CME Group Titleholders Second Round Notes and Interviews

CME Group Titleholders
The TwinEagles Club, Eagle Course
Naples, Fla.
Second-round Notes and Interviews
November 16, 2012

Ai Miyazato -10, Rolex Rankings No. 8
Na Yeon Choi -9, Rolex Rankings No. 4
Sun Young Yoo -7, Rolex Rankings No. 22
Brittany Lincicome -7, Rolex Rankings No. 20
Karine Icher -7, Rolex Rankings No. 37

Rolex Rankings No. 8 Ai Miyazato set a new tournament record on Friday with an 8-under 64, taking the lead heading into the third-round at the CME Group Titleholders at 10-under-par. Miyazato entered the day tied for 16th but strung together 8 birdies after a bogey on the second hole to catapult herself to a one-stroke lead over Na Yeon Choi (@nychoi87) and a three-stroke lead over a group of four, including Brittany Lincicome (@Brittany1golf), Karine Icher (@KarineIcher), Suzann Pettersen (@suzannpettersen), and Sun Young Yoo.

Miyazato torched the greens on the Eagles Course at TwinEagles Club with just 25 putts, six fewer than her opening round. The Japan native says seeing those numbers today verified what she has been working on for the last few months of the season.

"I've been dealing with my putting since last month and it just didn't go in last couple months, but I just say to myself just be patient and it's going to go in some day," said Miyazato. "But this is the last tournament so I kind of have like no expectations to myself and nice and relaxed out there, so I was really calm all day.  That's why I think I made some good putts."

Miyazato has already claimed two victories this season, including the LOTTE LPGA Championship Presented by J Golf and the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Presented by P&G.

 

Miss popular… Brittany Lincicome received the most votes from LPGA fans this month when the Tour held the first-ever fan vote to have players selected to play in the featured group in Thursday’s first-round. Lincicome, who cherishes fan interaction and giving back to Tour supporters, said that being active on Twitter has helped put her in social media royalty.

"That was really cool," said Lincicome. "I mean, obviously it's one of those things where you have Paula Creamer, who has a hundred thousand followers, all these girls that have so many more followers than me, but it just shows you that if you Tweet it enough and your fans really support you."

Lincicome said direct interaction with fans on the social media website has allowed her to become one of the most recognizable and approachable players on Tour.

"I try to respond to every single one of my messages," said Lincicome. "So I just think interacting with them a little bit and got them to vote for me and it was nice to see me come out on top." 


Putting for show… To say that Rolex Rankings No. 4 Na Yeon Choi’s putting statistics have been impressive during the first two rounds of the CME Group Titleholders would be an understatement. The winner of this year’s U.S. Women’s Open only needed 27 putts during yesterday’s first-round and 25 putts in today’s second round.

While Choi has always fared particularly well in putting as she ranks 13th on Tour this year in putts per GIR and 20th in putting average, confidence has given her just the extra boost she needed this week.

"I think actually the last two days my putter was really great, you know," said Choi. "I mean, when I had a par putt, I supposed a little nervous, but last two day I had a really good confidence, and even last hole my par putt was like four meter, but I made it.  And I mean, yeah, last two day my putting was great and even I hit a lot of good shots, especially today I think I was very calm on the course.  I came here from home so I feel great right now."

Despite already having one victory under her belt this season and eight additional top-10 finishes, the always competitive Choi has her eyes set on a strong finish this week.

"You know, this is last tournament this year, I really want to finish strong this year," said Choi. "I know I had a great season this year, but I want to finish it strong.  It doesn't matter win, if I play my best next two days, you know, I really happy where my position."

Fighting through the pain. Following yesterday’s round, Brittany Lincicome found herself nearly withdrawing from the tournament this week after suffering a pinched nerve in her lower back. Deciding to push through the pain for the second-round, Lincicome found some relief after visiting the Tour’s physiologist, who gave her a few medications, a massage and  some kinesio tape.

"It just started hurting yesterday," Lincicome said. "Like I was fine all week, no problems at all.  Hit on the driving range, I was fine.  When I got to the putting green, I couldn't bend over to pick up my golf ball.  Like, oh my gosh, that's not good. I've never had an injury on Tour, knock on wood, so I don't really even know how to handle them.  And I get on to No. 4 on the course and I'm like I can't ‑‑ I can barely swing the golf club, my hips are not letting me rotate.  It's just kind of a flip, which my golf swing, my ball already goes right to left, so it was going to keep going further right to left if I didn't correct it.

"So I called our physio, Caroline. She came out and literally laid me on the ground, tried to push on it a little bit, got it to move a little bit, put some tape on it and got through my round, thank goodness with a decent score."

Lincicome didn’t show any signs of ache today, especially after going on a birdie-run after a double-bogey on the third-hole. She inched her way up the scoreboard after carding six birdies and one bogey to finish Friday’s round with a 69 and shares third-place with Karine Icher, Suzann Pettersen and Sun Young Yoo.

