Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia Final Round Notes and Interviews

Photo Credit: Stanley Chou/Getty Images

Inbee Park of South Korea receives the Sime Darby LPGA Trophy from the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin under the rain after she won it 15 under 269 during day four of the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club.

Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club- East Course

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Final-round Notes and Interviews

October 14, 2012

 
Inbee Park,
-15, Rolex Rankings No. 6
Na Yeon Choi,
-13, Rolex Rankings No. 4

Leading preference
So consistent
Turning point
Golden ticket winners

Of Note…

Inbee Park made a back-nine charge in Sunday’s final round to beat defending champion Na Yeon Choi (@nychoi87) by two strokes at the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia (@SimeDarbyLPGA). Park sat two shots back at the turn but carded four of her six birdies on the final nine holes finishing 4-under par 67. The South Korean posted rounds of 69-68-65-67 to finish 15-under 269 for the week and tying the 72-hole tournament record. It is her third-career victory and second in the past six starts.

Leading preference: Of Park’s three career victories, she managed to twice come from behind with a with two-stroke deficit heading into Sunday’s final round. The major champion did so back in 2008 when she recorded her first-career win and major championship at the U.S. Women’s Open. But Park said she’d prefer to have the target on her back rather than chipping away at the lead.

“I think I prefer leading because I think it's much easier the last day,” said Park. “But, I mean, I had to play good on the final day to win.  I knew that Na Yeon was really strong on this golf course and I knew she really liked this golf course.  So I knew I had to go really low today to win, make a lot of birdies.”

So consistent: Park notched her tenth-consecutive top-10 finish this week and second win in six starts. It is the first time in her six-year career she has recorded two wins. Park played in the event’s inaugural year in 2010 and finished T46.

“I’m very happy to win,” said Park. “I played for the second time here, and it’s the first time I’ve won twice in one year so I'm really proud of myself for that.

“I think my golf has improved, everything, hitting the ball, chipping, putting,” said Park. “Everything has really improved.  I worked really hard on my swing. I've been hitting it very solid all year.  So, yeah, that gave me a lot more birdie chances.”

With her win, Park moved from fourth to second place in the Player of the Year rankings with 144 points. She also remains at the top of the Tour’s season money-list with $1,954,608.

Turning point: Na Yeon Choi carded all three of her birdies on the first eight holes and held a three-shot lead heading to the par 4 9th. She would go on to bogey the hole, something she wasn’t all too upset about at the time but thought it was the turning point of her round.

I played well front nine, but I had one bogey on No. 9,” said Choi. “I mean, I wasn't mad after that bogey, but I think if I made par from there, maybe I could’ve played better than now.”

Choi had no birdies on the back nine and posted a double bogey on the par 3 17th to take her back three strokes of Park with one hole to play.

“I think I had bad luck, you know,” said Choi of her tee shot on 17. “My ball was unplayable (in the sand). I couldn't hit it from there.  I really like to congratulate Inbee, my friend.  I could see she was really nervous.  She's usually not nervous at all.  She was nervous today. I'm very happy my friend won this week.”

Golden ticket winners: Lizette Salas, Momoko Ueda and ­­­­­Mina Harigae punched their "Ticket to CME Group Titleholders" at the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, each earning a spot in the season-ending CME Group Titleholders event, which will be held Nov. 15-18, 2012 at The TwinEagles in Naples, Fla. The second annual CME Group Titleholders is a season finale with a field made up of three qualifiers from every LPGA Tour tournament.

Of Note…Jessica Korda tied the tournament 18-hole record of 7-under 64 in Sunday’s final round. Korda started the day at T28 and finished 8th...top amateur for the week was Ariya Jutanugarn who finished 7-under 277 and T9...Rolex Rankings No. 1 Yani Tseng shot an even-par 71 on Sunday to move her to 5-over 289 for the tournament and finished T49…

 

INBEE PARK, Rolex Rankings No. 6

MODERATEOR: We’d like to welcome in the 2012 Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia champion, Inbee Park. Inbee, congratulations. I’m sure you’re very happy right now and hopefully proud of your round today.

INBEE PARK:  ‑‑ very happy to win.  Play for the second time, that was the first time I’ve won twice in one year so I'm really proud of myself for that.

I was really nervous out there.  I wasn't nervous till about 15, then it just got to me.  Was really nervous. Na Yeon played good golf today.  It was a little bit embarrassing finish, bogey, bogey finish.

THE MODERATOR:  Run us through your day, your birdies, two on the front nine, four on the back, finishing with two bogeys.  Run us through your birdies.

INBEE PARK:  No. 2 and 3, No. 2 was about a 6, 7‑footer. No. 3 was the same, 6‑footer. No. 10 was about a 20‑footer. 11 was about a 15‑footer.

THE MODERATOR:  13 and 14.

INBEE PARK:  13, hit to a foot. 14, yeah, that was a foot, too.

