U.S. Women's Open conducted by the USGA
The Broadmoor, East Course
Colorado Springs, Colo.
July 10, 2011
Hee Kyung Seo -3, Rolex Rankings No. 30
So Yeon Ryu -2, Rolex Rankings No. 40
Cristie Kerr -1, Rolex Rankings No. 2
Angela Stanford E, Rolex Rankings No. 23
Yani Tseng +6, Rolex Rankings No. 1
Amy Anderson (a) +17
LPGA Tour rookie Hee Kyung Seo held a one-shot lead over So Yeon Ryu in the final round of the U.S. Women's Open conducted by the USGA when play was called due to darkness at 8:00 p.m. MT. A total of 42 players finished their final rounds on Sunday while 30 golfers remained on the course when play was called. Final-round play had been suspended earlier in the day at 3:18 p.m. MT due to inclement weather and resumed at 5:54 p.m. MT.
It was a long day of golf for most of the competitors, who experienced delays in play for the fourth straight day. Third-round play at The Broadmoor's East Course had originally resumed at 6:45 a.m. MT on Sunday morning after being suspended due to inclement weather on Saturday night. Only 19 of the 72 players who made the cut had recorded scores in the third round when play was halted.
On the cusp of winning? Seo, who celebrated her 25th birthday on Friday, shot a final-round, 3-under 68 to post the clubhouse lead at 3-under par for the tournament. She is attempting to become a Rolex First-Time Winner and the first player from South Korea to win an LPGA Tour event this season. An 11-time winner on the KLPGA Tour, Seo earned her LPGA Tour card for the 2011 season by capturing the 2010 Kia Classic while she was a non-member. So far this season she has one top-10 finish in nine LPGA Tour events, which was a tie for sixth at the Avnet LPGA Classic. Seo's career best finish in a major championship was a T5 at the 2010 RICOH Women's British Open.
The 5-foot-7 Seo, whose nickname from her time on the KLPGA is Supermodel of the Fairways, was an elite swimmer from age 4-9. But she had to quit swimming due to chronic sinus infections. She then turned her focus to golf, picking up the sport in the fourth grade. Seo started competing on the KLPGA in 2006 but she didn't pick up her first win on the Tour until 2008.
On the KLPGA Tour, there is one-month break during the summer because of the rainy season. During that break in 2008, Seo trained with Jiyai Shin and has credited Shin with helping to improve the mental part of her game as she started winning on the KLPGA shortly after. Shin was in Seo's group for the third and final rounds of this U.S. Women's Open championship.
Now with a few players chasing her as they have a few holes remaining in their rounds, Seo will have to wait overnight to find out if she will become a Rolex First-Time winner at this U.S. Women's Open. Seo was asked if it will be difficult to sleep knowing that it's possible she could capture her first official win on the LPGA Tour and her first major championship on Monday.
"Nobody knows what's going to happen tomorrow," Seo said. "I think they're going to have no wind in the morning, so I will just pray and wait."
"I did my best and I did all my things, so even if I could not be winner, I don't mind," she said. "I just did my best, and that's all."
Familiar competitors: Seo and So Yeon Ryu are no strangers to seeing their names together at the top of a leaderboard. After Jiyai Shin left to play on the LPGA Tour, Seo and Ryu emerged as two of the top players on the KLPGA Tour.
Ryu now finds herself trailing Seo by one shot with three holes to play in the 2011 U.S. Women's Open. Ryu is 2-under-par for the tournament and 1-under through 15 holes of her final round, but she won't get the chance to see if she can catch Seo until Monday morning. Still, it didn't bother Ryu that she would have to wait a few extra hours to get that opportunity..
"I think now is really strong breeze, but maybe tomorrow morning is really great weather and the green is a little bit more soft," Ryu said. "So I think [the delay] is good for me, yeah."
Ryu, who is still a member of the KLPGA Tour, is playing in her second U.S. Women's Open. Last year she finished in a tie for 25th. This is her second event on the LPGA Tour this season, having finished in a T41 at the 2011 Kraft Nabisco Championship. She has played in eight LPGA Tour events and her best finish was a T12 at the 2010 LPGA Hana Bank Championship.
