HSBC Women’s Champions
Tanah Merah Country Club
Feb. 24, 2012
Second-round notes and interviews
Angela Stanford, Katie Futcher and Jenny Shin are in a three-way tie for the second-round lead at the fifth-annual HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore. The trio enters the weekend tied at 8-under-par 136 with a three-shot advantage over Hee Young Park, Na Yeon Choi and 2010 HSBC winner Ai Miyazato. On a hot and humid day in Singapore, Shin and Futcher each carded 5-under-par 67’s to join first-round leader Stanford at the top of the leaderboard. Shin, a second-year LPGA player, recorded six birdies and a lone bogey at the 13th to put herself in contention for the third-consecutive week. Futcher also carded 67 with six birdies and a lone bogey at the 17th – her first of the tournament. The 30-year-old American tied for eighth to open the season in Australia before a tie for 33rd last week in Thailand. Stanford kept her name atop of the leaderboard in Singapore with a 2-under-par 70 that included three birdies and a bogey at the 13th.
Stanford is seeking her fifth-career LPGA victory and first in Asia. The 34-year-old Texan held a two-shot lead entering today’s second round, but knew from the start that she wasn’t likely to repeat Thursday’s 66. “When I started today, I knew that I didn't quite have that much energy, and so at least I'm starting to recognize it a little earlier in the round,” she said. “I felt more tired this morning and the heat didn't help right off the bat.”
Stanford and Futcher are good friends off the golf course. So what are they saying about each other? Says Futcher, “Angela is probably the toughest competitor out here. Her grit and her grind, you're not going to find anybody that's going to grind it out harder than Angela. At the same time, I give her a hard time for not talking a whole lot and not smiling.” Stanford counters, “It's fun to watch your friend kind of get into their groove out here and start playing well. I think if I could have anything, I would want her demeanor on the course. She's pretty easygoing and not much bothers her.
Futcher put herself in the hunt to become a Rolex First-Time Winner with a 67 on Friday. Making just her second appearance at the HSBC Women’s Champions, she started the day began with an important seven-foot putt to save par at the first hole. “I'm very, very satisfied,” she said. “Went out, made a great putt on No. 1 today for par, and that kind of really just got me settled and I was able after that to hit it pretty close and make a couple of putts.” Futcher opened the season with a tie for eighth at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open and then tied for 33rd last week at the Honda LPGA Thailand. She had the best season of her career in 2011, carding two top-10 finishes – including a career best tie for third at the Kraft Nabisco Championship – and $373,630 in earnings. She crossed the $1 million mark in career earnings at the season-ending CME Group Titleholders.
Futcher first excelled as a swimmer, but lost her love for the sport and turned to golf. She went on to become an all-American at Penn State before joining the LPGA Tour in 2006. I was a very competitive swimmer,” she said. “But I didn't really like swimming, so I quit.”
Jenny Shin is off to a hot start in 2011. The second-year LPGA player already boasts a seventh place finish at the season-opening ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open and a tie for ninth last week at the Honda LPGA Thailand. “I feel a little bit more confident with my golf game,” Shin said. “I think Australia helped me a lot. I feel like I know what I'm doing out on the course now. I have better management with the golf course.” Shin was a rookie on the 2011 LPGA Tour after finishing fourth on the Symetra Tour’s season-ending money list in 2010 to earn her card. She recorded two top-10 finishes in her rookie campaign, including a career-best tie for sixth at the CN Canadian Women’s Open.
Shin isn’t concerned that the attention hasn’t been on her this week. “To be honest, I've been spoiled by some of the people around me,” she said. “They were telling me how I have the potential to win; I have everything that every other top player has. So I'm not going to worry too much about who is in the field and who is No. 1.” Shin, 19, cracked the top 100 on the Rolex Rankings following her tie for ninth last week.
Rolex Rankings No. 1 Yani Tseng struggled to an even-par 72 on Friday, but said her nagging sore elbow was not to blame. She carded two birdies and two bogies in the second round and currently sits in a tie for 20th at 1-under-par. Following the round, she was frustrated with the state of her game. “: It was bad,” she said. “I feel I hit the ball pretty good, but my score was terrible and I just -- I don't know why. I didn't make putts and I didn't have much birdie chances actually.” Tseng is seven shots off the lead entering the weekend at the HSBC Women’s Champions.
Of note… Temperatures on Friday reached the low 90’s with winds between 10 and 15 mph out of the Northeast… Song-Hee Kim withdrew from the HSBC Women’s Champions after playing nine holes in the second round… Defending champion Karrie Webb currently tied for 27th at even-par following a second-consecutive 72 on Friday… When Ai Miyazato won the 2010 HSBC Women’s Champions, she was in a tie for third at 4-under-par through 36 holes. This year, she is in a tie for fourth at 5-under-par.
