Mizuno Classic Second-Round Notes and Interviews

Mizuno Classic
Kintetsu Kashikojima Country Club
Shima-Shi, Mie, Japan|
Second-round Notes and Interviews
November 3, 2012


Bo-Mee Lee, -10, Rolex Rankings No. 46
Rikako Morita, -6, Rolex Rankings No. 41
Karine Icher, -4, Rolex Rankings No. 37
Jenny Shin, -4, Rolex Rankings No. 45
Angela Stanford, -4, Rolex Rankings No. 20
Yani Tseng, -3, Rolex Rankings No. 1
Jiyai Shin, -3, Rolex Rankings No. 7

 

Bo-Mee Lee, a KLPGA and JLPGA Tour standout, shot an 8-under 64 to take the second-round lead at the Mizuno Classic. Lee followed up her 2-under 70 on Friday with eight birdies and no bogeys in Saturday’s round and moved to 10-under-par for the tournament. She holds a four-stroke lead over JLPGA member Rikako Morita and six-stroke lead over a group of five including Jenny Shin (@JennyShin_LPGA), Karine Icher (@KarineIcher), Na Yeon Choi (@nychoi87), Angela Stanford (@Angela_Stanford) and Ayako Uehara.

A four-time winner on the KLPGA since joining the tour in 2009, Lee obtained her JLPGA card in 2011 and captured her first victory earlier this season at the Yokohama Tire PRGR Ladies Cup. The South Korean plans to continue her pursuit on the JLPGA next season and doesn’t plan to accept the LPGA status she would be offered should she continue to be the leader through tomorrow’s final round.

“Actually, I want to focus on the JLPGA next year,” said Lee. “I don’t have any plans to go to LPGA. But I will think about trying for it again in two or three years.”

In 2010, Lee earned KLPGA Player of the Year honors over Hee Kyung Seo and and So Yeon Ryu after leading the tour with the lowest scoring average and career earnings at more than 550 million yen.

Learning from the best. In the 1980s, Japan’s Ayako Okamoto became a national hero, winning 17 LPGA tournaments and 45 international events. She made LPGA history when she was named Rolex Player of the Year in 1987, becoming the first international player to win the award. She was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2005 and currently serves as a mentor to many JLPGA players. One of them includes Rikako Morita, who trails behind Bo-Mee Lee at 6-under through the second round.

Morita says the biggest difference between her first and second round was sinking a few more birdie putts, carding five of them and an eagle opportunity on 13, and gives all the credit to her mentor.  

“There were times that I couldn’t make my short putts and I tried to figure out what exactly I was doing wrong,” Morita says about Friday’s first round. “Asked for advice from other players and in the end I talked to Ms. Okamoto and she told me that I have been looking at the club head too much and I should just keep my eyes still.  It may seem like a small advice but it greatly helped me.”

 

Impressive crowds. Surrounding nearly every hole at the Kintestu Kashikojima Country Club is a sellout crowd passionately watching their favorite LPGA and JLPGA players. In her second visit to the Mizuno Classic in her 10-year LPGA career, Angela Stanford says she has never been more impressed with women’s golf fans at an international event.

“These fans are amazing,” Stanford said. “I was really impressed today. This is only my second time in Japan professionally, and I mean they are really tremendous. There are a lot of them and they are really knowledgeable. They know what’s going on and they cheer on everybody, a little bit louder for the Japan players. But that’s what you want. It’s an awesome atmosphere.”

Stanford remains at the top of the leader board firing rounds of 69 and 71 and enters the final day tied for third with five others at 4-under-par. The Texan captured the HSBC Women’s Champions title in Singapore earlier this season, where made a charge in a sudden death playoff with four others. She says she’ll channel that aggression into tomorrow’s round with hopes of capturing her sixth top-10 this season. 

"I think I’m going to be playing a little more aggressive than the last two days,” Stanford said. “I think these last two days I’ve tried to hang around, but I think I’ll be a lot more aggressive tomorrow.”


CME Titleholders hunt: Five players will have the opportunity this week to earn one of three qualifying spots up for grabs for the season-ending CME Group Titleholders. Sophie Gustafson (@SophieGustafson), Jimin Kang (@JiminKang1), Gerina Piller (@GerinaPiller), Jennifer Song (@TheJenniferSong) and Alison Walshe (@Walsheyyy) are all in the field and have yet to qualify for the final event of the year. The second-annual season finale will be held Nov. 15-18, 2012 at The TwinEagles in Naples, Fla. with a field made up of three qualifiers from every LPGA Tour tournament.

