Nordqvist looks for major title in third decade
NEWTOWN SQUARE, PA – Anna Nordqvist won the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in 2009, in just her fifth event as a professional.
Fast forward more than a decade and she’s in position to win the same major once again. She heads into the weekend at Aronimink Golf Club in a four-way tie for second.
Nordqvist sits at 3-under for the Championship after a 2-under-par 68 on Friday.
“I'm just really happy with our strategy the first two days, and I feel like it's been very solid,” said Nordqvist. “Putting has been solid, and just very pleased with the first two days.”
Nordqvist said this week at Aronimink definitely has a “major vibe.”
“I think you've got to be patient, but that's what I love about the majors, because it doesn't necessarily have to be 15, 20-under par to win,” she said. “I think it's a great venue, and I'm excited to be here, and everything KPMG does is just top class.”
Back in 2009 the LPGA Tour schedule had only 22 events and Nordqvist didn’t have full status. It was tough, she admitted. But she had a nice run leading into that year’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and was in a solid position going into the week. She teed off first Thursday morning, she said, but was in the last group on Sunday.
It was a big moment in her life, she said, because up to that point she was still questioning whether she should have stayed in school or become a professional golfer.
She followed her heart, she said, and went the pro route.
“My dream was to play on Tour,” said Nordqvist. “So I felt like when I won there on Sunday, the biggest thing was kind of like getting my status on Tour, which was huge.”
Now Nordqvist has won seven more times on Tour, including another major (The Evian Championship). However, her last win was three years ago.
Even though she was at the top of the leaderboard through most of Friday afternoon, Nordqvist said she wasn’t really watching the leaderboards where possible – but for good reason.
“I mean, this golf course is so hard, so I feel like you're busy enough trying to focus on your shots and trying to figure out what you're doing,” she said with a smile.
Nordqvist said she was “quite worried” on Monday when she hit six hybrids into greens on the back nine at Aronimink, since, she admitted, she’s not one of the longer hitters on Tour. However, she only hit one hybrid into a green in competition.
“I think this course favors if you have a little bit of distance off the tee just because the fairways are so wide,” said Nordqvist. “Just with some of the clubs you're coming into the greens, certain pins you can't go at if you have a 5-iron versus a 7-iron.”
While her game plan has pivoted slightly, her dogged determination to try to win a major championship in a third decade (2009, 2017, and now the 2020’s) hasn’t waivered.
“You just kind of take it how it comes at you,” said Nordqvist. “I feel like it feels the first tournament this year where it just really feels like a major.”