Wegmans LPGA Championship
Locust Hill Country Club
Rochester, New York
Third-round notes and interviews
June 9, 2012
Eun-Hee Ji -4, Rolex Rankings No. 79
Karrie Webb -3, Rolex Rankings No. 22
Stacy Lewis -2, Rolex Rankings No. 3
Suzann Pettersen -2, Rolex Rankings No. 5
Inbee Park -2, Rolex Rankings No. 26
Giulia Sergas -2, Rolex Rankings No. 132
Paula Creamer -1, Rolex Rankings No. 11
Cristie Kerr E, Rolex Rankings No. 7
Jodi Ewart +3, Rolex Rankings No. 179
2009 U.S. Women's Open champion Eun-Hee Ji will try to capture her second major title, as she carries a one-stroke lead into the final round of the Wegmans LPGA Championship. Ji shot a 3-under 69 on Saturday, her second straight round in the 60s, and she sits at 4-under-par 212 through three rounds. Ji carded five birdies on her day, including two on the back nine, with two bogies on a day that featured numerous changes in the weather conditions at Locust Hill Country Club. Play was suspended early on Saturday morning due to heavy rain and unplayable course conditions. But after a 2 hour, 21 minute delay, the round resumed and there were no further interruptions to play.
Ji, 26, is no stranger to Locust Hill, having captured her first career LPGA Tour victory on this golf course. She became a Rolex First-Time Winner at the 2008 Wegmans LPGA, the non-major tournament that was held at Locust Hill prior to 2010.
"Always wen I comeback here, I always have very good memories," said Ji. "So I always thinking about it then."
LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame member Karrie Webb sits one shot back at 3-under-par and there are plenty of other players within striking distance. Thirteen players sit within four shots of Ji, including major champions Stacy Lewis (-2), Suzann Pettersen (-2), Paula Creamer (-1), Inbee Park (-1) and Sun Young Yoo (-1).
Just credit the coach: The top two players on the leaderboard entering the final round of the Wegmans LPGA Championship have one thing in common – their swing coach.
Both Eun-Hee Ji and Karrie Webb work with Ian Triggs on their swings. While Webb has worked with Triggs for quite some time, Ji began working with the Australian swing guru after her victory at the 2009 U.S. Women's Open. While it may seem strange to change her swing right after the biggest win of her career, Ji said that she wanted to have the ability to shape the ball and not just hit her usual fade.
"I want to play like a lot of shots," Ji said. "I wasn't doing that before. But I can do it right now."
Ji acknowledged it has been frustrating to wait for the swing changes to work. Her T10 finish at the ShopRite LPGA Classic last week was the first top-10 finish she's recorded since her victory at the U.S. Women's Open.
"I always trying hard then but I change a lot [in my] swing," Ji said. "My confidence is going lower last year. But I keep trying more up higher, keep it up, so it's worked this year."
Don't count out experience: It seems lately the LPGA Tour has seen an emergence of young stars in 19-year-old Jessica Korda and rookie standout Lexi Thompson, not to mention the 20-somethings like Stacy Lewis, Paula Creamer and Yani Tseng. For the veterans on Tour, like LPGA and World Golf Halls of Famer Karrie Webb, it seems they have been put on the backburner this season.
Webb posted her 37th and 38th career victory last season and currently stands at No. 2 on the career money list behind Annika Sorenstam. So, when asked why it matters to compete with the youngsters at this point in her career, Webb's response may have stunned a few with her comparison to veterans on the PGA Tour.
"Well, when Phil Mickelson was 37 do you think people were asking him that?" said Webb, who matched the low round of the week with a 4-under 68 on Saturday. "So Tiger Woods is 36 and no one is asking him that? I still have the same drive as those two guys. I don't put the hours in just to be out here to make up the numbers. I want to have a chance to win and it feels great that I played well enough today that I have a shot tomorrow. I would love to hold the trophy up tomorrow. That's my goal every week. If I play well tomorrow I have a good chance."
Webb has consistently placed in the top-25 at each appearance this season, with a season-best tie for ninth finish at the season-opener in Australia. Although it's been a slow start to the season, the seven-time Major winner believes she's in the right place to notch her 8th here in Rochester. The town's 35-year stint as host to the LPGA event draws in crowds of thousands, most have watched Webb throughout her entire career.
"I'm a familiar name now to people," Webb said. "I do notice an appreciation for my career and that I am still out here and hitting it down the middle. And here, too, I won here a couple of times. The fans are just so knowledgeable here. Some people have been sitting under the same tree for 20 or 30 years in a row. So they remember every time I come through that hole. Yes, you do feel that and hopefully, you know, I can feel their appreciation even more tomorrow."
In the hunt again: Stacy Lewis has won the last two stroke-play events on the LPGA Tour and so perhaps it comes as no surprise that she's in the hunt again this week. The 2011 Kraft Nabisco Champion sits two shots back of leader Eun-Hee Ji heading into the final round of the Wegmans LPGA Championship. It's certainly a good spot for Lewis, who is seeking her second major championship.
"Obviously I never experienced it before so it's been fun to just kind of ride the momentum," Lewis said of her two straight wins. "I've been playing really well. It's just trusting my game and going out there and playing whatever the course gives me. You can't really force things out here. So whatever the course gives me you take it and hopefully you are hanging around towards the end."
One thing that differs from Lewis' previous two victories is that she won't enter Sunday's final round with a lead. In her wins this season at the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic and the ShopRite LPGA Classic, Lewis entered the final round with leads of two shots and six shots respectively. But that doesn't mean she's upset with her current position.
"It's a lot easier coming from behind," Lewis said. "Having a huge lead is probably one of the hardest things I've ever done. It's so hard to keep your focus. You are constantly thinking if I make bogey here it's one shot and that's going to completely change things. In the end it really doesn't. I don't know, I almost like being at the back and kind of coming up and surprising somebody at the end."
