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Suzann Pettersen set for LPGA Championship title defence

Holder Suzann Pettersen has toiled behind Lorena Ochoa and Annika Sorenstam this season but said she will get down to business again at this week’s LPGA Championship.

“It’s a great feeling coming back here,” the Norwegian told reporters about returning to venue of her first major triumph.

“Let Annika and Lorena take all the hard work and let us do our business on the side,” she said about the media attention on her rivals. “That’s fine with me.”

The pre-tournament focus has been on world number one Ochoa, winner of six events this season, and number two Sorenstam, who announced plans to retire at the end of the year.

World number three Pettersen had a breakthrough 2007 season, winning five times and enjoying a one-shot major victory over Australian Karrie Webb on the testing Bulle Rock course.

She finished second behind Ochoa at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the first major of 2008, and claimed her first title of the year at last month’s European LPGA Swiss Open.

However heavy rains have softened the course, giving longer hitters an advantage with little roll expected on the generous fairways.

“I think this is a golf course that favours ball-strikers,” the 27-year-old Pettersen said. “They can tuck some pins out here and you have to be able to work the ball to get close.”

Ochoa fits the bill and the 26-year-old Mexican is aiming to win a third successive major after adding March’s Kraft Nabisco title to her first major triumph at last year’s British Open.

Sorenstam, 37, has 72 LPGA wins and 10 major titles but the Swede wants to finish her career at the top.

“I have a chance to win the Money List and Player of the Year, so that’s my focus,” said Sorenstam.

Other leading contenders include world number four Paula Creamer, number five Webb and up-and-comer Lee Seon-hwa, who vaulted from 20th to number 11 after coming back from nine shots down to win last week’s Ginn Tribute.

“I didn’t expect to win last week but I tried my best. I won and I have a lot of confidence,” said the 22-year-old South Korean, who turned pro on the Korean tour at age 14 and one year later became its youngest ever winner.

“I’ll try to do my best like last week.”


June 5, 2008

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