LPGA KEB-HanaBank Second-Round Notes and Interviews

LPGA KEB·HanaBank Championship
Sky 72 Golf Club- Ocean Course
Incheon, South Korea
Second-round Notes and Interviews
October 20, 2012

Suzann Pettersen, -13, Rolex Rankings No. 9
So Yeon Ryu, -8, Rolex Rankings No. 10
Yani Tseng, -7, Rolex Rankings No. 1
Se Ri Pak, -7, Rolex Rankings No. 27

Three rounds this time around
Chip away
A legend makes a run
Another strong finish

In the chase for CME
Quotable
Tweet of the Day
Of Note…

Rolex Rankings No. 9 Suzann Pettersen (@suzannpettersen) maintained her lead in the second round and shot 4-under 68 to take a five-shot lead into the final round at the LPGA KEB·HanaBank Championship (@hanabankgolf). LPGA Tour rookie and 2011 U.S. Women’s Open champion So Yeon Ryu (@1soyeonryu) trails Pettersen by five shots and holds sole position of second. A group of three including Rolex Rankings No. 1 and defending champion Yani Tseng (@YaniTseng), No. 29 Sandra Gal (@TheSandraGal) and LPGA Tour and World Golf Halls of Fame member Se Ri Pak are tied for third at 7-under par.

Three rounds this time around: By the time she made the turn in her second round, it looked like Suzann Pettersen may have some close company at the top of the leaderboard heading into Sunday’s final round. But the eight-time LPGA winner overcame a slow start on Saturday to card four of her five birdies on the back nine en route to a 4-under 68.

"It just felt like I got out there this morning and I didn't really expect it to be as breezy as it was," said Pettersen. "Not that it was extremely windy, but it was a little different yesterday, and it kind of took me a few holes to kind of adjust, and it almost took me nine holes to kind of adjust to the conditions.  Just felt like it was a little bit harder to get really close.  Gave myself a lot of chances, didn't quite roll them in to start off. "

Pettersen didn’t get her first birdie until the par 5 seventh and followed it up with a bogey on the par 3 eighth. It was there she did a mental check and told herself it was time to get going. She made the turn at even-par for the day and tied for the lead with Karin Sjodin.

"Made a good birdie on 7, missed a very short putt on 8, a bit of a silly one, and I kind of lost my concentration, and I said to myself, you can't let your focus slip.  As much as I wanted to make it, it was almost a break point where I got my focus back, it got my attention."

She went on the have a bogey-free back nine, carding four of her five birdies and a birdie-birdie finish.

"On the back nine, very happy the way I finished.  I was standing on 15 and said to myself, it would be nice to finish with two or three birdies, and I think that's what I did.  Good way to finish the day."

The last time Pettersen won in Korea back in 2007, the tournament was cut to 36 holes due to extreme weather conditions. She said a three-day win here would leave her satisfied. Her last victory came over a year ago in August of 2011 at the Safeway Classic Presented by Coca-Cola.

"The last time I won here in Korea, I was leading," said Pettersen. "Finished Saturday and never got to play on Sunday, so I really hope that I can complete the three rounds and hopefully be the last woman standing tomorrow."

Chip away: South Korean native and LPGA Tour rookie So Yeon Ryu carded four birdies and two bogeys en route to a 2-under 70 in the second round at the LGPA KEB-HanaBank Championship. She sits 8-under for the week and five shots off the lead with 18 holes to play. Ryu mentioned how nervous she was before the first round on Friday, but said that she felt a lot more comfortable in the second round.

"Today is a lot better, a lot better," said Ryu. "Especially today playing with a Korean girl (Ha-Neul Kim) who's my really great friend.  She plays on KLPGA Tour and she's a really great player.  So a bit more relaxed. Yesterday was first round, that's why I was a bit more nervous.  But I played great, and then I was relieved."

Ryu leads the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year race by 510 points over Lexi Thompson and has had an outstanding first full year on Tour. She said her win at the U.S. Women’s Open in 2011 started the fanfare around her as a player and only heightened expectations heading into her rookie season as a member.