Rainy with a chance of sunshine: Yesterday's weather predictions suspected afternoon inclement weather during the third round of the Wegmans LPGA Championship, forcing an early start for Saturday morning. It's ironic the weather delay came just eight minutes after the first group teed off. Play was suspended for 2 hours and 21 minutes.
"It was such a weird day, you know," Cristie Kerr said. "We warmed up in the pouring rain, I mean pouring rain. I got rid of my head covers. I put the rain cover on, and I am like didn't even worry trying to dry the clubs because it was pointless. Then they called it. Then we went back out and it was a totally different day, totally different day. It's sunny. It's hot. Everybody is just sweating so much on the golf course because we overdressed. We thought it was going to be really horrible all day and we got lucky."
The rain stopped just minutes after play resumed at 9:29 a.m. leaving standing water on just a few holes. The weather did not seem to have had a huge effect on play today, with the average scores being almost 3 strokes better than the previous round.
"It was a little bit more wet, but the course actually held up well," Kerr said. "I was pretty impressed, the greens kept their speed. I knocked a couple by the hole. I was surprised that the course didn't have a lot more water in the fairways. It held up really well."
Tee shots and fairways: Talk of the toughness of hitting from the rough seems to be the trending topic of conversation among the players this week. Any player would attest that the key to scoring well at Locust Hill Country Club would be driving the ball straight enough to avoid the tall grass. Suzann Pettersen figured that out in the third-round and managed to inch her way up the leader board to finish at 2-under for the week.
"This course as it plays right now is kind of right up my street," Pettersen said. "I think I hit 16 greens today. I think I can carry myself one other green, 17. I think I missed one fairway. All of the other ones were right down the middle. It's kind of nice when you look back at some of these fairways, and they look humongous wide, then you feel like you are driving it well. Today was a really solid day of work. You can't really be greedy saying you left a few out there because it's tough conditions. I must say 3-putting 17 was a little bit disappointing. At the same time just accept pars. Pars are your friend this week. I'm right where I want to be before tomorrow."
Paula Creamer was talking to her putter by the end of Saturday's third round at the Wegmans LPGA Championship… and she wasn't saying thank you. The 25-year-old American missed a 6 ½ foot par putt at 16, a four-footer for birdie at 17, and a seven-foot par putt at 18 to shoot 1-over-par 73 on the day.
"I hit (my putter) really hard with my golf ball (after 18)," she said. "That was a little bit of frustration with it, telling it you better get your act together going into tomorrow, or you might not have a very good week off."
Creamer was 2-under-par for her round through 12 holes on Saturday and moved to 4-under-par for the tournament and into a share of the lead, but it was short lived. With 18 holes to play, the nine-time LPGA winner sits three shots off the pace set by Eun-Hee Ji. She is seeking her first victory since becoming a first-time major champion at the 2010 U.S. Women's Open at Oakmont.
"It's a good thing we have tomorrow and there is a lot of golf left," Creamer said. "Three shots back, I will take it."
Eagles on Eagles on Eagles: Locust Hill Country Club saw a lot of action on the course today, especially on the 17th hole, a fun hole on the course for the long and accurate hitters complete with bunkers and a moderate dogleg contour. Both Jodi Ewart and Lexi Thompson thought the hole played in their favor as they carded eagles on the par-5.
Ewart is no stranger to eagles this week, with her first coming in the second-round on a par-4. Teeing off from the 1st hole to start the back-nine, Ewart holed out from 153 yards with a 7-iron. As the third-round was coming to a close, Ewart picked up momentum after an ace on the 15th hole. The shortest hole on the course is known to be a beauty or a beast depending on pin placement but Ewart managed to hit the green just right with a 9-iron, recording the fifth ace of her career and her first on the LPGA Tour.
"A crazy round," Ewart said. "I hadn't been really striking it that well all day, and I got the shot on 15. It just came out of nowhere. I kind of hit it too good really. It was a little bit long. It caught the slope at the back and came down and went in. I was like wow. I hit a really, really good hybrid into 17 and that almost went in apparently. Yes, a crazy round really up and down."
Ewart marked a personal record this week carding three eagles in two rounds. This is the first time she has recorded an eagle on a par-3, par-4 and a par-5 in tournament play.
Tweet of the Day: "No American has won Rolex POY since Beth Daniel in '94. Stacy Lewis is playing like she wants to change that." -- @RandallMellGC
MODERATOR: We would like to welcome Eun-Hee Ji to the Wegmans LPGA media center. You have a one-shot lead right now. You shot 69 today. Tell us about your day.
EUN-HEE JI: I just keep simple things, fairway and greens because this course has really long rough, so I just keep the fairway and then hit into the green.
MODERATOR: When you play this course do you think about 2008 when you won here?
EUN-HEE JI: You know what, always I comeback here, I always very good memories. So I always thinking about it then.
MODERATOR: One year later you won the U.S. Open in 2009 so you are a Major champion, do you like playing majors?
EUN-HEE JI: Yes, because biggest tournament and everyone, everyone is a winner in a Major so I like to play.
MODERATOR: Some people may not know that you and Karrie Webb have the same Coach. Ian Triggs, how much has Ian helped your game?
EUN-HEE JI: Pretty much. I change a lot of swings with Ian. I keep changing right now. But I wasn't comfortable like last year and year before. But right now I am more comfortable with my swing and I just keep trying.
MODERATOR: What is the best part of your game?
EUN-HEE JI: Today is my iron shots help with play. I keep the fairway, and I'm hitting really close to the hole and I make easier putts.
MODERATOR: You are in the lead by one shot, tell us about tomorrow, how will you feel?
EUN-HEE JI: A little bit nervous with that. But I'm trying to keep simple and just play my game.
Q. When you won here in '08 you passed Suzann Pettersen on the way to winning that day? Do you have recollections or do you remember that day at all what happened in that last round and how you won that tournament?
