2012 Kraft Nabisco Championship Final Round Notes and Interviews

Photo Credit: David Cannon/Getty Images

Sun Young Yoo of South Korea proudly holds the trophy after her play-off win during the final round of the 2012 Kraft Nabisco Championship at Mission Hills Country Club.

Kraft Nabisco Championship
Mission Hills Country Club
Rancho Mirage, Calif.
Final-round notes and interviews
April 1, 2012

Sun Young Yoo -9, Rolex Rankings No. 21 *Won in a playoff
I.K. Kim -9, Rolex Rankings No. 12
Yani Tseng -8, Rolex Rankings No. 1
Karin Sjodin -7, Rolex Rankings No. 216
Stacy Lewis -7, Rolex Rankings No. 9
Natalie Gulbis -6, Rolex Rankings No. 127

The 2012 Kraft Nabisco Championship ended in dramatic fashion with Sun Young Yoo beating out I.K. Kim in a one-hole playoff for her second career victory and first major championship. After I.K. Kim missed a one-foot par putt on the 18th hole to force a two-player playoff, Yoo hit her approach shot to 20-feet on the first playoff hole and sank the birdie putt to clinch what seemed to be an improbable victory at the season's first major championship.

Yoo shot a final-round 69 to put herself in position to be in the playoff. After shooting even-par on the front nine, she tallied three birdies on No. 11, 12 and 15 to move to 9-under-par and eventually get into the two-woman playoff for the championship.

Yoo becomes the second South Korean to win the Kraft Nabisco Championship, joining Grace Park (2004). It's her first victory since she became a Rolex First-Time Winner at the 2010 Sybase Match Play Championship. She is projected to jump from No. 21 to 16 in the Rolex Women's World Golf Rankings following her first major championship win.

"I didn't think about winning today because I didn't want to expect too much, and I didn't want to let myself down," said Yoo. "But I think I did better than I was thinking, so I'm very happy."

A bit cold…After winning her first major championship, Sun Young Yoo, was visibly cold in her iconic white robe and was at a loss for words when asked how much this win means to her.

"I don't know how to say it," said Yoo. "I don't think any words can describe how I feel right now. I'm still nervous. I wasn't nervous on the course, but now I'm really nervous (in front of the media)."

Yoo still had ice in her veins throughout her pressure-filled final round and showed no hesitation in making the historic leap into Poppie's Pond.

"I didn't know it was going to be that cold," Yoo added. "As soon as I ran in there, I was like, oh, that's cold. It was great."

Missed opportunity… I.K. Kim appeared to have the Kraft Nabisco Championship right in her grasp as she stared at a one-foot par putt on the 18th hole. With Sun Young Yoo already in at 9-under-par and Yani Tseng needing an eagle on the last hole to finish at 10-under-par, the putt seemed to be almost a gimme but with so much on the line, Kim made an uncharacteristic error, as the one-footer broke right and forced the playoff that would leave her one shot short of her first major championship. But Kim is optimistic about future chances at the Kraft.

"Sometimes things happen, and it's kind of tough because it's Nabisco, and hopefully I'll have better or more chances."

Yani Tseng held the lead heading into the final round of the Kraft Nabisco on Sunday, the ninth time out of the last 10 rounds she has played. It's the first time since the 2010 Kraft Nabisco that Tseng did not win a tournament where she held or shared the lead going into the final round. The world's No. 1 player had a birdie opportunity on 18 to push herself into the two-player playoff with I.K. Kim and Sun Young Yoo.

"I was totally shocked that I couldn't make that," said Tseng. "But I tried my best again. I finished strong it was a day I really don't want, but I give my 100 percent effort out there."

Same finish, different reaction…A year ago, Yani Tseng found herself crying after she blew a two-shot lead heading into the final round of the Kraft Nabisco and lost by three shots to Stacy Lewis. This year, Tseng once again fell short of a victory at the season's first major after holding a share of the third-round lead, but her perspective afterward was much different.

