Evian Masters Presented by Société Générale
Evian Masters Golf Club
July 24, 2011
Final-round notes and interviews
Ai Miyazato -15, Rolex Rankings No. 10
Stacy Lewis -13, Rolex Rankings No. 15
Rolex Rankings No. 10 Ai Miyazato shot a final-round 70 to capture a two-shot victory at the 2011 Evian Masters Presented by Société Générale in Evian-les-Baines, France. Miyazato entered the final round with a two-shot lead over Stacy Lewis, Angela Stanford, Miki Saiki and Ran Hong. She was paired with Hong in the final group and the KLPGA member certainly pushed Miyazato early in the day. Hong birdied the second hole to cut Miyazato's lead to one. But Miyazato recorded three birdies on the front side to give herself a cushion when she made the turn.
Things got a little tight on the back nine. Miyazato had bogeys on 11 and 13 with a birdie sandwiched in between. The second bogey cut her lead down to one again, this time over Lewis who had birdied the par-5 15th hole. But after a three-putt bogey by Lewis on 16 extended Miyazato's lead back to two, the Japan native never looked back. Miyazato recorded pars on her final four holes to secure her second Evian Masters title. She is the fourth player to win multiple titles at the event in the 18-year history of the tournament. (Helen Alfredsson 1994, 1998, 2008; Annika Sorenstam 2000, 2002; Laura Davies 1995,1996)
Miyazato's parents were on hand at the Evian Masters to see their daughter pick up her first victory of the 2011 season.
"It makes this special because this is the first time my parents were here to see me winning a US LPGA Tour event," Miyazato said through a translator.
Lucky number seven: With the victory, Miyazato now has seven career victories on the LPGA Tour. She became a Rolex First-Time Winner at the 2009 Evian Masters and then won five tournaments during the 2010 season. Her victories last year included the season-opening Honda PTT LPGA Thailand, HSBC Women's Champions, Tres Marias Championship, ShopRite LPGA Classic and Safeway Classic Presented by Coca-Cola, a title that she is set to defend August 19-21 at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in North Plains, Oregon.
Raising the flag for Japan: Ever since a devastating earthquake and tsunami hit her native Japan back in March, Miyazato has been dedicated to raising money for the Red Cross relief effort. Along with fellow Japanese players Mika Miyazato and Momoko Ueda, Miyazato helped to start the "Never Give Up Japan" effort that includes buttons with a logo they designed for players to wear during the season. Through June, the fundraising effort has raised close to $130,000 and Miyazato will likely donate some of her winner's check to the cause.
"I haven't decided yet what to do exactly, whether it'll be all of the amount or a sum of it, but I'll definitely be making donations from this earning," Miyazato said through a translator.
For Miyazato, the relief effort is one that's very important to her. She attended high school in northern Sendai, which was very close to where the earthquake struck. Miyazato has acknowledged that it was tough to focus on golf right after the disaster happened and it's been an emotional season for her. So it was very special for Miyazato to not only win her second title here at the Evian Masters but to capture the victory for Japan, which just recently celebrated the women's national soccer team winning the World Cup.
"This year, I really felt like I was playing for <> instead of for myself," Miyazato said through a translator.
Another close call: Since becoming a Rolex First-Time Winner at the Kraft Nabisco Championship earlier this year, Stacy Lewis has recorded four top-10 finishes including her runner-up finish at the Evian Masters. Lewis knocked at the door for her second LPGA Tour victory at this week's event, but was derailed by a three-putt bogey on the par-4 16th to fall two behind Miyazato.
Lewis is excited about the state of her game heading into next week when the final major of the season, the RICOH Women's British Open, will take place at Carnoustie Golf Links. The Texas native, who thrives on difficult golf courses, has played particularly well at major championships, finishing no worse than T34 in her last seven major championship starts. Over her career, Lewis has five top-10 finishes in majors and will try to see if she can add to that total at the RICOH Women's British Open.
