CME Group Titleholders Third Round Notes and Interviews

CME Group Titleholders
The TwinEagles Club, Eagle Course
Naples, Fla.
Third-round Notes and Interviews
November 17, 2012

Na Yeon Choi -12, Rolex Rankings No. 4
Ai Miyazato -11, Rolex Rankings No. 8
So Yeon Ryu, -10, Rolex Rankings No. 9
Brittany Lincicome -9, Rolex Rankings No. 20

2012 U.S. Women’s Open champion and Rolex Rankings No. 4 Na Yeon Choi will take a one-shot lead into the final round of the LPGA’s season-ending CME Group Titleholders. Choi fired a 3-under 69 in Saturday’s third round and leads by one over Japan native and two-time winner this season, Ai Miyazato.

Choi tallied four birdies and one bogey in her round on the Eagles Course at the TwinEagles Club in Naples, Fla. Despite a disappointing three-putt bogey on the third hole, Choi managed to prevent any further mistakes and she sank a 15-foot birdie-putt on the par-3 17th hole to take sole possession of the lead heading into the final 18 holes of the season.

Sitting two shots back of Choi is Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year So Yeon Ryu.

Laugh it upHalfway through her third round at the CME Group Titleholders, Ai Miyazato looked like she was blowing her chances at a shot at the season-ending event. The Japanese star was three-over at the turn but had a mid-round regrouping session with her caddie to get things going on the back-nine.

“Until No. 9 second shot, I had just so many times in between shots and I get a gust of wind and sometimes just wind stop and it was really hard to commit like all the way through,” said Miyazato. “So that's why I think I shot 3‑over on the front nine. 

“Then after No. 9 I said to my caddie, it was really hard work the 18th holes but now I think I'm ready for that, I'm ready to play good,” said Miyazato. “I think that conversation kind of helped.” 

Miyazato would go on to record all four of her birdies on the back nine on Nos. 10, 13, 14 and 17 to finish at 11-under for the week and one stroke back heading into Sunday. She said throughout her entire round light talk with her caddie was one of the main reasons she was able to keep a light outlook through her early struggles.

“On the thrid hole I got up and down and made a par, but my caddie made a mistake on the second shot and I was really mad at him,” said Miyazato. “But then on the fourth hole I hit really good shot and I had like 5‑foot birdie chance and he goes, ‘Welcome back,’ and I was like, ‘What?  Me?’  And he goes, ‘No, me.’  And I go, ‘Yeah, welcome back.’  Everyone's making mistakes, so we try to make fun of each other.  It was good atmosphere.

“It was kind of stressful to me, too, you know, but I just try and have like funny conversation in between me and caddie,” said Miyazato. “And like I said yesterday, this is the last tournament and I just don't want to feel like, you know, stress all the way.  I just want to having fun, you know?  And it's one more day honestly, but I think that helps a lot. 

What back problems? Brittany Lincicome followed up her second-round 69 with another solid performance, ending Saturday’s third round with a 2-under 70 and a tie for fourth with Karine Icher. Lincicome had to fight through another day of back pain, but it seems the 27-year-old hasn’t minded it considering her performance this week.

“Yeah, I think it's just one of those things where the more I talk and the more chatty I am, the better I play,” said Lincicome. “So if my mind is completely not on golf and it's on something else, it just seems to make me play better.  Unfortunately, it's not really the way I would want it to go.  Obviously I would still like to be talking to the standard bearers and people in my group and being chatty, but anything to kind of take my mind off of what I'm doing, I seem to play better, more relaxed, I guess.”

Lincicome heads into the final-round just three-strokes off Na Yeon Choi’s lead. Seeking her sixth career victory and her first this season, Lincicome feels confident that she could be the one standing in the winner’s circle tomorrow.

“Each day it kind of seems to get easier and easier, and obviously I'm driving it really well, so if I can keep doing that tomorrow and making a few putts here and there, missed a few coming in, it's definitely out there for the getting if I can just get it all together,” said Lincicome.

