Manulife Financial LPGA Classic
Grey Silo Golf Course
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Second-Round Notes and Interview
June 23, 2012
Inbee Park -9, Rolex Rankings No. 26
Shanshan Feng -8, Rolex Rankings No. 4
Brittany Lang -8, Rolex Rankings No. 35
Hee Kyung Seo -8, Rolex Rankings No. 37
Sun Young Yoo -7, Rolex Rankings No. 12
Lexi Thompson -7, Rolex Rankings No. 23
Chella Choi -7, Rolex Rankings No. 61
Stacy Lewis -6, Rolex Rankings No. 2
Anna Nordqvist -6, Rolex Rankings No. 31
Second-round play at the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic was completed on Saturday morning with 79 players making the cut at 1-over-par 143. Play resumed at 6:41 a.m. after being suspended on Friday evening at 9:22 p.m. due to darkness. Players were given the option of finishing the hole they were playing last night and play ultimately concluded at 9:38 p.m., thanks in part to the ample sunlight provided by the longest day of the year.
2008 U.S. Women's Open Champion Inbee Park shot rounds of 69-64 to take the lead after 36 holes at the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic. Park only needed 22 putts on Friday's second round and recorded eight birdies and one bogey to take a one-stroke lead over a trio of players that include recent LPGA Championship winner Shanshan Feng, Brittany Lang and Hee Kyung Seo.
"I played great today," said Park. "I hit the ball very well and especially hit my short irons really good, so gave a lot of opportunities and obviously putt very good today."
With the wind died down compared to Thursday, Park was able to take advantage of the soft greens at Grey Silo Golf Course and capitalize on the easier scoring conditions.
"I didn't find the fairways being much soft, but the greens are really, really softer than yesterday because yesterday, some of the holes it was almost impossible to stop it, so it was playing really tough and it was really windy too," said Park. "So today a lot calmer and the greens were softer, so I think it was really scoring conditions today."
History in the Making… Duke University Women's Golf could be considered as a collegiate golf dynasty. With five NCAA National Team Championship titles and 16 ACC Championship wins, it would seem unimaginable that no former Duke collegiate golfer has won on the LPGA Tour. This however is the case for the 16 Duke players who have gone on to compete on the LPGA Tour.
With five former Blue Devils in the field at this week's Manulife LPGA Classic, Brittany Lang has put herself in prime contention to break the hex. Rounds of 69-65 has landed Lang one-stroke off the lead and the sixth year LPGA Tour member knows she will need to maintain her focus on the weekend if she wants to become a Rolex First-Time Winner.
"I've been working really hard at being focused on every shot," said Lang. "I lose my focus pretty easy, so that's been my goal and I'm doing it pretty well. It's going to be my goal on the weekend to just try to be in every shot, so if I can do that, I'll be right here on Sunday and I'll be happy."
Cool, Calm and Collected… If you see last year's Rolex Rookie of the Year, Hee Kyung Seo on the golf course, it is difficult to overlook her calm and relaxed demeanor. Seo's laid back personality proved to be just what she needed on Friday after a double-bogey on the par-3 17th dropped her outside the lead.
"The wind was blowing hard, really hard from left to right, but I thought it was right club," said Seo. I hit 6 iron, which is 160 club, but I don't know, the ball was dropped down so it kicked to the right and couldn't find the ball. I dropped a ball at the hazard line and a double-bogey, but it's okay, it's only second round."
Seo quickly rebounded from the double-bogey with a birdie on the 18th to move her back to 8-under-par for the tournament. Seo knocked on the door to her second LPGA Tour victory at the season-opening ISPS Handa Australian Open where she finished tied for second.
Movin' on Up…Stacy Lewis began Friday's second round lingering on the cut line. An opening 1-over-par 71 landed Lewis in a tie for 70th but Lewis maneuvered her way up the leader Friday afternoon after a bogeyless 7-under-par 64 moved her into a tied for 12th.