Emotional finish: Suzann Pettersen, wearing a black armband for the second straight day in remembrance of all those lost in the two attacks in her native Norway on Friday, fired a final-round 68 to vault herself into a T6 at 11-under-par. Players and caddies also wore black ribbons during Sunday's final round in support of Pettersen and all of the people in Norway.
Golden ticket winners: LPGA Tour rookie Caroline Hedwall, Amy Yang and Paige Mackenzie punched their "Ticket to CME Group Titleholders" at the Evian Masters, each earning a spot in the season-ending CME Group Titleholders event, which will be held Nov. 17-20, 2011 at Grand Cypress Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The inaugural CME Group Titleholders, a season finale with a field made up of three qualifiers from every LPGA Tour tournament, is a format never previously used in professional golf.
Miyazato is going to Canyon Ranch. With her victory at the 2011 Evian Masters, Ai Miyazato earned an all-inclusive stay for two at a Canyon Ranch resort. In a combined effort to promote health and overall well-being among Tour players, Canyon Ranch will provide every winner of an LPGA event with one all-inclusive stay at one of Canyon Ranch's two destination resorts.
LPGA and World Golf Halls of Famer Juli Inkster was named the 2011 Evian Masters Ambassador of the Year at the Gala event on Saturday night. For the honor, Inkster received a Rolex watch. It was the second honor that Inkster, 51, received during this year's tournament. On Friday night Inkster was presented with the inaugural Media Appreciation award at the LPGA Global Media Awards. Inkster was chosen for the award by a panel of prominent journalists who cover the LPGA Tour based upon her excellence in working cohesively with the media on a regular basis.
Of note…Defending champion Jiyai Shin shot a final-round 73 to finish in a tie for 17th…Rolex Rankings No. 1 Yani Tseng fired a three-under-par 69 Sunday to finish tied for 12th. Tseng will defend her title at the RICOH Women's British Open next week at Carnoustie Golf Links…Rolex Rankings No. 2 Cristie Kerr struggled to a final-round 75 to finish in a tie for 21st, ending her streak of five straight top-3 finishes…LPGA Tour rookie Caroline Hedwall from <> finished tie for 12th in her very first LPGA start as a professional. Hedwall's performance qualified her for the season-ending CME Titleholders.
AI MIYAZATO, Rolex Rankings No. 10
MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome the 2011 Evian Masters champion Ai Miyazato into the interview room. Congratulations on your win today.
AI MIYAZATO: Thank you so much.
MODERATOR: Just give us some thoughts on what you're feeling now after your second win here.
AI MIYAZATO: It's feeling amazing, you know. This is my favorite tournament, so I really happy that could win this tournament again. Especially right now. In <> we are having a really tough time, so I just really happy that I could do very some good news Japan.
MODERATOR: After winning your first‑ever tournament on the LPGA Tour here, and now to come back and win a second time, what does that mean to you?
AI MIYAZATO: (Through translation.) I'm happy to win as many times this tournament as possible, and look forward to many more opportunities in the future.
MODERATOR: Last year you won five times on the LPGA Tour. It took you a little bit of time this year to pick up your first win. Were you pressing a little bit? Did you think, I want to get a win? What were your feelings on that?
AI MIYAZATO: It was so many happenings the beginning of the season, like I said. To be honest, I'm thinking of <>, too. Last year was last year, and then this year is going to be really fresh. I didn't, you know, in a hurry at all. So I am just trying to take one tournament at a time. I just did work hard, and it's paid off right now.
MODERATOR: Never Give Up <>, we all know how much the relief effort meant to you and the button that you wear at every tournament. Tell us what that's meant to you this year to be able to help <> with your playing.
AI MIYAZATO: (Through translation.) Well, Momoko Ueda, Mika Miyazato, and I created this foundation. I'm wearing this button because I want to get as much help and support from not just <>, but all over the world. By wearing this button and playing, I have <> in my thoughts, and gives me motivation to play as well.
MODERATOR: Who did you have with you this week? Any family with you to see this win?
AI MIYAZATO: Yeah, I have my parents here this week. (Through translation.) It makes this special because this is the first time my parents were here and myself winning on the US LPGA Tour event.