"I feel I'm improving," Tseng said. "Last year when I finished I was crying so hard, but this year I was happy, smiling, enjoy the crowd, enjoy walking on the 18 holes, and I think it's because I do my best every shot. I didn't give up every shot, and I just give 100 percent effort out there, and sometimes like I said, in a tournament you're not going to finish the way you want. And I said maybe God just wanted another player to win and give me something to learning more and improving myself."

Karin Sjodin had the best week of her career at the 2012 Kraft Nabisco Championship. The Swede shot 72-67-68-74=281 for a career-best finish T4. Sjodin came into the final round with a share of the lead with Rolex Rankings No. 1 player Yani Tseng and took a three-shot lead early on Sunday following an eagle on the par-5 second hole. Things fell apart a little over the rest of the round for Sjodin, who tallied five bogeys on the day, but overall she was pleased with the experience she gained.

"I think I handled it really well and I felt like I belonged there," Sjodin said. "I'll take that with me. The way I played throughout the week was so much better than I've played here before. It's disappointing, but I'll take the best from it."

The seventh-year Tour member had only four top-10 finishes to her credit entering this week's tournament and had never finished better than a tie for 19th in a major championship. Her previous career-best finish overall was a tie for seventh at the 2006 John Q. Hammons Hotel Classic in Oklahoma. The Oklahoma State graduate recorded three collegiate victories and was the NCAA individual runner-up in 2004.

Sjodin used a tie for 10th at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup two weeks ago to gain entrance to the Kraft Nabisco field via spots reserved for players in the top-80 of the current year money list not otherwise qualified.

Making good on a promise: In her Rolex Rookie of the Year speech at last year's CME Group Titleholders, Hee Kyung Seo generated a few laughs from the crowd with her playful warning to 2011 Rolex Player of the Year Yani Tseng. She said that when she was driving to the awards ceremony, she saw a sticker on the car that made her think of Yani. It read, "Objects in your mirror may be closer than they appear."

Seo certainly appeared to make good on that statement in Sunday's final round, charging from three back of the leaders - Tseng and Karin Sjodin - to take the outright lead at one point on the back nine. The 25-year-old held a three-shot lead after a birdie on 12 but struggled at the finish, tallying four straight bogeys to finish her round. Still, Seo tallied her third top-10 finish in a major championship as she finished in a T4 at 7-under-par. Her previous top-10 finishes included a runner-up at the 2011 U.S. Women's Open and a T5 at the 2010 RICOH Women's British Open.

Defending champion Stacy Lewis gave everything she had in the final round to give her the chance to make another leap into Poppie's Pond this week. Lewis came out on Sunday firing a 6-under-par 66, finishing at 7-under for the tournament. She saved her best round for last, shooting 74-71-70 in the first three rounds. Lewis was tied for 29th heading into Sunday but knew she had nothing to lose and tried to ignore the leaderboard while concentrating on her own game.

"I really wasn't looking at scores all day, and I think I got up to 6‑under at one point and kind of thought if I could get to 7 or 8, I would be in there towards the end just watching what scores were doing. So I just gutted it out at the end, made a great birdie on 17 and a good par on 18."

Sunday charge: Natalie Gulbis hadn't recorded a top-10 finish since the 2009 Michelob ULTRA Open at Kingsmill and it didn't look like that would change heading into the final round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship as she sat in a T45 at 1-over-par.

But Gulbis put together the round of the week with a 7-under 65 on Sunday to vault to 6-under-par and on to the first page of the leaderboard.

"It's been a while since I've been asked to come in a media center," said Gulbis. I think that's the best thing after a round when they actually want to talk to you and you're not just going to the driving range to work on things.

"For me as long as it's continuing to get better, it's positive for me, and especially any time you can shoot a mid or a high‑round score in the 60s on a major championship, it does nothing but positive."

Golden ticket winners: I.K. Kim, Amy Yang and Hee Kyung Seo punched their "Ticket to CME Group Titleholders" at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, each earning a spot in the season-ending CME Group Titleholders event, which will be held Nov. 15-18, 2012 at The TwinEagles in Naples, Fla. The second annual CME Group Titleholders is a season finale with a field made up of three qualifiers from every LPGA Tour tournament.

