Pettersen Sets Course Record in HanaBank Championship

Norway's Suzann Pettersen established a new course record Friday, firing a 9-under 63 at Sky 72 Golf Club's Ocean Course in Incheon, South Korea, to take a one-stroke lead in the $1.8 million, 54-hole HanaBank Championship.

Pettersen carded nine birdies on the day, including six on the back nine for a 6-under 30 at the Jack Nicklaus-designed course on a day when the conditions were perfect for low scoring. "Being three rounds, you want to get off to a hot start and I can't complain with today's round," said Pettersen

"I got off to a good start, found the feel of the greens this morning and worked hard to feel the speed yesterday and made some great putts and great shots," she added. "I'm really trying to read what's out there; some pins are par pins and some pins you attack." (See below for Pettersen's full post-round interview.)

One stroke back is Sweden's Karin Sjodin, who had four birdies on the front nine and four more on the home half. "I felt like I was hitting the ball really solid," she said. "The birdies were long putts. I had three close ones and missed all three."

Five players posted 66s - including local favorites Hyun-Hee Moon, Ha-Neul Kim and So Yeon Ryu of South Korea, Spain's Azahara Munoz and Japan's Ai Miyazato.

"The conditions are perfect and there is almost no wind at all," said Moon. "In Korea, we have only one LPGA tournament a year and all players want to participate. My scores have not been so good lately. I wanted to boost my confidence and I think I did that today."

Alone in eighth after a 67 was defending champion and No. 1-ranked Yani Tseng, who had four birdies, an eagle on the par-5 fifth and a bogey. No. 2-ranked Stacy Lewis posted an even-par 72.

Playing on a sponsor's exemption, Michelle Wie had a 73 and is in 44th place with, among other players, Cheyenne Woods, Tiger Woods' niece.

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After signing her scorecard, Pettersen met with reporters for the following interview.

MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Rolex Rankings No.9 Suzann Pettersen who just shot a 9 under 63. Nice round.


MODERATOR: Birdied six out of your first eight holes on the back nine, started on the 10th. Run us through that. Had to be the exact way you wanted to start off your day, start off the tournament.

SUZANN PETTERSEN: You know, it was nice and quiet there on the back. Starting off with 10 in Korea, we were kind of laughing about that. Got off to a good start, had the feel of the greens this morning, worked really hard to kind of feel the speed yesterday and made some great putts and obviously some great shots. Overall very solid round, 18 greens, 27 putts equals 9 under par.

MODERATOR: You set a tournament record last week in the second round. You come in this week, you felt good but just wanted to be more consistent. Came in, pretty much torched the course, set another tournament record. Do you think things are finally clicking?

SUZANN PETTERSEN: Yeah, absolutely. Like I said early in the week, I feel like I have some low rounds in me now. I was 7 under last week, 9 under this week. It's just nice, and some of your feel kind of equals the score you put on the scorecard. It feels like this year hasn't been a great year, but I feel like I've been playing well even though my scores haven't shown as good as I wanted to, but you can't stress that in this game. You will go through ups and downs, and I wouldn't say I've been on a down, either, because I've been healthy, I've been feeling well and able to put in all the time and effort I feel is needed for my game. Maybe this can be a great turnaround.

MODERATOR: You mentioned you wanted to stay aggressive. That's when you play your best. Are there any holes out there on this course particularly that really allow you to play that way, play aggressive?

SUZANN PETTERSEN: I mean, the fairways are fairly wide this week compared to last week. So first of all you can you can step up with driver and feel quite comfortable. There's a few carrots out there that - like I said, I feel like I'm hitting my tee balls pretty good so I feel like I can step on the pedal on a few, like on 5. In the past I've been more conservative. Now I feel better so now I kind of take the bunkers on and take on the corner and I can get to the par 5 in two. Just really trying to read what's out there. Some pins are hard pins, other pins you attack. Sometimes you're in between clubs, then you just kind of take what you get. I'm very happy with my new caddie. I feel like I've actually picked up the speed of my pace of play. I make decisions quicker. Just really trying to go with the flow.

MODERATOR: You only have two rounds to go. You're playing in a three day event obviously. Do you really approach that any differently now that you have the lead with only two days left?

SUZANN PETTERSEN: No, you don't really look at the tournament different. You go into the weekend like it was a regular tournament. Obviously being three rounds, you can really choose - you would love to get off to a hot start, and I guess I can't complain with today's round.

Q. It usually takes four and a half hours to finish a round in the U.S. and today it was over five hours. Did you think in Korea it would play slower than in the U.S.?

SUZANN PETTERSEN: I thought today was just flying by compared to the pro am that took six and a half, so five today felt like a shortcut. Sometimes it's faster play, other times it's actually a little bit longer. We're quite used to this. We don't really stress out too much. There's not much you can do. You can't really play through the group ahead of you.

Q. You're look to be playing relaxed and your shot is pretty solid. Do you have any strategy for tomorrow and the following day?

SUZANN PETTERSEN: I feel like I've been pretty relaxed the last two weeks. I have little stuff that I work on, so it might come across that I'm more relaxed. But what can I say, I'm definitely not relaxed inside. I might come across that I look more relaxed and laid back.

Q. Do you want to stay relaxed for the weekend?

SUZANN PETTERSEN: Yes, for sure, because you can't be on for five hours. You have to be able to switch on and off. Just in the process of making a few slight changes to my own approach, and it's nice to see some quick results.

Q. You set the course record today with 9 under par. To get this score you must have played very well, but many people say there is luck to this course. Do you think you were lucky on some holes or was there any particular moment that you felt like, oh, this was very lucky?

SUZANN PETTERSEN: Well, I think I played pretty solid. What they say, the more you practice, the luckier you get. Today was just a very solid round of golf, no lucky bounces either way. Every putt I hit was right in the middle of the hole. A lot of good shots.

Q. Could you tell us your best score ever?

SUZANN PETTERSEN: I think I had a 61. 60, 61.

MODERATOR: Thanks, Suzann, for joining us.

Q. Talk about everyone wearing stickers this week for Doug, obviously trying to move forward and grieve. Any specific memory you have of him that kind of personified him?

SUZANN PETTERSEN: We had our - I used to call him Grumpy, too. I thought he was the grumpiest guy out here. But the last couple years I got to know him in a different way, and he was actually my favorite rules official. We had our moments out there when we were fighting and he gave me a bad break. But he was such a great guy, and I think he would love for us to celebrate him for who he was and his life instead of sitting down and crying. It was nice to go out today and play a good round of golf. I thought yesterday was a very nice hour with all of us together. It's nice to get together when stuff like that happens, and I think it's a good way for us to kind of give him the respect that he's deserved.

The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.