Vare trophy race…Heading into Sunday’s final round of the CME Group Titleholders, Inbee Park holds a significant lead over Stacy Lewis in the race for the Vare Trophy, which is awarded to the player with the lowest scoring average.

There are numerous mathematical possibilities but the likely scenarios show that Lewis would have to beat Park by at least seven shots in Sunday’s final round to take home the Vare Trophy this year. Park would become the fourth South Korean to win the Vare Trophy, joining Na Yeon Choi (2010), Grace Park (2004), and Se Ri Pak (2003). Lewis is trying to become the first American to take home the honor since Beth Daniel in 1994.

Sweet ride… Four lucky LPGA players drove away with brand new 2013 Kia Optima Limited’s following Saturday’s third-round. The cars were driven up the 18th green for the first-ever Kia Performance Awards and were presented to the winners by LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan and Ashley Lord of Kia. Stacy Lewis, Brittany Lincicome, Inbee Park and Angela Stanford were presented with Kia keys for their accomplishments in statistical, performance and community actions this year.

Stacy Lewis clinched the Kia Drive to the Top, awarded to the player with the most top-10 finishes, with 15 top-10 finishes in 22 tournaments played through the Mizuno Classic in Japan. Brittany Lincicome ran away with the Kia Power Drive, awarded to the player with the longest driving average in 2012. The long-hitting Floridian averaged 275.2 yards per drive this year.

Inbee Park earned the Kia Most Compelling Performance, awarded to a player with an exceptional performance and voted on by fans at LPGA.com, for her dominant summer that included nine consecutive top-10 finishes, a victory, more than $1.5 million in earnings, and a 19-spot improvement on the Rolex Rankings over a 14 week period.

Angela Stanford is the winner of the Kia Community Assist, which recognizes a player who makes exceptional contributions to charity organizations or community programs, for her work with the Angela Stanford Foundation.

A few more square feet? Na Yeon Choi has a little extra incentive to close out a victory on Sunday. After all, that $500,000 first-place prize check might come in handy this week when Choi gets set to make a big purchase.

“Monday I'm going to look for a new house in Orlando, so I want to make better ‑‑ good result this week to buy a new house,” Choi said, joking that perhaps she might be able to buy a bigger house if she wins.

In addition to buying a new home, Choi is also changing up her home course in the Orlando area. She said that she is now going to practice at Isleworth Country Club.

Speak easy…In preparation for their Rolex Award Celebration speeches, both So Yeon Ryu and Ai Miyazato felt the pressure building before speaking in front of a room of over 200 guests at the Ritz Carlton Tiburon Golf Resort. Both winners delivered flawless speeches on Friday, leaving some anxiety and tension behind and played more care-free during their third rounds.

Ryu received the Louise Suggs Rookie of the Year award and knew she had to following two memorable speeches by Azahara Munoz in 2010 and Hee Young Park in 2011.

“Actually I was pretty nervous to prepare the speech,” said Ryu. “Every rookie's speech was so well.  Anyway, after speech I was so much relieved, and yesterday I slept so well because I don't have to worry about speech thing, so maybe that's why I'm playing great.”

Miyazato was awarded the William and Mousie Powell Award which is given to an LPGA member who, in the opinion of her playing peers, by her behavior and deeds, best exemplifies the spirits, ideals and values of the LPGA. Miyazato said the experience was new for her since the Japanese culture does not traditionally hold ceremonies with speeches.

“Well, I had a great night last night,” said Miyazato. “But honestly today I felt a little bit less tension but it was a good experience.  Like we in Japan, we don't really have like that party, so it was nice to be there and like it's so fun to see like other people in there.  Honestly, I really honored to be on the LPGA Tour, so it just feels good.”

Tweet of the Day: Goes to GolfChannel.com writer Randall Mell who snapped a photo of the presentation of four 2013 Kia Optima Limiteds to the winners of the inaugural Kia Performance Awards.