"Maybe I should be injured more often," Lincicome said. "I think it was one of those things where I was playing and I was so worried about my back and other things that it completely distracted me from what I was doing on the golf course that it made me play better.  So maybe the back injury will stick around for two more days."

Getting glammed up… Tonight’s Rolex Awards Celebration will be a night to remember for many LPGA players. It’s one of the only nights out of the season that gives the players an opportunity to change out of their golf attire and dress in their best. Players finishing their second rounds on Friday were looking forward to the event and said it’s one of the most anticipated nights of the season.

"It's so nice party because everyone dressed up really nice and really like fancy party," said second-round leader Ai Miyazato. "I just love that party.  It's fun to go there."

A lot of attention and effort goes into the production of the show, and Miyazato said just as much went into her outfit.

"I prepared for it like last month, I bought a dress for this party, so looking forward to going," said Miyazato.

Brittany Lincicome said the night is not only a chance to dress up and have fun but also a chance to show support for fellow Tour members and friends who are being recognized. She said she’ll be taking a reporter role and will be interviewing players on her flip cam on the red carpet.

"Obviously I have a lot of great, great friends that are going to be there and it's nice to kind of show my support," said Lincicome. "Hopefully if I ever win such a cool award, they would come for me, so it's going to be a fun time. Apparently I'm going to interview some of the players, so that's going to be really exiting with my little flip cam." 

A break from the grind… One of several moms on the LPGA Tour, Rolex Rankings No. 37 Karine Icher finds relieve from the grind on the golf course at the sight of her daughter, Lola.

"Yeah, it's cool," said Icher of motherhood. "I'm not focused a lot on golf, more on her, so it gives me a break and I think it's a good thing not to be always golf, golf, golf, play golf every day, watching golf, talking golf.  I play golf and then like stories and watch some cartoons, so it gives me time to relax.  It's hard because it's a lot of work obviously, but it's nice to have her with us."

Competing in this week’s CME Group Titleholders, Icher stands in pristine position to notch her first career LPGA Tour victory at the season-ending event. A victory this week for Icher would cap off a year  that includes  five top-10 finishes.

"It would be the cherry on the cake," said Icher. "You know, but still two rounds to play, many good players on the top of the leaderboard, so everything can happen."

Gone But Not Forgotten… Longtime rules official Doug Brecht recently passed away after a hard fought battle with the West Nile Virus. In the first domestic LPGA Tour event since his passing, Brecht’s memory lived on at this week’s CME Group Titleholders.

A crimson golf cart, for his beloved University of Oklahoma Sooners, was placed on the bridge of the par-3 17th hole with a sign on the front titled "LPGA Rules Official – Doug Brecht" and University of Oklahoma and Chicago Cubs logos on the sides. During Friday’s second round, players could be seen sitting in the cart saying a prayer and writing notes for their fallen teammate and friend.

"He was a great guy and he did so many things for the LPGA Tour, so we lost a big, you know, a big person," said Ai Miyazato. "But still I learned so many things from him and I think ‑‑ I don't know.  I thought I just like how I can give back to him, but then the LPGA set up the buggy for the players.  I saw so many comments on the buggy on 17, it just makes me, you know, like really happy but at the same time really sad.  I thought that was a great idea, I just want to say thank you."

The cart will remain on the 17th hole Friday and Saturday then taken to Daytona Beach where LPGA staff members will have the opportunity to sign it before it is given to Brecht’s wife, Stephanie.

Penalty… First-Round co-leader Sun Young Yoo suffered a one-stroke penalty on the par-5 14th after breaching rule 20-2a which states, "he must stands erect, hold the ball at shoulder height and arm’s length and drop it".

"They say my arm wasn't high enough," said Yoo. "It was about like that height.  If they ‑‑ they seen it on TV, so I take it as my mistake.  All I want to say is I didn't try to cheat or anything.  I mean, I was busy taking a drop and I didn't really think about my arm's height.  So, I mean, so I asked the rules official if my arm can get higher and they said no.  So basically I have to use my arm exactly 90‑degree every time I take a drop.  I mean, it happens.  Basically it's my mistake and I was 2 or 3 shots behind, still in good position.  So I'll try to forget about what happened and focus on the next two rounds."

Despite the one-stroke penalty this year’s winner of the Kraft Nabisco Championship only stands three-strokes behind current leader Ai Miyazato.

Quote of the Day… "Maybe I should be injured more often.  I think it was one of those things where I was playing and I was so worried about my back and other things that it completely distracted me from what I was doing on the golf course that it made me play better.  So maybe the back injury will stick around for two more days." – Brittany Lincicome

Ai Miyazato, Rolex Rankings No. 8

MODERATOR:  We'd like to welcome in our current leader, Ai Miyazato, at 10‑under.  Ai, amazing round today, 8‑under 64.  Run us through your day, nine birdies, one bogey.
AI MIYAZATO:  I played really sold today all day, all day until the last hole, especially my putting was really good.  I made so many great putts and even par putt.  I had really solid putts many times, so feels good.

