SWEDEN’S Anna Nordqvist has rocketed to the top of the leaderboard at the LPGA’s Founders Cup with a blistering third round 61 in the Arizona desert. The 29-year-old set a new record for the Wildfire Club course on her way to a two shot lead over World Number Two Ariya Jutanugarn and former champion Stacey Lewis.
Nordqvist made nine birdies and an eagle on the par-72 layout to move 12 places up the standings and give herself a chance at a seventh LPGA Tour title.
In a tournament which has seen its fair share of good scoring for the week Nordqvist, who attended nearby Arizona University as an amateur, said good vibes were as much a part of her round three play as anything.
“They always say that home is where the heart is, and my heart is definitely still here,” she said. “I always say I'm a west coast girl and people remind me I'm from Sweden. But even though I live in Florida now, this definitely feels like home.
ANNA NORDQVIST NOMINATES HER FAVOURITE CLUB:
“ASU here and Missy Kaye being the coach now, the team support. My sponsor's here. I have family and friends here, or seemed like family.
“So I was staying with friends this week. It's just been a fun week. It's been busy first week back in the U.S., but just always feel special coming back here. I wish I could more often.
“Definitely have a big smile on my face this week.”
Nordqvist wasn’t the only high profile player making a move Saturday, World Number One Lydia Ko posting a 9-under 63 early in the day.
Ko, twice a runner-up at the Founders Cup, said yesterday she would need to play two special rounds to contend after a pedestrian start and delivered one of them thanks to six straight birdies to finish.
“I don't know if I've had that string of birdies in a row before,” Ko said after jumping 33 places up the standings and into the top 10.
“I just hit it really close and I was able to get home for two on 11. I was putting really well, making a good par putt on 12. I had like a foot on 13.
“So, yeah, I obviously was rolling it good. No matter how long the putt is, you always got to put a good stroke on it.”
Leading Australian Sarah jane Smith fired her third consecutive sub-par round but dropped a shot at the 18th hole for the second straight day.
Her 4-under 68 included two bogeys though the Queenslander continues to impress with her improved play of the last 12 months.
Also showing signs of a return to better form is Katherine Kirk who signed for a 6-under 66 on day three to move to 12-under and a share of 25th place.
Two time champion Karrie Webb signed for a 2-under 70 Saturday and is ina share of 45th place with 18 holes to play.