ShopRite LPGA Classic
Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club, Bay Course
Galloway, New Jersey
Final-round notes and interviews
June 3, 2012
Rolex Rankings No. 7 Stacy Lewis captured her second victory in her last three starts at the 2012 ShopRite LPGA Classic. Lewis, who led by six entering Sunday’s final round, built a big lead early in her round, carding four birdies on the front nine. But she lost some focus after the turn and carded a double bogey on the par 3 11th and followed it up with a bogey on No. 12. The field did not get closer than four shots of the American in the final round as Lewis finished 12-under. Katherine Hull of Australia finished runner-up and shot a final-round 3-under-par finishing at 8-under for the tournament.
Leading the Stars and Stripes: Stacy Lewis hasn’t hid the fact that one of her goals this season was to bypass Cristie Kerr and take over the spot as top American in the Rolex Rankings. And with her victory on Sunday, Lewis did just that. The 27-year-old is unofficially projected to move to No. 3 in the Rolex Rankings while Kerr is projected to drop to No. 7.
“I kind of saw myself moving up the rankings slowly and kind of put that as a goal just to have a short-term goal out there, and ultimately it's to get to No. 1, but you've got to kind of chip away and move yourself up there,” Lewis said of setting her goal to become the top-ranked American. “But you know, coming into this year my goal was to lead the Solheim Cup points and be the top ranked American, so I'm on track to do that and now I just gotta finish out the year there.”
Lewis ended what was a long reign by Kerr as the top American. She held the spot as the top U.S. player in the Rolex Rankings since Nov. 23, 2009. Having accomplished the goal of being the top American, Lewis was asked if her focus now turns to becoming the No. 1 player in the world.
“It's always in the back of my head,” Lewis said. “It's just hard when Yani is so far ahead right now. So it's going to be chipping away at it. It took her a long time to build that lead, so it's going to take a long time to get closer.
“So it's always in the back of my mind, but we'll go back after this week and kind of set some more mini goals. I don't know what they're going to be, but set some more mini goals for the rest of the year because I know I've blown my goals for the year out of the water.”
Catch Her If You Can: Heading into the final round with a leader who seemed out of reach, players in the field admitted they knew Sunday would be more of a fight for second place instead of pushing for a victory. Katherine Hull sat seven shots off the lead heading into the final round and didn’t focus on trying to catch second-round leader Stacy Lewis.
“Well, catching her was going to be hard,” said Hull. “She's playing great. So I think it was probably more a battle for second place. You just gotta be patient out here, and fortunately I put a good round on the board and really happy to finish second.”
The runner-up finish this week is the Aussie’s best finish since her victory in 2010 at the Navistar LPGA Classic Presented by Monaco RV. Hull will try to take her momentum to upstate New York next week at the Wegmans LPGA Championship, where her best finish was a T16 in 2009.
Standing Tall: Stacy Lewis’ third-career victory and second-consecutive stroke play win was particularly timely, as she can now celebrate her win in the first week of June which has been declared National Scoliosis Month. The National Scoliosis Foundation (NSF) secured the first official U.S. House of Representatives Proclamation from Pennsylvania in 2008 to designate the month in effort to help create a positive public awareness, education, and advocacy campaign. Lewis has been open about her childhood struggles with the condition and is a spokesperson for the Scoliosis Research Society.
Making her case: Lexi Thompson didn’t tee it up at the Sybase Match Play Championship two weeks ago so that she could attend her senior prom. But the 17-year-old didn’t let the layoff keep her from building on the momentum she had after a runner-up finish at the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic last month.
Thompson played efficiently all week and only missed two greens in regulation on Sunday. She fired a final-round 4-under 67 and finished in a T5.
“I've just been working on my consistency with my ball striking, and I've been working on my short game a lot, so it's finally playing off,” Thompson said. “Hopefully I can continue that.”
The strong finish also earned Thompson 65 points in the Rookie of the Year race and she slowly is ticking away at So Yeon Ryu’s lead in the hunt. Ryu now leads with 443 points and Thompson is in second place with 287 points.