MODERATOR:  Run us through the string of birdies, three consecutive on the front nine, three consecutive on the back nine.  How did you piece those together?
AI MIYAZATO:  Well, I couldn't make birdies on the back nine yesterday, you know, 13 and 14, I guess, two holes in a row.  So I kind of talked to my caddie, we have to play smart on these holes.  Kind of a good stretch towards the end and I did really well on course management on these two holes, so I could get my round going.

MODERATOR:  31 putts yesterday, 25 today, pretty big improvement.  What was the difference on the greens?
AI MIYAZATO:  Nothing, but I've been dealing with my putting since last month and it just didn't go in last couple months, but I just say to myself just be patient and it's going to go in some day.  But this is the last tournament so I kind of have like no expectations to myself and nice and relaxed out there, so I was really calm all day.  That's why I think I made some good putts.

MODERATOR:  We're here at the last event, you've had a solid season, two wins, 10 Top 10s.  You would tie Yani if you win this week with three wins. 

Just talk about the depth of this Tour.  We have a lot of one‑time winners and how hard it is to win.
AI MIYAZATO:  It's hard.  I can see so many good players playing really solid so far and still have a couple more days, and you never know what's going to happen on this golf course because the greens are such a big and there's so many like undulation on the greens and you have to play really good on this golf course, so I just want to focus my game tomorrow, too.

MODERATOR:  Big winner's check this week.  Any added pressure?  Does that play into anything coming into this week?
AI MIYAZATO:  No, I don't feel any pressure.  Like I said, this is the last tournament and I'm playing good so far, feels good with my game and just have fun.

MODERATOR:  Well, the Rolex Awards celebration is tonight.  Talk about your favorite thing, I guess, out of that night to wrap up that year.  What are you looking forward to the most?
AI MIYAZATO:  It's so nice party because everyone dressed up really nice and really like fancy party.  I just love that party.  It's fun to go there.

MODERATOR:  They roll out the red carpet.  Like you said, it's pretty fancy.
AI MIYAZATO:  Red carpet tonight?

MODERATOR:  I think so, yeah, that's what I heard.
AI MIYAZATO:  Even better.

MODERATOR:  Did you pick out a dress?  How did that process go?  Where did you buy it?
AI MIYAZATO:  I prepared for it like last month, I bought a dress for this party, so looking forward to go to the party.

MODERATOR:  Great.  Also, what are you looking forward to this weekend?  What's going to be the key to closing out? 
AI MIYAZATO:  I saw the weather forecast this morning and it's going to be rain tomorrow, but I'm not sure, but it depend on the weather.  If it rains, it's going to play really long on this golf course and it going to be hard for me.  But like I said, my putting is really good so if I hit on the green I think I have a chance to make a birdie.  And plus just to have fun.  I feel good with my game so far, so I just want to have fun with my game.

Q.  Two questions here.  If you were to guess, how many putts over 15 feet did you think you had today?  And after you had your birdie putt at 18, a fan said something to you and I was wondering if you remember what that was?
AI MIYAZATO:  Right.  15 feet, over 15 feet, I just can't remember my birdie putts, but quite a lot.  I think maybe at least five times.  And the last hole, the fan said that "ichiban," which is like number one in Japanese, so that makes me laugh.

Q.  Ai, the birdie that you had at 9 just rolled in on the last rotation.  
AI MIYAZATO:  Yeah.

Q.  It just seemed like everything was kind of going your way today.  Is that kind of how you felt out there?
AI MIYAZATO:  Yeah, yeah, definitely.  I thought it was a little bit short, but then my stroke is really solid out there, so like my ball was just, you know, keep going in the hole and it just feels good.  That birdie actually big, I think that was my break point today, that's why I think I kept going on the back nine.

MODERATOR:  Actually I have one last question.  Let's just talk about when we had the cart out on the course to honor Doug.  Talk about how the Tour goes about honoring him this week and how important it to honor his memory and do it in a unique way with the personalized cart and the players have a chance to go write a note, personalize it.
AI MIYAZATO:  I thought that's a great idea, you know.  Doug's always sitting in the cart and last ‑‑ well, I've been playing on this Tour seven years and last seven years it's just always seeing on the golf course on the cart and he always say hi to me.  Sometimes he was in a bad mood and it's just, you know, everything.  I had such a great memory with him.  So when I saw the cart on 17, I just felt like a little bit emotional, you know, like I still miss him.  I'm sure everyone feel the same way. 

