NORTH PLAINS, Ore. (AP) – Suzann Pettersen hopes to make herself right at home again in the Safeway Classic.
A year ago on Pumpkin Ridge's Ghost Creek Course, the Norwegian star won the last of her eight career LPGA Tour titles, overcoming a nine-stroke deficit with a 7-under 64 and beating Na Yeon Choi with a par on the first hole of a playoff.
The 54-hole tournament, set to begin Friday, is in its fourth year at Pumpkin Ridge after 18 at Columbia Egdewater in Portland. Pettersen tied for second at Pumpkin Ridge in 2009 and tied for fourth in 2010.
“It kind of feels like being back at home. Ever since they moved from Columbia-Edgewater, I've done a little better,'' Pettersen said. “It's one of those tracks where you can really get it going.''
The course is set up to help the players get going, with Nos. 8, 9 and 10 all playing as par 5s. Last year, No. 9 played as a 371-yard, par 4. It has been lengthened to 474 yards. Two of the three par 5s are reachable in two shots by many players.
“You can really make a move there,'' said second-ranked Stacy Lewis, a two-time winner this year who leads the money list with $1,222,479.
Lewis is trying to cut the gap on top-ranked Yani Tseng, the Taiwanese star mired in a slump after winning three times early in the season.
“Yani won so many times last year (seven). It would take a year like Yani had last year to catch her,'' Lewis said. “I know I'm getting closer, but she hasn't been in a slump for a long time.''
In Tseng's last five starts, she tied for 59th in the LPGA Championship, missed the cut in the NW Arkansas Championship, tied for 50th in the U.S. Women's Open, and missed the cuts in the Evian Masters and last week in the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic.
“I try everything I can,'' Tseng said. “I'm working hard. I just work on location. This week, I feel very good, I feel like the old Yani is getting close and I feel like I need to get started on what I'm here for. This is a sport I love and there is no way I can be more appreciative than anyone else. I feel that I have a lot of advantage this week and I can do it. Just enjoy more than anybody on the course this week.''
South Korea's So Yeon Ryu is coming off a victory Sunday in the Toledo Classic, where he closed with a 9-under 62.
The victory moved Ryu, the U.S. Women's Open champion last year, into the points lead for LPGA rookie of the year. Or so she's been told. “I never check the points because it would make me crazy,'' Ryu said.
Japan's Ai Miyazato, a two-time winner this year, won the 2010 event.