Nordqvist fires 67 to take down Kia Classic

CARLSBAD (CNS) – Anna Nordqvist fired her second consecutive five-under-par 67 Sunday to win the $1.7 million Kia Classic at the Park Hyatt Aviara Golf Resort in Carlsbad by one shot over former USC standout Lizette Salas.

Nordqvist was among four golfers who began the round two shots behind the co-leaders after the third round, Cristie Kerr and Salas.

Nordqvist sank a five-foot putt for a birdie on the first hole, and added birdies on the eighth and ninth holes. She extended her lead to two shots with a birdie on the par-4 13th hole and to three shots on the par-3 14th, both with short putts.

Nordqvist parred each of her final four holes to finish the tournament at 13-under-par 275.

Salas, who was seeking her first LPGA Tour victory, had pars on each of her first 12 holes, a bogey on the 13th and birdies on the 14th, 16th and 18th holes for a round of two-under-par 70.

“It feels good to have that finish after nine straight pars,” said Salas who was raised in Azusa and earned $155,874 for finishing second. “The putts just wouldn't roll in.”

Salas called her finish “definitely a big confidence booster.”

Lexi Thompson shot a four-under-68 to finish third at 11-under-par 273.

Kerr shot a one-over-par 73 to finish fifth at nine-under-par 275.

Nordqvist, a native of Sweden who played at Arizona State standout, earned $255,000 and a 2015 Kia K900, the automaker's first luxury sedan, for her fourth victory on the LPGA Tour and second this season.

“I'm very excited,” Nordqvist said. “Just still can't believe it. I was a couple shots back going into today and just told myself to give it a shot.”

Before winning the Honda LPGA Thailand in February, Nordqvist had not won since 2009, her rookie season. In 2013, she had 15 top 15 finishes, but never finished above third.

“My game has been very consistent the last two years, but I haven't been winning since the end of 2009,” Nordqvist said. “Doesn't matter if you're very consistent and always up there. The question is always going to be, `When are you going to win again?' So you're going to think about it and question yourself if you have what it takes to win again.”

Heading into this season, Nordqvist hired a new coach, Jorge Parada, and changed her equipment and clothing suppliers.

“He's a really positive person and really motivated me in practice,” said Nordqvist, who began the tournament by shooting a one-over-par 73, tying for 58th. “I'm so excited to see what I've been working on is starting to pay off.”

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