The Swede mounted a Sunday charge with a 5-under 66 to come from five strokes back of Jutanugarn, the 36-hole leader, to force a playoff with Brittany Altomare. Tied at 9-under par, the pair returned to the par-4 18th,
where Nordqvist defeated Altomare with a bogey in the pouring rain and hail to win the Evian Championship.
On the first playoff hole, Nordqvist stood over a must-make, 4-footer for bogey on the 18th green. She rolled it in for the win and doubled over with emotion, bent at the waist, her face in her hands.
The last three months have been a struggle for the world No. 13 who has battled glandular fever, more commonly known as mono. The condition sidelined her throughout the summer,
resulting in her coming up one event short of the required number events needed to qualify for the European Solheim Cup team. Nordqvist instead had to rely on a pick from Captain Annika Sorenstam, but she delivered for her Team,
winning three and a half points for her team, including a halve in her epic Sunday singles match with Lexi Thompson.
“I love competing and I prove practicing, and staying in bed hasn’t been the most exciting,” Nordqvist said about being on bed rest.
“My grandpa was always my biggest role model. He always used to tell me to never give up, and that’s what I never did today.”
This week at Evian, Altomare announced her name to the golf world. She bested that T3 finish with a runner-up showing here at Evian, reaching the playoff with Anna Nordqvist but double bogeying the first playoff hole.
However, Altomare took nothing but positives from this experience in the French Alps.
“It’s really big,” said Altomare of her breakthrough performance this week. “I had a good week in Portland, and I felt good that tournament and I felt like I could now start getting some good finishes.
It’s all just about finishing up your rounds or tournaments and I feel I’m starting to do that.”
Altomare entered Sunday’s final round five strokes behind then-leader Moriya Jutanugarn. The University of Virginia graduate calmly reeled off a 5-under 66, tied for the second-lowest round of her career, to sneak into the playoff.
She pointed to the end of her second round, where she birdied five of the last six holes, as the starting point of her success.
Sunday turned into yet another close call for Moriya Jutanugarn, who entered the final round with the lead but ultimately stumbled to a tie for third.
Jutanugarn went to the 72nd hole at -9, with Anna Nordqvist and Brittany Altomare already in the clubhouse at that score, but her approach flew over the green and she failed to chip in for par, dropping heartbreakingly out of the playoff.
MIYAZATO RETIRES FROM THE LPGA TOUR
The moment so many people were dreading finally arrived. With a par putt at No. 18, former World No. 1 Ai Miyazato finished her LPGA career.
Surrounded by fellow players Paula Creamer, Pernilla Lindberg and Yani Tseng, not to mention the adoring fans surrounding 18, tears flowed from
Miyazato’s eyes as she accepted flowers from golfing legend Gary Player and Evian President Franck Riboud.
ROLEX ANNIKA MAJOR AWARD GOES TO SO YEON RYU
The Rolex ANNIKA Major Award is given annually at The Evian Championship to recognize the player who, during a current LPGA Tour season, has the most outstanding record in all five major championships and has won at least one of the titles.
Last year, Lydia Ko joined Michelle Wie (2014) and Inbee Park (2015) as winners of the award.
ANA Inspiration winner So Yeon Ryu captured the 2017 Rolex ANNIKA Major Award, leading the standings with 78 points, and received the trophy from its namesake Annika Sorenstam on the 18th green at Evian.