Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship Third-Round Notes and Interviews

Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship
Sunrise Golf & Country Club
Yang Mei, Taoyuan, Taiwan
Third-round Notes and Interviews
October 27, 2012

 
Inbee Park -18, Rolex Rankings No. 5
Suzann Pettersen -16, Rolex Rankings No. 7
Yani Tseng -14, Rolex Rankings No. 1

 
Rolex Rankings No. 5 Inbee Park will carry a two-shot lead into the final round of the Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship as she tries to capture her third victory of the 2012 season.
Park fired a tournament record 8-under 64 on Saturday and sits at 18-under-par entering Sunday’s final round. She tallied two eagles and five birdies while recording one bogey in her stellar third round.

Trailing two back of Park is Rolex Rankings No. 7 Suzann Pettersen (@SuzannPettersen), who is trying to capture her second straight victory in as many weeks on the LPGA Tour. Pettersen, who won the LPGA KEB·HanaBank Championship last week, shot a 6-under 66 on Saturday. Also lurking not far behind is Rolex Rankings No. 1 and Taiwan native Yani Tseng (@YaniTseng) who sits four shots back at 14-under-par.

Keeping on a roll…Inbee Park continues to amaze with her incredible play of late. She set a new tournament 18-hole record with her 8-under 64 on Saturday, which gave her a two-shot cushion heading into Sunday’s final round.

 “I think today probably was almost perfect for me,” Park said. “I hit the ball great and putted really good today.  So couldn't ask for better weather.  It was a perfect day.  The conditions of the golf course was perfect.  I mean I was able to go at every pin, so I was able to play aggressive.”

Park is looking for her third victory of the season this week. She has already captured the first multi-win season of her career after capturing her second title in Malaysia two weeks ago. But with the way that Park has been striking the ball and continuing her consistent putting, it seems that the other players almost expect her to be near the top of the leaderboard each week.

“She just have to hit on the green to make birdie,” Yani Tseng said of Park. “Her putting, when you watch her putting she seems very relaxed and she don't care whether she misses or goes in.  Inside 12 feet is like giving putts for her and then for us we're like trying to make that.  So it's very different.  So for the last hole she had like six feet, and I think that's giving a putt for her. Hopefully tomorrow I play with her and I can learn something from that to use on the golf course and try to play better.”

Finding her form: Suzann Pettersen has been close to a breakthrough all season and right now it appears that she’s putting together some of her best golf of the year.

Just one week after capturing her first victory of the 2012 season, Pettersen has put herself in position once again to perhaps take home another title. The 31-year-old fired a bogey-free 6-under 66 in Saturday’s third round and sits just two shots back of leader Inbee Park entering the final round.

Today was another great round of golf,” Pettersen said. “Feeling very good.  I think it was all three of us that played pretty good and we kind of managed to kind of keep ourselves kind of keep the momentum going from hole to hole.

“It was kind of tough at times to play with Inbee that chipped in from everywhere.  I think Inbee had two eagles, but it was great because we pushed each other and you just kind of pushed the limits and it was great.  Inbee played fantastic today, 8‑under, so flawless.”

On Sunday, Pettersen will be paired in the final group with Park and hometown favorite, Yani Tseng. Pettersen and Tseng are good friends who enjoy competing against each other. Both of them are starting to see their games round into form at the same time and it’s allowed the two of them to push each other. That included a little side wager between the two on Saturday, which Pettersen lost due to the fact that Tseng had an eagle even though they shot identical scores.

“It's good to see her playing good, especially here in Taiwan in front of her own crowd,” Pettersen said of Tseng. “I really don't care where she is, personally, but obviously good for the crowd and the tournament that she's up there, good for the media.  I'm happy to see that she's playing better.

“We practiced, I know her really well.  We share ideas, we share thoughts, and it's kind of fun that we both kind of the games are starting to click.  And I guess we're playing together tomorrow, so I guess there will be a few more bets in the group.  I lost today shooting 66.  So that's no good.”