MODERATOR: Do you remember Sunday of 2008 when you won and how you played?
EUN-HEE JI: Yes, I remember. A little bit, yes.
Q. Was it exciting for you or just share if you could your memories of it?
EUN-HEE JI: Really exciting for the tournament and I just passed the last day I think.
MODERATOR: Come from behind.
EUN-HEE JI: Yes, come from behind. So I always memory, yes.
Q. I want to ask you since you won The Open in '09 you have not had one Top-10 until last week. So has it been hard for you, frustrating to not, you know, get back near the top of the leaderboards?
EUN-HEE JI: I always trying hard then but I change a lot of swings. My confidence is going lower last year. But I keep trying more up higher, keep it up, so it's worked this year.
Q. The swing changes, are they starting to work? Do you see a change in how you are playing?
MODERATOR: When you change your swing, do you feel better now about your game?
EUN-HEE JI: It's way better because before I change the swing. I always hitting fade shots. But right now I can play draw and fade, both. I play a little bit longer distance, yes.
Q. How does it work working with Ian? Do you fly to Australia or does he come here? He is far away.
EUN-HEE JI: During the season he is coming to tournament, a couple of tournament and off season I go to Australia for practice, yes.
Q. When did you start working with Ian?
EUN-HEE JI: Just right after Open when I won The Open.
Q. Right after you won The Open?
EUN-HEE JI: Yes.
Q. So even though you won The Open you recognized that you needed to be able to shape it?
EUN-HEE JI: Yes, because I want to play like a lot of shots with play. I wasn't doing that before. But I can do it right now.
Q. And today with a little bit windy to hit the fairways were you shaping it into the wind?
EUN-HEE JI: Yes, strong wind. I play a bit of fade. Fade windy play, it helped a lot.
Q. You couldn't have done that 2008?
EUN-HEE JI: No, always hitting fade.
MODERATOR: Has Ian told you any stories about Karrie Webb and working with her?
EUN-HEE JI: Not really. He doesn't tell anything about the player.
MODERATOR: Have you played with Karrie much?
EUN-HEE JI: Maybe one or two times with her.
Q. Do you feel you are a little longer off the tee because you can hit the draw a little bit or what do you think?
EUN-HEE JI: Yes, if I played draw it's going more longer. Play fade it goes shorter.
Q. Your father is not your caddy this week anymore, does your father caddy for you?
EUN-HEE JI: No, not anymore.
Q. Do they travel with you, your parents or sometimes?
EUN-HEE JI: Just sometimes.
Q. Who is on your I-pod, who do you like to listen to?
EUN-HEE JI: Korean songs.
Q. And then when you won at Corning, do you ever go water skiing anymore or never?
EUN-HEE JI: No, not anymore. When I started the golf I just stop to play.
Q. You went one time?
EUN-HEE JI: Done.
Q. When was the last time that you worked with Ian?
EUN-HEE JI: Last week, he come last week.
Q. It had been a long time since you had a good finish, talk about that, that long struggle. How much confidence it gave you coming into this week?
MODERATOR: How much confidence did last week give you coming here?
EUN-HEE JI: When I played before last week it wasn't comfortable with my swing, so I trying, trying. But he is coming up to there. And we work follow swing. He fixed that. But I played great last week and just coming through here and that's work.
Q. Do you send him video ever?
EUN-HEE JI: Yes, I do a lot of times. If he is not here, yes.
Q. When you made the switch did any of your friends on Tour or anybody say why switch, you just won?
EUN-HEE JI: Yes, everybody saying that.
MODERATOR: We would like to welcome LPGA and World Hall of Famer, Karrie Webb, in the interview room to the interview room here at Wegmans. A fantastic round out there today. You shot 4-under par 68 on the back 9, the best we've seen this week, bogey-free 4-under par 33. Take us through the day.
KARRIE WEBB: Well, firstly I think I'm surprised that we played when we started. We played one to 18 without stopping. I think everyone thought we would be in and out all day. I feel pretty fortunate to get the round in without any more delays. But I knew it was going to be softer which made the fairways marginally wider, I think, because they weren't running out into the rough. The greens were softer. So it played a little tricky, getting to trust that the greens, some were softer than others and spinning a lot more.
I felt pretty confident. I bogeyed the first but made a birdie on turned even. Then on the back 9, hit some good shots but actually made some putts. So that was good to see.
MODERATOR: You're a 38 time winner on Tour, 7 majors to your credit, you won twice at Locust Hill in the last decade, do you think people see your name on the leaderboard now and say, oh, boy.
KARRIE WEBB: I don't know if it has the same look as it used to. I know that when I put myself in a position that I feel comfortable up there. I've done my work to give myself a shot so tomorrow I just got to go out and do similar things that I've done the last couple of days and see if that's good enough.
Q. Karrie, you mentioned patience out there, can you elaborate on that?
KARRIE WEBB: Yes, well, there is a lot of places this week where you can be a little unlucky, miss the fairway by an inch, and you are pretty much wedging it down the fairway. I hit a great tee shot off of 17. It kicked out right and was in the first cut rather than on the fairway. Just little things like that. And because I've played here for so long, I played here when you can score really easily around here. So the course is different. So you can't think about trying to birdie every hole. You really have to focus on getting your tee shot in the fairway. My distance off the tee is probably down this week, but I'm just making sure I am shaping the shot for the hole against the breeze just to make sure I'm in the fairway. I would rather have a 5-iron in rather than a 7 or an 8. I would like to have an eight from the middle of the fairway. But going at it a little bit harder brings in missing the fairway, and I would rather have a 5-iron from the fairway rather than an 8-iron from the rough.
