U.S. Women's Open Championship
Second-round notes and interviews
July 6, 2012
Suzann Pettersen -5, Rolex Rankings No. 6
Cristie Kerr -4, Rolex Rankings No. 8 and 2007 U.S. Women's Open champion
Vicky Hurst -3, Rolex Rankings No. 68
Lexi Thompson -1, Rolex Rankings No. 23
Yani Tseng +2, Rolex Rankings No. 1
Stacy Lewis +2, Rolex Rankings No. 2
Melissa Reid +4, Rolex Rankings No. 47
After shooting a second-round 4-under-par 68 on Friday, Suzann Pettersen will carry a one-stroke lead into the weekend at the 67th U.S. Women's Open Championship at Blackwolf Run. Pettersen carded five birdies on the day with her only bogey coming on the par 4 No. 4, leaving her at -5 for the championship. 2007 U.S. Women's Open champ Cristie Kerr and Rolex Rankings No. 40 Michelle Wie sit one stroke back at 4-under par. A trio of players are currently at 3-under par after 36 holes of play including 2008 U.S. Women's Open champion Inbee Park, Vicky Hurst and Sandra Gal.
Fondness for the Open: Rolex Rankings No. 6 Suzann Pettersen is playing in her 10th U.S. Women's Open Championship this week in Kohler and has consistently showed up to play at the major championship each year. Pettersen has only missed one cut out of her nine starts and has finished in the top-15 the past four years including a T2 in 2010. It's no surprise the Open is one of the Norwegian's favorite events on Tour.
"I like the U.S. Opens," said Pettersen. "It's usually the biggest test of golf throughout the year. I like the way the USGA sets up the courses. They make it tough. They make it fair. And it's by far one of my favorite championships, just because of that."
Some of the major conversation this week has been on the difficulty of the course at Blackwolf Run and the challenge it has imposed on the field of 156 players. But Pettersen said, hopefully without a jinx, that the course has been more than manageable.
"This year there are birdies out there," said Pettersen. "I probably shouldn't say this, because we come out tomorrow and they'll probably make it impossible. But the course is playable. So just keep sticking to the game plan."
Power to the putting: Michelle Wie will be the first one to say that her 2012 season so far has been a disappointment. But the 22-year old and recent Stanford graduate has dealt with the scrutiny and magnified coverage of her struggles with grace and class. Wie has missed six out of 10 cuts this year and recorded a season-best finish of T33 at the Sybase Match Play Championship back in May. She will also be the first to admit how excited she was with her second-round 66, the best score posted at Blackwolf Run this week.
"I'm pretty stoked to be back in contention and honestly not have to worry about the cut line," said Wie. "It feels pretty good. I'm looking forward to a good weekend."
Wie's 6-under par second round on Friday was her best round at a U.S. Women's Open by three shots, with her last sub-70 round at the national championship coming in the first round back in 2005 at Cherry Hills Country Club. Wie said her seven birdies were attributed to setting herself up for shorter putts than on Thursday.
"I think that was the main difference from yesterday," said Wie. "Yesterday I had a lot of 40-foot putts, 50-foot putts. Today on the back 9 I had a lot of putts within 15 feet. That really helps on the golf course. It's the difference between lagging them and trying to make them. So I was putting them in good positions today."
Much of Wie's struggles this season have seemed to come through her work on the greens, but after several attempts at switching putters and analyzing her stroke, Wie has figured out it's a confidence issue.
"I went to the belly putter, the regular putter," said Wie. "I haven't really changed putters since earlier this year. And just been working on my confidence, really. I know my stroke is good when I look at it on the cameras or any time I put a number on it. It's perfect. So I have to trust it.
"And know that I'm a good putter," said Wie. "That's what I talked to Meg (Mallon) with a lot, is that I think once everyone was like ‘what is happening with her putting,' it kind of got to my head a little bit. I have to trust myself. I know I'm a good putter. I've been a good putter, and I can be."
