Featured Golf News
Pettersen Logs Second Straight Win
Suzann Pettersen closed with a 3-under 69 to overtake 54-hole leader Inbee Park and win the Taiwan Championship for her second title in two weeks. The $2 million LPGA Tour event took place at Sunrise Golf & Country Club in Yang Mei, Taiwan.
Pettersen finished at 19-under 269, three strokes ahead of Park, who could only muster a 74 on Sunday. Defending champion and gallery favorite Yani Tseng took third at 273 after shooting a 71.
One week ago, Pettersen won the HanaBank Championship in South Korea. That title was worth $270,000, and the latest earned the 31-year-old Norwegian $300,000.
Pettersen felt that being two strokes behind before teeing off in the final round was an advantage. "I was kind of happy I was in the position I was after yesterday, coming from behind, being a little bit of an underdog, knowing that they predicted tougher conditions, and I think that was just right up my alley," she said.
"It was tough enough to where I managed to keep my focus on my game trying to execute every shot, and it kind of took the pressure off me. So I guess the conditions kind of helped me today, and it was obviously great playing with Yani and Inbee in the last group. It was a good battle out there." (See below for her full post-round interview.)
Park believed her downfall was the result of misfortunes on Sunrise's greens. "I think I almost played perfect for first three days," Park told reporters. "I mean I try to take the positive out of this week's game. Today I hit the ball good, I think. Just putts just didn't fall. I mean I holed a lot of putts the last three days, so I guess today was just unlucky day, and just try to take the things from this week and go on to next week."
Tseng, who got off to a hot start this season with three victories in the first two months, has tailed off since then. She was looking for a little home cooking this week in her native Taiwan, but couldn't quite pull off another win. Despite that, she had a good time during her return home. "I really enjoyed this week to coming back home and play the LPGA tournament here," she said.
"So many fans out here to cheer for me and to give me 100 percent support, so I really, really appreciate that. So I can't wait to come back next year to play well. I know I didn't finish where I wanted to, but it's getting better and I think it's getting better slowly, so I'm very happy what I play right now. I always have something that I can improve on like every day, so I'm very happy to see my game right now and feel very confident and going to play Japan next week, so hopefully I'll have a good week, too."
Scotland's Catriona Matthew ended up in fourth at 274 after closing with a 70, while another four strokes back was South Korean So Yeon Ryu (68). Cristie Kerr (73) and Sweden's Anna Nordqvist (71) shared sixth at 279.
For all the scores, visit http://www.lpgascoring.com/public/Leaderboard.aspx.
After signing her scorecard, Pettersen sat down with reporters and discussed her second straight victory on the LPGA Tour.
MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome the 2012 Sunrise LPGA Taiwan champion, Suzann Pettersen into the interview room. Congratulations. Second straight victory in as many weeks on the LPGA Tour. It's gotta feel pretty special for you.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Well, today was I was kind of happy I was in the position I was after yesterday, coming from behind, being a little bit of an underdog, knowing that they predicted tougher conditions, and I think that was just right up my alley. It was tough enough to where I managed to keep my focus on my game trying to execute every shot, and it kind of took the pressure off me. So I guess the conditions kind of helped me today, and it was obviously great playing with Yani and Inbee in the last group. It was a good battle out there.
MODERATOR: As you were talking about, it was quite a back and forth battle between you and Inbee over the front nine and at the start of the back nine, too. She talked about how the 13th hole she felt was a turning point when she wasn't able to make birdie and you made that nice par putt on the par 5. What do you think was the biggest swing, and where did you kind of start to feel momentum maybe going your way?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: You know what, I really paid no attention to either Yani or Inbee's game today. I really tried to stick to my own game plan, sticking to my own bubble. I played my own game, tried not to kind of do stupid mistakes, errors that would cost me too much. Really tried to play within my margins, be aggressive when I could, play the percentage that was kind of needed. I felt when I made the putt on 15 I felt pretty comfortable. That was the first time I kind of let my head go a fraction ahead. And knowing the 16 was a tough par 3 I couldn't really think about it too much longer.
Well, teeing off on 18 with a two shot lead, hitting the fairway I felt pretty good. My wedge game has been great all week, and knowing I would have some kind of wedge or 9 iron in my hand on my third shot. So it was tough, but like I said, I didn't really pay much attention to their game. Felt pretty good straight off the bat, and yeah.
MODERATOR: I know we talked about this earlier in the week, but the last time you won events in back to back weeks it came in October of 2007 when you also won two straight events while playing in Asia. Is there really just something about coming over here and playing that fits your game, and do you enjoy the challenge that these golf courses present you?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I don't know what it is, but I'm not playing next week, so the guys don't have to worry. You know what, I tee it up every week to try and win. Obviously winning last week gave me perhaps a bit more confidence believing that what I do is the right thing, and I've had some great friends around me last week, this week, being able to put my head in the right spot and just really enjoy myself. I don't think I've enjoyed myself so much on the golf course like I have the last three or four weeks as I have the last ten years. So I think that might be a huge part of it. Really playing with my heart, playing with my instinct, even on the last shot. Just being aggressive.