Q. How much are you able to draw from your experience both here at Locust Hill and being a 7 time major winner?
KARRIE WEBB: Well, I think any time I'm in position to have a chance to win I really enjoy that. I think every tournament is a little bit different so experience is what it is. But, you know, I know that tomorrow it's not just the people in the lead that have a chance to win. I think the leaderboard is going to be very bunched. And depending on the weather some could post a number early and put the pressure on everyone else. I just got to go out there and not think of the score but, you know, try to give myself the best opportunity to make a birdie on every hole. And if I do get myself into trouble, try to make pars and keep the positive momentum going.
Q. Can you just talk in general about your motivation? You're a veteran now playing against players, young to the mid 20's, why it matters to you to be competing at this level at this point in your career?
KARRIE WEBB: Well, when Phil Mickelson was 37 do you think people were asking him that? So Tiger Woods is 36 and no one is asking him that. I still have the same drive as those two guys. I don't put the hours in just to be out here to make up the numbers. I want to have a chance to win and it feels great that I played well enough today that I have a shot tomorrow. I would love to hold the trophy up tomorrow. That's my goal every week. If I play well tomorrow I have a good chance.
Q. Is this the toughest you've ever seen this course play in all of this time?
KARRIE WEBB: I think the last few years are pretty tough except Yani and Cristie blew us out of the water. You know, the rough is way more penal than it has been. But I don't think the fairways are much tighter. They to me look as tight the last two or three years. And now that we've had some more rain it's playing a little bit longer as well.
Q. Is there a Major championship that you go back to in your mind that you think about one of your victories, anything that you replay every once in a while since it's been a while, since '06?
KARRIE WEBB: Well, yes, I mean I replay that shot in '06 over and over in my head. That's like a feeling of no other at Kraft in '06. I think you just, you go through all different times that have been good, just to try and, not remember, but to get those feelings of that's what I want to feel. I think that feeling came to me so often 10 years ago that I took for granted how hard it was to actually put myself in that position to have a chance to win and feel that. That's why I work hard.
Whether I win tomorrow or not, just the feelings that I will have tomorrow with a chance to win is what I work hard for. And I probably want it more now than I ever have in my career just because I don't feel it as often as I would like. And I like to feel it as often as Yani does. I wouldn't mind that at all.
Q. Karrie, you were Yani way before Yani winning all the time, so when you've won that much how do you feel with not having as much success, what attitude have you taken to get back here?
KARRIE WEBB: You know, it's frustrating. I think, you know, when I was in the middle of playing great, I think if someone told me I was taking it for granted, I would have told them I wasn't. But I was. I definitely didn't enjoy that part of my career as much as I should have. But then if I would have enjoyed it as much as I should have I might not have played as well for as long as I did. I wouldn't have pushed myself as hard probably. I still feel like I work really hard now on my game. But also just the other things that come along with getting my body ready to play. My body doesn't do the things as quickly as they used to. That's a little bit more work in that area.
Q. Karrie, you only had 23 putts, 32 the first two rounds, can you talk about that a bit?
KARRIE WEBB: Yes, that number is a little bit skewed because I putted quite a bit from a couple of inches off the green. So you can tack on probably four or five putts to that. Still it was a great putting round. I holed a couple from the fringe so that was zero putts recorded for those two holes.
Yes, you know, when I missed those greens I missed them in the best possible place to miss them to putt from. I had the best putt on the green.
So, you know, I wouldn't say I drew it up to miss the green, but I drew it up to have uphill putts and from the best side of the hole to putt from.
No, I did putt very well, and I made some good putts on the back 9, and I don't complain even if it was 23 legitimate putts, I would be happy with that.
Q. Karrie, can you talk a little bit about coming here this week as a Major, as much experience as you have, and as many wins as you have, do you still get really pumped up for the Majors?
KARRIE WEBB: Oh, yes, for sure.. I will take a win any week these days. But I still get really excited about the Majors and the importance they have on everyone's career. It's exciting to have a chance tomorrow.
Q. Grace Park was in here yesterday talking about how difficult it was for her because she had physically broken down. You are a few years older and you say you have worked harder to keep yourself healthy and be able to do that. What are the things that you have done and how have you been able to stay as healthy as you have for some many years?
KARRIE WEBB: I don't know really. Since I was about 25 I started working with Chris Fanna (phn) down in Florida, and he specializes in stretching.
Before I worked with him my stretching involved, back and forth a couple of times. And he really got me into stretching, so I think the fact that I spend 20 minutes every morning stretching, and then again in the evening now, I probably didn't do that when I was 25 stretching in the evening. But now I need to do that as well. That's definitely helped. I do my fitness work. I've been doing Pilates the last couple of years. That's really helped the weaknesses in my body that I had, to make some of the swing changes that I needed to make.
Q. Karrie, I was wondering in your opinion, what does it say about the LPGA Tour in general that you get asked these questions about your age and the difference between the younger players whereas you pointed out you don't get those questions on the PGA TOUR?
KARRIE WEBB: I don't know. I actually don't know why that is. Maybe you can tell me why. Why that is. I'm not sure. I've been a veteran since I was about 28. I don't know what you call me at 37.
Q. You were mentioning when he asked about your name on the leaderboard maybe you think that doesn't inspire as much fear in younger players. But one thing it does inspire, it seems to me, being out in the crowd, that people really appreciate you because they know you for so long. Do you especially feel that here because they have known you and have seen you play and win here for so long?
KARRIE WEBB: Yes, I think I he noticed that the last couple of years. I'm a familiar name now to people. I do notice an appreciation for my career and that I am still out here and hitting it down the middle. And here, too, I won here a couple of times. The fans are just so knowledgeable here. Some people have been sitting under the same tree for 20 or 30 years in a row. So they remember every time I come through that hole. Yes, you do feel that and hopefully, you know, I can feel their appreciation even more tomorrow.
Q. Karrie, how were you feeling about your game during this week?
KARRIE WEBB: Pretty good. It's been pretty close all clear. I have played pretty consistently. But pretty good consistently, not good or great consistent. My finishes have been, you know, a couple of Top-10's but a lot in the teens and early 20's. So it's been there. It's one shot here or there and doing the right things at the right time that gets that momentum going in the right direction.
