Anna Nordqvist Begins Quest to Repeat
One thing is a certain this week on the LPGA tour. There will be a new player taking home the championship for the first time in a month. Ariya Jutanugarn, who won her third straight event at the Volvik Championship, is not in the field at the ShopRite Classic. There is plenty to watch this weekend at the 54-hole event in Galloway, New Jersey, as Anna Nordqvist looks to repeat as champion.
Nordqvist is off to a great start in her quest to repeat, shooting a round of seven-under 64, tied for first with Ai Miyazato and Paula Rito. Nordqvist, the 28-year old from Sweden, got off to a solid start with two birdies in the first five holes to sit at two-under par. She went on run, with four straight birdies to finish the front nine at six-under par. Looking to run away with things early, Nordvist had a few bumps in the road with bogey’s at the tenth and eleventh. After three straight pars, she finished strong with three consecutive birdies to close out the round.
Also in the mix are Casey Grice, Catriona Matthew and Harukyo Nomura at six-under par. Eight players were a shot further back at minus five, including Stacy Lewis. Eleven players are just three shots back. All told, 59 players broke par on the first day. Eighteen more players shot even par 72, making a total of 77 players at even or better.
Anna Nordqvist, who has five LPGA wins to go along with two European Tour wins, finished tied for eighth at the Kingsmill Championship two weeks ago, but has only two top-ten finishes in 11 events this season. Two more excellent rounds like today could put Nordqvist back in the winner’s circle for the first time this season and successfully defend her title at the ShopRite classic.