He was a great guy and he did so many things for the LPGA Tour, so we lost a big, you know, a big person.  But still I learned so many things from him and I think ‑‑ I don't know.  I thought I just like how I can give back to him, but then the LPGA set up the buggy for the players.  I saw so many comments on the buggy on 17, it just makes me, you know, like really happy but at the same time really sad.  I thought that was a great idea, I just want to say thank you.

Q.  I heard you were doing something in the off season for charity with Vision 54 in the tsunami area.  Can you tell me what you're doing there?
AI MIYAZATO:  Yeah, we did last year, too.  I did some charity event for the junior golfer in Sendai, which had the most impact from tsunami, but we decide we going to do ‑‑ we going to do in Fukushima Prefecture, which is like nuclear, we have a problem with a nuclear thing.  And there's so many junior golfers in Fukushima Prefecture, so I thought it would be fun to do something with the junior golfer from Vision 54.  I learned so many fun things from Vision 54, so I just want to do something fun and make them happy in Fukushima, so looking forward to do it.

Q.  (inaudible)
AI MIYAZATO:  It will be ‑‑ not a lot, it will be like maximum 10 junior golfers, I guess.

Q.  You mentioned Number 1 earlier.  How close do you think you are to that?
AI MIYAZATO:  No. 1?  Good question.  Can anyone answer it?  I don't know.  It's still far away because like Stacy playing really, really solid this year, which just make me happy.  But Yani playing still good.  It's getting competitive, and I was No. 1 a couple years ago but then it's really, really hard to keep the position, you know.  So I'm very impressed with Yani, how she handle it right now and what she's done for the LPGA.  I'm still learning something from them, so hopefully I can get back to No. 1 soon.

Na Yeon Choi, Rolex Rankings No. 4

MODERATOR:  All right, I'd like to welcome Na Yeon Choi into the interview room. 
NA YEON CHOI:  Thank you.

MODERATOR:  Great round today, a 4‑under puts you one stroke off of the lead.  What was working well for you today?
NA YEON CHOI:  I think actually the last two days my putter was really great, you know.  I mean, when I had a par putt, I supposed a little nervous, but last two day I had a really good confidence, and even last hole my par putt was like four meter, but I made it.  And I mean, yeah, last two day my putting was great and even I hit a lot of good shots, especially today I think I was very calm on the course.  I came here from home so I feel great right now.

MODERATOR:  Nine Top 10s, three runner‑ups, one win this season.  It's obviously been a great year for you.  You put yourself in good position to get another win this weekend.  How nice would it be to end the season on a high note?
NA YEON CHOI:  You know, this is last tournament this year, I really want to finish strong this year.  I know I had a great season this year, but I want to finish it strong.  It doesn't matter win, if I play my best next two days, you know, I really happy where my position.

MODERATOR:  In 2008 you were the runner‑up to Yani in the Rolex Rookie of the Year race.  Tonight So Yeon Ryu will claim that award.  How exciting is it to win that award and see another Korean flourish on this Tour?
NA YEON CHOI:  I know So Yeon very well, we grew up together in Korea.  She's a very nice person and a good player.  I missed the Rookie of the Year from Yani, but I'm really happy she can have it this year.  I think that make her better player or very happy, I think.

Q.  With your consistent play over the last two days, is that something you think may give you an edge?  Because we've seen some players get very good scores one day and not so great the other and you've been very consistent.
NA YEON CHOI:  Well, I try to just more focus from the second shot and around the green.  When I miss the green, I try to focus where is the good position for the next shot.  I think that might help the last two days.

Q.  I wonder if you could talk about your birdie on No. 16.
NA YEON CHOI:  You know, that hole I think many players can reach to the green, but I missed it to the right side of the green and my second shot was only 30 ‑‑ a little less than 30 yards to the pin, but I tried a flop shot to the green.  It was a little short, but my birdie putt was almost a straight line, so wasn't a difficult putt for a birdie putt.

Q.  How long was your birdie putt?
NA YEON CHOI:  Birdie putt was five meter putt.

Q.  You just said you were 30 yards from the green and then the putts are meters.  Which one do you use?  Do you do both?  Because you're confusing me.
NA YEON CHOI:  Honestly, when I was in Korea I used the meter but I changed it to yards when I play the LPGA Tour, so sometimes very confuse to myself.

MODERATOR:  What are you planning on doing during the off season?
NA YEON CHOI:  You know, actually I have to play two more tournament after this week.  Korea has team match, Korean team against Japan team match in December, so I have to play that tournament, and also I'm going to play Swinging Skirts in Taiwan.  Actually, I don't have much time for vacation, but after two more tournament, I might stay in Korea for like two weeks for Christmas and then come back to Orlando and have winter training.

Q.  What would be your favorite place to (inaudible)?
NA YEON CHOI:  Actually, last year I went to Bali in Indonesia and Tokyo for Christmas vacation.  That was first my vacation in my life.  I went to Bali for five days and five days in Tokyo, and that was the first time I went without golf clubs.  I had really fun and if I have time this year I would like to go to Tokyo again, I had fun in Tokyo.