Lewis's stats speak volumes for how she played on Friday as she hit every fairway and only missed one green. After her round, Lewis credited better weather for her vast improvement.
"I just putted a lot better," said Lewis. "I think yesterday I didn't have very good feel around the greens and I finally got some putts to go in today. It was actually a really easy day, so it was nice."
In search of her third LPGA Tour victory this season, Lewis currently leads the Rolex Player of the Year standings at is the top American in the Rolex Rankings at No. 2. Previous LPGA Tour players who have won three tournaments in the same year include Patty Berg and Babe Zaharias in 1948 and 1949, Juli Inkster, Rosie Jones, Betsy King, Nancy Lopez, and Ayako Okamoto in 1998, Brandie Burton in 1993, Annika Sorenstam in 1995, and Lorena Ochoa and Jiyai Shin in 2009.
Confidence Booster… Sun Young Yoo became a Rolex First-Time Winner at the 2010 Sybase Match Play Championship but a win at this year's Kraft Nabisco Championship was just what she needed to boost her confidence.
"I got a lot of confidence from the winning, it was a big win for me," said Yoo. "I just try to focus one shot at a time and have lots of tournament coming in, the win definitely helped me a lot so I still feel good."
Since her victory Yoo has only finished outside the top-20 once and recorded a tied for fourth at the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic and tied for ninth at the Sybase Match Play Championship. If the first two days are any reflection on how the weekend will turn out for Yoo, look for her to notch another impressive finish this week.
Despite a few misreads on the greens this week, Yoo feels confident about her ball striking and is looking forward to the next two days of play.
"I hit it very good today, and yesterday I was hitting everything very close but didn't make much putt, still left some out there," said Yoo. "I feel great with my game and I'm looking forward to playing on the weekend."
FANtastic… Rookie Lexi Thompson gave the large crowd at today's Manulife Financial LPGA Classic a lot to cheer about after a 2-under-par 69 moved her in contention for her second LPGA Tour victory. The staff had to mow extra parking lots in order to accommodate the large crowds that showed up to watch marquee groups such as Thompson's.
"It feels amazing," said Thompson. "I mean, the crowds are just crazy out here, they're always cheering you on. That's a great feeling to have."
A suspended first round forced Thompson to return to Grey Silo Friday morning where she played her last six holes 3-under-par. Thompson carried her solid play into Friday afternoon's second round and left her in the hunt for her second career LPGA Tour title at just 17-years-old.
"Well, I finished my first round pretty good, the last six holes, and then I just sort of played steady my second round," said Thompson. "Overall, just good ball striking, so just going to try to continue that."
Time for Some Fun… Despite a frustrating afternoon for Nordqvist, only one missed fairway and two missed greens in the second round could be just the combination the Swede needs for a fun weekend. Nordqvist is currently three-strokes off the lead and she couldn't be more excited about what could unfold on the weekend.
"I'm really happy, I'm really excited," said Nordqvist of being in contention this weekend. "It feels like a lot of my hard work is paying off. It's a great golf course and you have to go out there this week and do a lot of birdies, but it's going to be a fun weekend for sure."
Nodqvist shot a first-round 7-under-par but a second round plagued by 35 putts dropped her to 6-under-par for the tournament.
"I just have to make more putts," said Nordqvist. "Yesterday I shot 7-under, so I think the most different was just making some putts. I'll just work a little bit on that and hopefully make a couple more this weekend."
Q. So you got it to 9-under overall, shot 7-under on the day. Just tell us about how you played today.
INBEE PARK: I played great today. I hit the ball very well and especially hit my short irons really good, so gave a lot of opportunities and obviously putt very good today. So two days more like this, yeah.
Q. Can you tell me if you had any really good birdies, long putts, chip ins, anything like that?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, just when I was finishing I holed maybe 40-, 50-footer just off the green, so that was very nice. A couple of good par saves and I think mostly I hit a lot of shots really close. So, I mean, there was par 5s that you can reach here and the greens were playing really soft today, so it was a lot easier than yesterday.
