Evian Masters Presented by Société Générale
Evian Masters Golf Club
July 23, 2011
Third-round notes and interviews
Ai Miyazato -13, Rolex Rankings No. 10
Stacy Lewis -11, Rolex Rankings No. 15
Angela Stanford -11, Rolex Rankings No. 20
Miki Saiki -11, Rolex Rankings No. 26
I.K. Kim -10, Rolex Rankings No. 7
Rolex Rankings No. 10 and former Evian Masters champion Ai Miyazato leads by two strokes heading into the final round of the Evian Masters Presented by Société Générale in Evian-Les-Baines, France. Miyazato sits at 13-under-par after shooting a bogey-free 67 on Saturday. It was the third straight round in the 60s for Miyazato, who became a Rolex First-Time Winner at the 2009 Evian Masters. A five-time winner on the LPGA Tour in 2010, Miyazato's best finish so far this season came in a tie for fifth at the Sybase Match Play Championship.
Trailing two strokes behind Miyazato are Rolex Rankings No. 15 Stacy Lewis, No. 20 Angela Stanford, KLPGA member Shin-Ae Ahn and JLPGA member Miki Saiki.
"Two‑shots leading is still nothing on this golf course, I think," Miyazato said. "Still so many players can shoot low score tomorrow. So I just need to play my game."
Crowded leaderboard: There are 11 players who are sitting within five shots of the leader Miyazato heading into Sunday's final round at the Evian Masters. Among that group are two players who have won this season (Lewis and Maria Hjorth, who is tied for sixth at 10-under par) and one former winner of the Evian Masters (Jiyai Shin, who is tied for 11th at 8-under-par).
Suzann Pettersen played with a heavy heart during the third round of the Evian Masters on Saturday. The native of Oslo, Norway donned a black armband in honor of all of her fellow countrymen who are mourning after the two devastating attacks that took place there on Friday.
More than 90 people were killed in the capital of Norway after a bombing took place near the government buildings and a gunman opened fire at a youth camp on a nearby island. Pettersen learned of the tragedy in her hometown from her father after she finished practicing on Friday evening.
"It was shocking news," Pettersen said. "I don't know if I ever expected to get news like that, especially in a place like Norway. Oslo is in the middle of summer right now and most people are on vacation. What happened yesterday turned out to be a complete disaster. My thoughts and prayers are with all of the family and friends of whoever has been affected."
Pettersen said that she had spoken to her close friends and family and that all of them were safe. But she wanted to wear the armband to let everyone know that although she is in France competing in a golf tournament, her mind is with all of those in Norway.
"There's not much I can do, golf kind of means nothing when you know your fellow Norwegians are going through what they were today and families might now even know if their kids or if their family members are still alive," Pettersen said. "So it's a very, very sad day."
Looking to go low: I.K. Kim had a mission for herself when she teed off at the Evian Masters Golf Course on Saturday morning. Believing that the winning score on Sunday will be somewhere around 18-under-par, Kim knew that she needed a very good round to get herself back in contention as she sat at 2-under-par after the first two rounds.
"That's what I was predicting, and I had long way to go," Kim said. "It was kind of challenge for myself. I really want to have a good tournament. And I love this golf course. Always been a little short few times. So I just wanted to be in a good position."
Kim certainly delivered on her goal, shooting the low round of the tournament with an 8-under 64 to move her toward the top of the leaderboard. Kim had nine birdies and one bogey, which came on the fifth hole. Perhaps most impressive was that Kim had four 2s on her scorecard, having birdied all of the par-3s.
"I didn't even know that I birdied all par‑3s out there, so I was enjoying it," Kim said. "Everything was clicking and I made a few really good putts. And then, you know, once you get some good feeling out there you can kind of build it up. It kind of snowballs. You're building positive things, and I think that's what happened today. I'm very excited about it."
Kim's career low round is a 63 which she shot in the opening round of the season-opening Honda LPGA Thailand this year.