Pushing for major win No. 3: Rolex Rankings No. 2 Cristie Kerr entered Sunday afternoon's final round in a three-way tie for the lead with Ryu and Angela Stanford at 1-under-par. After going even-par through her first 16 holes, Kerr now sits two strokes back of the lead with two holes remaining in her round. And she seemed focused on the goal in front of her on Monday, which is to try and force a playoff with Seo.
"I have two holes left," Kerr said. "The tournament is not decided yet. I think she's over there celebrating. We all have a chance. There are two accessible pins on 17 and 18. I'm playing great. I'm going to go out and swing for the fences and hopefully tie it up."
Kerr is searching for her second U.S. Women's Open title, having won the event back in 2007 at Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club. A 14-time winner on the LPGA Tour, Kerr has captured two major championships so far in her career: the 2007 U.S. Women's Open and the 2010 Wegmans LPGA Championship.
Third-round co-leader Angela Stanford is also still in the hunt for her first major championship victory. Stanford, who was 1-over-par through her first 14 holes of the final round, sit three strokes back of leader Seo at even-par for the tournament. Stanford was tied with Seo at the top of the leaderboard at 4-under-par when she made the turn to the back nine but a double bogey on No. 11 and back-to-back bogeys on 13 and 14 have her trying to make a rally on Monday morning.
"I knew if I hit that 5‑iron too hard or if I pulled it it was going to be long," Stanford said of her approach shot on No. 11. "I hit a terrible chip. I misread the lie and just didn't hit a very good second putt. Things that, you know, can happen out here really easy, and I've been very fortunate that it hadn't happened yet this week, and just hit a poor shot on 13. You can't miss it short and left when the pin's front left, so just things that haven't happened all week.
"It's good to know exactly what I have to do tomorrow. It's been beautiful every morning here, so the good news is I'm playing a stretch of holes that you can make three birdies and not 10 through 15. I'm looking forward to it."
Stanford has won four times on the LPGA Tour. Her best career finish in the U.S. Women's Open was a tie for second in 2003. It's one of two top-10 finishes that Stanford has recorded in 10 previous appearances at the U.S. Women's Open.
THE MODERATOR: Currently leader of the championship, Hee Kyung Seo.
Q. How were you able to play so well today with all these delays?
HEE KYUNG SEO: I was a little tired before going to start, but I was keep hydrating to my body and I was keep trying to my energy up, so I ate every time.I could focus at the morning, and then, you know, fourth round in front nine, the shot I hit really good, but the putting rhythm was good. So I just trust myself and just let it go, and I made lots of birdies, yeah.
Q. How do you feel leading the U.S. Open with just a few more holes to play tomorrow?
HEE KYUNG SEO: Well, nobody knows what's gonna happen tomorrow. I think they're going to no wind in the morning, so I will just pray and wait.
Q. Are you pretty excited with where you stand?
HEE KYUNG SEO: Yeah. I can't believe now. I feel like in the dream.
Q. How difficult is it gonna be to watch tomorrow?
HEE KYUNG SEO: Well, I did my best and I did all my things, so even if I could not be winner, I don't mind. I just did my best, and that's all.
Q. Do you have a flight tomorrow?
HEE KYUNG SEO: Actually, my flight was tomorrow morning, but I think my manager change it. (Smiling).
Q. Was it weird to celebrate a little bit?
HEE KYUNG SEO: Not yet.
Q. You gonna have a tough time sleeping tonight?
HEE KYUNG SEO: Well, I can sleep very well, so I don't worry about that, yeah. Every time I go bed and sleep, yeah.
Q. What's this day like? I mean, to wake up 3‑over this morning and now you're finishing probably the U.S. Open champion, what is that like?