Q. This course has a real hall of fame roll call of champions, what is it about this course that identifies such great players?
KARRIE WEBB: I think the most challenging part of this golf course, and especially the last few years is hitting and driving off the tee. I really believe that when the wind gets up here it's always a lot of cross breezes and to hit fairways you got to be able to shape it against the breeze. You can hit it off the breeze but that really makes the fairway much narrower.
So I think people that have won here, Cristie, Yani can definitely hit it both ways. I think if you look at anyone's stats, I bet they were pretty high up there in fairways hits and that's the biggest challenge on this course.
Q. Karrie, as you just said, shot making here is important, but also on Sunday in a Major in a really tough test how much does temperament or attitude have to do with the results, too?
KARRIE WEBB: I mentioned that earlier. I think my patient level has been really quite good this week for me. A couple of times especially on Thursday I started feeling sorry for myself early in the day, and I actually told myself to shut up and just go on, chip out of the rough and try to make par and I did.
So I think the fact that I over came that early drop of the head really reinforced the need to have good patience this week. Hopefully I can have that again tomorrow. Obviously, the stakes will be a lot higher than the first three rounds, but I've done a good job so far so that will be my goal tomorrow.
Q. Karrie, can you give us a few details about your last three birdies and the three birdies in the last five holes?
KARRIE WEBB: Yes, I birdied 14, 15 and 17. 14, I hit a 4-iron in there to about 15 feet. Made a good putt from pin-high.
15, I hit a 9-iron in this there to about 15, 18 feet below the hole.
17, I hit 5-wood about 10 yards short of the green and chipped it just long and right just in the fringe and made the putt from there which was about 12, 15 feet.
Q. There has been a big push this week for Twitter, will we ever see you tweeting?
KARRIE WEBB: I joked about it this week. You tell me if this is a good Twitter handle. Line Yourself Up. Is that good? Do you like that one? I could make a stand.
Q. I think it's fantastic.
KARRIE WEBB: I only tweet about that. I wouldn't tweet about anything else.
MODERATOR: We would like the welcome World Ranking No. 3 Stacy Lewis to the media center, 2-under-par overall. Shot 70 today. Just take us through the day. Obviously an interesting start with the weather and then a much softer course.
STACY LEWIS: Yes, I got here at 6 o'clock this morning and then started to warm up and then went inside for two and a half hours. And then we went back out, and we got really lucky with the weather. I can't believe we got it in. The golf course played a lot easier I thought today. The greens are much more receptive. A couple of the tees were moved up. I think just set up a little easier in general. Just afraid of the weather. The course was probably the most scorable it has been all week. I played pretty good. I definitely left a few out there, but I am in a good spot going into tomorrow.
MODERATOR: You got one back at 17 today, yesterday you hit a real long putt for par there, it's been an interesting hole. Just take us through 17 to get back to 2-under-par.
STACY LEWIS: Yes, I was driving the ball well all day and hit a really good drive and only had I think 220 to the hole. It was downwind so I hit hybrid and actually hit it over the back of the green and made about a 10-footer for birdie. Then I made a good up and down at 18 to save par so I was glad to finally finish off my round with a bogey.
MODERATOR: You won the last two Stroke Play events on the LPGA Tour. Now you're in the hunt for your second Major championship after winning the Kraft last year; just talk about going into tomorrow, your mindset and how it feels coming off of two wins.
STACY LEWIS: Yes, I mean obviously I never experienced it before so it's been fun to just kind of ride the momentum. I've been playing really well. It's just trusting my game and going out there and playing whatever the course gives me. You can't really force things out here. So whatever the course gives me you take it and hopefully you are hanging around towards the end.
MODERATOR: You and Karrie both live in South Florida. I know you've played a little bit together down there, she has kind of been a mentor to you. Can you tell us about seeing her name up on the leaderboard? She joked she is a veteran now, not one of the young guns, what's it like to see her up there?
STACY LEWIS: Yes, it's a lot of fun. I've gotten to know Karrie pretty well over the last couple of years. This winter we went fishing a couple of times. It's fun just to be able to play golf with her, and I can learn things from her. It's fun to see her play well. She works harder probably than anybody out here. It's really cool to see her. She has been out here so long and still grinding it out every single day. So when I see her playing good it makes me want to play good, too.
Q. Any thought about when you are in a tournament it's maybe one or two or three people going for the championship on a Sunday as opposed to this when you've got 10 or 12 that have a chance? What's the mindset for you when it's that wide open?
STACY LEWIS: Yes, I don't know. I didn't look at any leaderboards today because you can't try to make birdie or try to hit, or stick something in there. You just have to play smart out there that it really doesn't matter what anybody else is doing. You just hope that your good shots and your good putts are good enough at the end of the day.
Q. Do you like the challenge of this? Of coming from everywhere?
STACY LEWIS: I do, I love it. The harder the golf course the better. Just this way this golf course is playing it opens it up for a lot of people. Especially with the softer greens today I think it brought the shorter hitters back into it. It's a golf course that's wide open and the leaderboard shows that.
Q. Stacy, you played the last few events with some pretty big leads having to protect a lead, do you like that or are you more comfortable trying to come from behind?
STACY LEWIS: It's a lot easier coming from behind. Having a huge lead is probably one of the hardest things I've ever done. It's so hard to keep your focus. You are constantly thinking if I make bogey here it's one shot and that's going to completely change things. In the end it really doesn't. I don't know, I almost like being at the back and kind of coming up and surprising somebody at the end.
Q. Did you find it difficult sleeping at night with a big lead?
STACY LEWIS: No, not really. I actually felt pretty good going into the final round last week. I don't know, I felt so comfortable with my game I wasn't really worried about it. But I didn't start thinking about the big lead until I made the tournament and then kind of let a few slip away. It's a completely different mindset going into tomorrow.
