RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup First Round Notes and Interviews

RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup
Wildfire Golf Club at JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa
Phoenix, Ariz.
First round notes and interviews
March 15, 2012

Yani Tseng -7, Rolex Rankings No. 1
Hee Young Park -7, Rolex Rankings No. 37
Jiyai Shin -6, Rolex Rankings No. 7
Na Yeon Choi -5, Rolex Rankings No. 2
Karen Stupples -5, Rolex Rankings No. 63
Pernilla Lindberg -5, Rolex Rankings No. 124

 

Rolex Rankings No. 1 Yani Tseng fired a 7-under-par 65 on Thursday afternoon to capture a share of the first-round lead with Rolex Rankings No. 37 Hee Young Park at the 2012 RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup. Tseng went 7-under in her final eight holes at Wildfire Golf Club en route to shooting a 29 on the back nine. She tallied five birdies and one eagle during that stretch while finishing just one stroke shy of tying the LPGA record for the lowest nine-hole score in relation to par.

 

Strong finish, quick start: Hee Young Park captured her first career LPGA Tour victory at the final event of the 2011 season, the CME Group Titleholders in Orlando. Now the 24-year-old Korean is trying to capture the first domestic event of the 2012 LPGA season.

Despite a bogey on her final hole of the day, Park shot a 7-under 65 to capture a share of the first-round lead with Tseng. The bogey was the only blip of the day for Park who birdied her first two holes of the day and all four of the par-5s on the course.

“I played really good on the fairway,” Park said. “I hit the fairway and then green, and then lucky thing was most putts, birdie putt was uphill, so that's why I just hit it aggressive and most of the time having positive thinking and then make lots of putts.”

 

Shifting to another gear: Rolex Rankings No. 1 Yani Tseng has put herself in prime contention to capture her second LPGA Tour victory of the season after shooting a first-round, 7-under par 65. Tseng struggled with her putting on the front nine to shoot an even-par 36 then the 12 time LPGA Tour champion found her groove to take a share of the lead heading in to Friday’s second round.

Tseng remained patient and went on to record five birdies and one eagle en route to an impressive back nine of seven-under par 29.

Tseng knocked her approach shot on the par-4 18th hole stiff to give herself an opportunity to tie the LPGA nine-hole record of eight-under par which she previously shot at the 2009 LPGA Corning Classic. Tseng was aware she had the chance to tie her record after looking at the newly released LPGA Player Guide the night before her round.

“I was telling my caddie, yesterday I was reading the Player Guide and I look at all the records and Isee lowest nine holes was me, I was 8‑under,” said Tseng.

The LPGA Player Guide, released this week, includes an in-depth look at players both on and off the golf course as well as provides interesting statistics and facts about the LPGA Tour.

 

A new look? Rolex Rankings No. 7 Jiyai Shin debuted a new look at the Founders Cup this week, having dyed her short hair blonde. It’s quite a change from Shin’s natural black hair. So Shin, who is coming off a winless 2011 season, was asked what made her decide to make such a drastic switch.

“A lot of Asian players play here, their hair is black or dark brown, so I wanted to make it look like fresh,” Shin said with a laugh.

What hasn’t changed, though, is Shin’s game. The one-time No. 1 ranked women’s golfer opened this week’s event with a 6-under 66 to sit in a tie for second after the first round of play at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup. Despite playing with the much longer hitting Brittany Lincicome, who outdrove Shin by 40 yards at times throughout the day, Shin said that she just tried to focus on what she does well.

“So first key is I'm not looking at her swing,” Shin said. “I just look at the ground and look at the ball because I know she hit it really long and her tempo is faster than me. So just, okay, I know, she hit out there. I can hit. But I have the confidence with my fairway woods and hybrids, so it just covers it.”

Shin emphasized that distance isn’t always everything as was witnessed when Lincicome and Shin played together last month in Thailand.

“I shot 6-under at the time, and Brittany hit it 2-under,” Shin said. “And I said, you hit a great driver with long distance, but she said, okay, you can take my driver, just give me the couple birdies. (Laughs)”

 

Changing it up: During the LPGA’s Asian swing last fall, Karen Stupples decided perhaps it was time for her to make some tweaks to her fitness regimen. Stupples was having difficulty adapting to the hot temperatures that LPGA players encounter when they travel overseas and she felt that an increased focus on her health might help lessen the effects of the heat.