Do your job: Cristie Kerr followed up her opening round 69 with a steady performance on Friday, carding three birdies and one double bogey en route to a 1-under 71, leaving her one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.
"I played really well on the front, and unfortunately I made a double on 11," said Kerr. "Then I really bounced right back and made an amazing birdie on 12 and then a great birdie on 16."
She acknowledged the importance of her round and her ability to overcome some struggles mid-way through.
"Just a very important round for me," said Kerr. "One that said I wanted to keep up that consistency, and I did that today. Even though I had some adversity in the middle of the round, I was able to bounce back from that."
When asked about the scores other players in the field were putting up throughout the day, Kerr said the only thing she is concerned about is taking care of her own business. She said she will try to not look into course set up as much either, figuring the USGA will change things up for the weekend.
"I've just gotta take care of my own job and really execute my course strategy," said Kerr. "It would have been a couple more under if a couple of those putts had gone. But you know, I got over par through the middle of the round and I was able to shoot under par. That's a really huge thing for me. And going into the weekend who knows how they're going to set it up. So you can't really predict."
Already with a national championship on her resume, Kerr said she's not sure if having her name engraved on the trophy will necessarily help this weekend. She pointed to first-time major champion on the PGA Tour, Webb Simpson, who recently won his first U.S. Open at the Olympic Club last month.
"I always draw on that experience, of course, but it's hard to predict what's an advantage and what's not an advantage," said Kerr. "You just don't know. Sometimes it's an advantage to not know that you can go out and win. You've seen that before. That's what happened with Webb Simpson at the Men's Open this year. So it's really hard to predict that."
But she admits that if the championship comes down to one hole, the ever intense veteran will have an edge on her competitor.
"If I'm staring down somebody on Sunday at the 18th hole, I think that experience really helps," said Kerr.
Rollercoaster round: Lexi Thompson sits four shots out of the lead heading into the weekend at the U.S. Women's Open, but the 17-year-old experienced a week's worth of ups and downs en route to shooting 73 in Friday's second round.
Thompson carded five birdies, two bogeys and two doubles in her second round on the Championship Course at Blackwolf Run. But despite the interesting round that featured only nine pars, Thompson still finds herself with a strong opportunity to become the youngest major winner - male or female - if she can pull out a victory at this U.S. Women's Open. She would be 10 days younger than Young Tom Morris was when he won the British Open in 1868.
So what is Thompson expecting over the final two rounds here in Kohler, Wis. when only 65 players are left to battle for this year's United States championship?
"I'm not sure," Thompson said. "They might push a few more tees back and tuck some pins. That's what they do on the weekends. Maybe challenge us a little bit more."
Taking off: Fourth-year LPGA Tour member Vicky Hurst got off to a red-hot start on Friday and was -4 through the first three holes after carding an eagle on the par 5 2nd hole and a birdie on No. 3.
"It was a good start," said Hurst. "I was pretty hot right off the bat, and played pretty steady throughout the middle of the round, and then I had a couple bogeys coming in, but overall very happy with my round."
Hurst, who is half Korean, said that the events that unfolded 14 years ago right on the course she's playing on this week inspired her to take up the game.
"Se Ri Pak was one of my idols growing up and she won here," said Hurst. "I think I remember watching her play, and I mean she's one of the main reasons why I started in golf. My parents got me into it because of her. And you know, she's out here this week. I'm not sure how she's playing, but it feels pretty good to be playing well on the course she won at."
Hurst said recent extra work on her putting has been the key to her strong play this week.
"I've been working a little bit out here especially with the speed, so I'm very happy with how my work has paid off," said Hurst. "I'm really just my lag putting has really improved from last week, and going into this weekend is still what I'm going to focus on."
Hurst saw herself in contention for her first major championship back in March when she headed into the final round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship four strokes off the lead and finished T11. She said the experience in Rancho Mirage has helped her feel more comfortable with the heat of competition at a major.
