EVIAN-LES-BAINS, FRANCE – Retiring former world No. 1 Ai Miyazato was unable to go out with a coveted major title on Sunday at the Evian Championships, the last women’s major of the season.
Ayako Uehara finished 10th in the event, which was won by Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist, who prevailed in a playoff with American Brittany Altomare, to claim her second major crown and eighth win overall on the U.S. LPGA tour. Nordqvist and Altomare each shot a 5-under-par 66 on Sunday for a three-day total of 9-under 204.
Miyazato had two birdies against four bogeys and finished at 1-over 214 and in a tie for 32nd along with fellow Japanese Harukyo Nomura, who shot three birdies and four bogeys, and others.
A nine-time winner on the LPGA tour, Miyazato never claimed a major title. Her two wins at Evian came before it was upgraded to a major in 2013.
On the 18th green, Miyazato holed a short par putt then was greeted greenside by Gary Player, who presented a bouquet of pink roses.
“When I see all my friends behind the 18th green it almost makes me cry, so I tried not to watch them,” said the 32-year-old Miyazato.
Uehara, 33, began the final round one shot behind overnight leader Moriya Jutanugarn of Thailand, and was looking to claim her first victory on the tour, but had a lackluster day, rolling in one birdie against three bogeys and a double bogey for a 75 that gave her a 54-hole total of 4-under 209.
“I gave it all I had and this is the outcome,” said Uehara, who had a superb second round of 66 on Saturday but could not maintain the momentum. “It was a tough (final) round . . . I have to practice more.”
Nordqvist beat Altomare at the first extra hole to win the rain-soaked event.
Nordqvist took the fifth and final major of the season by sinking a 4-foot putt for a bogey 5 on the soaked 18th hole while the 102nd-ranked Altomare had a six.
Course workers removed pools of standing water from the 18th green as the players approached the putting surface after their third shots. The par-4 hole played long all afternoon and was near-treacherous for the playoff.
“I am from Sweden and I’m freezing,” said Nordqvist, who was confined to bed for two weeks in July by a bout of mononucleosis. “I feel like I’m pretty used to bad conditions and that was probably some of the worst I’ve seen.”
The 30-year-old Nordqvist earned $547,500 for the win, her first major since the 2009 LPGA Championship.
Altomare got $340,000 for only her second career top-10 finish, three weeks after she secured a third-place tie at the Portland Classic.
“It’s really big,” the 26-year-old Massachusetts native said. “I had a good week in Portland . . . and I felt like I could now start getting some good finishes.”
It was a 54-hole event after weather-affected play on Thursday was scrapped.