Anna Nordqvist is relishing the prospect of having her own Scottish fan club in next month’s Solheim Cup at Gleneagles after securing a sixth successive appearance in the biennial event.
Along with Dutch player Anne van Dam, it was mission accomplished for the Swedepictured, as she did enough in the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open, the final counting event, to hang on to an automatic spot in the European team.
“Nice to get it out of the way,” said the 32-year-old, who had gone into the tournament at The Renaissance Club only 0.01 points ahead of Frenchwoman Celine Boutier in the world standings in the battle to make Catriona Matthew’s side.
A closing 70 did the trick as Nordqvist ended in a tie for 13th on nine under par, four shots ahead of Boutier, who will almost certainly be among the four picks announced by the European captain at Gleneagles this afternoon.
“I know it was close between Celine and myself and I feel pretty good now,” added Nordqvist, who picked up three and a half points in Des Moines two years ago, including a halve in an epic singles match with Lexi Thompson.
Caddying for Thompson that day was former Scottish Amateur champion Kevin McAlpine, who was Nordqvist’s boyfriend at the time and is now engaged to her, the wedding having been set for Scotland next summer.
“Yes, especially having a Scottish fiancée,” she said of being able to bank on some home support during the three-day match in Perthshire, where she paid a visit last week for a game at McAlpine’s home club. “I’ve been over here quite a lot. In fact, we played Alyth last Monday, Royal Alyth [laughing].”
McAlpine’s father Hamish is the legendary Dundee United goalkeeper and she added: “I’m well aware of his dad’s footballing career. He [Hamish] is quite a good golfer, but Kevin and himself lost last Monday!”
Needing a top-ten finish to secure her spot, Van Dam tied for sixth to also join English pair Charley Hull and Georgia Hall, Spanish duo Carlota Ciganda and Azahara Munoz, Germany’s Caroline Masson and Nordqvist’s fellow Swede, Caroline Hedwall, in locking down automatic berths for the 13-15 September encounter.