Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Magnolia Grove
Third-round notes and interviews
May 15, 2010
We have a three-way tie atop the leaderboard through three rounds of the Bell Micro LPGA Classic at the Crossings Course at Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Magnolia Grove in Mobile, Ala. Rolex Rankings No. 4 Suzann Pettersen (65), Brittany Lincicome (67) and second-round leader Se Ri Pak (68) all posted 13-under 203 totals.
Pettersen is probably the hottest player on the LPGA this season without a win. She has two seconds and a third. “I've been feeling good all year and playing really good,” said the six-time LPGA winner. “I was outplayed a couple times and I felt like what I had was probably good enough, but that's this game. That's the beauty of this game. It’s another round tomorrow. We'll see what that brings me.”
Don’t forget about Bam! Lincicome is also playing well enough to break through this week. At the Tres Marias Championship in Mexico two weeks ago, Lincicome was paired with eventual winner Ai Miyazato and Michelle Wie in the final group on Sunday. However, she struggled and closed with a 2-over 75 and finish tied for ninth. “Mexico was really weird,” Lincicome, a three-time winner, said. “I don't know if it was something that I ate or what, but my stomach was just in knots. I didn't eat anything all day. But this golf course really fits my eye really well, so just kind of keep doing the same things I'm doing and working on tempo. I just kind of have to keep taking a lot of deep breaths and calm myself down and just think about tempo and keep doing what I'm doing.”
Although Pak, an LPGA Hall of Famer and 24-time winner, hasn’t won since 2007, the recipe for success doesn’t just disappear from the psyche of such a consummate champion. “There's nothing I can do special (Sunday),” Pak said. “I mean, go out there and play like the last three days.” Simple, succinct.
We have a shootout! Due to the threat of inclement weather in Sunday’s forecast, tee times have been moved to approximately 7-9:12 a.m. off both the first and 10th tees. What makes that alteration increasingly significant is that the three leaders will now play together in a threesome instead of Pak playing in front of Lincicome and Pettersen.
The eagle(s) have landed! Both Lincicome and Pettersen made eagles on their way to a 67 and 65, respectively. Pettersen’s came courtesy of a 3-wood to 4 feet on No. 6, and Lincicome’s came on 16, courtesy of a 311-yard drive that left her just an 8-iron. Although she hit an admittedly lackluster second shot to about 40 feet, her putter cleaned up the mess.
LPGA Moms on the move at the Bell Micro LPGA Classic. LPGA Moms Janice Moodie and Hee-Won Han made surges up the leaderboard today. Moodie and Han both carded 5-under par 67’s to stand in seventh and T12, respectively.
Jeong Jang, Amanda Blumenherst and Amy Hung secured their spots in the field for the Sybase Match Play Championship next week. The three players extended the qualifying round into today after they stood tied after two rounds of play. While Karen Stupples shot 74 to miss qualifying by one shot, she still has a good chance to earn her way into the field via the 2010 LPGA Money List after the end of play tomorrow.
Rolex Rankings No. 1 Jiyai Shin shot a third-round 1-over par 73 to stand in a tie for 26th. Shin is enjoying her second week as the world’s No. 1 player. Rolex Rankings No. 2 Ai Miyazato shot a disappointing 75, while the Rolex Rankings No. 3 Yani Tseng carded a one-under par 71. She is currently tied for 33rd.
First-round leader Azahara Munoz leads the rookies in the field through the third round. She shot a 5-under par 67 and sits in a tie for 4th, two shots back of the leaders. She is currently 3rd in the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year race, but her eye is on the other prize this week. “I feel good,” she said when asked about chasing down the leaders tomorrow. “Of course I'll be nervous or whatever, but this is the spot I want to be in. This is what I practice for. I'm ready for tomorrow.”
The leader in the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year race, Amanda Blumenherst carded a third-round 71 and is tied for 16th. Rookie Mariajo Uribe propelled herself up the leaderboard with a 68. She sits tied with Blumenherst in 16th place.
Of note: Defending Champion Angela Stanford fired a 4-under par 68 to get back into the top-10…. She stands five behind the leaders…. Natalie Gulbis shot her third straight 72 to stand in a tie for 49th…. Monday qualifier Libby Smith shot 76.
