Anna Nordqvist fired a five-under 67 for the second consecutive day to win the Kia Classic by one-stroke over Lizette Salas. The win is Nordqvist’s second of the year, and the fourth of her career.
Despite having 15 top 15 finishes in 2013, and 12 top-10 finishes in 2012, Nordqvist was not satisfied with the absence of Ws since 2009.
“I was pretty disappointed after last year…I felt like I played well, but I knew I had to [make] a couple changes to play even better…I am proud of myself for making some hard decisions, and I’ve worked extremely hard this offseason. They have to drag me off the range.”
Nordqvist added, “I decided to change my coach, started working with him in January…and then I changed my equipment.”
Nordqvist switched to TaylorMade clubs and adidas apparel. She also worked on her strength training during the offseason, which is paying off with 16 extra yards off the tee.
The reason was simple, “I wanted to be in contention, and win tournaments.”
Third round co-leader Lizette Salas started the final round with 12 straight pars, and was four-strokes behind Nordqvist after a three-putt bogey on the 13th hole. Salas battled back with birdies on three of the final five holes, including the difficult par-4 eighteenth to finish one stroke off the pace.
“To finish the way I did today is definitely a big confidence booster.”
Salas is one of the favorites to win the Kraft Nabisco Championship next week, the first major of the season.
Lexi Thompson finished in third place after a four-under 68 that included birdies on four of the final seven holes. Thompson is arguably the most talented player on the LPGA, and once she figures out how to putt a little better, the floodgates will open.
Chella Choi shot a four-under 68 to finish in fourth place, and third-round co-leader Cristie Kerr shot a one-over 73 to finish in fifth place.
Inbee Park, Se Ri Pak, Stacy Lewis, and Eun-Hee Ji finished tied for sixth place at eight-under par.
Laura Diaz made an ace for the second consecutive day, and followed it up with an eagle on the next hole. Diaz finish at two-under (T32).
Other notables: Azahara Munoz (T10), Michelle Wie (T16), Paula Creamer (T16), Ai Miyazato (24), and Karrie Webb (T25).
Tags: Ace Anna Nordqvist Aviara Golf Club Azahara Muñoz Chella Choi Eagle Eun-Hee Ji Karrie Webb Kia Motors Laura Diaz Lexi Thompson Lizette Salas LPGA Michelle Wie Paula Creamer Se Ri Pak Stacy Lewis