Pushing for another ‘W’: It’s been seven months since Yani Tseng last hoisted a trophy on the LPGA Tour, but the No. 1 player in the Rolex Rankings is making a strong push to get back into the winner’s circle this week in her home country.

The Taiwan native has put herself within striking distance heading into Sunday’s final round, sitting four shots back of leader Inbee Park, after shooting a 6-under 66 in Saturday’s third round. It is the lowest round for Tseng since she shot a 66 in the first round of the CN Canadian Women’s Open back in late August.

Tseng captured wins in three of the first five events on the LGPA schedule this season before hitting a skid in the middle of the year. While there was a stretch where it seemed difficult for Tseng to shoot in the 60s, she certainly sounded like her old self when talking about her slight disappointment in only turning out a 6-under 66 on Saturday.

“I don't feel like 66 was a bad round for me,” Tseng said. “I feel like I left lots of birdie chances out there today.  And I didn't putt well again today, and I just feel very struggling out there. But it was still good.  Had a bogey‑free round and 6‑under, but it's still very hard to catch Inbee and Suzann, but hopefully tomorrow can be aggressive and hopefully my putting is getting better tomorrow.”

Red numbers galore: It was a day for low scores at the Sunrise Golf & Country Club where eagles and birdies were found in ample supply.

A total of 10 eagles were made on the day, including two by leader Inbee Park. On the par-5 sixth, Park chipped in for eagle although she was matched by her playing partner Catriona Matthew who followed up with her own eagle chip-in immediately after. Suzann Pettersen watched both of them chip in before hitting a decent chip shot of her own, although her birdie on the hole seemed almost disappointing by comparison.

“It takes a perfect shot, and I know Inbee can hit those flop shots, and it came out perfect, and from the minute that landed on the green that was right in the middle of the hole,” Pettersen said. “And Beany [Catriona Matthew] looked at me and was like really?  And then she steps it up and chips it in.  I'm like, well, if I hadn't made birdie there, it would have felt like a double bogey, but I was just glad I made a birdie.  But it was fun to watch and it was kind of fun to first watch Beany, her reaction on Inbee's kind of shot, kind of where did that come from and then she chips it in and looks at me like, what are you all doing.”

There were 31 players in the 76-player field shot in the 60s on Saturday and the scoring average for the field was 70.92. But the weather forecast for Sunday’s final round is calling for the winds to pick up for the first time all week, which could make scoring conditions much more difficult.

Not that Yani Tseng minds a little more wind.

“If the wind picks up, I think that's where the challenge is going on,” said Tseng. “So hopefully tomorrow the wind will pick up a little bit, and this is where I practice.  So I think if wind picks up and it's going to help me a lot.”

Look out for the sick golfer…Watching Paula Creamer (@ThePCreamer) play golf on Saturday, one would never have known that the No. 11 ranked player in the Rolex Rankings was feeling under the weather. Creamer moved her way up the leaderboard on “Moving Day” in Saturday’s third round with a 5-under 67 to put herself in a T12 at 7-under-par.

Creamer has been ill over the past few days and she tweeted about it before teeing off on Saturday.

“Well hopefully today is better than yesterday. No fun being sick on the golf course makes it a little bit harder to play.” -- @ThePCreamer

In the chase for CME: Only three 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 three rounds of play are as follows: Belen Mozo T6 (-9); Pornanong Phatlum, T15 (-6); Paige Mackenzie T22 (-3); and Alison Walshe, T22 (-3).

