By Ward Clayton
Suzann Pettersen's summer tour took the Norwegian star to south Florida, home to Europe for golf, relaxation and Olympic Games festivities and now back to the west coast of the United States for the defense of her title in the Safeway Classic Presented by Coca-Cola.
After finished tied for ninth at the U.S. Women's Open in early July, Pettersen participated in a photo shoot for ESPN The Magazine's "Body Issue" in Cocoa Beach, Fla. Then it was off to Norway for a visit with friends and family. She finished tied for 24th at the Evian Masters in France in mid-July, dashed to London to watch men's tennis at Wimbledon, beach volleyball and team handball during the London Games and then defended her title at the Ladies Irish Open two weeks ago, placing second behind Scotland's Catriona Matthew at the Ladies European Tour event. The trip also allowed Pettersen to prepare more for the Suzann Pro Challenge, scheduled for Sept. 9 in Oslo and featuring Pettersen, Yani Tseng, Lorena Ochoa and Annika Sorenstam in an 18-hole exhibition match the weekend before the Ricoh Women's British Open.
It's hard to believe that Pettersen, 31, has been on the LPGA Tour for 10 years, regularly trekking between her birthplace in Oslo, Norway and her United States base in Florida every year. She is currently the top-ranked European golfer (No. 6 in the Rolex Women's World Rankings) with eight career LPGA victories, the last of which was last year's Safeway Classic. Her career includes 210 tournament starts, with a current streak of 23 consecutive cuts made and 57 of 58 over the last three years (missed the cut at the 2011 CN Canadian Women's Open). She ranks first this year on the LPGA in Rounds in the 60s (21 of 54 rounds) and fourth in Birdies (199) and Greens in Regulation (73 percent).
Pettersen should feel good about her journey west. Her sponsor, Nike, is located in nearby Beaverton, Ore., where she did some testing pre-tournament. She has also had great success over the last three years on the Ghost Creek Course at Pumpkin Ridge. The event moved to the North Plains, Ore., facility in 2009. Here are her results: