Evian Masters Presented by Société Générale
Evian Masters Golf Club
July 22, 2011
Second-round notes and interviews
Miki Saiki -9, Rolex Rankings No. 26
Stacy Lewis -8, Rolex Rankings No. 15
Ai Miyazato -8, Rolex Rankings No. 10
Angela Stanford -8, Rolex Rankings No. 20
Paula Creamer -7, Rolex Rankings No. 8
JLPGA member Miki Saiki leads by one stroke after two rounds of the Evian Masters Presented by Société Générale in Evian-Les-Baines, France. Saiki followed up her first-round 68 with a 5-under 67 on Friday at the Evian Masters Golf Club to take the outright lead at 9-under-par. Saiki had five birdies on the front nine and birdied No. 11 to get to 10-under before a bogey on the 12th dropped her back a stroke. Saiki tallied pars the rest of the way, giving herself a one-shot lead heading into the weekend over Rolex Rankings No. 10 Ai Miyazato, No. 15 Stacy Lewis, No. 18 Maria Hjorth, No. 20 Angela Stanford and KLPGA member Shin-Ae Ahn.
"Yesterday I was hitting the ball really well, and it kind of continued on to today," Saiki said through an interpreter. "I was able to hit well and also putt well earlier in the round. I kind of struggled in the end, but all in all, it was a good day."
The low round of the day on Friday and the low round of the tournament thus far was 6-under 66 shot by Angela Stanford and Sweden's Caroline Hedwall. Stanford tallied eight birdies and one double bogey en route to shooting her low round that moved her into a tie for second in the tournament. After shooting a 2-under 70 in Thursday's opening round while playing through most of the heavy rain in the morning, Stanford said she was able to take advantage of better scoring conditions on Friday.
"Before we went out, I realized that the course could be scorable with some of the pin placements, so really just tried to take advantage of the pin placements today," Stanford said. "I felt like today was more of a dartboard kind of deal. Yesterday the pins seemed like they were just over some ridges, and today seemed like you had room to spin wedges back to 'em. So I felt like today the pins were a little bit easier than yesterday."
Bouncing right back: Despite shooting a 3-under 69 in Thursday's opening round, Stacy Lewis was upset with the way that she had finished her round. Lewis went 3-over in her final four holes including a bogey on No. 18, but afterward she was determined not to let that disappointment and frustration carry over into Friday.
Lewis certainly didn't dwell on her finish, shooting a 5-under 67 on Friday to move herself into a tie for second at 8-under-par. The 2011 Kraft Nabisco champion said that she wrote herself a message on her glove for the second round.
"I just wrote 'confident,'" Lewis said. "Just to trust what I'm doing because what I'm doing is working. I just need to trust it."
So what has been the key to Lewis' strong play the last two days and her improved play throughout the course of this season?
Lewis said that it's been her improved putting. She has placed more of her focus on aim point, reading the green better and trusting her reads. On the greens at the Evian Masters, it's made a difference with Lewis needing just 29 and 28 putts in her two respective rounds.
Watch out behind you: Saiki holds the outright lead after two rounds but there a number of top players who are poised to make a push during the weekend.
In addition to the group of four players who sit at 8-under par, there are four others who are just two strokes back of the leader. That includes Rolex Rankings No. 8 and 2005 Evian Masters champion Paula Creamer, who shot a bogey-free round of 65 on Friday, and Rolex Rankings No. 2 Cristie Kerr, who has recorded five straight top-3 finishes. Defending champion Jiyai Shin is at 6-under par after shooting back-to-back rounds of 69.
Staying on for the weekend: A total of 70 players made the cut at the Evian Masters, which fell at 1-over-par 145.
The winners of the second annual LPGA Global Media Awards Presented by Rolex were named on Friday night at a special gala event at the Hotel Ermitage. A few of the top journalists and photographers were honored for their work covering the LPGA. There were six categories (two for the written press and four for photographers). Reiko Takekawa of the KYODO NEWS was honored as the winner of the Rolex Award for Media Excellence for her long-time achievement in media coverage of women's professional golf. And in a new category this year, Juli Inkster was chosen by a panel of prominent journalists who cover the LPGA Tour as the recipient of the Media Appreciation Award for her excellence in working cohesively with the media on a regular basis.
