It’s rare to feel sorry for a young women’s tour player, but Anna Nordqvist has a rare taste of defeat from the Saudi Ladies International.
The Swedish golfer was beaten by Angelique Kerber in the semi-finals of the tournament in Medina on Friday.
She’d gone into the match needing three wins to become the first Swede to win an LPGA Tour title outside of Europe, but Kerber proved to be too strong, outlasting her at the 17th and closing out a 1&1 win.
“I wasn’t expecting that after the match I had earlier this week, so it’s very surprising and also disappointing,” Nordqvist said. “I had just won my second tournament and won my career championship which made it feel really good about me and maybe let me relax a little bit during the match.”
There’s a chance for her to make up for that loss this weekend, as she’s currently the highest-ranked player in qualifying for the 2019 LPGA Tour season, which starts next month in Hawaii.
“I just try to take it as a whole week and not to get over it,” Nordqvist said. “There’s still a chance that I could advance if I’m in the top 32 and if I can get a first-round bye and be in front of a big field on a fast course, so it’s definitely in the back of my mind but all I can do is try to be mentally ready for the match play.”
Nordqvist’s play this week has had its critics online, with some tweeting about her lack of focus and others writing for the Golf Channel that the LPGA Tour should “get rid of the LPGA Tour”. However, Nordqvist herself seems to have grown and won over some of her sceptics on the course.
“I think that all the comments on Twitter or the Golf Channel, it’s the first time in my career that I actually read those comments,” Nordqvist said. “Honestly, it’s funny, because what I thought to myself is that maybe they’re not aware that I’m doing a lot of positive things for young girls to get back on the tour, and it was really funny because maybe they didn’t understand, maybe they don’t see where I’m going. It’s kind of cool to know that the media picks up on things that I’m doing and knows what I’m doing, and it’s definitely fun to prove people wrong. I try to learn, like, every day.”