"After my U.S. Women's Open win, that was huge," said Ryu. "That's why a bit more Korean fans expect really huge level.  They really love ‑‑ if the Hana Bank winner is Korean, they will love it, because this is in Korea.  But sometimes it really makes it tough and crazy, but I want to enjoy this tough situation because I am a professional.  I'm so happy to be playing in front of the Korean fans, and I want to really say thanks for to the Korean fans."

Ryu said her short game held her back in the second round and hopes eliminating laspes in concentration will help her down the stretch on Sunday.

"Today it wasn't bad," said Ryu. "Just I missed a couple of chip shots, but it's really great practice before the final round.  The final round is always really tough. I think I am ready to play, though, tomorrow."

Asked if she needs to make any adjustment for the final round, "I just have to practice chipping," said Ryu. "That's it."

A legend makes a run: Rolex Rankings No. 27 Se Ri Pak is making a run at her second-career LPGA Tour victory in Korea this week and put herself in great position for Sunday’s final round. Pak shot the low round of the day on Saturday with a five-birdie, no bogey 5-under 67. The South Korean star improved her first round score by three shots but said that there wasn’t much difference between the two rounds.

"Yesterday was really good, though, a couple shots here and there I missed because ‑‑ one double, that's a big number," said Pak. "But other than that, it wasn't really different yesterday and today.  I make more consistency.  I don't think I missed shots.  Some, but it's not as bad as yesterday.  But missed some putts, and I didn't have any bogeys.  Actually that helps. Golf swing feels good, everything is good, and I feel ‑‑ I'm having fun out there."

Pak, a 25-time LPGA winner and considered one of the pioneers of women’s golf in Korea, won the inaugural LPGA event in South Korea back in 2002 at the tournament formerly named Sports Today. After her second round on Saturday, the connection to the Korean fans was evident. She was greeted by a swarm of anxious supporters waiting to get a glimpse, photo and autogrpah of the local legend.

"I'd say this week is bigger with fans than usual, I think, than the last couple years," said Pak. "It was pretty good to see them out there today.  Of course that helps me a lot.  Of course it gives me a lot of excitement. 

"I hope that tomorrow’s round will turn out the way my fans expect it to be," said Pak. "So, I’ll do my best tomorrow as I did today. I hope I’ll be able to show a big smile after taking off my gloves on the 18th hole."

Pak has played a limited schedule in 2012 but has made the most of her appearances on Tour in her 14th year. She has recorded four top-10’s in 10 starts, two of them coming in major championships. She tied for eighth at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, finished tied for ninth at the U.S. Women’s Open and eighth at the Evian Masters Presented by Societe Generale which will be a major in 2013. Pak hopes to take some time off in the off season and return even stronger for next year’s schedule.  

"It was a really great season this year so far, but I got injured in Mobile, Alabama, so that takes me a couple extra tournaments off, and now still I'm trying to rehab, of course," said Pak. "It's really not a serious injury, but I was trying to take care as much as I could to get ready for 2013.  So that's my goal.

So the next week is my last tournament, the final field of 2012, and trying to get back to 110 percent for next year.  I am looking forward to being rested a little bit with my family and hopefully next year get restarted."

Another strong finish: The world’s No. 1 player has been dealing with the criticism of sticking in a slump for most of the 2012 season but after two rounds in Korea, it’s a familiar scene to see Yani Tseng’s name at the top of the leaderboard.

"Feels pretty good," said Tseng. "I mean, today was tougher than yesterday, and I had a couple wrong decisions on the front nine, so made a couple bogeys there.  And I had two three‑putts.  Greens were very tricky today, but I hung in there and I finished strong, last five I had three birdies."

Tseng started her day with birdies on Nos. 1 and 3 before posting three bogeys out of the last four holes on the front nine. She proved to herself she could finish strong after getting three-consecutive birdies to close out her first round on Friday and just about followed up the performance. She would birdie Nos. 14, 15 and 18 to take some momentum into the final round. She stuck her third shot on the par 5 18th to within three feet and gave the Korean gallery something to watch

"Always very happy to get a finish like that on 18 and enjoy the crowd.," said Tseng. "I think it's very important, kind of make your day.  Then you can go back home and be a happy person and have a good sleep and come out tomorrow with smiles.  I'm very looking forward to tomorrow and just want to relax and have the same strategy as today."

