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Piller still riding Solheim Cup wave, cards 69 at ANA

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RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – Gerina Piller didn’t technically win the Solheim Cup with her clutch putt that was so pivotal to the Americans historic comeback victory in Germany last year, but she won Solheim Cup fame.

Piller’s profile soared in the women’s game with that putt replayed so many times.

With her run into early contention Thursday at the ANA Inspiration, Piller says the impact of that putt continues to radiate today with new fans following her.

“I hear ‘Great putt,’ a lot,” Piller said after posting a 3-under-par 69 at Mission Hills. “People apologize for saying it, but it never gets old. They can say that for the rest of my life. It’s pretty cool that I’m recognized for that. It’s a big part of my career, and it’s something I’ll never forget.”

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Piller’s 8-foot putt to defeat Caroline Masson in singles was the most important putt in the American victory. There was enormous pressure on Piller over the putt. The Europeans were a half point from taking the cup, and Piller knew if she missed the putt, the Euros would have that half point. Piller set up the putt with a fabulous chip from a gnarly lie.

American captain Juli Inkster told Piller she should believe she’s going to make a lot more clutch putts in big events.

Piller said the experience fuels her desire to break through for her first LPGA victory.

“Absolutely, that definitely gave me a huge boost of confidence,” Piller said.

Piller said Inkster and Nancy Lopez have encouraged her to believe in herself and “to be my own fan.”