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By Ben Parsons at Carnoustie
Anna Nordqvist revelled in the ‘most special’ moment of her career after coming out on top in a Scandinavian shootout to claim her maiden AIG Women’s Open title on a dramatic final day at Carnoustie.
Sweden’s Nordqvist held her nerve to par the last and secure her third major win by a single shot following a final round 69.
Home hope Georgia Hall, fellow Swede Madelene Salstrom and gutsy American Lizette Salas all finished one behind.
Hall’s superb five-under 67 including two eagles was in vain, while Salstrom and Salas both came up short with valiant efforts.
Nordqvist was tied at 12-under with Nanna Koerstz Madsen going down the last, but experience prevailed as the 34-year-old carded a cool four and her Danish partner crumbled with a closing six.
Victory on the Angus coast is Nordqvist’s first triumph since her last major, the Evian Championship in 2017.
And Nordqvist has described the win as the best moment of her accomplished 12-year professional career.
She said: “It just seemed so unreal,” she said after walking off 18. “Just to have a little tap in for the win, I couldn’t have asked for anymore.
“This is the most special (major). It’s taken me a couple years and I’ve fought so hard and questioned whether I was doing the right things.
“Also, knowing my caddie, Paul (Cormack), he's been working so hard and I really wanted to do it for him, too."
— AIG Women’s Open (@AIGWomensOpen) August 22, 2021
Classy Nordqvist carded just one bogey in her final round, capitalising on Saturday’s excellence where she soared into a tie for the lead with a flawless 65.
There was a stage where the Solheim Cup player wondered whether she would return to the pinnacle of the game due to a long battle with illness after contracting glandular fever in 2017. But she has never given up on her dream of adding another major title to her list of honours.
“There's just something about golf that keeps driving me,” she added. “I hate losing probably more than I like winning.
"I think all the controversy and all the downs, and having my caddie and husband there pushing me every day being a rock; I hate to give up.”
Meanwhile, amateur Louise Duncan carded a closing level-par 72 to end a magical week with a top 10 finish in her first professional event.
The 21-year-old Stirling University student secured the Smith Salver award for the lowest amateur by eight shots and received the loudest cheers of the day at Carnoustie.
“I thought I would crumble a wee bit but seemed to hold my nerve out there and played well the last day which is ultimately my goal,” Duncan said. “I feel a bit mind blown as if it's not actually happened yet.
“So maybe it will take a couple weeks to sink in. I Feel over the moon with how I played and how I handled it.”