World No.3 Suzann Pettersen is targeting her first Ricoh Women’s British Open victory on The Old Course at St Andrews this week.
The 32-year-old Norwegian finished tied for 28th at the same venue in 2007, but her best finish in the championship was a tie for 14th in 2010 at Royal Birkdale. It’s a record she hopes to improve upon this week.
“You know, it's probably the one and only major I've never really been in contention,” said Pettersen.
“I'm a little bit surprised by it because I feel like my shot‑making and being creative with shots, it should probably suit my game quite a lot to play links golf. We used to play a lot of links growing up. I used to play the British Girls', the British Ladies'. Used to play tons of European Team Championships on English courses.
“I think in the past, I've had a struggle to adjust from playing in Evian on kind of uneven lies and trying not to spin the ball off the greens to kind of adjust to links golf. I think the two extremes, back‑to‑back weeks; I think I have a better chance to prepare this time.
“Obviously it wouldn't ‑‑ this is probably going to be my one and only shot at a British Open at St. Andrews. I don't know if I'm going to be around next time St. Andrews comes on the British Open rotation, so I think a lot of us I think feel a little bit lucky to have a second go at this course.”
Reminiscing about her first visit in 2007, when Lorena Ochoa claimed the title, Pettersen added: “It was very special to come here the first time around in 2007. I came here earlier, I remember, to play the course a few times just to kind of let the course grow on you. I must say, the more I played it, the more I grew to love it, how special it felt.
“Trying to learn from the experience in 2007 this year, but I must say, I've played quite a lot of golf since and I don't remember every bounce and shot that I hit back then. But the course is in great shape and the few changes they have done, to be quite honest, I don't really remember what it was before, but as it sits right now, it looks very, very good.”
Pettersen, a six-time European Solheim Cup team member who won the World Ladies Championship in China in March, has one major championship: the 2007 McDonalds LPGA Championship presented by Coca-Cola. Although she missed the cut at the US Women’s Open, she has twice finished tied for third in the other two majors this year.
“I had a pretty rough U.S. Open. I put a lot of pressure on myself. I think in my own head, I kind of made it bigger than I had to and kind of didn't really succeed with that formula. This week, I feel a little bit more laid back and I feel I've done the preparation that needs to be done.
“This week is just about polishing what's already been worked on and you know what, a links course grows on you the more you play it. So this is definitely a week where if you're going to work on something, you'd better go on the course and work on the shots and the different holes and the different conditions you're going to face, because standing on the range doesn't quite ‑‑ I mean, you can probably work on some fundamentals.
“But I think you've got to go out on the course, see the ball, see the bounces and just kind of find one strategy that kind of you can speak to. So that's what I've been trying to do. I feel a lot more laid back this week than I did at the U.S. Open, so I'm going to try and bounce back and see if I can play good for once at the British Open.
“I think it's nice to be creative. I think sometimes I'm trying to be creative and maybe just simplify everything. I think around this place, I guess the key is to stay out of the bunkers, fairway bunkers, and I must say, the fairways are fairly wide, fairly deep. If you play a good strategy, you definitely play out of the bunkers and eliminate a bad penalty. Obviously you've got to have a few bounces going your way, as well.”