Q.  (inaudible)
NA YEON CHOI:  I think Tokyo.

Q.  (inaudible)
NA YEON CHOI:  Two friends, they're not golfers.  That was first time last year, yeah.

Q.  (inaudible)
NA YEON CHOI:  I was looking for my golf bag.

Q.  Why do you think over the last few years the Koreans have done so well on this Tour?
NA YEON CHOI:  You mean last year?

Q.  The last few years.
NA YEON CHOI:  It's always a very hard question, you know.  Even all the American people, players, or all the Asian players have a good dream and a lot of passion.  I mean, I couldn't say, you know, like Korean people has more working hard, but I think a lot of Korean players on the LPGA Tour and we motivate each other.  When my friend play well, after that I think, you know, I can play well, too.  So I think there the group rivals each other.

Q.  What's the best shot you hit today?  Which shot would you like us to write about today?  In yards.
NA YEON CHOI:  It has to be a shot?  I mean, on the last hole, last putt, I think that was big to me.  If I missed that, if I finish bogey on the last hole, it should be a little fight for next two days.  But I made it and I got a lot of confidence from that putt.

Q.  How many meters?
NA YEON CHOI:  Five yards.

Sun Young Yoo, Rolex Rankings No. 22

Q.  ‑‑ penalty stroke, did they explain it?
SUN YOUNG YOO:  They say my arm wasn't high enough.  It was about like that height.  If they ‑‑ they seen it on TV, so I take it as my mistake.  All I want to say is I didn't try to cheat or anything.  I mean, I was busy taking a drop and I didn't really think about my arm's height.  So, I mean, so I asked the rules official if my arm can get higher and they said no.  So basically I have to use my arm exactly 90‑degree every time I take a drop.  I mean, it happens.  Basically it's my mistake and I was 2 or 3 shots behind, still in good position.  So I'll try to forget about what happened and focus on the next two rounds.

Q.  Did it affect you through the rest of the round?
SUN YOUNG YOO:  I just found out when I signed the scorecard.  I didn't know right after.  Just before I signed the scorecard, some people came up to me and told me what happened.

Q.  Did you ever see it or did you just have to ‑‑ did they show you a picture of it?
SUN YOUNG YOO:  They said I can go watch it, but three of them already watch it, so there was no point to go watch it.

Q.  Not knowing if you were going to get a penalty or not, did that bother you coming in?
SUN YOUNG YOO:  It already happened, like there's nothing I can do about it.  All I can do is just forget about it, you know, try to play good the next two rounds.

Q.  Were you aware that they were looking into this drop as you were finishing your round, or did you not know anything about it?
SUN YOUNG YOO:  I didn't know anything about it.

Q.  You're still 3 shots behind, good position.
SUN YOUNG YOO:  Yeah.

Q.  Yesterday you talked about trying to forget about the finish.  Which feels worse, yesterday or today?
SUN YOUNG YOO:  I mean, they're all about the same.  I played good actually today and yesterday and some bad things can happen.  All I can do is just forget about it.

Q.  How surprised or shocked were you when somebody came up and said we need to talk to you about this drop?
SUN YOUNG YOO:  Actually I was kind of surprised, but I couldn't do anything about it.  It happened and they saw exactly where my arm was, so I just take it as my mistake.

Q.  What did you hit originally when you were trying to advance it out from underneath the bush?
SUN YOUNG YOO:  I hit 5‑iron to get out.

Q.  Were you surprised it didn't get out?
SUN YOUNG YOO:  A little bit, but it happens all the time.  Not all the time, it could happen sometime.  It's golf.

Q.  Did you know your arm was supposed to be 90 degrees and think it was?
SUN YOUNG YOO:  No, I didn't think of my arm at all, I just pick up the ball and drop it instantly, yeah.  No one actually think about where your arm is where you take a drop, right?  But I learn from this and next time I won't make same mistake, so it's all right. 

Brittany Lincicome, Rolex Rankings No. 20

MODERATOR:  I'd like to welcome Brittany Lincicome into the interview room.  Great round today.  You had a double bogey on 3, but you went on a birdie run with six birdies and one bogey.  Tell us about your round and what was working well for you.
BRITTANY LINCICOME:  Yeah, you know, I didn't start, I guess, the way I wanted to.  I'm not sure if I told you yet, but I've been battling some back issues that started yesterday.  So it was kind of one of those where I first teed off the first couple and then I doubled No. 3 and I was like, oh, gosh, you know, this is going to be really bad for my day.  But it turned out okay and I got on a birdie run like you said there and, you know, just tried to slow it down and swing a little bit easier and just tried to basically guide it down the middle and just kind of get back in control of things. 