HEE KYUNG SEO: Um, like last few months I couldn't trust myself and I could not focus on my game. I just struggled on my puttings and shots. So after Wegmans I went to Niagara Falls and I went ‑‑ what was the ship name? I mean, I went to Falls with my parents, and we were talking about you need to be ‑‑ you are No. 1 to us, so you need to trust yourself. And then, yeah, when I was played well in Korea, I think I really 100% trust myself, so I was trying keep trust myself, and then it happened. Yeah.
Q. When you go to Niagara Falls?
HEE KYUNG SEO: After Wegmans, so yeah.
THE MODERATOR: Currently 2‑under, So Yeon Ryu.
Q. What's the feeling like knowing going into the morning? I mean, you'll be able to sleep on it and you'll know exactly what you need here the last two holes to pull this off?
SO YEON RYU: I think now is really strong breeze, but maybe tomorrow morning is really great weather and the green is a little bit more soft. So I think it is good for me, yeah.
Q. Do you like where you stand? What's it like to be one shot back here with a chance?
SO YEON RYU: I like the 16th hole and hole 17. And lately my iron is really great, so I want to just trust myself.
Q. Is it a good thing to wait and play those holes tomorrow?
SO YEON RYU: Oh, yeah, sure, because now this weather is a little bit strange. Yeah, now I'm a little bit tired because I had 33 holes.
Q. Have you ever been in this situation before where you know exactly...
SO YEON RYU: Oh, yeah. Two years ago I just play one hole playoff on Monday.
Q. How did you do?
SO YEON RYU: Oh, I lose. (Smiling). But tomorrow morning I have three holes, so it is not bad.
Q. What's been the hardest part with all these delays? I mean, how have you dealt with them?
SO YEON RYU: I think I really strong person, and a lot of gallery told me, cheer out, You're the best. And then my parents and my coach all keep talking me, You're the best. Then my caddie is really great, so he help me lot of things, yeah.
THE MODERATOR: Minus 1 through the championship. Cristie Kerr.
Q. Long day. I'm sure you're not excited about having to come back tomorrow and doing it all over again.
CRISTIE KERR: I have two holes left. The tournament is not decided yet. I think she's over there celebrating. We all have a chance. There are two accessible pins on 17 and 18. I'm playing great. I'm going to go out and swing for the fences and hopefully tie it up.
Q. You did play very well. Any reason? Were you rolling putts well or attacking pins? What was your success?
CRISTIE KERR: No, I mean, just solid U.S. Open golf. Unfortunately I three‑putted the 11th hole. That was a tough pin, and I had a very long up‑the‑ridge, into‑the‑mountain putt, and I left it way short. I had a good second putt, but it was hard to two‑putt that one.
Q. What's been the hardest part with all the delays?
CRISTIE KERR: All the delays. (Smiling).
It's been a very long week. You know, I'm excited I get to come out here and finish it tomorrow, because, you know, playing the last two holes in the dark probably wouldn't have been fun. Playing that much golf and having that much of a long day, I'll come out fresh tomorrow and rested.
Q. How strange is it to come back tomorrow knowing exactly what you have to do?
CRISTIE KERR: I think it's good, you know, because you can get mentally geared up for it. I'm gonna give it my all. I mean, I always do. There's other players still on the golf course that have a chance that have more holes as well, so it's not over yet.
THE MODERATOR: Angela Stanford, even par for the championship.
Q. You played so well and maybe dropped off a little bit. Was it good to call it quits and regroup?
ANGELA STANFORD: Yes, very much so. Um, you know, we haven't seen wind like that all week either, so, yeah, I was ready to call it quits today.
Q. Was fatigue a factor there with the double bogey?
ANGELA STANFORD: No, you know, I knew if I hit that 5‑iron too hard or if I pulled it it was going to be long. I hit a terrible chip. I misread the lie and just didn't hit a very good second putt. Things that, you know, can happen out here really easy, and I've been very fortunate that it hadn't happened yet this week, and just hit a poor shot on 13.
You can't miss it short and left when the pin's front left, so just things that haven't happened all week. I don't know, I guess you could say it's fatigue. But, I mean, I wouldn't say that. I think it's probably more mental than physical.
