March 25, 2015 / 6:34 PM / 3 years ago

Happy return for holder Nordqvist to Kia Classic

(Reuters) - For a second time this year, Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist will get the chance to defend an LPGA Tour title at the same venue when she tees off in Thursday’s opening round of the Kia Classic in Carlsbad, California.

Anna Nordqvist of Sweden watches her shot off the 15th tee during the third round of the Dubai Ladies Masters December 12, 2014. REUTERS/Caren Firouz

Nordqvist is a four-times champion on the circuit but did not return as reigning champion to the sites where she claimed her first two wins, the 2009 McDonald’s LPGA Championship and the 2009 LPGA Tour Championship.

However, that changed in February when the Swede traveled to Chonburi in Thailand for her title defense at the Honda LPGA Thailand.

“It seems like in the past a lot of the courses I’ve won on, we moved away,” Nordqvist told reporters while preparing for the final event LPGA event before next week’s ANA Inspiration, the opening women’s major of the year.

“I won Jamaica. We didn’t have that any more.”

Nordqvist clinched the unofficial Mojo 6 in Jamaica in 2010 but the event did not feature on the LPGA schedule for 2011.

“Thailand, yeah, I did come back to the same place and it just brings back a lot of good memories,” said the Swede. “The atmosphere is obviously great, and you start to remember things from last year.”

Nordqvist tied for 13th on her title defense in Thailand and has since posted consecutive top-10 finishes to give herself good momentum heading into Aviara Golf Club for the Kia Classic.

”I feel like my game’s been pretty solid, I just haven’t really putted very well,“ said the 27-year-old Swede. ”I hit the ball great in Thailand, just couldn’t make any putts, and Singapore was the same thing, it felt like.

”Last week early on, I hit the ball pretty good, just couldn’t make any putts and then Sunday a couple of them started to drop and all of a sudden I shot a low score.

“So I feel my game is pretty solid. I feel like I‘m working good things and have great people around me ... it’s just a matter of staying patient and letting it happen.”

A top-notch field headed by New Zealand’s world number one Lydia Ko has assembled at Aviara with every player ranked in the top 10, and 42 of the top 50, ready to compete.

Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue

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