Suzann Pettersen can probably relate to her PGA Tour counterpart, Adam Scott.
Like Scott, the LPGA’s Pettersen has her sights set on nabbing the top ranking, which she can do by winning this week and knocking current No. 1 Inbee Park down a peg. Also like Scott, who’s aiming to take down Tiger Woods on the men’s side, Pettersen must have a feeling of déjà vu all over again.
Scott only recently has had the chance to attain top billing, while Pettersen has been poised to climb the ladder the last five times she’s played, according to Randall Mell. The two-time major champion will have another chance to topple Park at this week’s JTBC Founders Cup, the kickoff to the stateside portion of the LPGA’s 2014 season.
"I feel like I’ve been in this position before, but this is the most comfortable I’ve been with the sport," Pettersen told reporters on Tuesday at Wildfire Golf Club in Phoenix.
Pettersen and Scott have both dreamed of leading the pack in their chosen profession since they were kids -- in Norway and Australia, respectively. Unlike Scott, who has been upfront about wanting to reach the pinnacle sooner rather than later, Pettersen contended that getting to be No. 1 does not consume her.
"I can’t say that I don’t think about being the best player in the world, but it really doesn’t trigger me as much. I want to go out and I want to perform and I want to win tournaments. If you win tournaments, you play well, the rest kind of will take care of itself," Pettersen said. "I guess there’s a dream inside of me that kind of still is very much alive, but it’s not something that I kind of run around and think about every day."
Scott, who got off to a course record-tying 10-under 62 start Thursday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational while Woods nursed his bad back, failed to achieve his goal two weeks ago at Doral. A win at Bay Hill with Woods not playing again until Augusta would hand Scott the No. 1 slot as he mounts his Masters title defense, while Pettersen can grab the brass ring with a W on Sunday.
Pettersen contended, however, such an outcome was the furthest thing from her mind as she prepared for an afternoon tee time with Karrie Webb and Michelle Wie.
"To be honest, personally I really don’t think about the rankings at all," she said. "I mean it’s kind of harsh to say, but I really don’t care about the rankings, especially not during the season. It’s the last thing you look at."
Park, like Woods, is not about to relinquish her throne without a fight. The winner of six tour events in 2013 who went 3-0 in that season’s first three majors birdied her last three holes on Thursday to get to 6-under 66 -- tied with Wie and six others just two shots back of 18-hole leader Mirim Lee.
Pettersen rebounded from a shaky, bogey-bogey start to score seven birdies and another bogey to sit at 4-under heading into Friday’s second round.