Anna Nordqvist was thrilled to claim her third major title at the AIG Women’s Open and admitted “there were times I doubted if I ever would win again”.
After a stunning 65 vaulted her to the top of the leaderboard on Saturday, Nordqvist held her nerve in a thrilling final round to shoot 69 and triumph by one shot over Georgia Hall, Lizette Salas and Madelene Sagstrom with a 12-under aggregate of 276.
Nordqvist has now won three majors in as many decades, adding the AIG Women’s Open title to previous successes in the 2009 Women’s PGA Championship and 2017 Evian Championship.
However, the Swede had gone almost four years without a victory following her Evian success, during which time she was laid low with health problems.
A break in last year’s golfing calendar enforced by the COVID-19 pandemic provided Nordqvist with a much-needed opportunity to rest and she is now reaping the rewards.
“I got mono in July 2017,” said Nordqvist. “I found that out during the U.S. Open. I was sitting up sleeping at that time because I was coughing so bad but I played through it and I really wanted to make the Solheim Cup team.
“So I battled through (the AIG Women’s Open at) Kingsbarns. Kingsbarns and Carnoustie are probably my two favourite courses in the world. I really wanted to be there because I really wanted to play in the Solheim Cup, and then I ended up winning the Evian in the same stretch. I don't think a lot of people realised how tough that was.
“The hardest part was basically losing my mental endurance and my physical endurance. It took about three years to get over mono, and I think last year during COVID, I finally had some time to be at home and slow down.
“My life has always gone at 110 miles an hour. It was great to finally have a little bit more time at home and, not having to travel, I think was probably the break I needed a couple years ago and just never gave myself.
“It was hard because I kept pushing but it was hard because it was like your feet kept slipping and I didn't have that extra gear I was always used to. When things got tough, I could always push through it mentally, but I just never had anything and I just felt really weak.
“So to be able to build myself back up again and have the support of people around me. I moved back to Arizona a couple years ago and I absolutely love it there. I have a lot of great support there.
“I'm married now and I think just a lot more happy off the course, so I have a good balance there. I've done this long enough now where I feel like you can't really force anything.
“There were times I doubted if I ever would win again and sitting here now … I couldn't really dream of anything more.
“It was definitely worth the wait, and definitely worth a lot of those struggles and being able to push through. But it's been a lot of hard work to get here, too.”
Nordqvist’s husband Kevin McAlpine hails from Dundee, a short drive from Carnoustie, and the pair will return to the east of Scotland for a wedding celebration in 2022.
“Yeah, so we have postponed our, what I would say real wedding or big wedding, the one with our friends and family, to next summer,” Nordqvist explained.
“It's going to be about 20 minutes away from here in a castle. But we did officially get married in the US at our home club, Silver Leaf in Scottsdale, in March with just us and six of our friends there.
“We had about 21 people on Zoom on 21 different accounts. It was a special day, and I can't wait to walk down the aisle again in Scotland next year.”