Of Note…A lot of players managed to go low on Friday and the most common score among the leaders was a 5-under 67. Five players shot rounds of 67 and there were 17 rounds of 68 or better…16-year-old Lexi Thompson, who finished in a tie for second at last year's Evian Masters, followed up her opening-round, 2-under 70 with a 1-over-par 73. She currently is in a tie for 42nd at 1-under…Karen Stupples, who co-led after the first round with Hjorth, fired a 2-under 70 and sit two shots back of the leader at 7-under-par.
MIKI SAIKI, Rolex Rankings No. 26
MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Miki Saiki into the interview room. Congratulations on your round today. Can you just take me through your round a little bit and what went well for you out there?
MIKI SAIKI: (Through translation.) From yesterday I was hitting the ball really well, and it kind of continued on to today. I was able to hit well and also putt well earlier in the round. I kind of struggled in the end, but all in all, it was a good day.
MODERATOR: Yesterday there was a lot of rain. How did you find the course today? Were the scoring conditions pretty good that you could shoot a good round like you did?
MIKI SAIKI: (Through translation.) Yesterday obviously was a day of a lot rain and you didn't know what you were going to get. Today you had no wind. The greens were consistent with the rolling. So it was all in all a great day.
MODERATOR: Just talk about your feelings of being at the top of the leaderboard after the second round, and what are you looking forward to this weekend.
MIKI SAIKI: (Through translation.) Obviously it's still early. I think there will be some players that are going to finish probably better score than mine. But, you know, you don't have to think about that now. You just go into the weekend and do your best.
Q. You're obviously a very good putter. You put that's your favorite club. How much putting practice do you do? Do you stay with the same putter?
MIKI SAIKI: (Through translation.) You know, it's not a set time that I have for practice, but I usually practice about a six‑footer a lot. Since I've become a pro I haven't changed my putter.
Q. Could you just talk about your background, how you got involved in golf, and maybe some hobbies.
MIKI SAIKI: (Through translation.) My father played golf, and so I kind of naturally started playing. My hobbies are shopping.
MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Stacy Lewis into the interview room. Congratulations on your 5‑under round today. Tough finish to yesterday's round for you but came back right out today and made a lot of birdies. Take me through the round.
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I knew after yesterday that I wanted to come out and finish ‑‑ or just play better and finish better. I could have used the end of the round yesterday just to kind of ‑‑ I mean, started today's round with the same attitude, kind of mad and upset, and I didn't let myself do that. I was pretty happy with that. I just started making birdies and putts. Had to hang on at the end, but it was a good day.
MODERATOR: The course conditions yesterday with a lot of rain, everybody was saying they were pretty good scoring conditions because you couldn't get into too much trouble. How was it out there today?
STACY LEWIS: It was still pretty wet. Wasn't nearly as bad as it was yesterday afternoon, but I think the problem is when you hit it off the lines, especially around the greens you've got all the run off, so you've got long rough that's basically mud now. If you hit a bad shot, I think you're still penalized.
MODERATOR: You were telling me about 13 where you had a ball that plugged. Was being able to find your ball a sign that you kind of got some breaks today?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I got a huge break on 13. I pulled it left. It was a side slope going away from me and plugged in the rough. I was pretty lucky there. I was taking my bogey and running. We were on that hole for a long time, yeah.
Q. You said you were mad and upset at the end of last night's round. How did you cast off that feeling?
STACY LEWIS: Well, I kind of thought back about it, and it was one chip and a missed short putt that really threw the whole round off. I was really close to being where I needed to be. I just tried to forget about those. I think I made six birdies yesterday. Just tried to think about those and take that into today.
Q. Maybe remember the chip on 14 that went into the hole.
STACY LEWIS: Yeah.
Q. What's the most penal thing about this golf course?
STACY LEWIS: I think at times it can be the rough. Just depends where you are. I mean, I don't know, it's so hit and the rough is kind of hit and miss. I missed it left on 9 and it went into a pile of clovers and nothing. You can hit it in the rough and have a perfect lie. You just really have to get good breaks around here more than anything.
Q. A lot of players talk about the size of the greens and that they break straight towards the lake. Is that true, or is it still a tricky read?
STACY LEWIS: I don't know. I don't really think about where the lake is when I'm reading the greens. They're definitely tricky because they're small. There are some longer holes where you have 4‑ and 5‑irons into the holes, I mean, they're small for that. They're soft enough I don't think that's really a factor. There is so much slope around the cups. Like 17 today I think is really steep. You have to hit in the right spot. If you don't, take your two‑putt and move on.
Q. Looking back at this year, overall when you look at it, is there one thing that you can put your finger on as to your improvement? You obviously came out of college with great credentials. Curtis Cup record is sensational. Is there one thing you can hang your hat on that has made the biggest difference? Is it mental? Is it physical? Both?
