SWEDEN’S Anna Nordqvist has cruised to victory at the LPGA Founders Cup in Arizona seeing off challenges from Stacy Lewis and In Gee Chun at the Wildfire Golf Club.
Nordqvist took control of the tournament with a course record third round of 11-under 61 to lead by two with 18 holes to play and put the result beyond doubt with a 4-under Sunday round.
It was Nordqvist’s seventh LPGA title and came in the part of America she says she considers home after attending nearby Arizona State University as an amateur.
The Wildfire Golf Club gave up low scores all week and Nordqvist knew before the round she would need to go low to take the title.
But the 29-year-old wasn’t to be denied and went to the 72nd hole with a three shot lead after holing her fifth birdie putt of the day from long range at the 17th.
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A disappointing bogey at the 72nd, just her third dropped shot of the week, was of no consequence as she claimed the trophy and winner’s cheque for $225,000 with a 26-under-par total.
“Of all the wins this is one of the ones that’s going to be more special,” she told Golf Channel after the round.
“If it wouldn’t have been for me getting the opportunity to come to ASU about 10 years ago, I wouldn’t be here today.
“This truly still feels like home even though I’m based in Florida. I have so many of my friends and family – well they feel like family, my US family.”
She said it was a last minute decision to play the event, one that had clearly paid off.
“I couldn’t think of a better place to be and I’m just so happy to be back,” she said.
“I wasn’t even going to play here a couple of weeks ago, just ended up adding it last minute.
“Maybe it was meant to be.”
Nordqvist defeated In Gee Chun, Stacy Lewis and Ariya Jutanugarn by two with fast finishing Ha Na Jang leading a group of players in T5 at 21-under.
The reigning Women’s Australian Open champion fired a final round 63 to jump 19 places up the leaderboard and finish alongside Inbee Park and So Yeon Ryu.
Sarah Jane Smith was the best of the Australians finishing T19 at 17-under for the week.
Smith closed with a 4-under 68 and continues to be among the most improved players of the past two seasons.
Katherine Kirk, whose game also looks to be turning around after a couple of indifferent seasons, finished 13-under and T41 while Karrie Webb was T50 at 11-under for the week.
Minjee Lee and Su Oh both missed the cut which came at an LPGA record of 5-under-par after 36 holes.
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