Pettersen’s Evian victory increases banner year
Suzann Pettersen has put her name in the running for the top honors of the 2013 season with her recent play. Consider how the 32-year-old from Norway has played this year:
• Since missing the cut at the U.S. Women’s Open in late June, Pettersen has finished T6, T4, T7, win (Safeway Classic) and win (Evian Championship) in her last five starts. This includes 10 of the last 11 rounds under par.
• Pettersen leads the LPGA in Scoring (69.7 average) and Greens in Regulation (76 percent) and is second in earnings ($1,721,342), Rounds under Par (43) and Rounds in the 60s (31). She is also second in the Rolex Player of the Year standings behind Inbee Park.
• Petterson’s three victories this year are surpassed only by the 2007 season when she won five times, including her first major championship title, the LPGA Championship. However, her stroke average this year is more than a stroke lower than in 2007.
• When Pettersen is at her best, it seems if someone else goes beyond. In 2007 when Pettersen won five times, Lorena Ochoa won eight times, including the Ricoh Women’s British Open at St. Andrews, and more than $4 million. This year, Inbee Park has won six times, including three major championships in succession.
• Pettersen supplanted Stacy Lewis in the No. 2 position in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings this week. Pettersen has never been No. 1.
“I think hopefully this can kick start my action towards No. 1,” Pettersen said. “Inbee kicked off a pretty fantastic year winning this tournament last year; hopefully I can feed off that and do the same.”
Major championship wrap-up
With the completion of the Evian Championship, the 2013 major championship calendar is complete. Some highlights:
• The five major championships were won by either the first-, second-, third- or fourth-ranked player in the world. Inbee Park won the Kraft Nabisco when she was ranked fourth and claimed the Wegmans LPGA and U.S. Women’s Open at No. 1. Stacy Lewis won the Ricoh Women’s British Open as No. 2 and Pettersen was No. 3 last week.
• Inbee Park won the first three majors, but dropped considerably in the final two (T42 at the Ricoh Women’s British and T67 at the Evian). The player with the most top-10 finishes was Pettersen (four, a T3 at the Kraft Nabisco and Wegmans LPGA, a T4 at the Ricoh Women’s British and a win at the Evian to go with a missed cut at the U.S. Women’s Open). So Yeon Ryu was the only other player with three top-10s in majors (second at Kraft, third at the Women’s Open and T4 at Evian).
• Pettersen had the best record in relation to par in the five majors. She was 18-under par, while Park was 14-under.
• The 2014 major championship schedule includes the Kraft Nabisco Championship (April 3-6), U.S. Women Open (June 19-22 at Pinehurst, N.C., No. 2, the week following the men), Ricoh Women’s British Open (July 10-13 at Royal Birkdale, Southport, England), Wegmans LPGA Championship (a new, later date Aug. 14-17 at a new site, Monroe Golf Club in Pittsford, N.Y.) and the Evian Championship (September, with exact dates TBA). The earlier date for the Women’s Open pushed the Wegmans LPGA, usually the second major, to its later date.
Lewis’ bogey-free streak ended in first round
Stacy Lewis bogeyed the par-4 12th hole in the first round of last week’s Evian Championship, ending a streak of 85 consecutive holes without a bogey. Lewis played the final two holes of the CN Canadian Women’s Open (she withdrew after the first round because of illness) and the entire Safeway Classic’s 72 holes without a bogey entering the Evian Championship.
Lewis has finished in the top seven in five of her last six starts with the only miss the withdrawal in Canada.
Ko pondering immediate future
After finishing second in the Evian Championship, 16-year-old amateur Lydia Ko hinted that “the next time you see me I may be a pro.” She expanded on that a bit, saying “definitely next year” as for her timetable for turning pro.
“Yeah, it's secret,” said Ko, who turns 17 on April 24, 2014. “I got to get my mom’s permission to say anything else.”
Ko has played in 11 LPGA events in 2013, with a win at the CN Canadian Women’s Open, a second, a third and a T4. She is riding a streak of seven consecutive sub-par rounds and has not missed a cut in 15 career LPGA starts. Ko has qualified for the season-ending CME Group Titleholders Nov. 21-24 in Naples, Fla., but is unsure if she will participate since the tournament falls the week after she completes final exams at home in New Zealand.
One month in Asia
After a two-week break, the LPGA resumes its schedule the first week of October with the first playing of the Reignwood LPGA Classic in Beijing, China. The tournament, played at Pine Valley Golf Club, begins a five-tournament swing through Asia. That includes the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia Oct. 10-13; the LPGA KEB-HanaBank Championship Oct. 18-20 in Seoul, South Korea; the Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship Oct. 24-27; and the Mizuno Classic Nov. 8-10 in Tokyo.
England’s Karen Stupples was inducted into the Florida State University Athletic Hall of Fame last weekend. … It has been 12 years since Annika Sorenstam shot the only 59 in LPGA history at the 2001 Standard Register Ping in Phoenix, Ariz. Since then, there have been three 59s on the PGA Tour (out of six total), including Jim Furyk’s last week at Conway Farms.