Norwegian golfer Suzann “Tutta” Pettersen narrowly missed out on her first British Open golfing title on Sunday, beaten by just one stroke by surprise winner American Mo Martin. Her equal second place with China’s Feng Shanshan was still Pettersen’s best finish in the prestigious event, and took her total career prize winnings to over USD 12 million.
“It’s a little bitter to be so close,” Pettersen told newspaper Aftenposten after the tournament in Southport, England. However, she was relieved to be back in the top ranks of the sport after struggling with back pain that had so far derailed her season. Pettersen was forced to drop out of the year’s first major tournament, the US Open, after two days.
“It’s cool to be where you want to be after so much crap early in the season, and it’s cool to get the answer that what you’ve done has been right,” she said. “This week I have felt fantastically good, and things have been. If I were to win a British Open it had to be this weekend.” Martin finished one below par, while Pettersen and Feng finished equal on par. South Korean star In-bee Park finished fourth.
Strong winds gusting over 40 kilometers an hour made conditions tough for the women on Sunday. Pettersen battled the breeze to open with a double bogey on the first hole, and another on the 13th hole. She also snatched bogeys on the 8th and 10th holes, as well as three birdies.
“The conditions were good on the three first days, Sunday was absolutely crazy difficult,” she said. “I knew it was going to be difficult. I made some serious mistakes as many others did, but then you just have to keep your patience. That’s expected during the British Open.”
“I felt quite comfortable being behind,” Pettersen said. “It’s positive that I was not affected by nervousness when I was in the good positions. My self confidence has not been damaged in the time I was out.”
12 million mark
According to the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), Pettersen’s career prize winnings had been just over USD 11.9 million in the lead up to the tournament. It meant her second-place takings of USD 235,204 tipped her over the USD 12 million (NOK 74 million) mark, not including sponsorship deals or other income.
“I was not aware of that, I have more than enough to play with,” she told Aftenposten. “At the same time I share the prizes with my team, there are many who shall have their wages.” She agreed that the sum represented how much she’d achieved to date. “Yes, I don’t feel that I have more to prove in my career. I have won tournaments over many parts of the world, on different courses and under different conditions.”