Leona Maguire rallied with three birdies in a bogey-free back-nine to post a final round 71 as Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist lay claim to the AIG Women’s Open at Carnoustie, the last Major on this year’s golfing calendar.
Cavan professional Maguire would’ve retained small hope of mounting a title bid but saw her ambitions swiftly crushed in a disappointing bogey-bogey start on Sunday.
Maguire traded two more bogeys with two birdies to make the turn in 38 but in typical fashion, she fought to the very end, finding birdies at 11, 13 and 14 to race to the clubhouse in 33 for a six-under par tally and a rock-solid tie for 13th, her place now looking all but assured on Europe’s Solheim Cup team after a superb season.
13th in the last major of the year ✅ Gave it everything I had but the putter just didn’t heat up enough this week. @carnoustiegolf was a class venue & can’t thank @AIGinsurance enough for their incredible support of women’s golf! Congrats to @ANordqvist on a great win! ?? pic.twitter.com/3KZKXAwEFm
— Leona Maguire (@leona_maguire) August 22, 2021
“I felt like a played really solid golf,” Maguire reflected. “To go bogey-free around Carnoustie on Friday, I was definitely really happy with that. I felt like I played great all week, I just didn’t hole my fair share of putts. It could have been a lot better but all-in-all, very happy with the week.”
Castlewarden amateur Lauren Walsh finish just outside the top-40, signing off on a brilliant first Major experience with a two-under 70 for a one-over par total.
However, it was all about Nordqvist on the day, the Swede’s final round three-under 69 getting the job done at Carnoustie and earning her a third Major title having claimed her last, which also happened to be her last Tour win, some 1,435 days ago.
Nordqvist was level with Denmark’s Nanna Koerstz Madsen on the closing hole and the 34-year-old’s solid par-4 was good enough to triumph as her playing partner slipped to a double bogey. Nordqvist, who won the Women’s PGA Championship in 2009 and the Evian Championship in 2017, celebrated with her husband, Kevin McAlpine, who hails from Dundee.
“I’ve been waiting for this win for a while (first win since 2017). There have been a lot of downs and hard times so this makes it feel even sweeter. I could only dream of winning the AIG Women’s Open.
“I obviously played really solid in the beginning today. I hit a great hybrid in there on the sixth to two-putt for birdie. I managed to get the round going.
“I feel like things have been coming together. I saw a lot of good things coming last year and a lot of good things happening this year. To be able to get things clicking, I felt like last week at the Scottish Open I played really well. I hit the ball really well in that wind so I think that was a confidence boost for me. There’s just something about golf that keeps driving me.”
England’s Georgia Hall, the 2018 Champion, Lizette Salas from the USA and another Swede, Madelene Sagstrom, all finished tied second on 11-under-par. Koerstz Madsen had to settle for a share of fifth place with Minjee Lee from Australia on 10-under-par.
Nordqvist, a past winner of the R&A Girls’ and Women’s Amateur championships, ignited her final-day success with three birdies in four holes from the sixth before a key par-3 save at the testing 16th.
A host of challengers mounted their bid on a star-studded leaderboard during a dramatic final day at the Angus venue, most notably Hall who eagled both the 6th and 12th holes in her 67. Salas, the runner-up in 2019, also had a chance on the 18th to reach 12-under-par but just missed.
It was Nordqvist’s day, as she claimed the winner’s cheque of $870,000 as part of the new largest prize fund in women’s major championship golf.
Coming out on top of the international field of 144 players, which contained as many as 32 nationalities, Nordqvist lifted the iconic trophy in front of the delighted Carnoustie crowds.
With the fans enjoying glorious spells of afternoon sunshine – total attendance for the week was 28,758 – Louise Duncan shone to claim the prestigious Smyth Salver for leading amateur.
Ahead of her Curtis Cup debut at Conwy in Wales next week, the Scot raised hopes of a title challenge after making a birdie on the first to sit one off the lead. In the end, the 21-year-old had to settle for a level-par round of 72 and a tie for 10th place on seven-under-par, which secures her return for the 2022 AIG Women’s Open at Muirfield.
Duncan joins an impressive roll of honour to claim the Smyth Salver, including Major champions Michelle Wie West (2005), Nordqvist (2008), Danielle Kang (2011), Lydia Ko (2012, 2013) and
- Full scoring HERE