Q. What's the state of your game coming into this week? Were you feeling good?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, I was hitting the ball really good, so I was really confident. Putting, my putter really worked well this week, so that's good.
Q. And a lot of golfers are saying that the course is a lot different from yesterday. Did you find that, too?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, it was really different. I mean, I didn't find the fairways being much soft, but the greens are really, really softer than yesterday because yesterday, some of the holes it was almost impossible to stop it, so it was playing really tough and it was really windy too. So today a lot calmer and the greens were softer, so I think it was really scoring conditions today.
Q. Did you have a hard time adjusting to the greens at first or did it come pretty quick?
INBEE PARK: Well, yesterday it was really tough to judge the distance and I was missing a lot of greens yesterday, but today it was playing much easier.
Q. And there's a lot of scores that didn't go some peoples' way today, some people shot low, some people shot high. Were you surprised at the way you shot today?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, I mean, I was looking at the scores this morning and scoring was really good this morning, so I thought the course was playing a little bit easier and I think that gave me a lot of confidence going into today's round, so it helped me a lot.
Q. And what's the mindset going into the weekend now as the leader?
INBEE PARK: I think just the same as today, just play my own game and hopefully putter will just drop.
Q. So you shot 68 today, another good round.
SHANSHAN FENG: Thank you.
Q. You keep playing well. Just tell me about your day.
SHANSHAN FENG: I think the day -- actually, I'll tell you something.
SHANSHAN FENG: I think it was my second year on Tour, it was McDonald's, by that time it was the LPGA Championship, and I played the first two days with Michelle and Christina Kim and Christina Kim was on the mic. So actually it was the same situation as three years ago. Then I played very well the first day and then I fell apart my second day and I missed the cut by like two. Actually like the first, I don't know why I kept thinking the same situation, I can't do that again. So then I was a little nervous maybe for the first few and then after I made the birdie on the 18th, I was back. Then I had another three more birdies on the back, so that was pretty good.
Q. Did you birdie No. 9?
SHANSHAN FENG: No, 8. I did 5, 7 and 8.
Q. Were any of them long putts or anything, chip-ins or anything?
SHANSHAN FENG: I had a chip-in on 7.
Q. How far was that, do you think?
SHANSHAN FENG: It was like a downhill very fast, maybe I would say 12, 12 yards.
Q. So just talk about the next couple days. Obviously you're probably going to be one shot back, in good position to get another win, but I know you said you weren't putting a lot of pressure on yourself to go back to back.
SHANSHAN FENG: You know what, I'm so happy to see, you know, there were a lot of Chinese following these days and I feel so happy. But everybody says to me, win again, go win that again. I was like, don't give me pressure. I mean, just joking, but if they want me to win, I'll try to win, but I mean just like I said, I want to make sure that I'm not focusing just on score, just need to focus on shot by shot and try my best.
Q. Just take us through the round. Obviously 6-under 65, nice way to spend the day.
BRITTANY LANG: Yeah, it was really good. I got off to a good start. We teed off at 10:30, there wasn't much wind, so it was pretty easy and I got off to a really good start. That's the thing on this course, if you can make a couple birdies early, you can definitely go low because it's not too terribly tough of a course.
Q. Considering the rain last night, could you be more aggressive then with the greens today?
BRITTANY LANG: Absolutely, yeah. It was a totally different golf course. We had soft greens, soft fairways and no wind, so it was unbelievable. We were spinning iron shots back, where yesterday afternoon we were having them bump 20 yards, so it was definitely more scorable conditions for sure.
Q. What is it about those back-to-back par 5s, 5 and 6? A lot of players having success out there.
BRITTANY LANG: Yeah, it's good because if you're playing well, you have a reachable par 5 there and then you have another wedge in your hand, so you get a lot of momentum, which is good about a course like this. It's fun if you're making birdies because you can feed off those holes, so those are fun holes.
