Suzann Pettersen battled illness all week, but still managed to top Cristie Kerr, 1-up, on Sunday to win the Sybase Match Play Championship.
Pettersen, the fifth seed, earned her seventh LPGA victory that she had been seeking since late 2009, when she won the Canadian Women's Open. In the interim, the 30-year-old finished runner-up six times -- all in 2010 -- and had three top-10 finishes in five tournaments prior to this week's event.
"I never thought (my next win was) going to come in match play to be honest," Pettersen said in a televised interview. "I feel like my advantage is in stroke play, but I'm an aggressive player."
Pettersen never trailed in the final match and took advantage of some uncharacteristically poor putting by Kerr, who missed out on her 15th title.
Kerr, seeded third, came into the tournament with the ninth-lowest putting average per green in regulation, but missed several chances to win and halve holes on Sunday afternoon.
"It's not only a test of golf at this point, it's a test of physical and mental endurance," Kerr said on TV. "I ran out of gas a little bit. A couple short putts I missed, I never miss those."
Pettersen came full circle after she was the highest seeded player to lose in the first round of last year's event.
"I was just trying to put together a score. We're both tired on the back nine," Pettersen said on television. "She showed a few mental errors, but I can't worry about that. This one's sweet."
Kerr, meanwhile, will be left thinking what could have been.
Pettersen came out strong right away with birdies at the second and fourth to move ahead by two, but Kerr battled back initially.
Birdies at Nos. 5 and 8 by Kerr squared the match, but she lipped a 10-foot putt for birdie at No. 9, handing the hole to Pettersen, who birdied, and began an unfortunate run of poor putting.
Kerr had a chance to square the match at the 10th from 10 feet away, but again the putt stayed out of the cup, and the players halved the hole, keeping Pettersen ahead by one.
At the 11th, Kerr had a putt from only a few feet to win the hole, but she missed badly, and Pettersen stayed ahead. Two holes later, Kerr missed an eight-footer that would have again squared the final.
Kerr's approach at 14 was within four feet, while Pettersen's landed 12 feet from the pin. Pettersen missed her birdie chance, giving Kerr yet another opportunity to pull even.
However, Kerr was off once again, and the holes started to run out.
"I'm pretty tired. I'm pretty tired," Kerr said on television following the match. "But I've got to be proud of myself. I feel like I let my caddie down by missing those short putts and let myself down, but I tried my hardest."
Pettersen finally capitalized and took control of the match at the 15th, getting up-and-down for par to move 2-up with three holes to play. Kerr had an opportunity to halve the hole from the edge of the green, but her putt lipped out.
Kerr managed to halve the 16th with a short putt, leaving her 2-down with only two to play.
Pettersen was unable to make her 18-foot birdie putt at 17, leaving a window for Kerr to force an 18th hole. Kerr had a must-make 10-foot birdie putt and finally got one to drop.
"You know that she's going to birdie 17," Pettersen said of Kerr. "You know she's going to make her effort on 18. She gave me a few outs there, and I guess I gave her a few."
On the 18th, Pettersen made sure Kerr didn't have a chance to square the match, making a tough 11-foot left-to-right birdie putt to ensure the victory.
Na Yeon Choi captured third place after defeating Angela Stanford, 4 & 3, in the consolation match.
Choi, seeded first, took three of the first five holes from last year's runner-up and was 5-up through 10 holes. Stanford battled back with wins on holes 12 and 14, but Choi parred the 15th to win the match.
NOTES: Pettersen won four of her six matches on the final hole...Pettersen defeated No. 49 Natalie Gulbis, 1-up; No. 45 Amy Hung, 5 & 3; No. 21 Stacy Lewis, 1-up; No. 4 Yani Tseng, 1-up; and Choi, 4 & 2, to reach the final...Kerr beat No. 48 Amanda Blumenherst, 3 & 2; No. 60 Belen Mozo, 7 & 6; No. 47 Kyeong Bae, 3 & 2; No. 6 Ai Miyazato, 3 & 2; and Stanford, 1-up, to reach the final...The LPGA Tour heads to Rio De Janeiro next week for the two- day HSBC Brazil Cup. Meaghan Francella needed six playoff holes last year to defeat Mariajo Uribe to win the unofficial event.