MODERATOR: We would like to welcome second round co-leader Angela Stanford to the interview room, 8-under par overall following a 2-under par 70 today. Very hot one out there. If you would, just take us through your day and how things went for you.
ANGELA STANFORD: Got off to kind of a shaky start. It was pretty hot when we started, and you know, I think sometimes you get the feeling that -- yesterday, I kind of got the feeling that it might be a good day. And then today, I didn't really know what kind of day it's going to be.
So I just tried to make as many pars as I could and put myself in position that if there's a chance the ball goes in the hole, that's good. But really, just tried to give myself some opportunities.
MODERATOR: Katie (Futcher) was in just a few minutes ago, saying how you guys are pretty close, and she made some complimentary statements about your game and your tenacity out there. If you would, give us your thoughts on her game and whether you think she's poised to kind of break out.
ANGELA STANFORD: You know, Katie has been playing really good for the last year, year and a half. It's fun to watch one of your friends -- I don't know how long she's been on Tour, but it's fun to watch your friend kind of get into their groove out here and start playing well.
You know, it's bound to happen. Her demeanor on the course, I think if I could have anything, I would want her demeanor on the course. She's pretty easygoing and not much bothers her. So that's definitely a strength that she has.
MODERATOR: Funny, because she said she wanted to be as competitive as you are, but she said you needed to smile more out there; what are your thoughts about that.
ANGELA STANFORD: That's about right. She says that to me all the time. But I'll smile if I make a birdie (chuckling).
MODERATOR: Just talk about heading into the weekend, tied for the lead, in good shape, kind of what's the game plan.
ANGELA STANFORD: Well, I think there are a few holes out here that you can take advantage of with certain pin placements and others that you just have to take your par and go.
I think it gets harder as the tournament goes along to be patient, and so I'm really going to try to stay focussed on playing my game and taking advantage of the holes that I feel like I can take advantage of, and then being okay with par. Like I said, it will be tougher tomorrow and really tough on Sunday to do. But that's the game plan.
MODERATOR: I'll ask the question: Did you hit all your shots flush today?
ANGELA STANFORD: No, it wasn't as bad as yesterday -- but I thought for sure she would ask me a question.
Q. What are some of the key differences between yesterday and today?
ANGELA STANFORD: You know, if I could answer that question, I would write a book and make millions and millions of dollars. You know, it's really weird, and maybe this is just me, but it seems like every day is different. Your body feels -- you might be more tired one day or have a little more energy another day. I can't figure it out. It's really weird.
You know, if anything, I'm learning that when I started today, I knew that I didn't quite have that much energy, and so at least I'm starting to recognise it a little earlier in the round.
You know, I don't know. I felt more tired this morning and the heat didn't help right off the bat. So, it's weird. Hopefully tomorrow I'll have a little more energy. Yesterday I had a lot of energy. So, I don't know.
Q. At any point did you look up on the leaderboard --
ANGELA STANFORD: To be perfectly honest, I was encouraged that midway through the front nine, nobody was making a huge charge. So that helped me stay patient throughout the day.
But those pin placements were tough today. There were not many that you could just go after and they were tucked and so it doesn't surprise me that the scores were not extremely -- I haven't really looked at them, but I thought the pins were a lot tougher today.
Q. Yesterday, you talked about trying to have patience. How did that work today?
ANGELA STANFORD: Unfortunately I didn't have a lot of energy.
So, again, off the bat, I just didn't feel like I was all there. That really made me appreciate par a little bit more. And then, I think if you can kind of get into, where, par is okay, then all of a sudden you start hitting some good shots and then you start having some opportunities. But I think that's the big difference. I didn't lose my head early in the round. I think if I would have, it probably could have gone a different way.
But just being patient and accepting par at the beginning and knowing that my swing wasn't quite right, and then kind of get in and get comfortable in the round and have more chances.
ANGELA STANFORD: You know, Saturdays are always interesting here. I don't know why I remember this, but it seems like Saturdays are -- I know it's always moving day, but more so here. I don't know why. I don't know where Yani is, but I expect she'll have a good day tomorrow. The great players always find a way to make a run, and it's usually Saturday here.
So I would imagine scores are going to be a little bit lower tomorrow but I don't think there's going to be a great separation of scores. I think everybody is going to just kind of go low together.
