Anna Nordqvist will face current world No 1 Brooke Henderson at the start of the fourth round of the Bancorp Saudi International, the LPGA’s inaugural in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Nordqvist (4 under, +2) won her second women’s title of the season at the Women’s British Open in July and returns to Royal Greens in the same tournament as a chance to extend her lead in the Race to CME Globe.
She enters the competition aiming to become the fourth player in LPGA history to reach $10m in career earnings and face Henderson in the final round.
Nordqvist is chasing her first LPGA victory in Saudi Arabia, but knows the result will have little meaning if her key compatriot Morgan Pressel does not gain her first major win.
“Morgan is playing great,” Nordqvist said. “I wish her all the best because she’s worked so hard to get where she is today. It would be awesome to see her win a major championship in Saudi Arabia, so it would be great to play her too.
“I’m looking forward to it. I have played in a few tournaments with Brooke here, it’s been exciting. But really, I’m looking forward to just playing my game, which is all I’m focused on.”
The night before the tournament Pressel withdrew with what she described as a foot injury, and Nordqvist was quick to criticise the local organisers for not letting players prepare for matches prior to the first round.
“They had a group of us out there practising on Wednesday, which I think wasn’t a great idea,” Nordqvist said. “I think the course is in good shape, but it’s been a little bit muddy out there, and there’s some sand on the greens.
“Everyone is still new to the course so I don’t think we could have practiced on Thursday. But I think it’s a good layout. Everyone could practice tomorrow. I’m just going to try and not think about it, just try and play my best and have fun.”
Nordqvist’s pursuit of her own major comes at a crucial time in her career and, by holding on to the No 1 spot in the standings, shows she is making a move forward as she moves closer to the dominance of Se Ri Pak who broke through in 1993.
She said: “I feel like every time I step on the course I do well. I feel like if I play my game I feel like I have a great chance, and that’s what I need to do.”