Defying driving rain and hail in a playoff, Anna Nordqvist beat unheralded American Brittany Altomare at the first extra hole to win the Evian Championship on Sunday in Evains-les-Baines, France.
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 US 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.”
Nordqvist and Altomare both shot 66 for 9-under totals of 204. It was a 54-hole event after weather-affected play on Thursday was scrapped.
Second-round leader Moriya Jutanugarn of Thailand and two-time major winner Lydia Ko of New Zealand fell out of the playoff by dropping shots on the 18th.
Jutanugarn (72) and Ko (69) finished in a tie for third with Katherine Kirk of Australia, whose 70 included bogeys at the 16th and 17th as the chilling rain fell.
Nordqvist’s victory ensured 10 different major winners in the last two seasons.
Last year, Nordqvist lost a playoff for the U.S. Women’s Open after a rules violation on the second extra hole — for touching sand with her club in a fairway bunker — was relayed to her on the next hole. Brittany Lang of the U.S. won that major title.
Victory seemed far away when Nordqvist dropped two shots early in her round to fall seven behind Jutanugarn.
“Winning didn’t really come into my mind,” the 12th-ranked winner said, until making three birdies and an eagle-3 between the 12th and 16th holes.
Jutanugarn was seeking to follow her younger sister Ariya, the 2016 Women’s British Open winner, as the first siblings ever to each win a women’s major title. Ariya, who missed the cut, walked with her sister for…