Norway’s Suzann Pettersen set a course record 9-under 63 on Friday, taking a one-stroke lead in the first round of the KEB HanaBank Championship in Incheon, South Korea. Pettersen got 9 birdies and no bogeys to gain the lead over Sweden’s Karin Sjodin.
Pettersen was on fire in the first six holes, making five birdies at the Jack-Nicklaus-designed Sky 72 Golf Club Ocean Course. This is the second time in a few weeks that the 31 year old set a course record. At the Sime Darby LPGA tourney in Malaysia last weekend, she scored a 7-under 64 in the tourney’s second round.
Pettersen said the condition of the greens on Friday were ideal for making birdies.
In an LPGA statement, Pettersen said:
“Got off to a good start, had the feel of the greens this morning, worked really hard to kind of feel the speed yesterday and made some great putts and obviously some great shots. Overall very solid round, 18 greens, 27 putts equals 9 under par.
“I was 7 under last week, 9 under this week. It’s just nice, and some of your feel kind of equals the score you put on the scorecard. It feels like this year hasn’t been a great year, but I feel like I’ve been playing well even though my scores haven’t shown as good as I wanted to.”
However, with all of the course records the past few tournaments, the eight-time LPGA winner has not garnered a victory this year ( photo: Pettersen at the 2012 U.S. Womens Open).
“You will go through ups and downs, and I wouldn’t say I’ve been on a down, either, because I’ve been healthy, I’ve been feeling well and able to put in all the time and effort I feel is needed for my game. Maybe this can be a great turnaround,” she told the LPGA after Friday’s round.
Second round update: Pettersen is still at the top of the leaderboard going into the final round. She got off to a slow start on Saturday, but still managed a 4-under 68 with five birdies.
This weekend’s event is the second stop on the LPGA’s swing through Asia.
For more stories from Cheri Jensen, see: www.rantsports.com/golf/author/cherijensen