Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist wasn’t sure that Aronimink Golf Club was going to be a good fit for her when she first saw the course on Monday. She doesn’t rank among the LPGA’s longest hitters, and she hit six hybrids into holes on the back nine in her first practice round. But low and behold, she opened with rounds of 69-68 and teed off in the second-to-last group on Saturday.
It was at this championship in 2009 the Nordqvist broke through in a big way, winning in just her fifth LPGA start. At the time, it reaffirmed that she’d made the right decision to leave Arizona State early, and also gave her needed job security to get her career on track. That season she even made her first Solheim Cup team as a captain’s pick.
“I didn't have my full card,” she said. “And back in 2009, that's just when the financial crisis hit, so I think the LPGA schedule had 22 events. When you don't play with a full status a year like that, it was tough. But it was just a proud moment getting myself into the event, because obviously I had to make some cuts and make a little bit of money to move up the leaderboard just to get in.
“I remember I teed off first on Thursday morning at like 6:30 or something and then played in the last group on Sunday. That was a big moment because it was questioned whether I should stay in school or leave school, but I followed my heart and went the pro route, and I think winning knowing that I was going to have status on Tour for the next three years, that was huge for me.”
Nordqvist’s victory came at Bulle Rock Golf Course in Havre de Grace, Md., the tournament’s home for five years. Surprisingly, she never has been back to Bulle Rock, though it ranks high on her list.
“I have not been back,” she said, “but it's been on my list for a long time, and I can't wait to go. I don't know why I haven't really taken time to do it, but I will go back there, and I know I'm going to love it.”