In the chase for CME: Only four events remain on the 2012 schedule before the season-ending CME Group Titleholders and players who have not yet qualified for the tournament will be in a final chase for a spot in the limited-field event. The season finale, which will be held Nov. 15-18 at The TwinEagles in Naples, Fla., will feature a field made up of three qualifiers from every LPGA Tour tournament this season. Players who have not yet qualified but are in the hunt this week after two rounds of play are as follows: Karin Sjodin, 10 (-5); Nicole Castrale, T34 (+1); Jennifer Johnson, T34 (+1); Pornanong Phatlum, T40 (+2).

Quotable: "I love coming to Korea.  I have a lot of Korean friends, not only Korean friends on Tour, but I also have some fantastic partnerships with Korean companies over the years of my career.  Like I said, I'm just really trying to embrace coming here, embrace the people, embrace the fans, and obviously really try to enjoy the golf course.  If you equal that, that just gives love for Korea." -Suzann Pettersen on why she thinks she continues to play South Korea.

Tweet of the Day: Goes to LPGA rookie Lexi Thompson who toured the event’s expo tent center and came across a familiar face.

"Oh hey look what I found in the puma tent at the KEB HanaBank :P #lifesizecutout" --@Lexi

Of Note…Lexi Thompson shot a 2-under 70 in the second round and holds the top American spot on the leaderboard. She sits seven shots off the lead at 6-under par…two-time champion Na Yeon Choi failed to break par on Saturday and carded a 1-over 73 to leave her T28 and 12 shots back heading into Sunday…Rolex Rankings No. 33 Morgan Pressel withdrew prior to the second round due to injury…

SUZANN PETTERSEN, Rolex Rankings No. 9

THE MODERATOR:  We'd like to welcome in Rolex Rankings No. 9 Suzann Pettersen, 4‑under today, 13‑under for the week heading into the final round with the lead.  Nice round today.
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  Thank you.

THE MODERATOR:  You got a little bit of a slower start, first birdie on the 7th hole, followed that up with a bogey.  Was there any specific point in the round where you said, all right, let's get going, and the back nine was a little bit better?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  No, it just felt like I got out there this morning and I didn't really expect it to be as breezy as it was.  Not that it was extremely windy, but it was a little different yesterday, and it kind of took me a few holes to kind of adjust, and it almost took me nine holes to kind of adjust to the conditions.  Just felt like it was a little bit harder to get really close.  Gave myself a lot of chances, didn't quite roll them in to start off.  Made a good birdie on 7, missed a very short putt on 8, a bit of a silly one, and I kind of lost my concentration, and I said to myself, you can't let your focus slip.  As much as I wanted to make it, it was almost a break point where I got my focus back, it got my attention.

And then on the back nine, very happy the way I finished.  I was standing on 15 and said to myself, it would be nice to finish with two or three birdies, and I think that's what I did.  Good way to finish the day.

THE MODERATOR:  You mentioned it's been a weird year, not necessarily a down or an off year, but how much satisfaction would you get getting a win in this final stretch of the season, going out on a pretty high note?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  I don't know, I don't really let myself go that far.  Just finished another round of golf.  I mean, I've been in this game long enough that I don't really care where I'm at, and right now I really don't look at the leaderboard.  I have my own personal goals.

Obviously I tee it up every week because I think I can win.  Obviously that doesn't happen every week in golf, or I don't think it has recently in golf.

But I'm in a good position.  I feel good.  Just one more round of golf, and it's nice to come off fairly hot.

THE MODERATOR:  Do you remember the last time you were in the lead group or holding the lead going into Sunday?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  No, but last time I won here in Korea, I was leading.  Finished Saturday and never got to play on Saturday, so I really hope that I can complete the three rounds and hopefully be the last woman standing tomorrow.

I'm excited where I'm at.  Like I said, I don't get overly too high, too low.  Again, it feels pretty good and just got to go out there and try to trust it.

THE MODERATOR:  You've got to kind of give the fans here credit for being very passionate.  They love their golf.  They love this Tour.  What are you looking forward to the most in tomorrow's round, the fans and how they've received this Tour and this event so quickly.
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  I think it's great to be out here.  They're really keen on their cameras, they love to take pictures, and instead of just getting irritated with all the noises and stuff, I just try to embrace it.  Good for them.  I mean, they come out to watch us, and I'd rather kind of get alongside the crowds on a good note instead of try to react to everything they do.

