5 Things: Pettersen wins Safeway as Tseng sputters
Suzann Pettersen outlasted a deep field Sunday to win the Safeway Classic in Portland, Ore. Here are 5 Things to know from Pettersen’s West Coast victory:
1. GAINING SPEED: The image of Pettersen leading a strong charge is a lasting memory from the Solheim Cup. The Norwegian led Europe to it’s first victory on American soil last month, and Pettersen was a veteran on that team. She carried that energy over to her victory in Portland.
Pettersen entered the final round trailing Yani Tseng by three shots. Both players double-bogeyed the second hole, but Pettersen followed with birdies as Tseng struggled to keep pace. Pettersen made five birdies over the next six holes, then made three more at Nos. 10-13. It helped her climb steadily up the leaderboard before eventually her lead become insurmountable.
Pettersen ended the day with a 5-under 67 and finished 72 holes at Columbia Edgewater Country Club at 20-under 268. She was two shots ahead of runner-up Stacy Lewis and three ahead of Lizette Salas.
For Pettersen, it’s the second LPGA victory of the year and the 12th of her career. She also won the LPGA Lotte Championship in April, and is No. 3 in the Rolex Rankings.
Pettersen now is the fourth player on the LPGA tour to record multiple wins in 2013. She joins Inbee Park (six), Lewis (three) and Beatriz Recari (two).
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2. ALMOST THE YANI OF OLD: Tseng joked Saturday evening that she didn’t remember what it felt like to be called into an LPGA media center. Tseng’s game has fallen off in the past year as she dropped from World No. 1 to her current No. 15 ranking. On Saturday evening, Tseng led the Safeway Classic by three.
On Sunday, Tseng’s wheels fell off. She double-bogeyed the second hole and followed with bogeys on the next two holes. She birdied two of the next three and turned in 39, but three more bogeys on the back nine left her with a final-round 79. That dropped her from the solo lead to a tie for ninth. Tseng finished the week at 12-under 276.
Despite the final-round slide, it’s Tseng’s best result since beginning the season with a runner-up finish at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open and a tie for third at the Honda LPGA Thailand.
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3. BACK ON TRACK: When Stacy Lewis withdrew from the CN Canadian Women’s Open last week, it was with her usual class. She immediately tweeted an apology to her fans, explaining that after a full schedule of LPGA events, which most recently included the Ricoh Women’s British Open and the Solheim Cup, she was simply worn out.
Lewis returned to the Safeway Classic in good form. She opened with 67, and hovered near the top of the leaderboard the rest of the week.
“I’m maturing a little bit and getting more comfortable in this role, getting more comfortable with people watching,” Lewis said after a third-round 65 that left her four shots out of the lead.
She looks comfortable, too.
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4. SOLHEIM STRONG: Among the the 22 players who finished tied for 15th or better in Portland, 10 were Solheim Cuppers. The charge, obviously, was led by Pettersen, and that’s a familiar storyline. She was joined by European teammates Caroline Masson (fifth), Beatriz Recari (T-15) and Anna Nordqvist (T-15).
The Americans were led by Lewis, Salas and Kerr, who placed second through fourth, respectively.
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5. SHORT SHOTS: SooBin Kim, a junior at Washington, made the most of her first LPGA event. Kim, who qualified via her victory at the Safeway Classic Amateur Open, shot rounds of 73-69-68-70 to finish at 8-under 280 (T-30). . . . Austin Ernst earned her second top-10 finish of the year. Her third-round 10-under 62 was a career-low round on the LPGA. Ernst finished the tournament at 12 under . . . Paige Mackenzie earned her first top-25 of the season. Prior to the Safeway Classic, her best finish on the year was at the Wegman’s LPGA Championship (T-37). Mackenzie has played on the LPGA since 2007. . . . Moriya Jutanugarn was leading the race for the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year title after the CN Canadian Women’s Open. In second, only 31 points back, is Caroline Masson. Jutanugarn missed the cut this week in Portland, and Masson finished fifth. She likely will pass Jutanugarn in the standings.
- Cassie Stein contributed to this report