“Moving Day has new meaning at CME Group Titleholders. 4 Kia cars at 18th about to be presented as Kia Awards”--@RandallMellGC

NA YEON CHOI, Rolex Rankings No. 4

Q.  Great playing, another solid round out there.  Kind of what were the keys to your round today?

NA YEON CHOI:  Actually, during the front nine I was very ‑‑ I was a little calm and I think this morning was more windy, but I finished strong and I was keep focusing my game and I really had fun with Britney and Ai and I'm very happy how I finished today.

Q.  Heading into tomorrow, last event of the season, what would it mean for you to be able to get a victory here and close out the season with a win?

NA YEON CHOI:  I'm just happy I have to play just 18 more holes and finish this year.  Actually, you know, I suppose my body tired or mental tired, but I feel great right now and I have a lot of confidence and then I'm ready to go.

Q.  Overall, I mean, since that win at the U.S. Women's Open, everybody talks about what it takes after becoming a major champion, what has the rest of the season since then been like for you and how, you know, I guess getting back up there again?

NA YEON CHOI:  Well, I mean, I didn't win after the U.S. Open, but still I feel very honored to win a major tournament this year, and also a lot of people still saying congratulations on the U.S. Open.  So it feel make me great, and yeah, like I think I got lot of (indiscernible) from the U.S. Open and I had a lot of experience from there, so I would never forget that day, yeah.

Q.  After that win, is there a lot of pressure that comes with becoming a major champion?  Do you put any additional pressure on yourself or do you kind of have to put that out of your mind?

NA YEON CHOI:  I think I had extra pressure after the major tournament because a lot of people said you're a major champion, you should win, or a lot of people expect better result.  But I can't control that, so I try to accept what happen, and even like other fans in Korea or media saying, you know, I just try to accept and I just focus on what I can control.

Q.  Overall on this golf course, what have been the biggest keys for you throughout the week to be able to shoot low?  And I guess when you're looking at it tomorrow, what's it going to take for somebody ‑‑

NA YEON CHOI:  I'm not going to change my strategy, but I think on this course you have to more focus on the second shot and especially around the green.  If we miss a little bit, it's going to be like we going to have like double bogey or a bogey easy.  So I think I have to more focus from the second shot and even club choosing.

Q.  Is it easier to not be tired when you're in the lead of the last tournament of the year?

NA YEON CHOI:  Actually, the leading is always pressure and really make me more pressure, but I feel very healthy right now and, I mean, I don't have any injury this year, so I feel great.

Q.  I think you get Ai in the final group tomorrow again and So Yeon? 

NA YEON CHOI:  Yeah.

Q.  Talk about playing with them and against them.

NA YEON CHOI:  I think it will be really exciting.  I mean, I played with Ai today and we talked a lot about Korea or Japan, even my dog, everything.  And even if I play with So Yeon tomorrow, it should be more fun.

Q.  Did the course change much with the wind today?  It seems like it looked like it was a firmer course today.

NA YEON CHOI:  I think so.  I mean, right now wind pretty calm right now, but this morning was more windy than right now.  Some hole, if we miss a little bit and we had big trouble.  So even tomorrow we have to ‑‑ I think I have to focus fairway first and then green first.

Q.  Were you irritated by the 3‑putt on No. 3?

NA YEON CHOI:  Yeah, I had 3‑putt on the 3rd hole.

Q.  How did you feel?

NA YEON CHOI:  I mean, the first putt was a little short and my par putt wasn't bad.  I think I hit solid but wasn't a lot, it lipped out.

Q.  But no mistakes the rest of the way?

NA YEON CHOI:  No, no.

Q.  Was that more important than thinking birdies on those?

NA YEON CHOI:  I think I just, especially this week I had a lot of confidence about my putting stroke.  So even when I had a birdie chance, I feel really comfortable and confident and I feel I could make it.

Q.  What iron did you hit on 17?

NA YEON CHOI:  17, par 3?  I hit 5 rescue, hybrid.

Q.  How far?

NA YEON CHOI:  To the pin?

Q.  No, how long was your putt?

NA YEON CHOI:  The putt, five yards.

Q.  15 feet?

NA YEON CHOI:  Yeah.