So when the calendar turned to 2012, Stupples made a few changes to her diet and added in some exercise, which in turn resulted in the pounds melting off of her.

“When I came back to Orlando from the UK, I stood on the scales and said, wait, this is it. Something has to happen,” Stupples said. “So I gave up dairy, and I gave up a few other bits and pieces, too. I gave up pasta and bread and potatoes, and I lost 21 pounds before I went to Thailand and Singapore. And I maintained that, and I may have lost even a couple more, though I haven't gone on the scales recently, but I feel an awful lot better for it, a lot healthier and really ready to play now.”

Stupples certainly looked to have been buoyed by the physical changes she’s made in Thursday’s first round, shooting a 5-under 67 to sit two shots back of the leaders. All of this came just a week after Stupples underwent a laparoscopic procedure to remove an ovarian cyst and a few polyps. She was a last minute decision to play this week in Phoenix, even withdrawing from Wednesday’s pro-am. But those things didn’t seem to hamper the two-time career winner on the LPGA Tour during her round on Thursday.

“Really for me it was all about swinging easy and playing within myself, which played into the hands of hitting some very good quality wedges,” Stupples said of her round. “I hit some good wedges in. I birdied all the par‑5s, and I think that really was the key to my round.”

 

The consistent one: Rolex Rankings No. 2 Na Yeon Choi is no stranger to finishing at the top of the leader board in an LPGA event. In 2011, she earned 12 top-10 finishes including 8 top-5 finishes, while just missing one cut in 21 tournaments. But her top-rankings don’t stop there. Since joining the LPGA Tour in 2008, Choi has ranked in the top 10 each season in birdies, scoring average, rounds under par and rounds in the 60’s.

Choi finished second in a playoff at the HSBC Women’s Champions a few  weeks ago and is currently at the top of the leader boards in Phoenix. With just five career victories including the 2011 Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, she is hoping her consistency will allow her to win more tournaments this season.

“My goal is to be No. 1 in the world, but I never tried to be there,” Choi said. “I mean like always I want to improve everything. Like driver consistently or accurate with my iron or driver, putting stroke. Like everything. So like I don’t want to stop here. I want to move up. So like every day, every time I try working hard.”

 

Returning to Form: Third year LPGA Tour veteran Pernilla Lindberg’s confidence looks to be regained after the Swede fired a first-round five-under par 67. Lindberg carded seven birdies and two bogeys on Thursday to stand two-strokes behind the duo of Hee Young Park and Yani Tseng.

Lindberg played in 12 LPGA tournaments in 2011 and only made the cut in five. During her three year LPGA Tour career, Lindberg has never finished in the top-20 and recorded a career-best tie for 29th finish at last year’s RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup.

It wasn’t until Lindberg devoted her off-season to working with her coach on ball striking that her confidence began to return to its original form.

“I learned a lot from last year,” said Lindberg. “It was kind of a different year for me. I’ve always been a good ballstriker and struggled on the greens and last year was totally opposite. Last year I was really struggling with my ball striking and my putting was finally good. So I worked with a lot with my coach over the winter on my swing and I felt a good change coming along. So I feel pretty confident and hope to keep doing what I did today.”

Lindberg has already proven she knows what it takes to compete on the professional golf stage. Prior to joining the LPGA Tour, Lindberg competed on the Symetra Tour in 2009 where she recorded five top-10 finishes including a career-best tie for second at the 2009 iMPACT Classic.

 

Tweet of the Day: “Felt so bad today. Hit this nice woman in the arm on the fly with my 7iron. I hope she likes my @CitizenEcoDrive watch I gave her! So sorry.” -- @ThePCreamer

 

Of Note…Defending champion Karrie Webb shot an opening-round 68 and sits in a tie for ninth at 4-under-par…Angela Stanford, who captured a playoff victory on Feb. 26 in Singapore in the HSBC Women's Champions, opened with a 75…A total of 37 players shot in the 60s in the first round of the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup.