Q. What do you think the low score's going to be that wins this thing on Sunday?
BRITTANY LANG: I think it's going to be pretty low. The girls are playing well and a lot of girls got off to a great start. At the beginning of the week I thought 16-under, but obviously I think it might even be lower. The wind's not whipping too bad today, so 16 will be the least it will be. It will be something like that or better.
Q. Just talk about going into the weekend. You've answered the question many times, but you're still looking for your first win and you've been knocking on the door for a while, so just talk about the weekend.
BRITTANY LANG: Yeah, I'm looking forward to it. I've been working really hard at being focused on every shot. I lose my focus pretty easy, so that's been my goal and I'm doing it pretty well. It's going to be my goal on the weekend to just try to be in every shot, so if I can do that, I'll be right here on Sunday and I'll be happy.
Q. Tell me about these crowds for a Friday, just really impressive.
BRITTANY LANG: Yeah, it's awesome when we come up to Canada. I can't believe how many tickets they sold. But they're just great fans, they're nice people, they cheer for everybody. You know, we play two events here and they're just unbelievable, so it's so much fun to have crowds like this not at a major tournament. It's really cool.
Q. 8-under right now, you're tied for the lead. We'll see what happens the rest of the day. Just tell us how you played today.
HEE KYUNG SEO: Last two days I hit really good and made lots of good puttings, and tried to be patient out at the wind. But the course is not that kind of tough, so tried to keep simple and I worked really hard during the week off, so I think it worked.
Q. Talk about coming back -- you finished a few holes this morning. Talk about having to go to bed, wake up, finish your first round and then re-tee it.
HEE KYUNG SEO: It was a little hard to wake up this morning, but I hit really good this morning. And I think the green was softer than yesterday, so it was more easier to get close to the pin and I tried to be aggressive at the putting green and it worked.
Q. With that rain, were you able to be more aggressive with the greens today?
HEE KYUNG SEO: Well, it's definitely more softer than yesterday, but at the afternoon the wind was blowing hard so it wasn't really, you know, be aggressive but try to keep the ball at the widest area, open area.
Q. What did you work on during your off week?
HEE KYUNG SEO: I worked on my swing. I was trying to get close to the pin. So yeah, I took a lot of time to spend on swinging and maybe I was out there a whole day, yeah.
Q. In Orlando?
HEE KYUNG SEO: Yeah. So I feel a little sick at the start of the week, but feels good now.
Q. Like a cold?
HEE KYUNG SEO: I think I got a little tired working hard, so hard, so I feel a little tired.
Q. You had the outright lead on 17. What happened there?
HEE KYUNG SEO: The wind was blowing hard, really hard from left to right, but I thought it was right club. I hit 6 iron, which is 160 club, but I don't know, the ball was dropped down so it kicked to the right and couldn't find the ball. I dropped a ball at the hazard line and a double bogey, but it's okay, it's only second round.
Q. A lot of players are having success at 5 and 6, those back-to-back par 5s. Why is that?
HEE KYUNG SEO: I think the par 5 on this course is not that long so we can get there in two, so there are many opportunities to get eagle or birdies. Lots of players getting aggressive on that whole, I think.
Q. Is this one of the easier courses you've played in a while?
HEE KYUNG SEO: Not really. It's very open so we can hit it out there, but it's blowing hard up there so it's hard to catch the wind right.
Q. The wind makes it tricky?
HEE KYUNG SEO: Yes.
Q. Is the wind worse today than yesterday?
HEE KYUNG SEO: I played yesterday in the afternoon, so it was pretty close, but I guess in the morning it wasn't that hard, so it was a little easier to play.
Q. And you're coming off Rookie of the Year. What do you think of the year you're having this year?
HEE KYUNG SEO: Yeah, I got a lot of confidence from the Rookie of the Year award and it's more easier than first year to -- you know, I know lots of course and I'm getting a little used to of the system.
