October 9, 2020
Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, USA
Aronimink Golf Club
THE MODERATOR: Here with Anna Nordqvist, who just finished a round of 2-under 68. Anna, two rounds in the 60s. You've got to be happy with how you're playing. What are your thoughts?
ANNA NORDQVIST: Yeah, I'm very happy. I feel like it's been playing really tough, especially with the wind the last two days. Coming in with the amount of hybrids and 3-woods we've had into the greens the first two days, I knew it was going to be playing long and tough. I'm not one of the longer players, so just going to think a little bit where I place the ball, and sometimes putting it in the middle of the green and having a good two-putt for par seems like you take it and you go to the next hole.
I'm just really happy with our strategy the first two days, and I feel like it's been very solid. Putting has been solid, and just very pleased with the first two days.
THE MODERATOR: We've heard that actually from a lot of people. It was find the fairway and just find the green, and two putts for par is fine. Were you having those thoughts when you came in, or what was your mindset coming into the week?
ANNA NORDQVIST: Yeah, some holes obviously with the firmness of the greens, you had some short irons release quite far today. You just can't even go for a pin with a 9-iron or a wedge sometimes.
I think you've got to be patient, but that's what I love about the majors, because it doesn't necessarily have to be 15, 20-under par to win.
I think it's a great venue, and I'm excited to be here, and everything KPMG does is just top class. It has definitely a major vibe to this week.
THE MODERATOR: You won this event back in 2009 under its previous name, and an absolute love for the tournament then. How much have you seen it grow since you became a title holder in 2009 until today?
ANNA NORDQVIST: Yeah, I won it back in 2009, which was my rookie year, and unfortunately we never went back to Bulle Rock, where I won it. But I would say ever since KPMG came in a couple years ago, like the venues that we've gotten to play, it's been incredible. I loved Sahalee and even the last two years and Aronimink this week. It's just everything they've done makes it feel like one of the more -- like the most professional events we play all year. You come here, and this obviously has been a little bit of a struggle this year with the COVID and stuff, and they have so many TV towers and leaderboards, so it definitely -- I feel like it feels the first tournament this year where it just really feels like a major.
Q. I imagine 14 was a really strong birdie. Could you take us through that, and birdieing 16?
ANNA NORDQVIST: 14, yeah. The wind switched a little bit so it was slightly coming down off the left, so it was a great number with a 7-iron. I can't remember, I think it was 167 total. I hit a great shot and carried it perfect, and it rolled out to three feet. That was a great one.
16, I hit a great drive. I had 207 front, 229 pin. Hit my 3-wood in the front left bunker and hit a great bunker shot to probably about eight or nine feet and then made a good putt there.
Q. Have you ever been back to Bulle Rock for kicks?
ANNA NORDQVIST: I have not been back, but it's been on my list for a long time, and I can't wait to go. I don't know why I haven't really taken time to do it, but I will go back there and I know I'm going to love it.
Q. When you think back to that time, which was a while ago, what do you remember about the immediate aftermath in terms of how it changed you as a person?
ANNA NORDQVIST: It was crazy. At that time, I think it was my fifth professional event. I didn't have my full card. And back in 2009 that's just when the financial crisis hit, so I think the LPGA schedule had 22 events. When you don't play with a full status a year like that, it was tough. But it was just a proud moment getting myself into the event because obviously I had to make some cuts and make a little bit of money to move up the leaderboard just to get in.
I remember I teed off first on Thursday morning at like 6:30 or something and then played in the last group on Sunday. That was a big moment because it was questioned whether I should stay in school or leave school, but I followed my heart and went the pro route, and I think winning knowing that I was going to have status on Tour for the next three years, that was huge for me. My game needed to improve to be consistent week in and week out, but just being able to be like independent, obviously the money that I won, all of a sudden I can take care of myself, and like coming to the U.S., coming to college, it was a big step. My dream was to play on Tour. So I felt like when I won there on Sunday, the biggest thing was kind of like getting my status on Tour, which was huge.