 

YANI TSENG, Rolex Rankings No. 1

THE MODERATOR: All right. We'd like to welcome one of our current leaders, Yani Tseng into the interview room. Congratulations. Quite a round out there for you today, 7‑under par, 7‑under in your last eight holes. Can you just take me through your day and how impressive that back nine stretch was?
YANI TSENG: I know. You know, like first nine I was missing a few putts out there, but I know I kept telling myself, just be patient today because I know I hit it well. The ball just didn't go in but on the back nine I feel like I need to get some birdies, but I wasn't expecting to make seven birdies.
It was fun. I was patient out there, hung in there and tried to make as many birdies as possible, but last hole I barely made it and tried too hard on the last hole.

THE MODERATOR: In the last stretch you had five birdies, one eagle.
YANI TSENG: Yeah. Five birdies.

THE MODERATOR: Can you take me through that eagle and how you got to that?
YANI TSENG: It was a par 5. I hit a good drive, second shot, 210 to the pin, I hit a rescue, 19‑degree and hit it pretty close, and I wasn't expecting to be that close because the crowd ‑‑ it was just a little crowd, so I didn't know if my ball was close or not, but I had a good shot, and it was like nine feet, nine feet for birdie, and a pretty straight putt, and I made it.

THE MODERATOR: When you get on a roll like that like you were on the back nine, does it come easy? Is it seeming easy? You keep seeing these birdie putts drop and you're going low in that stretch of holes, what is that feeling like?
YANI TSENG: I think it's harder at the end because you are trying ‑‑ you're saying, oh, I have three, I have four, and you want to go five, six, seven; and every hole is harder, you're just trying harder and harder.
But I hit a good shot. Just I played good, and I don't think about it too much and I just hit it one shot at a time because I even don't know what hole I am. I just really focus on one shot at a time, try to hit a good drive, get a good second shot and make good putt.

Q. Yani, any advantage to playing late in the day like you did today?
YANI TSENG: No, because I think the green is harder. I mean even I had wedge, my ball still bounced pretty like five to seven yards, and the other clubs, sometimes the first bounce is like huge, like seven yards.
I think tomorrow morning is going to be a little easier than today, but it just depends on where they put the pins. Today we got some different, like some tough pins out there, but of course, in the afternoon it allow us to hit the driver longer, so I think you kind of have a little both ways, like both different ways.

Q. Yani, so when you are playing one shot at a time and you're really deep inside the zone, do you know how many under you are? Do you know what hole you're on? Are you that deep into it?
YANI TSENG: I don't know what hole I'm on, but I know how many ‑‑ I kind of know how many under, like four, five and six seven, and I was telling my caddie, yesterday I was reading the player guide and I look at all the records and I see lowest nine holes was me. I was 8‑under. And I told my caddie, keep making a couple birdies, and I didn't pay attention about that until after I missed the putt the last hole, my caddie tell me you make that you can tie your record. I'm like, yeah, forget about it because I missed it. It was just fun.

Q. Where did your drive go on 18? We weren't able to see it on TV.
YANI TSENG: I hit it, missed a little bit, I pushed a little bit to the right, but it was still on the fairway. Second shot I had 168 to the pin and 7‑iron.

Q. What's the story with the bandage on your arm now?
YANI TSENG: It's a kinesio tape, and it's going to help protect the muscle, and it helps a lot when I tape to hit the ball, but it's still a little painful, but it's not as pain when I have no tape.

Q. The rescue on 15, did that ball draw? Did you hit a draw there?
YANI TSENG: No, actually I hit a little top. Yeah, it was a little fade, a little cut there.

Q. So yesterday when I was talking to you, you were a little concerned that the course looked really tight to you.
YANI TSENG: Yeah.

Q. Obviously that didn't matter today. Did it look wider to you or did it look tight and you just played really well?
YANI TSENG: No, I mean I just played really well. I've been working really hard with my strategy, my driver, my tee‑off, because like first couple year when I was on Tour my driving accuracy was low in the rank. So after that I tell myself I want to get my driving accuracy at least top 50 because that way if I hit it more on the fairway I can have better chance to make birdie to hit it on the green.
So this Tour year I've been improving a lot of my driving accuracy today. Some of the holes I just choked down the three‑quarter shot. Some of it was wide hole, I just bumped in there and tried as hard. When you feel that rhythm there, you just hit a good shot, and I didn't worry about too much. So I didn't worry about if I hit it in the rough or I just think about where my ball is going to go. So it's kind of very positive thinking.

