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Pettersen primed to defend her Pumpkin patch

 
Comments(0) 8/18/12
It doesn't take long for Norway's Suzann Pettersen to get the positive vibes going at the LPGA Tour's Safeway Classic.

The defending champ overcame a nine-stroke deficit with a seven-under 64 to defeat South Korea's Choi Na-yeon on the first hole of a playoff on the Pumpkin Ridge golf course last year. It was the eighth career title for Pettersen and it came on a course she seems to easily find her comfort zone on.

"It kind of feels like being back at home," Pettersen said Thursday. "Ever since they moved from Columbia Edgewater, I've done a little better. It's one of those tracks where you can really get it going."

Players in the 54-hole tournament tee off on Friday. This is the fourth year at Pumpkin Ridge after 18 at the nearby Columbia Egdewater course. Pettersen tied for second at Pumpkin Ridge in 2009 and tied for fourth in 2010.

World number two Stacy Lewis, of the United States, likes the layout and says the par-fives will be key.

"You can really make a move there," said Lewis, a two-time winner this year.

Lewis is trying to close the gap on top-ranked Taiwanese star Yani Tseng, who has been stuck in a slump lately after winning three tournaments early in the season.

"Yani won so many times last year (seven). It would take a year like Yani had last year to catch her," Lewis said. "I know I'm getting closer, but she hasn't been in a slump for a long time."

Tseng missed the cut last week at the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic. In her four starts before that, she tied for 59th in the LPGA Championship, missed the cut in the NW Arkansas Championship, tied for 50th in the US Women's Open, and missed the cut at the Evian Masters.

"I try everything I can," Tseng said. "I'm working hard. I just work on location. This week, I feel very good, I feel like the old Yani is getting close and I feel like I need to get started on what I'm here for.

"This is a sport I love and there is no way I can be more appreciative than anyone else. I feel that I have a lot of advantage this week and I can do it. Just enjoy more than anybody on the course this week."

South Korea's Ryu So-yeon is coming off a victory Sunday in the Toledo Classic, where she shot a fourth round nine-under 62.

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