Suzann Pettersen fired a final-round 3-under 69 to claim her 14th career LPGA Tour victory and successfully defend her title at the Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship.
It was a head-to-head battle with Spaniard Azahara Munoz throughout the day but Pettersen pulled away late in the round to secure a five-stroke victory and clinch her fourth win of the season.
“It feels great to come here and defend my title and play as well as I did,” said Pettersen. “It was very tough out there. Since the very first shot on Thursday, the conditions gave us a very big challenge. Today, Azahara gave me an even bigger challenge. She played really good on the front nine - well, she played really good all around. I think I can almost thank her for keep pressing and keep pushing me because I just had to keep staying aggressive and try to make birdies.”
With the win, Pettersen crossed the $2 million mark in season earnings with $2,241,847 and moves within $93,613 of Inbee Park on the LPGA Official Money List. After claiming her fourth victory this season, the Norwegian is inching closer to not only obtaining the No. 1 ranking in the Rolex Rankings but also to surpassing Park in the Rolex Player of the Year race and LPGA Official Money List.
“Yeah, being No. 2 is pretty much the first loser and I've been No. 2 behind four great No. 1s,” said Pettersen. “I've been No. 2 behind Annika, I was No. 2 behind Lorena, I was No. 2 behind Yani and I'm 2 behind Inbee.”
While Pettersen still ranks behind Park, a string of solid tournaments that has included three wins and two top-3 finishes in her previous five tournaments has her within striking distance. With only three tournaments remaining on this year’s LPGA Tour schedule, time is running out for Pettersen but according to 14 time LPGA Tour winner, this is the first time she has been prepared to hold the number one spot.
“The first couple times I felt maybe a little bit immature,” said Pettersen. “I didn't feel quite ready to take on that role. Now, I feel my game is progressing. It's getting stronger. I think personally, mentally, I'm ready to take on No. 1. That's pretty much -- that's my drive, that's my goal. I want to dominate ladies golf and to do that, you've got to go out and you've got to be comfortable with big leads.”
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