End of the streak: Yani Tseng had recorded top-10 finishes in each of her first eight events this season, but that run came to an end on Sunday. Tseng fired a 2-over 73 and missed her goal, dropping into a T12.
Golden ticket winners: Katherine Hull, Mika Miyazato and Hee-Won Han punched their "Ticket to CME Group Titleholders" at the ShopRite LPGA Classic, 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.
Playing for Pops: Rolex Rankings No. 13 Paula Creamer came up short at the 2012 ShopRite LPGA Classic this week, but feels great about the state of her game. Earlier this week, she mentioned how well she is translating her practice to tournament weeks. Creamer shot a 1-under-par 70 in the final round on Sunday and finished at 5-under in a T3 with three others, tying her season best in 2012. The American is looking forward to the second major championship of the season next week but says it will be more of a mental and emotional challenge than anything to do with her golf swing.
“I think the biggest thing is this is my first time playing Wegmans without my grandpa, Pops there,” said Creamer. “I think that's going to be the hardest thing just mentally because when I was an amateur he was there. So this will be more of a mental feat next week, I think, than really out on the golf course physically.”
Tweet of the Day: “Happy for @Stacy_Lewis and her win. Most fun, @Brittany1golf prematurely spraying champagne on 18. Stacy saw it happen b4 she tapped in”. --@Paige_Mackenzie
Of Note… …Defending champ Brittany Lincicome shot 1-over-par 72 in the final round and finished the tournament 1-over and T29… Next up on the LPGA Tour schedule is the second major of the season, the Wegmans LPGA Championship which will take place next week at Locust Hill Country Club outside Rochester, New York.
THE MODERATOR: All right. We're here with the 2012 ShopRite LPGA Classic champion, Stacy Lewis. Congratulations. Two victories now in your last three events. Taken over now at the top spot as the top American in the Rolex Rankings. Just tell me, I guess, what your thoughts are initially after this victory.
STACY LEWIS: Well, I was relieved to be done. It was so hard out there. Having a huge lead like that was really tough to keep your concentration, and I kind of lost it in the middle of the round.
But I saw the leaderboard on 13 and saw I still had a six-shot lead, and from then on it was make par and get out of here.
So I'm so happy that I won, and I find out that I think I'm projected to be third in the world now and the top American. It's just -- I don't even know what to say. I mean it's unbelievable.
I mean you dream of it and you kind of can see yourself there eventually, but for it to actually happen it's just unbelievable.
THE MODERATOR: I know that was one of the goals you set out for yourself earlier in the year. Could you have imagined that it would happen this early on in the season?
STACY LEWIS: No. I honestly thought it would take most of the year, and I'd gotten off to a really good start, two wins in the last three events, and just been playing some good golf. So for it to happen this with quick is pretty surprising. I don't know. I don't even know what to say.
THE MODERATOR: I know this is the second event where you've had a big lead on Sunday, and we had talked about the differences that you were going to try to do this time, but does it ever get easier when you do get off to such a big lead?
STACY LEWIS: I'd say it was a little easier this time. I knew more what to expect, and I was proud of the way I started. I got off to a really -- birdied four of the first eight holes and got off to such a good start, and kind of lost my concentration.
I mean you can always learn and I can learn that for next time that when you've got that big lead, to keep it going, keep concentrated and take every shot -- you can't take any shot for granted, especially on this golf course.
Q. Stacy, first of all, congratulations. When you started the round, were you thinking I want to extend the lead? Was that your mindset going in, play aggressively?
STACY LEWIS: Right. It wasn't really playing aggressively. It was just play smart and I knew I needed to make some birdies, and I made a really good two-putt on 2 and a good two-putt on 3 and that really seemed to calm me down and got me in a really good place. And after that birdie on 3, I kind of knew I was going to be okay.
I mean I knew I needed to play well. I was surprised that nobody made a run. I expected somebody to maybe get to 9 or 10, but they didn't quite get there.
Q. When did you first think about becoming the No. 1 American? Was it right when you joined the tour out of college or was it after the Kraft Nabisco last year when you won and said, hey, I can do this? I'm just trying to get a time table. How much was it in your head to get there?