Of note… JLPGA member Rikako Morita carded an eagle on the par-5 13, sinking a 10-foot putt after a 195-yard second shot with a 5-iron…Defending champ Momoko Ueda shot even-par today and sits at 3-under-par and tied for eighth with eight others including Rolex Rankings No. 1 Yani Tseng, No. 2 Stacy Lewis and No. 7 Jiyai Shin.

 

Bo-Mee Lee, Rolex Rankings No. 46

Q. Impressive round! Eight birdies today gives you a four-stroke lead. Take me through your round today.
BO-MEE LEE:
When I started this week I was thinking my shot was so nice. I think first round and second round went great so next I’m ready for final round.

Q. With a win this weekend you would have the opportunity to earn status on the LPGA. Have you thought about that, or having you been working for that?
BO-MEE LEE:
Actually, I want to focus on the JLPGA next year. I don’t have any plans to go to LPGA. But I will think about trying for it again in two or three years.

Q. You’ve got a pretty big lead heading into the final-round. What’s your mindset heading into tomorrow?
BO-MEE LEE
: I hope to have less attention tomorrow because there are so many good players here. But I will focus on only on my playing.
 

Rikako Morita,  Rolex Rankings No. 41

Q. How did you feel about that eagle putt?
Rikako Morita: From the last eagle, I been told that I’m only one away from the record (season 9 eagles by Akiko Fukushima) and to be honest I did have the record tie on my mind before the eagle putt.  I’m happy that I made it but when did, I was happier with my score rather than the record tie.

Q. Looking back on today, how do you feel?
Rikako Morita: At first, I had some struggles with my 2nd shots.  Lately I’ve been missing some short putts but today I didn’t so I’m pretty satisfied.

Q. Did you get any advices about putting from your mentor Ms. Okamoto?
Rikako Morita:
There were times that I couldn’t make my short putts and I tried to figure out what exactly I was doing wrong.  Asked advices from other players and in the end I talked to Ms. Okamoto and she told me that I have been looking at the club head too much and I should just keep my eyes still.  It may seem like a small advice but it greatly helped me.

Q: Heading in to the final round with only 4 strokes away, how are you going to face it? USLPGA tour on your mind too?
Rikako Morita: I’m a little bit behind but it’s not too hard to score birdies in this course so hopefully I can give some pressures to the leading group tomorrow.

I don’t have thoughts of U.S. tour on my mind yet.  I still need improvements technically and I’m still on the basis of learning from Ms. Okamoto so when I’m through all that, I may start thinking about the U.S.

Q: Still have possibility to become number one in the money ranking.
Rikako Morita:
I still have the chance and I’m going for it all the way.  Many skilled players are leading the ranking but I’m not going to give it up.

Karine Icher, Rolex Rankings No. 37

 Q. Take me through your round and what was working well for you.
KARINE ICHER: Today was really windy just like yesterday. It makes the course very difficult, especially finding the right club. So I had a lot of mistakes. I couldn’t tell if I was hitting into the wind or out of the wind. I had a few good shots, but missed a lot of short putts. So I’m going to try to give myself better opportunities tomorrow. But I had a pretty good round so I’m happy.

 Q. Do you feel like playing yesterday with the windy conditions you could navigate around the course better today?
KARINE ICHER: Yea, we had exactly the same wind as yesterday. So it helped a little bit to find the right club. We tried to stay logic and really play with the wind. But you know, sometimes it’s wrong. But it’s the same for everybody.

 Q. I know you have some family here with you this week. I’ve seen your new little one walking around the player dining. How fun is it having them here and getting to travel with you the past few weeks?
KARINE ICHER: I couldn’t imagine leaving her at home for a month. So we brought here while I was playing in all the events in Asia. It’s a lot of fun to be able to see her for an hour or two in the evening. It’s not much but I’m happy I get to see her after my rounds.

 Q. What is your mindset going into tomorrow knowing you’re a few strokes off the lead?
KARINE ICHER: I would just like to play like I did today and try to focus on how to play with the wind. I want to enjoy the course. I love coming to this tournament. We have a really good French restaurant at the resort. Funny that there is French food in Japan.

 

Jenny Shin, Rolex Rankings No. 45

 Q. Walk me through your round. How are you feeling about your day?
JENNY SHIN: I started off with a chip-in on No. 2, so that was a good start. I’ve been putting significantly better this week compared to other weeks, so that has helped me a lot this week. My shot is a little bit shaky because of the wind and all but I hung in there and gave myself changes to make birdies. I made those when I really needed to.

