Not even a double-bogey at the par 3 second hole could slow down Rolex Rankings No. 3 Suzann Pettersen as she fired a final-round 5-under 67 to take home her second Safeway Classic Presented by Coca-Cola title.
Pettersen pulled away from a star-studded leaderboard on Sunday at Columbia Edgewater Country Club and finished at 20-under par to clinch her 12th LPGA Tour career victory.
She finished two shots ahead of American and No. 2 ranked Stacy Lewis who shot a 4-under 65 and didn’t record a bogey through all 72 holes this week.
For Australian Karrie Webb it was a welcome return to form, the Queenslander who had missed her last two cuts, finished outright eighth at 13-under-par. Webb carded rounds of 69, 67, 67 and 72.
Pettersen’s start did not look promising after she and playing partner and third-round leader Yani Tseng both double bogeyed the par 3 second hole. But Pettersen said her goal this week was to keep her emotions in check and did just that by carding five birdies in the next six holes after the double.
“I decided before I went out just not have too many reactions, good or bad,” said Pettersen. “I knew there were birdies out there if you really get it going. I just tried to put it behind me. It was a disaster of a hole, 150 yards.”
The Norwegian picked up three more birdies on Nos. 10, 11 and 13 to reach 21-under and extended her lead to three shots. She said she didn’t have any idea where she stood on the leaderboard with just three holes to play.
“Very glad to pull this one off,” said Pettersen. “I didn't know where I was standing playing 13, 14, 15, 16. Having hit my approach shot on 18, I asked Brian ‘where do we stand and he said you are comfortable.”
Pettersen chunked her tee shot on the par 3 16th hole leaving her a tough up-and-down and salvaged bogey to cut her lead to two shots with two holes to play.
“You know what, it was just a pretty bad swing, even worse chip,” said Pettersen. “It was a good four, put it that way.”
After two conventional pars on the 17th and 18th holes, Pettersen hoisted the giant Safeway Classic for the second time in her 11-year career.
“It feels great,” said Pettersen. “I felt like it was a good bounce back from last week where I kind of screwed it up on the last day. I was just looking at it happy to have a chance this week to play. It held in. I wasn't feeling too comfortable coming down the stretch, but I was putting really good.”
The 32-year old was greeted on the 18th green by European Solheim Cup teammate Sophie Gustafson who announced her LPGA retirement earlier this week.
“We have a history together and to see her on the 18th was a little bit special,” said Pettersen. “I never thought she would kind of stick around. When she says she is done, she's done. She is usually out of there. One thing is to get to know each other on the golf course, but she has become a good friend of mine and that's what you do for friends, I guess.”
Of the remaining Australians in the field, Sarah Jane Smith finished outright 60th at three-under-par, while Katherine Hull-Kirk finished a further shot back and tied for 61st position. Sarah Kemp finished at three-over-par and tied for 78th after a final round of 73.