Anna Nordqvist couldn’t help but laugh when she thought about the last time she competed in the AIG Women’s Open at Carnoustie Golf Links.
It was 2011. Nordqvist held the first tee time for that first round at 6:15 am local time. She was grouped with Caroline Masson and Sophia Popov. Nordqvist’s then mental trainer, Ken Lindahl, appeared in the third round in a pair of golf shoes and Nordqvist finished week T-7.
“I love Carnoustie, it’s a great place, a good golf course,” said Nordqvist after the third round on Saturday. “I’ve only played it a few times, but every time I go it’s just a treat.”
A treat is probably not the way most players would describe the third round of the AIG Women’s Open in Carnoustie. It was the first day of the week when the course really worked its way out in rain and wind.
But it didn’t get Nordqvist into the stage. After all, she won her second major championship in a hailstorm at the 2017 Amundi Evian Championship for 23rd in a share of the 54-hole lead with Nanna Körstz Madsen.
“We thought it would probably rain a lot more today than it used to be, so we took a good break,” said Nordqvist. “But overall Scotland has been pretty nice to us this week and we’ll see what it brings us tomorrow.”
Nordqvist has been largely absent from major championships since their 2017 win. Last year she made changes to her gear that resulted in only two top 10 finishes this season. Last week Nordqvist played in Scotland in a tune-up for the windy conditions she would face at Carnoustie. She went happy with her T-12 finish and felt that her game was getting back into shape.
“I feel like the past few weeks have been solid. I just didn’t make as many putts or goals as I played, ”explained Nordqvist. “I feel like my caddy just told me to be patient.”
This patience paid off on Saturday, because Nordqvist positioned himself not only for her third major title, but also for a possible place in the European Solheim Cup team. Nordqvist has been a member of every European team since her rookie year 2009. The teams for the 2021 Solheim Cup will be determined after the championship is over, and Nordqvist needs a strong finish to give itself a chance. It currently ranks 54th on the Rolex rankings.
The four best-placed Europeans get a place in the team. She is currently eighth.
“Playing at the Solheim Cup is the highlight of my career,” said Nordqvist. “I was lucky enough to have made six and I keep my fingers crossed that I can do one more. At the moment I’m not automatically ranked in the world, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed for a selection. “
Nordqvist’s veteran status as a six-time member of Team Europe could be all it takes to earn one of Catriona Matthew’s six captaincy tips.
Either way, Nordqvist has a lot to offer on Sunday.
“You just never know when your hard work will pay off,” said Nordqvist. “You have to go ahead and get into positions and all I can do tomorrow is go out there and try to get the best lap I can.”