STACY LEWIS: Gosh, I would say probably towards the end of last year was when it started. I kind of saw myself moving up the rankings slowly and kind of put that as a goal just to have a short-term goal out there, and ultimately it's to get to No. 1, but you've got to kind of chip away and move yourself up there.
But you know, coming into this year my goal was to lead the Solheim Cup points and be the top ranked American, so I'm on track to do that and now I just gotta finish out the year there.
Q. Stacy, congratulations. What was it that made you lose your concentration and how did you get it back?
STACY LEWIS: I don't know. I think just kind of taking a few chip shots for granted, and I thought they were going to be easier than they were and they turned out to be pretty tough shots that I probably didn't give it the amount of attention that I should have.
So I probably -- I know people don't like this, but I kind of slammed my putter after my three-putt on 12, and honestly, it relieved me so much. It got all the tension that was in my hands. I was so stressed out and it just got all my tension out, and from 13 on, I felt great. I kind of got my rhythm back and got my feel back.
Q. Did it matter today how you played --
STACY LEWIS: Absolutely not. I mean I wanted to play well. I wanted to go out in style. I wanted to shoot under par and everything, but a win's a win. Whether it's four, six, eight, it doesn't matter to me.
Q. The three-putt aside, you've been putting really well. What is it about Aimpoint that works for you?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah. Aimpoint, I mean it's just a greens reading method. For me, I kind of learned the harder way a couple years ago, and Mark's teaching an easier way now, but it really helped me understand the contours of greens and how they work, how the ball -- it's kind of the direction it goes off of certain types of mounds and types of greens. Just helped me really understand the complex of the greens.
And like on these you've got -- I mean there were putts out there that broke four or five times, so you had to kind of really understand how it was going to work its way down there.
Q. Is there like a lot of math involved?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, there are a lot of numbers. I don't have it with me, but there's a chart, and you can basically get down on the inch how far each putt is, and it's really helped me on the short putts to know, especially when you got like a right-edge putt versus a just outside or just inside. I mean it really has helped me trust my reads, and also you have to have really good speed with it. So it's made my putting a lot more consistent.
Q. Stacy, how often did you look at the leaderboard? Did you pay much attention to it or when you started to struggle is that when you started to look and see now I'm okay or was it before that?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah. I looked on 5. Kind of saw where I was, and then I didn't see one again until 9. So I mean I knew even with the bogey I was still okay. And then I made -- when I made the double and the bogey on 11 and 12 I was actually pretty nervous there. I thought somebody could get within a couple of shots. And so I saw the leaderboard on 13 green and saw I had a six-shot lead at that point, and so that was kind of when I said, all right, it's center of the green, two-putt and move on.
Q. There's a lot of players that have gotten a lot of attention and not played as well as you have. Do you have a chip?
STACY LEWIS: I don't know. I mean it's always going to be that way. There's always going to be the stars of the tour that aren't playing very well right now, but you know, our tour needs that. We need the stars, and if the stars play better, more power to them.
But it does give me -- it does put a little chip on my shoulder, I would have to say, because I kind of I think over -- even last year I got overlooked a little bit. I had a pretty good year last year and kind of got overlooked, so that was definitely a little bit of motivation coming into this year.
Q. Do you feel like a star?
STACY LEWIS: Not really. I don't know. I don't know if I am, but I don't really feel like one.
Q. Brittany said that she's trying to talk you into buying a boat. How do you think you might celebrate accomplishing this goal?
STACY LEWIS: I don't know. I probably already have a few text messages. A couple of my friends have been telling me to buy a boat. So I probably already have text messages telling me that. I don't know. We've got such a busy stretch coming up that I'm not even going to be home, so hopefully they won't bother me about it for at least the next month. So we'll see.
Q. Do you like being out on the water?
STACY LEWIS: I do. I love being out on the water. I like friends that have boats better than having my own.
