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Pettersen tops teen Ko to win Evian Championship PDF Print E-mail
Monday, September 16, 2013 12:14 AM

Associated Press

 

EVIAN-LES-BAINS, France — Suzann Pettersen barely had time to hug her caddie before the Champagne started flowing in her direction.

In the first women’s major played in Europe, Pettersen beat teenage star Lydia Ko of New Zealand by two shots to win the Evian Championship on Sunday and clinch the second major title of her career.

The Norwegian calmly rolled in her par putt to seal the title. Pettersen then leaned back and held her head in her hands, hugged her caddie and laughed as she was surrounded by friends spraying her with Champagne on the green.

“I might start to get a bit emotional,” Pettersen said, her voice wavering, as she collected the trophy.

It was her first major since the LPGA Championship in 2007 and her second straight tournament win after the Safeway Classic this month.

Pettersen shot a 3-under 68 to finish with a 10-under total of 203 after the tournament was reduced to three rounds when Thursday’s play was rained out. The 16-year-old Ko, who was trying to become the youngest major champion, finished with a 70.

American Lexi Thompson shot a 68 to finish four shots back in third place, with South Koreans So Yeon Ryu and Se Ri Pak five shots behind in a tie for fourth.

This was the first year that Evian counted as the fifth and final major of the year on the women’s calendar.

“I don’t know if it’s quite sunk in yet that I’ve won another major. It’s been a while, but I’m pretty lucky to say that I’ve won two,” Pettersen continued. “Hopefully, this is just the start. It’s been such a great month, five weeks for me, starting off with the Solheim (Cup). It was a great kick-start for what became the best month of my career.”

The third-ranked Pettersen plans to have “one heck of a party” to celebrate, before focusing on her goal to earn the No. 1 ranking.

“This is part of the process, you have to win tournaments, you have to win majors,” added Pettersen, who in the past has been hampered by a fiery temperament. “I feel I’ve been a lot more relaxed around the golf course over the past year, smiling a lot more. … I’ve come to the age when I’m too old to be around and not be happy.”

Top-ranked Inbee Park was looking to become the first golfer to win four majors in a year but finished way out of contention.

Mika Miyazato of Japan held a 1-shot lead going into the final round but struggled to a 79 and finished tied for 19th.

That left Ko — at 16 years, 4 months, 22 days — as Pettersen’s main challenger. But she bogeyed the 13th to fall two shots behind and never looked likely to make a comeback. Her chip for birdie at the 18th — which would have put some pressure on Pettersen — stopped just left of the hole.

Ko will have to wait until next year for a chance to break American Morgan Pressel’s record of youngest major winner. Pressel was 18 years, 10 months, 9 days when she won the Kraft Nabisco Championship in 2007.

“I don’t think I felt that nervous today but coming down the last two holes I thought Suzann had it in the bag,” Ko said. “It was really good to know that I could come close to a winner at a major. Hopefully, next year it will be a 72-hole event.”

An overnight downpour rendered the course soggy and led to a 90-minute delay in the morning.

When play got started, Ko opened her round with a birdie while Pettersen had birdies on the second and third holes. Pettersen bogeyed the seventh when she over-hit her approach shot.

She recovered with a birdie on the next hole and led Ko by one shot and Ryu by two after the front nine.

Ko looked stern-faced after missing a chance to move level on the 12th and Pettersen shook her head in disbelief as her second shot on 13th drifted wide into the choppy rough. But she ended up saving a tricky par while Ko had to settle for bogey, leaving her two shots ahead.

Ko looked downbeat when she missed another birdie chance on 17.

“I didn’t feel confident with my putting today. I left a couple short,” Ko added. “I misread some putts. I won’t blame the greens that were bumpy and blah, blah, blah. I don’t blame others.”

Stacy Lewis won last month’s British Open but after a solid start the American finished six shots behind Pettersen in a tie for sixth along with American Angela Stanford and South Korea’s Chella Choi.

