Lorena Ochoa Invitational Third-Round Notes and Interviews

Lorena Ochoa Invitational Presented by Banamex and Jalisco
Guadalajara Country Club
Guadalajara, Mexico
November 10, 2012
Third-Round Notes and Interviews

Inbee Park -15, Rolex Rankings No. 4
Cristie Kerr -13, Rolex Rankings No. 15
So Yeon Ryu -12, Rolex Rankings No. 9

Rolex Rankings No. 4 Inbee Park followed-up rounds of 67-68 with a third-round 6-under 66 to take the lead at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational Presented by Banamex and Jalisco.

For the third consecutive day, Park got off to a blazing start in her round with back-to-back birdies on the first two holes. She then went on to notch four additional birdies including the par-5 18th which was moved up 40 yards from Friday’s second round.

In search of her third LPGA Tour victory this season, Park enters tomorrow’s final round with a two-stroke lead over Cristie Kerr.  

One Step At a Time… Inbee Park might have a long way to go if she wants to win this year’s Rolex Player of the Year as she currently stands 58 points behind Stacy Lewis but Park currently holds the lead in two other prestigious categories.

With only five tournament rounds left on this year’s LPGA Tour, Park currently leads the LPGA Official Money List and the Vare Trophy race, awarded to the player with the lowest scoring average.

“That would be two big achievements this season,” said Park. “If I win three I don’t have anything else to do next season so it’s kind of good to have one maybe or two and take it one step at a time. I’m not going to play golf this year then quit; I have a lot of years in front of year. I’m just going to take every year as an experience and try my best every shot.

Park got off to a rocky start this year with a missed cut at the season-opening ISPS Handa Australian Open but rebounded nicely since with two wins and nine additional top-10 finishes.

“Earlier this season everything didn’t really work well, especially my putting wasn’t working well earlier this season” said Park. “I was just trying to find the right stroke and right putter for myself.  I kept trying different putters and kept trying different strokes and just finally found my stroke. I felt really comfortable after that.”

Thinking Ahead… So Yeon Ryu has already locked-up this year’s prestigious Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Award and achieved her goal to join an elite list of previous winners that include Hee Kyung Seo, Azahara Munoz, and Jiyai Shin.

“When I started the season my goal was Rookie of the Year and I have had success so I’m really, really happy,” said Ryu. “When I found out Rookie of the Year was already decided I was really relieved and I had so much fun. That is why I can enjoy this tournament more, that has really helped. Hopefully I can finish strongly tomorrow.”

The tradition will continue this year of the winner giving an acceptance speech at the Rolex Awards Reception at next week’s season-ending event. At last year’s ceremony Hee Kyung Seo delivered a memorable speech where she gave Yani Tseng a friendly warning that she was closer than she appears.

As this year’s season-ending event is on the horizon at next week’s CME Titleholders, Ryu has already given some thought as to what she will include in her speech.

“First of all I’m really worried that I’m not a native speaker,” said Ryu. “I think I have to really prepare it. Yesterday I was thinking about how many people I have to thank, it’s like 1,000 people. It’s really hard to prepare the speech but I’m really happy to prepare the speech. I think I should watch some of the Rookie of the Year players’ speeches like Hee Kyung Seo and Azaraha Munoz but it’s really hard to find it on YouTube.”

Locked In! The final group during Saturday’s third round of the Lorena Ochoa Invitational Presented by Banamex and Jalisco consisted of Angela Stanford, Cristie Kerr and Inbee Park, the group was rolling along nicely until to many people’s dismay, Kerr was nowhere to be found on the fifth tee.

It wasn’t until Kerr’s post round press conference that she admitted she got locked in the bathroom with no way to get out.

“I got locked in the bathroom,” said Kerr with a laugh when asked about the delay. “I didn’t even lock the door but the door just jammed itself shut and I’m like kicking and kicking trying to open the door and it got locked. I got locked in the bathroom and the door wasn’t even locked, the door got jammed. They had to open it from the other side. I was making a lot of noise thinking they were teeing off.”

Of Note… Second-Round leader Angela Stanford shot a third-round even-par and stands four-strokes behind leader, Inbee Park…Tournament hostess Lorena Ochoa fired a 2-under 70 during Saturday’s third round remain at T19.

 

Inbee Park, Rolex Rankings No. 4

Moderator:  Inbee, another great for your today. You head into tomorrow with a two-stroke lead, what worked well for you today?

Inbee Park: I had a really solid day today. I had a really good start birdie number 1 and 2. I mean I birdie number one and two into everyday last three days so. That makes the day really easy. And today both striking was really good and the putting was really good so everything worked out very great the last three days so I’ll just keep up my play tomorrow and see what happens.

Moderator: You said yesterday that you think it’s impossible to catch Stacy, now that you have a lead going into tomorrow, do you think that is a little bit more of a reality?

Inbee Park: I heard that Stacy, if she won three points, she will win the player of the year but nobody knows what will happen. But just you know try my best and win this week and play well next week again. I mean It really is a hard thing to do. I mean can’t expect Stacy to play bad two events in a row. So I mean, even if I don’t win player of the year, I’ve had a really great season and I’m really satisfied with myself and I’m just really happy with the season.