Q. So the course looked the same to you?
YANI TSENG: Yeah, I think it looks the same. I just feel more comfortable on the back nine because I think I'm more relaxed. On the front nine I was just trying too hard to make birdies.

HEE YOUNG PARK, Rolex Rankings No. 37

Q. First off, congratulations, a great round of 7‑under par today. Currently tied for the lead. How excited are you with how you played today?
HEE YOUNG PARK: Yeah, today I played really good on the fairway. I hit the fairway and then green, and then lucky thing was most putts, birdie putt was uphill, so that's why I just hit it aggressive and most of the time having positive thinking and then make lots of putts.

Q. I know a little bit of a disappointing finish, probably not how you wanted to cap off that round, but what kind of happened on 9?
HEE YOUNG PARK: I just missed the one driver shot, No. 18 green. That's it. And then most of the shot was perfect, and then I did come through well, and I'm really excited about tomorrow playing.

Q. You finished off last season by capturing your first career victory on the LPGA Tour. Now getting the domestic season of this year off to a great start. How excited are you about this season and what you hope to accomplish?
HEE YOUNG PARK: Yeah, last two events, like at Singapore and Thailand I played really well, and most of the time top-10, and that's getting more motivated and confidence.
Even also last year was really, really big for me. But you know, I'm just keeping positive thinking and then I'm really getting better to the short game. That part improve my golf game.

Q. Is the short game something that you worked on this off season? Have you noticed an improvement in it?
HEE YOUNG PARK: You know what, after I played last event and then back to Korea and spend with my family two weeks and then back to Orlando, my home, just three weeks.
So not enough time to fix something, but I just 80 percent working on my putting and chipping around the green. I think that's really good working right now.

Q. And this course does it suit your game? Is there aspects that you think that helped you to go low today?
HEE YOUNG PARK: This is the desert, so my driver more distance are more farther. So that's lots of help and then even greens are hard, but when I hit driver really far and then short irons, getting hit aggressive. That's the really good for me this golf course.

 

JIYAI SHIN, Rolex Rankings No. 7

THE MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome our current leader, Jiyai Shin into the interview room. Congratulations on a great round of 66 today. Very consistent, 33 on the front, 33 on the back, bogey-free round. Can you just take me through the day and what was working well for you out there?
JIYAI SHIN: Well, I played with Sandra and Brittany. It was great pairing today, so I really enjoyed the other players.
Actually, the weather was perfect this morning, no wind, and green was soft. So first couple holes I made a birdie. It was a good start, so I just tried to do more of the same on the Back 9, too.
Well, I know this course is pretty tough. Desert course is always tough because the bounce and rough is pretty tough. So I just more focus to the accuracy with my shot.

THE MODERATOR: Do you like desert golf? Is this something that seems to suit you, more shot placement, and having to know where you want to hit it?
JIYAI SHIN: Well, I like the desert course for looking. It looks beautiful, and yeah, I think I do because I have a good confidence with sand, so when I play on desert and if I miss the shot, it feels like I can recover on the next shot, too. So I'm more comfortable and confident.

THE MODERATOR: You're coming off two good tournaments in Thailand and Singapore. How did you feel about your game coming into this year, and anything specific that you worked on during the off season that you're starting to see kind of pay off right now?
JIYAI SHIN: Actually, when I trained in the wintertime, not much to do, just repetition with the shot, just make on my tempo. So finally I got on my tempo for like since Thailand.
And I really good talking with my caddie, actually. We worked last year, too, but this year we're talking a lot about my game, so he helped a lot of me.

THE MODERATOR: I know you've had a little change with the hair.
JIYAI SHIN: Yes.

THE MODERATOR: What happened? What made you change the hair up and dye it blond? Kind of a fun look.
JIYAI SHIN: You know, a lot of Asian players play here, they're hair is black or dark brown, so I wanted to make like fresh, but I love them.