Rain keeps leaders away at BMW Championship

LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Jim Furyk will have to wait one more day to try to end three years without a victory on the PGA Tour.

The final round of the BMW Championship was suspended Sunday because of rain that left too much water on Conway Farms. Furyk had a 1-shot lead over Steve Stricker. He was about three hours from even teeing off when play was stopped for the first time by rain for 3 1/2 hours. It resumed for an hour before more showers led to another stoppage in play.

Furyk was among 22 players who had yet to tee off. That included Tiger Woods, who was four shots behind.

Only six players completed their rounds. Rory McIlroy had a 68 and was able to get an early start on his 4-week break.

Joost Luiten wins KLM Open in playoff with Jimenez

ZANDVOORT, Netherlands — Joost Luiten beat Miguel Angel Jimenez on the first playoff hole Sunday to win the KLM Open for his second European Tour title of the year.

Luiten became the first Dutch winner of his country’s national open since Maarten Lafeber in 2003 and the first Dutchman to win twice in a season on the European Tour. He also won the Lyoness Open in Austria in June.

Jimenez made four early birdies to take the lead but Luiten rallied on the back nine at the Kennemer Golf & Country Club, with both making par on the 18th to force the playoff. Jiminez shot a 3-under 67 while Luiten had a 68. Both finished with 12-under totals of 268.

“It was tough. He was playing really, really good, especially on the front nine,” Luiten said of the far more experienced Jimenez. “I thought ‘I just have to hang in there until the back nine and hopefully I can make a move there’ and luckily it happened.”

The players returned to the 18th tee and Luiten made par, while Jimenez hit his drive into the rough right of the fairway, left his second on the fringe and could not hole out in two.

On the back nine, Jimenez missed a birdie putt on the short par-5 12th, while Luiten sank his birdie putt to draw even at 13 under.

But the Spanish veteran, who won this tournament 19 years ago, responded immediately by rolling in a birdie on the 13th and stretched his lead to two strokes as Luiten’s par putt slid past the hole.

Luiten birdied the 14th and Jimenez bogeyed the 15th and 17th to drop back level with Luiten and set up the playoff.

Three-time champion Simon Dyson’s challenge for a fourth Dutch title faded at the 15th when he made a double bogey on the tough par 3. He finished tied for third at 9 under with Gregory Havret of France, Ross Fisher of England and Irishman Damien McGrane.

Seung-Yul Noh wins Web.com Tour finals event

COLUMBUS— South Korea’s Seung-Yul Noh won the third of four Web.com Tour Finals series events Sunday to wrap up a PGA Tour card.

The 22-year-old Noh closed with a 2-under 69 for a 5-stroke victory in the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship. He finished at 12-under 272 on Ohio State’s Scarlet Course and earned $180,000 to take the series lead with $210,125.

The bulk of the series field is made up of players in the top 75 on the Web.com Tour money list and Nos. 126-200 in the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup standings. The top 25 on the Web.com regular-season money list are assured PGA Tour cards for the 2013-14 season, while the other players are fighting for 25 additional cards through earnings in the finals.

Noh was 160th in the FedEx Cup standings. He opened the series with a seventh-place tie in Fort Wayne, Ind., and missed the cut last week in Davidson, N.C. Noh has two victories on the Asian Tour — the 2008 China Classic at age 16 and the 2010 Malaysian Open.

Edward Loar was second at 7 under after a 65. Playing for a top priority ranking after finishing fourth on the Web.com money list, he’s sixth on the series list with $119,200.

John Peterson followed at 6 under after a 66. After finishing 30th on the Web.com money list, he’s fifth in the series with $164,000 to guarantee a PGA Tour card.

Ben Martin (67), Chesson Hadley (71) and South Africa’s Tyrone Van Aswegen (73) tied for fourth at 4 under. Martin was second on the Web.com money list, Hadley third and Van Aswegen 49th.

The series will end Sept. 26-29 with the Web.com Tour Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. The money leader in the four events will be fully exempt and earn a spot in The Players Championship.

 

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