Carl Pettersson collected his fifth career U.S. PGA Tour title to tie Jesper Parnevik for the most wins by a Swedish golfer, while Rory McIlroy regained the sport’s No. 1 world ranking without playing.
Pettersson cruised to a five-shot victory yesterday at the RBC Heritage, firing a 2-under-par 69 in the final round at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head, South Carolina. He finished the tournament at 14-under-par 270 ahead of Zach Johnson at 9-under par and Colt Knost at 8 under.
“It’s getting harder and harder to win out here,” Pettersson said at a news conference. “It seems like there’s a lot more younger guys playing really good, hitting it a mile, and all of a sudden I’ll be 35 this year, I’m one of the old guys, trying to get around the golf course. Five wins is great. I’m hoping to add to that.”
Luke Donald will be replaced by McIlroy atop the Official World Golf Ranking after finishing in a tie for 37th place in Hilton Head. Donald, who had to tie for eighth place or higher to remain No. 1, finished 2-over-par after placing second at the tournament in 2009 and 2011. Donald missed a chance to move atop the ranking 12 months ago when he lost to Brandt Snedeker in a playoff at the Heritage.
“Not my best week, getting used to leaving this place ranked #2,” Donald wrote yesterday on his Twitter account.
McIlroy didn’t play at the Heritage and his next tournament will probably be the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, North Carolina, scheduled for May 3-6.
McIlroy ended Donald’s 40-week run atop the rankings with his victory at the Honda Classic on March 4 before Donald reclaimed the top spot with his playoff win two weeks later at the Transitions Championship.
Pettersson, 34, matched the five PGA Tour wins by Parnevik from 1998 to 2001, yet noted yesterday that he only lived in his native Sweden until he was 10 years old, then spent five years in England and has been in the U.S. since.
“I honestly feel more American than Swedish,” said Pettersson, who also won PGA Tour events in 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2010. “I became an American citizen this year, I’ve got dual citizenship. Sweden is a golf-crazed country. I know I’m from Sweden, but I’ve lived here so long I’m very American.”
Pettersson missed a chance to log his fifth win two weeks ago when he finished one stroke behind Hunter Mahan in second place at the Houston Open. Pettersson began the season in a tie for second place at the Sony Open in Hawaii.
The tour now moves to San Antonio for the Texas Open, which is scheduled from April 19-22.
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