Anna Nordqvist Secures Second Major Title at Evian
Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist secured her second major title at the weather-shortened Evian Championship, overcoming the largely unheralded American Brittany Altomare in a playoff.
The Solheim Cup star had been five-shots behind going into the final round, but the 30-year-old was impressive in compiling a 66 – which included two eagles – to finish at nine-under par under the ominously rain-heavy clouds in France. Altomare, to her credit, also came from left-field with a five-under Sunday score of five-under to place her on the precipice of an unlikely triumph.
Following overnight leader Moriya Jutanugarn disappointing finish, Nordqvist and Altomare were tied at the summit and were set for a sudden-death playoff. The Thai golfer, who had been seeking to follow her sister Ariya as a major champion, ultimately completed the event in a tie for third alongside Australia’s Katherine Kirk and former winner Lydia Ko from New Zealand.
Such was the deluge from above, water had to be cleared from the greens during the first extra hole, which the more experienced Swede navigated with a victorious par four, coming eight years after she won the LPGA Championship. It was a highly satisfying moment, following a summer blighted by glandular fever, and a crushing rules infraction at the U.S. Women’s Open last year that contributed to her playoff loss against America’s Brittany Lang.
“I love competing and I prove practicing, and staying in bed hasn't been the most exciting,” Nordqvist afterwards about her illness. “My grandpa was always my biggest role model. He always used to tell me to never give up, and that's what I never did today.
“I just felt like I wanted to go out there today and focus on what I could do. Winning didn't really cross my mind until I was having a great couple birdies and eagles there down the stretch.”
Shanshan Feng and Kim Sei-young were two shots back of the leading pair at seven-under, Jennifer Song, Lee Mi-hyang, British Open winner I.K. Kim, Ayako Uehara, and England’s Georgia Hall completing the top ten, with the 21-year-old carrying on with the impressive form that saw her become a bright spark for Europe during the Solheim Cup.
However, for many observers the Evian will feel somewhat tainted by the decision to scrap the first round entirely after horrendous conditions brought play to a close on Thursday. It unquestionably didn’t help with the perceived lack of prestige that this event enjoys since it became the fifth major on the women’s circuit four years ago, but that organisational criticism won’t diminish the delight for Nordqvist, who, at just 30, is now one of the more experienced players on the tour, but this success underlined that she remains one of the best. Grandpa would certainly be proud.
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