Guadalajara Country Club
November 11, 2011
Second-round notes and interviews
Juli Inkster -8, Rolex Rankings No. 59
Anna Nordqvist -8, Rolex Rankings No. 33
Catriona Matthew -7, Rolex Rankings No. 34
LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame member Juli Inkster and Rolex Rankings No. 33 Anna Nordqvist sit tied atop the leaderboard at 8-under-par after the second round of the Lorena Ochoa Invitational Presented by Banamex and Jalisco It Happens Within You. Nordqvist shot a 7-under 65, the low round of the tournament so far, on Friday to jump up into a share of the lead while first-round co-leader Inkster fired a 3-under 69.
Inkster and Nordqvist lead Rolex Rankings No. 2 Suzann Pettersen, No. 34 Catriona Matthew and No. 53 Meena Lee by one stroke.
A telling tweet? Before her round on Friday, Nordqvist tweeted a message to her followers that read, "Happy 11-11-11 everyone…Let's make it a memorable day!! :)" Nordqvist certainly delivered on that goal with her 7-under round of 65, jumping from a T11 into a tie for the lead at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational heading into the weekend.
"I guess it's a good sign at least someone is following my Twitter," Nordqvist said with a laugh. "But to be honest, I didn't feel that great waking up this morning, so I just tried to make it through the day and be patient and just try to do my best. Obviously it became a memorable day and like I said, I'm happy with the day."
Experience over youth? The 51-year-old Inkster continued her quest to become the oldest winner in LPGA history on Friday, shooting her 3-under 69 to keep herself tied for the lead at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational.
Beth Daniel currently holds the distinction of being the oldest winner in LPGA history. She was 46 when she won the 2003 Canadian Women's Open.
Inkster last won an event in 2006 at the Safeway International when she was 45, although she has come close many other times since then. The veteran, who has won 31 times in her career, has finished runner up five times since her last win and has a total of 27 top-10 finishes over that span.
But Inkster , who has been battling a sore right elbow, proclaimed that it doesn't cross her mind what being the oldest winner in the Tour's history would mean to her.
"No, it really doesn't," Inkster said. "I just have to win. If I'm the oldest, that's whatever. I know I'm the oldest, and everybody reminds me I'm the oldest, so it's just ‑‑ I'm just the oldest." (Laughter.)
Rooting on the veteran: Many of the fans in attendance on Friday at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational were rooting hard for Inkster to maintain her lead from the first round and there are certainly many people who would love to see the 51-year-old capture a victory here in Mexico .
"I really feel the fans watching out here, they're rooting hard for me, and I'm trying the best I can," Inkster said. "If it happens, it's awesome. I'm sure the players are rootin' for me just so I will go home and retire and I don't have to be out here anymore. I don't know, it's a good feeling."
It seems that everyone is happy to see Inkster in contention yet again, even her competitors. While co-second-round leader Nordqvist certainly wants to win this tournament herself, she acknowledged that getting the opportunity to play with Inkster in the final group on Saturday will be special.
"I always said I wanted to be like Juli Inkster one day," Nordqvist said. "She is a mom, she is 51, and she is out here and still competing. It's a great opportunity anytime you get to play with her. I watched her a lot growing up and just to walk alongside her on the fairways and try to learn and catch a little bit of her brain is just such a good opportunity for me to get better."
Celebrating 11/11/11: In recognition of her 11 worldwide wins this season, officials at the LPGA declared that Friday, Nov. 11, 2011 (11/11/11) was "Yani Tseng Day" on LPGA.com, the LPGA's social network sites and LPGA Headquarters in Daytona Beach . During the day, LPGA.com, LPGA Facebook (www.facebook.com/lpga.official) and LPGA Twitter (www.twitter.com/LPGA) featured stories, statistics, records and photo galleries from Tseng's 2011 season.
For Tseng, who is currently competing in the Lorena Ochoa Invitational, it was a special day to have so much attention on her. And on her Facebook page, the world's No. 1 thanked all of the LPGA staff for making such a day possible.
"It's pretty cool to say this is my day but my year is not finished yet," Tseng said. "I still have three more tournaments including this week and hopefully I will get more wins."
On a streak…Catriona Matthew has relied on one thing to help put her one shot out of the lead heading into the weekend at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational – consistency.
