Norwegian Suzann Pettersen held off a strong field today to win her first major at the LPGA Championship.
Pettersen shot a final round 67, including a blistering 4-under back nine, to finish one stroke ahead of LPGA Tour veteran Karrie Webb.
Pettersen was able to ward off the demons from her collapse earlier this year at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, where she took a four stroke lead into the final round and choked.
Here is what she had to say to reporters following her win.
Q. This is your second win this season, your second career win, first major win. Just what are you feeling right now?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I don't know, I mean, it's a major, that hasn't really -- I haven't realized that yet. But it's certainly a nice feeling to stand on the green by yourself and lift the trophy. It felt as good as it did at Kingsmill.
Q. There was a lot of focus this being a major on what happened in the last one, and I think there was almost a wait and see, what's she going to do next. What was going through your head? Because it doesn't seem like you hardly missed a shot on the back nine.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Stroke play is simple -- the game is difficult enough as it is. So just try to hit the easiest shot out there. Every shot came out as I thought and as I could see them, so that was pretty neat. And I've just been really feeling good with the putter this week. So I mean, I could kind of see all the lines and it was just a matter of if you got the right pace or not.
I mean, it was all very confident, very comfortable, and again I was really calm. I felt good. I could feel a bit of tension coming on the back nine, and then the last couple of holes. But while I must say, experience, it does help. It felt good.
Q. Do you think players from now on are going to be asking their Pro-Am partners for their putter before they start tournaments?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Well, I don't know, depends on how they meet their Pro-Am partners. But for me, it was -- it couldn't get much worse. So for me it was just -- I looked at it and I was like, wow, this is doing exactly what I want it to do, and it's so simple, so I'll just take it. That was the only reason. I hardly change my equipment during the season. But I mean, if you feel good with something, you should go with the guts, so that's what I did.
Q. Who was the gentleman whose putter you stole?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Tom Elliot.
Q. Did you pay him for the putter?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: No. But I did get him a new one because this one, it's so special, everything is special, he didn't want a replacement.
Q. You mentioned him in the speech --
SUZANN PETTERSEN: He's going to be on my cell phone any minute.
Q. Are you aware of the leaderboard and the pressure Karrie was putting on you?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: On the front nine I just tried to get in a good rhythm and hit good golf shots and give myself opportunity. Sure, on the back nine, I looked on the leaderboard and I could see a lot of players were playing well today. There were a lot of low scores. On the back nine, I mean, again, I felt pretty good. I hit the fairways, which was my main goal today. That sets up my iron shots pretty good. So walking off 15 with a birdie, that felt good. I knew I could kind of make one coming in. I was really relieved when I hit the fairway on 18. That was kind of -- then I knew I could do it.
Q. Not knowing Na On before the round, can you talk about the pressure of being in the last group and how she handled her round, her first major?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I'm starting to feel good coming down and being one of the favorites. Teeing off on the last on the leaderboard, that's where you want to be in every major in every tournament. That's how you build experience and that's how you build your game. You want to be under the pressure, and that's what you practice for every day. It's a good test. Sometimes you will pass it and sometimes you will fail it. In this game, you will probably fail it more than you will win it. So you just have to appreciate the wins when you finally do get them.
Q. Just wondering how long you've had McDonald's as a sponsor?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Oh, I've been with McDonald's -- I'm a Ronald McDonald children ambassador at home, one out of five. It's very special for me to stand here today and win McDonald's and being a part of the charity. I'm pretty proud of that.
Q. Tell me about your decision on 15, how far did you have and when you went for the green in two, how far did you have and what did you hit it with?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I had 230 to the pin. It's not a pin that you can attack from where I was. You just try to get on to the green. The thing was to lay up, it's still a pretty difficult third shot with the pin up on top. So I thought getting around the green I would end up chipping -- getting around so I can chip it, it's easier than having a 50-yard shot over the top. Then it just came out exactly how I thought.
Q. Can you talk about all of the changes you've made in the last few months with your caddie and with Gary and how much that has changed everything for you?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I mean it, was just a big decision from the end of last year to change something that's, I mean, you've had for a long time. You just have to make one decision that you're going to make a change; then you need to change and commit to the new stuff. The work I've been done with Gary has worked pretty well, I must say. And then the combination of working with Pia and Lynn really helps my mental approach. Just trying to find the state of mind where you perform your best; I think I'm pretty close to finding it. It was for me a good test in the practice round on Wednesday. I mean, I could feel my body just calm down, how I kind of just let everything come to me. My mental approach this week was just don't let anything get to you. Just let it bounce off and I certainly did.
Q. Did you hear the roar when Karrie made her birdie putt on 18, and as you were walking down 18, how did you manage to keep your focus?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: No, I just asked my caddie if that was a birdie because the roar was so big, and he said yes. I mean, I think we would have played the same way even if she had not made that birdie. My goal was just to hit to the middle of the green and I had a good 2-putt to win. So the crucial point was the putt I made on 17. That made it a little bit easier.
