are starting to get a little more comfortable, especially on the greens.”
Ahead of the week in New Jersey, her short game has been a major point of emphasis for Nuutinen after she missed out on qualifying for the U.S. Women’s Open. Nuutinen lost in a playoff to amateur Laney Frye after a rain delay that derailed the 36-hole qualifier. The 31-year-old said she had quite a few struggles with the flat stick, prompting Nuutinen to make a few changes to her setup. Now, with just 36 holes left to play, those adjustments that were prompted by that missed major opportunity now seem to be paying off as Nuutinen looks to contend on the weekend for the first time in her young LPGA Tour career.
“I'm really happy how I took that adversity, losing in the playoff. One thing that kept me out of the U.S. Open spot that week was my putter. I kept hitting the ball nicely and then the putter kept letting me down. We took a video call to my coach and he had seen some putts I posted on social media and he made some comments like, ‘Sanna is looking terrible right now. We got to do something.’ Then we changed quite a bit on my putting stroke. It all happened for a reason so now I'm putting it better,” said Nuutinen. “I'm proud of what we did and I think we're doing the right things so there are a lot of good things coming up in the future.”