This week at the Evian: Second major for Nordqvist and tears all round in France

Golf News

This time a major play-off was good to Anna Nordqvist and the curious decision to wipe Thursday's scores clean

What happened?

Less than three months ago Anna Nordqvist was told to stay in bed for a fortnight after being diagnosed with mononucleosis at the the US Women’s Open. The Swede missed the Scottish Open, tied for seventh at the Women’s British Open and was  then Europe’s top scorer (3.5/4) at the Solheim Cup.

Now she is a major winner for the second time after beating Brittany Altomare in a play-off that was played in atrocious conditions, a five-foot bogey putt being good enough after getting up and down – it was only last year that she lost a play-off for the US Women’s Open when she received a delayed two-shot penalty against Brittany Lang.

Both players were round in 66 to finish on nine under (the tournament was reduced to 54 holes after Thursday’s play was ruled out) and they were one ahead of Lydia Ko, Katherine Kirk and the overnight leader Moriya Jutanugarn (72). 

The Swede played her first five holes in two over but then turned it on with eagles at 7 and 15 to go alongside four birdies.

“I did grow up in Sweden, but I’ve been in the US for 10 years now, so I really struggle with the cold, and I couldn’t feel my hands on the last few shots in the play-off,” said Nordqvist. 

“I hit a great 6-iron in on six. I made birdie there and then I spun a wedge for eagle on my seventh hole. But then on 14, I hit a great hybrid and birdied there, and then great 3-wood in on 15. 18 was playing really tough so making a bogey there in regulation felt great.”

As for the debilitating illness she added: “These last couple of weeks it’s been hard, it’s been frustrating and disappointing. I was very excited to tee it up in the Solheim Cup and I was absolutely exhausted after. I came back last week, hit it flawless and missed the cut, so it has just been very testing, but I couldn’t be more proud.”

England’s Georgia Hall tied for 10th  and So Yeon Ryu won the Rolex Annika Major Award for the best overall performance across the five Majors this year. 

Talking points

1- This was the ultimate Mulligan. Sung Hyun Park was six over through five holes when play was stopped and then scrubbed clean on Thursday. This year’s US Women’s Open champion then opened with an eight-under 63 to get off to the strangest of flying starts in a tournament that was reduced to 54 holes.

The World No 1 So Yeon Ryu was on the wrong side of the cancelled opening round. The Korean was two under after the six holes that she managed on Thursday but then shot a 75 on Friday.

Park’s week then got progressively worse as she fell away with rounds of 73 and 77.

2- This was Ai Miyazato’s final major before she steps away and she chose Yani Tseng and Paula Creamer as her chosen playing partners for the first two rounds. Sadly the tearful American had to withdraw midway through her first round after spraining a tendon in her left wrist while practising on Tuesday.

“Every time I set the club, it’s just like excruciating. It was just an honest mistake, really,” she said. “I wanted to be out there for (Miyazato). I’ll definitely be out there on the green when she finishes and hopefully on Sunday.”

Miyazato was suitably sympathetic: “Just do what you need to do, because I’ve played with you so many times and I still love you and I’m so proud of you, what you’ve done.”

The Japanese superstar finished in a tie for 32nd and Creamer was true to her word as a number of players and fans gave Miyazato an emotional send-off.

“I thought I’m going to cry if I saw all my friends behind the 18th green, so I tried not to see them because I just want to finish with a par on the last hole,” said Miyazato. “The 18th hole is such a good finishing hole and a good, challenging hole. I just wanted to play my best as a player. But it was really nice to see my friends, definitely, and I just couldn’t hold it. After I made the putt, I was just really happy. It’s so nice to have my friends on the Tour.”

Ai Miyazato

Shot of the week

Lydia Ko, remember her? The New Zealander is getting her brilliant game back on track and this eagle, a deft and imaginative recovery from a horrible spot, got her to the eventual winning score of nine under. It is over a year since Ko last won but that should all change soon enough.

Best stat

With her second-place finish, Altomare almost doubled her career earnings, picking up €285,560 in France. Her only previous career top-10 finish was a tie for third two weeks ago.

Best photo

I’m not sure I can remember seeing a horse on a golf course before but here are the French mounted police…

Evian Championship

Best tweet

In sarcastic reply to a tweet saying the first round had been cancelled. Korda was two under at the time but did then shoot a 67 on Friday.

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