Hopefully there will be a lot of Koreans out here tomorrow.  The fans are great.  The weather is supposed to hold up.  If you want to watch some good golf, come watch.

Q.  You played a great round of golf today.  How did you find conditions different today than yesterday?  And generally how did the conditions of the golf course compare to other venues the LPGA plays on?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  You know, the conditions, I mean, obviously yesterday was perfect conditions.  There was hardly a breath of wind.

Today it was breezier.  Probably the easiest wind for this course, I would say.  Usually pretty much the winds are across, not too many are straight into the wind.

These greens are as fast as it gets for us.  They're really nice and firm.  They roll fantastic.  If you hit a good putt on the right line, it's going in.  It's very nice to come here and kind of have conditions like this.  It's as good as it gets for us.

Q.  You're a past winner of this tournament and you're very close to winning this tournament again.  What does it mean to you?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  I love coming to Korea.  I have a lot of Korean friends, not only Korean friends on Tour, but I also have some fantastic partnerships with Korean companies over the years of my career.  Like I said, I'm just really trying to embrace coming here, embrace the people, embrace the fans, and obviously really try to enjoy the golf course.  If you equal that, that just gives love for Korea.

SEO YEON RYU, Rolex Rankings No. 10

Q. What happened here on 18?
SO YEON RYU:  My old habit is if I miss a shot I always hit a little hook.  Same thing happened on 15, 16, 17, and actually I'm really ashamed about 18, the third shot.  It was a shank.

Q.  What happened?
SO YEON RYU:  It's like a cameraman came behind me so it's like I have to re‑routine or something, so I just hit it, but I think I lose concentration.  But it's like a great save, the fourth shot was pretty strong.

Today it wasn't bad.  It wasn't bad.  Just I missed a couple of chip shots, but it's really great practice before the final round.  The final round is always really tough.

I think I am ready to play, though, tomorrow.

Q.  There weren't that many low rounds today.  Was it just because of the wind?
SO YEON RYU:  Well, especially ‑‑ I always play really great at the front nine, but the front nine pin positions were really tough, and even today the weather is really like a little chilly and wind really strong.  But especially hole 6 is kind of a really tough hole, but pin position was so rough and green was into wind, and it was really hard to stop on the green.  I got a par there.

Well, the problem today is weather is really chilly.

Q.  We're going into the final stretch of the season and you said the year has gone really well.  Where would a win in South Korea measure up with the U.S. Open win?
SO YEON RYU:  Well, after my U.S. Women's Open win, that's huge.  That's huge.  That's why a bit more Korean fans expect really huge level.  They really love to ‑‑ if the Hana Bank winner is Korean, they will love it, because this is in Korea.  But sometimes it really makes me tough and crazy, but I want to enjoy this tough situation because I am professional.  I'm so happy to be playing in front of the Korean fans, and I want to say really thanks for the Korean fans.

But today I'm really shamed because they took photos a lot, because they too much love the LPGA.  I pretty well understand it, but I'm really sorry about the fellow competitor.  So hopefully they're getting better.

Q.  How were your nerves before you went off today?
SO YEON RYU:  Oh, today is a lot better, a lot better.  Especially today playing with a Korean girl who's my really great friend.  She plays on KLPGA Tour and she's a really great player.  So a bit more relaxed.

Yesterday was first round, that's why I was a bit more nervous.  But I played great, and then I was relieved.

Q.  Did you play in this event as a KLPGA member?
SO YEON RYU:  Uh‑huh, three times.

Q.  So you're comfortable with the course setup?
SO YEON RYU:  Yes.

Q.  Going into tomorrow you're in the hunt.  Do you think you'll be nervous tomorrow, too?
SO YEON RYU:  Well, you know, if you're leading the game it's really hard to sleep well.  But today I might be second, so I can sleep well, I just hope for tomorrow nice playing.

