Rookie Sydnee Michaels is still getting accustomed to being near the top of the leaderboard on the LPGA Tour, but she does have an understanding of what it takes to win.
Michaels won twice on the Symetra Tour last year, en route to finishing fourth in the Race for the Card which earned her full membership on the LPGA Tour in 2012. But it took some time for her to get into a groove last year with both of those victories coming toward the end of the season. Her hope is that the same thing will happen in her rookie season on the LPGA as well.
For Michaels, who is the youngest of 8 children in her family, the round of 65 on Friday was her career-best. Her strong performance comes a week after tallying the best finish of her rookie season last week, a T21 at the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic Presented by Kroger, Owens Corning, and O-I.
“It's been hit or miss,” Michaels said of her rookie season. “I'll be in contention and I might have a little shaky Sunday, and wind up top 30 or something like that or I'll miss the cut by one or two. I definitely feel that every week I learn something, and I'm hoping I'll start to hit my stride here towards the end of the season. Last year I hit my stride at the end of the season, so I'm kind of hoping I follow that pattern.
Playing in Portland certainly is a comfortable feeling for Michaels, who grew up on the West Coast just outside of Los Angeles, Calif. She is no stranger to this event either, having twice earned a spot in the field as an amateur. Both of those appearances came before the tournament moved to Pumpkin Ridge in 2009 but Michaels said that experience has really helped this week.
“It's an awesome opportunity for an amateur to be able to play in an LPGA event,” Michaels said. “ I was fortunate enough to play in eight or nine professional events before I turned pro, and any kind of experience helps you. So it's great to be back. It's awesome to be here, playing as an LPGA player.”