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Pettersen Poised for Another Run at Title
With two victories so far in the 2013 season, most recently at the Safeway Classic two weeks ago in Portland, Ore., Suzann Pettersen is making another run this week, this time at the Evian Championship in France, a major in women's professional golf.
After firing a 4-under par 67 in the second round, Pettersen sits one shot behind leader Mika Miyazato of Japan. And this is exactly where Pettersen seems to like to be. In winning her title at the Portland Classic, she came from behind in the final round to overtake a handful of the tour's premier players, including Yani Tseng who had started the day in the lead.
So, Pettersen is ready. Poised. On a course she likes, and in a country she loves. Although it's not a done deal, with two rounds still to play and with the likes of teen (and amateur) phenom Lydia Ko tied with her for second place. But keep an eye on Pettersen.
Here is how she describes her second round, and her chances this weekend in the Evian Championship, and her chances at eventually, finally, seizing the No. 1 ranking in women's professional golf.
MODERATOR: Suzann Pettersen, welcome back to the media center. Been a busy week for you; you've been in here a few times. That's a good thing when we get to, what day is it today, Saturday.
So congratulations on another good round. You're up at the top of the leaderboard.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Yeah, today I didn't play my perfect game of golf out there, but I made a few really good pars; I missed a few greens, holed a few good par putts; had a few easy birdies; few easy tap ins. That obviously helps around this place.
Really tried to take advantage of good playing conditions. That being said, it's not overly easy to get close to some of those pins. There are a few out there that you think you would never see. At the same time, it's fun, with a challenge, and I'm starting to actually like the new changes.
Q. In what way?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I just think it takes time to know the greens. I think obviously if you're in the middle of the fairway you can use the clubs from the greens to get close to some pins. There are some pin placements where it's going to be impossible to get close. If you can just accept that and try and take advantage on the easier approaches, you can actually put a good score together.
Q. Let's take that a step further. Based on the scores you've shot, there are enough birdie opportunities out there. The things I am hearing is the course is playing longer. Obviously the course is wet. From your eye, you know how certain courses fit your eye. How does in this one fit your eye?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: If you look at what the course looks like and how it fits your eye, it's the same as it's always been. The layout is exactly the same. The greens have changed, but the tee shots, kind of the feel you have on every tee box has hardly changed for me. You're still kind of playing on the side of a hill. You either have the ball above or below your feet. That hasn't changed much. The par 3s have improved a lot. A lot tougher. But you have some good par 5s out there that you can are in my reach. It's playing pretty fair. Just really got to see what the weather gives us over the next 24 hours. I feel like I'm in a good position to try get it to 9 under. Didn't manage, but still a solid round of golf. Couple under is never going to hurt you in a major championship.
Q. What were the greens like today compared to yesterday?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: They were a lot better this morning than they were yesterday. Tried to take advantage of being well, somehow some of the first groups out the greens were faster to start. Obviously they dried out a little bit. But overall it's playing very similar to yesterday. It's still very soggy. The ball is plugging on the fairways; it's plugging on the greens. So, yeah.
Q. What has experience done for you over the years?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Experience? Well, since I'm blonde, I don't really evaluate my experience too well. That's just a part of being blonde. But I'm learning every year. I think I'm just smarter. I train smarter; I prepare smarter; I still get my freaky moments, but it's less of 'em.
Q. (No microphone.)
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I guess we're all very into this. We're very competitive. It's sometimes easy to lose your head. That's what this game can do to you sometimes. It can make you crazy, but can also be very satisfying at the same time. Just feel it, trying to even out that balance. Just accept that you're not going to play perfect golf every single day and still work on your weakest shot.
Q. Talk your training. When you say you train and prepare differently, how differently is it today than maybe it was, say, five years ago?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Well, I think in the past, I mean, I could spend all day on the golf course and practice hours after hours after hours. Now I feel there's better structure and discipline to my practice. I'm a lot more time efficient. During the week of a tournament, you would like to just maintenance work, just literally try and spend the most time on and around the greens. During weeks off, when you have weeks off in a pretty busy schedule, you don't want to spend 10 hours on the golf course. If you can, maximize the hours you're on the golf course and give yourself a break to do something different, that is where I'm trying to go. It's not that easy when you literally love to practice.
Q. (No microphone.)
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I mean, I literally decided from the second I put my feet on this course early in the week not to kind of have too much bad energy going around. When you see changes, if you don't like it personally, you can easily get on the wrong side. I've been very laid back. I understand we're in a difficult position. It's not ideal for either the championship or for the players or the tour in general to cut down on major rounds. So we do the best we can.
We can't really do much before we see what the course is like in the morning. I'm going to stay in Europe, so I can stay Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. Doesn't matter. I'll stay as long as it takes to finish this off.
Q. You talked yesterday about what motivates you right now and so forth. You're No. 3 in the world; you won two events at the end of last year and won two this year. What is left for Suzann Pettersen? If your career was going to come to a close, what's the most important thing to you at this point?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Well, it's not coming to a close yet. I feel like I have a lot of unfinished business out here. I have my best golf ahead. Until I feel like the day comes and I feel like I've reached my point and I'm starting to go reverse, then I'll think about it. But I feel like my best game is still ahead, and that is what kind of keeps me going and on my tippy toes.
Q. Is No. 1 hugely important to you?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I think the pros says so, but I'm going at it, winning tournaments, is what I am striving for. If you do that, the rest will kind of take care of itself. You can't control what your opponents are doing. Inbee has had a fantastic season. I've been up against a few pretty good No. 1s in my career. I've pretty much been No. 2 behind the last three, almost four, so I know what it takes. I just think it makes you want it even more. Grind it out even better every day. No, it's fun competition. It's tough.
The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.