Anna Nordqvist rallies to win Kia Classic
CARLSBAD, Calif. (AP) Anna Nordqvist rallied to win the Kia Classic on Sunday at Aviara for her second victory in her last four LPGA Tour starts.
Two strokes behind leaders Cristie Kerr and Lizette Salas entering the round, Nordqvist closed with her second straight 5-under 67 for a one-stroke victory over Salas.
Nordqvist won the LPGA Thailand last month to end a five-year victory drought, holding off top-ranked Inbee Park. The 26-year-old Swede also won the LPGA Championship and LPGA Tour Championship in 2009.
Projected to jump from 16th to ninth in the world, Nordqvist finished at 13-under 275 and earned $255,000.
Salas birdied the 18th for a 70.
Nordqvist changed equipment and started working with instructor Jorje Parada during the offseason after considering leaving the tour.
The former Arizona State player made a short birdie putt on the par-4 first hole and added birdies on the par-5 eighth and par-4 ninth to make the turn at 11 under. She also birdied the par-4 13th, par-3 14th and par-4 16th before dropping a stroke on the par-5 17th.
Lexi Thompson was third at 11 under after a 68, and Chella Choi was another stroke back after a 69. Kerr closed with a 73 to finish fifth at 9 under.
Park, preparing for her major title defense next week in the Kraft Nabisco Championship in Rancho Mirage, had a 68 to join third-ranked Stacy Lewis (71), Se Ri Pak (69) and Eun-Hee Ji (71) at 8 under. Michelle Wie had a 70 to tie for 16th at 5 under.
Laura Diaz had a hole-in-one for the second straight day to become the second player in LPGA Tour history to make two aces in a tournament.
Diaz aced the par-3 third hole Saturday in the third round, then holed out on the par-3 sixth on Sunday – a shot she followed with an eagle on the par-4 seventh. She also had an eagle Saturday on the par-5 fifth.
Jenny Lidback is the only other player with two aces in an event, accomplishing the feat in the 1997 Tournament of Champions.
Diaz used a 6-iron Sunday on the 157-yard sixth. On the eagle on No. 7, she holed out from 122 yards with a 50-degree wedge, the club she used to hole out twice Saturday. She’s the first tour player to follow an ace with an eagle on the next hole
The 38-year-old Diaz shot 2-under 70 in each round to finish at 2 under.