In-form Suzann Pettersen is looking for her fourth LPGA tournament win of a stellar season in Taiwan this week as she hunts down Inbee Park at the top of the world rankings.
The 32-year-old Norwegian has strung together nine top-10 finishes in her past 10 LPGA events, including back-to-back victories at the Safeway Classic and the Evian Championship.
The defending champion in Taiwan is closing on Park, who finished a disappointing 28th at last week’s KEB-HanaBank Championship in South Korea and skips the US$2 million Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship starting today.
Taiwan’s Yani Tseng is expected to attract huge support from the galleries at the Sunrise Golf and Country Club as she seeks to end a 19-month title drought.
Other names in the frame are Choi Na-yeon, Catriona Matthew, Lexi Thompson and Michelle Wie.
Petterson finished tied third in Korea, where she was also defending champion, as South Korea’s Amy Yang won her first LPGA title.
“I have been playing well for the last four months ... I am just trying to be consistent. I had a decent week prior to coming here,” world No. 2 Pettersen said.
“So I look forward to having another good week before I go back to the US. I know I am within striking range of getting to No. 1 before the end of the year. It’s not something I wake up and tell myself every day,” she added. “I know there is a chance. All I can do is go out and play good golf and try to win tournaments.”
Former world No. 1 Tseng, who has slipped to 25 in the world rankings, said she was looking forward to playing in front of home fans again.
“I think the previous three tournaments in Asia got me well-prepared for this week,” Tseng said.
“It’s great to come back home to somewhere you are so familiar with. I trained here for a few years and I know the golf course very well. I practiced nine holes today. I feel I have a home course advantage here,” she added.
The 24-year-old has won 15 LPGA titles, but has not made it into the winner’s circle since triumphing at the Kia Classic in March last year.
A total of 78 players is scheduled to tee off today in the four-day event, competing for the US$300,000 top prize.