Anna Nordqvist takes Saudi Ladies Open victory for third win of the season

• Swede held on for a one-stroke victory • ‘It was the perfect, perfect weekend,’ she says

Anna Nordqvist continued her fine form at the Saudi Ladies International with a one-stroke victory over America’s Stacy Lewis.

Nordqvist, back to her best since returning from a knee injury, carded seven birdies and no bogeys to finish with a 10-under-par 62 on Sunday to finish on 19-under at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club in Riyadh.

Nordqvist became the first player to win three times on the Ladies European Tour this season with her latest triumph and ninth overall.

With a growing emphasis on women’s events by the Jeddah Ladies Golf Club since 2009, Nordqvist had three wins in as many starts to open up a five-shot lead over second-placed Lewis.

The 24-year-old Swede birdied the opening two holes before Lewis turned up the heat with six birdies in a row. After the American birdied No 7 to reduce her deficit to one, Nordqvist birdied 10, 12 and 16 to restore her five-shot cushion before Lewis again cut the deficit with a birdie on the next hole.

Lewis put her chances of making the FedEx Cup playoffs and a chance at defending her title on the LPGA Tour in jeopardy by striking her drive out of bounds into a forest on the par-five 15th. Lewis clawed one back with a birdie on 17 but could not make the birdie putt to catch Nordqvist at 19-under.

“It was the perfect, perfect weekend,” Nordqvist said after her win on Sunday. “Today I really hit the ball well. It’s really nice to be back to playing good golf.”

The US Women’s Open champion, Lydia Ko, came through the field to finish third, four shots back on 17-under after a round of 67.

Defending champion Lorie Kane of Canada struggled to a closing 71 to card a 72-hole total of 19-under for a tie for fourth, alongside English player Charley Hull (70) on 17-under.

In the men’s event, former world No1 Tiger Woods, after back-to-back runner-up finishes, closed with a one-under 71 to take a share of fourth place, alongside Stewart Cink and Thongchai Jaidee on 11-under.

Woods collected two birdies and a bogey on Sunday to finish at 279 on the Khola Resort’s Swala Course. The American trailed co-leaders Sergio Garcia and Ross Fisher by four shots overnight before a six-birdie, two-bogey opening round.

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