MODERATOR: Suzann, 7 under, 65, bogey free. Actually been bogey free for 35 holes now. Just tell us a little bit about the round today.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Just really trying to get something going early. Saturday obviously a good day to make a move. I think there's quite a few who posted some good numbers out there, so just glad to be where I'm at. I'm in it for tomorrow.
MODERATOR: You've two seconds and a third so far this year. You're obviously playing well. Do you feel like you're really ready to break through and get that first victory of the year?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Yeah, I've been feeling good all year and playing really good. I was outplayed a couple times and I felt like what I had was probably good enough, but that's this game. That's the beauty of this game. So another round tomorrow. We'll see what that brings me.
Q. Have you picked a number that you think you might have to shoot tomorrow to stay in contention and perhaps win the tournament?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Well, the number I picked before we started, I think that's running out of time pretty soon. I thought about 15, 16 would be a good number. But I think you got to go low tomorrow, because there's reachable par 5s out here, some short par 4s, and people were knocking it close today. So a little bit easier pins though, so that has to be kind of in the consideration for today's round. But I think you need another really low one tomorrow.
Q. First off, on No. 6 what did you hit for eagle?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Oh, I just hit a 3 wood. Driver, 3 wood to about four feet.
Q. And I understand you have a hip injury.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Yeah, I just have a torn muscle.
Q. And you saw a doctor this week in Birmingham?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Yeah. Well I've had this since Asia, our Asian swing. It went away and then it came back. It healed and I tore it back up, so I'm not resting enough.
Q. How much was it bothering you today?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I mean, I can't say it's not bothering me. I can't get to my left side. Somehow it feels like before I got here it feels like I can play and feels like I can practice. But it's not ideal. I can make it work.
MODERATOR: Brittany, great round today. You back up your 66 yesterday with a 67 today. Obviously playing some good golf. What did you do well today?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: I did a lot good today. Started out a little rough. I was a little nervous obviously; that's expected. Hit a great tee shot on 1, and then a really bad second shot. So I thought I was calmed down enough, but apparently I wasn't. So it took a couple holes to kind of get in a rhythm. Instead of playing my good golf on the front, I decided to play the good golf on the back today. Which I'll take it either way. Doesn't matter. But, yeah, I was driving it well again, you know, keeping it in play. These greens are still firm, so you gotta and you have to hit pretty great shots out there to kind of get them close or make some long putts, which I did today.
MODERATOR: You played final group in Mexico, right? You kind of mentioned yesterday you got a little nervous. Looking forward to tomorrow, what do you got to do a little bit differently to break through?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Yeah, Mexico was really weird. Like I don't know if it was something that I ate or what, but my stomach was just in knots. I didn't eat anything all day. So, this golf course really fits my eye really well, so just kind of keep doing the same things I'm doing and working on tempo. The only time that I hit a bad shot is when I get a little quick. So just kind of taking a lot of deep breaths and calm myself down and just think about tempo and keep doing what I'm doing. It was nice to finally get an eagle today. (Laughing.) I had 8 iron into that green and didn't hit the greatest of second shots, but it was nice to finally get an eagle.
MODERATOR: How long was the putt?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Oh, man, like 30, 40 feet. It was pretty long.
Q. Talk about the eagle and how much that meant. I mean, because you are long off the tee, that's something out here there are a couple holes that are accessible. What does it mean for your position?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Yeah, I would say 90% of the Par 5s out here are reachable for me. So it was finally nice in the third round to get that eagle. It wasn't even an easy one. Had 8 iron in and still had a long putt. So but it feels good. I mean, I need to use my strengths, which is obviously my long game, to my advantage and finally capitalized on it a little bit. I hit that tee shot like 400 yards, (laughing) so it was nice to finally get that first eagle. Hopefully have a couple of those tomorrow.
MODERATOR: What was the distance in with the 8?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: I think it was about 155, somewhere around there.
Q. Just kind of talk about your position now. You said in Mexico you felt weird and a little nervous today. Is that a concern tomorrow?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Yeah, it's just nice to keep putting myself in this position. I'm only 24, so I have plenty of time to kind of figure it out. Obviously the sooner the better. (Laughing.) But, yeah, I really like this golf course. It really sets up great for my game. A lot of the holes are right to left, which I love to hit the draw. Hopefully if I keep putting well, I mean, sky's the limit. 65 is out there, and that's kind of what I'm shooting for.
