World No.3 Suzann Pettersen is the top ranked European competitor at the Evian Championship in France this week.
Pettersen is coming off a successful month, having earned her 18th career title and her 12th LPGA victory at the Safeway Classic a fortnight ago, just two weeks after Europe’s first Solheim Cup success in the United States.
She will be looking to add a second major championship to her resume after winning the 2007 LPGA Championship presented by Coca-Cola and is looking forward to competing.
“It’s always fantastic to come back here. Evian has always been a special place on the calendar. It’s a different month and a different atmosphere: fall is coming. Seeing the course, it’s a phenomenal addition to our schedule. It gives the fall a little more of a boost,” the 32-year-old Norwegian said.
“It just adds that little bit of extra high going into the fall season and very nice to be back and I’m glad. For me it’s always had a special feeling but I guess this tournament will now grow even more every year that we come back.”
On the changes to the Evian Resort Golf Club course, Pettersen added: “You have to open up for the changes. I think the changes will grow on you as you get to know this course better. It’s kind of hard to say after having only played it a couple of times.
“Obviously a year into a huge project like this, it might take two years for it to settle in. The changes are going to be tough. Probably a much tougher course the way the greens are designed now. It's going to be a tough course to play and compete. I guess that's what really decides a major champion. You have got to be able to execute no matter what course.
“For me, I prepare for every tournament the same. I come here to win and that's also how I play. Obviously some of the ‑‑ I never won this tournament. It is maybe a good wait not to win this tournament before it became a major. So hopefully I can put my name on the trophy this year or years to come.”
On her current form, she continued: “I know my game pretty well, what needs to be worked on. It is a lot of maintenance, just boring maintenance work. When you finally get to the tournament week, you can relax. You don't have to stress. You don't have to force too many things on the range or the putting green.
“Once I get here, it's getting used to the speed of the greens. This week is a little bit more preparation even though the greens are new and no one has seen it. It takes a little bit more time around this place than it has in the past. Overall, it's going to be a pretty good challenge to get around this course now.”
Although Pettersen captured her 12th career LPGA victory two weeks ago at the Safeway Classic Presented by Coca-Cola in Portland, Oregon, it was nothing compared to the happiness she received from a tournament that took place this past weekend.
An estimated 5000 spectators witnessed the battle of the continents as Pettersen invited some of female golf’s most famous names to raise money for charity and to grow the game of female golf.
For the second year, Pettersen invited the stars of the LPGA and LET to join her at her home course in Oslo, Norway, in order to raise money for the “Right To Play” foundation.
Last year’s event featured names like Yani Tseng, Annika Sorenstam and Lorena Ochoa. This year’s Challenge was formed as a competition between teams from four “continents”. Yani Tseng returned and together with Ai Miyazato represented Team Asia. Beatriz Recari and Sandra Gal made up Team Europe, Jessica Korda and Paula Creamer competed for Team USA, while LPGA/Symetra Tour/ LET Access player Marita Engzelius together with Suzann Pettersen represented Team Norway. The line-up was made for a truly intercontinental golf spectacular in Oslo on 7 September.
The format of the tournament was four ball, and the teams switched opponents every sixth hole. At the end Team Asia came out victorious after finishing -10. Team Norway ended -8, Team Europe -5 and Team USA -4.
Raising money for kid’s right to play
Right To Play, the organisation receiving the donations from the fundraising, could by the end of the evening cash in NOK 850.000 (€105.000 / $140.000). The money was raised mainly through the Saturday charity dinner and entrance fee.
Bringing The Solheim Cup back home
The event also served as preparation for what could possibly be a Norwegian application for the Solheim Cup 2019. The Norwegian Golf Federation, which will promote the event, have already been in informal meetings with the LET board, and will make a decision upon whether or not to apply for the biggest event in female golf when it returns to Europe in 2019. If so, it will mean taking the Cup back to where Karsten Solheim, founder of Ping, once came from.
“I loved the course, and it was in fantastic condition. The course is definitely good enough to host a Solheim Cup. I hope Norway can do it. Suzann is a great friend of mine, and it would be huge for her to get the Solheim Cup to her homeland,” Paula Creamer said.
To raise money for Right To Play: http://www.righttoplay.com/International/news-and-media/Pages/News.aspx