Q. Can you speak to your confidence level now having won as much as you have as compared to before when you broke through for your first victory?
STACY LEWIS: Yes, going back to probably the Kraft last year, I mean I think I'm a different person on the golf course. I trust myself a lot more. Golf is crazy how it's all confidence. If you believe you can get up and make a putt, you are probably going to make it. And if you don't think you can, it's probably not going to go in. So I think that's what it's all about, and I have just been riding that for the last couple of weeks.
Q. Just back to Karrie for a second, she thinks she was saying she didn't think her name had the same effect that it used to being on the board? Do you think players feel that way?
STACY LEWIS: Probably a little bit just because I think a lot of younger players don't quite know all the history of the game and really what she's done. I think it's a good reminder. I played with her the first two days last week and she is announced as a Hall of Famer on the tee, and she is really not that old either. I know more of the history of the game, so I have a lot of respect for her. But I just think that a lot of the younger players maybe don't quite know what all she's done.
Q. A lot is made about Americans not doing well on Tour, do you play nationalistically or are you just a golfer?
STACY LEWIS: I think every time I play I represent the U.S.A. Every time I look at the leaderboard there is always a U.S. flag there. I played with Paula the last two days. We were kind of trying to edge each other on and get each other going a little bit. I want to see her play well. The more Americans we have at the top of the leaderboard, the better. I'm all about encouraging people you play with.
MODERATOR: We would like to welcome Suzann Pettersen. A third round 71. You are two shots off the lead right now heading into the final round. An interesting day. Some weather this morning. The threat of weather ongoing. But you got 18 holes in if you would tell us about your day.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Well, it was a very quick turnaround for my side of the draw. We finished quite late yesterday. I didn't really expect an 8:30 tee time being where I was. That's fine. When you are playing well, you just try to come out and keep grinding, trying to keep your rhythm. I was kind of anxious to get started this morning. I was very happy when they called it because it was lashing down, and I was just to go out and putt. It was perfect timing for me. Nothing got wet. I had a little bit more time stretching and chilling go out with the rest of the players.
MODERATOR: You said the last couple of tournaments that you feel like everything is there, maybe the results don't show it, but this seems like your kind of week where you have to grind it out, the scores aren't going to be super low, do you feel that's accurate?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Yes. This course as it plays right now is kind of right up my street. I think I hit 16 greens today. I think I can carry myself one other green, 17. I think I missed one fairway. All of the other ones were right down the middle. It's kind of nice when you look back at some of these fairways, and they look humongous wide, then you feel like you are driving it well. Today was a really solid day of work. You can't really be greedy saying you left a few out there because it's tough conditions. I must say 3-putting 17 was a little bit disappointing. At the same time just accept pars. Pars are your friend this week. I'm right where I want to be before tomorrow.
Q. You talked about the results, and you feel like you are getting closer and closer. Where do you stand right now? Do you feel maybe the peak is about to hit tomorrow?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Well, I mean I can't really say anything else. Every warm up I had this week has been very good. Every day I step it up on the first tee, I feel comfortable.
On every tee shot I feel like I can hit my shots and kind of execute to how I plan it doing my preparation. I don't know what more to ask for. It's so tough. Even in the fairway, and sometimes they tuck the pins. It's hard not to be aggressive at the same time. The middle of the green is sometimes okay on these greens because the pain missing it on the short siding yourself is probably worse than trying to make a 15 or 20-footer. So you really have to play smart around this course, take the chances when you feel you can really be aggressive. Like I said, the middle of the green on some of these holes is pretty darn good.
MODERATOR: Five years ago you hoisted this trophy for your first win. What's the difference between then and now for you personally and for your game, for you going into a Sunday with a chance to win.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Well, that's a long time ago. Back in '07 I had a pretty rough craft. I learned a lot from. Probably the roughest day that I had on the golf course. I learned a lot from it. So for me to step it up in the second major that year, having evaluated what I could have done better in that craft, and the next time around stepping it up and executing how you kind of wish you could do if you kind of came in the same position again. I don't remember. I don't think I was in the lead going out. I remember Saturday I was quite disappointed, a little like today. I feel I left a few out there. I have to look at the positives. I feel awfully good. Over the last five years I feel I developed a lot as a golfer. Skill-wise I feel like I matured a lot, a few more wrinkles. I feel a lot more prepared and ready this time around.
Q. Suzann, do you think it's fair to say with this tournament will be won off the tee this week driving?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: No. Because you got to nail some of these tee shots and still need irons. But obviously it's a huge help if you can start off hitting the fairway. At the same time, you got to pick your shot and try to nail it.
Today I felt really good with my driver on some of these really narrow holes on the back. It's nice when you stand there, and you just try to hit it as far as you can. That case might be different tomorrow. You never know. It takes everything you got. You need to have a short game because you are going to miss some greens more or less.
Q. Suzann, what goes through your mind when you see Karrie Webb's name on the leaderboard?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Is she up there?
Q. Yes. She was saying earlier she doesn't think her name has quite the same effect.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Do you think my name has the same effect? What do you think when they see my name up there? You know what I really don't look at it. I mean she is a fantastic golf player. There are a lot of great names up there. I didn't really look at the board at all. You know if you shoot under par on this golf course you've done a good job. I don't know if Webb shot 3 or 4-under from where she was so she had a good day at work. There is one more day. I think it's going to be a few of us in the hunt tomorrow. I think it will come down to the last couple of holes.
MODERATOR: Nice place you put yourself in good position heading into tomorrow's final round, just take me through the day.
INBEE PARK: I did have really good up and downs today. I didn't hit the ball the way I wanted to. I work on my driving a little bit because driving is important around here. I'm ready to go tomorrow.
MODERATOR: It's bunched up quite a bit at the top of the leaderboard. What's it going to take tomorrow to come away with that victory?
INBEE PARK: Who knows what's going to happen, there are so many players so bunched up. Whoever plays well tomorrow is going to win.
