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By Steve Brandon/Portland Tribune/Oregon State junior makes LPGA cut -- and now gets to play with the No. 1 player in the world

PMG PHOTO: STEVE BRANDON - Ellie Slama (second from left), with caddy/brother Tim and their parents, Doug and Leilani, are all smiles after her second-round 69 Friday at Columbia Edgewater Country Club in the LPGA Cambia Portland Classic.

The week has been a memorable whirlwind already for Oregon State junior Ellie Slama.

Now wait till Saturday.

The South Salem High grad has been playing in her first LPGA Tour event, after qualifying on Monday.

All she's done is shoot 68 on Thursday and 69 on Friday to not only make the cut but also at times make the leaderboard at Columbia Edgewater Country Club.

She'll go into the third round tied for 27th. She is 10 strokes behind the leader, Hannah Green ... but only five shots out of second place.

Slama's 36-hole score of 7-under 137 compares favorably with some of the top players in the world.

How favorably?

At 11:55 a.m. Saturday, Slama will tee off with the No. 1-ranked player on the planet, Jin Young Ko, who also is at 137.

Slama made the all-Pac-12 team this year.

Ko has won two major championships and four events in all.

Slama didn't know who she would be paired with when she left Columbia Edgewater on Friday, but she knew it would be a good player. She said she wasn't sure how she would react when the time comes to put her tee in the ground on hole No. 1 in the third round.

"I won't know how comfortable I am till I meet them and play with them," she said of being in the mix with the world's top golfers in such a competitive setting.

No matter who she plays with, "I'm going to treat it the same way," she said.

That approach is how she got to 7-under and made the cut with room (four shots) to spare, cheered on by family, friends and Oregon State fans.

Slama got off to such a good start on Friday, missing the cut quickly seemed far-fetched. Starting on the back nine, she birdied three of her first four holes. After two bogeys, she birdied the first, third and seventh holes to get to 8-under.

A wayward drive off the ninth tee led to a closing bogey that kept her from a third straight 68, but she still had plenty to smile about.

"I'm super excited to be in the mix," she said.

She's heard that up to six of her Oregon State teammates, who begin fall practice early next week, are expected to come from Corvallis and watch her play on Saturday.

Slama might wind up earning a pass on showing up for the first day of Beavers practice, as she will be busy working through Sunday at CECC.

The same goes for her caddy, brother Tim Slama, a recent Oregon State graduate who, now that his sister has made the cut, has to work on the bag an extra two days.

"I love it," he said.

Slama, the only amateur (out of three) to advance past two rounds, joked that Tim will get the same "pay" for his services that he did in rounds one and two.

"100% of what I make," she said.


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