Anna Nordqvist nears top after opening 65 at CME Group Tour Championship | LPGA

Naples, Fla. – Nine-time LPGA Tour winner Anna Nordqvist is near the top of the leaderboard at the CME Group Tour Championship, with a 7-under 65 at Tiburon Golf Club where she made one bogey and eight birdies. Nordqvist got off to a hot start, making four birdies in his first seven holes, including a pair of back-to-back birdies on holes 6 and 7 to return to 32.

Another birdie on the par-4 10th hole moved her to 5-under and made two birdies at No. She took 12th and 14th to go down to 7th overall. The Swede dropped a shot after bogeying the par-3 16th hole, but bounced back immediately with a birdie on the par-5 17th hole, carding 18 to post a 65, her lowest round since the final day of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. Baldusrol Golf Club’s Lower Course in June.

It was just the second time this season that Nordqvist opened with a round of 65 or better, most recently when the Swede tied for 10th at Honda LPGA Thailand on Thursday. The 65 was her lowest round in 13 total appearances at the CME Group Tour Championship and tied for her second-lowest first-round score on the LPGA Tour.

It’s fair to say that the 36-year-old was a bit surprised by his first day of play at the Tiburon Golf Club. starts, especially with a solo third-place finish here last year. But that certainly seems to suit his game for one reason or another, and he took full advantage of that fact Thursday in Naples, Fla.

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„Every year I come here and I feel like this course doesn’t suit me so well, so I don’t know what it is,” said Nordqvist, whose 17th-round 65 was in the 60s at the CME Group Tour Championship. „I got to play with the commissioner in the pro-am this week, and she asked me, do you like this course? I said, well, maybe it’s not perfect for me, but I know I played a great round. Last year was Sunday. Overall, you’re a lot better. You hit the shots. I feel like it’s a ball-striking course, and that’s why it suits me.”

This year has been an incredibly challenging one for the grand champion. Dealing with some health issues, Nordqvist’s former partner Kevin McAlpine died unexpectedly on October 19 while in the Republic of Korea for the BMW Ladies Championship, from which she eventually withdrew. While he hasn’t shared many details about exactly what’s going on with him, Nordqvist has bravely opened up about the struggles he faces off the golf course and how challenging it will be for him throughout 2023.

„I was honest with everybody. I didn’t do well,” Nordqvist said. „It was a fight, but I wanted to come here and do it for myself and show that I’m a fighter. At the end of the day I’m only human and I’m going to take a long time after this. . . I haven’t seen my family for the last two weeks because I’ve been in America, but still Three days later I see my dog ​​again and try to rebuild.”

Some may question Nordqvist’s willingness to compete with everything he’s taken away from the game these last two weeks. But he has always been one to face adversity head-on, having dealt with much illness and injury in his 15-year career, and his decision to sit out this week’s CME Group Tour Championship is the latest. A testament to Nordqvist’s resilience, further proof of how strong the Swede really is when life gets tough.

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„Knowing that I’m a fighter, I never give up and I don’t want to wait until February to rebuild. I just felt like I had to get back to work. Like you have to start somewhere,” Nordqvist said. . „Seeing everybody, all the other players around me and the caddies and everybody has been so supportive. I think that’s what I need right now. I think I’m leaning on everybody here to push me.

„I’m proud of myself. Going to the first tee this week felt like a victory. If I can be an inspiration to others to keep fighting, things always happen and life is not as smooth as we want it to be. But I’m proud of the fact that I’ve fallen many times in life and got back up every time. Hopefully next year will be better.”

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