MODERATOR: We would like to welcome Katie Futcher to the interview room. Right now you're co-leader after two rounds of the HSBC Women's Champions with one more group left opponent the course with Angela Stanford also at 8-under. If you would, take us through your day, you shot a 67, really nice round on a really hot day. You've got to be satisfied.
KATIE FUTCHER: Yeah, I'm very, very satisfied. Went out, made a great putt on No. 1 today for par, and that kind of really just got me settled and I was able after that to hit it pretty close and make a couple of putts.
But yeah, that par on No. 1 got me into the round, so that was a good start. But turned at 4 and got it to 6 and had a little mishap on 17, but made a good putt on 18.
MODERATOR: Last year, 2011, you had a really good season, career-best money and two Top 10s and a career best finish T-3 at the Kraft Nabisco, so things were going pretty well, and then you came this year and had a Top-10 in Australia. Are you feeling good about your game overall?
KATIE FUTCHER: Yes, definitely feeling good. I work really hard, so at this point I know I'm 30, so I'm kind of a little late starter than most people.
But yeah, I feel like I'm doing the right things, and I'm just going to continue to do the right things, and just stay patient with myself. So, yeah, definitely looking to build off last year for sure.
Q. A late starter; did you actually not take up golf until 14, 13?
KATIE FUTCHER: 14, yeah.
Q. You were a competitive swimmer before?
KATIE FUTCHER: I was a very competitive swimmer, yes. I was very good -- I was a really good swimmer. I don't know how else to say it.
Q. But who did you play for -- not play for, who did you swim for?
KATIE FUTCHER: I played for the Woodlands Athletic Center, one of the best swim clubs at the time in the country. We actually moved to Houston for the swim team because that's what I was planning on doing, I guess. But I didn't really like swimming, so I quit.
Q. Can you say why you didn't like it?
KATIE FUTCHER: I was pushed very hard by my father, and looking back, I know that he was trying to do the best thing for me, but I just grew to hate it. And I learned a lot of things from swimming; discipline and work ethic, but it just wasn't something that I loved anymore.
Q. Did he push you in golf?
KATIE FUTCHER: No, what he learned from swimming, he learned not to do that with golf and he learned with my sister not to push her into athletics, as well. He was one and done with the pushing, so that was good.
Q. What events were you good at?
KATIE FUTCHER: I was good at every race. My best event was the 100 im, but at that age, you're not swimming more than a hundred of each stroke, so at that stage it was 200 IM and I was good at the 100 back.
KATIE FUTCHER: The first hole, the putt for par was probably six or seven feet. And the 18th, 30 feet, 35 feet, something like that.
The 18th was a good one to make. You would see steam out of the ears if I wouldn't have made that one.
Q. Did you think there was a 67 out there for you on this golf course, and what do you think about this golf course and does it perhaps suit your game?
KATIE FUTCHER: Yeah, yesterday when I shot 3-under, we were walking off the 18th and Mike said, that's the worst you're going to shoot; that's the worst you're going to play today. I've just been hitting the ball really solidly, hitting greens and giving myself a lot of chances.
Yeah, I think there's 65s, 66s out there. You just have to play smart, and we have been hitting the ball in the right spots on the greens and just paying attention to the grain. So we have just been giving ourselves chances and it's been good.
Q. The leaderboard is you, Jenny and Angela at 8-under, three shots clear. Are you surprised? All of the talk this week has been about other players like Yani and Na Yeon Choi and maybe Suzann, as well, and they have struggled on the course; are surprised at the position you guys are in?
KATIE FUTCHER: Definitely 8-under for two days is good. From my point of view, from my game, I've been putting very well. I think I've made one bogey in 36 holes, and so that's kind of been my goal coming in is just bogey-free rounds, playing smart, giving myself chances, hitting greens.
So I'm not -- I don't know about the other players games, but I know that -- I know my short game is very sharp and my putting very good, so I have extreme confidence in that right now.
So, yeah, just looking forward to the weekend. Angela is one of my best friends out here, so it will be nice to play with her. I don't know, are we playing twos or threes? We don't know, but anybody I play with, it will be nice.
MODERATOR: Can you just talk about Angela's game? Obviously you're close with her. What kind of things do you see with her as far as her play and also her name at the top of the leaderboard?
KATIE FUTCHER: Well, Angela is probably the toughest competitor out here. Her grit and her grind, you're not going to find anybody that's going to grind it out harder than Angela.
So I very much admire that. I try to learn from that. At the same time, I give her a hard time for not talking a whole lot and not smiling. But, no, she's just a phenomenal competitor and that's just -- that's what I take from Angela is she's out there to kick everybody's butt. And of course she's a veteran and a great player. She's been in this position and knows what to do. So, it will be good.
