(Kyeongbook, South Korea – 21st October 2007) – Norway’s Suzann Pettersen was named the 36-hole winner of the Hana Bank • KOLON Championship 2007 on Sunday after the course was deemed unplayable.
Players teed off on Sunday morning in strong winds and cold temperatures, but play was suspended indefinitely at 9:15 a.m. and eventually called off for the week. Scores from the third round were wiped clean and Pettersen earned the victory on the heels of a 3-under-par 141 through 36 holes.
“To come here to Korea and capture my fourth win, it’s something I believed I could do, but to sit here and hold the trophy is very nice,” said Pettersen. “You want to complete the tournament as it is originally setup, but this time the last round wasn’t playable.”
Pettersen’s victory in Korea is her fourth of the season on the LPGA Tour, bested only by Lorena Ochoa’s seven. She also won the SAS Masters in Norway on the Ladies European Tour in August. The Norwegian became the first foreign-born player to win the Korean event since its inception. Previously, five Korean-born players were crowned as the champion.
“I must say I feel very fortunate to break the Korean streak,” said Pettersen. “This is my fourth time coming to Korea and I look forward to coming back and hopefully try to satisfy the fans a bit better next time.”
Monsoon rains in September dropped 20 inches of rain on the Mauna Ocean Golf and Resort and despite the best efforts of course and tournament staff, little grass remained on the greens on Sunday.
“We had very limited grass to start with, basically no grass, which makes it virtually unplayable for players to hit to the green and putt on the green and be able to play in a fair manner,” said Sue Witters, LPGA Rules Official. “The greens deteriorated a little bit each day and with the excessive wind yesterday that continued all day and into the night and this morning, it just took its toll on the greens and we were not able to play golf.”
Pettersen will look for another victory next week at the Honda LPGA Thailand.
Final-round interview with Suzann Pettersen
Hana Bank • KOLON Championship
Mauna Ocean Golf & Resort
Kyeongbook, South Korea
Suzann Pettersen, 69-72=141 (-3)
MIKE SCANLAN: Suzann, welcome and congratulations on your fourth victory of the year. I know it might not have been quite as you expected it, but please talk about how it feels to win this week at the Hana Bank • KOLON Championship 2007?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Well, I guess it has to kind of sink in that I actually won this tournament. Of course, it’s not the way I want to win. You want to complete the tournament as it is originally setup, but this time the last round wasn’t playable. I’m disappointed and I think a lot of other people are disappointed that we didn’t get to finish the tournament, but I’m very happy. It’s nice to be back in Korea. I’m really looking forward to coming back next year. Unfortunately, it was very difficult to play.
MIKE SCANLAN: Korean players, fans and media have made it quite apparent that golf in Korea is stronger than ever. The LPGA is such a global tour, but you are the first foreign-born player to win this event. Talk about how that feels.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Well, I must say I feel very fortunate to break the Korean streak. Of course, it’s not the way we wanted to end this tournament. It felt like I played 36 great holes. I fought everyday and it was very hard. We have a lot of Koreans on Tour and it’s nice to get to know their culture and know their fans and the crowd. They are such a big part of our Tour. This is my fourth time coming to Korea and I look forward to coming back and hopefully try to satisfy the fans a bit better next time.
Q. Was there any conflict with the players about the decision to end the tournament?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: No. I think from everyone’s experience the last couple of days and from the players who were on the course that got taken off the course, getting their feedback that it was literally impossible to play on the greens, I think it was a very mutual decision from the players that it just wasn’t playable at this time.
MIKE SCANLAN: Suzann, if you would, just talk a bit about the year you’ve had. At the beginning of 2007, you had no career wins and now you have four.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: It’s been a fantastic year. It didn’t start too well. I missed my first two cuts this year. I’m just trying to keep grinding and keep believing in what I did and it finally paid off and when it did, I seemed to get on a roll. There are so many good players out here with Lorena (Ochoa) in the front and we’re pushing each other to get better. I’m just very fortunate and glad to be a part of that group of players. It’s just been a fantastic year, but it’s not over. I have three tournaments left. To come here to Korea and capture my fourth win, it’s something I believed I could do, but to sit here and hold the trophy is very nice.
Q. What is your take on the course conditions?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Well, the conditions on the course were quite challenging from the beginning. The LPGA staff always does a good job to make it playable. We played preferred lies in the fairways which I think was pretty fair to everybody in these conditions. The greens were very tough from the first day and with the wind, it was just impossible to try to stay in control of them. Unfortunately, it went too far to stay in control of. When the players don’t feel they are in control of the ball, I don’t think it’s fair to play. I think the decision was best for everybody.