GALLOWAY, N,J.—Matilda Castren played a solid round Friday at the ShopRite LPGA Classic, shooting a five-under 66 to put herself one shot behind leader So Yeon Ryu.
The ShopRite is Castren's second event since she helped propel Europe to a win at the Solheim Cup at Inverness last month. The Fin had a great week individually, finishing 3-1 to earn three of the European's 15 points in Toledo.
Castren struggled in Arkansas last week, finishing T42. But she is off to a good start this week in New Jersey. Castren knows she will need to keep going low with the event being just 54 holes.
"You have to be kind of aggressive. The scores are going to be low. It's a 54-hole event; the scores are going to be low. I mean, there is not that many holes in the tournament, so you have to kind of make everything count," Castren said.
Castren said her experience at the Solheim Cup was incredible, and that the energy is tough to match at regular events.
"Solheim was amazing, such a cool experience. Everything that I expected and more. Still riding on that wave, but also every week is different, every week is a new course, so you're kind of battling different things every week," Castren said.
It would've been easy to shut things down after such a draining week at Inverness, but two weeks of rest made a huge difference for Castren, who is enjoying the best season of her career.
"This year has definitely exceeded my expectations. I think it's fair to say that I was going into this year really hoping to keep my card and hoping to have a good year," Castren said. "I had a couple good finishes last year, and that gave me more confidence going into this year, knowing that if my game is there I can have some good finishes. Last year helped me a lot and this year has been a dream come true. A lot of goals accomplished and just really trying to finish it off on a high note."
Castren's best season of her career still isn't over, and she's found that she needs to remind herself that.
"I had those couple weeks off and I kind of got used to relaxing a little bit, but I have to remind myself that the season is not over yet. There is still I think six tournaments left, so I did have to kind of push myself again to keep going," Castren said.