THE MODERATOR: New distinguishing look; right?
JIYAI SHIN: Yes.

Q. Jiyai, Brittany hits it so long. Like on No. 2 I think she was 40 yards ahead of you. So you said you liked that pairing, but how do you keep from just not getting a little bit distracted by that?
JIYAI SHIN: Actually, I knew she hit it really long because I played at the Thailand, too. Some holes she just carry over me and like 60 yards in front of me. It was, oh, my God.
So first key is I'm not looking at her swing. I just look at the ground and look at the ball because I know she hit it really long and her tempo is faster than me.
So just, okay, I know, she hit out there. I can hit. But I have the confidence with my fairway wood and hybrid, so it just covers it. So when I play Thailand with her, on the second -- third round, I guess, I hit 6-under at the time, and Brittany hit it 2-under. And I said, you hit it great driver with long distance, but she said, okay, you can take my driver. Just give me the couple birdies. (Laughs).
Well, she's a nice person. I always happy playing with her.

Q. Have any new songs coming out soon?
JIYAI SHIN: That's my winter job actually. It's already started for this year, but not soon. But if I have another chance for the song, I want to do that.

Q. Do you ever write a song if you're playing well?
JIYAI SHIN: Yes, a little bit, a little bit, because I love song.
THE MODERATOR: It's a good way to carry you through a round.

Q. Can you imagine a day when music is the primary focus of your life and not golf?
JIYAI SHIN: Actually, more golf. Just music just helps when I play practice, when I'm doing a lot of practice, it helps because, you know, when I stay a whole day on the course, I was so tired and bored sometimes, but when I listen to a song or sing a song, it just makes it more fun with my life, and golf too.

 

NA YEON CHOI, Rolex Rankings No. 2

THE MODERATOR: All right. We'd like to welcome Na Yeon Choi into the interview room. Congratulations on a great round today, 5‑under par 67. Can you take me through the round a little bit and what was working for you out there today?
NA YEON CHOI: Well, I had one bogey out there, but I got six birdies, and my shot was great. And my putter speed was great. And weather was perfect, and my group, we talked a lot, and I had a fun game today.
I think everything was clicking.

THE MODERATOR: You're coming off a runner‑up finish in Singapore. How did you feel about your game coming into this week and overall so far in the first two tournaments that you've played in this year?
NA YEON CHOI: Yeah. I finished as runner‑up in Singapore, and then I think I got some confidence from that. And then I went to Korea for two weeks. I stayed with my mom and dad, and I think I had great week off in Korea.
I mean I went to my coach in Korea last week and he said my swing looks great, and everything is working great. So I don't think too much. I just think target. And you know, I think my game feeling is great right now.

THE MODERATOR: You've been so consistent over the last few years. How does that affect you when you go into the off season? Is it hard to even think about changing things when you've been able to put together so many Top 10 finishes and play so consistently?
NA YEON CHOI: Well, I just try to improve everything. I mean I never tried to stay there. Like always I tried to learn something or improve my swing or technical, you know, body feeling.
I mean I never stop, and always I try to learn from some mistake, so I mean every year I had great wintertime, so I don't know. Like always I play consistently.

THE MODERATOR: I know you've moved up to No. 2 in the world. We all know how far ahead Yani is of all of you guys right now. But do you think about chasing her? I mean is that something that goes through your mind when you're playing or is that a goal? I know Suzann Pettersen always says that her goal is to be No. 1 in the world. Is that something you have in the back of your mind?
NA YEON CHOI: My goal is to be No. 1 in the world, but I've never tried to be there. Just I do my game, or every time I know what I have to do working on. So I never try control results.
So it will come true or I think some future things. So I'm not going to try too much right now.

Q. How did you find the course today?
NA YEON CHOI: Well, actually this is my first time playing this course. I think course is very firm, even fairway and greens. So I think I have to choose my club very well because sometimes greens are very firm. So I have to ball landing very precisely.
So I think the main thing is club choosing in this course.

Q. Is it hard with the thin air and the warm temperatures to judge your distance control?
NA YEON CHOI: It's not difficult, but I have to think a lot on the course.