Question: You started the season a little shaky with missing the cut at the Australian Open but now you’re closing it in style. You have 8 consecutive total finishes from June to Malaysia. You claimed two wins. What happened in June?
Inbee Park: Earlier in this season, everything didn’t really work well. Especially my putting wasn’t working good early in the season and I was trying to find the right stroke and the right putter for myself. Just kept trying different putters kept trying different strokes and finally just found my stroke and I felt really comfortable after that.

Question: You mentioned that it’s complicated for you get player of the year. Of course it’s complicated but you have the Vare Trophy. Would that be good instead if you don’t win the player of the year award?

Inbee Park: Yeah. I think so, that would be really big two achievements for the season and if I would have won three, I mean, I don’t have anything else to do next season so It’s kind of good to just have one or two and just go one step at a time. I mean, I’m not going just play golf this year and quit. I have a lot of years in front of me and I’ll just take every year as an experience and just try my best every shot.

Question: Do you feel pressure playing as the leader tomorrow kind of as the favorite or do you have any strategy going into tomorrow?

Inbee Park: No I don’t have a special strategy. I just try to play like the last three days. I’ve been feeling pretty comfortable with the golf course and my swing and the putter. So just trust myself and you just go with the last three days.

Question: What would it mean for you to win this tournament?

Inbee Park: I had two wins so far this season. I think all the two events I won, I came from behind. I never won like leading after third round, so it would be a lot of fun and a new experience for tomorrow so it will be just very special to play in Lorena’s event and it will be very special if I win this week.

Question: What does Lorena mean to you as a player? Did you get a chance to see her as you growing up and progressing? What did she mean to your career did you admire her. What did she mean to you?

Inbee Park: I think she’s done a lot of things for women’s golf. She probably inspired a lot of Mexican young golfers. Definitely for us too, I got to play with Lorena maybe two or three times when I was playing on the tour and it was a special experience. I played with her in Mexico in 2008 or 2009 and it was a very special tournament and I still can’t believe that I actually got to play with her and it was a great experience.

 

Cristie Kerr, Rolex Rankings No. 15

Moderator: Alright I’d like to welcome Cristie Kerr to the interview room. Cristie thanks for coming in.Nice solid round today. Can you take me through the day?

Cristie Kerr: I just played really solidly all day.You know, just like the first day. And got some shots there on the back nine and was just able to make more putts out there no doubt, but looking forward to tomorrow.

It feels good; it feels really good, to be close and tomorrow is going to be a fun day for everybody to watch. You know Inbee is playing amazing golf. She’s played amazing golf all year. I’ve worked really hard and you know these last three days are the most comfortable I’ve felt on the golf course all year. And you know, I just keep having to tell myself, keep putting myself in this position, it’s going to happen again. It’s unfortunate that I haven’t won in the last two years, but you know sometimes it happens.  But you know, it seems the more I’ve forced the issue, the worse it’s gotten. So I think I just need to stay relaxed and just play my game tomorrow. And hopefully those puts will go in.

Question: Hi Cristie, your confidence in your putt makes you think you can be in the top?

Cristie Kerr: Well yeah, I am one of the best players in the game.So, yes. It really just comes down to who gets the most birdie putts and who’s rolling it into the hole tomorrow. I mean I just gotto go out and do the same thing I did the last three days. And you know I listened to part of her press conference as well and you know the way we both played if we play that way tomorrow it’s going to come down to a putt or two. And you know really it’s great to play with her today, she’s really a nice person and you know tomorrow whoever plays better. I mean it really comes down to that, whoever makes more putts.

Question: Cristie, you and Inbee played together today. Did you kind of feed off each other? A little bit, you know she’s playing really well. And you know I love this golf course and I love the tournament. And I got to play with Lorena a lot over the years and I learned a lot from her so it’d be an honor to get to win the tournament. What do you think has been missing the last couple of years to win?

Cristie Kerr: It’s hard to put your finger on it. You know I’ve been pretty close in the last couple of years. I don’t know, I think the more you tense up and tighten up the worse you tend to play and you know I’ve tried to force it a lot the last couple of years. And you know I’m just going to go out tomorrow, not focusing too much on tomorrow because you know I’m going to be in this position a lot for the years to come so I just got to go out tomorrow, play my own game, let the chips fall where they may and hopefully roll the rock really well.

Question: Cristie, we were wondering what happened to you when your group had to wait for you.

Cristie Kerr: I got locked in the bathroom. (Laughs)Really? I didn’t even lock the door, but the door like jammed itself. Shut up over there. (laughs) And I’m like kicking and kicking and kicking, trying to open the door and I got locked in the bathroom and the door wasn’t even locked. The door was jammed so I’m like seriously? I’m in the bathroom and it got locked. So that’s what happened. Thank you guys. On that note, I’m going to leave.

 

So Yeon Ryu, Rolex Rankings No. 9

Moderator: Nice round today. You shot yourself kind of back into contention. How does it feel and what went well for you out there?

