Having taken a 4-shot lead into the final round of the Honda LPGA Thailand, Anna Nordqvist bounced back from an early double with 6 birdies in her next 11 holes to hold off a charging Inbee Park and an incandescent Catriona Matthew and secure her 3rd career LPGA victory--and 1st since her rookie season in 2009. Nordqvist's closing 68 left her at -15, 2 shots ahead of Park, whose bogey-free 66 stalled her at -13 as she parred out over her last 3 holes, and 4 shots ahead of Matthew, who went 65-65 on the weekend. Michelle Wie also had a great week, but she's probably a bit disappointed that she made a pair of bogeys on the back 9 after eagling the par-5 10th to get to -11; still, she fought back to double digits under par with her walkoff birdie and secured solo 4th.
In fact, lots of golfers turned it on in the final round. Na Yeon Choi fired a tournament-low 9-birdie 64 to move into the top 20. Stacy Lewis and Gerina Piller's 66s allowed them to catch Ya Ni Tseng (68), Lexi Thompson (68), and Julieta Granada (69) in a tie for 5th at -9, while Suzann Pettersen's own 66 got her into solo 10th. In fact, everyone to finish in the top 12 broke 70 today (including So Yeon Ryu and Azahara Munoz at -7), while Eun-Hee Jee (68), Dewi Claire Schreefel (68), and Morgan Pressel (69) burst into the top 25, as well.
As a result, a good number of players got left in the dust today, too. Lydia Ko, Cristie Kerr, Karrie Webb, Caroline Hedwall, and Shanshan Feng, who started the day with an outside chance of getting into contention, had to settle for top 25s. Pornanong Phatlum (75, +4) entered the week the hottest Thai golfer in the world, but left it 9 shots behind Thidapa Suwannapura (70, -5). Ai Miyazato (76, +6) got passed by two JLPGA young guns, Mamiko Higa (72, +3) and Natsuka Hori (71, +5), to cap off a dismal week for the large Japanese contingent. 2013 Rookie of the Year rivals Moriya Jutanugarn (78, +9), Caroline Masson (75, +14), Chie Arimura (71, +9), and Ayako Uehara (67, +12) pretty much played down to the low expectations they set for themselves last season. And despite finally putting together good final rounds, Paula Creamer (68, +1), Chella Choi (69, +2), and Jessica Korda (70, +4) had surprisingly flat weeks.
So Nordqvist's wire-to-wire win this week should look all the more impressive in this context. Given how well she hit the ball and putted, particularly on Thursday and Sunday, I wouldn't be surprised if she continued to give herself good chances to add to her victory total over the next few weeks and months.