Q.  Any changes for tomorrow?
SO YEON RYU:  I just have to practice chipping.  That's it.

YANI TSENG, Rolex Rankings No. 1

Q.  How are you feeling?
YANI TSENG:  Feels pretty good.  I mean, today was tougher than yesterday, and I had a couple wrong decisions on the front nine, so made a couple bogeys there.  And I had two three‑putts.  Greens were very tricky today, but I hung in there and I finished strong, last five I had three birdies.  So always very happy to get a finish like that on 18 and enjoy the crowd.  I think it's very important, kind of make your day.  Then you can go back home and be a happy person and have a good sleep and come out tomorrow with smiles.  I'm very looking forward to tomorrow and just want to relax and have the same strategy as today.

Q.  How long was your putt on 18?
YANI TSENG:  Three feet.

Q.  What's the plan tomorrow, being aggressive, anything you want to change or keep the same?
YANI TSENG:  No, I mean, just keep the same as today, just try to make good decisions on it and commit to every shot and just enjoy tomorrow.

Q.  Do you feel more comfortable being at the top of the leaderboard?
YANI TSENG:  I mean, I always feel comfortable wherever I am.  I just really enjoy every moment here and be the happiest person I can and have more fun playing on the golf course.

Q.  What would it mean to get your win in a little while here?
YANI TSENG:  I wouldn't think that much.  Maybe ask me tomorrow and I'll let you know.

SE RI PAK, Rolex Rankings No. 27

Q. A little different than yesterday.  Just run us what was working better today than yesterday.
SE RI PAK:  Yesterday was really good, though, a couple shots here and there I missed because ‑‑ one double, that's a big number.  But other than that, it wasn't really different yesterday and today.  I make more consistency.  I don't think I missed shots.  Some, but it's not as bad as yesterday.  But missed some putts, and I don't have any bogeys.  Actually that helps. Golf swing feels good, everything is good, and I feel ‑‑ I'm having fun out there.

Q.  How is the fan atmosphere?  Obviously you played with two other Korean women.  You had a good group?
SE RI PAK:  I'd say this week is bigger fans than usual, I think, the last couple years.  It was pretty good to see them out there today.  Of course that helps me a lot.  Of course it gives me a lot of excitement.  Yeah, just great.

I mean, of course taking a lot of pictures here and there, that actually caused us a little bit behind because sometimes we have to catch up and make shots.  But other than that it's just fantastic fans out there.  I really enjoyed it.

Q.  2002 the first year it was here.  How has it changed?
SE RI PAK:  Of course there's a lot difference, a lot changing, but the way the players are playing, everybody gets tighter or more consistent players.  Of course top players more feel better and players from all over the world.  We can see a little bit more Japan, more Asian, Korean, of course, and now a lot of Europeans.  Basically that's what the LPGA does is global fields.

I mean, of course a lot more young players than last time I played here, but it's good.  It's really good to see that.  You can see differences like fashion wise and all the players have a different attitude and kind of different style of golf.  So that really makes a lot of fans out there having fun.

Q.  Mi Hyun Kim is retiring, Grace did earlier this year.  You're like the only original left.  Does that make you feel proud or maybe a little old?
SE RI PAK:  I'm still really proud of playing, and of course that makes me some old, too, definitely, older.  This field, these young players from different countries, that makes a huge difference, too.

But I just feel the same thing.  Of course age‑wise it's kind of a little big numbers, but physical wise I'm good, too.  It's really having fun.  I see them, the way they play.  It helps me, too, get back to the way I used to play, so that makes me a lot helping.  But yeah, just grateful.  I really enjoy it now.

Q.  You haven't played a full schedule this year.  Has it been easier on you to take more breaks or is it harder to get back into the swing of things?
SE RI PAK:  Well, actually it was a really great season this year so far, but I got injured in Mobile, Alabama, so that takes me a couple extra tournaments off, and now still I'm trying to rehab, of course.  It's really not a serious injury, but I was trying to take care as much as I could to get ready for 2013.  So that's my goal.

So the next week is my last tournament, the final field of 2012, and trying to get back to 110 percent for next year.  I am looking forward to being rested a little bit with my family and hopefully next year get restarted.

Topics: Interviews, Pak, Se Ri, Pettersen, Suzann, Ryu, So Yeon, Tseng, Yani, LPGA KEB • HanaBank Championship [+]

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