I was putting really well, which was nice.  Obviously it's nice to do.  This year I've been doing either one or the other well and they haven't been kind of going together, so today and yesterday it actually was nice to hit it well and putt it well all on the same day.

MODERATOR:  You mentioned your back injuries on Twitter, you mentioned your injury and you were thinking that you would withdraw from this tournament.
BRITTANY LINCICOME:  Yeah.

MODERATOR:  What changed from yesterday to today?
BRITTANY LINCICOME:  Not the pain, obviously, because it's still pretty severe, but it's one of those things where I thought yesterday I was like if you can just get through today, I could go have the physio people work on it and it would be fine today, but that didn't happen.  But yeah, like I said, I've never withdrawn from a tournament, obviously didn't want to start this week with CME being one of my new sponsors and for next year, so I have that commitment to be here and I'm going to stick it out.  Hopefully I'm going to keep on playing well, which would be nice.

MODERATOR:  The LPGA did something knew this year with the voting on the featured group on Golf Channel and you won.  Being one of the most popular players on Tour, how nice is it to see that response from the fans?
BRITTANY LINCICOME:  That was really cool.  I mean, obviously it's one of those things where you have Paula Creamer, who has a hundred thousand followers, all these girls that have so many more followers than me, but it just shows you that if you Tweet it enough and your fans really support you, I mean, I try to respond to every single one of my messages.  So I just think interacting with them a little bit and got them to vote for me and it was nice to see me come out on top. 

And yesterday Jerry Foltz kind of threw me under the bus, or I threw myself under the bus, I guess, because he said, oh, were you popular in high school?  And I was like, oh, I didn't even go to high school.  It made it sound like I was like, you know, didn't even go at all and I felt bad because all the young kids that were probably watching, they're like, oh, yeah, she turned pro and didn't even have to go to high school.  So hopefully I'll have a chance one of these times to kind of correct what I meant.

MODERATOR:  What did you think of the tribute that we did to Doug Brecht today?
BRITTANY LINCICOME:  That was really cool and it's really ironic.  It's kind of one of those things that you're like, oh my gosh.

That hole, I signed the card obviously and it was my turn to hit first, so I kind of already knew what I was going to put on the card.  So I signed it and wrote a little message and I was the first to hit out of the bunker and I get up to my bunker shot and I made it, and my dad, all I heard my dad say was that was from Doug.  And that was really cool to see and kind of gave me cold chills after I did it, so that was really fun.  But it's really cool to see us spending money doing something that's going to go for a good cause, and obviously Doug was a great guy and he'll be very missed.

MODERATOR:  You've placed in the Top 10 five times this season.  How nice would it be to pull out your sixth career win this week?
BRITTANY LINCICOME:  That would top off my year.  Obviously this year has not gone according to what I feel like it should have, especially finishing sixth on the money list last year.  Felt like I was doing the same things this off season.  Maybe I went fishing one or two more times more than I should have, but still felt like I was doing the same things and just this year hasn't gone my way.  So it's nice to be playing well, nice to play well two days in a row and hopefully we'll keep on going, and what better tournament to win than obviously in my home State of Florida and I have a lot of fans obviously out there and a lot of family coming in hopefully this weekend to cheer me on.

MODERATOR:  The LPGA is rolling out the red carpet tonight.  I'm sure you've got a lovely dress picked out.  What are you looking forward to the most this evening?
BRITTANY LINCICOME:  Apparently I'm going to interview some of the players, so that's going to be really exiting with my little flip cam.  So obviously it's already 4:00, our round took so long to play today I've got to rush home and get ready so I can be there on time.  But that's going to be fun.  Obviously I have a lot of great, great friends that are going to be there and it's nice to kind of show my support.  Hopefully if I ever win such a cool award, they would come for me, so it's going to be a fun time.

Q.  Kind of a two‑part question.  First, do you know if this means you may not be able to play Monday?  And the second thing is, did you tweak your back at any particular point?
BRITTANY LINCICOME:  Hopefully I could still play Monday.  Why would I not be able to play Monday?  That would be a bummer.  I have some money to be raised there for my charity, I have to play Monday. 

But yeah, you know, I remember a couple weeks ago I went to Vegas to go see some of my long drive buddies compete in an event and I remember leaving the airport lugging all of my luggage and I kind of felt something in my lower back but thought it was no big deal.  Take an Aleve, you're fine, keep going. 

Got a massage on Monday thinking, you know, I have a couple hours.  I flew into Tampa, repacked and got a massage and kind of got my nails done, whatever. 

And it just started hurting yesterday.  Like I was fine all week, no problems at all.  Hit on the driving range, I was fine.  When I got to the putting green, I couldn't bend over to pick up my golf ball.  Like, oh my gosh, that's not good. 

