Mizuno Classic First-Round Notes and Interviews

Mizuno Classic
Kintetsu Kashikojima Country Club
Shima-Shi, Mie, Japan
First-round Notes and Interviews
November 2, 2012


Jiyai Shin, -4, Rolex Rankings No. 7
Na Yeon Choi, -3, Rolex Rankings No. 3
Beatriz Recari, -3, Rolex Rankings No. 68
Momoko Ueda, -3, Rolex Rankings No. 72
Yani Tseng, -1 Rolex Rankings No. 1

 

Rolex Rankings No. 7 Jiyai Shin (@sjy1470) and Japan’s Ayako Uehara both fired rounds of 4-under par 68 to earn a share of the lead after the first round of the Mizuno Classic. Both leaders carded five birdies and one bogey, holding a one-stroke lead over a group of six including 2012 U.S. Women’s Open champion Na Yeon Choi (@nychoi87), JLPGA member Maiko Wakabayashi, Wegmans LPGA Championship winner Shanshan Feng, defending champion Momoko Ueda, Beatriz Recari (@BeatrizRecari) and HSBC Women’s Champions winner Angela Stanford (@Angela_Stanford).

Shin teed off from the back-nine and opened her round with three straight birdies in the first five holes. She tallied two more birdies on the front-nine before ending her bogey-free streak at the Kintetsu Kashikojima Country Club when she missed a par opportunity to remain in the lead on the final hole.

“Well, I hit it really well with my driver but my second shot with a 5-wood I missed the green,” Shin said of her bogey on 18. “Missed the chip and the putt, but you know that’s golf. I have two more rounds, so I just have to do my best. I think one bogey is enough for the week.”

 

Set to defend…  In 2007, Momoko Ueda became the eighth Japanese player to capture the Mizuno Classic title in its 36th season on the LPGA Tour schedule. With her win in 2011 she became the first to have two wins at the tournament. There’s just something about the Kintetsu Kashikojima Country Club that brings out Ueda’s best game.

“I just like playing aggressively and that’s my style,” said Ueda. “But I do feel really comfortable playing on this course and I love most of the holes on this course. I had some struggles with the wind today but I have been preparing for this course and I just know when I need to go for the birdies.”

Ueda put herself in good position to defend her title after posting a 3-under par 67, putting her just one-stroke off of Jiyai Shin’s and Ayako Uehara’s lead. Ueda says she hopes to enter the second-round as calm as possible to get past the added pressure that comes with defending a title.

“Hopefully when I wake up tomorrow I won’t be nervous or feel any pressure,” Ueda said. “I love this course and I have great memories here, so enjoy tomorrow no matter what.”

With a win this weekend, Ueda would become the first Japanese player, and first since Annika Sorenstam in 2005, to defend the Mizuno Classic title in back-to-back seasons. 

 

Blown away… During this week’s practice rounds, the Kintetsu Kashikojima Country Club enjoyed sunny weather with warm temperatures making for perfect conditions to score low. But in the first-round of play the windy conditions and cooler temperatures caused many players to play a bit more cautiously than originally planned. 

“Definitely the wind and the cold conditions affected the game today,” Beatriz Recari said. “There were certainly some holes that you had to take into more consideration because it was really blowing off the sides. It was challenging but I just had to make sure I put myself in good position on the greens for a birdie putt or a good putt for par.”

The back-nine plays adjacent the Ago Bay, which causes more wind to sweep in from the waterfront making for difficult shots from the fairways. Many players felt they needed to select longer clubs for their second shots in order to land on the greens in regulation. 

“There’s usually not much wind at this course,” Na Yeon Choi said. “This year, it’s really windy. I think that’s why the back-nine is very hard to choose your club from the second shot.”

 

Quote of the day… “I think one bogey is enough for the week.” – Jiyai Shin, after carding her first bogey on the course since 2009.

 

Of note… Rolex Rankings No. 1Yani Tseng carded an eagle on the par-5 15th and finished with a tie for 19th at 1-under 71 along with No. 2 Stacy Lewis and nine others … Rookies Sydnee Micheals and Danielle Kang sit in a 10-way tie for ninth at 2-under 70 along with Evian Masters and Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia winner Inbee Park

 

Jiyai Shin, Rolex Rankings No. 7

Q. Great round today. A 4-under par round puts you tied for the lead. Take me through your round and what was working well for you.
JIYAI SHIN: Today the weather was so windy, so I played really hard. My strength is accuracy on the fairway and greens but today I missed a lot of the greens. But my chipping was good and my putting was good. I made only one bogey on the last hole, but I’m really happy with my score.

Especially, on Wednesday I changed my club for a new model. Today, I played with a new club on the first day of the tournament and I think it was a good start.

Q. I know yesterday you said you wanted to continue your bogey-free streak. Take me through that bogey.
JIYAI SHIN: Well I hit it really well with my driver and my second shot with a 5-wood and I missed the green. Missed the chip and the putt, but you know that’s golf. I have two more rounds, so I just have to do my best. I think one bogey is enough for the week.

