In her quest for a three-peat, Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist fell two-shots short, as a late bogey derailed her chances at the Shoprite LPGA Classic presented by ACER at the Stockton Seaview Golf Club in New Jersey.
The 29-year-old was vying to become the first two-time winner on the LPGA Tour in 2017 – she won the Bank of Hope Founders Cup earlier this year – but it was not to be, as her 2-under-par 69 Sunday wasn’t enough.
“Just having the honor to back-to-back defend is quite amazing,” said Nordqvist. “I’ve had a lot of supporters cheering me on this week and I really appreciated everyone’s support. There is a little bit of pressure coming into it, but it’s just been fun.”
The victory at the Shoprite LPGA Classic is the fifth on the LPGA Tour for Kim, who most recently won the 2016 Reignwood LPGA Classic. She spent the better part of the end of 2016 and beginning of 2017 recovering from falling down the stairs. Her start in New Jersey was only her sixth of the year.
“I really didn’t expect (to win) right away, but I knew my game was better than last year,” said Kim. “My trainer, my coach, they had to change so many plans for me because so many things happened last winter. But I just feel so good and I feel all the support.”
Kim, who said Saturday she loved coming to this event because of her relationship with Special Olympics New Jersey, needed only 79 putts on the week. She admitted Sunday she wasn’t prepared for how windy it was going to be all week.
“It was just so windy,” she said. “Trying to keep it in play was tough.”
Michelle Wie, along with four others, fired the round of the day, a 6-under-par 65. Wie said she would be taking next week off as she tries to regain some health and get back to 100 percent during the summer stretch run. She pointed to her wedge play as the key for her success Sunday.
“I just stuck it in there close today,” she said. “I hit it a lot closer today, which felt good.”
Wie finished tied for third along with Jenny Shin, Jeong Eun Lee, and fellow American Jacqui Concolino.
Moriya Jutanugarn – whose sister Ariya official took over the No.1 spot in the Rolex Rankings at the conclusion of the tournament, ending Lydia Ko’s 84-week run at the top – struggled Sunday to a 1-over-par 72. She was tied for 7th with Paula Creamer, who, although she held the overnight lead, shot a 3-over-par 74 with five bogeys.
Next week the LPGA Tour heads north of the border for the Manulife LPGA Classic at Whistle Bear Golf Club in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada – about 90 minutes outside Toronto.
It’s the first of two tournaments in Canada, as the LPGA Tour will return in late August for the CP Canadian Women’s Open in Ottawa, Ontario.