Golf: Pettersen leads stormy British Open

Suzann Pettersen of Sweden plays a shot on the 18th hole during the first round.
Suzann Pettersen of Sweden plays a shot on the 18th hole during the first round.AFP

TURNBERRY, United Kingdom (AFP) - Suzann Pettersen was out early in the second round of the Women's British Open, shot 69 and set a halfway target that no one else could match on a day of horrendous weather at Turnberry.

With wind and rain making it miserable for players and fans, the 33-year-old Norwegian managed to carve four birdies out of her round and finished on an impressive seven under par 137.

Lydia Ko (73), the world No. 2, Ryu So Yeon (72), the 2011 US Women's Open champion, Taiwan's Teresa Lu (71) and South Korea's Ko Jin Young were two shots back in joint second.

Pettersen, a two-time major winner, feels invigorated this season following a switch in coach from David Leadbetter to Butch Harmon, the Las Vegas guru who steered Tiger Woods through his hugely successful early years as a professional.

"It was really tough out there today but I played very solid," said Pettersen.

"I felt I was in control of everything. This ranks pretty high as a good round of golf.

"I always felt I had a different gear in my body and going to Butch was the right thing. He has made technical changes and it is just much easier. I don't feel like the swing thoughts change from day to day.

"It's very consistent. It's nice to have somebody that can really push me. Butch has pushed me quite a lot and I feel that some of my best golf is still ahead of me.

"I thought it would be good to play through (next year's) Olympics, but I now have a lot of more goals. I want to be the best that I can be."

Last week, Pettersen finished runner-up in the Scottish Open at the nearby Dundonald Links and she is seeking to go one better on Sunday.

Pettersen's first major was the 2007 LPGA Championship and she added the Evian Championship two years ago.

She's got a decent record in the British Open with top five finishes in the last two years.

"I'm getting older and wiser," she added.

"You learn something every year and that is what is so great about this game." Ko, who opened with a 66, was mightily impressed by Pettersen's effort.

"Today was like playing a different course," said the teenager.

"I knew it wasn't going to be another 66 but a day for grinding it out. We were tried to hide behind the signs for shelter. Suzann must have played great."

The first round leader, Korea's Kim Hyo Joo followed her 65 with a 78 for one under par.

World No. 1 Park Inbee wasn't too delighted with a 73, but the South Korean is still well in the hunt on two under par.

Michelle Wie was heading for the exit after failing to get past the 13th hole.

At 10 over par for the round and 14 over for the tournament, last year's US Open champion retired with an ankle injury.

Last year's victor Mo Martin also missed out.

After a promising opening 70, the American slumped to a second day 80.