Yoo is going to Canyon Ranch. With her victory at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, Sun Young Yoo earned an all-inclusive stay for two at a Canyon Ranch resort. In a combined effort to promote health and overall well-being among Tour players, Canyon Ranch will provide every winner of an LPGA event with one all-inclusive stay at one of Canyon Ranch's two destination resorts.

Ratings stay up: Golf Channel coverage of the 2012 Kraft Nabisco Championship continued to show boosts in ratings as the week went continued. Preliminary numbers for round two (0.6/604,000) was up 12 percent vs. 2011 and is likely to surpass round two in 2011 as the highest early round at this event since 1994. The viewership also is three times higher than Kraft Nabisco round two on ESPN2 in 2010 (0.1 / 149,000).

Tweet of the Day: "I.K. Kim is pure class. She's doing every interview while she holds tears." --@KellyTilghmanGC

Of note… Five different players held the lead at one point in the final round of Sunday's play…Rolex Rankings No. 2 Na Yeon Choi shot a final round even-par and finished in a T8 at 6-under-par

SUN YOUNG YOO, Rolex Rankings No. 37

THE MODERATOR: Sun Young Yoo. Congratulations. Champion at the year's first major. How does that sound to you?
SUN YOUNG YOO: I didn't think about winning today because I didn't want to expect too much, and I didn't want to let myself down, but I think I did better than I was thinking, so I'm very happy.

THE MODERATOR: So you did not have any thoughts at the beginning of today about sitting here in this room?
SUN YOUNG YOO: Not really because I didn't want to think about it. I was thinking just one shot at a time and keep it simple, and I think that worked out pretty good.

THE MODERATOR: My last question before we take some questions. What does this victory do for you? What does it mean to you to be sitting here as a major champion?
SUN YOUNG YOO: I don't know how to say it. I don't think any words can describe how I feel right now. I'm still nervous. I wasn't nervous on the course, but now I'm really nervous.

THE MODERATOR: Really?
SUN YOUNG YOO: Yeah.

Q. Did you see I.K.'s putt on 18 when she missed, and did you feel anything for her when that ball lipped out or were you just happy for yourself or what were your emotions at that moment?
SUN YOUNG YOO: She's a great player. She really doesn't miss those kind of putts. Some people were telling me that that's golf. You never know what's going to happen, but I was just watching on the putting green and that's some luck.

Q. And do you think she was a little still bothered by that on the playoff hole? Do you think it was a little hard for her to focus on the playoff hole at that point? Would it be hard for you?
SUN YOUNG YOO: I don't know. Maybe it takes some time to get over things sometimes. I don't know what she was thinking. I just tried to focus on my game.

Q. Do you feel a little sad for her? Obviously you're happy you won, but do you have some sadness for her?
SUN YOUNG YOO: I mean it happens. It's golf. It's a crazy game. It happened to me before, too.

I mean everybody's playing to win out here, but I don't think I can ‑‑ she did great today.

Q. Was there a point on the Back 9 when you did realize you were tied and maybe you had a chance to win this tournament?
SUN YOUNG YOO: Yes. I wasn't looking at the scoreboard on the front nine and I started looking at it after 16, and I was one shot behind, so I just told myself that all I can do is do my best, and see what happens. I don't know. I didn't realize until 18.

Q. When you parred 18 and stayed at 9‑under, did you think you weren't going to win?
SUN YOUNG YOO: I thought I had no chance. I thought I.K. was going to make that putt, but it didn't happen.

THE MODERATOR: By the way, you are the second South Korean to win this championship. Grace Park as well. What does that mean for you in the history?
SUN YOUNG YOO: Every win is very important, and especially a major. But I didn't really think about the win. I just wanted to think ‑‑ it's a big tournament, right, so I just tried to focus on my game and play some golf and some fun out there.