Is this the time? Angela Stanford came close to winning her first major championship two weeks ago at the U.S. Women's Open conducted by the USGA, finishing three strokes out of a playoff for the title after sharing the lead at the end of the third round. That strong play has carried over into this week's Evian Masters and has put Stanford in position for a shot at a title once again.
"I've always been a big believer in you learn how to win," Stanford said. "If you can get into that position more and more, it's just more learning experience. So I don't think you can ever really ‑‑ you can't learn too much. So I'm excited to have an opportunity to be in the hunt here. I've never really had an opportunity to win here. It's a great event, and I'm excited about maybe having a chance to win tomorrow."
A four-time winner on the LPGA Tour, Stanford has not captured a victory since the 2009 SBS Open at Turtle Bay.
Of Note…Defending champion Jiyai Shin shot a 2-under 70 to put herself within five shots of the lead heading into Sunday's final round…First-round co-leader Karen Stupples ended her 1-over-par round of 73 with an eagle on the 18th hole. Stupples entered the week leading the LPGA Tour in eagles…Rolex Rankings No. 1 Yani Tseng fired a 4-under 68 on Saturday to put herself in a T18 at 6-under-par.
AI MIYAZATO, Rolex Rankings No. 10
MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome our leader, Ai Miyazato into the interview room. Congratulations on your round today.
AI MIYAZATO: Thank you.
MODERATOR: We talked yesterday about how well you're playing. Kind of go through your round today and what was working well for you today.
AI MIYAZATO: Nothing changed, but, again, I hit the really ball well today, and my putting was really good as well. I was really calm out there, so that's why I didn't have a bogey I think. So I'm very happy with my round today.
Q. Do you change anything going into a final round when you are the leader?
AI MIYAZATO: No, nothing. Two‑shots leading is still nothing on this golf course, I think. Still so many players can shoot low score tomorrow. So I just need to play my game.
Q. I was going to say, when you do look at that scoreboard, there are a lot of names piled up there. Knowing how this course plays, do you expect it to be pretty tight at the end, that a lot people could go low tomorrow?
AI MIYAZATO: I think so. It seems like it happens every year everyone is playing really solid on Sunday, so that's why, like, everyone is getting close. But I don't know what's going to happen tomorrow, but I'm feeling in good shape. So if I stay focus my game, I think the results are following tomorrow.
Q. I know we talked about this earlier in the week, but you got your first win here and you feel comfortable on this golf course. Have you just felt that way all week, very comfortable and enjoying playing this golf course?
AI MIYAZATO: Yeah, I mean, I love this tournament. Since couple years ago I have such a great feeling, you know, at the other tournaments, too. So I have a great memory from my first win. Hopefully I can get the trophy tomorrow, too.
Q. How were the weather and course conditions today compared to the first two rounds?
AI MIYAZATO: It's still wet on the fairway, but the greens are really receptive. Still you can be aggressive.
MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Stacy Lewis into the interview room. Congratulations on your round again today. Right up near the top of leaderboard heading into tomorrow's final round. Just give me your thoughts on how you played today and your thoughts going into tomorrow.
STACY LEWIS: I'm a little bit frustrated with the way I played today. The day for me was kind of frustrating. I hit a ton of good golf shots and just had, I mean, probably four or five putts lip out.
So a little frustrating, but I'm really happy with the way I'm playing.
MODERATOR: Going into a final round a couple shots off the lead, coming from behind, is that sometimes almost easier than maybe having a lead going into a final round?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I think so, especially on this golf course. I think you can get out early and post a number for people to kind of catch you. I think that's one of the easiest ways to win, especially on a course like this where you've got to make a lot of birdies. I mean, I'm kind of glad I'm not in that first group and I'm going to be able to get out a couple groups ahead and make some birdies.
MODERATOR: When you look at the leaderboard and there are so many players stacked up pretty close to each another and knowing how this course is playing, that you can go low, do you expect some low numbers to be shot tomorrow and it's going to be kind of a race to the finish?