So Yeon Ryu:  Well, actually, today my round was really great, but the front nine wasn’t really great. ( Inaudible) The back nine. And actually, the tenth hole is really easy to make the birdie but today, my second shot was in the bunker. Then my bunker shot was a really big fail, a really mistake. But it was like a little lucky because my ball was just too fast so that’s my first birdie on today. Then my shot was getting really improved and my driving was really, really great. And especially today, my putting feels really great so I really felt comfortable with the putting. Then I think today my short game was really perfect and I’m really happy I finished the birdie hole eighteen because yesterday I was playing bogey, bogey the last two holes. I was really disappointed in myself. But today I was really strong finish last couple holes so I was really happy with my results so far.

Moderator: As we hear the music in the background, this is your first time here in Mexico. How has it been so far?

So Yeon Ryu: Well, one of my favorite foods is Mexican food so I loved being here, especially with the food. I think it’s really, really great crowds and so much really little fans out here. So they’re really cute. You know, the event hoster is Lorena Occhoa. Actually, this is my rookie year, so I haven’t met Ochoa, Lorena. So I feel it’s really an honor to be playing this tournament.

Moderator: You’ve already clinched the Rookie of the Year honors this year. How does it feel to join such an elite group of golfers this year?

So Yeon Ryu: Well, you know, when I was early season, my goal was Rookie of the Year, then I’ll have success. And I think that’s why it’s already decided the Rookie of the Year, then I was really relieved and had so much fun. So, that’s why I can be more enjoying this tournament. That was really helpful the last two tournaments. Hopefully, I can finish really strongly tomorrow.

 Moderator: Hee Kyung Seo delivered quite the speech last year at the Rolex Reception for Rookie of the Year. Have you given any thought to what your speech is going to be about and what you’re going to say?

So Yeon Ryu: Well, first of all, I really worry about that. I’m not a native speaker, so I think I’ll have to prepare it. Oh, and yesterday, thinking about how many people I have to thank you. It’s like a thousand people out there, so it’s really hard to prepare the speech. But I’m really really happy to prepare the speech. I think I should watch some of the Rookie of the Year players who speak  Yani, Aza, Hee Kyung, It’s really hard to find a YouTube. I’m still trying. laug

Question: You missed the cut at the Canadian Open. Then you posted five consecutive top ten finishes. It’s been fantastic since you missed the cut. What did you change?

So Yeon Ryu: Actually, I missed a cut, then I won the KLPGA tournament in Korea, especially my sponsor tournament. I think that moment I should rest since it’s my rookie year. Everything was really new, so I was really nervous in every way. So I think my condition was really, really bad. Then I missed cut, then I took a rest in Korea. And I had a nice food and had a chatting with my friend . Then I really relieved, then, how can I say? A bit more, Oh, I really should enjoy the tournament. Then I watched Lydia Ko win the tournament, the Canadian Women’s Open. She was pretty impressive for me. You know, Lydia’s like 15 years old. Now I’m…I know I’m still young, but she’s younger than me. So I was really pretty impressed. So I’m just trying a bit of practice then watch the PGA and LPGA really great golfer. I think that moment is really great rest for me. I’m really, really happy (inaudible). He told me that I really, really consistent and the really big thing is I had a really great opportunity to playing with my idol style. Like yesterday, I played with Cristie Kerr and Inbee Park  a couple tournaments. So it’s really great. Yup.

Question: Hi, Congratulations. According to the internet, you’ll get to play in tomorrow’s tournament. What do you expect?

So Yeon Ryu: Well, it’s really hard to playing with Korean girls, especially the final round. But I’m a professional golfer, so I have to thinking about the winning, and this is really great opportunity to make my second winning this year. So I think I will try my best an really important thing is keep thinking about my game and not thinking about others: Cristie or Inbee’s game. But it’s really hard since Cristie is one of my really great idol star. Maybe I will be little bit nervous, but I’m ready to go.

Question: You mentioned playing against Korean girls. What can you say in your speed to be playing so well and be in the lead?

Uh, well, I don’t have secret, but, what can you do? Just chatting with my caddie that make me relaxed. Then, well, if I’m talking with Inbee then Cristie be really curious what we are talking about. Maybe tomorrow is the Korean tour, but anyway, it’s really big thing is I have to enjoy the tournament. Well, when I was in the tournament, the reserve is always great, so I really want to enjoy this tournament with the crowds.

Question: You make friends with 17. You bogeyed them, and then you have today par birdie. What happened? What was the difference?

So Yeon Ryu: Well, yesterday I was really disappointed in myself on 17 and 18. I thought I couldn’t focus on my ball on 17 hole. I mean in between ground. I mean, the end of 17 is really tough part for par 3. But Par 5 is not really difficult par 5, but I made a 6. That happened is this area’s altitude is really high so it sometimes really hard to control distance. So at 18, my pitching was going so far away, like a150 yards something. So today I just really focused on calculate the altitude and the distance then it worked really great. So that’s why today 17, 18 was really great.

Topics: Notes and Interviews, Lorena Ochoa Invitational, Kerr, Cristie, Park, Inbee, Ryu, So Yeon [+]

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