 Q. Do you feel like you’ve learned how to play in this wind having the conditions we had yesterday?
JENNY SHIN: Actually Taiwan really helped me prepare for this wind. Playing in windy weather isn’t really my strength but after playing in it for so many times I think I’ve got it figured out. You can’t really calculate everything you just kind of have to play with it. I learned that.

 Q. What is your mindset going into tomorrow knowing you’re a few strokes off the lead?
JENNY SHIN: I just want to give myself chances like I did today. I wasn’t really expecting anything. I started the first-round thinking, I hope I don’t pass out. I got really sick and I had a fever during the round. Everything was spinning. I took some medication and felt a little better during the day. I just kind of hope my sickness kind of stays down low like it did today.

 Q. Are you feeling any better?
JENNY SHIN: Yea I don’t have a fever any more. But my throat and everything is just horrendous. Just one more day and I can get back and relax before CME.

 

Angela Stanford, Rolex Rankings No. 20

 Q. Walk me through your round. How are you feeling about your day?
ANGELA STANFORD: It was up and down. Putting was rough today. I’d have some really good putts and some really bad putts.

Q. Do you feel like you’ve learned how to play in this wind having the conditions we had yesterday?
ANGELA STANFORD: The hard part is there are a lot of crosswinds. You don’t know if it’s cross and help, or cross and hurt. It makes it really difficult when choosing clubs. The greens are semi-firm, so you’re trying to figure out where to land it. It’s been really tough out there.

Q. How's the atmosphere out there?
ANGELA STANDFORD: You know I was going to tweet about this later. These fans are amazing. I was really impressed today. This is only my second time in Japan professionally, and I mean they are really tremendous. There are a lot of them and they are really knowledgeable. They know what’s going on and they cheer on everybody, a little bit louder for the Japan players. But that’s what you want. It’s an awesome atmosphere.

 Q. How has it compared to the last three events?
ANGELA STANFORD: I feel like the Japanese fans are a little more passionate. Each event there have been big crowds. This one is probably the largest. I don’t know if it’s the fact that we are only over here once a year, I don’t know. But they are great fans.

 Q. You had some success earlier this season in Asia at the HSBC Women’s Champions. Being just a few strokes off the lead, would a win here be any different?
ANGELA STANFORD: All the wins are kind of special. This one would probably mean quite a bit if I could figure it out tomorrow because I’m working on something’s in my golf game. These greens are really tough for me, so this would be a huge step for me if I could somehow make it to the winner’s circle tomorrow.

 Q. What’s your mindset heading into tomorrow?
ANGELA STANFORD: Well, I hope the winds aren’t blowing like this. I think I’m going to be playing a little more aggressive than the last two days. I think these last two days I’ve tried to hang around, but I think I’ll be a lot more aggressive tomorrow.

 

Yani Tseng, Rolex Rankings No. 1

 Q. Three-under for the day. Take me through your round.
YANI TSENG: It was OK. I missed a couple putts. But I feel every day is getting better. The way I make decisions I think was a little bit better today. I mean I can always go lower with my score. I don’t know why I got bogey on the last hole today. I did the same thing yesterday, I hit the second shot good but I don’t know what happened. I think I’m pretty happy with my day today, but hopefully tomorrow I can get a few more birdies.

 Q. Back-to-back third place finishes in Korea and Taiwan. I’m sure your feeling yourself again. Are you pleased with the way you are rounding out your season?
YANI TSENG: Yea, I feel pretty happy right now. I wasn’t really thinking about anything. I just want to enjoy my life and be a happy person and be happy playing golf and not worry about the scores. But I’m going to play the best that I can. We travel a lot, but I want to enjoy the city and enjoy Asia while we are here.

 Q. What’s your mindset heading into tomorrow?
YANI TSENG: I want to make as many birdies as I can. Just try to be aggressive and not thinking too much. I’m still a few strokes back but you never know on this golf course. If tomorrow the winds stay like this, it will be another tough day.

 

Jiyai Shin, Rolex Rankings No. 7

Q. How was your day today?
JIYAI SHIN: The winds today are so hard. I just did my best. I’m really focused for tomorrow.

Q. I thought you said no more bogeys for this week?
JIYAI SHIN: (laughs) May be next time. It’s golf.

Topics: Mizuno Classic, Tseng, Yani, Shin, Jenny, Icher, Karine, Stanford, Angela, Shin, Jiyai [+]

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