Golf Tidbits: Overhaul working well for Nordqvist
03/31/2014 12:31 PM
03/31/2014 12:39 PM
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Nearing the end of her fourth straight winless year, Anna Nordqvist started to think, is this it? There were plenty of good results, but the wins weren't there.
Nordqvist admitted earlier this year she was close to walking away from the game. When you get that point, you lean on those closest to you for direction.
Family and friends pushed the Swede to continue her career. The 26-year-old listened, but made a bunch of changes. Nordqvist went through an overhaul of her game - new coach, new equipment, new caddie and new apparel.
Coming off a season in which she had five top-10 finishes and 16 top-20s, this was dramatic change for someone who ended the 2013 season ranked 29th in the world.
As sudden as the changes were, they have been a home run for Nordqvist. She has snapped her long winless streak at the season's third event in Thailand, where she knocked off world No. 1 Inbee Park by two shots.
After years of waiting for that next victory, Nordqvist had to wait only three more events before collecting her next win, the fourth of her career. On Sunday, she rallied to win by one of Lizette Salas. Cristie Kerr shared the lead entering the final round, but shot 73 and ended four back.
Though she has won two times in fives starts this year, the inconsistency is still there. Nordqvist has finished tied for 24th or worse in her other three events.
"I was pretty disappointed after last year, not going to lie," Nordqvist said. "Felt like I played pretty good, but I knew I had to do a couple changes to play even better. You know, it's just great sitting here now. I'm proud of myself for taking some hard decisions. I worked extremely hard this offseason. They had to drag me off the range.
"But, obviously, I didn't putt very well last year or last week in Phoenix, but I felt my game was coming along pretty good. So I'm very, very excited to come from behind this time."
In 20 rounds this year, the inconsistency still shows in her game. Nordqvist has nine rounds in the 60s and seven rounds over par. She is tied for 15th in scoring, averaging 70.5 strokes per round.
In her win at the Kia Classic, Nordqvist ended with three straight rounds in the 60s. The last time she had three rounds in the 60s at one event was last July at the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic, which was 15 events ago for Nordqvist.
Among the other off-the-course changes Nordqvist made since the end of last season was remaining in Orlando year round, partially to stay close to her trainer, Kai Fusser, who she shares with Annika Sorenstam, one of the greatest female golfers of all time.
Nordqvist told Fusser to push her this past offseason. The results have shown, not only in the two victories, but in her added distance. Nordqvist has pushed her average drive from 244.4 yards to 257.7 yards.
It's all starting to add up for the three-time Solheim Cup performer.
Nordqvist was good enough to compete and be an above-average tour pro, but she wanted more and her changes are paying off.
THINGS SHOWING UP ACES FOR DIAZ
Laura Diaz is into the latter portion of her career on the LPGA Tour, but that doesn't mean she can't create magic. Her weekend at the Kia Classic included a pair of historical aces.
Diaz carded a hole-in-one on the par-3 third on Saturday. Two holes later, she made eagle on the par-5 fifth. There are not many ways to top that, but Diaz found a way.
In Sunday's final round, Diaz aced the par-3 sixth and followed on the very next hole with a hole-out eagle on the par-4 seventh.
Diaz was the second player in LPGA Tour history to post two holes-in-one in the same event. Diaz became the first player in LPGA Tour history with back- to-back eagles.
Despite the pair of eagles in both rounds, Diaz only managed to shoot 2-under 70 in each round.
She may have been the first to card back-to-back eagles, but she couldn't keep that magic up the remainder of the round. That's what happens when this was just her second start of the year.
- Kudos to the International team for rallying to tie the first-ever EruAsia Cup. They trailed 7-3 entering the 10 singles matches, but won six of the 10 and halved two others to forge the tie.
- Steven Bowditch collected his first PGA Tour win on Sunday in his 13th start of the season. Prior to the win, his best finish was a share of 19 at Pebble Beach. Thanks to the win, he soared 205 places to No. 134 in the latest world rankings.
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