"Playing well at the Kraft especially going into Sunday and playing well, being at the top of a leaderboard at a major, I am feeling a little more comfortable being at the top of a leaderboard," said Hurst. "And going into the weekend, I mean pretty much going to stay with my game plan, not pay too much attention, but just focus on the shots that I have ahead."
Hurst has carded the best scores of her career at a U.S. Open this week, with rounds of 71-70 so far. Playing in her fifth national championship, she hopes to continue her strong play and to take in the sights and sounds from one of golf's biggest events.
"I'm staying pretty steady out there, but I have to pretty much take it all in when I'm walking up 18 and seeing myself at the top of the leaderboard," said Hurst. "It's really cool, especially this being the Women's Open."
Wake up call: Current leader Suzann Pettersen had an 8:28am Central Time tee time for the second round on Friday and said a miscue on setting her alarm clock had her wake up an hour later than she desired.
"I thought it was awfully light in the room when I woke up, at 6:40, an hour late," said Pettersen. "I don't know. I looked at the alarm clock, and I think instead of putting it 5:45, I put it for 6:45. I cut breakfast short and went straight to the green. Can't wait for a shower now."
The late start to the day did not seem to hamper Pettersen's play in the least. She said her shorter pre-round time slot actually helped her keep her mind sharp and gave her less time to over analyze her game before heading out to the course.
"For me breakfast is kind of my most important meal," said Pettersen. "I didn't really have time. I thought it was more important to get stretched and loosened up. Even though it's hot…Sometimes that's a good thing. You don't have time to think about stuff."
Chase is still on: Yani Tseng still has a ways to go if she is going to complete the career grand slam this week at the U.S. Women's Open. But the five-time major winner hasn't played herself out of the tournament just yet.
Tseng fired an even-par 72 in Friday's second round and sits at 2-over heading into the weekend, seven shots behind leader Suzann Pettersen.
"Still not far back," Tseng said. "When you see the scores today, there is so many under par, so tomorrow, I believe on the weekend they're going to be much tougher. But I think this course I still can make lots of birdies out there. Just need to be patient and see tomorrow if I can shoot 4-, 5-under, get back to 2-, 3-under, that would be great."
Bounceback performance: Rolex Rankings No. 2 Stacy Lewis got off to a rough start in this year's U.S. Women's Open, shooting a 5-over 77 to mark her highest score since the first round of the LPGA LOTTE Championship Presented by J Golf back in April. It certainly was an uncharacteristic round for Lewis, who has tallied two wins and nine top-10s already this season.
So with the season that Lewis has been having this year and the tenacity she shows out on the golf course, it seemed no surprise that she recovered on Friday with a 3-under 69 to move to 2-over for the tournament.
"You know, I actually didn't play that bad yesterday," Lewis said. "I just kind of let a few things get to me. My attitude was not very good, and I came out today, I didn't really have anything to lose, and I knew I was playing well. So just a little better attitude."
Lewis said that the short turnaround between her first and second round actually helped her and didn't give her much time to sulk about her poor round. Instead, she focused on the task at hand on Friday and what she needed to shoot on the Blackwolf Run Championship Course to get herself back in the mix.
"I kind of looked at it as chipping away at the lead, so that makes me not focus on the cut," Lewis said. "That's what I did. If I can get to under par tomorrow, I think I'll be in a good spot. I'm happy I came back and played better today."
Emotional ride: Thursday's first round at the U.S. Women's Open didn't go quite the way that Mel Reid hoped as she shot a 7-over 79. But the 2011 European Solheim Cup Team member bounced back well on Friday, posting a 69 to move to 4-over and make the cut in her second U.S. Women's Open championship.
"I played very good," Reid said. "Didn't really do much wrong. I felt like my swing was a little bit better than yesterday. I got a little bit tense yesterday. So just let it happen, played very steady.
While this week's tournament has provided a stiff test for Reid on the course, it's nothing compared to what's been going on in her personal life. The past month and a half has been very tough on Reid, who lost her mom, Joy, in a tragic car accident in Germany during a Ladies European Tour event in late May. Reid took four weeks off from golf after the tragedy but returned with a flourish, winning the Raiffeisenbank Prague Golf Masters in her first competitive tournament back.