Q. Going into the major next week you will be the No. 1 American, and obviously there will be a lot of attention and people wanting a piece of your time. Have you taken time to anticipate what that might be like last week?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, actually my agent came in today and we already talked about next week and kind of set out a schedule of what I need to do, because No. 1 for me is always preparing for the golf tournament. So we kind of already have somewhat of a game plan of what we're doing next week, and I know going to be busy, but the busier I get, I think that's a good thing because it means I'm playing good and I'm doing something right. So I welcome it.
Q. Have you found that a challenge to be able to focus on golf when it's time to do that and balance the other things?
STACY LEWIS: It's definitely a challenge. The hardest part is saying no to people because I definitely have to say no to certain things just so I can prepare the way I need to.
But I mean in general -- it almost helps you once you get on the golf course because you kind of focus on the golf and what's at hand and then once you get done, take care of everything else. So it's almost made me focus more on the golf course.
Q. You talked about losing your concentration and you dumped a wedge shot on No. 9. Do you ever wonder where the concentration goes? It took you a long time to even get some semblance of how you were playing the first eight holes back.
STACY LEWIS: Yeah. I don't know. It seems to just it'll go like that, and then all of a sudden you get a little stressed out, you're gripping it a little tighter, and I don't know where my short game went in the middle of the round.
But that's what pressure does to you. I mean I'm just trying to learn from it, learn how your body responds to it, so next time I'm there instead of making double I get up-and-down and move on to the next hole.
So it's all a learning process, and my win a couple weeks ago in Mobile helped me today and this should help me down the road, so it's just continuing to learn every day.
Q. And do you do any type of psychological work?
STACY LEWIS: No, not really. Just try to go out there and have fun and relax, and my caddie keeps us pretty relaxed, so he's pretty good.
Q. And you talked about being the No. 1 American. When does the dream change to being the No. 1 player in the world or is that off limits for you right now?
STACY LEWIS: No. It's always in the back of my head. It's just hard when Yani is so far ahead right now. So it's going to be chipping away at it. It took her a long time to build that lead, so it's going to take a long time to get closer.
So it's always in the back of my mind, but we'll go back after this week and kind of set some more mini goals. I don't know what they're going to be, but set some more mini goals for the rest of the year because I know I've blown my goals for the year out of the water.
Q. How surprising was the greeting you got after you holed out on 18 and who was out there spraying you with -- there was water, too, being sprayed at you?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah. There was water and champagne. I still smell like it. I know Brittany Lincicome, Natalie was there. Paige Mackenzie, Tiff Joh. Gerina. I don't even know.
I mean I was surprised because normally at the end of tournaments everybody's getting out of town and getting on to next week, so it was pretty cool to have some of my friends out there to celebrate with. That's the cool thing about our tour is that we can go and compete week in and week out, but then when your friend wins, you're out there celebrating with them.
Q. All right. We're here with Katherine Hull, who just finished runner-up at the 2012 ShopRite LPGA Classic. Congratulations. We all knew what a big lead Stacy had going into today. Was the mindset pretty much to try to catch her or how did you guys approach today?
KATHERINE HULL: Well, catching her was going to be hard. She's playing great. So I think it was probably more a battle for second place. And yeah, you just gotta be patient out here, and fortunately I put a good round on the board and really happy to finish second.
Q. 3-under par round today for you. What were the keys out there for you today to be so successful?
KATHERINE HULL: Just stayed patient. I had three birdies on the last four holes, so that was kind of the key to the round really. Nothing was happening on the front nine, and made a couple bad swings, but was able to finish with two birdies, which was really nice.
Q. Great finish. Overall, now heading into a major next week, how are you feeling about the state of your game?
KATHERINE HULL: Pretty happy. I've just gotta tighten up a few things and hopefully can be back this week, which will be nice.
Q. And I guess overall, the season so far, how have you been feeling and what's kind of the mindset going into the second half of the year?
KATHERINE HULL: My coach and I sat down at the start of the year and figured it would take a few months just to get some momentum because we were kind of ironing out some things with my game.
So yeah, I'm happy to be finding some form now and looking forward to certainly the last half of the season.
Q. Do you play any differently when someone has a big lead like that? Do you try to take more chances early on to see if you can catch her or do you just kind of play your game and see what happens?
