Pettersen rallies in Safeway playoff

SPORTS NETWORK

, Last Updated: 9:45 AM ET

NORTH PLAINS, Ore. -- Suzann Pettersen fired a seven-under 64 Sunday at the Safeway Classic, then waited more than two hours as the remainder of the field finished their rounds.

Na Yeon Choi, the second-round leader, was nine strokes ahead of Pettersen to start the day, but closed with a two-over 73 at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club.

Choi's bogey on the final hole of regulation forced a playoff as the duo ended 54 holes at six-under-par 207.

After Choi found the fairway on No. 18 in the extra session, Pettersen's tee ball got a good bounce out of the rough into the fairway. Her second bounced just off the back of the green.

Choi, who had nearly the same shot as she had on No. 18 in regulation, dumped her second shot into the water right of the green. She played her fourth to 18 feet, but missed the bogey putt on the right side.

Pettersen chipped to five feet and poured in the par putt for her eighth LPGA Tour title.

"You know, I played great today. Warming up I didn't feel great, so I decided to go at it and take the challenge. I made some great birdies, I made some good pars," Pettersen said in a television interview. "With this pin placement on 18, it couldn't suit my second shot any better. I was the first one to hit, so I decided to go dead aim and at least put the pressure on.

"Wow, I didn't really expect this when I woke up this morning being nine shots back, but when you're on a roll, you're on a roll."

The victory moves Pettersen to No. 2 in the Rolex women's world golf rankings, and her nine-shot comeback is the third-best of all time. Mickey Wright and Annika Sorenstam both erased 10-stroke deficits.

Hee Young Park bogeyed the 18th for a round of four-under 67 that left her one stroke out of the playoff at minus-five.

Paula Creamer closed with a three-under 68 to end alone in fourth at four- under-par 209.

Vicky Hurst (67) and Ryann O'Toole (70) shared fifth place at three-under 210.

The Americans in the field were also battling for position on the U.S. Solheim Cup team. Christina Kim entered the week 10th on the points list and was the only player in jeopardy of losing her spot on the team.

However, no one played well enough to displace her from the 10th position. Afterwards, U.S. Solheim Cup captain Rosie Jones selected O'Toole and Hurst to round out her team.

Pettersen birdied the second and fourth to get into red figures at minus-one. She was still eight back as Choi hadn't teed off at that point.

After five straight pars, Pettersen caught fire on the back nine. She made eagle on the par-five 10th, and followed with a 16-foot birdie putt on the 11th to get to minus-four.

Pettersen converted a 10-footer for birdie on No. 15 and rolled in a six-foot birdie try on No. 17 to move to minus-six. She got up and down for par on the last, then headed to the clubhouse to wait for Choi to finish the back nine.

"I never felt I was going to have a chance. I had a good day," Pettersen said after her round, but before the playoff in a TV interview. "I know where my mistake is (in my swing) and I'm playing with it right now. The putter just got hot on the back nine."

Choi had three bogeys on the front nine to fall one back, but she recovered with a two-putt birdie on No. 10 to join Pettersen at minus-six. She fell one back with another bogey on the 13th.

The 23-year-old Choi fought back into the lead with a five-foot birdie putt on No. 15 and a four-footer for birdie at the 17th.

However, she pulled her approach left of the green on No. 18. Choi's chip stopped 16 feet short of the hole and she missed her par putt to the right to force the extra session. She fell to Pettersen in the extra session and dropped to 1-2 in playoffs.

Brittany Lang closed with a 69 to take seventh at minus-two. Ai Miyazato, the 2010 champion, shared eighth with Stacy Lewis at one-under-par 212. Miyazato carded a three-under 68 on Sunday, while Lewis stumbled to a three-over 74.

NOTES: Pettersen earned $225,000 for the win...Pettersen's 64 was the low round of the day by three strokes...The tour heads to Quebec next week for the Canadian Women's Open, where Michelle Wie won by three strokes last year.


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