Kintetsu Kashikojima Country Club
Shima-shi, Mie, Japan
Second-round notes and interviews
November 6, 2010
Rolex Rankings No. 1 Jiyai Shin fired a second-round 66 to take the lead at the Mizuno Classic. Shin, who regained the No. 1 position in the world Monday, carded six birdies and no bogeys on the 6,506 yard, par-72, Kintetsu Kashikojima Country Club in Shima-shi, Japan. Shin leads second-year LPGA Tour player Stacy Lewis by two shots and holds a three-stroke advantage over Rolex Rankings No. 6 and five-time LPGA Tour winner Yani Tseng and Japan’s Miki Saiki. Rolex Rankings No. 16 Morgan Pressel stands four back.
Formula for success. The Rolex Rankings No. 1 has made easy work of the Kintetsu Kashikojima Country Club for the first two rounds. Shin has carded 15 birdies and only two bogeys. She missed only two greens in regulation in round two. Shin won the Mizuno Classic at this same venue in 2008. “I feel really good because I won this event two years ago,” Shin said. “So I have a good feeling and confidence too.”
Change of plans. Shin normally adopts a safe game plan when holding the lead into the final round, but not tomorrow. “So, usually when I play leader I try to not make mistakes,” said Shin who is looking for her eighth LPGA victory, “But I think tomorrow I have to be aggressive.”
Come-From-Behind Queen meets the Final-Round Queen? Shin’s formidable play on Sundays has earned her the nickname Final-round Queen, while Yani Tseng, who has captured four of her five career LPGA victories by coming from behind, is the Come-from-behind Queen. Tseng likes her position heading into tomorrow. “Three shots back is pretty good,” Tseng said. “I think we will make lots of birdies tomorrow. That’s what I do when I am behind.”
Rolex First-Time Winner? Lewis is attempting to become the Tour’s third Rolex First-Time winner this season. (Sun Young Yoo – Sybase Match Play and Beatriz Recari – CVS/pharmacy LPGA Challenge) In 2010, Lewis has posted two top-10 finishes, including a solo second at the Tres Marias Championship.
Home-field advantage. Even though Stacy Lewis hails from Texas, she feels at home here in Japan. Lewis is endorsed by Mizuno. Lewis would love to hoist the Mizuno trophy Sunday. “Winning anywhere would be great,” Lewis said. “But to get it here with my sponsor would be very special. It would mean the world to me.”
The Power to Inspire. Lewis, who battled scoliosis as a child, is using her golf talent as a platform to reach as many children as she can. She regularly visits hospitals both in the U.S. and Japan. “I try to reach out to as many kids as possible,” said Lewis who met a young girl with scoliosis during her round today. “When I had it, I had no idea what it was. I didn’t know anybody that had scoliosis. So, I try to put a face to it and hopefully provide inspiration.”
The feeling is mutual. “I think it provides me inspiration every day when I see little kids that are inspired by me," Lewis said. “I had a little girl come out today and she just provided me with a little inspiration to play better.”
Rolex watch. The Rolex Player of the Year race continues to tighten with only three events remaining on the LPGA schedule. Yani Tseng currently holds a two-point advantage over Ai Miyazato. Rolex Rankings No. 2 Cristie Kerr, who ranks third in the race, is taking the week off. Na Yeon Choi stands in fourth, only twelve points back, while Shin is 36 points behind. A win this week carries a point value of 30. Second place is worth 12 points. Players must finish in the top 10 to earn any points. After round one, here is how the contenders stand – Tseng (tied for 3rd ), Miyazato, (77th), Choi (tied for 7th) and Shin (1st).
Of note. Defending champion Bo Bae Song shot a second-consecutive 71 to stand in a tie for 37th…First-round co-leader Yukari Baba carded an even-par 72, slipping back to a tie for seventh…Former Mizuno Classic champions Karrie Webb, Maria Hjorth and Momoko Ueda shot rounds of 72, 69 and 67 respectively.
JIYAI SHIN, ROLEX RANKINGS NO. 1
Q: Another great round today. What was working the best in your game today?
SHIN: Today, I didn’t make any bogeys and made six birdies. My shots were really good. I missed the green just two times and then I made a lot of birdie chances. I feel really good because I won this event two years ago, so I have a good feeling and confidence too.
Q: What is your game plan for tomorrow?
SHIN: Well, the weather is great. The other players played good too. So, usually when I play leader I try to not make mistakes, but I think tomorrow I have to be aggressive. I have a good feeling right now.
Q: You regained the Rolex Rankings No. 1 Monday. How important is it for you to stay there? What do you need to do to stay there?