So again I was like take an Aleve, it's going to go away, it's fine.  I've never had an injury on Tour, knock on wood, so I don't really even know how to handle them.  And I get on to No. 4 on the course and I'm like I can't ‑‑ I can barely swing the golf club, my hips are not letting me rotate.  It's just kind of a flip, which my golf swing, my ball already goes right to left, so it was going to keep going further right to left if I didn't correct it.

So I called out our physio, Caroline.  She came out and literally laid me on the ground, tried to push on it a little bit, got it to move a little bit, put some tape on it and got through my round, thank goodness with a decent score.  Maybe I should be injured more often.  I think it was one of those things where I was playing and I was so worried about my back and other things that it completely distracted me from what I was doing on the golf course that it made me play better.  So maybe the back injury will stick around for two more days.

Q.  Is it your lower back?
BRITTANY LINCICOME:  Lower right, yeah.

Q.  Lower right back, okay.  And did you have work on it again today?
BRITTANY LINCICOME:  Yeah, Caroline will work on it when I get out of here.  She just takes her elbow and just digs in there as hard as she can.  Before the round she put heat on it this morning and then kind of pushed on it trying to get my back to loosen up a little bit and then put six pieces, I think, of tape on it to kind of hold it together.

Q.  (inaudible)
BRITTANY LINCICOME:  Yesterday on the course, yeah.

Q.  (inaudible)
BRITTANY LINCICOME:  Yeah, she just kind of made me lay down and kind of pushed on it.

Q.  (inaudible)
BRITTANY LINCICOME:  No, that was on Monday.

Q.  I was going to ask a question about her and then she walked in the room.  (inaudible)
BRITTANY LINCICOME:  I almost threw a whole peanut butter and jelly in her face yesterday.

Q.  I was going to say, you guys are good friends.
BRITTANY LINCICOME:  We used to be.

Q.  I curious if she talked to you at all coming down the stretch for the Player of the Year race about nerves and just how she was handling everything?
BRITTANY LINCICOME:  No, we didn't really talk about it too much.  Obviously I knew she was super nervous, especially last week with it all being so close and everything. 

I do remember her saying yesterday that she was feeling this week was so much more relaxed than the last couple weeks playing trying to look it up and everything so I knew she was going to go out today and have a good time with us.  We can just go out and have a good time and see if she could shoot another low number and get another win under her belt so, but yeah, I'm sure she was way more nervous than she let on to any of us to believe.

Q.  What part of her game or mental game maybe has improved the most this year that you've seen?
BRITTANY LINCICOME:  I would say short game.  I feel like every time she stands ‑‑ I don't know if it's the AimPoint thing or what, but every time she stands over a putt, you know it's going to go in.  She's super confident and just walks it in, kind of like Cristie Kerr kind of does.  But yeah, I think her putting is kind of the main thing, and obviously believing in herself and even if you're having a bad day, just kind of telling yourself you're the best player out there, and the mental side and the putting are the two biggest things.

Q.  Just curious, Brittany, how you play the back‑to‑back 5s and how you play 16?
BRITTANY LINCICOME:  I only birdied the first par 5 today, I parred the second one.

Q.  (inaudible)
BRITTANY LINCICOME:  Hit a 5‑iron just past the pin like 20 feet or so, 25 feet, we'll call it 25 feet.  And then the next hole I totally screwed it up.  I hit a great drive down the middle, was going to go for it but I thought, oh, no, let's lay up, let's be smart.  Laid it up to about 120 or so, pulled pitching wedge left to a back left pin, which was not good.  I had a lot of bunker shots back to back to back, that's probably why I holed it out on 17 today.  But yeah, I got it up and hit it to a foot or whatever, tapped it in and got out of there. 

16, that was a horrible hole, too.  I hit 3‑wood into the greenside bunker, which was where if you were going to miss it to the right, if you were going to miss it, it's a perfect place to be.  I hit a sand wedge to I'm going to call it two feet but it was probably a foot and I missed it.

Q.  (inaudible)
BRITTANY LINCICOME:  Yeah, it sounds better if you go two.  If they have it on replay, like I hit it perfect, like it went in, went all the way around the back and came back to me.  It wasn't obviously hit very hard. it was only a foot and a half, two feet.

Q.  (inaudible)
BRITTANY LINCICOME:  A 3‑wood, yeah.  Yeah, yesterday I went for it with 5‑hybrid.

Q.  (inaudible)
BRITTANY LINCICOME:  Yeah.  There I was front right again and it's not the spot to be.  It's hard to go for that green because it's so elevated and you have a funky chip shot.

