PRIDDIS, Alberta(AP) A text message from the greatest closer in golf helped give Suzann Pettersen the confidence she needed to end a long winless streak.
Tiger Woods sent the Norwegian a short note Sunday morning, urging her to keep doing everything that had allowed her to build a five-shot lead in the first three rounds of the Canadian Women’s Open. Pettersen took the message to heart and ended up cruising to a comfortable victory – her first in almost two years on the LPGA Tour.
There had been six runner-up finishes and 19 top-10s since Pettersen last won on tour, so she had to work hard to keep doubt from creeping in.
“You’ve got to believe you can do it,” she said. “Don’t fear anything, the door is wide open. You’ve just got to keep doing what you’re doing. In that way, I usually use a lot of other sports and performances in kind of an inspirational way.”
That included the encouraging text message from Woods and the U.S. Open tennis she watched each evening in her hotel room.
Pettersen vowed not to play conservatively with a big lead in the final round and made good on that promise – closing with a 1-under 70 at Priddis Greens for a five-shot victory over Momoko Ueda (65), Morgan Pressel (66), Ai Miyazato (67), Karrie Webb (69) and Angela Stanford (70).
None of those players were able to apply much late pressure, making the walk around the final few holes feel more like a coronation for Pettersen. She lapped a field that featured the LPGA Tour’s top-75 money earners for a victory she considers an unofficial second major following her win at the 2007 McDonald’s LPGA Championship
“This is obviously not a major win on paper, but for me this means as much,” Pettersen said.
The 28-year-old star was the most consistent golfer all week, scoring well in the wind on Thursday and Saturday and finishing strong on Sunday.
Despite the large margin of victory, Pettersen did have some tense moments midway through the final round. Her lead over Webb had been whittled down to three shots when she missed the green at the 10th hole.
However, Pettersen calmly stepped up and drained the chip.
“I hit a terrible approach into 10,” she said. “And then I get my break because it might as well have just lipped out. But it went in.”
She followed that with two more birdies and the big lead had been restored.
Webb made the biggest run at Pettersen on the final day by making three birdies over her opening five holes to narrow the gap to three shots. Pressel also tried to make an unlikely run, but simply couldn’t make up all the strokes.
“I was only a couple shots out of second and third place so that’s what I was looking at,” Pressel said. “I wanted to make as many birdies as possible. If I could have found a 62 then I might have challenged Suzann.”
No one could keep up with her.
The victory was Pettersen’s sixth on the LPGA Tour – the previous five all came during a breakout 2007 season – and pushed her season’s earnings over $1.1 million.
Most importantly, she finally has another LPGA Tour trophy.
“To finally close the deal again feels really good,” Pettersen said. “I remember what it feels like.”