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Pettersen in Canada Looking for Two in a Row
Suzann Pettersen shocked even herself last week in the Safeway Classic. The 30-year-old Norwegian closed with a 7-under 64 on the Ghost Creek course at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in North Plains, Ore., and then hung around the driving range for two hours to see what was going to happen to the many players yet to complete their rounds.
Well, what do you know, Pettersen's 64 overcame a whopping nine-shot advantage enjoyed by 36-hole leader Na Yeon Choi and got into a sudden-death playoff with the South Korean.
On the first overtime hole, the difficult par-4 18th, Pettersen found the fairway with her drive and placed an 8-iron into the fringe behind the green. Choi, a 23-year-old, four-time winner on the LPGA Tour, also landed in the short grass but inexplicably fanned a 9-iron that splashed into the pond right-front of the green. After a drop, Choi hit her fourth to 20 feet, but missed the bogey attempt. Pettersen chipped out and sank the winning par putt.
"Wow, I really didn't expect this, being nine strokes back," she said after securing her second LPGA victory and third - including the Ladies Irish Open - in 2011. Pettersen now ranks second in the Rolex Rankings behind unquestioned No. 1, Yani Tseng, who's already won four times this year.
This week Pettersen and the rest of the LPGA Tour is north of the border to play the Canadian Women's Open. The $2.25 million, 72-hole event starts Thursday at the 6,604-yard Hillsdale Golf & Country Club in Mirabel, Quebec.
On Wednesday after a practice round, Pettersen met with reporters and talked about her chances this week on a course she termed "brutal," the win last week, and how she and her country have responded to the tragic shootings and bombing in Oslo in late July.
MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Rolex No. 2, Suzann Pettersen into the interview room. Thank you for joining us.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Thanks for having me.
MODERATOR: Congratulations on your win last week. Can you just talk first off about the emotions of that day and shooting 64 in the final round and not really expecting anything?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Yeah, well, it was just one of those days where everything went my way. I went out in the morning. Didn't really feel like I had a chance, and got to play my own game. I never really kind of felt that pressure until I was on 17 when I realized I was somewhere close to the leaders, knowing that the leaders still had almost an entire back nine to play. I had to sit and wait for like over two hours to see what they were doing and realized it would come down to the last hole if I was going to get into the playoffs or not. I was fortunate enough to kind of have my luck this time. It was like I said, little bit unexpected, but I'm going to say it was awfully nice to win that way too to come from back.
MODERATOR: Before the Sybase Match Play earlier this year, it had been about 20 months since you had won. Now you ever would three wins, two LPGA Tour wins and a win at the Ladies Irish Open. How nice is it to get back in the winning circle and put a string of these wins together?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: It's always nice. I think everyone kept asking me when are you going to win again? You keep finishing second. For me, obviously, it's also about winning tournaments, but it's also if you're there every week in contention and kind of putting yourself in the right position, hopefully one day you'll be able to close it off. Sometimes the margin's on your side, other times you can play great and other people outplay you on a Sunday. This time I was lucky enough that no one ran away with it early on Sunday. I've kind of been a part of all kinds of different scenarios where you've been so far ahead and someone's been shooting 10-under on you and you lose by one. Finally I had the others reverse one, and I could kind of catch them. It's nice to be until the winner's circle. It gives you a lot of confidence. It definitely helps when I putt well, which is what I've been spending a lot of time over the last three or four months just overall putting better. So I feel like I have a chance when it comes down to the back nine.
Q. In addition to all the wins this summer, it's been an emotional summer for you with everything that happened in Norway. Can you talk about that tragedy?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: It's been an awful summer for us back home. I mean, the one incident the 21st of July, or 22nd of July was probably the worst day in Norway's history since the Second World War. Just so many young people who got killed and lost their lives, it's just terrible. Then there have been a few personal tragedy stories as well. So it's been a very brutal summer. It's sad to say, but it helps you realize what you have in life, and appreciate what you do. For me, it's been helping me just relax more on the golf course and just enjoy what I do. I'm pretty proud of how it all comes together as one unit and stuck together.
Q. I'm curious to know in terms of your opinion to win back-to-back. Coming off a win last week it gives you a lot of confidence, but it's so tough to win consecutive weeks, isn't it?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I just think out here it's so hard to win anyway. The level of golf being played is so good, and the depth is probably better than it's ever been. I think it's rare to see people win multiple times in a season now. You're lucky if you win once and it's even better if you win several times. Like I said, you don't take anything for granted out here. You've got to enjoy those moment when's you finally pull it off because it's getting really tough out here. There are so many good golfers.
Q. Do you feel this golf course suits your style? It's a good course here for you?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I hope it's going to rain and it's going to play a little bit longer, because you get no roll on the driver, and it kind of sets into position where you have a lot of longer irons into the green. The rough I thought yesterday was not so penalizing. Today it was brutal. So I don't know what they've done overnight. So if you miss a fairway, it's a tough course. But it's pretty much see what you're going to get. It's right in front of you. I think you'll see the low scores around here.
Q. Does getting to No. 1 in the world matter to you? If that's a goal for you, what's it going to take for you to catch Yani Tseng?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: It's always been a dream of mine since I was a kid to become the best player in the world. So, yes, it would mean a lot to me. What it takes to kind of catch Yani? Win tournaments. Go out and win tournaments and try to win as many as you can, because she's going to win her fair share in a year. During the time I've been on Tour, we've had three No. 1s. Annika was the No. 1, she kind of set that standard back then. What is that now, five, six years ago. Then Lorena kind of took over that and took it to another level. Now Yani's kind of again, stepped away and tried to distance herself from the rest of us. So it just makes the rest of us work even harder. Like I said, you really appreciate it when you do well, and when you don't do well, you just dig in and work even harder.
Q. You mentioned something about you're lucky if you win. I think it was Gary Player who once said the better I get, the luckier I seem to be. How much luck do you he think, notwithstanding the fact that you have to be a great player, how much luck plays in winning a tournament in terms of the rolling of the ball and so on?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Oh, it's like marginal. Sometimes every putt you look at goes in, and the next day every putt hits the lip and you miss the hole. It's so marginal. I think the more you practice, the luckier you get. But I think it kind of goes hand in hand. At the end of the day, you want to try to eliminate those margins in your favor. Sometimes that happens, sometimes it doesn't. The golf Gods, sometimes they're brutal and sometimes they're nice. It's kind of out of your control as well.
Q. When you win a tournament, you can always look back and say if I hadn't made that into the cup from the sand trap, I wouldn't have won?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Yeah, what could have been. You can always look back and say what could have been. But sometimes it's nice to look back and say what a great bounce that was coming off the trees or something that went in your favor and at the end of the day you actually won the golf tournament. So I think it evens out as you play.
The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.