Q. What do you think this will do for your personal confidence now that you are labeled forever a major champion?

THE MODERATOR: What will this do for you and your confidence going forward?
SUN YOUNG YOO: I've been playing very good, and I actually have my confidence back last week. So it helps a lot, and I'm looking forward to play some more tournaments.

THE MODERATOR: You played very well last week.
SUN YOUNG YOO: Yeah, I did.

THE MODERATOR: You live in Orlando; right?
SUN YOUNG YOO: Yes.

THE MODERATOR: You're a big fan of the NBA; correct?
SUN YOUNG YOO: Yes.

THE MODERATOR: Basketball more than golf?
SUN YOUNG YOO: I like basketball better than golf.

THE MODERATOR: Really?
SUN YOUNG YOO: Yes.

THE MODERATOR: What's your favorite team?
SUN YOUNG YOO: Orlando Magic.

THE MODERATOR: How many games do you go to a year?
SUN YOUNG YOO: I try to go once a year, but I couldn't go this year.

THE MODERATOR: Your favorite player is?
SUN YOUNG YOO: J.J. Redick.

THE MODERATOR: Not Dwight Howard. J.J. Redick. Okay.

Q. Did you bring any family with you this week or have you gotten a chance to talk to family yet?
SUN YOUNG YOO: No. I was here by myself. I just wish my family was here. My family is still (indiscernible) so I can't wait to get some pictures to my family.

Q. When you get to go home as a major winner, what do you think that will be like? What kind of greeting will you get?
SUN YOUNG YOO: I'm sure my family in Korea will know, but I'm going to Orlando the next two weeks, so I'm all by myself. So I'm going to have some party with friends.

THE MODERATOR: Can you tell everybody about the jump into the pond? What was that like? Were you nervous about having to jump?
SUN YOUNG YOO: I didn't know it was going to be that cold. As soon as I ran in there, I was like, oh, that's cold. It was great.

Q. Can you just give us a little background in how you got started in the game and maybe who you looked up to, who taught you?
SUN YOUNG YOO: I was 10 when I started golf, and actually, I liked to play pretty much every sport, so one day my dad took me to the driving range and made me hit some balls, and I really liked it. It was very fun, and I just kept doing it.

THE MODERATOR: Other questions?

Q. Were you 10 years old at that time when you first started?
SUN YOUNG YOO: Yes.

Q. When he took you to the range?
SUN YOUNG YOO: Yes.

Q. Could you briefly tell us the progression from that 10‑year‑old start to kind of how you continued onward?
SUN YOUNG YOO: Yes. I started playing tournaments when I was 13. Then I really liked competing with other people, and we had a golf team in my middle school and high school. We had some good junior golf, and I played.

THE MODERATOR: Let me ask you one question about the state of the tour from the perspective of Yani Tseng who gets a lot of attention. Now that you've won and this week you beat Yani. What are your thoughts about how good she is, where you might fit in? Can you challenge her among the great players? SUN YOUNG YOO: She's a great player, and I've known her since like 15, and we played some junior golf maybe twice.

Everybody out here, they're really great. It depends how many putts they make, so you never know who's going to win the tournament these days.

THE MODERATOR: And now it's you. Anything else from the audience? Sun Young Yoo, congratulations.
SUN YOUNG YOO: Thank you.

I.K. KIM, Rolex Rankings No. 7

Q. I know it was a tough finish, but can you take me just through the playoff hole and what happened on 18?
I.K. KIM: Well, on 18 I was nervous the whole way, obviously on the Back 9, but I think I executed good shots, and I hit many good putts. And on 18, you know, I wanted to make the putt with the right speed, and I think I've done very well. But coming up to it I tried to take time, and you know, same routine.

But I played straight, and actually just broke to the right, even that short putt. So it was unfortunate on 18, but I've done a lot of ‑‑ I feel good about my game. It's getting better. It's progressing, and on the playoff hole, you know, it's just hard to kind of focus what's going on right now because I was still a little bit bummed what happened on 18, honestly.

And on the third shot I just had almost the same number, but five yards shorter than the last one. And I thought the wind was blowing harder, but I just didn't, you know, hit it solid. And then definitely the wind got it. That's when it came a little short. But other than that, it was a great experience, and sometimes, you know, you have to close to win the tournament.

