Tour News

Anna Nordqvist leads Founders Cup

Anna Nordqvist (file photo) (Photo: Bruce Young)
SWEDEN’S Anna Nordqvist has rocketed to the top of the leaderboard at the LPGA’s Founders Cup with a blistering third round 61 in the Arizona desert.The 29-year-old set a new record for the Wildfire Club course on her way to a two shot lead over World Number Two Ariya Jutanugarn and former champion Stacey Lewis.

Nordqvist made nine birdies and an eagle on the par-72 layout to move 12 places up the standings and give herself a chance at a seventh LPGA Tour title.

In a tournament which has seen its fair share of good scoring for the week Nordqvist, who attended nearby Arizona University as an amateur, said good vibes were as much a part of her round three play as anything.

“They always say that home is where the heart is, and my heart is definitely still here,” she said.“I always say I'm a west coast girl and people remind me I'm from Sweden. But even though I live in Florida now, this definitely feels like home.

“ASU here and Missy Kaye being the coach now, the team support. My sponsor's here. I have family and friends here, or seemed like family.

“So I was staying with friends this week. It's just been a fun week. It's been busy first week back in the U.S., but just always feel special coming back here. I wish I could more often.

“Definitely have a big smile on my face this week.”

Nordqvist wasn’t the only high profile player making a move Saturday, World Number One Lydia Ko posting a 9-under 63 early in the day.

Ko, twice a runner-up at the Founders Cup, said yesterday she would need to play two special rounds to contend after a pedestrian start and delivered one of them thanks to six straight birdies to finish.

“I don't know if I've had that string of birdies in a row before,” Ko said after jumping 33 places up the standings and into the top 10.

“I just hit it really close and I was able to get home for two on 11. I was putting really well, making a good par putt on 12. I had like a foot on 13.

“So, yeah, I obviously was rolling it good. No matter how long the putt is, you always got to put a good stroke on it.”

Leading Australian Sarah Jane Smith fired her third consecutive sub-par round but dropped a shot at the 18th hole for the second straight day.

Her 4-under 68 included two bogeys though the Queenslander continues to impress with her improved play of the last 12 months.

Also showing signs of a return to better form is Katherine Kirk who signed for a 6-under 66 on day three to move to 12-under and a share of 25th place.

Two time champion Karrie Webb signed for a 2-under 70 Saturday and is ina share of 45th place with 18 holes to play.



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