Q. What's it like, you know, knowing exactly what you have to do tomorrow in that situation?
ANGELA STANFORD: Um, it's nice. I mean, it's good to know exactly what I have to do. It's been beautiful every morning here, so the good news is I'm playing a stretch of holes that you can make three birdies and not 10 through 15. I'm looking forward to it.
Q. Will it help you at all your experience having made some really big shots in this tournament before to...
ANGELA STANFORD: Well, I think the good thing is I like the last four holes. There is really only one, you know, issue I have in the last four holes. But the good news is I like those holes, and so when I get out here in the morning I'll be ready to attack them.
Q. You say it could have been fatigue or whatever. How much is just U.S. Open? You always see that happen, somebody falls back. Do you think that was you today?
ANGELA STANFORD: Yeah, you just never know. Like I said, I have hit the ball in all the right spots this week. Even when I missed it, I still put myself in position to chip from the right spot.So, you know, I think 13 this afternoon was the first time that I was in just a dead spot. So unfortunately it's coming on the last nine holes of the event. But I've done really good all week, and there's no reason to think I can't wake up in the morning make three birdies.
Q. But, even so, is there going to be ‑‑ you know, because you were 4‑under a couple holes ago, and that score is 3‑under. Is it hard not to just kick yourself a little bit and say...
ANGELA STANFORD: Oh, yeah. I mean, every golfer does. To not expect that you're gonna make a mistake at the U.S. Open is dumb. So, you know, you've got to know you're gonna make mistakes. Like I said, you've got to make your mistakes in the right spots. I've done that all week up until those couple holes. So, you know, that's what happens at an Open, and unfortunately mine are coming at the end.
A lot of people, whoever is sitting at 3‑under, I'm sure she made mistakes first, second, third round; she played great in her fourth round.
Q. Overall, is this the most frustrating Open you think? You've played in a lot of these and there has been weather problems before, but has this one ‑ just because of how many delays and everything that's happened ‑ been the toughest?
ANGELA STANFORD: Yeah, I knew it was gonna be tough coming in this week, and the weather and the delays have made it worse. It's just, it's weird. You just ‑‑ you wouldn't expect anything like that. You know, it's sad because it's been a great event. The fans have been awesome. To end on a Monday is tough, and to end not being in the correct order, meaning we did not re‑pair, that's tough for the fans here, too. It's going to be a tough end to a great event.
YANI TSENG, Rolex Rankings No. 1
Q. You came in here obviously with high aspirations. Everyone projected you to be the favorite. Characterize your week. Obviously I would imagine pretty frustrating.
YANI TSENG: I know. I have been expecting that, too. I always want to win this tournament. I'm always very exciting to come here. This weather, it's just really tough. It's tough to play on and off. Sometimes you just want to try to get rhythm, and it's really tough.I tried my best. Just wish come back next year and do my best again.
Q. This afternoon you went out to your first nine and seemed to have fixed everything, a lot of birdies. What happened on the back nine?
YANI TSENG: I know. I don't know what happened. I just very struggling and make three misstroke putt. I just couldn't make any putt. I know I played really good front nine. I thought I have chance. I was three, four shots back, so really good chance to win, too. But on the back nine I probably just tried too hard and thinking to much and didn't make par.
Q. Just tired? Did you get tired from all the golf you played today?
YANI TSENG: No, I feel I been tired all week. It's just like we been here 13, 14 hours every day. It was really tough. But when I go back to the golf course, I just always really exciting to go back.
Q. How much did the delays affect you? I know everybody had the same conditions, same delays, but can you talk a little bit about that?
YANI TSENG: Yeah, I know it was just like really tough. I mean, the conditions was different after the rain. It just softer and there's no wind, very calm. Few holes just very windy. So it was very tough. You just need to be very, very patient in play in a course like this and play in a condition like this. Because like you say, everybody is the same. It doesn't matter who gets more lucky or who gets not. But I'm happy we're able to finish today.