I don't know, you know, sometimes things happen, and it's kind of, you know, tough because it's Nabisco, and hopefully I'll have better or more chances.

YANI TSENG, Rolex Rankings No. 1

Q. So I know it wasn't your best day out there, but still, to have a chance on 18.
YANI TSENG: I was totally shocked that I couldn't make that. But I tried my best again. I finished strong, and I don't know, it was a day I really don't want, but I give my 100 percent effort out there.

And I don't feel I played really bad today. I think just needed a little more luck to drop some putt. I putt very good. I mean also it was a good try. And you never know for sure if you have a chance like that.

A little disappointed, but not really. You know, it's not the end of the world, so I'll come back next year and try to win in this tournament.

Q. And just take me through, how were you able to keep yourself mentally? I know it was a tough start when you were falling away from the top of the leaderboard, but how did you keep yourself in it through the rest of the round?
YANI TSENG: Just be patient. Today out there, like I said, I didn't make lots of putts, but I made good shots. The ball just didn't go in. Maybe this is the day the gods wanted another player to win this tournament.

But I say I did my best in the end and I still finished strong and just looking forward to come back next year.

Q. You had a chance there at the end. What were you thinking?
YANI TSENG: I know. I was so shocked that she missed that. I think it was just a fluke. And after she missed that, my caddie, Jason, was like, let's focus on this one. Let's focus, because if I make birdie, I still have a chance to get in playoff.

But I just feel sad about she missed that putt because I was trying to hole the third shot if I have a chance, and I gave a good try. I finished strong. Even the tournament is not finished the way I want it, but sometimes it's going to happen like this. But I'm learning something this week and just can't wait to come back here again and try to win this.

Q. How did you feel at the beginning? Were you uncomfortable at all? It's hard for us to tell, but it looked like you weren't quite comfortable there?
YANI TSENG: No. I feel comfortable. I think I was just trying too hard. I hit lots of good shots. Just didn't go where I want it, but I made lots of good putts and didn't drop this in. I think I just needed a little more luck to win in this tournament because like those putts on the front nine, Back 9, just drop in a couple of putts, I could be out there holding the trophy now.

Q. How did this ‑‑ obviously a close call last year, too, but how did this year feel different emotionally for you? Did you feel like you were more composed?
YANI TSENG: Yeah, I feel I'm improving. Last year when I finished I was crying so hard, but this year I was happy, smiling, enjoy the crowd, enjoy walking on the 18 holes, and I think it's because I do my best every shot. I didn't give up every shot, and I just give 100 percent effort out there, and sometimes like I said, in a tournament you're not going to finish the way you want. And I said maybe God just wanted another player to win and give me something to learning more and improving myself.

Q. You said Thursday you did not have your A game that day. What level was it today?
YANI TSENG: I think today it was pretty ‑‑ I think the wind is not as consistent like yesterday. Yesterday the wind was very consistent, like 20, 30 miles, but today it was like on and off, on and off, and I was hitting so many good shots and some just go really long and some just go short.

But I think I still did pretty well. I still missed some out there, but I think my attitude, I didn't give out anything. My attitude, I smiled the whole way and chin up and still have a chance on the last hole, and I was very happy about that and hopefully come back next year.

Every year I'm getting closer. This year I was closer, so hopefully next year I can win.

Q. Did you feel ‑‑ a player came in and said that we had kind of written the story before the tournament started and handed you the trophy before, and that put a lot of pressure on you and et cetera, you know, kind of blaming the media for writing the story before. How do you feel about that?

YANI TSENG: It is pressure, but I just try to turn that pressure into motivation. I don't want to think too much, because after two wins everybody is trying to look at you to win the third week because your A game is there, you're still hot. I know that, but you know, the things I can focus on is I just play my own game, but it's hard. It's hard to not worry about what other players are doing, but I keep to myself, just focus on myself, and you're sometimes still thinking too much. You're still trying, but even though your game is there.

