Anna Nordqvist battled a star-studded leaderboard on Sunday and shot a 4-under 68 to claim her third career LPGA Tour title at the Honda LPGA Thailand. The 26-year old from Sweden finished the week at 15-under par and two shots ahead of Rolex Rankings No. 1 Inbee Park.
“I'm speechless to be honest,” said Nordqvist following the win. “It's been a couple years since I won. I've been working very hard. Had my ups and downs. Just couldn't be happier to be here. It was such a hard push on the back nine. Inbee kept making birdies and Michelle was playing great. Couldn't really breathe until the last putt, so obviously I could just let go on the last putt.”
Nordqvist started the day with a four-shot lead over Park and American Michelle Wie but quickly made things interesting with a double bogey on the par 4 5th hole. Wie picked up her second birdie of the day on No. 5 to cut the lead to one shot.
“Michelle played great; Inbee kept pushing me at the end,” said Nordqvist. “I just really had to stay strong. Had a rough first couple holes, but kept playing good on the back.”
Nordqvist recovered with a 12-foot birdie putt on No. 7 to extend her lead back to two shots but was pressured by Park who picked up back-to-back birdies on Nos. 7 and 8. Park was bogey-free in her round of 66 on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough for the surging Nordqvist who carded five of her seven birdies on the back nine. The top-ranked player in the world said she was pleased with her performance in her first event of the 2014 season.
“I feel good,” said Park. “I mean, today my ball‑striking wasn't as good as yesterday, I putted better than yesterday. So I feel like my putter is coming back. I played one shot better than last year and didn't win. Still a very good result. Tells me I improved a little. I'm satisfied the way I played this weekend…I think I played a little bit better than I thought I would.”
Nordqvist sank a 20-foot birdie putt on the 10th hole to start a run of three consecutive birdies on the back nine and pushed her lead to three shots.
“Then after that I just saw I needed to start making birdies because if not I wasn't going to keep up with them. I made a great 20‑footer I think on 10 to really kick start it.”
Nordqvist and Park took turns with birdies on the next four holes and never saw the lead cut to less than two. Nordqvist sealed the deal with her 12-foot birdie putt on No. 12 leaving a nice cushion for a bogey on the 72nd for the two-shot win. She said earlier in the week she was contemplating leaving the game and credits her support team and family for keeping her happy and on track to her goals.
“I've been working so hard all winter,” said Nordqvist. “These last couple years I have had a lot of great people by my side that never left my side and kept supporting me through the good times and the bad times. I will always be thankful for them. I'm just so excited to get a win here, and look forward to the rest of the year.”
Topics: Honda LPGA Thailand