Stone-cold victory for Pettersen

ERIC FRANCIS, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 12:03 PM ET

Mere hours after a back-nine collapse that cost her a win last week in Oregon, Suzann Pettersen sat in her hotel room watching The Pursuit of Happyness.

Taking lessons from the inspirational, true story about a man who loses everything only to fight back from a life on the street, the 28-year-old Norwegian felt compelled to get philosophical via Twitter.

"Hard work, dedication and self-belief are the keys to get through tough times," she wrote.

"Enjoy the process as you go."

Too bad she didn't practice what she preached.

While the seventh-year LPGA Tour pro persevered and believed she could hold off an early charge by Karrie Webb to win the US$2.75-million CN Canadian Women's Open, there were few signs she enjoyed the ride.

Despite dominating all week to enter yesterday's final round with a five-stroke lead, Pettersen scowled her way to her sixth LPGA Tour win with a stellar 15-under 269 at Priddis Greens.

Outside of a trio of "thank-God" fist pumps following key putts, Pettersen was emotionless throughout the course of a final-round 70 that gave her a five-stroke victory -- her first tour win since 2007.

In a loop full of young, engaging personalities doing their damnedest to sell a tour losing events every year, colourless winners like Pettersen do little to help the LPGA's cause.

Instead of embracing a spotlight that followed the beautiful Scandinavian ever since she opened the tournament with an impressive six-under 65, she accepted it grudgingly. Oh sure, she did her time in the press tent after every round.

However, she refused to let her golden blond hair down in any fashion by smiling or having any fun with interviewers until after she won yesterday.

Only then did she show a lighter side, citing a text from Tiger Woods yesterday morning urging her to "keep doing your sh--."

Granted, in the high-pressure world of professional golf, focus is certainly of the utmost importance -- especially for someone like her who has a lengthy history of faltering down the stretch of late.

No one was expecting her to crack jokes, chat with spectators or make like Bill Murray. Just smile: Pretend you're enjoying yourself playing the world's greatest game.

"I would like to smile more, but I'm so into it," she said.

"Even when I make a putt, it's hard to let go because I'm a perfectionist. I'm working on it."

To be fair, it's a problem that also plagues the PGA Tour as too many players carry themselves like robots in shades.

The impressive number of fans who gathered at Spruce Meadows and rode school buses to help make the tourney an overwhelming success (and raise $1.6 million for the Alberta Children's Hospital) deserved better.

This is the entertainment business, and those who pay the freight want to be entertained.

While some would argue Pettersen's stellar play did all of her talking and lifted the crowds, plenty of other professionals out there find ways to become engaging and likable while chasing tourney titles.

On the ninth green, when she narrowly dodged having her lead cut to one, she didn't even grin.

A 50-ft. chip-in one hole later prompted a light fist pump and stone-cold stare.

Only after she tapped in on 18 did she let her guard down with a short celebration.

Ironically, with the US$412,500 winner's cheque, she wedged herself between two of the game's greatest ambassadors -- Patty Sheehan and Nancy Lopez -- with career earnings of $5.33 million.

They sold the game so Pettersen could play.

Good on Pettersen for bouncing back from two years of hard-luck to finally close the deal.

Whether she drew strength from an in-room movie or her recent failures matters not.

She got it done.

It's just too bad she was unable to smile or inspire along the way.

ERIC.FRANCIS@SUNMEDIA.CA


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