Sunday, May 13, 2007

Michelob Ultra Open – Final Round

Suzann Pettersen parred the third playoff hole to defeat Jee Young Lee and win the Michelob Ultra Open at Kingsmill. It is the first career victory for Pettersen and the first ever by a Norweigian, making her the ninth different winner on tour this season. Sarah Lee was third three shots back at -7 while Stacy Prammanasudh and Paula Creamer finished tied for fifth at -6.

The final twosome of Lee and Lee were chased down by Pettersen, who was -3 on the day through six holes (-9 overall). Jee Young Lee got as low as -12 after a birdie at the 2nd, but by 8 had dropped to -10. Sarah Lee couldn’t get it started - +2 on the front put her at -8. Jelly birdied 9 to go back up by two but Pettersen rolled in a birdie from about 15 feet at 11 to cut it to one. When Jee Young missed from less than three feet to bogey 10 (not the last time that would happen, I’m afraid), they were tied for the lead. At 14 she drove into deep rough on the right side, then punched out through the fairway into the left second-cut. Jelly wound up missing an 18-footer for par and when Pettersen saved par at 16 after a wonderful chip to two feet, Suzann led for the first time.

The two Lees made a stand at the par-5 15th – Sarah chipped to within a foot to tap in for birdie and Jee Young flopped a great bunker shot to two feet and sank her birdie to re-tie for the lead with Sarah one shot behind. At 16 Jelly came up just short (a common Lee-theme Sunday) on her birdie attempt. Sarah had a birdie try from about 10 feet but came up at least two feet short, then missed the par to all but end her chances. Pettersen had two so-so chances at birdies at 17 and 18, but didn’t convert and got to the house at -10. Jelly’s 40-footer at 17 just stopped at the left edge and her 40-footer at 18 came up a little short, but she tapped in to force the playoff. After Peanut won last week’s playoff, could Jelly do it again today?

Two problems with today’s playoff – they played 18 over and over again, and once Lee had the honors on the first hole she kept it. I know how match play works, but in a playoff, I think alternating honors would be more appropriate. Anyway, they both parred the first hole. On the second one, Pettersen’s 8-footer to win slid just by on the left side. Lee had left her long birdie attempt three feet short. Her par putt did a 360 on the rim and fell in! The third hole found Lee 8 feet away and Pettersen 15 feet away up against the collar surrounding the green. Suzann rolled it just right of the hole to just under two feet. Jelly missed her birdie two feet past then missed the par putt, punching it to the right. Pettersen’s tap-in was a winner.

A great win for Pettersen after two heartbreaking losses already this season – Suzann certainly knows how Jee Young Lee is feeling right now. Kingsmill’s tough reputation caught up with the players today – the scoring average was nearly three shots higher today than any of the first three rounds. A little bit of wind seemed to make that difference. Despite shooting 74, Sarah Lee only slipped to third place. Paula Creamer was within three of the top as late as the 13th, but a missed five-footer at 14 (bogey) and a missed four-footer at 15 (par) did her in.

This week’s Big Surprise is Siew-Ai Lim. She made the event after a late withdrawal and drove 11 hours to get to Virginia in time for Thursday’s start, then notches a Top 10 (only the second of her nine-year career). The Big Disappointment goes to Jeong Jang, who missed the cut for the first time since last July.

1 comment:

Galley said...

I managed to catch the last few holes and the playoff. Good stuff! Congrats to Suzann on her first victory.