Q.  We'll teach you.  You said it will be more fun tomorrow with So Yeon.  Why?  Do you guys practice a lot together?

NA YEON CHOI:  Yeah, especially So Yeon, we grew up together in Korea since junior, so I mean, we know each other very well, so I can talk about non‑golf, you know, just like what are you going to do wintertime or something like that, so I think that's going to be help for focus my game.

Q.  Is it hard to be friendly, though, and realize you're playing for the tournament?

NA YEON CHOI:  I think it's good rivals each other.  Like even during tournament, if she had ‑‑ if she has birdie and I feel I can have birdie, too.  So I think it motivate each other so it should be fun tomorrow.

Q.  If you win, will you take her shopping in Tokyo with your money?

NA YEON CHOI:  Actually Monday I'm going to ‑‑ I'm looking for a new house in Orlando, so I want to make better ‑‑ good result this week to buy a new house.

Q.  Might be a bigger house?

NA YEON CHOI:  Maybe, depends on my result.

Q.  Where are you looking?

NA YEON CHOI:  Sand Lake in Orlando.

Q.  Where do you play?

NA YEON CHOI:  I supposed to play in Reunion but I change it to Isleworth.

Q.  Are you going to play in the Tavistock Cup?

NA YEON CHOI:  I don't know.

Q.  There's a lot of Koreans that live in the Sand Lake area.

NA YEON CHOI:  Yeah, Vizcaya, I'm looking in Vizcaya.

Q.  How much has winning the U.S. Open do you think helps you when you get into situations like this where you've got a one‑shot lead and there's a lot of people with a chance?

NA YEON CHOI:  I think for me always leading is more pressure than chasing.  I have to accept my position right now.  And then even tomorrow I'm not going to think about how many strokes behind us, I just play my game.  And I have good experience with the U.S. Open, so I will try maybe think about that feeling, that might help for when I nervous tomorrow.

Q.  I have to ask, what was your best shot of the day?

NA YEON CHOI:  Today?

Q.  What shot are we going to write about?

NA YEON CHOI:  I don't know.  What about putting on 17?

Q.  Okay.

NA YEON CHOI:  Same as yesterday.  The birdie putt was big to me, I think.

Q.  How come?

NA YEON CHOI:  I mean, if I didn't make that putt, maybe I should finish at 11‑under, so it should be, you know, tie first place, but (indiscernible) leading right now.  I said leading is always extra pressure, but I'm happy with that.

Q.  Have you picked out a house yet or are you going to look?

NA YEON CHOI:  I'm going to look.  I haven't.

Q.  If it comes down tomorrow you and Ryu are tied for the last hole, will you guys stop talking?  Does it get serious?

NA YEON CHOI:  I don't know, maybe.  I mean, even today I talked with Ai until 18th green.  So, I mean, we play serious, but, you know, during just walk, we just more talking.  I think that's more for everybody, you know.  Sometimes some golfers, too much focusing during five hours, I think we need to just like even 10 or 15 minute focus, that's it.

Q.  That's a good point.  Does it take more pride to you though if you were to beat her tomorrow?

NA YEON CHOI:  I don't know.  She's a good player, too.  Even Ai, she played well yesterday.  So I think a lot of good players chasing me, so I have to keep focusing my game and I have to play my game, too.

Q.  Having known her for so long, how impressed were you by what she's been able to do her rookie season?  Everybody saw her win the U.S. Women's Open last year, but then for her to come out here and be able to win again and put together so many Top 10 finishes, Top 5 finishes like she has, winning Rookie of the Year?

NA YEON CHOI:  I think, I mean, it's hard to ‑‑ I'm not judging her, but I think she's a pretty smart girl and she knows what is the good practice or what she need, so I think she can be really good player.

Q.  When did you first meet her?  You said you go back to your junior days?

NA YEON CHOI:  When I met her first, that was really long time ago.

Q.  You were how old?

NA YEON CHOI:  I was 14 years old or 15 years old, so more than 10 years ago.

Q.  At a tournament?

NA YEON CHOI:  Yeah, junior tournament in Korea.

Q.  Did you beat her?

NA YEON CHOI:  I was older than her, I mean I'm older than her, so I think I started earlier than her, started golf earlier than her, so maybe, I couldn't remember.

