It’s only been a week since Nanna Koerstz Madsen finally broke through, winning the Honda LPGA Thailand after making an eagle to beat Xiyu Lin on the second playoff hole, and the victory still tastes sweet at this week’s JTBC Classic presented by Barbasol in Carlsbad, Calif. Madsen has come close a few times before but never seemed to be able to close it out, falling just short of the finish line on more than one occasion. Because of that, this victory is extra special for the Rolex First-Time Winner, but it’s even more so considering what it means for her home country of Denmark.
“I'm pretty back down to earth. It's been a good week,” said the 27-year-old who currently ranks second in average driving distance through four events on the LPGA Tour (282.15). “It's been really wonderful with all the messages and the media back home in Denmark as well. But now I'm ready to just continue. It is nice getting that first win off your back. It's been a while where I've had a struggle closing it, so I'm excited that now I have that win to see how I'm going to react next time I'm in that situation. I liked being in the playoff with Janet. It was cool. I was just thinking that I still have the chance of winning.
“It's been something I’ve been dreaming about for a very long time, especially the last few years being out here on the LPGA. That's what you play for every week, what you practice for every day. It's very big for Denmark as well. It's the first time either a boy or girl has won on the PGA or LPGA. It's been very exciting for Denmark too.”
As she turns the page to Aviara Golf Club and after taking a few days off to celebrate the win, Madsen feels like she’s in good form heading into this week. Like the rest of the field, she’ll be paying close attention to the Poa annua greens that make this golf course a challenge, especially considering it’s a grass with which she’s not familiar. Madsen ranks fourth in greens in regulation at 80.34% so she’s sure to be putting plenty and hopes that a different strategy will prove beneficial when play starts tomorrow.
“I'm from Denmark where we only play on Bentgrass and I moved to Florida where it's Bermuda grass, so I don't practice too much on Poa annua,” she said. “You don't know if it's going to drop or not. You can hit a good putt and you might be unlucky, get a bad bounce or bad break. As long as you can stay patient with the greens, I think that's a good thing. I have had issues with the greens here before. I've actually played some pretty solid golf from tee to green here so I'm hopeful I can go in with a different mindset on the greens than I have before.”