STACY LEWIS: I think putting has kind of been the main thing. When you make putts it makes everything easier. I always hit a lot greens and fairways. That's never really been an issue. I'm just finally making putts. I think these last two days I've had 26, 27 every day, so... But I'm been working on aim point and reading greens better and trusting my reads. I wrote on my glove today, I just wrote "confident" and just to trust what I'm doing, because what I'm doing is working. I just need to trust it.
Q. Can you sum up the art of reading greens to us in a couple of sentences?
STACY LEWIS: Oh, boy the aim point, mainly you're looking for how the water is running off the greens. It was actually helpful yesterday when it rained so bad. You could see all the low spots on the greens and where all the water was going to run to. You're finding the straight putt around every hole location, and then however far you get, the further you get from the straight putt, the more the putt is going to break is the basics.
Q. (Question regarding everything breaking towards the lake.)
STACY LEWIS: See, that's not always true, because you've got slopes that are ‑‑ a lot of these greens actually the lows are in the middle of the green. The water yesterday we saw puddling into the middle of the greens. So it doesn't always break towards the lake.
Q. (No microphone.)
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, right.
Q. I should say it was caddies that told me that more than players. Maybe that was it.
STACY LEWIS: Well, if people are reading them that way, they're reading them wrong, so that's fine with me. (Laughing.)
Q. Yeah, I'd stick with you.
STACY LEWIS: Yeah.
MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Ai Miyazato into the interview room. Congratulations your round today. Take me a little bit through the round, and coming off yesterday's strong round, another solid round.
AI MIYAZATO: Finally we have a good weather today, so I'm really happy with that. I played really good today also and hit the ball well and my putting was still really good, so I'm very happy with my round today.
MODERATOR: Going in now you're one shot off the lead. Going into the weekend, how do you feel about how you've been playing?
AI MIYAZATO: I think I my plan is just keep making birdies out there. But also, I need to stay in the present and just to focus my game. You know, the greens are still soft, so everyone can shoot a really low score out there. But I just take one shot at a time and see what can happen.
MODERATOR: Angela said the pin placements out there today, they were ones that you could go for. Is that kind of what you noticed when you were out there?
AI MIYAZATO: Well she made almost nine birdies today, so that's why she felt that way. Laugter But anyway, yeah, some pin position was pretty easier today. But, you know, this weekend it's going to be really hard. You never know what's going to happen.
MODERATOR: The conditions without the rain, did it make things at least a little easier for you out there today not having to carry the umbrella?
AI MIYAZATO: Yeah, definitely better than yesterday. You know, usually we having this weather, so it was kind of unusual yesterday. But it was really nice today.
MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Angela Stanford into the interview room. Congratulations on your round today. Now one shot out of the lead. Just tell me about your round today and your thoughts going into the weekend.
ANGELA STANFORD: Well, it seemed to get off to a good start. Birdied the first hole. Before we went out, I realized that the course could be scorable with some of the pin placements, so really just tried to take advantage of the pin placements today.
MODERATOR: Yesterday's conditions, a lot rain early, kind of made the course a little bit wet. How different was it out there today?
ANGELA STANFORD: Well, we didn't have our umbrellas up the whole time, so that was nice. Much different, because we played in the bulk of the rain yesterday. So it was nice to be out there and only have to worry about the wind. It was a beautiful day, so nice to not have rain suits on and umbrellas up.
MODERATOR: Ai has been playing very well too and you've been playing together the last two days. Does that help when you're playing with someone that's getting on a roll?
ANGELA STANFORD: I think so. Ai is such a nice person. It's always a pleasure to play in her group. She's playing well, and any time you can see somebody rolling the ball in the way she does ‑ and Na Yeon Choi was making putts, too ‑ so I think it does help the group to see the putts going in.
MODERATOR: Coming off the U.S. Women's Open where you played extremely well, do you feel good about your game coming into this week, and are you building off what were able to do there?
ANGELA STANFORD: I think so. It's funny, because every time I get here I seem to struggle a bit here. So this is kind of unfamiliar territory for me. Looking forward to playing the weekend. I have been swinging good and thinking good, so hopefully still building.
Q. I think Karen Stupples said the pins were like a dartboard yesterday and you could attack them. Could you just talk about that.
ANGELA STANFORD: I felt like today was more of a dartboard kind of deal. Yesterday seemed like they were just over some ridges, and today seemed like you had room to spin wedges back to 'em. So I felt like today the pins were a little bit easier than yesterday.
MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Paula Creamer into the interview room. Thanks for joining us. Congratulations on your round today. Can you just take us a little bit through the round and how you felt you played out there?
PAULA CREAMER: I played pretty solid all day. I gave myself a bunch of opportunities. I'm putting the ball a lot better. I feel very comfortable and confident out here. I like the greens. They're pretty quick and you have to think.
Even though they are very soft and you can fly it the pins, you still have to make those breaking putts, which is key out here. No bogeys. Missed the short one on the last hole, but it was a good putt, just a misread. Overall, I'll take today for sure.
MODERATOR: When you find yourself up there near the top of the leaderboard heading into the weekend, what's the feeling like? Do you change any approach to the weekend or just try to continue with what's been working well?
PAULA CREAMER: No, you know, you can't really ‑‑ I don't really want to change anything right now. You have to adapt with the golf course. Hopefully it dries out a little bit more going into the weekend and we don't get that afternoon rain. There are some shots out there I know I can work on.
At the same time, I'm just trying to be a patient as I can and hit as many greens and give myself as many opportunities. This is where I want to be going into the weekend.
MODERATOR: How different were the scoring conditions today compared to yesterday when to rained so heavily in the morning?
PAULA CREAMER: I was afternoon yesterday so I only had a couple holes in the rain, but it's wet. It's playing very different than it has in the past. This golf course has never played firm and fast. The holes, tee shots, things like that, everything is a bit slower. The rounds take a little longer with the lift, clean, and place. Today I knew it was going to be the best of the four days, so I tried to take as much advantage of that as I could.
Q. Coming back to a place where you've had success, does that makes it easier to get the feel going with the putter? I mean, you do know these greens.
PAULA CREAMER: It does, yes. I think winning my first time here and winning by such a large margin, every year I've come back I've expected myself to do it over and over again. In reality I put a little bit too much pressure on myself.
This year coming here I knew I've been playing well. I had some really good tournaments coming up to this. If I just kept going with my game plan that I have been, I knew I would be in contention going into the weekend and not getting in my own way. Knowing I've won out here and knowing these greens, I do feel a lot more confident, and it's showing with my putting.
Q. What's been the key to getting your putting balance on?
PAULA CREAMER: Practice. I've just been grinding it out work really hard on my putting, confidence. I've always thought of myself as a very good putter. Sometimes you just go through little waves where the hole doesn't look four and a quarter inches.
You know, I've been just grinding it out with Colin and my coach, David Whelan, and, you know, just trying to stick to one thing. You tend to kind of overanalyze things. I'm hitting good putts now, and that's all I can do.
Q. Does the place you're in make a difference to you? You see all the scenery and you've got this lovely little town, a bit like St. Andrews. What does it do for you?
PAULA CREAMER: Well, I'm definitely more relaxed. Everybody is just kind of enjoying it as you can. I think that sometimes people relax a little bit too much. You know, they forget they are here for a golf tournament.
I think I've kind of figured out that balance. Afterwards I love going down the town and seeing as much as I possibly can. Today my mom and I are going to go do some sightseeing before the awards party this evening. And that's great. You don't do that in the States as much. It's nice to take advantage of it when you are in another country.
Q. We had a young lady in here earlier who said she traveled with 50 pairs of earrings.
PAULA CREAMER: Okay. Uh‑huh.
Q. How many do you have in your bag?
PAULA CREAMER: What if my suitcase gets stolen? I don't want to tell ‑‑ no, I'm just kidding. No, I have a lot of golf earrings, the fun like little plasticy kind of ones. There's a lot. I've always been an accessory kind of girl, so I would probably go against that, yes. It's a scary number.
Q. You went to Carnoustie. Can you just talk a wee bit about that and what you look forward to next week.
PAULA CREAMER: Oh, it's a great golf course. I enjoyed it a lot. I thought it was a great test of golf. You have to hit good shots. It's not unfair by any means. You don't get those crazy bounces over bunkers and things like that.
I was very surprised with how narrow the greens were. I didn't realize they were as narrow and as long. TV definitely doesn't do it justice in that. It's all about the weather there. Saturday when I played it wasn't too windy. It was pretty calm. No rain. It was a little bit ‑‑ normally I think the prevailing wind is into, mine was across. Sunday was actually the opposite wind. It was down, so 15, 16, and 18 all played dead into the wind, which is very hard. It's probably the best finishing holes that I've played in a long time with that wind.