Q. Just wondering, are you a leaderboard watcher? Did you know where you were as the afternoon chugged along?
ANNA NORDQVIST: Yeah, usually I like to have a little bit of an idea. I mean, this golf course is so hard, so I feel like you're busy enough trying to focus on your shots and trying to figure out what you're doing. But it was playing tough, and obviously none of the scores really went really low. I saw Jennifer Kupcho had a really good round in the morning. But sometimes I look, sometimes I don't. There's been a lot of tournaments where we haven't had a leaderboard this year, and it's kind of hard not knowing what's going on, so I think I'm more for looking at leaderboards.
Q. And in terms of your game plan, did it change at all yesterday into today or even pre-tournament into the tournament rounds, or have you kind of stuck to the same approach to things over the last couple days?
ANNA NORDQVIST: Well, I'm definitely not one of the longer hitters, and I think this course favors if you have a little bit of distance off the tee just because the fairways are so wide. Just with some of the clubs you're coming into the greens, certain pins you can't go at if you have a 5-iron versus a 7-iron. You just kind of take it how it comes at you. It's definitely been playing a little bit different yesterday and today with the wind.
I was quite worried my first practice round on Monday and I had six hybrids into the holes on the back nine, so it's definitely playing tough.
Q. How many hybrids did you hit in actual competition on the back nine?
ANNA NORDQVIST: Today I think I only had one, which is equal to my 4-iron, on 12.
Q. There was a slow play penalty given to the group in front of you. Did you notice that it was slow?
ANNA NORDQVIST: It's hard because if you're not on your "A" game, you're going to be struggling this week, especially not being able to hit it close. There's going to be a lot of putts from long distance or -- it's hard to play fast I feel like out here just because of all the slopes on the greens and the winds and if you're just a little bit off you're going to leave yourself in tough spots. I feel like we waited probably a little bit more yesterday. Today we got told that the groups ahead were a little bit slow. But I think you're kind of in your bubble out there and you just try to speed up as much as you can, but it's hard to do it because you tend to be pretty far away from the hole.
Q. Knowing how difficult this golf course is, what was your reaction when you saw 65 posted earlier today?
ANNA NORDQVIST: I didn't really think much of it. Obviously it's a great score. I know Jennifer played great last week to finish second. But it's doable. If you make some putts and leave yourself on the right side of the pin, maybe take advantage of those two par-5s -- but it's definitely the best score obviously by far this week, so it's quite impressive.
Q. When did you move to Arizona?
ANNA NORDQVIST: I moved to Arizona last spring.
Q. And how big has that been for you? I know that Arizona felt like home for a long time even though it wasn't home.
ANNA NORDQVIST: Yeah, well, I went to Arizona State University. It always felt like home. I moved to Orlando to work with some coaches and just never really felt like it was the place for me. I've been wanting to move back for years, and just never felt like it was the time for it. I convinced my fiance that we're going to go house shopping, so we went an hour and a half after the Phoenix event in 2019 before we had to get on the plane to Kia Classic. Sure enough, after three or four houses we ended up finding one that we didn't like but then they told us there was another one down the street, so ended up buying it the following day. Yep, so it was quite impulsive, but I guess that's how I like to do it. But I haven't regretted it. It feels like home. It feels amazing to be there. I have so much support, PXG is there, get to practice at Silverleaf and I have a lot of my close friends there and the people I consider my family in the U.S., so it's been huge. I've been loving quarantine and loved being able to spend time in one place.
Q. "Inspire greatness" is one of the tag lines here, and today is Annika Sorenstam's 50th birthday. What has she meant to you as one of the greatest players in this game and a fellow Swede?
ANNA NORDQVIST: Yeah, she's been huge. I started playing golf when I was 13, so that would have been back in, I think, 2000, which was probably her peak year. So being able to grow up and having a role model from Sweden at the top of the world was pretty awesome, and just a lot of inspiration. She's given back quite a bit over the years to Swedish golf, and I've gotten the chance to get to know her pretty well, having her as a Solheim Cup captain and being in Orlando, living close to her, it's been very influential over the years. Happy birthday, Annika.
She retired the year before I came on Tour, so I guess that's the biggest -- that I never got the chance to play with her.
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