Last week, the Reid family held a funeral for Joy which kept Reid's practice time on the golf course to a minimum but for the 24-year-old, her family has understandably taken precedence over her golf game. And Reid said she has been overwhelmed by the support that she's received from the golfing community during her family's time of grief
"It's been superb," Reid said. "From not just the LET, but from the LPGA. You know, past players, and the golfing world is like a big family because you are traveling with pretty much the same people week in and week out.
"I never thought anything like this would happen to me. But I mean, you know, like I said, the support is completely overwhelming and it really has helped. You know, everyone has been coming and giving me hugs. It just means that people care. To be fair, my mom had a big impact on a lot of people because she was kind of an on tour mom. My mom and dad used to come out to quite a lot of events, so they feel like it's a personal loss as well."
Quotable: "I think I gotta go out and take care of my own job and forget about what everybody else is doing. It's not like football where you can tackle somebody; right? It's not like the Green Bay Packers up here." - Cristie Kerr
Everybody's working for the weekend: A total of 65 players made the cut, which fell at 5-over-par 149.
Of Note…Morgan Pressel withdrew during Friday's second round due to a thumb injury. It's the second straight week that Pressel has had to withdraw due to the same injury…Among the notables to miss the cut are 1994 U.S. Women's Amateur champion Wendy Ward, Rolex Rankings No. 10 I.K. Kim, LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame member Juli Inkster…Co-first-round leader Brittany Lincicome followed up her opening round 69 with an 8-over 80 on Friday. Lincicome made the cut but barely, falling right on the cut line of 5-over-par.
THE MODERATOR: Suzann Pettersen is at 5 under par for the Championship and at the top of the leaderboard. That's a good feeling.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Yeah, for sure. 1 under yesterday, 4 under today. It's a very good halfway point so far. I'm very happy with my game. Playing very good. I have a good feel for the greens. I kind of like this course.
THE MODERATOR: How about the weather today. Was it more reasonable for you? Was it little cooler?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Well, it's hot out there for sure. Hopefully we're done with the two hot days, and they're all calling for a cooler weekend. Which I'm all for. It's been two really hot days. And it was very quick turn-around for us. Finishing 8:00 last night on the tee box pretty much 12 hours later.
When you then oversleep, cut breakfast and was out of bed on the putting green in 15 minutes. Just tried to get a few extra minutes.
THE MODERATOR: This afternoon is that going to be a time to put your feet up and rest?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Yes. For sure. First I'm going to watch some highlights from tennis. I was happy to see Federov go through to the Finals. So a few bits and pieces of my game, do a few maintenance stuff. Very easy, and then do nothing but relax this afternoon
THE MODERATOR: You've performed well in the Women's Open. You tied for second in 2010 at Oakmont and tied for sixth in 2009. So this is a championship that you seem to sort of have its number. You play very well here.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I like the U.S. Opens. It's usually the biggest test of golf throughout the year. I like the way the USGA set up the courses. They make it tough. They make it fair. And it's by far one of my favorite championships, just because of that.
But this year there are birdies out there. I probably shouldn't say this, because we come out tomorrow and they'll probably make it impossible. But the course is playable. So just keep sticking to the game plan.
Q. Suzann, did you have some preconceived notions about the course based on the scores of '98, they were quite high? And when you got here were you surprised to see in your practice rounds maybe that there were some birdies out there and you could shoot under par scores here?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: You mean the conditions of the course?
Q. You know, the scoring in 1998 was very high. When you came here -- when you first came here, did you think, oh boy, this is going to be tough? I realize it's still tough, but there are birdies out there. Have your thoughts changed as you went through the week?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I probably shouldn't say what I first thought after seeing this course one time. I was trying to find out what was so hard to this course. Obviously they lengthened it 400 yards since 1998, '99.
