(Reuters) – More than 5,000 miles separate the Swedish city of Eskilstuna from Phoenix, Arizona but for Anna Nordqvist, victory at the LPGA Founders Cup over the weekend felt like a win on home soil.
The 29-year-old, who enjoyed a successful college career at Arizona State University, claimed her seventh LPGA Tour win on Sunday after a final round of 68 at the Wildfire Golf Club saw her finish two shots clear of the field on 25-under-par.
Stacy Lewis, South Korea’s Chun In-gee and Thai Ariya Jutanugarn finished in a three-way tie for second on 23-under, with three more South Koreans – Park In-bee, Jang Ha-na and Ryu So-yeon – two shots further back.
Nordqvist, who is projected to move up two places in the world rankings to 11th and set a tournament record of 11-under with a 61 in the third round, said winning in Arizona was a different feeling.
“Of all my wins this is probably going to be the one that’s the most special,” she said in a televised interview.
“If it wasn’t for me getting an opportunity to come to Arizona State University about 10 years ago, I wouldn’t be here today.
“This truly still feels like home, even though I’m based in Florida.
“I wasn’t even going to play (here) a couple of weeks ago and just ended up adding it at the last minute, so maybe it was meant to be,” added Nordqvist, who picked up $225,000 for the win.
Nordqvist was always going to struggle to match Saturday’s effort, when she carded nine birdies and an eagle in a flawless third round, but she did enough to protect the two-stroke lead she started out with.
Last season’s Evian Championship winner Chun laid down the strongest challenge with four birdies in her first seven holes but her momentum then stalled and she picked up just two more shots over her last 11 holes.
Nordqvist, who picked up her only major at the 2009 Women’s PGA Championship, opened with a birdie, picked up four more at the fifth, 10th, 13th and 17th holes, before ending the round on a sour note with a bogey on 18.
“I think I could only have dreamed of winning on what feels like for me home soil,” said Nordqvist, adding that she decided to play the event after learning a tournament in Australia would not count towards her bid to make Europe’s Solheim Cup team.
“Obviously I had a great round yesterday shooting 61 and my phone was blowing up … I knew there was one more round play so I kept my head down. It’s been such an amazing week.”
The LPGA Tour moves to California next week for the $2.7 million Kia Classic.
(Writing by Peter Rutherford; Editing by Nick Mulvenney)