KATHERINE HULL: Yeah, when she's that far ahead, she's gotta make a lot of mistakes and you gotta shoot a really low round. So you just stick to your game plan and try and make as many putts as you can and add them up at the end of the day. That's all you can really do.
Q. Do you watch the leaderboard at all?
KATHERINE HULL: Yeah, I do a little bit. And on 17, too, it was funny. I was looking at the one on 16 green and my caddie said, hey, eyes forward. To he wanted me to stay focused on the process, and I was able to do that, which is nice.
But yeah, I like to watch the leaderboards, and certainly it changed a lot today, like for the rest of the Top 10. Stacy had it I think pretty well covered on the front nine, but yeah, it was a bit of an interesting back nine for the rest of us.
Q. All right. We're here with Lexi Thompson who just finished the final round here at the ShopRite LPGA Classic. Great playing out there today. Can you take me through your round and what was working for you?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, actually I started off pretty bad. I doubled the second hole. Bad shot.
Then I finished strong. I made some birdies, and I dropped a few putts, so that definitely helps.
Q. Coming off a really strong finish that you had back at the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic, finished runner-up there. Now right near the top of the leaderboard. What's working well with your game right now that's really leading to these great results?
LEXI THOMPSON: I've just been working on my consistency with my ball striking, and I've been working on my short game a lot, so it's finally playing off. Hopefully I can continue that.
Q. We hadn't seen you in a little bit because you took the Sybase Match Play championship off for prom. Tell me about that experience and how much fun you had being able to do that?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, it was amazing. Prom was definitely worth taking that week off. That's for sure. I had a lot of fun. I chose Mark Scott, and I was honored to take somebody from the service, especially a guy like him.
Q. And now ready for kind of the next stretch next week, the second major of the season. How do you feel about your game heading into that?
LEXI THOMPSON: I feel really good, especially ending on that round, so I'm just going to take that round and go positive into next week.
Q. How do you think the field felt teeing off today with Stacy being out about so many strokes?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah. They probably thought that they need to make a lot of birdies. That's what I thought, and then I struggled on No. 2 but then fought back and that's what it's all about.
Q. Did you feel like you had a chance maybe to put some heat on her because you did get on a birdie roll there for a while?
LEXI THOMPSON: Not so much to her, but maybe like to second place. So I was just trying to make birdies and get up the leaderboard.
Q. With a win here Stacy will become the top American on tour. What impresses you the most about Stacy?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, I've actually played with Stacy a good amount of time. She's really consistent, pretty long, too, so it helps that she's got a tremendous short game, too.
Q. Congratulations on a solid round out there for you today. Just take me through your day and what was working.
PAULA CREAMER: Well, I started off with a bogey on the first hole, which wasn't ideal, but made birdie on 3 and 4 and tried to give myself as many opportunities as I could, and I the bogey on 9 was kind of unfortunate, but got it back on 10. I had to back-to-back bogeys on 13 and 14. Those were easy chips, yes and no, but I should never really have been in the positions that I was at. But overall I feel pretty solid with where I'm going. So we'll see.
Q. Next week is the big week, heading into another major. Talk so much about what you've done with your game. How confident do you feel about your game right now heading into next week?
PAULA CREAMER: I feel really good. David Whelan, my coach, is coming in actually tonight. I'll meet him there tomorrow. We'll have a really good practice session. I could feel it kind of getting a little flat today.
But I think the biggest thing is this is my first time playing Wegmans without my grandpa, Pops there, and I think that's going to be the hardest thing just mentally because when I was an amateur he was there, so this will be more of a mental feat next week, I think, than really out on the golf course physically.
Q. Everybody's always talked about the Americans and when the Americans are going to step up and now Stacy's won two out of the last three events now. How impressed have you been with watching her game lately?
PAULA CREAMER: No. She's playing great. It's unfortunate nobody put really any pressure on her today. We were all kind of packed in right there and she took advantage of it yesterday and made a lot of birdies, and you can do that on this course, especially with Stacy when she starts making putts. They all seem to go in. Kind of like Yani with the confidence. And it's great for women's golf. It's great for American golf and hopefully next week I will be in contention there, too, the red white and blue.