NAPLES, FLA | Anna Nordqvist is getting her groove back. Buoyed by six birdies on the back nine, Nordqvist shot a five-under 67 in the final round of the CME Group Tour Championship to finish at -14. Her solo third place result this weekend is Nordqvist’s best finish of the season by far, her only other top 10 coming at the US Women’s Open presented by ProMedica with a T6 result.
“It’s been a really tough year for me, struggled a lot mentally and physically,” Nordqvist said after her final round. “I’ve had a lot of good people close to me believing in me when I didn’t really believe in myself. They’ve seen a lot of the hard work that I’ve put in.
“I think taking from this week is obviously going to make offseason taste a little bit better. I just hit so many good shots. I worked really hard the last two months when I started feeling a little bit better. So, in general, I know that I’m doing the right thing.”
By her own admission, putting has been the cause of Nordqvist’s mediocre results in 2022. Entering the week, she ranked 130th in putts per green in regulation and 141st in putting average on the LPGA Tour. Luckily, the nine-time LPGA winner found a solution a few weeks ago: speed and patience.
“I’m not going to lie, this year has been a hard year on the greens,” Nordqvist said with a laugh. “The last couple of weeks wasn’t really going in a good direction. So, my husband helped me a little bit earlier in the week, just focusing on speed.
“I tried to stay a little bit more patient than I have in the past and really try to just commit to putts. It’s so windy out there, so maybe that kind of throws your mind a little bit off and you just focus on speed versus line.”
The results of that tweak showed in the final round. Despite those cold and windy conditions, Sunday was Nordqvist’s best round of the tournament, undoubtedly a result of Nordqvist’s putting. She needed just 26 putts to get through Tiburon Golf Course.
“I feel like I caught some good momentum at 6 and 7 today,” Nordqvist said. “I hit a great shot into 9, didn’t make the putt, but then I hit it to a foot on 10. I think it helped that we got put on the clock, so the speed of the group kind of picked up a little bit. But I feel like just hitting a lot of clutch shots and definitely having a few putts go in made a difference today.
“It’s been so windy all week, I was just trying to be friends with the wind today. Today I’m really proud of myself for staying in there and made a couple of really good putts.”
Nordqvist’s final birdie on 18 put her at 14-under and in a tie for second with 2021 Solheim Cup teammate Leona Maguire. Unfortunately for Nordqvist, Maguire was keeping track of her friend and knocked in one more birdie to maintain her second-place finish.
“I looked up on 17, and I saw that Anna had got to 14, so that was an extra incentive to try to birdie 17 and finish strong,” Maguire said after her round.
But third place is certainly still something to celebrate and Nordqvist is happy to head into the off season on such a positive note. She’s excited to spend some more time with her husband, but she’s most excited to see her dog, Max.
“I haven’t seen my dog for three weeks, so he will be picked up tomorrow morning when I get back to Arizona,” Nordqvist said of her off season plans. “But just need some time away from this game and work on my health a little bit and surround myself with the people that really care about me.”