 

AI MIYAZATO, Rolex Rankings No. 8

Q.  Slow start today.

AI MIYAZATO:  Yes.

Q.  3‑over at the turn.

AI MIYAZATO:  3‑over on the front nine.

Q.  In the first nine, 4‑under on the back nine.  Talk about the turning point where you kind of started getting things together.  Was there a certain point where you said okay, get it going?

AI MIYAZATO:  Until No. 9 second shot, I had just so many times in between shots and I get a gust of wind and sometimes just wind stop and it was really hard to commit like all the way through.  So that's why I think I shot 3‑over on the front nine. 

Then after No. 9 I said to my caddie, it was really hard work the 18th holes but now I think I'm ready for that, I'm ready to play good.  I think that conversation kind of helped. 

And No. 10 I made a birdie, it was kind of break point today.  Like I (indiscernible) myself and like I feel more relaxed and like trying to having fun more and I shot 4‑under on the back nine and it feels good.

Q.  Good.  The double bogey on 2 probably wasn't exactly how you wanted to start. What happened on 2?

AI MIYAZATO:  It was all about third shot.  I hit perfect driver, second shot, but then third shot, it just went over the green and it was really tough to make up and down and I couldn't get up and down.  The first shot I couldn't get the green and I came back all the way again and I had the same chip shot and couldn't get up and down from there.  But I didn't feel anything bad.  It was still on the 2nd hole, I thought I can get it back, I know I can get it back in the back nine.

Q.  Can you talk about your chip on 2 and then the very next hole on 3 was a very difficult ‑‑

AI MIYAZATO:  Right.

Q.  ‑‑ and you hit it very nice.  That was important.

AI MIYAZATO:  Yeah, it was.  That was my caddie's fault on the second shot.  We kind of had a fight a little bit.  The third shot chipping was much more easier than second shot because it was in the fairway and I had a good (indiscernible,) so I felt like it wasn't a really difficult chip, I think that was good.  But if you miss the green, just it's going to be a really hard chip shot anyway, like every single shot, so you have to like manage really well every single hole.

Q.  And how did you make bogey on 5, the par 5?

AI MIYAZATO:  5, I hit in the bunker second shot and the third shot from bunker I went over the green and couldn't get up and down.

Q.  Did you hit the bunker on your layup shot?

AI MIYAZATO:  Yeah.

Q.  There's a lot of players who would start ‑‑

AI MIYAZATO:  Right.

Q.  ‑‑ plus 3 would just keep getting worse as the day goes on.  At what point in your career were you able to mentally handle adversity like that, do you think?

AI MIYAZATO:  Yeah, it was kind of stressful to me, too, you know, but I just try and have like funny conversation in between me and caddie.  And like I said yesterday, this is the last tournament and I just don't want to feel like, you know, stress all the way.  I just want to having fun, you know?  And it's one more day honestly, but I think that helps a lot. 

Usually I get mad and like really stress until the end, but I said to myself just having fun, just let go of everything and just try to accept everything and just be myself out there and it was nice.

Q.  What kind of funny conversation?  Give us an example.

AI MIYAZATO:  Let's see, on the 3rd hole I got up and down and made a par, but my caddie made a mistake on the second shot and I was really mad at him.  But then on the 1st hole I hit really good shot and I had like 5‑foot birdie chance and he goes, Welcome back, and I was like, What?  Me?  And he goes, No, me.  And I go, Yeah, welcome back.  Even after we made ‑‑ everyone's making mistakes, so we try to make fun of each other.  It was good atmosphere.

Q.  Did you make the five‑foot birdie putt?

AI MIYAZATO:  I couldn't.

Q.  And that was his fault, too, right?

AI MIYAZATO:  Yeah, right, yeah.

Q.  Talk about last night.  Obviously you had a fantastic speech.

AI MIYAZATO:  Thank you.

Q.  So Yeon mentioned that she thinks she played better and well today because she had no pressure of giving a speech.

AI MIYAZATO:  Right.