Q. It looked like it was quite a tough finish. You had a couple bogeys. I think 12th and 14th. Was there any nerves there? Were you feeling nervous?
AI MIYAZATO: Yeah, I was nervous this morning. But I got really good feeling with my game this week, so I just really trusted myself. I didn't want to in a hurry at all, so I just stayed focused on my game. But, yeah, I was a little bit nervous towards the end.
Q. How did you react when your lead shortened to only one shot? And what are you going to do with this check?
AI MIYAZATO: (Through translation.) The first question, even when the lead was just down to one I was never in a hurry. I kind of expected that to happen. And to your second question, I haven't decided yet what to do exactly, whether it'll be all the amount or a sum of it, but I'll definitely be making donations from this earning.
Q. On 14 hole you were in the collar of the green on the second shot. Why have you re‑placed your ball at one club length?
AI MIYAZATO: (Through translation.) Today we were playing preferred lies, and the ball position, when the ball stopped originally after the second shot, there was a bit of turf behind it.
It was tough to get a good stroke, so I moved one club length ‑ obviously not closer to the hole.
Q. How does this win feel different than when you won two years ago? We remember the excitement. I do.
AI MIYAZATO: (Through translation.) Obviously I'm excited again, but a lot has happened since my first win here two years ago. This year, I really felt like I was playing for <> instead of for myself.
Q. Just a word about Stacy Lewis. How impressed were you with her performance over the four days?
AI MIYAZATO: (Through translation.) I played with her in the same group yesterday, and she doesn't make very many mistakes. And even though she was playing in front of me, looked like she was playing solid today as well.
Q. How will you spend your prize money? Sorry, I don't know if you've been asked already.
AI MIYAZATO: (Through translation.) Well, I haven't really decided at this moment yet, but, you know, maybe all of it or some of it will definitely be donated.
MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Stacy Lewis into the interview room. I know not quite the finish you were hoping for, but just take us through the day a little bit and what happened out there.
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I didn't get off to the start I wanted to. Wanted to get a little quicker start. But the hole locations were tougher today and there just weren't quite as many that you could get close to. I made some really good pars in the middle of the round and just gave myself an opportunity coming down the stretch.
MODERATOR: I was going to say, got within a shot of the lead. Take us through the final few holes and what your thoughts were.
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I mean, 15, you know you need to make par there on the par‑5, I hadn't done it all week. It kind of owed me one. Made a really good putt there. Then 16 just hit a bad wedge shot. That's the one shot I wish I could go back and hit again. Just left myself in a really bad spot. You would have to have a great two‑putt to two‑putt from where I was. When I missed that putt, I looked up and saw she had fallen back to 15‑under, so I was kind of disappointed with that. But I committed to all my shots and hit them how I wanted to. I mean, I can't be too upset.
MODERATOR: A 2‑under round, you still have to be pleased with another strong finish.
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I was really happy with the way I handled things, just the pressure of being in the last couple groups the last two days. It's just getting more comfortable there, and it's a good time for me.
Q. Next tournament, heading into another major, the Women's British Open. Do you feel good about your game going into that tournament?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I do. I struggled last year here on the greens, so that's what I'm most excited with, is how my putter feels. You got to putt it well at any major championship, so I'm looking forward to it.
Q. Do you know the Carnoustie course?
STACY LEWIS: I have not played there at all. I've heard about it. Carnasty, right? (Laughter.)
Q. It's quite different. You know the links?
STACY LEWIS: I do. I enjoy links‑style golf. You have to be creative and hit different types of shots. I think the weather actually looks pretty good, so hopefully we won't get too much rain. But it will be windy and you have to play some low shots. I grew up in <>, so should be pretty good.
Q. Do feel like you were in it right to the end?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I did. It was hard to tell early on in the round how everybody was doing because there were no scoreboards out there. The crowds you just can't really tell here for some reason for me. But I knew I was in it when I made the putt on 15. Just kind of disappointed with 16.