Q. Take about the conditions on the course today. Obviously the weather is a little different than we’ve had the past few days.
JIYAI SHIN: The wind made it so different today, especially on No. 6 the long par-4. Yesterday, I hit a 3-hybrid but today I hit a 3-wood. This wind is blowing so hard. You just have to be careful with each shot every time.

Q. You said yesterday this course is perfect for making a lot of bogeys. Are you surprised there scores aren’t lower today?
JIYAI SHIN: Actually, yea. The other players played really well today with this wind though. Hopefully the next two days the weather will be much better than today and we can make lots more birdies.

Q. What is your mindset going into tomorrow knowing you’re in the lead?
JIYAI SHIN: Not making a bogey, that’s the first thing. The next is my shot is really good, so I just have to continue that tomorrow and the next day.

Q. You seem to always play really well at this course. You’ve won twice already. What is it about playing here that gives you so much success?
JIYAI SHIN: Well first, I’m using a Mizuno club. So it’s a big step having their support here this week. It makes me comfortable and gives me a lot of confidence. And then, when my first time playing here in 2008 I won at the time so after that I had a lot of confidence on this course. This golf course you have to play woods and long irons. I think I’m strong with hybrids and fairway woods so I think that’s why I play well here.

 

Na Yeon Choi, Rolex Rankings No. 3

Q. Great round today, 3-under par puts you one stroke off the lead. Take us through your day and what was working well for you.
NA YEON CHOI: I think today I played really well on the front nine. I played well on the back nine, too, but there is a lot of wind out there and very cold. I had one bogey on the 17th hole but I think I’m in good position right now after the first-round and only two days left. I just have to get some good rest and I’m really looking forward to the next few days.

Q. Yesterday you said your goal was to play really aggressive on day one, weren’t going to play it safe and try to make a lot of birdies. It seems like you did just that.
NA YEON CHOI: I think only one putt was short on the last hole. Other than that hole, my putter was at good speed every hole. I think I putted very aggressive today. That’s why I played well. I had four birdies today. But I think my putter was great, if I compare my shots.

Q. Talk about the conditions on the course.
NA YEON CHOI: Conditions are always great on this course. I played here the last five or six years and the course is always in good shape. But there’s usually not much wind at this course. This year, it’s really windy. I think that’s why the back-nine is very hard to choose your club from the second shot.

 

Beatriz Recari, Rolex Rankings No. 68

Q. A 3-under par puts you one stroke off the lead. Take me through your round.
BEATRIZ RECARI: I felt great. I’ve been feeling really good about my game for a long time. It’s just an anecdote, like in Malaysia I finished tied for 19th, in Korea tied for 18th and last week 17th. So I feel like I’m definitely doing things the right way. I think the last three weeks the only thing that’s been missing is to get some putts dropping and that definitely happened today. I played really solid and I’m just one stroke off, so I’m feeling really good.

Q. Seaon-best is a tie for 6th at Navistar. How good does it feel knowing that you’re just one stroke shy off the lead heading into the second-round?
BEATRIZ RECARI: It feels great. I haven’t out myself in this position in a few tournaments. It feels really good. I’ve worked really hard to get these results so it feels great to see all the hard work finally pay off.

Q. Talk about the conditions on the course today. Obviously, the weather has been different. Did that affect anything in your game.
BEATRIZ RECARI: Well last year there wasn’t so much wind so you could be more aggressive. You could see on the leaderboard that the best round was like 9-under in one round. Definitely the wind and the cold conditions affected the game today. There were certainly some holes that you had to take into more consideration because it was really blowing off the sides. It was challenging but I just had to make sure I put myself in good position on the greens for a birdie putt or a good two-putt.  

 

Momoko Ueda, Rolex Rankings No. 72

Q: Looking back on today’s round…
MOMOKO UEDA:  I have never experienced such strong wind at this course.  At first I thought today is going to be a tough round but after the birdies at 5th and 7th, and the birdie comeback on the 9th after the bogey on 8th.  My motives were high and I managed to keep myself on a good momentum.

Q: This course suits your game well?
MOMOKO UEDA: I’m not sure, I just like playing aggressively and that’s my style.  But I do feel really comfortable playing in this course and I love most of the holes in this course.  I had some struggles with the wind today but I have been preparing for this course and I just know when I need to go for the birdies.

Q: Good image for tomorrow’s round?
MOMOKO UEDA: Hopefully when I wake up tomorrow I won’t be nervous or feel any pressure.  I love this course and I have great memories here so enjoy tomorrow no matter what.

 

Yani Tseng, Rolex Rankings No. 1

Q: How was your round today?
YANI TSENG: I’ve had some good tee-shots and putts but just my 2nd shots were not coming along.

I’m very disappointed with the bogeys on 15th and 18th.  I should made more chances but I couldn’t, it’s just one of those days.  1 under par is not a bad score but I could’ve done better.

Topics: 1st Round, Mizuno Classic, Notes and Interviews

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