But the rough is doable. The greens aren't as firm as what they were back then, from what I've understood, and it's pretty straightforward. Off the tees, it's very -- I mean, it's probably as well as the U.S. Open is going to get. Pretty big greens. If you like putting, you're going to get a lot of good chances out here.
Q. Can you tell us what is working in your game right now? You've had a sort of up-and-down season so far.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: You know, I've been playing really good since the last six weeks. I lost the first round in the match play. We had a little chat about what my game was like, and I wasn't quite happy where it was, and we did a few tweaks, and it's been very good since.
I felt like I played really solid at the Rochester LPGA Championship. Disappointed not to win that, having a chance going into the back 9. But at the same time, my game is very solid. My ball striking is good. My short game is good. And my putting has been really good so far.
THE MODERATOR: When you had those chats, are you speaking about talking with Gary Gilchrist or were you speaking with your teacher?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Well, I don't work with Gary Gilchrist. I worked with Gary for four years.
THE MODERATOR: Leadbetter?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: With David and Sean. I spent a lot of time with the two of them. And it seems I found the formula for me to maintain and keep the game pretty easy. Kind of keep my mind kind of off the hook a little bit.
Q. Can you give us a couple of examples of the tweaks you made?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I mean, it's -- it was more with my long stuff. I felt like my long game was letting me down, and it's usually my bread and butter. I like to have the club react to what I do. And now it is. It's awfully nice to stand over the ball knowing it's going to go where you're hitting it.
Q. You said that you overslept this morning. Did I hear that right?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Yeah, I did. I thought it was awfully light in the room when I woke up, at 6:40, an hour late. I don't know. I looked at the alarm clock, and I think instead of putting it 5:45, I put it for 6:45. I cut breakfast short and went straight to the green. Can't wait for a shower now.
Q. I hope you're staying close by. So you're good friends with Michelle Wie. Obviously she's been struggling of late. Just kind of your thoughts on her game coming into this event and then what your reaction was when you saw that she was --
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I don't know the state of her game. I don't really pay too much attention to other's games. I know she's been struggling this year. But I must say playing behind her I don't think I've ever seen her make as many putts as she did today. She was fist-pumping every putt she looked at.
So she's a great player. Michelle is a very -- awfully talented and has a lot of game. I think you should give her a break. She just graduated, four years in college. That's pretty impressive to do that on the sideline of trying to compete out here.
So now it's obviously a little different world for her. Now it's all about golf, and she has to kind of find her schedule, how to kind of work it out the best way for her.
Q. Just one more follow-up. Were you panicked this morning when you saw the alarm clock? How did that play out?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: For me breakfast is kind of my most important meal. I didn't really have time. I thought it was more important to get stretched and loosened up. Even though it's hot. It's fine. Sometimes that's a good thing. You don't have time to think about stuff.
THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, Michelle Wie shot a 6 under par 66 today which is by three strokes her lowest round ever in the U.S. Women's Open. I counted she had 13 1-putt greens. That must have been one of the best putting rounds you ever had.
MICHELLE WIE: I think so. I felt pretty good today. It was a really good confidence boost for the weekend. I'm just going to build on it.
THE MODERATOR: And Michelle, you started out you birdied the very first hole that you played, and then you had seven birdies on the day. So you were hitting some shots pretty close to the hole, or was it mostly the putting?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, I think that was the main difference from yesterday. Yesterday I had a lot of 40-foot putts, 50-foot putts. Today on the back 9 I had a lot of putts within 15 feet. That really helps on the golf course. It's the difference between lagging them and trying to make them. So I was putting them in good positions today.
THE MODERATOR: I know this is only the second round, but you must be pretty excited about shooting 66, your lowest round ever in the women's open.
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, I'm pretty stoked to be back in contention and honestly not have to worry about the cut line. It feels pretty good. I'm looking forward to a good weekend it feels pretty good.
Q. What have you been working on that you feel like you're being rewarded for?
MICHELLE WIE: Just everything. Nothing really has changed since the beginning of this year. I just kind of kept with the same stuff and I felt like it was coming for the last couple of weeks. It's really nice to see that I kind of put it together today. Nothing really too drastic.