Of Note…Rolex Rankings No. 52 Michelle Wie fired a 4-under 68 on Saturday and sits in a T19 at 5-under-par…After getting off to a slow start with a 74 in the opening round, Rolex Rankings No. 3 Na Yeon Choi has rebounded to put herself in position for another top-10 finish. Choi followed up her second-round 67 with a 6-under 66 in Saturday’s third round to sit in a T6 at 9-under-par…

 

INBEE PARK, Rolex Rankings No. 5
SUZANN PETTERSEN, Rolex Rankings No. 7

THE MODERATOR:  We'd like to welcome our leader, Inbee in the interview room, and also Suzann Pettersen, who is in second place two shots back.  First of all, thank you ladies for joining us today.  Congratulations, and great rounds by both of you.  First of all, since we have you both in here together, why don't each one of you just talk about your rounds and what was working well for you today and then also what was most impressive about the other person's round that you witnessed today while playing in the same group.

INBEE PARK:  I don't know.  I think today probably was almost perfect for me.  I hit the ball great and putted really good today.  So couldn't ask for better weather.  It was a perfect day.  The conditions of the golf course was perfect.  I mean I was able to go at every pin, so I was able to play aggressive, and play with Suzann, I mean she hit the ball perfect.  I mean not everything fell for her, but she played really fantastic, so I'm looking forward to tomorrow.

SUZANN PETTERSEN:  Yeah.  Today was another great round of golf.  Feeling very good.  I think it was all three of us that played pretty good and we kind of managed to kind of keep ourselves kind of keep the momentum going from hole to hole.

It was kind of tough at times to play with Inbee that chipped in from everywhere.  I think Inbee had two eagles, but it was great because we pushed each other and you just kind of pushed the limits and it was great.  Inbee played fantastic today, 8‑under, so flawless.

THE MODERATOR:  Suzann, as you were talking about, take me through that sixth hole and watching the two of them both chip in for eagle and then you had your own shot to play after that.

SUZANN PETTERSEN:  Well, walking up there and then we saw one ball that was kind of just off the green and Brian was like, yeah, we'll take that because Inbee saw the other lie.  I think Inbee had the most challenging lie from what I saw from up there.

And I'm like, well, it's possible.  It takes a perfect shot, and I know Inbee can hit those flop shots, and it came out perfect, and from the minute that landed on the green that was right in the middle of the hole.  And Beanie looked at me and was like really?  And then she steps it up and chips it in.  I'm like, well, if I hadn't made birdie there, it would have felt like a double bogey, but I was just glad I made a birdie.  But it was fun to watch and it was kind of fun to first watch Beanie, her reaction on Inbee's kind of shot, kind of where did that come from and then she chips it in and looks at me like, what are you all doing.

THE MODERATOR:  Inbee, we talked about the weather conditions yesterday, but today it seems like the way they set up the golf course this was even more ideal for scoring.  What was it like playing out there and when you look up at the scoreboard and you see all of these low scores, is it what you guys expected when you teed off this morning.

INBEE PARK:  I didn't know all the tees were moved up.  And a couple of holes we were able to reach the green in two on the par‑5.  So moving up the tees were making ‑‑ it was perfect weather today.  It wasn't as hot and fast today.  So it was a lot better conditions today for everybody to concentrate.  So I think that's where the lower scores came in.

Q.  Suzann, your group just made three eagles, 40 birdies.  In this kind of group what do you feel about that?  Are you happy to play with these two great players or just, oh, my God, they are just hitting everything?

SUZANN PETTERSEN: I feel like I contributed with six of those birdies, and that's about it.

These other girls made quite a few eagles, but I like it when they kind of move around the course.  Today they made it very playable to reach par‑5s.  They tucked a few pins, moved a few tees up.  They want us to go low, and I think that's fun.  I think it's good for us, it's good for the crowd, and the fans want to see us go low.  So I want to see them do that more often, move around tees.

You still have to hit perfect shots to kind of get to certain pins.  I mean it's not like it's a walk in the park.  So I think it's ‑‑ today was a great job by the rules guys.  I think they did a great job, and the conditions have been fairly similar all week, and who knows what tomorrow brings.  I mean it could be a hurricane or it could be like today.  I've seen it from all kinds of different angles.

THE MODERATOR:  They are calling for more wind tomorrow, possible rain.  How does that for each of you kind of suit you?  Are you looking forward to some challenging conditions in the final round or would you rather see it once again like this where conditions are perfect for scoring.