But today I was really sad, but it wasn't like last year, not even close like last year. So I'm just happy and go back to just relax.

Q. What did you hit into 18?
YANI TSENG: 9‑iron, and it was 122. But we thought it was wind, and the wind didn't blow, so we just passed like 10 yards. So that was like 30 feet for birdie.

STACY LEWIS, Rolex Rankings No. 9

THE MODERATOR: Stacy Lewis is the defending champion here at the Kraft Nabisco Championship. And boy, did you ever play like it today. Fantastic round, and I think you're going to have to be patient for a little while. Talk us through some of the highlights as far as what you saw out there and your mindset going in.
STACY LEWIS: Well, I knew I was pretty far back and I needed some help. Obviously the weather was going to help me, but I needed to go out early and make some birdies and made a couple of good birdies on 2 and 3 and made the turn and was kind of frustrated that I didn't make any more birdies and just kind of caught fire there on the Back 9.

THE MODERATOR: Did you feel while you were out there, I've got a chance? Is that why you were feeling that pressure because you felt like this thing wasn't over due to winds or whatever?
STACY LEWIS: Well, I really wasn't looking at scores all day, and I think I got up to 6 at one point, 6‑under and kind of thought if I could get to 7 or 8, I would be in there towards the end just watching what scores were doing. So just gutted it out at the end, made a great birdie on 17 and a good par on 18.

THE MODERATOR: One last question for me before we take questions from the audience. When you started this week, there was the press conference here, there was a lot of hype and all the buildup. How much more relaxed do you feel now or as the week progressed than you might have when you started on Thursday?
STACY LEWIS: I've been pretty relaxed. It definitely got less busy as the week went on. I was able to kind of go back to the condo and just relax after the rounds and caught up on some sleep, so I feel really good, and it's just nice to finish off the week well.

Q. Stacy, I noticed on your Twitter account last night you said you were ready to go low today. Was that because you just felt like the game was there and it hadn't clicked in and it was ready to go?
STACY LEWIS: Well, I felt like all year I've kind of played ‑‑ just played okay where I've had some good rounds going and something's happened at the end, or something like that, and so I just felt like I was ready for a really low round, and you know, I didn't start out hitting the ball that well and didn't really feel that good about my game on Thursday, but then things were kind of slowly getting better, and I'm just glad this came today.

Q. That front nine on Thursday, four straight bogeys, you say you weren't hitting the ball well. Was it the entire game or was it your putting wasn't there?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah.

Q. What changed between the ninth hole and the tenth hole?
STACY LEWIS: Well, I think the biggest change was after my first round, I changed putters, actually. I wasn't happy with the way the ball was rolling. I think the putter had too much loft on it and it was bouncing a lot, so I called TaylorMade, and they drove over four putters for me, and at 6:30 on Friday morning, I was testing putters, and I picked one out and that's the one I played with the rest of the week.

THE MODERATOR: Wow. That's interesting.
STACY LEWIS: Good story, huh?

Q. Mid tournament. Stacy, in your heart do you think you still have a chance to win it? The leader is at 10‑under now. How hard is the back 9 playing and how hard will it be for her to hold onto that score?
STACY LEWIS: Well, I think the golf course is playing tough, especially with the wind, and more than anything, you've got a little bit of inexperience coming down the stretch the last four holes, and so I think that more than anything is going to keep me in it.

I mean I don't know. I'm just hoping for a playoff right now.

Q. And do you think by posting that 7‑under that was good enough to put a little pressure maybe on the girls ahead of you as they looked?
STACY LEWIS: Well, I think just for them to see that and to know they've got a number to shoot for now and to put that in the back of their mind and hopefully maybe that'll put a bit more pressure on them.

Q. And can you just take me through the 17th and 18th, the birdie hole and what shots you hit on those holes?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, 17, I think the number is 157 today and I hit 6‑iron to about six feet and made the putt. 18 I actually made a really good par. The wind died right as I hit my wedge, and it went over the green and made about a five ‑‑ a little slider 5‑footer for par.