Q.  (inaudible)
BRITTANY LINCICOME:  That would be a great conversation.

Q.  Talk a little more about the Monday event and opportunity especially with this demographic with some older players that have played here, some of them 10 or 11 years ago when the Tour was here.
BRITTANY LINCICOME:  Yeah, I'm playing with Jan Stephenson, who I'm not that familiar with unfortunately, but get to play with her, obviously such wonderful player.  I always remember her being just the most beautiful player out on Tour.  It will be cool to just kind of hang out with her for nine holes, get to play.  Obviously it's for a great cause and a little bit of money will get to go to our charities, which is obviously fun, and I get to play with Miss Lewis again, so that will be an exciting time.  It's just going to be a good time, go out there and I imagine there'll be spectators and fans out there, and it will be fun to kind of go out and interact with everybody and just have a good time, kind of show case kind of what we do and just have a good time doing it.

Q.  (inaudible)
BRITTANY LINCICOME:  No, is that the Sports Illustrated one?  I don't think so.  I have to Google it.  I have to do my homework before Monday.

Q.  (inaudible)
BRITTANY LINCICOME:  Don't even start, Miss Lewis.

Karine Icher, Rolex Rankings No. 37

MODERATOR:  All right.  I'd like to welcome Karine Icher into the interview room.  Karine, thanks for coming in today.
KARINE ICHER:  Thanks.

MODERATOR:  Solid round, 2‑under par 70.  You had an eagle on No. 5.  I know you got off to a little bit of a rough start, but can you just take me through your round? 
KARINE ICHER:  It's a tough golf course.  I mean, with this pin position, the wind.  I mean, when you miss the green on the wrong side, you're almost dead.  So I had a double on No. 3 and the pin was in front, so the wide of the green was maybe six or seven yards.  So it's not easy to put the ball on the green, and then I did like back and forth.  But eagle was more than welcome, so gave me back on track and then I had a few good putts, so good round, yeah. 

MODERATOR:  I know we talked a lot last week about Lola, who is just now learning how to walk.
KARINE ICHER:  Yeah.

MODERATOR:  How special is it to come off the golf course and regardless how you played, she is still so excited to see you?
KARINE ICHER:  Yeah, it's cool.  I'm not focused a lot on golf, more on her, so it gives me a break and I think it's a good thing not to be always golf, golf, golf, play golf every day, watching golf, talking golf.  I play golf and then like stories and watch some cartoons, so it give me time to relax.  It's hard because it's a lot of work obviously, but it's nice to have her with us.

MODERATOR:  You missed the majority of last year, and coming out this year you missed three out of the first four cuts on the season.  Do you think that kind of played a little bit of a role in it?
KARINE ICHER:  It's hard to miss the first event of the year because obviously it's a limited field, but you start the year after the girl who played already two or three events, so you're already back on the list, then everything can happen.  But I was a little bit disappointed to not be able to get in to Singapore early this year, even U.S. Open, the USGA never gave me an exemption because I had a baby last year and I gave my spot last year, so it was another big miss.  But other than that, I'm quite happy with my season now, so it's good.

MODERATOR:  Yeah, you've been right there a few times this year of winning.  What would it mean to you to not only get your first victory, but to win the last event on the schedule?
KARINE ICHER:  It would be the cherry on the cake. You know, but still two rounds to play, many good players on the top of the leaderboard, so everything can happen.  (Inaudible) responsible to have shoot 61 on Sunday and obviously it's going to happen and hope is going to be me, but try to keep my game and try to make more putts and we'll see.  I never won, so I'm not expecting a win this week, but a good result would be nice.

Q.  Can you just go into detail on your eagle?
KARINE ICHER:  Well, the good drive and I had hybrid No. 4 ‑‑ No. 2, sorry, to almost 5‑wood to the green and I was short and I had chipped in.  But when I realized when I came to the green it was super narrow and everything can happen on this hole.  I mean, if you hit two good shots, you're in good position, but again if you miss, you can be really fast ‑‑ really quick in trouble.  So I just put the chip in the hole.

Q.  How far was the chip?
KARINE ICHER:  It was close ‑‑ yeah, something like that, yeah, maybe 40 feet, yeah.  But I had almost off fairway and off green and it was just (inaudible) so it was good.

Q.  How did you birdie 16?  What's the best way to play it?
KARINE ICHER:  I put my drive on the green.  But once again, it's a difficult hole even if it's short.  If you miss on the left, the wedge or the chip is super hard.  You almost have maybe to putt, but the greens are so, so hilly and slope and you really have to be on the right side.  I think on this kind of golf course, you have to know exactly where you have to put your ball, so practice rounds are really important.

Q.  How did you play your tee shot?
KARINE ICHER:  Driver ‑‑

Q.  Did you play with a fade?
KARINE ICHER:  No, just straight aiming on the left of the green because we had wind left to right, so I aimed left corner of the green and then the wind put the ball on the green, but it didn't roll a lot.  I had a long putt to do.  But we had front tees, so it was nice.

 

Topics: Notes and Interviews, CME Group Tour Championship, Miyazato, Ai, Choi, Na Yeon, Yoo, Sun Young, Lincicome, Brittany, Icher, Karine [+]

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