Q. You may have just answered my question. Looking at the way the course is playing, do you think a 65 is good enough to win it tomorrow?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Absolutely. Um, with all those names at the top the leaderboard, nobody's gonna back down; nobody's gonna shoot a high number tomorrow just knowing the layout. And a lot of the longer hitters are kind of at the top. Suzann Pettersen, obviously Se Ri Pak hits it far as well. Definitely need to shoot a low number tomorrow. I shot 75 in Mexico on the final day. Obviously that's not gonna get it done. 65 would be nice. (Laughing.) My nephew kind of predicted it. It was so cute. He's only 10 years old, and the air conditioner temperature in the car on the drive here this morning was 67, so he swore that I was gonna shoot 67. So just need him to kind of pick a number for me tomorrow. (Laughing.)
Q. Was there anything at all that you weren't pleased with your game? I know you mentioned the bad second shot on the first hole.
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Yeah, the tee shot on the third hole was pretty awful as well. But just little things like that. In the beginning obviously just a little bit nervous. The only shots that, I mean, were bad shots, they were still on the green, just not judging the wind or the firmness of the greens well enough, especially having a wedge in your hand and not being able to get it within 5 feet. That's probably the worst shot, other than the first two holes of my day.
SE RI PAK
MODERATOR: Se Ri, 4 under, 68 today. Very good round. You got chased down by a couple young guns, but you're tied for the lead with Suzann and Brittany. What do you have to do to get it done tomorrow?
SE RI PAK: Well, I mean, there's nothing I can do special. I mean, go out there and play as last three days. I have been really playing solid last three round. Of course I said this golf course fits perfectly this week. So, I mean, I love there today. Same thing. I really came out there and made some great shots, some great putts. Of course I making couple of 'em I should be making. I missed a couple here and there, but I still feel really happy about the way I'm playing today. No complaint about it at all. Especially the weather in the afternoon doesn't make it perfect either, so it would be really, really great. I really, really having fun today, too.
MODERATOR: Great. Questions.
Q. With three of you tied going into tomorrow, is it great to get off to a great start, or do you want to close strong? What kind of strategy do you take into the final round?
SE RI PAK: Well, I mean, I think this is better way you start for final round because sometimes leading by one or two shots of course you really having a lot of pressure on it. So I think tomorrow probably the same time starting, so starting at less than even par, and then after 18 we'll see who's gonna get a trophy. But as I said, tomorrow, I mean, I'm not just gonna do something special and make a differences trying to win it. Of course I'm trying to win, but I just go out there, as I said earlier, like I did last three days. I really feel comfortable the golf course. I mean, really solid, my swing, I feel really great about it. So I mean, tomorrow, last round, of course I'm trying to do my best and hopefully get to the win, the points. But tomorrow I just, you know, trying to have fun together still.
AZAHARA MUÑOZ QUICK QUOTES
AZAHARA MUNOZ: Today again I start hitting really good shots and making putts. Yesterday I probably played the same but I didn't get anything dropping. Today I got some putts in, and that was the difference.
Q. You're only two shots right now out of the lead. How do you feel going into tomorrow?
AZAHARA MUNOZ: I feel good. Of course I'll be nervous or whatever, but this is the spot I want to be in. This is what I practice for. I'm ready for tomorrow.
Q. Do you have a winning score in your mind for tomorrow?
AZAHARA MUNOZ: No, I haven't thought about it, but I guess like probably gonna be 17 or 18 under.
Q. You had couple bogeys and then you bounced back.
AZAHARA MUNOZ: Yeah.
Q. Just bad shots?
AZAHARA MUNOZ: Well, the first bogey I had missed my driver to the bunker, to the right bunker from the fairway, and then I hit a little 5 from there. So that was normal bogey. And then the next one was so stupid, because I had to hit it really close to a tree. My caddie told me just go for the pin, but I wanted to go a little right of there. So I don't know, I play with the tree and I hit the tree. So bogey. I actually hit a good shot, but I had to hit it really close. It was stupid.
Q. Felt good about the way you are closed, though?
AZAHARA MUNOZ: I did. I made really like important putts today, so I'm happy with that.