Norway&aposs world No. 2 Suzann Pettersen surged around Victoia in six-under-par 66 today to seize the early lead in the ISPS Women&aposs Australian Open. In benign conditions Pettersen birdied her last three holes of the day, the seventh, eighth and ninth on the course, to overtake American Jaclyn Sweeney and South Korea&aposs Hee Young Park and take the clubhouse lead. The European superstar, who is within touching distance of the world No. 1 ranking held by South Korea&aposs Inbee Park, rolled in nine birdies for the day, giving back shots on the first, 10th and 16th holes in a rollercoaster round. Happy afterward, she nevertheless thought she could have gone lower. “I feel like I left a lot of shots out there,&apos&apos she said. “I mean I three putted a couple of greens, stupid three-putts really. It was a little bit of a mixture but 66 opening round, I&aposm very happy.&apos&apos Pettersen has returned to the tour after a hard off-season in the gym and says she has added a few metres to her tee shots, notable at the par-four 13th where she bombed a driver 280 metres, leaving a sand wedge to the green for a birdie. “Have you not seen my guns?&apos&apos she joked afterward. “It&aposs all I&aposve been doing this off-season. That (280m) is nothing. I&aposve hit drives that go much further than that!&apos&apos The Norwegian is a statuesque figure on the course and she said today that it was the men who she was trying to imitate. “I don&apost really measure myself up against other players, especially my competitors. I measure my game, always have, towards the guys. I think I have the most to learn from them.&apos&apos Pettersen will overtake Park to be No. 1 for the first time if she finished outright second or wins this week. Australia&aposs Sarah Jane Smith (68) was the best of the local players of the morning tee-offs, completing a bogey-free round to be just two off the lead. Veteran Karrie Webb began with a one-under-par 71.
Author: Martin Blake / www.golf.org.au