Q. You mentioned Angela's a veteran; how important is the fact that you and Jenny have not won?
KATIE FUTCHER: Well, I mean, definitely experience is key, and she's been in that position. But the only way that I'm going to learn how to win is to put myself in that position, as well. So I'm just going to continue to do that and put myself in position, and I'm going to learn my way through it and eventually, I'm going to win, as well.
So it's just a matter of having that experience, putting yourself in that position, and I'm just going to -- like I said earlier, continue to do the things that I've been doing the first two days and not really change my game plan; but just, you know, kind of feel what's going on out there and just take everything in and see what happens.
MODERATOR: We would like to welcome Jenny Shin to the interview room at the HSBC Women's Champions.
Right now you're tied for the lead, but players are still out on the course so that could change. Regardless, a really nice round today, and your first ever trip to this event. So if you would, just talk about your day today, how you felt it went for you.
JENNY SHIN: I hit a couple of shots on the range, like I said, my shots aren't as great as the last two weeks. But I just hang in there because I feel like I can pull it off with the putting that I have this week.
My putting was really, really good today. So that's really helped me with the confidence. I just kept hitting birdies from there.
MODERATOR: So the last couple of weeks, you've had some really nice finishes, seventh in Australia, tied for ninth in Thailand, what's clicking for you this year?
JENNY SHIN: I think mentally, I'm a little more confident than last year, and maybe -- I feel a little bit more confident. I feel a little bit more confident with my golf game. I think Australia helped me a lot. I feel like I know what I'm doing out on the course now. I have better management with the golf course and stuff. So that's really it.
MODERATOR: Kind of an interesting week for you, coming here, your caddie got sick, so you picked up another caddie, but did that affect the way you prepared for this tournament, not having your regular caddie on the bag?
JENNY SHIN: I was sick, as well, with the caddie. I really didn't expect such a great round. The first day, I had no intentions of -- I didn't feel like I needed to play well or anything, because I was a bit annoyed with the situation.
But my caddie, who is sick, told me to stick with my routine and don't let anything bother you, because there's nothing I can control. So I kept that with me the whole round, and you know, came up with a good score, especially the eagle on the first day, that helped.
MODERATOR: If you would, talk about your LPGA career thus far, in 2010, you qualified for the LPGA via the developmental tour, which is now called the Symetra Tour and finished fourth on the Money List. Last year you had a good rookie season, two Top-10s and 55th on the Money List. Is it all you ever hoped and dreamed of, or do you still feel like there's a lot more for you out there?
JENNY SHIN: It's only my third event, but I am so happy to be where I am. Last year I was very satisfied with my ranking. I really wanted to play this event, the HSBC.
Like you mentioned, it's a really big event in Asia. But my main goal is to be at the top, Top-10 in the world. So I still have more tournaments to go, but I'm very satisfied with where I am.
Q. If you could talk about your putting; what's been the secret so far?
JENNY SHIN: I didn't keep stats --
MODERATOR: We can give you the stats.
JENNY SHIN: Doing well in this tournament would be good because I didn't prepare for anything. The last day of the Australian Open, something just clicked. I wouldn't say any secret, but just doing what I've been told to do, and really, the confidence. You start making putts, that just gets me going.
I think confidence is what got me going so far till now.
JENNY SHIN: I'm not sure. I'm just going to do what I have been doing, and if that can get me up there, then lucky me.
JENNY SHIN: To be honest, I've been spoiled by some of the people around me. They were telling me how I have the potential to win; I have everything that every other top player has got. So I'm not going to worry too much about who is in the field and who is No. 1.
You know, I'm just believing what the people are telling me, so I feel like if I keep this up, I can get a win or two this year.
Q. The people around you, do you mean family or --
JENNY SHIN: Yeah, family, coaches.
Q. You finished even-par today, how was it?
YANI TSENG: It was bad. I mean, I feel I hit the ball pretty good, but I just -- my score was terrible and I just -- I don't know why. I didn't make putts and I didn't have much birdie chances actually.
But I feel like I hit the driver better. I hit some shots I was hitting better, too. But I just need to get more consistency and trust myself and more committing to the shots. Just made mistakes today and hopefully tomorrow will be better.
Q. Was it more your irons or was it more on the greens that was letting down?
YANI TSENG: I think it was mostly committing. I mean, I choose this club and I should just commit to it and just kind of thinking too much.
Q. How is your elbow?
YANI TSENG: It's pretty good today. It was better than yesterday.