Q. Michelle, I know you struggled with your putting earlier this season. Then you changed putters and have been working with Meg Mallon. Can you talk about the evolution over the course of the season to where it go today?
MICHELLE WIE: I went to the belly putter, the regular putter. I haven't really changed putters since earlier this year. And just been working on my confidence, really. Just -- I know my stroke is good when I look at it on the cameras or any time I put a number on it. It's perfect. So I have to trust it. And know that I'm a good putter. That's what I talked to Meg with a lot, is that I think once everyone was like what is happening with her putting, it kind of got to my head a little bit. I have to trust myself. I know I'm a good putter. I've been a good putter, and I can be.
Q. There's so much talk before this tournament about how tough this course was 14 years ago and some players have said maybe they've changed their -- had to change their philosophy because it's proven to not be as tough. Do you think that's maybe the case, that maybe people can be more aggressive than they thought they could be?
MICHELLE WIE: You know, it's a tricky thing. I think going into this week hearing that it was the highest score to win the U.S. Open, you get scared. But this is a good golf course. I think it's a golf course where you get rewarded if you hit good shots. If you don't, you get kind of screwed.
It's a U.S. Open golf course. It's not a course where you can be overly aggressive. You just have to play smart, and when you get opportunities you kind of have to take it. And par is always a good score on this golf course
THE MODERATOR: At what point in this round did you think this may be something special? I know par is a good score, but when did you think this could be a very special round?
MICHELLE WIE: I didn't really think about it that way. I thought about it shot by shot. I didn't think about the future or the past. I try not to look at the scoreboard so much. I just had fun out there today. Just focused on every shot and tried to hit every shot the best I could.
Q. You just said you didn't look at the scoreboard much. Was there a point where you looked and saw your name on top? And what went through your mind? Because it's been a little bit of time.
MICHELLE WIE: I have to say it felt pretty good to see my name on that leaderboard. I kind of like that spot up there. So it felt really good. It felt really good to see my name up there. I'm really looking forward to starting out tomorrow with my name up there as well.
THE MODERATOR: She asked when did you see your name on the leaderboard?
MICHELLE WIE: I think pretty early on, I think.
THE MODERATOR: Your front 9?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah.
Q. Michelle, I was interested to hear you say that you worked on your confidence. It's different than working on other things physically. How do you work on that? Who helped you work on your confidence?
MICHELLE WIE: I worked quite a bit with Pia and Lynn of Vision54. We worked on a lot of different drills and stuff. And just believing in yourself. Even when you're kind of not playing well. Kind of try to look at the positives and at least bring out one positive, one good thing that you did and keep working on it.
Q. I was just going to ask, was Len (Indiscernible) here during the week at all?
MICHELLE WIE: No, unfortunately. His son James is playing a really important tournament as well, and Andy is coming from China. It was a really busy week, so we couldn't work it out.
Q. Did you feel during your warmup Tuesday or Wednesday that something like this was coming? Were things clicking?
MICHELLE WIE: You know, like I said, the last couple of weeks it started to feel good. Things were coming. My scores weren't showing up as well. But it's a work in progress. Still a long way to go.
Q. Did you seek out Meg Mallon? And why? Did she come over to you and offer some friendly advice?
MICHELLE WIE: She's like my second mother. We live about 20 minutes from each other. So...
THE MODERATOR: In Florida?
MICHELLE WIE: In Florida, yeah.
THE MODERATOR: Jupiter?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah.
Q. You seemed like you were chatting a lot with Brittany out there today. Is that part of the Pia and Lynn strategy? I know they tell the players to focus on other things.
MICHELLE WIE: Brittany and I go a long way back. So I really like playing with her a lot. We're really good friends. It wasn't like I had to try -- it wasn't really a strategy. I like Brittany and Luke and I have a lot of fun playing with them.
