Anna Nordqvist shows tremendous grit with opening 65 at CME after ex-husband’s sudden death

NAPLES, Fla. – There are 65s, and then there’s Anna Nordqvist’s 65 at the CME Group Tour Championship. It wasn’t about the golf, though that was excellent, it was the effort it took to get there after what’s been a nightmarish run off the golf course.

In August, Nordqvist revealed on Instagram that she and Kevin McAlpine were in the process of a divorce. Last month, McAlpine’s father Hamish confirmed to The Courier that his son had died suddenly at age 39. McAlpine was a caddie for a number of players on the LPGA after first starting with Lexi Thompson at the 2017 Women’s British Open at Kingsbarns.

“I’m not doing very well,” Nordqvist told the media after her round in Naples. “It’s been a lot of the ups and downs, just trying to fight.”

Nordqvist, 36, decided two Sundays ago that she would play the last two events on the LPGA schedule in Florida. She worked with her coach in Arizona the weekend before The Annika and could only hit three balls during her lesson before she was out of breath.

Two days prior, her head was spinning so much during practice she thought she was going to faint.

“The fact that I made it through four rounds last week,” said Nordqvist, “I was very proud of myself. Just felt like a victory teeing it up.”

Solheim Cup captain Suzann Pettersen and her husband came out to the 18th green at Tiburon Golf Club to offer support. On Monday Nordqvist, who trails leaders Running Yin and Nasa Hataoka by two, had dinner with her Solheim Cup partner, Leona Maguire. Those small gestures have meant much to Nordqvist.

“Anna is probably one of the strongest people I know,” said Maguire. “She’s been through a lot and handled it with a lot more grace than a lot of people would’ve.”

2023 Solheim Cup fans
2023 Solheim Cup fans

Anna Nordqvist of Team Europe interacts with young fans during practice prior to the Solheim Cup at Finca Cortesin Golf Club on Sept. 20, 2023 in Casares, Spain. (Photo: Angel Martinez/Getty Images)

Nordqvist has an old friend and caddie on the bag in Jason Gilroyed, and she’s staying with a local family that has welcomed her in recent years.

The three-time major winner said her body has never been the same since she was diagnosed with mononucleosis in 2017. She loves to practice but is finding her limits, especially during this emotionally difficult time.

“Definitely mentally being exhausted, my mind is not there,” she said. “Couple weeks ago, I think I hit a nine-foot putt like six feet by and missed that. It’s just tough when your head is not there. It’s really hard to play. You just don’t recognize yourself.”

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek