Pettersen wins Sybase Match Play Championship

Suzann Pettersen beat Cristie Kerr 1-up to win the Sybase Match

Play Championship on Sunday, ending a 20-month victory drought.

Leading 1-up and with Kerr facing a 10-foot birdie attempt on

the par-5 18th, Pettersen curled in a left to-right 15-footer for

birdie to seal the victory on the cold, damp overcast day that

probably made the 30-year-old Norwegian star fell as if she was

back home.

Pettersen immediately thrust both hands skyward in celebration,

took a few steps and staggered to her knees in exhaustion after

playing four rounds over the last two days. She quickly got up and

gave a thumbs up and exhaled.

”It’s 20 months, but it doesn’t feel like 20 months,” said

Pettersen, who was doused with champagne by Swedish player Anna

Nordqvist after winning. ”It feel like a lot longer. But like I

said yesterday, I had some great tournaments except winning, and I

can finally put a dot over the i, and it’s just the tip of the

iceberg. It doesn’t get much better than that.”

Pettersen, who beat top-seeded Na Yeon Choi of South Korea 4 and

2 in the semifinals Sunday morning, never trailed in the match in

winning for the first time since the Canadian Women’s Open in

September 2009, and for the seventh time in her LPGA Tour

career.

”It boils down to winning tournaments, so if you judge your

season by winning, last year was a disappointment,” said

Pettersen, who had 14 top-10 finishes in 21 events in 2010. ”But

at the same time, I tried to take positives from that. It was a lot

better than ’09. (However), winning is what it’s about.”

The No. 3 ranked woman finished second six times last year and

12 times since 2007, a year she won five times, including the LPGA

Championship.

The No. 4 Kerr, who won the final two holes in beating Angela

Stanford 1-up in the semis, had her putter to blame for failing to

win for the 15th time on tour. The American missed four putts of

less than 10 feet – all for hole victories.

However, she also made a 3-foot par save on No. 16 to keep the

match alive and a 10-footer for birdie on the next hole to cut

Pettersen’s lead to 1-up.

Pettersen ended the run and the match with her dramatic putt at

the magical 18th hole. She played it four times and birdied it

every time to win matches. She dispatched Natalie Gulbis in the

first round, Stacy Lewis in the round of 16, Yani Tseng in the

quarterfinals and Kerr in the championship.

Pettersen earned $375,000, and Kerr made $225,000.

Pettersen birdied the second and fourth holes to go 2-up, but

Kerr tied the match with birdies at the fifth and eighth holes.

Pettersen made a 15-foot birdie putt at No. 9 to take a 1-up

lead.

The back nine of the championship match was both heartbreaking

and ugly at times.

Kerr lipped out on a 10-footer for birdie at No. 10 and then the

players halved the 11th and 12th holes with bogeys. Pettersen

missed a 5-foot par-saver at the 11th to win the hole and Kerr did

the same at the next hole from 4 feet.

”Putting on the back nine killed me,” Kerr said.

Kerr had another chance to tie the match at No. 14 but her

10-foot birdie putt burned the cup.

”The putts that I missed I hit bad putts,” said Kerr, who

admitted she was physically drained after playing six matches in

four days, including four this weekend. ”They weren’t like

mis-hits. They were shoves. They were pushed.”

Pettersen went 2-up at the par-4 15th. Kerr was right with her

second shot, chipped 10 feet past the hole and then missed the par

save. Pettersen then extended the lead making a 5-footer for

par.

Kerr rallied but Pettersen would not be denied.

Choi, who never made it to 18 against Pettersen, shot 4 under to

open a 5-up lead over Stanford in the consolation match en route to

a 4-and-3 win that earned her $150,000. Stanford, who had to be

disappointed after throwing away a great chance to be beat Kerr at

No. 18 in the semifinal settled for $112,500.

Stanford, who finished second to Sun Young Yoo last year, is

going to have nightmares about her third shot at the par-5,

515-yard 18th hole.

Kerr square the match with a short birdie at No. 17 but her

third at the final hole sucked off the front of the elevated

green.

Stanford hit her third shot over the green and the mistake was

compounded when it landed in a downhill line with mud under the

ball. The No. 18 seed, searched for a way to land the ball on the

green and considered all angles before going at the pin. However,

the ball came out hot and rolled down the front of the raised

green, landing almost where Kerr’s third shot had stopped.

Kerr had hit her fourth to 3 feet, so Stanford went at the pin

and the ball banged off it. Kerr then made her par putt from 5 feet

to win the match.