THE MODERATOR:  Two out of your three wins in your career have been come‑from‑behind victories.  The win at the U.S. Open 2008, you had a two‑stroke deficit going into the final round.  Is there something you like about chasing going into the final round?

INBEE PARK:  I think I prefer leading because I think it's much easier the last day.  But, I mean, I had to play good on the final day to win.  I knew that Na Yeon was really strong on this golf course and I knew she really liked this golf course.  So I knew I had to go really low today to win, make a lot of birdies.

THE MODERATOR:  We have to talk about your consistency in the second half of the season.  This is your 10th consecutive top 10, your second win in six starts.  Pretty unbelievable.  Do you want to share any secrets to your success?  What are you doing?

INBEE PARK:  I think my golf has improved, everything, hitting the ball, chipping, putting.  Everything has really improved.  I worked really hard on my swing.

I've been hitting it very solid all year.  So, yeah, that gave me a lot more birdie chances.

THE MODERATOR:  You're a little wet from the awards ceremony.  But you got in a full round, how’d it feel to have no delays today?

INBEE PARK:  It's been a lot of delays this week.  I'm really happy that we didn't get any delays today.  I think the weather really helped us today.

Q.  What was your mindset on 13?

INBEE PARK:  You know, I knew coming in No. 15 through 18 are tough coming‑in holes, I knew I had to make a lot of birdies before that. My iron shots were really great on No. 13 and 14.  That really helped with where I was going.

Q.  Were you nervous on 18?

INBEE PARK:  I was really nervous on No. 17, 18, yeah.

Q.  Your second shot at 18, what exactly happened?

INBEE PARK:  Well, my ball was sitting down.  It was a down-hill lie.  I hit it as hard as I can but it didn't fly that far.

Q.  From the bunker, you were trying to fly by the green safely?

INBEE PARK:  Yeah, the third shot I knew I had a great birdie chance.  I had to think she would make a birdie.  I had to go for it.

Q.  How do you compare your win today and getting the top money in Canada?

INBEE PARK:  Well, I think I played much better golf in Malaysia than Canada.  Canada, I didn't putt as well as I usually putt.  This week I putted great.  So I think that was the difference.

Q.  What was the turning point for you today?

INBEE PARK:  I got to say the birdies on No. 13 and 14, and also on No. 17.

Q.  Your husband was following you.  He's your coach.  Were there any words of advice before you started this round?

INBEE PARK:  He's my fiancé, not husband.

He just told me not try to win, he told me to just do your best out there.  He said, you know, second place makes first place.  Even if you try to be first place, you can’t is what he said.

Q.  Which won you the tournaments, the irons, the driver, short‑irons or the putter?

INBEE PARK:  This year I think 70-yard shots and the putting.  All the 70-yard shots, I think I hit it to about a foot to like five feet, so...

Q.  Your putter?

INBEE PARK:  Yeah.

Q.  Is that a new putter?

INBEE PARK:  No, I had it almost one year, yeah.

Q.  You were thinking of going to the broomstick putter?

INBEE PARK:  The bigger one?

Q.  Yes.  Have you tried it?

INBEE PARK:  Well, I tried it.  I just decided no because it was too hard to finish.

Q.  Second or third time coming to Malaysia, maybe you can talk about what you like about coming here.

INBEE PARK:  I mean, I love the food here.  I love Asian food, so I love coming here, eating good food.  I love the people here.  The people are so kind here.  I really like that about.

Not so much about the weather because it's too hot for me.  But I think I'm going to try to like it because I won here (laughter).

Q.  You made a remark yesterday I think about liking the wet weather.  Today was all hot.  How did you deal with the hot weather?

INBEE PARK:  I actually like cold weather and rainy weather better than the hot weather.

But today I think I was really focused and concentrated, weather didn't really come into effect.  That didn't really matter.

Q.  I watch you a lot on The Golf Channel.  I would like to nickname you the Silent Assassin.  Would you like it?

INBEE PARK:  Yeah (laughter).

 

NA YEON CHOI, Rolex Rankings No. 4

THE MODERATOR:  Not the way you wanted to finish but still played well.

NA YEON CHOI:  She played well.  She was nervous last couple holes.  She played well today.  She was 6‑under I think during the round.

So, I mean, I couldn't play my game, I think.  But I have next week.  I go to Korea tonight and take a good rest, because I have a good feeling about my game still.  I want to play well next week, too.

THE MODERATOR:  What about the trouble you had on the back nine?

NA YEON CHOI:  I think I had bad luck, you know.  On 17, my ball was unplayable. I couldn't hit it from there.  I really like to thank Inbee, my friend.  I could see she was really nervous.  She's usually not nervous at all.  She was nervous today. I'm very happy my friend’s win this week.

Q.  Was the turning point for you on the back nine?

NA YEON CHOI:  I played well front nine, but I had one bogey on No. 9.  I mean, I wasn't mad after that bogey, but I think if I made par from there, maybe I could play more better than now, I think.

Topics: Notes and Interviews, Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, Park, Inbee

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