MODERATOR: Questions for Suzann?
Q. Now you have two wins under your belt, what's your next goal?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: My next goal is to get back to America safe and rested. I'm playing in Mexico at Lorena's event in two weeks. So that will be my next tournament. So give myself a break for this week up coming. And I've had four fantastic weeks. The first week of this stretch I was in Africa for charity with all the kids. So I guess that was a good kick start for me for a good swing in Asia. I don't know. Winning more tournaments.
Q. A couple minutes ago when we interviewed Yani, she said she's very happy that she saw some smile on your face. How come? Anything different or that you can smile?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: You know, Yani and I, we're great friends. I think a unique thing that we have, as much as we're competitors, we're good friends. We practice together. We kind of brain storm together. We can walk through golf strategy together. But at the same time, once we tee it up, we're fiery competitors. And it was almost hard for me because Yani as we were walking off the 18th tee, Yani is like, great job this week. I wish I could have give you more of a battle. I'm like, I'm not done yet. I mean I got two shots and one is over water. I can hit it in the water. I'm like, Yani, I can't listen to you. And she's like, great job. I just wish I could have given you more of a fight. And we're walking up 17 we talked about a few different changes that I've done, and it's nice to hear that she's happy for me. She can see the changes. I can feel the changes. I have a new caddie that I feel is working really well. He is very laid back. He I trust him. And the chemistry is right there. So with that I can allow myself to play to my gut feel and to my instinct, and I guess that is the big difference for me.
Q. You've won in Taiwan for two years. What is the difference (inaudible)?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: The two times I've been here, the difference.
Q. In Taiwan?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: It's nice to be in Taiwan and win in front of Taiwanese fans and crowds. I mean the crowds they get here is unbelievable. It just shows the impact that Yani has made on golf here in Taiwan, and it's great to see. I'll be back in December. That will be I've been in Taiwan four times in two years by the time December comes around. So it's gotta be something that I like about it.
Q. Do you see a difference in Yani's game compared to the past three or four months?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I mean -
Q. What has she done right?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: You know, golf is a sport. We're all human. I mean what Yani has done over the last couple of years is hard to ever repeat. And it's easy for Yani to get hard on herself. I mean I don't know if it's normal or not normal to win 12 events a year. I don't think it's it's going to be hard for anyone to do that after her. And she came off to a great start, and I think golf you go up and you go down. And I don't think she's played that bad, to be honest. But we put a lot of pressure on ourselves. There's a lot of expectations from the media, from the fans. And I mean they're used to seeing her wing and when they don't see her wing, you're going to hear about it. So it's just nice to see Yani back playing with more confidence, I guess. She trusts her game. But like I said, we're all human, and in this game you win and you lose, and you go up and you go down. It's just important that you learn from the downs and you comes back up.
Q. How are you going to spend the off-season? Are you going to practice a lot?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Well, I'm glad we still got events going because now I kind of feel like my game is right there. So I don't really want it to come to an end. My last event will be (inaudible) and then I will go back to Norway and enjoy time with my friends and family. Hopefully ski some. Last winter the wind was blowing great. So up until now I haven't really thought what I want to do in my off season. Right now just kind of as the weeks go along and you do well, you kind of look forward to put your feet up a little and give yourself a break.
Q. Suzann, I wrote yesterday you mentioned that you didn't know what to expect today, that it could be a hurricane or it could be a beautiful day.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Yeah.
Q. It's turned out to be quite blustery conditions. The first question, were you kind of hoping that it would be windy, and the second question, how did you adjust your game in order to be successful out here in tough conditions today?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Well, yeah, I was hoping for tough conditions because it eliminates half the field. For sure I was happy when I woke up and I looked out the window and I could see the bushes were going sideways. I just smiled and said, great. Bring it on. You know what, I feel like I have every shot that's needed. So for me it was, like I said earlier, it kind of was easy for me to stay and stick to my own game plan, not really worry about anyone. I knew no one was going to go real low today. And it's always nice to be in the last group, so you kind of have some kind of control factor of having to do stuff if you have to coming down the stretch. But like I said, I really didn't pay too much attention to the others' games, and I felt a lot more comfortable this Sunday than I felt last Sunday. So it's always a different feel to different wins. Last week I felt like I scrambled it. This week I felt like I earned it.
MODERATOR: Any more questions for Suzann? All right. Thank you very much, and congratulations.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Thank you.
The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.