Golf Digest WomanApril 1, 2010

Pettersen feeling like a champ

RANCHO MIRAGE, CALIF.- Norway's Suzann Pettersen, a multi-talented athlete and arguably the hardest worker on the LPGA Tour, spent three hours a day, every day, working out in the off-season. So when she was forced to rest for three weeks straight after withdrawing from the ANZ Ladies Masters in Australia with a sore hip, she didn't know what to expect from her return. "I thought I'd have two solid weeks of practice [going into the Nabisco] but it turned into two solid weeks on the couch." Apparently, the hiatus was worth it. After getting a clean MRI and dusting off the rust at the Kia Classic in Carlsbad, Calif., last week, Pettersen impressed in her bogey-free opening-round 67 today, and she feels great about the way she's playing.

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"Lead [Pettersen's coach, David Leadbetter] has been here since Monday so it's been long days," she said after her round. "But we've done some great work this week." Pettersen has come close at the Kraft Nabisco several times in the past, but she hasn't won a major since the 2007 LPGA Championship. Still, many in the media had her as their clear favorite going into this week. As her morning co-leaders Song Hee-Kim and Vicky Hurst fell back toward the end of their rounds, Pettersen now holds a two-shot lead.

--Stina Sternberg