MODERATOR: And today were you surprised with the conditions you ended up having towards the end?
INBEE PARK: We got really lucky. I didn't get lucky in the rough today. Hopefully a lot of fairways.
MODERATOR: The biggest key for you tomorrow, is it fairways?
INBEE PARK: Fairways and greens around here, definitely. Putting, if you drop a lot of putts you win. I think to give yourself an opportunity around this golf course you definitely need to hit fairways
MODERATOR: How big of a difference does this course play this year from last year, it seems like a different golf course?
INBEE PARK: Yes, it is a little bit narrow and longer grass. I didn't know it was going to make this much of a difference. The way it's playing these roughs are very bad. It's really a good test, yes.
MODERATOR: A great round out there today, can you just take me through it and what was working well for you out there today?
GIULIA SERGAS: I was just focusing on hitting fairway, hit the middle of the fairway. I was really happy the way the weather turned out. I knew that I could hit the fairway, hit the greens. I had chances for birdie. So I'm putting well. And the greens are small, and wherever you put it, they roll great, so where ever you put it you actually have a chance to make it. And then I started, you know, having good shots into the green. It was good. It was fun.
MODERATOR: Conditions, were you surprised how drastically it changed?
GIULIA SERGAS: It was incredible. We were so happy because tomorrow you don't want to really play so much golf, 36 holes. I mean I'm in good shape, no problem. But still, you know, mentally. So it was great.
MODERATOR: And then the position you put yourself in heading into tomorrow's final round in a Major?
GIULIA SERGAS: I'm looking forward to it. I'm going to try to play the best golf I have and really try to be present in the moment
MODERATOR: Any keys you think for that final round? It looks like you guys are going to have a bunch of players bunched up there.
GIULIA SERGAS: I think it's going to be just not to look ahead or to get caught up into any mistake we make. Just be in the present and positive, constructive. That's what I'm going to try to do. It is a challenge because you try to not think ahead or in the past.
MODERATOR: We would like to welcome fan favorite, Paula Creamer into the Wegmans LPGA championship media center. Right up there all day towards the top of the leaderboard. A tough couple of holes coming in. Shot 1-over par today, but still in the hunt in a golf tournament where nobody is going to distance themselves too far. Three shots back how do you feel where you are at.
PAULA CREAMER: I mean obviously I'm pretty disappointed with my final results of 1-over for missing 2 greens today on a Major golf course and to shoot 1-over par. Like I said it's pretty disappointing. I hit the ball great. I gave myself a lot of opportunities. I kind of got in my way with my putter down near the stretch. I missed a par putt on 13 that didn't even come close to hitting the hole and from there I kind of just started overanalyzing my putting. I realize that now. I wish I could have realized it at the time in the moment out there. But, you know, it's a good thing we have tomorrow and there is a lot of golf left. Three shots back, I will take it. It is what it is right now, so I can't really change it, but I can look forward to tomorrow.
MODERATOR: A couple of your birdies, you came right back with a bogey, it had to be frustrating. Was it something going on? You mentioned the putter, anything else, or was it just sort of one of those days?
PAULA CREAMER: I've been working so hard, so technical with my golf swing, sometimes when things go wrong right now I really started to overanalyze. With my putting, or anybody's putting, it's so much a feel oriented part of the game. I kind of got away from that a little bit on the back 9. I made a great birdie putt on 12 and from there I really didn't hit any good putts. I know what I need to work on and hopefully tomorrow I can start strong and finish strong.
Q. Paula, can you give us the distances for your putts, the bogey putts on 16 and 18?
PAULA CREAMER: 16 was probably I'd say six feet, 6 and a half feet. I was above the hole. I had a pretty long bunker shot, but I still put the ball in the wrong spot. And then missed that putt on 17. Four feet, maybe for birdie. And 18 was probably, I'd say, about seven feet.
Q. You didn't look like you were having a whole lot of fun after 13, your facial expressions. Was it frustration, you felt sad missing those putts?
PAULA CREAMER: I mean I could feel that, like I said yesterday, I really tried to work on my attitude and work on my demeanor on the golf course. I tried to stay as positive. Sometimes when you got to be a little realistic and tell yourself, hey, you got to stop doing this. I was, I was bummed. My goodness gracious, missing 2 greens. At the time I was even par. That's kind of unheard of. Especially with how small these greens are, and you have so many opportunities. It was frustration. But if I'm going to win a Major championship, I got to get over that. I know that and realize that, and I am not going to let it happen between.
Q. Just the fact that the leaderboard is so crowded, you are only three shots back and tied for 7th or whatever it is, going into the final day with a free for all like that, what do you expect is going to happen tomorrow? Is it going to be just crazy all over the place people coming from nowhere?
PAULA CREAMER: I think so, yes. I know that I'm going to be a couple of groups in front of the leaders. I'm going to try my hardest to go out and make birdies and gives myself as many opportunities as I can. The pin placements tomorrow are pretty hard, so I know that there is not going to be a ton of birdies being made. But it is Sunday and things happen. People make moves. I am just going to hopefully be one of those that can put the pressure on the lead groups.
Q. 18, the drive it looked like you didn't miss it by 2 steps?
PAULA CREAMER: Not even, maybe one step. It was like the worse lie I've ever seen.
Q. And then you hacked it 60 yards?
PAULA CREAMER: I hit a 9-iron like not -- maybe 80 yards. I swung really hard. That's the thing, almost better if you miss it by 25 yards, where the people walk and a they can trample down the rough. When you just miss it, it's so thick on every hole. If you just miss a fairway you really get penalized which is the way it should be.
Q. What does that tell you for tomorrow? Anybody on the leaderboard, you know, no matter if it just goes a little bit crooked, you are not going to be staying,, holding your position, right? What does it tell you for tomorrow in terms of wide open, being wide open? What do you think within numerous shots?
