Guadalajara Country Club
November 12, 2011
Third-round notes and interviews
Catriona Matthew -11, Rolex Rankings No. 34
Suzann Pettersen -8, Rolex Rankings No. 2
I.K. Kim -7, Rolex Rankings No. 11
Rolex Rankings No. 34 Catriona Matthew fired a 4-under 68 to move to 11-under-par and take a three-shot lead into the final round of the $1 million Lorena Ochoa Invitational Presented by Banamex and Jalisco It Happens Within You. Rolex Rankings No. 2 Suzann Pettersen sits three shots back at 8-under while co-second-round leader Anna Nordqvist and defending champion I.K. Kim are both at 7-under-par heading into Sunday's final round.
Matthew had birdies on No. 4, 8, and 9 to shoot a front-nine 33 and take a two-shot lead over the field. She added birdies on 10 and 14 to help extend her lead to five shots but a bogey on 17 combined with Pettersen's birdie on 18 cut that lead to three strokes. Matthew's bogey on 17 ended an impressive streak by the Scotland native, who had gone 52 consecutive holes without a bogey to start the tournament.
"I've hit a lot of fairways and a lot of greens and makes it quite easy," Matthew said of her streak. "I haven't missed a lot of greens, and don't have the pressure to get up and down then, so hopefully I can keep it up for another day."
Matthew was asked if she could remember the last time she had just one bogey through three rounds. "No, I can't actually," she said. "It's not something I do often! (Laughs)"
Ending a drought? Matthew's last win came at the 2009 RICOH Women's British Open. Since then the 42-year-old has tallied 10 top-10 finishes, but the best of those was a 4th place finish at this year's ShopRite LPGA Classic in June.
Matthew asked if she would do anything differently entering Sunday's final round with a three-stroke lead.
"I try not to," Matthew said. "You're going to be nervous tomorrow being in the last group, but keep on doing what I have been doing, because it's been working for the last three days, so hopefully I can keep it going for another day."
Looking for win No. 4: Suzann Pettersen already has two wins on the LPGA Tour this season and one international victory -- the Ladies Irish Open on the Ladies European Tour - so on Sunday she'll be trying for her fourth win of the year.
One of her two LPGA Tour victories this year (the Safeway Classic Presented by Coca-Cola) was a come-from-behind win in which she came from nine shots back. And last year, Pettersen led the Lorena Ochoa Invitational by one shot after three rounds only to see I.K. Kim shoot an 8-under 64 in the final round to defeat her by two shots. So she's well aware that she's within striking distance.
"Is this a course where you can shoot a low round and come from behind, I.K.?" Pettersen joked with Kim, who was also in the interview room after their rounds. "Yeah, it is. It is, I witnessed it last year so, no, I mean, obviously if you get going, try to take advantage of so many par 5s. There are tough holes coming up, and with the greens firm, you never know what it's going to be, but you have to put a good number together tomorrow."
Pushing for a repeat: Defending champion I.K. Kim has been quietly making a surge up the leaderboard at this year's Lorena Ochoa Invitational and her 2-under round of 70 on Saturday now has her four shots out of the lead heading into the final round.
Kim has tallied at least one victory in each of her three previous seasons on the LPGA Tour. She has yet to win this year with season best-finishes of T3 at the Honda LPGA Thailand and the Kia Classic coming early in 2011.
New crowd favorite? After winning the Lorena Ochoa Invitational last year, Kim donated one half of her earnings to the Lorena Ochoa Foundation and the fans have certainly taken notice of her generous donation. Kim has been greeted very warmly throughout the week in Guadalajara and she admits being a little surprised by such a strong reaction to her donation.
"I didn't really know it was going to be such a big deal for all the world," Kim said. " It was something I wanted to do if I won the tournament, but it wasn't really I don't know. But I definitely feel welcome out here, and I'm very grateful to have been part of Lorena's foundation, and I would like to continue that in this tournament. I feel humbled by Lorena. She does everything. I'm just trying to learn from the idol that I had, so I'm just trying to follow her footsteps. "
Changing the look of 18: The tees on the finishing par-5 18th hole were moved up 40 yards for Saturday's third round, decreasing the length of the hole from 521 yards to 481 yards. The move was made to entice players to go for the green in two and create more excitement on the finishing hole.
"I think it's good they moved it up," said Pettersen. "I don't think you've seen a lot of birdies there today, I don't think you've seen a lot of eagles, so I don't think it really makes an overall difference on how the hole is played, but it gives us a chance. Even if you hit a great drive you had to hit a perfect shot to get it on, and the bunkers on the left are more in play. So it's nice to have a finishing hole where good shots can make a difference."
Of Note…Rolex Rankings No. 1 Yani Tseng shot a 2-over 74 on Saturday and currently sits in 26th place at 3-over-par…The biggest move of the day on the leaderboard was made by Brittany Lincicome, who shot a 3-under 69 to jump from 28th place into a T14 at even-par…Co-second-round leader Juli Inkster shot a 3-over 75 on Saturday and will enter Sunday six shots back of leader, Matthew. Inkster, 51, is trying to become the oldest winner in LPGA Tour history.