STACY LEWIS: Oh, yeah, I mean, just by the way things have been all week. We've been talking as players about how low scores have been this year. The course is so soft and so scoreable you know somebody's going to shoot 5‑ or 6‑under. You just hope that it's you.
Q. Can you compare this golf course with the ones you play usually in the major and other tournaments?
STACY LEWIS: I mean, this course is a little bit shorter and you don't have a lot of variety in your approach shots. You have a lot of wedges into holes here. For major championship courses you usually have hybrids and 4‑ and 5‑irons, and probably only one or two holes where you have a wedge in your hand. So it needs to be longer and a little bit more variety I think to be a major golf course.
Q. It was a kind of match play you played with Ai. Did you help yourself together?
STACY LEWIS: Oh, yeah, it's great playing with Ai. I mean, we play about the same speed. When she makes birdies, it's nice when the person you're playing is playing well. We were just kind of feeding off each other out there. We both played really well together.
Q. You were really aggressive together?
STACY LEWIS: Aggressive? Yeah, I think on this golf course you have to be. You have to make birdies and go for some flags and try to make some shots that you probably normally wouldn't.
Q. Seems like you've been having some trouble on the back nine.
STACY LEWIS: Compared to the front.
Q. Yeah, of course. What's the strategy for tomorrow, because of course pin locations will be tougher. It strikes to me that you have to be really low in the front nine and play conservative on the back nine. What's the strategy for tomorrow?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I think the key is to get out to a good start. I've done that the last couple days. You got to make a couple birdies in the first five holes. For me, I just need to play the last four holes better. Still haven't birdied 18 and made at least one bogey coming in each day. So I need to finish a little stronger, and I think I'll be right where I need to be.
Q. What are the key holes for the last round?
STACY LEWIS: I would say the last four. You can birdie them, but you've got to hit good shots to make birdies. You can make bogeys pretty quick. So I think the key holes are the last four.
MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Angela Stanford into the interview room. Congratulations on your round today, two shots out of the lead. What are your thoughts heading into the final round and about how you played today?
ANGELA STANFORD: Played very consistent today. Had a few mistakes on par‑5s, so that was unfortunate, but felt like I gave myself a lot chances. I think that's the feeling you want going into Sunday, that you're playing consistent. Eventually the putts will drop.
MODERATOR: You were close to winning at the <> Women's Open, and now close at the top of the leaderboard once again. Are you feeling like it's getting closer, that you're going to get over that hurdle and pick up another victory?
ANGELA STANFORD: Yeah, I think so. I've always been a big believer in you learn how to win. If you can get into that position more and more, it's just more learning experience. So I don't think you can ever really ‑‑ you can't learn too much. So I'm excited to have an opportunity to be in the hunt here. Never really had an opportunity to win here. It's a great event, and I'm excited about maybe having a chance to win tomorrow.
MODERATOR: Been asking some of the other ladies who have been in here about how crowded the top of the leaderboard is and knowing how the scoring conditions on this course, that people can go low. Do you expect it to be pretty tight at the end tomorrow when you're looking at that leaderboard, that's it's going to be pretty tough competition?
ANGELA STANFORD: Yeah, I haven't really seen all the names and all the scores, but I don't know, I mean, I think there is a low number out there that somebody hasn't shot yet. I mean, maybe tomorrow. But I don't think it'll be this bunched tomorrow.
Q. You seem to be a very serene soul, good at producing your best in big events. Are you calm in life in general?
ANGELA STANFORD: No, I'm not. I consider myself pretty laid back, but I think in the big events the courses playing a little bit tougher. And, you know, I think this year I've really just tried to pay attention to details. I think sometimes ‑‑ I just think with more difficult conditions it's easier to pay attention to details.
For me, that is good, to be more focused on specific things. I am very detail oriented in my life, so maybe that has something to do with it. But I like tougher conditions because it just makes me focus on one shot at a time.
Q. That would explain why you've so often performed well at the British then.
ANGELA STANFORD: I have some work to do at the British. My finishes at the British haven't been very good.