Q.  What was it like getting it over with or actually giving it and delivering it and having that night ‑‑

AI MIYAZATO:  Well, I had a great night last night.  I was very happy about Stacy, you know, what she's done like this year.  And I'm still learning from the other players, too, but honestly today I felt a little bit less tension but it was a good experience.  Like we in Japan, we don't really have like that party, so it was nice to be there and like it's so fun to see like other people in there.  Honestly, I really honored to be on the LPGA Tour, so it just feels good.

Q.  Na Yeon Choi and (inaudible)  What's the hardest part about tomorrow?

AI MIYAZATO:  Tomorrow, you know, she's a great player.  She's always same, she's very consistent.  She hits the ball far and she can putt, so it's going to be a really hard day tomorrow.  But like I said, I just want to be having fun one more day.  My golf is in good shape, too, so I try to make birdie, as many as I can.  I don't know, see what's going to happen.

Q.  What do you do after tomorrow?  No golf the rest of the year?

AI MIYAZATO:  No, no golf.

Q.  No?  What are you going to do?

AI MIYAZATO:  I'm going back to California, that's my home in California, so I'll go back in California for one week and then going back to Japan and I think I'm going to spend that time with my family.  I have two nieces and one nephew, so I think I'm going to play with them.

Q.  So no competition, just practice? 

AI MIYAZATO:  Yeah.

Q.  Or a little practice?

AI MIYAZATO:  But not much.

Q.  What's the most fun you have without playing golf?

AI MIYAZATO:  I like to go to shopping.

Q.  Shopping?

AI MIYAZATO:  Yeah, shopping.

Q.  So in a perfect world for you tomorrow, would you like to get off to a great start and hold the lead or would you kind of like to hang back and then pass her at the end?

AI MIYAZATO:  You never know what's going to happen, so I'll take whatever.  I'll just do my best like every single hole.  Like I said, you have to manage well every single hole, so I just take one shot at a time and see what's going to happen.

 

SO YEON RYU, Rolex Rankings No. 9

Q.  Great round today.

SO YEON RYU:  Yeah, thank you.

Q.  Six birdies, two bogeys.  Just take us through your day and what was working well for you.

SO YEON RYU:  Actually, today my shot was lot better.  Actually last two days my shot wasn't really great, but today my shot was lot better.  But the problem is today ‑‑ I mean, after finished the front nine, my back is pretty painful so my swing was not working after that nine.  So I a little bit struggle with my swing after nine, back nine.  But I think I cover up pretty well with the short game.  I'm really happy with my result.

Q.  What happened to your back?

SO YEON RYU:  Just common, common things, sometimes if it too tight, maybe just a little painful.  Especially, you know, last night I wearing high heels during the three hours might be the problem.

Q.  You had a string of four birdies on the front nine.

SO YEON RYU:  Yeah.

Q.  Take us through those.

SO YEON RYU:  Well, shot was really, really great, I just made it's like three‑foot birdie putt, then five foot, seven foot.  So that shot and putt was really great.  Especially actually the sixth hole birdie putt was not really easy putt, but I made it so it was pretty motivated, so that's why I could go through like made two more birdies.

Q.  Last night you had a great speech ‑‑

SO YEON RYU:  Oh, thank you.

Q.  ‑‑ when you stood on the stage and accepted the Rookie of the Year award.

SO YEON RYU:  Actually I was pretty nervous to prepare the speech.  Every rookie's speech was so well.  Anyway, after speech I was so much relieved, and yesterday I slept so well because I don't have to worry about speech thing, so maybe that's why I'm playing great.

Q.  Is it easier to play in the final group on Sunday than it is to have to give a speech like that?

SO YEON RYU:  It's really hard pressure, both really hard, but you know, golf is like just my job.  It be more easier to prepare it.  Speech is not my common thing, so maybe speech is a bit more tougher, just like two percent.

Q.  When did you start feeling tightness in your back?  Did you feel it on the range or not until you got out?

SO YEON RYU:  It was on the ninth hole after I hit a tee shot, it was just really painful.  But it really common thing so I really not big worry about it.  I'm going to the medical center maybe tomorrow.  How cool the LPGA have a medical trailer?