Q. What made you on Friday morning choose one of those four putters specifically?
STACY LEWIS: Well, the one I picked was most similar to kind of what I've putted with growing up, just more of an answer style putter. And more than anything the putts were just rolling really well, and so I felt like I could line it up good and the putts would come off the face really well.

Q. How many will go with you to the next tournament?
STACY LEWIS: Hopefully just one, but we got two weeks to figure that out.

THE MODERATOR: Can you talk about the pressure that you think might have been in the mind of Yani Tseng when she started today based on what you went through last year and what you were telling me as we walked over here?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I think Yani's got a ton of pressure on her. I think the media has ‑‑ I don't know, from all the writings and everything, they basically gave Yani the tournament, and they did that last year, too, and I think that's a lot of pressure for somebody ‑‑ because she's still gotta go out there and play and play a hard golf course, and so I mean I can't say that I'm not surprised.

I mean I don't know. I couldn't imagine having that pressure.

Q. So what are you going to do for the next 90 minutes?
STACY LEWIS: Go get something to eat and kind of watch scores and see what happens, if I need to go hit some balls. But I'll definitely be on property here.

Q. Sjodin's been a magician with her irons play, hitting greens in regulation. Is that the single most important thing and what can you tell everybody about her game?
STACY LEWIS: I actually played with her in the final round of Phoenix a couple weeks ago. She finished Top 10 there, and I hadn't played with her in a while, and she's hitting it a lot straighter than I've ever seen her hit it. She's always hit it far, and it's been kind of questionable whether it would be in the fairway. And that was one thing I noticed was that she was hitting it really straight and she was making a lot of putts.

And I think the key to this golf course right now with the rough being down is getting them on the greens and giving yourself some birdie looks.

THE MODERATOR: Anything else? Lasting thought from you on your defending champion of the week here.
STACY LEWIS: It's been an amazing week and I'd love to come back as a defending champion.

KARIN SJODIN, Rolex Rankings No. 216

Q. How did you feel you handled playing in the final group?
KARIN SJODIN: It was extremely fun. Just great. Lot of people, everyone screaming Yani's name. I guess I was pretending they were yelling for me (laughs). I think I handled it good. I wasn't nervous, I was just excited.

Q. Did nerves play any part in the day?
KARIN SJODIN: I thought I would be a lot more nervous than I was. It didn't feel too much different than normal. I felt like I hit it so well the first two rounds, so that probably helped.

Q. Talk about the back nine when the leaderboard kept changing.
KARIN SJODIN: I had no idea what was going on with everyone else, so I felt like if I made some birdies toward the end of the day I would have a shot.

Q. Overall, what will you take from the experience?
KARIN SJODIN: I think I handled it really well and I felt like I belonged there. I'll take that with me. The way I played throughout the week was so much better than I've played here before. It's disappointing, but I'll take the best from it.

Q. I've never seen anyone smile more during a round of golf.
KARIN SJODIN: Ha, yeah, maybe everyone will start doing that.

NATALIE GULBIS, Rolex Rankings No. 12

THE MODERATOR: We want to welcome Natalie Gulbis to the media center. Had a terrific round today, best round of the week by anybody thus far.
NATALIE GULBIS: Thank you.

THE MODERATOR: Tell us about it. What are the highlights? You're all smiles.
NATALIE GULBIS: I made nine birdies, so that helps, and it feels even better when it's on a major golf course on a Sunday when the conditions are tough. I hit it good on the range, and I had been hitting the ball pretty well all week and had been getting better, and just all came together.

THE MODERATOR: What does this sound say about you and what does it do in your mind for you moving forward? It's been a while since you've posted a Top 10, especially at a big event like this.
NATALIE GULBIS: It's been a while since I've been asked to come in a media center. I think that's the best thing after a round when they actually want to talk to you and you're not just going to the driving range to work on things.

THE MODERATOR: Do you want to tell them what you thought I was coming to get you for?
NATALIE GULBIS: (Laughs). No. I just had a really good off season with Butch, and I've been working hard on my golf game, so hopefully it continues to get better and better.