SHIN: I need to win. There are still other players close to me. I am not playing next week so I need lots of points this week. Tomorrow I have a big chance. I am happy to be No. 1, but now I am focused on tomorrow’s play.
Q: Do you think the whole race for Rolex Rankings No. 1 has made you a better player?
SHIN: Of course. It is really exciting, because I am all the time checking the other players. I have a good experience right now. I am having a lot of fun too.
STACY LEWIS, ROLEX RANKINGS NO. 40
Q: Welcome Stacy. Great round today. You tied the course record. I am not sure if you were aware of that. You are currently tied for the lead here at the Mizuno Classic. Can you talk a little about your round?
LEWIS: I played really well today. The front nine could have been seven or eight under pretty easily, but I am not going to complain. I just shot 64. I played really good and hit some solid putts coming in.
Q: You are looking for your first LPGA win. How much would it mean for you to do it here given your relationship with Mizuno?
LEWIS: Winning anywhere would be great, but to get it here with my sponsor would be very special. I think my sponsors are my team. So to have my team here supporting me, it would mean the world to me. But I have a lot of golf to play tomorrow.
Q: Which parts were good in your golf today?
LEWIS: On 13, I made a really good two-putt for birdie. And then I made a really good putt on 16. I think that kept the momentum going.
Q: How long was the putt?
LEWIS: On 16, it was probably 15 feet. On 11, I ran my first putt past and made about a six-footer for par. On 12, I missed my only green of the day and made another six-footer. Those were keys to the round.
Q: How about the putt on 13?
LEWIS: 13, I hit the par-5 in two and I was hole high, but it was up and over a ridge. Just a tough two-putt, and I hit the first putt to about four feet and made the second one.
Q: You received the pearl earrings at the reception party. Will you consider wearing them tomorrow?
LEWIS: I don’t really wear earrings very much. They would be more for dressing up. I try to stick to what I have been doing the last two days and not change it too much.
Q: As a golfer you always have strong parts, what are the strong parts of your game?
LEWIS: I think people would usually say that I hit it pretty straight and just hit a lot of greens, which is what I did today. But, I have picked up distance over the last year and I think I’ve become more than just a good ball-striker. I think that I am starting to show my play.
Q: Do you know how many yards you have added on your driver?
LEWIS: Probably 15 yards.
Q: You have overcome scoliosis and as a golfer you stand in front of people. Do you have any message to the people?
LEWIS: I think it provides me inspiration every day when I see little kids that are inspired by me. I think scoliosis doesn’t hold you back and you can overcome it and do whatever you want to do. I think I show that every day in just being able to play golf and I am thankful for every day that I get to play. I had a little girl come out today and she just provided me with a little inspiration to play better.
Q: It was a Japanese girl?
LEWIS: Yes. It was a Japanese girl. I haven’t gotten to talk to her very much yet. I think it’s cool that I can inspire kids around the world.
Q: So you have visited hospitals in the past in Japan and of course in the United States, have you been doing that lately, this year?
LEWIS: Yes. I try to do it whenever I can. I get letters and emails from the parents and the kids. I try to reach out to as many kids as possible. When I had it I had no idea what it was. I didn’t know anybody that had scoliosis. So, I try to put a face to it and hopefully provide inspiration.
Q: Last year you visited a hospital in Kobe and you met some girls there. Is today’s girl from that group?
LEWIS: No. Her Dad actually contacted Mizuno after seeing the articles when I did the visit the last time. Mizuno emailed me and said would you mind meeting a girl. I think I try to do it as many times as I can and just glad that it worked out.
YANI TSENG, ROLEX RANKINGS NO. 6
Q: Can you talk a little bit about what worked today in your game.
TSENG: I hit pretty solid today and I made a lot of putts and I feel a lot of confident and relaxed out here, the beautiful weather, and the people are really nice out here.
Q: You are three behind. What is it going to take tomorrow to catch Jiyai?
TSENG: I think we will make lots of birdies tomorrow. And I am going to just do the same things again tomorrow. Just try to make a birdie on every hole and play one shot at a time. That’s what I do when I am behind.
Q: You seem to play well when you are behind. Do you like that position?
TSENG: Yeah, three shots back is pretty good.
Q: You are two points ahead in the Rolex Player of the Year race. What would that mean to you to be the Player of the Year?
TSENG: It would be very, very special for me because this is my third year on the Tour and if I won the Rolex Player of the Year, I would feel very special. It’s kind of like I know that I can play and I am working hard to get that position. Everybody is a good player on the Tour, so even if I am Player of the Year, I still feel like everybody is so good and I need to keep working hard to be the best golfer in the world.