CARLSBAD -- Anna Nordqvist rallied to win the Kia Classic on Sunday at Aviara Resort for her second victory in her last four LPGA Tour starts.
Two strokes behind leaders Cristie Kerr and Lizette Salas entering the round, Nordqvist closed with her second consecutive five-under 67 for a one-stroke victory over Salas.
"I'm very excited. I still can't believe it," Nordqvist said. "I was a couple of shots back going into today, but this morning I told myself to give it a shot and I ended up making quite of bit of birdies out there. I'm very excited to have two wins this season."
The 26-year-old Swede won the LPGA Thailand last month to end a five-year victory drought, holding off top-ranked Inbee Park. In 2009, Nordqvist won the LPGA Championship and LPGA Tour Championship.
Projected to jump from 16th to ninth in the world, Nordqvist finished at 13-under 275 and earned $255,000. She two-putted for par on the par-four 18th.
"My hands were shaking a little, I'm not going to lie," Nordqvist said. "You never know with the sun setting you see every little spike mark. So I tried not to focus on that and see the hole."
The Kraft Nabisco, the first major tournament of the year, is next week in Rancho Mirage.
"I really love the majors," Nordqvist said. "It's a tougher setup on course and I feel more pressure, more spotlight on the tournament and I like that. I like the test and it seems like it is going to be pretty windy next week, which will make it tougher. I'm very happy with the way I'm playing and can't wait to tee it up."
Salas birdied the 18th for a 70.
"I'm going to put this in the back of my mind, but know I can make putts down the stretch," Salas said.
The former USC player is winless on the LPGA Tour.
"Obviously, I can't control what Anna does," she said. "She's been playing awesome this year and already had a win, congrats to her. That's just golf. Sometimes things go your way and sometimes they don't. Luckily, I finished with a birdie on a good note, and off to the Kraft."
Nordqvist, who played at Arizona State, made a short birdie putt on the par-four first hole and had birdies on the par-five eighth and par-four ninth to make the turn at 11 under. She birdied the par-four 13th, par-three 14th and par-four 16th before dropping a stroke on the par-five 17th.
Lexi Thompson was third at 11 under after a 68 and Chella Choi was another stroke back after a 69. Kerr closed with a 73 to finish fifth at nine under.
Park, preparing for her title defense next week at Mission Hills, had a 68 to join third-ranked Stacy Lewis (71), Se Ri Pak (69) and Eun-Hee Ji (71) at eight under.
Laura Diaz had a hole in one for the second consecutive day to become the second player in LPGA Tour history to make two aces in a tournament.
Diaz aced the par-three third hole Saturday in the third round and aced the par-three sixth Sunday, a shot she followed with an eagle on the par-four seventh. She had an eagle Saturday on the par-five fifth.
Jenny Lidback is the only other player with two aces in an event, accomplishing the feat in the 1997 Tournament of Champions.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times