In an exciting finish to this year’s Bank of Hope Founders Cup, Anna Nordqvist held off In Gee Chun, Stacy Lewis and Ariya Jutanugarn to pick up her first win of the 2017 season.
Nordqvist entered the final round at Wildfire Golf Club with a two-stroke lead and fired final-round 4-under-par 68. She had an impressive four days carding 26 birdies, one eagle and three bogeys to finish at 25 under par for the tournament. Earning her seventh career win in front of a ‘hometown crowd’ was something special for Nordqvist.
“Yeah, I mean, of all the wins probably of the ones that’s going to be more special,” she said. If it hadn’t been 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 have so many friends and family here. They feel like family, my U.S. family. I couldn’t think of a better place to be. I’m just so happy to be back. I wasn’t even going to play a couple weeks and just ended up adding it last minute. Maybe it was meant to be.”
THREE AMERICANS POST TOP-10 FINISHES
In the first LPGA event on U.S. soil of the 2017 season, three Americans finished inside the top-10 – Stacy Lewis (T2, -23), Lizette Salas (T10, -19) and Jessica Korda (T10, -19). Stacy Lewis finished two strokes behind Nordqvist as a co-runner up in her best finish since earning a runner-up at the 2016 Cambia Portland Classic.
Lizette Salas earned her second top-10 of the 2017 season—she had zero finishes in the top-10 all of last season. Jessica Korda carded her first top-10 finish of the season—Korda hasn’t finished worse than T16 in four starts this year.
The 2017 LPGA season features two pairs of sisters: Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn and Jessica and Nelly Korda. The Jutanugarn sisters finished inside the top eight, led by five-time LPGA winner Ariya (T2, -23) while Moriya was close behind, tied for eighth (-20). The Kordas also finished inside the top-20: four-time LPGA winner Jessica tied for 10th (-19) while 2017 rookie Nelly finished T19 (-17).
ANOTHER RUNNER-UP FOR LEWIS
Stacy Lewis finished tied for second with In Gee Chun and Ariya Jutanugarn, a familiar place for Lewis since her last victory at the 2014 Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. Lewis has made 63 starts in that timeframe and finished tied or solo second 13 times, while she’s been the runner-up 24 times in her nine-year career.
“I hit a lot good shots and didn’t quite get rewarded for them,” Lewis said. “I played well. Hard to be too upset.”
“You know what? I wish I could give you an exact answer. I like the challenge of getting better and playing. I don’t know if that makes sense, but I really enjoy playing golf. I really enjoy practicing and I really enjoy working on my game, especially when you have days like this where things come together and it works out. I’ve just got to learn how to put the four rounds together again. I really like the direction I’m going.”
-56-year-old Solheim Cup captain Juli Inkster, who finished T24 (-16, 272)
(Photo by Getty Images.)