CATRIONA MATTHEW, Rolex Rankings No. 34
THE MODERATOR: We would like to welcome our current leader, Catriona Matthew into the interview room. Congratulations on another great round today, 4-under 68. Can you take me through the round and what were the key holes for you?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah, I birdied the fourth hole, good 7 iron in for just a few feet and holed that one for birdie and holed a good putt on 8 for a birdie and birdied 9 from about 10 feet. 10 from 15 feet and made a good par save on 11.
Then I didn't make another birdie 14, I birdied 14, hit a shot into 6 feet and holed that one. 17 just pushed my tee shot a wee bit and didn't have a good bunker shot and bogeyed that one. All in all pretty pleased.
THE MODERATOR: Hole 17 was your first bogey that you've had all week. Talk about your consistency and being able to string these great rounds together and how nice it is to be able to play like that.
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah, it's certainly nice. I hit a lot of fairways and a lot of greens and makes it quite easy, haven't missed a lot of greens, and don't have the pressure to get up and down then, so hopefully I can keep it up for another day.
THE MODERATOR: At one point on the back nine you had a 5 shot lead; now you have a 3 shot lead heading into tomorrow. What are your thoughts about heading into tomorrow?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I'm delighted to be in the lead. I would rather be 3 shots in the lead rather than 3 behind, I.K., Suzann and Anna all back there, all capable of coming up from behind, so I'm going to have to go out there tomorrow and shoot something in the 60s, I think.
Q. Great round. There was a period 8 through 11 when they just kept going in, one after another. When you get on a streak like that do you get ahead of yourself a little bit?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: You try not to. It's difficult sometimes but you try not to. I hadn't holed a lot of putts so that was the first one on 8 and then holed a good one on 11 to save par, so hopefully I can hole a few more.
Q. Can you remember the last time you had three rounds with just one bogey?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: No, I can't actually, it's not something I do often! (Chuckles.)
Q. I might be wrong, but you don't have your husband on your bag this week; right?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: No, I don't.
Q. I was right. Your caddy this week?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Old friend. Met him years ago. He caddies on the PGA TOUR. He caddied in '86 and '87 Open at Muirfeld, and my parents live there, and he came and stayed at a B&B there, and that's how I got to know him.
Q. What has been the difference between this year and the other years that you've played here?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I think I'm putting the ball better this year, being more consistent. I haven't made the mistakes that I have made in the last couple of years. More bad shots the last years. This year in general I've been more consistent and pitching the ball better, so makes it easier when you're on the fairway.
Q. Can you tell me how it is for you being a player and a mom as well? You have a little daughter; how is this life for you?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah, I mean, it's difficult, the traveling. I think I've been away six of the last seven weeks, so I haven't seen either of them well, I was home one week. I think in a way it makes me try to concentrate and focus harder, because I'm away from family so I try and make the most of it. They travel maybe 60% of the time with us. They have a good daycare system in the States so that works out well.
Yeah it's difficult when you're away but I'm going to be home for two months so back to being a normal mom. (Chuckles.)
Q. Catriona, leading the last round, is there anything that you can do differently because you are leading?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I try not to. You're going to be nervous tomorrow being in the last group, but keep on doing what I have been doing, because it's been working for the last three days, so hopefully I can keep it going for another day.
SUZANN PETTERSEN, Rolex Rankings No. 2
THE MODERATOR: We would like to welcome Suzann Pettersen into the interview room, congratulations, on a great round today, 3 behind Catriona Matthew after today's round. What are your thoughts about the final round coming up and how do you feel about how you did today?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Well, I wish I was closer, so I could have an idea of the situation but at the same time I was 5 behind and now I'm only three, so finished up closer to her coming in the last couple of holes. The wind picked up, got choppy.
It's not really windy but it affects the shot making and I just thought it was hard to get really close and give us good chances. I felt like I had a few great pars on the back nine, and my short game kind of stepping up. It was a decent day, nice to finish with a birdie.
THE MODERATOR: On 18 you had a nice birdie to pull closer. Can you take me through that hole?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: They moved the tee up a little bit today, so they want us to go for it, and I didn't hit the best shot, but I got myself within chipping distance, tried to leave myself an uphill putt. I had that putt a million times before, but it was nice to finish with a birdie and set the tone for tomorrow.
THE MODERATOR: Last year we saw I.K. shoot a very low round in the final round to come from behind to win. Being three shots back, is this a course where you can come from behind and
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Is this a course where you can shoot a low round and come from behind, I.K.? Yeah, it is. It is, I witnessed it last year so, no, I mean, obviously if you get going, try to take advantage of so many par 5s. There are tough holes coming up, and with the greens firm, you never know what it's going to be, but you have to put a good number together tomorrow.
Q. What was the toughest thing around the course today?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I don't know if it's that much tougher than yesterday, but if you have a little bit in between yardages, it's just tough to kind of decide the right shot and kind of get close enough. I felt like I hit a lot of great shots but they weren't proper birdie chances, so looking at a par instead of an aggressive birdie. The wind got a little bit up on the back nine so a little difficult, but in Taiwan we played in a hurricane so this is nothing.