Q.  Do you think it might have been related to wearing heels last night?

SO YEON RYU:  Umm, maybe, but I don't know.  Just common thing.

Q.  How often do you wear heels?

SO YEON RYU:  Not much, I'm not really big high heel fan.  Yesterday was really special day, so that's why I took a high heel.  I think it looks pretty great, so that will be fun.

Q.  You say this is a common thing.  Do you deal with back issues on a regular basis?

SO YEON RYU:  Well, you know, before I start the tournament I always warm up pretty great, I spend really much of time like 30 minute, 40 minutes, and just I think yesterday I was just tired so that's why it just really painful.  Maybe tomorrow it will be better.

Q.  The interesting thing is you've had such a good rookie year.  The sense I get, you still have a lot of energy the way you speak.  I was just wondering, do you wish this rookie season could go on for another month or two or do you need a break?

SO YEON RYU:  No, no, this is too much.  I'm so happy to play in my last tournament.  I think that's why I'm really happy, especially I really love, too, being with the LPGA family and sponsors and fans so that's why I've got a lot of energy.

Q.  Is this your last tournament of the year or do you have other tournaments overseas?

SO YEON RYU:  Actually this is my last tournament on the LPGA.  Then we have a Korea against Japan tournament in Korea, and then I have one more tournament in Taiwan, then done.

Q.  And those are before Christmas?

SO YEON RYU:  Yes, yes.

Q.  Are you looking at the leaderboard at all, seeing who's there?

SO YEON RYU:  Well, maybe now Na Yeon Choi leader, Ai is 11‑under, now I'm third.  So maybe tomorrow I will pairing with them.  I always really happy playing with Na Yeon and Ai, you know.  Ai is really friendly people and Na Yeon is Korean people, so maybe tomorrow is really great (indiscernible) for me.  But you know, the final round, final group is always tough, but I have to enjoy that group.

Q.  Is there any country competition?  I know you guys are all friendly, but is there a little rivalry at all?

SO YEON RYU:  It's really hard to compare with Korean girl, same country, but, you know, outside of course we are the same country people, we are friends, but in the course absolutely we are friends but also we are competitor like in the final group.  So it's not really big different as American, Japanese, whatever, just like same Korean player, same player, same competing, yeah.

Q.  If you know golf, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer were rivals.  Are you similar?  You both won the U.S. Open, you both won the Jamie Farr Classic, you both idolize Se Ri.

SO YEON RYU:  I'm just rookie and Na Yeon is really incredible, so I don't want to compare to Na Yeon, I just want to play my game.

Q.  What would it mean to beat her, though?

SO YEON RYU:  Beat her?

Q.  Would it give you any ‑‑ if you won and beat her, would that boost you up even at home?

SO YEON RYU:  No, no, no, not really big different.  Na Yeon's already really successful player and now I'm just baby (indiscernible) player.

Q.  So no love‑hate there?

SO YEON RYU:  Nope, I just love to play with them, that's all.

 

BRITTANY LINCICOME, Rolex Rankings No. 20

Q.  Take us through your round.  What were the keys to scoring well today?

BRITTANY LINCICOME:  Yeah, it started a little shaky.  The first couple holes, I don't know if I'm just nervous or what goes on, but just haven't seemed to be able to capitalize on them yet.  So tomorrow I'll obviously, if I want to be the number one player on top, I have to start better because the back nine I keep shooting like 33s and going super low on.  So if I can play on the front like I do the back, I'll be in contention for sure.

Q.  Speaking of back, how is your back?

BRITTANY LINCICOME:  It's okay.  Today was better.  Still the first couple holes, I mean, it was just my lower body wouldn't let me follow through, so it was just kind of a flip with the arms and they were going left on left, which is my miss anyway, but it was more severe today obviously because my back was a little tight.  So hopefully go ice it and get it worked on one more time and hopefully it will be better for tomorrow.

