Published on October 28, 2007
Suzann Pettersen maintained her sparkling form yesterday, firing a sizzling nine-under 63 to widen her lead to seven strokes after
three rounds at the US$1.3-million Honda LPGA Thailand Open.
A capricious combination of rain, wind and sunshine at the Siam Country Club Pattaya Old Golf Course failed to disturb the Norwegian, as she completed an error-free round with nine birdies for a three-day total of 20-under 196.
"I'm not trying to plan ahead, I'm just trying to take what I have right there at that moment. When you see it and feel it, you can execute it, which is really nice,'' said the hottest player on the LPGA, who has claimed two trophies in her last three tournaments and is now in perfect position to post back-to-back wins.
"I have to go out and do a good job tomorrow. I have to shoot low and it would be nice to get a career low after four rounds,'' said the world No 4, victor in the Hana Bank-Kolon Championship last week in South Korea.
By just shooting even par today, Pettersen will better her season's best four-round total of 16-under-272 in the Safeway International, where she was runner-up.
Trailing by seven shots is 44-year-old Laura Davies, whose round of six under was sprinkled with five birdies in the front nine. The four-time Major champion from England enjoyed a bogey-free day and took lone possession of second spot with a total of 13-under 203.
"Six under is a good round, but not good enough this week because Suzann's gone mad,'' said the veteran, who played alongside 21-year-Paula Creamer in a pairing of players from different generations. But the age difference did not come between them.
"It feels like we're friends, it feels like someone [I was] 20 years ago. We are doing the same job. I guess age, there's nothing in it,'' added the veteran, who is still fit enough to tackle the hilly course.
"It's not like we're running up and down the hills. I can walk forever. I could walk for ages."
A further stroke back is crowd darling Creamer, after a round of seven birdies against one bogey. She carded six under for a 12-under 204 total.
"I had a lot of fun playing with Laura. We've always have a good time out there, it's very relaxed,'' said the American beauty, who was followed by about 1,000 fans.
"It's very nice that people in Thailand respect my golf. It's wonderful and quite a humbling experience."
Alena Sharp of Canada, after two days in second place, slipped to tied fourth after an even-par day. Her total of 207 placed her alongside Australians Katherine Hull and Rachel Hetherington.
Following them in seventh is 10-time Major champion Annika Sorenstam, who carded four under for 208 on aggregate. She is tied with American Thai Stacy Prammanasudh, who conquered the 137-yard par-three eighth with an ace - the first of her LPGA career. Stacy emulated American Christina Kim, the ethnic South Korean also acing the hole in the morning.
Virada Nirapathpongporn knocked down five birdies, but also had one bogey and a double bogey to finish in tied-21st place on three-under 213.
"Everything went according to plan as I birdied three par-five holes. At the same time I also made some mistakes. But I've told myself I cannot play perfect golf all the time,'' said Virada, who is the best placed of the local challengers.
Another Thai hope, Onnarin Sattayabanphot, hit two under for a three-day total of 214 for joint 25th.
"I putted better than in the first couple of days. If I keep up this level I might end up four or five under,'' said Onnarin, who carded five birdies.
Eleven-year-old Ariya Jutanugarn endured an erratic day, scoring two over for a seven-over aggregate of 223 to take joint-48th position.