WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (AP) — Suzann Pettersen became the first Norwegian winner in LPGA Tour history, making a 1 1/2-foot par putt after Jee Young Lee missed one from about 2 feet on the third extra hole Sunday in the Michelob Ultra Open.
Both players parred the par-4 18th on the first two extra holes, and Lee seemed to have the upper hand the third time around when she hit her approach to about 12 feet while Pettersen’s ball rested against the high grass at the edge of the fringe.
Pettersen’s putt rolled just past the cup on the right side, leaving 1 1/2 feet, and Lee’s attempt at the victory missed to the right, leaving a short putt for the tie.
Lee quickly went to knock her ball in, seemed to rush and it skated by on the right as the crowd gasped and she looked up, astonished.
Pettersen, making her 82nd career LPGA Tour start, then stepped up, made hers for the victory and pumped her right fist as the ball disappeared in the hole, then doubled over in apparent disbelief
“I was like, ‘Wow! It happened,'” she said of her first victory, which followed many close calls in her short career, some as demoralizing as the way Lee lost.
Pettersen, second twice in her first seven events this year, closed with a bogey-free 6-under 66 in the Safeway International in March, but lost when top-ranked Lorena Ochoa birdied four of the last five holes. Pettersen then blew a three-shot lead with a bogey-double bogey-bogey-par finish at the Kraft Nabisco – a major – the next week.
“It was a great learning experience,” she said, and one that helped her Sunday, even as the tension built when her bogey-free 3-under 68 got her into the playoff.
“I was surprisingly very calm all day,” she said.
Not so for Lee, who joined most every other contender in making mistakes that killed any momentum she might have had. She had four bogeys and three birdies in a 72, the last immediately after a bogey at No. 14 briefly gave Pettersen a one-shot lead.
It was the only time she led all day until the final putt disappeared.
“Frankly speaking, I think I played well enough (to win),” a still teary-eyed and stunned Lee said through an interpreter, “but I think I gave it away.”
Lee also missed putts from inside 5 feet on the 10th and 14th greens.
Sarah Lee, who started the day one shot off the pace, finished three strokes back after a 74. Stacy Prammanasudh, who matched Pettersen’s 68, and crowd favorite Paula Creamer (72) shared fourth. Angela Stanford had the day’s best round, a 67.
The victory, worth $330,000 from the purse of $2.2 million, guaranteed Pettersen a spot in the November ADT Championship as the winner of one of 10 $2 million events.