Tanah Merah Country Club, Garden Course
Feb. 26, 2011
Third-round notes and interviews
CHIE ARIMURA, -11, Rolex Rankings No. 19
KARRIE WEBB, -10, Rolex Rankings No. 13
Rolex Rankings No. 19 and seven-time LPGA of Japan (JLPGA) winner Chie Arimura leads LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame member Karrie Webb by one shot entering final round play at the HSBC Women's Champions in Singapore. Arimura, who is not a member of the LPGA Tour, owned a three-shot advantage with three holes to play, but a bogey on 17 and a birdie by Webb at 18 closed the gap to one stroke. In what has become a two-horse race with Arimura at 11-under-par 205 and Webb at 10-under-par 206, their closest challengers include Rolex Rankings No. 1 Yani Tseng, No. 4 Na Yeon Choi and Sun Young Yoo, each at 5-under-par 211.
Can Rolex Rankings No. 1 Yani Tseng overcome a six-shot deficit to get her fifth victory in five starts around the world in 2011? She carded a 3-under-par 69 on Friday to move into a tie for third with one round remaining at the HSBC Women's Champions. Tseng has sizzled in 2011 with an opening victory in Taiwan, followed by back-to-back wins on the Ladies European Tour (LET) in Australia and a win at the LPGA's season-opening Honda LPGA Thailand last week.
Of note… I.K. Kim had the round of the day with a 5-under-par 67 despite missing a short par putt on 18… The unrelated Miyazatos – Ai and Mika – are tied for eighth with Cristie Kerr at 2-under-par 216…. The third-round scoring average was 73.87, compared to 72.71 on Friday… Jiyai Shin, the winner of the 2009 HSBC Women's Champions, is tied for 14th at even-par 216.
Chie Arimura, -11
MIKE SCANLAN: We would like to welcome Chie to the press room. You have a one‑shot lead now, 11‑under par. Just tell us how you played today.
CHIE ARIMURA: I enjoyed my round today playing with Karrie and Sun Young. Obviously I was in the last group so it was a very good atmosphere but still I had fun. It was a good round.
MIKE SCANLAN: You've played in 11 prior LPGA events. Will you draw on that experience at all tomorrow?
CHIE ARIMURA: Obviously my past experience playing the LPGA has helped me a lot. When I first played the LPGA I was so nervous and didn't know what to do. I didn't know what to expect. But in my past experience I've got to know a lot of players on Tour and I can speak to them during the round and can get more relaxed and play at my own pace, which definitely helps.
Q. How does playing in an LPGA event differ from one in Japan or are they very similar?
CHIE ARIMURA: At one point, the level of competition is I think very competitive. Another point is pace of play. In Japan, we tend to play pretty fast, all of the players. But here, I think that a lot of players play at their own pace.
So in that terms, I am able to concentrate shot by shot myself, as well. So that helps.
Q. How long does a round in Japan normally take?
CHIE ARIMURA: Probably 4.5 hours to play. But in Japan, it's the top starting group doesn't play ‑‑ in two hours and 15 minutes, we get timed immediately, so the pace of play is pretty fast I think.
Q. You know how to win ‑‑
CHIE ARIMURA: I think I'm not used to it. After each time, I feel nervous, and a first time it might be beginner's luck, but as you get to know experience, at the same time, you know ‑‑ you learn kind of nervousness and the pressure that you have to go through. So it's not easy. And every win is different, so I say I'm not used to it.
Q. A couple of times you missed short putts for birdies; do you feel that ‑‑ inaudible ‑‑ being so close to Karrie?
CHIE ARIMURA: Well, that's part of golf. You can't win easily. I learned that again today, so I just need to play my game tomorrow again and focus on each shot and not try to give up at the end of the game and see what happens.
Q. Karrie is a legend; are you aware of how successful she's been?
CHIE ARIMURA: Obviously she's a great player and I'm honoured to compete with her, like this week now, and I kind of become a spectator when I'm playing with her. She has a terrific shot. She has a terrific game plan and it's just great to watch her play and at times I just become a spectator today. But at the same time I can learn a lot from her, and I'm just looking forward to playing another round with her going into tomorrow.
Q. You mentioned the intensity ‑‑ how will you prepare for the opportunity tomorrow?
CHIE ARIMURA: Well, I think I'm also surprised to be in that group, competing against one of the great players, Yani, and Karrie. And I might be nervous but at the same time, I think I'm not expecting a lot from myself. So I think I could focus on my game that way. I'm not expecting anything, just competing against those great players is even hard for me to believe, even now, it's like a dream.
I'm not expecting too much from myself. I'm calm, so I think I'm ready to play tomorrow.
Q. How can you achieve your goal?
CHIE ARIMURA: Well, the course is playing tough in the wind. You just have to do ‑‑ I'm pretty consistent on up‑and‑downs, getting pars this week, and whenever the chances come, I'm able to make the putts that I need to. So I think my game plan is working. It's just a lot of traps out there, just to be ‑‑ you just need to be patient and be careful.
And even if you make a mistake, you need to be patient and focus each shot. I think I'm sticking to that plan and it's working well so far.
Karrie Webb, -10
Q. Nice finish sets you up well for tomorrow?
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah, I feel pretty fortunate actually to be one behind. Chie missed a few putts coming in and it was nice to grab a birdie on the last.
Q. You guys are several shots in front of the others and Chie was a couple in front of you; were you thinking there's still an opportunity?
KARRIE WEBB: Oh, yeah, sure. There's a long day ahead tomorrow, so I was just trying to get in with as good of a score as I could and be as close as I could.
Q. And I think you were 2‑under today, right? So what were you thinking through there, not a huge number of opportunities, not a lot of birdies for nine out there?
KARRIE WEBB: No, there wasn't. I played pretty solidly. I didn't make too many mistakes. I gave myself a few opportunities but not enough to have a really low round but enough to have 2‑under.
I birdied the second. I holed about a 3‑footer there.
Birdied the fifth, about a 20‑footer.
Bogeyed the next one, 3‑putted.
Then birdied 9, hit it on in two and 2‑putted from about 60 feet I guess.
And then bogeyed 14, the par 3 and birdied the last. I hit an 8‑iron in there to probably about 15 feet and made the putt.
Q. Given the fact that how well Chie was playing today, were you surprised she missed two short putts on 15 and 16 and made the bogey?
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah, I was. She really could have separated herself from all of us. You know, I feel pretty fortunate to only be one shot behind, but I knew that I just had to keep plugging away and stay patient and you know, it's been a long day ahead tomorrow.
So you know, even if she had of gotten a couple ahead, she was the only one in front of me. So I just had to get in as best I could.
Q. You won so much in your career, what's the buzz like of still going into the fourth day with a big chance to win a tournament? What's it like?
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah, I mean, that's what I work hard for. When people say, why are you still playing, that's why I'm still playing. That's the part why I work hard. I love putting myself in that position, and I think I've wanted it too much in the last few years, and tried too hard to put myself there.
So I'm just going to enjoy tomorrow. I've got a great opportunity to win and I'll just go out there and do my best.
Q. For someone who has not won on the LPGA Tour, and you have obviously won 36 times I think it is, does that play a role tomorrow, do you think?
KARRIE WEBB: Yes and no. I think obviously it's a great opportunity for Chie, never having won on the LPGA but she's won plenty of times in Japan so she knows how to win and how to get it done. If she plays like she did today, it's going to be a battle right down to the end.