Pettersen overcomes nine shot deficit
BY Bruce Young | LPGA Tour | 2011 Safeway Classic | Wrap | 22 Aug 2011
Norway’s Suzann Pettersen has today won her 7th LPGA Tour event and staked her claim for the number two position in women’s golf with a playoff victory over Korean Na Yeon Choi at the Safeway Classic in Oregon.
Pettersen started the final round an amazing nine shots behind Choi at the Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club but a combination of the Korean’s early round struggles and Pettersen’s brilliance saw the pair locked at 6 under par at the completion of 72 holes.
Pettersen began her final round an hour and forty minutes ahead of the leaders but when she holed a sliding 15 footer for eagle at the 10th hole the outrageous thought of her winning was becoming a reality. Choi had just bogeyed her second hole and that original nine shot difference had been reduced to just four. Pettersen birdied the next hole and with the difference reduced to three the momentum had swung in her favour.
Choi, one of the LPGA Tour’s most consistent players over the past two years, appeared to have stopped the rot when she birdied the 15th and 17th to be one ahead playing the final hole but from the middle of the fairway she finished just of the edge of the green at the 72nd hole and could not get up and down.
Both players found the fairway at the first extra hole. Pettersen as first to play and hit a brilliant shot which finished just off the back edge. Choi appeared in two minds with her approach and found the water and it was all but over.
Hee Young Park finished third just one shot behind the payoff, a bogey at the final hole proving very costly while Paula Creamer finished 4th.
The leading Australian, in week where only two of the six in the field would make the cut, was Sarah Kemp, who finished a meritorious 10th and enhancing her chances of retaining her status on the LPGA Tour in 2012. Kemp was in 95th position on the money list prior to this week but improved to 76th with her cheque for US$28,000.
Karrie Webb finished 47th.
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