Anna Nordqvist wins the 2016 ShopRite LPGA Classic

Closing with a 7-under 64 and finishing at 17-under 196 on a windy Sunday, Swedish professional golfer Anna Nordqvist successfully defended her ShopRite LPGA Classic title. The final round of the tournament took place on June 5, 2016, at The Bay Course in Galloway Township, New Jersey.

 

Nordqvist tied the tournament record that Swedish-American golfer Annika Sörenstam set in 1998 and repeated in 2005. Currently ranked No. 19 in the Rolex Rankings, she secured her sixth career win and became the first player to successfully defend an LPGA title since Inbee Park won the KPMG Women’s PGA championship in 2015, the Korean golfer’s third consecutive victory since 2013.

 

Nordqvist also became the first player to win the ShopRite LPGA Classic back-to-back in the tournament’s entire 28-year history. She told reporters that she feels very special to join the other women who have won on the course, especially because there are so many talented players these days.

 

“I’m very proud of myself for sitting here again,” she said. “Just any time you can win on tour, it’s a special moment. It’s just getting tougher. The competition is getting really tough out there.”

 

The Swedish champion praised the caliber of the competition, noting that though many of the players are young, the performance they deliver is truly remarkable.

 

“There’s just so many good players these days, and at their age of 18 and 19, I wasn’t even close to being as good as they were,” noted Nordqvist, who is turning 29 this year. “I came out on tour in 2009. I was 21, and I can’t believe it’s already my eighth year on tour. I guess I do have a little bit of experience on those girls and hopefully I can use it to my advantage,” she added.

 

All of the previous 14 winners of the 2016 LPGA events were 24 years old or younger, with New Zealand golfer Lydia Ko being the youngest at 18.

 

Japanese player Haru Nomura came in second at this year’s ShopRite LPGA Classic after she finished one stroke behind Nordqvist. The highest-ranked Japanese player in the world had a chance for eagle to tie Nordqvist, but the ball swerved to the left of the hole. She closed with a 66 and finished with a 197.

 

Pro Tips Series: Featuring Lexi Thompson

American golf sensation Lexi Thompson made headlines when, at the age of 12, she became the youngest player ever to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open. Although the record was broken by player Lucy Li in 2014, Lexi went on to become one of the most prominent names in golf today.

In September 2011, she became the youngest-ever winner of an LPGA event when she won the Navistar LPGA Classic. Almost 3 years later, she defeated American player Michelle Wie to win the 2014 Kraft Nabisco Championship, her first major championship.

Read on to learn about some of Lexi’s techniques, which you can use to improve your own game.

 

Close your eyes while putting

In a feature for Golf Magazine online, author James Sieckmann noted how Lexi Thompson struck most of her putts at the 2016 Honda LPGA Thailand with her eyes closed, apparently as a technique to remove the mental clutter that would otherwise have prevented her from doing her best. It may sound like Luke Skywalker using the Force to shoot down the Death Star, but according to Sieckmann, she was actually on to something.

He talked about the “Quiet Eye Technique,” which was first described in a scientific study conducted by researchers at the University of Calgary. They discovered that one of the differences between professional and amateur golfers is that the former have a “quiet gaze” when they putt while the latter don’t. Essentially, when players are closer to the hole, their eyes tend to shift because of distractions—whether it’s worrying about the outcome of their motion, agonizing about the technique they must use, or thinking about other people’s reactions to their shot. By closing your eyes, you become calmer and more focused, putting you in a better position to putt at your best.

 

Improve your hand-eye coordination with boxing

Lexi Thompson revealed in a feature for Golf Digest that boxing is part of her fitness routine with Craig Slaunwhite, the strength and conditioning coach for the Florida Panthers ice hockey team. But aside from keeping her in shape, boxing also allows her to polish her hand-eye coordination, in addition to helping her develop her stamina and making her arms and wrists stronger. “I’m sure it helped me pick up the two wins I got at the end of the 2013 season,” she said.

Boxing is beneficial for golfers because not only does it get them in great shape, it also exercises the same muscles used in golf swings. The sequencing of the muscles being used is quite similar as well, with both boxing and golfing requiring a player to generate the power from the lower body up to the shoulders to make a shot.

 

Jump off your toes to gain distance off the tee

Reviewing Lexi Thompson’s driving technique for the Golf Channel, analyst Paige McKenzie noted how the player’s power not only comes from her big shoulder turn against a small hip turn when making a drive, it also comes from her unique technique of jumping off her toes during the last part of the swing. The result is a lot of power, which helped her achieve a driving distance average of over 290 yards for the 2016 LPGA season in February, outranking all other competition at that time.

Lexi’s extraordinary ability to tee off long distances comes from keeping up with the boys in her family, namely her older brother, Nicholas, who has been a member of both the PGA Tour and the Nationwide Tour, as well as his other older brother, Curtis, who attends the Louisiana University and is a member of the school’s golf team. Last April, she bombed a 359 yards at the Ko Olina Golf Club in Hawaii during the Lotte Championship.

 

Lydia Ko: The Teen Who’s Making Golfing History

Lydia Ko is one of the most recognizable names in the world of golf today. This comes as no surprise, given the fact that the New Zealander professional golfer has been making headlines for her astonishing skill with the game and the exceptional maturity and composure she exhibits on the golf course.

She made history in February 2015, when, at the age of 17 years, she became the world’s youngest Number 1 player, male or female, in the history of professional golf. More than 7 months later, in September 2015, she then proceeded to become the youngest woman to win a major championship when she won the Evian Championship in Évian-les-Bains, France, at the age of 18.  In April 2016, she was once again the talk of the town when she became the youngest player to win 2 major women’s championships after taking home the trophy for the ANA Inspiration tournament in Rancho Mirage, California.

It was in October 2013 when Lydia first announced that she was turning professional, but her stellar career actually began much earlier.

 

Small beginnings

Born in Seoul, South Korea, on April 24, 1997, Lydia first tried her hands at golf at the age of 5. According to a feature by Tourism New Zealand, it was during a vacation in Australia when the young girl was given a 7-iron and putter by her aunt, which she loved playing with. It was a pivotal event in her life, a turning point that jumpstarted her career.

Lydia and her family moved to New Zealand when she was 7 years old. There, she began working with the golf coach Guy Wilson, who oversaw her development until they parted ways in 2013. It was Guy who first recognized her talent and dedication to the sport early on.

 

Hard work and dedication

Lydia credits her parents as the people who have influenced her the most, but the young golfer’s discipline, focus, and intense work ethic certainly played a big part in fueling her success. On her own website, she noted that her passion for golf is driven by her desire to see  amazing results because of her hard work and diligence. “I have to work hard, which sometimes can be boring, but the end result makes me smile,” she said.

And her hard work really did pay off. During her amateur career, she won 4 professional tournaments, including the 2012 CN Canadian Women’s Open (LPGA), the 2012 Bing Lee Samsung Women’s NSW Open (ALPG), the 2013 CN Canadian Women’s Open (LPGA), and the 2013 ISPS Handa New Zealand Women’s Open  (LET and ALPG).

So impressive was Lydia’s record of being a back-to-back LPGA Tour champion that in October of 2013, when she turned professional at the age of 16, LPGA commissioner Mike Whan granted her membership for the 2014 season, waiving the organization’s requirement of new members being at least 18 years of age when they join.

At present, Lydia ranks first in the Women’s World Golf Rankings. Her most recent spectacular win at the 2016 ANA Inspiration made her the youngest two-time major winner (male or female) since Young Tom Morris, who secured the record in 1869. Her total career earnings currently stand at almost $6 million.