GALLOWAY, N.J. - Anna Nordqvist lined up her putt for the win on the 18th, looked straight ahead and saw her mother standing greenside Sunday for what is Mother’s Day in Sweden. As a present, Nordqvist poured in the bogey putt, hugged her mother Maria delivering her fifth career LPGA win at the ShopRite LPGA Classic Presented by Acer – the first time her mother has ever been in attendance to witness one of her victories.
“I couldn't have give her a better present than to spend this day with her,” Nordqvist said. “I'm just speechless right now. I fought hard today and can't believe I'm sitting here with the trophy.”
For a brief period on the back nine, Nordqvist’s priceless present was in doubt. She headed to the 16th tee with a bogey fresh on her mind and suddenly a co-lead after she’d led for much of the back nine. Nordqvist ensured that lead would remain shared for only a hole as she birdied each of the next two holes – the par-4 16th and par-3 17th – to allow an easy walk down the 18th hole in her fifth career victory Sunday. This marks Nordqvist’s first win this season – but third in the last two seasons.
“That was pretty special because my mom's been there through thick and then,” Nordqvist said, “and you know, helped me through my downs and pushed me through my ups. So very special.”
The game hasn’t always been as easy as Nordqvist’s made it look the last two years. She opened with two LPGA wins as a rookie in 2009, but went through a nearly five year drought before breaking through with two wins in 2014.
“I try not to think about it now. But yeah, there was a couple of years ago where I thought that I considered doing something else. I lost all my passion and heart for the game,” Nordqvist said. “So I had to make a couple of changes around myself with some people that helped me be positive and helped me stay in the game. But you know, moments like this are amazing, but there's a lot of hard work and a lot of grind that people don't see that goes behind it and if you don't have the passion and the heart to put in all the hard work on the side, it's tough. But I'm fortunate to be able to do what I'm doing, and I'm glad I stuck to it, and just knowing the downs that I've had just makes the ups even better now.”
Cristel Boeljon could have made things interesting Sunday for Nordqvist. She missed a short five foot birdie at the last that would have put her into a playoff after Nordqvist made bogey at the last in the group behind her. Boeljon’s runner-up finish at 7-under-par for the tournament is the best finish of her LPGA career.
Morgan Pressel entered the day with the lead but a bogey at No. 6 and a subsequent double bogey at No. 7 derailed her chances. Pressel and rookie Kelly Shon tied for third at 5-under-par, three shots back of Nordqvist. Austin Ernst (64), Karrie Webb (66), Inbee Park (68), Mirim Lee (69), and Gerina Piller (71) all tied for fifth at 4-under-par for the tournament.