Q.  I noticed on 18 while you were waiting to putt the second time, you were making sure it was loose and ‑‑

BRITTANY LINCICOME:  Yeah, I was just trying to stretch it.  The first couple days I felt like I was babying it a little bit, so today I was trying to like stretch it a little bit more and maybe try to keep it more limber instead of babying it, so not sure which works better.

Q.  Is this the most severe case of you having to battle through an injury?

BRITTANY LINCICOME:  Absolutely.  Knock on wood, I've been so lucky I've never had an injury before until this.  I never see our physio people, it's kind of nice to see them, but obviously not this way.  I'm sure it's nothing, you know, too bad.  Obviously taking next week off, going to see family in West Virginia for Thanksgiving, so I'm sure it will be fine by then.  Just unfortunate that it has to be the last week of the year, you know?

Q.  You touched on this a little bit yesterday, I was hoping you could elaborate on this as far as a lot of times we'll see athletes where they're dealing with an injury and yet can still come through with a great performance.  You were talking about how maybe it got you focused more ‑‑

BRITTANY LINCICOME:  Yeah.

Q.   ‑‑ on ‑‑

BRITTANY LINCICOME:  Maybe it needs to go back to hurting the same as what it was hurting on Thursday, maybe I could concentrate better.  Yeah, I think it's just one of those things where the more I talk and the more chatty I am, the better I play.  So if my mind is completely not on golf and it's on something else, it just seems to make me play better.  Unfortunately, it's not really the way I would want it to go.  Obviously I would still like to be talking to the standard bearers and people in my group and being chatty, but anything to kind of take my mind off of what I'm doing, I seem to play better, more relaxed, I guess.

Q.  I think you're within three, right?

BRITTANY LINCICOME:  Okay.  I have no idea.

Q.  It seems like you're in the running.  Do you feel like ‑‑

BRITTANY LINCICOME:  Yeah, I feel like I've been playing really well all week.  Obviously when I got here I didn't play any practice rounds until Wednesday and I was like, oh, my gosh, this course is really tight, where are you going to hit it.  Each day it kind of seems to get easier and easier, and obviously I'm driving it really well, so if I can keep doing that tomorrow and making a few putts here and there, missed a few coming in, it's definitely out there for the getting if I can just get it all together.

Q.  So talk about last night's experience, just being there for your friends and watching them accept the awards.

BRITTANY LINCICOME:  Yeah, that was real cool.  I had a few friends that were there.  Obviously my main friend was Stacy Lewis, and everything that she's gone through to get where she is today is pretty unbelievable, but I think she enjoyed me being there and that was nice, so it was nice to be there to support a friend.

Q.  The Commissioner mentioned you as far as your flip phone or something?

BRITTANY LINCICOME:  I was videoing actually for the LPGA.  They gave us these little flip cams to kind of more so to do something off the golf course, but I think still maybe they'll use it.

Q.  It sounds like you really enjoy the whole experience ‑‑

BRITTANY LINCICOME:  Yeah.

Q.  ‑‑ because you were talking about liking to be chatty and just ‑‑

BRITTANY LINCICOME:  I do, trying to go outside the ropes.  It's just fun, especially if you're playing well makes it a little bit easier.  If I would have shot 100 today, I probably wouldn't have been as chatty with you.  Obviously if I keep playing well, then I obviously enjoy doing what I do.

Q.  What's your mindset heading into tomorrow?

BRITTANY LINCICOME:  Just going to do the same things, you know?  If I keep driving it well, make a few putts here and there, and Na Yeon or whoever's leading doesn't do something super crazy, it's definitely out there.  You know, I feel like first day I shot like 4‑under, I feel like if I can do something like that, maybe a couple better, I can definitely be in contention for sure.

Q.  Get pars and birdies on those first two holes.

BRITTANY LINCICOME:  Yes.  It's definitely that front nine is going to be the telltale.  I could go eagle‑eagle or something on the back, though.

 

 

Topics: Notes and Interviews, Choi, Na Yeon, CME Group Tour Championship

Andrews Sports MedicineArpin Van LinesFloridas NaturalMedjet AssistMichelob ULTRAPrudentialSmuckers