Matthew followed up her bogey-free opening round of 69 with a bogey-free 4-under 68 on Friday. The 2009 RICOH Women's British Open champion has been playing well of late, tallying a T4 finish at the Mizuno Classic last week in Japan . She hopes that perhaps this week she can finally use that consistency to break through with a victory.
"I would really like to win it," Matthew said. "I had a chance last week so all you can do is keep putting yourself into the right position and hopefully I can come through with another win, and I'm definitely gong to try my hardest."
Of Note… Tseng shot 3-under 69 in Friday's second round and currently sits in a T19 at 1-over-par…Defending champion I.K. Kim shot a 5-under 67 on Friday to jump into sixth place.
JULI INKSTER , Rolex Rankings No. 59
THE MODERATOR: We would like to welcome Juli Inkster back into the interview room. Congratulations on another great round, 3‑under, and tied for the lead heading into Saturday. Can you take me through your day out there?
JULI INKSTER : Yeah, I played good in spurts, and played not too well in spurts, so kind of managed my game. I didn't hit it as well as I hit it yesterday, but coming in I hit it a lot better. I putted good today and chipped good today. That was kind of what I did.
THE MODERATOR: I know it's only Friday and so too early to think about winning the tournament, but if that was possible, this would make you the oldest champion in LPGA history. Does that cross your mind when you see your name atop the leaderboard? Does that cross your mind?
JULI INKSTER : No, it really doesn't. I just have to win. If I'm the oldest, that's whatever. I know I'm the oldest, and everybody reminds me I'm the oldest, so it's just ‑‑ I'm just the oldest. (Laughter.)
THE MODERATOR: I didn't get to see the putt but I heard on 18 you had a good putt drop for you.
JULI INKSTER : Yeah, had a good putt. I thought it was dead in but it kind of got a lift and did a 360 and fell in. It was a nice way to end the day.
Q. Juli, everybody wants you to win, the caddies, the media, the fans. How does that feel? Is that extra pressure?
JULI INKSTER : Do you think Anna Nordqvist wants me to win? (Laughter.) I really feel the fans watching out here, they're rooting hard for me, and I'm trying the best I can. If it happens, it's awesome. I'm sure the players are rootin' for me just so I will go home and retire and I don't have to be out here anymore. I don't know, it's a good feeling.
Q. Juli, this being Lorena's tournament, talk about how special it would be for you to win this tournament?
JULI INKSTER : I would love it. I mean, it would be icing on the cake. Lorena is so special to me, especially to win some of her money, that would be great! (Laughter.)
Q. Juli, do you ever think, this could this be my last season?
JULI INKSTER : Yeah (Laughter.) Every year I say, okay I'll do it for one more year, and that's been going on for 10 years, and I don't know what else I would do. I get to play 20 weeks a year and get the rest of 'em off and travel around and get to see parts of the world and talk to you people. It's a great job.
Q. (Away from mic.)
JULI INKSTER : I'm sure there will be a time when I'm going to say, "All right, I'm done." But I don't know, so far, you know, I enjoy what I do.
Q. (Away from mic)
JULI INKSTER : Yeah, I mean, I know I'm not going to be number one, and I'm not going to win five or six tournaments a year, but if I can compete and be up there and enjoy what I'm doing, that's good for me.
Q. Juli, 3 fairways, 5 greens, what do you think the key to staying around?
JULI INKSTER : Three fairways? I hit more than three fairways. I hit 11 fairways. You got some bad information. I hit a lot of greens. I mean, there was a stretch there like 8, 9 and 11 that I didn't play very well, but after that I played pretty good.
I don't know how many greens I hit but I probably hit 13 or 14. I putted well today, and I chipped well, the greens I missed I chipped well, so you need to get better information.
Q. Is there any change in motivation that you have had as you have gotten older?
JULI INKSTER : It's changed. When I was in my 20s and 30s, my goal was to win a lot, play a lot, win. Especially when I was 20 and before I had kids. Then when I had kids it was about surviving, getting used to traveling with the family and playing out there. Now, I don't take as seriously. I still work hard, but I don't take it home with me, you know, I don't worry about it, I don't stress out if I play good, I don't stress out if I play bad.
Q. Juli, can you tell us about your elbow?
JULI INKSTER : I hit two balls out of the rough on 9 and tweaked it so I'm going to get some treatment. It's sore right now, more sore than it was yesterday, hopefully it will die down a little bit.