Q. So just tell me about your day. You got to 7-under. You're in the hunt.
SUN YOUNG YOO: Yeah, I hit it very good today, and yesterday I was hitting everything very close but didn't make much putt, still left some out there. I feel great with my game and I'm looking forward to playing on the weekend.
Q. Tell me about the golf course, how you feel.
SUN YOUNG YOO: I feel great. The golf course is in great shape, just have some misread on the green. I like the course. I'm actually very comfortable. I feel great.
Q. I know you get asked this a lot, but you had a huge win at the Kraft. Has that really helped your game, helped your confidence moving forward?
SUN YOUNG YOO: Oh, yeah, I got a lot of confidence from the winning, it was a big win for me. I just try to focus one shot at a time and have lots of tournament coming in, the win definitely helped me a lot so I still feel good.
Q. Have you done anything fun here in Waterloo, Ontario?
SUN YOUNG YOO: Not really. I don't know why, but I feel so tired, maybe because from the heat, so I been taking nap in the room and just practicing, just rest, that's it.
Q. What do you think about these crowds? They're really strong for a Friday.
SUN YOUNG YOO: Yeah, I was very surprised even yesterday, and I even saw some Korean people out here cheering for me, so it was great. It's always great to see lots of spectators on the golf course.
Q. So good playing.
LEXI THOMPSON: Thank you.
Q. You're 7-under overall, just a shot off the lead here. Just tell us how you played today.
LEXI THOMPSON: Well, I finished my first round pretty good, the last six holes, and then I just sort of played steady my second round. Overall, just good ball striking, so just going to try to continue that.
Q. How good does it feel to be in a marquee group playing well with all these fans out here?
LEXI THOMPSON: It feels amazing. I mean, the crowds are just crazy out here, they're always cheering you on. That's a great feeling to have.
Q. Talk about the scoring conditions today out there. The wind dropped and obviously the greens were a bit softer given the fact of the rain last night. Was it a lot easier here today?
LEXI THOMPSON: It was definitely a little easier. Some pins you could definitely be aggressive on. I ended up not making so many birdies, but hopefully save them for the weekend.
Q. What do you need to do on the weekend in your mind, aside from the birdies, in order to put yourself in a position to win this golf tournament?
LEXI THOMPSON: Obviously I have to shoot low. They're going pretty low out here, so just try to play consistent, get my drive on the fairway and then go for it from there.
Q. You seem to like holes 5 and 6?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, I do. Well, two par 5s in a row so I can take advantage of it, just got to get a drive down the fairway and then go for it.
Q. Did you gain any momentum from finishing your first round this morning?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, I gained momentum for sure. You know, I started off just a lot of pars, made birdie here and there, but ending on a birdie is always a good thing, so I'll try to continue that.
Q. And were you able to be more aggressive with the greens considering the rain last night?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, they actually were still bouncing out. I had a few wedge shots that still bounced out a pretty good amount. You just have to play for it.
Q. Can you describe what happened there on the second shot here? Were you going at the pin?
LEXI THOMPSON: No, I just ended up going at the pin. No, I was just playing it at the right side of the green and just going to try to turn it, but it ended up starting left and just turning. It didn't get me in any trouble.
Q. Can you describe what it's like this year knowing you have full status? Does it allow you to focus a little more on just playing out here?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, like I said, it's a lot better knowing where I'm playing and playing in a lot more events. That's what I'm used to with amateur golf. I'm really happy I'm a full member now so I'm just going to go into every event with the same attitude.
Q. Just tell me how you played today.
CHELLA CHOI: Pretty good today. I tried focus on today and hitting fairway and the green. Actually I had a much time spent driving range before last week, so shot was good before the tournament, yeah.
Q. Did you finish your first round this morning?
CHELLA CHOI: Yeah, just three hole and 18 hole, so 21 hole.
Q. Not too bad.
CHELLA CHOI: Not too bad. Just one bogey on a hole.