Q. I know you said the other day that you put what happened at Kraft behind you, but coming down the stretch today, did you at all flash back to what happened, even just to tell yourself it's going to be different this time?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: No, because I felt different. I wasn't even close to being in those emotions that I was back then. Now I finally proved to all of you that I can actually put it all together and take a major, so now I probably don't have to get that question again. (Smiling).
Q. I wonder, in 2005, you had a back injury that limited your season, could you talk about coming back from that, how serious was it, and was there any time where coming back was in jeopardy or in doubt?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I mean, I think I've said it a lot of times, but I mean, I didn't play for eight months. It was hard. It was -- but as competitive as I am, you set yourself goals. When you're lying on the couch, your goal is to start walking and when you start walking, you want to start walking for hours and when you start walking, you want to start running and when you start running, you want to bike and then you want to do weight training. So everything was to try to set targets and try to achieve them. Yes, there was a doubt if I was ever going to play golf again. But I had good people, I had good doctors and I had good people to support me along the way. Now it feels great and I probably appreciate every day a little bit more being healthy.
Q. What was the injury?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I had a slipped disk from a ruptured disk in my l 4-l 5. So it was pretty bad. -- slipped disk.
Q. No surgery?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: No surgery.
Q. So talking about new targets, what would be your target after winning a major?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: U.S. Open. That's our next major and it's only in like, what is it, two, three weeks? So I'll have a week now to enjoy, think back and store the memories from this week, play Rochester as a warm-up and then be ready again, U.S. Open.
Q. Do you see yourself as becoming No. 1 in the sport as well?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Well, it is my target. That's probably -- it probably helped with this win today. There are a lot of good players up there. It all depends who has their week and who has the luck to pull it off. I was fortunate today. I mean, I played well and I had some good breaks. I mean, as long as you put yourself in position to be there when it happens, then everything can happen.
Q. Could you talk about 17, after watching Min, birdie four straight holes and then hit it pretty close on 17, the club you hit and what was going through your mind?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: It was a pretty good yardage. It was 160, so that's just a nice 7, so I didn't have to kill it. I put a nice, smooth swing on it. It came out pretty much as I wanted. I was surprised it actually bounced that far. But once I got to the ball, could I kind of see the line straightaway, so I asked my caddie, can you see that Mark. He was like it's right up there it must be right at the hole. The line looked like it wasn't going to break too much, but I actually went with my instinct and it was just perfect.
Q. You keep saying everything, you saw everything the way it was; did you see anything that was not the way -- on the back nine?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: No, pretty much every shot, all the tee shots, I just wanted to hit like little fades so I wouldn't hook it in the woods. And the iron shots came out all as I practiced this week. So when I really needed it, it came straight into me so, that was nice.
Q. Which has been more difficult, trying to control or get the mental part of the game in check, or trying to work on new things in terms of the swing and putting?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I think it's a fine combination. For me, technique gives me a lot of confidence. But also, you also learn -- I mean, you're not going to play perfect every day, so whatever you have, you need to -- you kind of learn to play with. Like yesterday, I didn't feel like I was hitting it great and when I warmed up -- I talked about it later, you can't judge three balls on how I hit it that day. But that's how I am; I expect the best out of me and when I don't do it, I'll be disappointed. You always have to be one step ahead of yourself so you don't drag yourself down in bad energy.
I'm getting better at it but it's one of my -- I really -- to hit the ball great, I need a lot of confidence.
Q. Let's go over your scorecard.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: 5, I hit a 9-iron from about 120 to tap-in.
8, I hit a 4-iron from 190 to, I don't know, 25 feet and 2-putted.
9, I hit a wedge from about 110 right in the rough, chipped and I missed a 5-footer coming down for par.
10, I hit a wedge from about 120 to six feet and made that.
Then 13, I hit a little 8-iron from about 140 to ten feet -- no, eight feet and made that.
Then 15, I hit my 3-wood from about 230, I don't know how far that was, 35 feet, to 2-putt.
Then 17, a 7-iron from 160 to 16, 17 feet -- to 15 feet maybe.
Q. Karrie had said earlier in the week that you had more talent in your pinky than most people on this tour. I'd just be curious how good you think you can be.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Well, I believe that I can be the best player in the world. But you have to give me time. But, I mean, if I continue like this, that helps. It definitely helps with my confidence. Once you have the confidence, you will probably tee it off every week and you want to win. So it's been a good couple of months and I have to kind of reset my goals all the time because I achieve what I want to achieve, and I have to just look ahead. So not to set a limit, but just see the challenge in everything.
Transcripts provided by ASAP Sports.
June 10, 2007
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