Q. You've won five times, and you almost never miss a cut. You're just always there. What would you like to get better at this year?
NA YEON CHOI: Win more than last couple years. I mean like always I want to improve everything. Like driver consistently or accurate with my iron or driver, putting stroke. Like everything. So like I don't want to stop here. So I want to move up. So like every day, every time I try working hard.

Q. How important is the mental part of the game to you?
NA YEON CHOI: I think very important. I mean even today I saw my mental coach here, Pia and Lynn. And Pia, she was following my group on the Back 9. I mean she didn't tell me, she didn't even look at me, anything, but it feels very different, I think.
It's something ‑‑ I mean I know she's my team, so something like gave me some good feelings. So always it helped me a lot.

Q. You mentioned Pia and Lynn. Was there a reason that you selected them as your coaches, and does it have anything to do with they were Annika's coaches?
NA YEON CHOI: Actually, I met them 2009 at Samsung World Championship. That was my first tour win on LPGA Tour. And then the time I met them first time. So I think we are a good ‑‑ we had a good session before that tournament. And then I had a great result there. So after that I got some great feeling with them. So I couldn't stop with them, and like I tried to see them very often during the season and get some good stuff from them.

 

KAREN STUPPLES, Rolex Rankings No. 63

THE MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Karen Stupples into the interview room. Congratulations on a great round, 5‑under 67. First of all, just take me through your day, what was working well for you out there and maybe some of the key holes.
KAREN STUPPLES: Really for me it was all about swinging easy and playing within myself, which played into the hands of hitting some very good quality wedges. I hit some good wedges in. I birdied all the par‑5s, and I think that really was the key to my round.

THE MODERATOR: I know we've talked personally. You've gotten into a little bit of a fitness regimen over the off season.
KAREN STUPPLES: Yes.

THE MODERATOR: Take me through that. How many pounds have you lost and how much do you feel like that's helping your game right now?
KAREN STUPPLES: It got to the point last year where I was over in Malaysia and really struggling playing in the hot weather and the temperatures. And we play so much overseas and a lot of high temperatures, and I really felt like the weight I was at was holding me back from achieving what I wanted to do.
So I figured that I would just do whatever I wanted to up to Christmas, so I went through the holiday season, didn't do anything; no golf, no working out. I ate anything I wanted to up until the new year. Then when I came back to Orlando from the UK, I stood on the scales and said, wait, this is it. Something has to happen. So I gave up dairy, and I gave up a few other bits and pieces, too. I gave up pasta and bread and potatoes, and I lost 21 pounds before I went to Thailand and Singapore. And I maintained that, and I may have lost even a couple more, though I haven't gone on the scales recently, but I feel an awful lot better for it, a lot healthier and really ready to play now.

THE MODERATOR: I was going to say, especially when you're playing over in areas like Thailand where you have those tests. Did you notice a big difference just in in your stamina throughout a round?
KAREN STUPPLES: Absolutely. If you're not carrying an extra 20 pounds around, it has to make a huge difference.
And really, I finished strong in both tournaments. I had low rounds on the Sundays, and I think that was a testament to the fitness.
And I'll also say, even today I noticed a big difference because a week ago today I actually had surgery. So to come back here and play has been pretty huge, because I wasn't even sure I was going to tee it up this week.

THE MODERATOR: When did you know exactly that you were going to play this week and how did you test it early days in the week?
KAREN STUPPLES: I played nine holes ‑‑ I practiced a little bit Monday, felt a little sore. Tuesday I played nine, but was incredibly tired, really wiped out. Wednesday I withdrew from the Pro Am. I really didn't feel like I could make it. If I wanted to play the tournament, I really felt like I had to rest, so I took the whole day off and did no golf at all.
And then my husband and I, who caddies for me, we were really discussing whether ‑‑ you know, this has to be ‑‑ I've gotta be thinking about playing 72 holes. So if I'm going to play, I have to be prepared to play a lot, and not just 18 holes. And he said to me this morning, he said your game is good enough. So don't worry about your game. Just go and play and see how it goes.
And I said, you know, I'll do that. I went through the warmup. Everything felt great on the warm up and I said, let's give it a go. So here we are.

Q. What did you have surgery for?
KAREN STUPPLES: I had an ovarian cyst and some polyps removed. Typically female things. It was done laparoscopically.

