Pettersen pockets Evian title


By JEROME PUGMIRE

AP Sports Writer

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 said. “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,” said 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 one-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.

“She’s such a great competitor. She keeps us on our toes,” the 32-year-old Pettersen said. “She’s 16 and she’s good enough to win tournaments, to win major championships. She’s a future star for this game.”

She’ll 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.

“I thought today we would fight the weather more than we did, so it was a walk in the park just to stay dry,” Pettersen said. “I didn’t know what to expect with the weather we had overnight. But the greens were good.”

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.

BMW Championship

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

The final round of the BMW Championship was suspended Sunday because of steady rain that left too much water on Conway Farms. Furyk, who has a one-shot lead over Steve Stricker, was still about two hours away from even teeing off.

Rory McIlroy found one small consolation to the end of his PGA Tour season — he was one of six players who finished. McIlroy had yet another double bogey — that’s 12 double bogeys and a triple bogey in three FedEx Cup playoff events — but holed out from 164 yards for eagle on the 12th hole and had his second straight 68.

It was the first time he had back-to-back rounds in the 60s in the same tournament this year on the PGA Tour.

Furyk was at 13-under 200 and in the final group with Stricker. Brandt Snedeker was two shots behind at 202, followed by Zach Johnson at 203 and Tiger Woods at 204. Woods was penalized two shots on Friday when his ball moved as he was removing a small branch next to it behind the first green.

Players will return to Conway Farms this morning for the conclusion.

WEBCOM TOUR

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

The 22-year-old Noh closed with a 2-under 69 for a five-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.

EUROPEAN TOUR

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

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.

 

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