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Pettersen aiming to defend title in Korea

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INCHEON, South Korea (AP) - Suzann Pettersen will be aiming to defend her title and keep up her push to surpass top-ranked local favorite Inbee Park at this weekend's KEB HanaBank Championship.

With five tournaments remaining on the 2013 LPGA schedule, Pettersen is second to Park on the money list and in the Rolex Player of the Year rankings.

Pettersen, who also won here in 2007, beat Scotland's Catriona Matthew on the third playoff hole to win last year's tournament.

The Norwegian is coming off a tie for third at last week's LPGA Malaysia and has three victories this season including one major title at the Evian Championship.

Pettersen has recorded six top-10 finishes in her previous six starts, including back-to-back wins at the Safeway Classic and The Evian Championship.

''Inbee has had a phenomenal year,'' Pettersen said. ''She has won three majors and that's pretty impressive all within itself. I can just work on myself and I feel like I've had a fantastic year.''

Park will be looking to bounce back from a recent dip in form after recording six wins in the first half of the season. She finished third at the Reignwood Classic in Beijing and tied for 32nd in Malaysia.

''This is the first time I'm playing in an LPGA event in Korea as No. 1 so it's very meaningful for me,'' Park said.

Joining Pettersen and Park at the $1.9 million event is Na Yeon Choi of South Korea, who won here in 2009 and 2010 but was tied for 39th last year.

''In 2009 and 2010 I had great results here,'' Choi said. ''I tried too hard to win again last year and that had an effect on my game. Since I didn't play well last year, I really want to have a good tournament this week.''

Since the tournament's first year in 2002, a South Korean has successfully taken home the title seven out of the first 11 years.

The Associated Press News Service

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The Associated Press
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