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Pettersen pulls away to win Safeway Classic

The SportsXchange

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Suzann Pettersen has been on the roll of her career the past two months.

The 32-year-old Norwegian accented that Sunday by winning the $1.3 million LPGA Safeway Classic at Columbia Edgewater Country Club.

Pettersen broke away from a packed field with a torrid stretch during her final round, fashioning a five-under-par 67 to finish at 20-under 268 and claim the $195,000 first prize. She ended two strokes ahead of runner-up Stacy Lewis, whose final-round 68 put her at 270.

"I've played so well over the last couple of weeks, it's hard to stay patient," said Pettersen, who has won more than $593,000 while placing in a tie for seventh or better in six of her last seven events. "You feel like you want to fire at every pin and go for birdie. I was mature enough today to just let the game come to me and get it done."

There were 10 players within two shots of the lead at mid-afternoon Sunday before Pettersen gained separation.

After she double-bogeyed the par-three second hole, Pettersen -- No. 3 on the LPGA money list entering the tournament -- birdied eight of the next 11 holes, including four straight on holes five through eight. She was one stroke ahead of Lewis and Cristie Kerr at the turn but extended her lead to three shots over Lewis with four to play.

Lizette Salas shot 69 Sunday to claim third place at 272, one shot ahead of Kerr, who also carded a final-round 69. Caroline Masson was a stroke back of Kerr in fifth at 273 after shooting 70. Gerina Piller had Sunday's best round at six-under 66, putting her in a tie for sixth with Sandra Gal at 274.

Yani Tseng began the final round with a three-stroke lead at 18-under 198 after shooting a third-round 63. However, Tseng double-bogeyed the second hole and bogeyed Nos. 3 and 4 and never recovered, closing with a six-over 78 to finish at 276, tied for ninth.

Lewis didn't have a bogey through the entire 72 holes.

"I've never done that before," she said. "I keep checking things off my coach's list. You would think if you went bogey-free you'd win the tournament. But everybody was scoring so low, unfortunately that's the way it is."

Lewis lipped out several putts during her final round.

"It was a little frustrating," she said. "I played really good, though, so I can't be too upset. A lot of those putts I hit exactly where I wanted to and they didn't go in."

Pettersen, who also won the LPGA Lotte Championship in April, was in position to win last week's CN Canadian Open, beginning the final round a shot behind the leader. She shot a final-round 72 to finish in a tie for seventh place, eight shots behind champion Lydia Ko.

"I had some unfinished business to take care of," Pettersen said. "It's nice when you can come back and win after such a disappointment on Sunday last week."

Pettersen placed second at the 2008 Safeway Classic when it was last held at Columbia Edgewater. The last four editions of the tournament were held at Pumpkin Ridge.

"Portland is a good stop for me," Pettersen said. "I always seem to play well here. I've been close to winning here, and it was good to get it done today."

The double bogey on No. 2 "was a disaster hole," Pettersen said, grinning. "I felt like an amateur walking away from that hole. I made a mess of it.

"I didn't feel too comfortable, but I knew there were enough holes left to repair things. I bounced back on a birdie (on No. 3) and got it going. I wasn't feeling awfully good with my long game, but I felt like I made a lot of clutch putts. I guess that's what made me win today. The putter was a good friend of mine. It has been all week."
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