Q. You've often featured early on, haven't you?
ANGELA STANFORD: The U.S. Open and the Kraft, yes, so I'm hoping to turn the tide at the British this year. But the thing I kept reminding myself around the course today ‑ even though I didn't jump out in front ‑ is that it's a process. The fact that I'm playing good right now leading into tomorrow and then leading into the British, that's very positive for me. I can't always say I've been in this position when I get here. So I enjoyed being out there today and I'm going to try to win tomorrow, but there is a lot of good stuff going on. I guess that makes it easier to be out there and play when you know there are a lot of positive things going on.
Q. We saw some really nice shots of you. I remember one you are in the rough, the trees that were just in front of you, and you hit the flag about. Are you the specialist of the rescue shots, or...
ANGELA STANFORD: Well, that one I got to hit a hook, and I grew up hitting a hook. My caddie just laughed. He didn't really say anything to me. I just pulled the club out and hit it. He was like, Yeah I kind of figured you knew what you were doing. My normal ball flight has always been right to left. So once I got there, I kind of was excited because I got it hit that shot.
Q. Can you talk about your round today?
SAIKI: I was pretty nervous on the front nine and was not able to play my game.
Q. What changed for you on the back nine?
SAIKI: On 11, I made a long putt which helped me to get back in the groove. That was the turning point.
Q. Is it one of your goals to play the <> LPGA Tour?
SAIKI: Not really as a goal right now.
Q. What would it mean to your career if you were to win tomorrow?
SAIKI: I think to win on the LPGA would be a dream. I feel like I am getting closer to that dream and I am having a lot of fun right now.
MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome I.K. Kim into the interview room. Congratulations on your 8‑under round today. Nine birdies, one bogey. Is this one of the best rounds that you've played in a while, and were you feeling really good about your game today?
I.K. KIM: Well, thanks for having me today here. Well, I had a great run, I have to say. I didn't even know that I birdied all par‑3s out there, so I was enjoying it. Everything was clicking and I made a few really good putts. And then, you know, once you get some good feeling out there you can kind of build it up. It kind of snowballs. You're building positive things, and I think that's what happened today. I'm very excited about it.
MODERATOR: You had three straight birdies before the bogey. Sometimes those bogeys can kind of derail a round, but you went right straight back out and birdied three more. Did you have a good feeling when you had the even when you had that bogey to put it behind you and go forward?
I.K. KIM: Yes, that's actually what I could do at that point. It was kind of a disappointing bogey, but I was putting it well. I knew what I did, and then that wasn't a big deal actually. I had many good holes left and I was really far behind, so I had to play well. I knew what I had to do. You know, still, there are players out there playing well. I'm excited that I see myself on the leaderboard going into tomorrow.
Q. Have you had nine birdies before? Have you had a better round than that?
I.K. KIM: Yes. Actually, this year, first round that I had in Thailand I shot 63. I think I had nine birdies. I'' not sure if I had 10. But, yeah, actually, 63 is my low score, and that was this year. I think this is the second‑best I had.
Q. Is the 5th hole particularly difficult, the one you got the bogey on?
I.K. KIM: I think it'' tricky on the tee shot. Today I was in the fairway and just pulled it left and then was kind of above the pin. It could have been much better if I hit five feet right, but, you know, one of those things. I had a great putt; almost made the first one.
Second one I just over‑read the break, because it''s a kind of tricky green here, sometimes the break. So I was thinking a little too much on those short putts, but I been putting so well I can't really think about that. I hope I can birdie tomorrow. That would be exciting, right?
MODERATOR: Just in terms of your attitude come into round today, you said you didn'' play as well as you would have liked the first two days. Did you feel good about your game coming in to today? Did you feel like a round like this could happen today?
I.K. KIM: Well, I knew the winning score is going to be at least 18‑under; that's what I was predicting, and I had long way to go. It was kind of challenge for myself. I really want to have a good tournament. And I love this golf course. Always been a little short few times. So I just wanted to be in a good position. But I have to say I wasn't pleased how I hit it last few days. Today I kind of found the rhythm how I play. I think that was it actually.