Q. Can you tell us about 18 now that it's shorter, do you like it? Do you feel it's more challenging?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: No. I think I mean, I remember in the past we were always trying to go for this green in two. And I think it's good they moved it up. I don't think you've seen a lot of birdies there today, I don't think you've seen a lot of eagles, so I don't think it really makes an overall difference on how the hole is played, but it gives us a chance. Even if you hit a great drive you had to hit a perfect shot to get it on, and the bunkers on the left are more in play. So it's nice to have a finishing hole where good shots can make a difference.
Q. You were leading in the third round. Did you think you had a chance to take it off your back somehow if you win it? Because last year you I.K. won.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Last year I played pretty good. I think I shot 3 or 4 under, and I.K. shot, what, 18 under? Last year I.K. played up, sometimes players do that. Like I said, I'm in a great position, wish I could have been a few closer but at the same time I'll take on the challenge and take it on from the first hole tomorrow.
Q. Since you are 3 shots behind are you going to change your strategy tomorrow?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: No, I don't think so. I mean, first of all, around this place if you can hit your fairways you will have the opportunities to get close. This course is tough but good shots will be rewarded. So you hit good golf shots, you'll make birdies. Just got to go out there and try and get off to a quick start and take it from there.
I.K. KIM, Rolex Rankings No. 11
THE MODERATOR: We would like to welcome defending champion, I.K. Kim into the interview room. Putting yourself up there near the top of the leaderboard yet again. Can you take me through your round today?
I.K. KIM: Thank you. I had a good round today, last two days I couldn't really start early so it was tough on me to play on the back nine but, you know, this golf course you've got to play not too aggressive you have to play in between you've really got to play smart. I think I did that pretty well today, but the back nine as Suzann said the wind was tricky, not going in the same direction all the time. So it was hard to adjust, but I feel confident and I enjoyed to see everybody out here again.
THE MODERATOR: After your round, you were 4 shots behind the leader. You came from behind last year by shooting a great round on the final day. How confident do you feel about your chances sitting where you are right now heading into Sunday?
I.K. KIM: Well, I'm really tired right now, I don't know why but I still feel I still have a little jet lag from last week and I'm trying to focus on every shot but I have to tell myself, "I.K., wake up," whatever. So it's a little different than last year, but definitely this golf course, you know, last year I was really close to Suzann, and then I started making birdies on the back nine and, you know, I had a couple of roles and then I was leading the tournament, but it was really close last year.
I think this year is going to be similar. Catriona is playing great and Suzann should play well so there is a lot of, I think, potential, everybody could chase Catriona tomorrow. So that's a fun thing to do and being in contention.
THE MODERATOR: In each of the last three years you've picked up you've had at least one victory on the LPGA TOUR; this year so far no victories. Do you still feel like good about how you have been able to play this season. Would it mean even more now, waiting all year?
I.K. KIM: You know, there is a lot of great players out here and you've got to put your "A" game out all the time. But definitely not winning a tournament, it's not easy, but especially golf, you play four rounds in the week and it's not easier to boost up yourself.
But at the same time I really enjoy traveling around and seeing meeting new people and especially defending this title. I have a chance to win tomorrow, I think that's something that I always kind of look forward to and that's why I practice. I think everybody has the same, you know, mentality, but that's why I play golf. I would like to win tomorrow but I have a lot of chances going on. Next week is the last tournament of the year, but I'm having fun out here so that's the most important thing for me.
Q. Do you feel somehow you're a favorite since you donated part of your winnings to Lorena's foundation?
I.K. KIM: I didn't really know it was going to be such a big deal for all the world. It was something I wanted to do if I won the tournament, but it wasn't really I don't know, but I definitely feel welcome out here, and I'm very grateful to have been part of Lorena's foundation, and I would like to continue that in this tournament. I feel humble by Lorena. She does the thing, I'm just trying to learn from the idol that I had, so I'm just trying to follow her foot steps.
Q. I.K., with winning last year, what do you think will be the key for tomorrow's match?
I.K. KIM: Well, good question. You've just got to be patient on this golf course. Some holes I can't really get to, like a few holes, there's three from the side and but I've just got to feel confident in the morning and do my routines and on the tee and do the round. It could have been lower today, or yesterday, but hopefully tomorrow is my day.
Q. I asked Suzann what they thought about the 18 now that it's shorter. Of course Suzann is a long hitter, but you are a short hitter, so how much I think that's a good chance for you guys who don't hit it as long, not to have to hit it so long, so what do you think about it?
I.K. KIM: Well, today it didn't really make much difference for me, because I couldn't I didn't get to the bunker yesterday, but I could get to the bunker today, so I had to hit it between the tree and the bunker, like 10 yard gap, so I think it's fun. If I hit perfect tee shot somehow then I will have a perfect 3 wood to the green. But you know, this week has been difficult for the par 5s, when I can get to the green. It's tough, but either way you have your favorite number or you try to be aggressive but, I don't know, I don't really care about tee being front or back. I think it doesn't really change much.