THE MODERATOR: With the way this course is playing, what are some of the keys for the week going well and what do you think will make the difference for certain players to put themselves up at the top of the leaderboard?
KAREN STUPPLES: I actually think doing exactly what I did today, take advantage of the par‑5s. There's quite a few wedges out there, because you'll get a lot of roll on the fairways. So you're hitting wedges. If you can hit the wedges close, take advantage of those five‑to‑ten‑foot birdie putts, because the greens are rolling pretty spectacular, I think you have a really good chance of putting in a good number.
Obviously keeping out the desert is key. You can be somewhat away, but not in the desert, because you can end up in bushes and all kinds of trouble. So that's really key, too. You gotta drive the ball pretty straight and then take advantage of the wedges. I'm not so sure that hitting it miles is a huge advantage around here. So I think you can just plod your ball around, play strategic golf and score when you can.

Q. Do you enjoy playing Arizona target golf?
KAREN STUPPLES: I do. Very much so. I won actually in Tucson, so ‑‑ back in '04. So I do very much enjoy the desert. I find it a bit dry, though. I have to go get lots of lotion, but other than that, great.

Q. And your diet, did you give up alcoholic beverages such as beer?
KAREN STUPPLES: Funny enough, I'm not a big drinker anyway. And I'm a big chocolate fan. I couldn't give that up, because if I had, I could have lost more weight. No, I'm not a big drinker.

Q. Does Logan travel with you?
KAREN STUPPLES: He does, yeah. He still travels. He's four and a half. He will start kindergarten at the end of August.

Q. Pretty soon he won't be able to travel.
KAREN STUPPLES: No, no. Exactly. And then everything will turn a little bit upside down for us. My husband will stay home and take care of him, take him to school and I'll have to take a caddie and go through the normal everyday business of playing tour golf without family, which will be a bit of a change for me, but I think the way the schedule is they can come out on weekends and it won't be too difficult for us to manage.

 

PERNILLA LINDBERG, Rolex Rankings No. 124

Q. So seven birdies today, two bogeys, 5‑under round. You've gotta be pretty pleased at how you were able to play today.
PERNILLA LINDBERG: Yeah, absolutely. A nice start. I mean this is what you want to do the first day. Yeah, I made a lot of birdies. I still left some birdie putts out there and then a couple of bogeys, but I recovered well from them and then came back with birdies right after. So yeah, I'm happy.

Q. Was there one aspect of the game that was working better for you today than anything?
PERNILLA LINDBERG: No. I was pretty steady. I barely missed any fairways. I was in the desert once on No. 9 and made a bogey. But besides that I was steady off the tee, and yeah, overall hit a lot of fairways, hit a lot of greens, and like I said, I could have had more putts drop, but yeah, I was happy.

Q. Everybody is talking about what great shape this course is in. Is that what you're noticing out there, and what are kind of the keys to going low?
PERNILLA LINDBERG: Yeah, it's in really great shape. The greens are so smooth that if you can start it on line, you know it's going to stay on that line. And then the fairways are absolutely top shape, too. And the rough is nice this year. There's barely any rough out there.
Now, it looks like a lot of long hitters are playing well, I think, on this course because if you hit it far, there's a lot of wedges and there's some reachable par‑5s, so then you can take advantage of those birdie opportunities.

Q. How did you feel about your game coming into this week? Is this round kind of how you've been feeling lately?
PERNILLA LINDBERG: Yeah. I played two weeks ago, I played an LET event in China, and I played well and finished third over there, so I knew I had some good game in me and I was excited to start the U. S. season and hopefully keep that up.

Q. When the domestic season starts going, we have a little bit more consistency with tournaments in straight weeks. Is it nice to get going with that roll and kick off this part of the season?
PERNILLA LINDBERG: It is. It really is. I enjoy playing, and I know I get better when I play. So I would so much better be out on the road every week than at home practicing, so yeah, I like getting into that rhythm.

Topics: LPGA Founders Cup, Tseng, Yani, Park, Hee Young, Shin, Jiyai, Choi, Na Yeon, Stupples, Karen, Lindberg, Pernilla, Notes and Interviews [+]

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