Q. So you're done. You don't have to come back tomorrow. It's just done.
YANI TSENG: I know. I'm so excited I can go back home. I tried my best to win this tournament, but at least we get it done today. And hopefully we have ‑‑ I have a great time here.
Q. Is that why you were running down the 18th fairway?
YANI TSENG: Yeah, the rules officials say we have 15 minutes, you know, next one 15 minutes. So we have to get down in like 15 minutes. Suzann tell me, I gonna run. You better run, too. I was like, Okay, okay, I'll run with you, because we want to make sure everybody get done.
Q. When did they tell you you had 15 minutes?
YANI TSENG: After 17 hole.
Q. How come 15 minutes? More weather?
YANI TSENG: Yeah, they say maybe it's gonna horn in 15 minutes, so we just run just in case. I don't want to come back and putt one putt and miss my flight.
Q. When is your flight?
YANI TSENG: Tomorrow 8:00.
Q. Have you ever played in a tournament with this many delays?
YANI TSENG: No, I never, so I learned lots of things from this week, you know, be patient. I mean, I have so many things I need to work on. I didn't do my best, but I know what I can work on next week and do better next time.
Q. Do you take anything away from this? You didn't have your best golf, but put yourself in contention in the final round. Is that something you can take from this?
YANI TSENG: Yeah, I tried my best. I hit lots of great shots, but I just couldn't putt. Green was very tricky. And actually today I feel I play really good, but I just couldn't shoot a low score.
Q. Happy birthday, first of all.
AMY ANDERSON: Thank you.
Q. Could you have imagined a better birthday present than this whole week?
AMY ANDERSON: This was awesome. Usually I'm on the golf course on my birthday but it's watching my brother, so to come here and play the Women's Open on my birthday was awesome.
Q. Everything you thought it could be and more?
AMY ANDERSON: Yeah. I learned a lot this week, so that was good.I really look forward to having more opportunities to do this. I learned things about like what I need to do in the future, and I think that's gonna help me a lot.
Q. What was the highlight?
AMY ANDERSON: Well, the highlight was leading after the first day, basically.
Q. Take us through the wave of emotions. Obviously you sat here on Thursday and said, Probably not going to stay that way and seemed to be okay with that.
AMY ANDERSON: Right.
Q. Take us through the range from your great round to the 81 to your birthday. This whole week had to be emotionally draining. Highs, low, highs, lows.
AMY ANDERSON: Yeah, this whole tournament is emotionally and mentally draining just because you're grinding constantly for pars, sometimes grinding for bogeys. It is difficult, but, yeah, I had an awesome time, especially the first two days where I played really well.Then we had all these rain delays which kind of got in the way of momentum. I just wasn't comfortable over putts the last couple days, and that was basically the problem. But overall it was a really positive experience.
Q. You said you learned a lot. What did you learn?
AMY ANDERSON: The one thing I learned was, number one, when I'm playing well I can play with the best. So that was really positive for me. The second thing I learned is the golf course, there are shots that I need to improve so that when I'm not on top of it I can still basically stay around par. So I'm going to go home and work on that. I'm excited to get back and into practices. Really motivating for me.
Q. Isn't North Dakota more Viking territory?
AMY ANDERSON: It is, but I have been a Broncos fan since I was five. It was perfect.
Q. Can you talk about the delays? You just commented about getting the momentum and then the delays. Just how frustrating was it?
AMY ANDERSON: Yeah, it was more mentally draining than everything because you have to be ready all the time.
It just dragged out. And waking up at 4:30 this morning, always having to wake up early, especially when I was anticipating a late tee time on Friday, it's just ‑‑ it's physically, mentally, emotionally draining.
Q. Are you glad it's over to a degree?
AMY ANDERSON: I am. I'm ready to go back to North Dakota.
Q. Do you think you maybe overpracticed? I noticed you came out and played five rounds before the tournament.
AMY ANDERSON: Yeah, for me there is no such thing as overpracticing. I think the biggest thing for me was basically underpracticing in between rounds. There was no time to really get out on the driving range and putting green to fine tune some things that was falling apart. I just tried to hold it together.