Q. How do you feel going into the weekend now? You're in a good position.
CHELLA CHOI: Very good. I was (inaudible) last week so feeling is good and my trainer came here, so my body's perfect, yeah.
Q. Who's your trainer? Korean guy?
CHELLA CHOI: Yeah, Korean guy.
Q. Good round for you there, Stacy. What went well for you today?
STACY LEWIS: I just putted a lot better. I think yesterday I didn't have very good feel around the greens and I finally got some putts to go in today. It was actually a really easy day, so it was nice.
Q. Seems players are liking holes 5 and 6, the back-to-back par 5s there --
STACY LEWIS: Yep.
Q. -- to lower your score?
STACY LEWIS: It is. It's kind of fun having back-to-backs. You can make birdies, you can kind of get on a run or even an eagle, so it just gets to building some momentum for the rest of the round.
Q. Talk about the scoring conditions out there today. The rain must have helped a little bit last night?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, it did, it played a lot easier, I think, at least for us. The greens weren't quite so firm. It was a little more scorable. You could hold shots, hit them a little closer into the green. So I look for some more low scores this afternoon to keep coming in.
Q. That's what we were going to ask you. What do you predict the final score to be here, the winning score on Sunday? Can you even put a number on it?
STACY LEWIS: It's hard to say. If the weather stays perfect, I think the sky's the limit. You just have to keep making birdies and hopefully you're hanging around. You know, I needed a round like that today just to kind of jump back up and give myself a chance, and I probably need at least one more like it.
Q. How impressed are you by the crowds here today?
STACY LEWIS: It's unbelievable. You know, you play 1 and 2 and you're back there in a little hole, and then you come out here and there's tons of people, so it's awesome. The crowds have been great. Look forward to the weekend, hopefully they'll have more people out.
Q. What can you say about this 18th hole?
STACY LEWIS: It's a great finishing hole. It's fun to have a par 5 that you can reach in two. Coming down the stretch on Sunday, an eagle might win it or it could cause somebody to lose it, too. It's not a gimmie birdie, but it's an opportunity to make a move.
Q. Can you talk about the 17th hole?
STACY LEWIS: 17 is tough. I think it's the hardest hole out here. Today I didn't even go at the pin. You'll see a lot of people I think just hitting to the front left part of the green and moving on. You take your par there every day and run.
Q. So pretty good day. Just tell us how you played.
ANNA NORDQVIST: It was very solid. I think I hit most of the fairways and I think 16 greens. Hit a lot of good putts, but I think I made one over three feet this afternoon, so I had 17 pars and one bogey, so it's been a pretty frustrating afternoon because I thought I played pretty good and hit a lot of good putts that just didn't go in.
Q. How pleased are you to be in the mix here going into the weekend?
ANNA NORDQVIST: I'm really happy, I'm really excited. It feels like a lot of my hard work is paying off. It's a great golf course and you have to go out there this week and do a lot of birdies, but it's going to be a fun weekend for sure.
Q. Tell me about these crowds. They're massive out here today. What do you think of it? You must feel a lot of support.
ANNA NORDQVIST: Absolutely, I think this is one of the best crowds we've had all year, and it's just, you know, coming to Waterloo for the first time and seeing the support, I think it's great. I think it's great for the LPGA and great for golf in Canada. You know, it's just so much fun to play in front of people.
Q. What do you find about this course that you think you can take advantage of over the weekend?
ANNA NORDQVIST: I just have to make more putts. Yesterday I shot 7-under, so I think the most different was just making some putts. I'll just work a little bit on that and hopefully make a couple more this weekend.
Topics: Park, Inbee, Feng, Shanshan, Lewis, Stacy, Choi, Chella, Yoo, Sun Young, Seo, Hee Kyung, Thompson, Lexi, Nordqvist, Anna, Manulife Financial LPGA Classic, Notes and Interviews, Lang, Brittany [+]