Perhaps no Swede has felt more at home in the desert. Anna Nordqvist, 29, notched her seventh career victory at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup in Phoenix, not far from where she became an All-American at nearby Arizona State.
“If it wouldn’t be for me getting an opportunity to come to Arizona State University about 10 years ago,” said Nordqvist, “I wouldn’t be here today. This truly still feels like home.”
Nordqvist, who signed up for the event at the last minute, won on the strength of a third-round 61, edging Stacy Lewis, Ariya Jutanugarn and In Gee Chun by two strokes. She’s the first player in tour history to record a pair of 61s. Her first one came during the third round of the 2013 Mobile Bay LPGA Classic.
Nordqvist’s 25-under 263 total at Wildfire Golf Club gives her at least one victory the past four seasons. The European Solheim stalwart moved to No. 11 in the Rolex Rankings and crossed the $7 million mark in career earnings, putting her 27th on the all-time money list.
“That was amazing,” World No. 1 Lydia Ko told Nordqvist after she joined several other players in showering her on the 18th.
Seven of the eight players who finished directly behind Nordqvist are in the top 15 of the Rolex Rankings.
Nordqvist gained plenty of fans last summer with the way she handled a controversial penalty situation during a playoff at the U.S. Women’s Open. Her first victory, the 2009 McDonald’s LPGA Championship, was a major.
“I was very, very speechless how much, you know, people almost supported me even more,” said Nordqvist.
“I mean, the only thing I didn’t get that week was a trophy.”
Stacy Lewis notched her 12th runner-up finish since she last won at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship on June 29, 2014.
“Couldn’t quite get the putts to fall,” said Lewis. “They were close. Hit a lot of good shots and didn’t quite get rewarded for them.”
Juli Inkster, captain of the 2017 Solheim Cup team, closed with an 8-under 64 to finished tied for 24th.
At 56, Inkster can still put up low numbers, but keeping up with players half her age is another story.
“When I was kind of in my prime, I was probably top 15, 20 distance,” said Inkster, “and these girls hit it 40 past me. They just bomb the ball.”