Pettersen sittin' pretty

TODD SAELHOF

, Last Updated: 8:04 AM ET

Heartbreak on the links has hobbled Suzann Pettersen recently on the LPGA Tour.

She hopes to put a playoff loss last weekend in Portland and Solheim Cup frustration behind her with a win at the US$2.75-million CN Canadian Women's Open.

"That's OK -- I can take it," said the 28-year-old Pettersen with a laugh and a solid 9-under-133 total. "I'm still young."

What she'll need is a touch of old-time mettle to make the most of a spot atop the leaderboard through 36 holes.

Tied with South Korean Song-Hee Kim, who came out sizzling with six straight birdies out of the gate for a tournament-record 28 on the front nine, Pettersen also has to contend with the world's top-ranked player, Lorena Ochoa, who's one stroke back heading into the third round at Priddis Greens Golf & Country Club.

While Pettersen, thanks to birdies on the first three holes, was putting up a 3-under 68 to follow up her first-round 65, Kim scorched the country club with a 9-under 62.

"I just came back to the U.S. two weeks ago (after three weeks off back home), and I really got tired, so I didn't even think I can shoot 9-under par," said the 21-year-old Kim.

"I think I couldn't make all the birdie putts ... and then I didn't know I had six birdies in a row, so it was awesome.

"I mean, it was fantastic."

For Pettersen, it might appear to be another bad omen. At last week's Safeway Classic in Oregon, the Norwegian lost in a playoff to teenager M.J. Hur, another South Korean sensation.

Like Kim this week, Hur was searching for her first LPGA triumph.

But Pettersen, who also played well but gained just one point of a possible five for Team Europe two weeks ago in the Solheim Cup, refuses to let it bother her.

At least, that's what she's saying.

"There's definitely another course record out on this course, so I'm glad there's another two rounds," said Pettersen, who's eighth on this year's money list with $882,310. "If you put yourself in good position off the tee, you're definitely in a good solid position to make birdies out there.

"You can predict that somebody will go low here, so you've got to jump up your game and kind of keep playing aggressive, I guess."

Meanwhile, Ochoa and fellow veteran Catriona Matthew, who won the British Women's Open a month ago, are right on the co-leaders' heals.

Both are one stroke back at 8-under 134, and Ochoa is No. 9 on the money list with $809,680 after being tops on the cash ladder the last three seasons.

"I try to get in this position over the first two days, so I'm feeling good about it," said Ochoa, who bogeyed the final hole to drop out of a first-place tie with Kim and Pettersen. "I'm just trying to make birdies there and create some rhythm. I'm going to try to do that (today)."

There is no today for Michelle Wie, who missed the cut at 3-over 69 after a 5-over-76 first round. The American phenom finished with a 3-over 145.

Defending champion Katherine Hull is out as well, after missing the cut by one stroke. She followed a 2-over 73 with a second-round even-par score, which wasn't enough .

TODD.SAELHOF@SUNMEDIA.CA


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