The greens are always a little bit better early on. A little bit softer and smoother. You start making putts out here, and they are all going in. So you can't count really anybody out right now. That's kind of a fun thing. I think it's going to be a good Sunday and lots of people are going to be in the mix.
Q. Paula, at 18 when you are all done you kissed your putter, was that forgiveness or what was going on?
PAULA CREAMER: I didn't really kiss it, I hit it really hard with my golf ball. I went like that to it. That was a little bit of frustration with it, telling it you better get your act together going into tomorrow, or you might night have a very good week off. You can't blame it on the putter in certain spots. Obviously, with some of my chip shots, the 2 chip shots I had, I didn't give myself a perfect opportunity. And I put a lot of pressure on my putter. That's golf. I hit it great. Something I've been working on. I'm trying to stay as positive as I can. We do have another day tomorrow. I need to go out there and I need to make putts. And if I hit it the way I did today, it's going to be hopefully a good Sunday.
Q. Paula, according to your stats, 16 of 18 greens in regulation, you got to be pretty happy about that statistic today?
PAULA CREAMER: I am. I hit the ball really well. I put the ball in good places with my irons. I drove the ball pretty well. I think I missed three or four fairways.
The first nine holes my goodness it was middle of the fairway right next to the flag, middle of the fairway right next to the flag. I was feeling great. That's the thing about this golf course, you kind of get a little bit errant on something and it gets you. I have to realize tomorrow also it's going to be a long day and you got to stay patient from the moment you tee off until the last putt drops. You never know.
Q. Could you sum up the day, Cristie?
CRISTIE KERR: It was such a weird day, you know. We warmed up in the pouring rain, I mean pouring rain. I got rid of my head covers. I put the rain cover on, and I am like didn't even worry trying to dry the clubs because it was pointless. Usually the rain gloves, the wetter the better. Then they called it. We didn't even hear. We were walking up here to hit a couple of putts before we were going to tee off, and then they called it. Then we went back out and it was a totally different day, totally different day. It's sunny. It's hot. Everybody is just sweating so much on the golf course because we overdressed. We thought it was going to be really horrible all day and we got lucky.
Q. How did the course play all wet?
CRISTIE KERR: It was a little bit more wet. But the course actually held up well. I was pretty impressed, the greens kept their speed. I knocked a couple by the hole. I was surprised that the course didn't have a lot more water in the fairways. It held up really well.
Q. After the blowouts in this events the last two years are you surprised no one is going anywhere, the same 20, 25 people are close today will probably be close tomorrow?
CRISTIE KERR: Yes, you know, it's a different kind of week. I think it's definitely playing tougher than the last couple of years. Even the year that I won 7-under was second and 4-under or 3-under right now is leading right now. The rough is a lot worse. And with the rain, you know, any rain is making it thicker. So it's definitely playing harder.
Q. Can you talk about your game and what you found on the range last night?
CRISTIE KERR: Well, I just didn't feel right on the back 9 yesterday. I started getting a migraine on the course sometimes. It really messes my feel up. I don't get them that often. Sometimes I do, and you have a lot of long days. It's just a female thing, you know what I mean. I just didn't feel that great. So, you know, I was there present mentally all there today, and I was thankful for that. Even the holes I hit in the rough I was able to recover, and I just made one bogey on 16 which I'm disappointed with. But I played really, really well today.
Q. You won't know your position for a little bit, how do you feel about the state of your game and making a Sunday charge?
CRISTIE KERR: I'm ready to make a Sunday charge. I definitely am. I think I am in a perfect position to let them have all of the pressure on them in the last couple of groups and maybe I can just go out there and post a number.
MODERATOR: So 2 eagles today?
JODI EWART: A crazy round. I hadn't been really striking it that well all day, and I got the shot on 15. It just came out of nowhere. I kind of hit it to good really. It was a little bit long. It caught the slope at the back and came down and went in. I was like wow. Again on 1, I hit a really, really good hybrid into 17 and that almost went in apparently. Yes, a crazy round really up and down.
MODERATOR: How long was the putt then on 1?
JODI EWART: About four feet.
Q. What did you hit into the hybrid, how far?
JODI EWART: I think it was 220 to the hole. A little bit downwind though.
Q. And a hole-in-one?
JODI EWART: A 9-iron I think it was 137.
Q. Have you ever had 2 eagles in one round?
JODI EWART: I have actually. Yes. I actually remember it because it was two par-5s in a row, and I eagled them both in a row. It was way back when I was younger. It stuck in my head.
Q. 3 eagles in three rounds?
JODI EWART: I don't think I've ever done 3 eagles in three rounds.
Q. What were the details on No. 1 yesterday?
JODI EWART: I think I had 153 to the pin. I had an easy 7-iron pitch to about four feet short of the hole and 1-putt in the hole.
Q. The hole-in-one, it rolled quite a bit?
JODI EWART: Yes, the pin was in the front end and it pitched out into the slope and spun back down towards the hole.
Q. How many holes-in-ones have you had?
JODI EWART: That will be 5 now.
Q. How many in competition?
JODI EWART: I think 4 of them in competition.
Q. Somebody just mentioned you are getting married, soon?
JODI EWART: January.
MODERATOR: Eagles on par-3, par-4 and a par-5 in a round?
JODI EWART: Yes, really crazy up and down.
Q. How has your mental approach changed since the Sybase since you had some much success there, your confidence?
JODI EWART: Yes, I think the Sybase is kind of like -- it made me feel like this is what is meant to be. I'm good enough to compete with everyone out here. I'm really enjoying it out here and playing well. Hopefully tomorrow I will go low.
Topics: Notes and Interviews, Creamer, Paula, Ewart Shadoff, Jodi, Kerr, Cristie, Ji, Eun Hee, Park, Inbee, Pettersen, Suzann, Sergas, Giulia, Webb, Karrie, Lewis, Stacy, Wegmans LPGA Championship [+]