ANNA NORDQVIST, Rolex Rankings No. 33
THE MODERATOR: We would like to welcome our current co‑leader, Anna Nordqvist, in the interview room. Congratulations on a great round, 7‑under, can you take me through the day a little bit?
ANNA NORDQVIST: Well, it was a solid day, I hit a lot of fairways and greens. I gave myself a lot of birdie opportunities. It felt really solid and I kept rolling the ball well with my putter. I'm happy with the day and excited to be here. I can't wait for the weekend.
THE MODERATOR: We have been talking about how it's 11‑11‑11, and you tweeted this morning that with it being 11‑11‑11, let's make it a memorable day. Did you have any idea coming in that it was going to be such a memorable one?
ANNA NORDQVIST: I guess it's a good sign at least someone is following my Twitter, but to be honest, I didn't feel that great waking up this morning, so I just tried to make it through the day and be patient and just try to do my best. Obviously it became a memorable day and like I said, I'm happy with the day.
THE MODERATOR: Great start on the front 9, you got off to a birdie binge early on. Can you take me through what it's like when you get on a hot streak like that?
ANNA NORDQVIST: I think personally there's more birdie holes on the front 9 so I kind of tried to take advantage of those holes. Turning 5‑under and you obviously want to try to keep it going. It's tough but you've got to stay patient and even though they might not roll in you got to fight through to the end. I made a good birdie on 15 and 16 to stay in it.
THE MODERATOR: It looks like you're going to be playing with Juli Inkster tomorrow, and we've all been talking about how impressive the rounds she is putting together are. How impressed are you guys by her? She is 51 years old and she still manages to keep herself in contention.
ANNA NORDQVIST: I always said I wanted to be like Juli Inkster one day. She is a mom, she is 51, and she is out here and still competing. It's a great opportunity anytime you get to play with her. I watched her a lot growing up and just to walk alongside her on the fairways and try to learn and catch a little bit of her brain is just such a good opportunity for me to get better.
Q. Can you tell us a little bit what your strategy was going to be or what was going through your head before the plane touched down here in Guadalajara ?
ANNA NORDQVIST: I had two weeks off so I got a little bit of rest since our Asian swing. I have been practicing a lot, but this is one of my favorite courses. I think this is a great track, it's narrow off the tee and the greens are pretty small but since they are firm this week you want to try to get 'em on the green and get yourself a lot of birdie opportunities and hopefully that's going to pay off.
Q. After a good round like this, do you think that you can win the tournament?
ANNA NORDQVIST: You can't win the tournament on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday, but you can play and put yourself out of the tournament. There is obviously two more rounds and when I left the course I was a co‑leader, so I can't ask for a better spot right now, and you have to keep going through the weekend and keep believing and playing the game I've been playing.
CATRIONA MATTHEW, Rolex Rankings No. 34
THE MODERATOR: We would like to welcome Catriona Matthew into the interview room. She is currently one shot out of the lead heading into the weekend. Can you take me through your day and what was working for you?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah, we managed a couple more greens today but I knocked 'em down and felt great out there. Another bogey-free round. Will continue to do the same and try to stay on top.
THE MODERATOR: Two straight rounds without a bogey. Does this course suit your game? Is there something about it that you like?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I've always liked it. This is my third year I've been here now. I've always liked the course, you've got to make your way round it a little bit more, putt your way around it, not just drive everywhere, so I've always liked the course and it suits my play, yeah.
Q. Since your last title at the British, how much do you want to win this? I know it's just Friday and we have a couple more days ahead, but how much did you want to win?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah, I would really like to win it. I had a chance last week so all you can do is keep putting yourself into the right position and hopefully I can come through with another win, and I'm definitely gong to try my hardest.
Q. What has been the difference so far for you at this tournament this year compared with previous years?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Just the fact that I have probably driven well, hit for fairways, making my second shot easier. I've hit most of the fairways this year, and hitting that second shot helps you with getting up and down and is important to keep you in contention.
Q. The greens, they're said to be firm. Can you talk a bit about the course?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I'd say the greens are a mixture, sometimes the ball stops and it's firm, but, yeah, in the two rounds I've been giving myself some chances. So hopefully I can roll in a few more.