Pettersen shares Manulife lead, credits Harmon


Suzann Pettersen is looking for her first victory since switching to Butch Harmon as her swing coach at the end of last year.

With a 7-under-par 65 Friday at the Manulife LPGA Classic, Pettersen took a share of the lead with Mariajo Uribe. They’re at 13 under overall at Whistle Bear Golf Club in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada.

Pettersen claimed five titles worldwide in 2013, including her second major championship, but she battled a nagging back injury through much of 2014 and struggled to find her best form. She also battled through a left shoulder injury this spring, but she seems to be getting comfortable with returning health helping perfect new swing changes.

“I've been pain-free for almost two weeks,” Pettersen said. “No painkillers, nothing, and doing all my rehab.  Unfortunate to have a couple of injuries early in the season, but there's nothing you can plan for. I'm good now, and I'm looking forward to a strong summer.”

Pettersen had a lot of success with long-time coach David Leadbetter but made the switch to Harmon late last year, saying she thought she needed a “kick in the butt” and some “fresh energy.” Pettersen said Harmon has widened her swing while making it more shallow.

“He’s probably the toughest guy I have around me,” Pettersen said. “There’s no sugar coating. I usually get pretty good feedback.”

Asked earlier this year how quickly she connected with Harmon as coach, Pettersen told they speak the same language. “I have a sailor’s mouth,” Pettersen cracked. “And Butch has a sailor’s mouth, too.”