Q. You and Stacy seemed to have similar trajectories for the week in that you didn't get off with great starts on Thursday and then you came on as the week went on. Was there something that changed in your game or was Thursday just one of those days?
NATALIE GULBIS: On the first round?

Q. Yes.
NATALIE GULBIS: Yeah. Stacy and I play quite a bit of golf together, and when we were paired together the first two rounds, I don't think either one of us struck it very good, but it got better for me the next day and I hit it even better yesterday, and we obviously both played well today.

But I love this golf course. It's one of my favorite golf courses all year, and obviously as a past champion Stacy does, too, and I think that always helps when you're going into a golf course that you feel comfortable on and you feel comfortable on the greens and know the different shots you have to hit.

Q. What is it about the golf course that you like so much?
NATALIE GULBIS: The greens are in wonderful shape, and just the tradition of this event. This is, I think you were telling me the 30th year of the Kraft Nabisco.

There's just so much tradition whether it's just walking. I know the jump is so famous, but as a player walking from the third shot or the second shot to the green and looking at the past champions and looking at Hall‑of‑Famers, and I've watched many great players jump into that lake. It's just a great event.

I have a funny story. Phil Mickelson works with Butch Harmon, and when I was going into Nabisco he wished me luck and said, "That's always one of my favorite events because it's an event that has so much tradition and it's on a golf course that I've actually played on." We feel the same way when we're watching Bay Hill or we're watching the Masters. We get excited to watch a golf course that we've seen so much tradition on or seen past events. So this event really stands out in golf.

Q. When you have a closing round like this, how much, if at all, do you find yourself thinking where was this round earlier in the week? Is your predominant thought excitement or do you feel a little bit of why couldn't I have summoned this earlier?
NATALIE GULBIS: No. Just excitement. For me as long as it's continuing to get better, it's positive for me, and especially any time you can shoot a mid or a high‑round score in the 60s on a major championship, it does nothing but positive.

Q. Natalie, you have a caddie on your bag who's won quite a few tournaments. How is he helping you these last few weeks?
NATALIE GULBIS: He helps me tremendously. He's really helped me this week, especially with reading greens, and I trust him. So if I say a break is outside right edge and he says right edge, I have confidence in him that he's right, and he always is right.

Same thing on a day like today when the conditions get tougher and it's on a major golf course, he got better; and good caddies and good players get better when the continues are tougher, and nothing showed up more than today.

Q. Did you wear all black just in case?
NATALIE GULBIS: No. I like to wear black on Sundays. Adidas scripts me and they script Paula. Paula wears pink on Sundays and I wear black. But thank you. I didn't think of that.

Q. You're the only player who made any kind of run who actually teed off on 10 today.
NATALIE GULBIS: You have nothing to lose when you tee off on No. 10 at the Kraft Nabisco on a Sunday.

Q. That's exactly the question. What's your mindset on a Sunday when you're teeing off ‑‑ I had somebody come up to me and say, this is where Natalie Gulbis teed off, right, at 10:10. I said, yeah, but over there. And she said, doggone it and ran over real fast.
NATALIE GULBIS: Yes. You always want to be off the first hole on a Sunday in a major, and you just know that you have nothing to lose, nothing but positive things to either build on and you know your game is going to be tested. Just the opportunity to go out and shoot a low score and take something positive for the day. And once I saw the pins and saw that you could be aggressive on a lot of these holes, I just tried to make as many birdies as I could.

Q. You said it's been a while since you've been in the press room. It's not like you haven't been given media attention. You have been in a magazine or two this year. But this is really what you want to be talking about; correct?
NATALIE GULBIS: This is absolutely what I want to be talking about. I love answering questions about golf or about the conditions or about the tournament, especially an event like this. You always want to spend as much time as you can during majors in the media room or seeing you show up on 18 green.

Topics: ANA Inspiration, Notes and Interviews, Yoo, Sun Young, Kim, I K, Tseng, Yani, Sjodin, Karin, Lewis, Stacy, Gulbis, Natalie [+]

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