INBEE PARK:  I think it's ‑‑ it doesn't really matter to me.  I think we played three days in the perfect condition.  I think if it's a little tougher tomorrow, a little be challenging for everybody, too.  It's the same for everybody, so I don't really mind whether it's a good day or a bad day.

THE MODERATOR:  You guys both see Yani is trailing four shots back of the lead.  What does it mean when she's that close in the hunt, especially here with the way the fans are and the way they root her on.

SUZANN PETTERSEN:  It's good to see her playing good, especially here in Taiwan in front of her own crowd.  I really don't care where she is, personally, but obviously good for the crowd and the tournament that she's up there, good for the media.  I'm happy to see that she's playing better.

We practiced, I know her really well.  We share ideas, we share thoughts, and it's kind of fun that we both kind of the games are starting to click.  And I guess we're playing together tomorrow, so I guess there will be a few more bets in the group.  I lost today shooting 66.  So that's no good.

 
YANI TSENG, Rolex Rankings No. 1

THE MODERATOR:  We'd like to welcome Rolex Rankings No. 1 Yani Tseng into the interview room.  Thank you for joining us today.  I know not quite the finish that you wanted to that round, but another solid round for you today.  Take me through the day and what was working well for you.

YANI TSENG:  I don't know.  It's been a long time.  I don't feel like 66 was a bad round for me.  I feel like I left lots of birdie chances out there today.  And I didn't putt well again today, and I just feel very struggling out there.

But it was still good.  Had a bogey‑free round and 6‑under, but it's still very hard to catch Inbee and Suzann, but hopefully tomorrow can be aggressive and hopefully my putting is getting better tomorrow.

THE MODERATOR:  When you look at the scores today, I think there was a number of eagles out there, a number of birdies.  It just seemed like everybody was going low.  Were you surprised at all by how low the scores were today?

YANI TSENG:  No.  Actually I wasn't surprised at all because I mean the course kind of played very easy today.  It was no wind.  Even yesterday, too.  And No. 6, 13 they moved the tee up and No. 9, too.  So most of the people if long drive can get there pretty close, too.

But today, all of the shots we're hitting it's like at least 120 yards, so that's why I say there are so many birdie chances out there, you almost can make birdie every hole if you can.

THE MODERATOR:  You talked a little bit about how well Inbee was playing.  How impressive has her play been recently when you look at what she's been able to do the second half of the season, all these Top 10 finishes in a row and you look out and she shoots a tournament‑record 8‑under today?

YANI TSENG:  I mean for her, her putting is very ‑‑ it's the point.  If she hits on the green she just have chance to make birdie there.  So she just have to hit on the green to make birdie.

Her putting, when you watch her putting she seems very relaxed and she don't care whether she misses or goes in.  Shelf inside 12 feet is like giving putts for her and then for us we're like trying to make that.  So it's very different.  So for the last hole she had like six feet, and I think that's giving a putt for her.

Hopefully tomorrow I play with her and I can learn something from that to use on the golf course and try to play better.

THE MODERATOR:  You'll enter tomorrow's final round four shots back.  What's your game plan heading into the final round and how nice is it once again to be seeing yourself in contention with a chance to win back here at home?

YANI TSENG:  I know.  I think the important thing is try to not think about too much tonight because last three holes I missed like four feet for birdie the last three holes.  But hopefully tonight I can have a happy and good sleep tomorrow, come in and I'll be aggressive because trying to make birdie every hole I think is very important on this golf course.

But I don't know the weather tomorrow.  If the wind picks up, I think that's where the challenge is going on.  So hopefully tomorrow the wind will pick up a little bit, and this is where I practice.  So I think if wind picks up and it's going to help me a lot.

 

 

Topics: Notes and Interviews, Park, Inbee, Pettersen, Suzann, Tseng, Yani, Fubon LPGA Taiwan Championship [+]

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