Rolex Rankings No. 3 Suzann Pettersen held off No. 4 Cristie Kerr to take a 1 UP victory in the final match of the 2011 Sybase Match Play Championship. Pettersen sank a 15-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to seal the match against Kerr and clinch her first victory of the 2011 season. Pettersen's last win came at the 2009 CN Canadian Women's Open.
Despite feeling under the weather for the majority of the week, Pettersen managed to win six straight matches to capture the title and the $375,000 first-place winner's check. It was a week full of close matches for Pettersen, who saw four of her six matches go down to the 18th hole. Pettersen's largest victory of the week came in the second round when she defeated Amy Hung, 5 and 3. Coming into this week, Pettersen had recorded three top-10 finishes this season. Those were a tie for 8th at the season-opening Honda LPGA Thailand, a tie for 10th at the Kia Classic and a tie for 3rd at the Avnet LPGA Classic.
The final match was a tightly contested battle between Pettersen and Kerr, and it had a Solheim Cup feel to it. Pettersen, a five-time member of the European. Solheim Cup team, took a 2 UP lead through four holes with birdies on the 2nd and the 4th, but Kerr, who has made five U.S. Solheim Cup appearances, brought the match back to all square with two birdies of her own (No. 5 and No. 8). A birdie on the par-4 9th by Pettersen gave her a 1 UP lead at the turn. Things remained close as two halved the next five holes on the back nine before Pettersen won the 15th hole to take a 2 UP lead. But ever the competitor, Kerr birdied the 17th to force the match to the final hole.
The road to Pettersen's match-play title:
Suzann Pettersen (5) defeated Natalie Gulbis (49), Amy Hung (45), Stacy Lewis (21), Yani Tseng (4), Na Yeon Choi (1) and Cristie Kerr (3).