THE MODERATOR: You were Curtis Cup teammates, right? Isn't that where you first got to know each other?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah.
THE MODERATOR: Isn't that where you first got to know each other?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah.
Q. Michelle, a lot of people in this room have no idea what it's like to have so much attention like you did at an early age. Have you thought about that and how it's kind of made you who you are today?
MICHELLE WIE: I didn't really think about it too much. I'm really grateful for all the opportunities that I have had and all the accomplishments I did when I was younger. But I can't really live in the past. What I did is what I did, and I'm really looking forward to what I'm going to do tomorrow and Sunday and the future, really.
Q. Michelle, you had a couple of chances to win this championship back in '05 and '06. I'm sure it probably seems a little bit ago. What do you remember from those weeks at Cherry Hills and Newport?
MICHELLE WIE: Just the fans. The whole U.S. Open feeling. The fact that you're in contention to have a chance to win the U.S. Open is a big deal. I'm so grateful I have that chance right now. I'm really looking forward to seeing the crowds tomorrow and experiencing it all again.
Q. Michelle, I heard you mention twice now that you don't have to worry about making the cut. Are you being serious? Or are you just joking? What is your goal coming in?
MICHELLE WIE: My goal coming in was to keep in contention. That was really just a nice side factor, that I don't have to worry about it.
Coming into this week, I didn't really think about, you know, what's it called, winning or anything, from the beginning. You just -- it's a long road to Sunday, and you can't really think about that from Thursday. You have to focus on every shot and hit every shot the best you can. And that's really what I'm really trying to work on, being in the present and not really worrying about the future or the past too much.
THE MODERATOR: All right. You birdied the first hole, No. 10. Can you tell us what club you hit into the greens and about how long the putt was?
MICHELLE WIE: Like a 60-yarder, I think. I hit a little lobby. It bounced in front of the green about 15 feet.
THE MODERATOR: And then you birdied your second hole, No. 11.
MICHELLE WIE: Sand wedge to about 4 feet.
THE MODERATOR: The 14th hole, par-4, you birdied.
MICHELLE WIE: 52 to -- 52 degree to about 9 feet, 10 feet.
THE MODERATOR: And No. 15, par-4.
MICHELLE WIE: Pitching wedge to about 15 feet.
THE MODERATOR: Then going to the front 9, No. 1.
MICHELLE WIE: Pitching wedge to about 12.
THE MODERATOR: And then you bogeyed No. 2. It was your only bogey of the day. How did that happen?
MICHELLE WIE: I hit a great drive. I kind of leaked my 3-hybrid to the right. It was kind of like longer rough. It looked like it wasn't going to go. So I kind of hit a big flop shot, went over the green and did a make-up again.
THE MODERATOR: Then a birdie on No. 4.
MICHELLE WIE: Gab wedge to about 3 feet..
THE MODERATOR: And a birdie on No. 6.
MICHELLE WIE: 6-iron to just off the green, about 35 feet.
THE MODERATOR: You hit a lot of wedges today.
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah.
THE MODERATOR: Various 52 degree, 56 degree, gap wedge, pitching wedge, sand wedge. And I heard you say you hit one 6-iron. How many holes demand more than a wedge from you?
MICHELLE WIE: It depends. With the way they're moving the tee boxes up-and-down, some holes can be really long or some holes they can make it really short. So today I felt like some of the tee boxes were up. And it's firming up. The golf course is definitely firming up.
THE MODERATOR: So your tee shots are bounding a long way as well as carrying a long way.
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah.
Q. Happy at 1-under?
CRISTIE KERR: Is that an actual question?
Q. Happy with your round today?
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, I played really well on the front, and unfortunately I made a double on -- let's see, what hole. 11th hole. I hit it in the water again on 10. I'm going to just aim at the bunker and hit it in the bunker every day or hit 3-wood off the tee. I don't know what the deal is there.
Made double on 11, then I really bounced right back and made an amazing birdie on 12 and then a great birdie on 16.
On 14 and 15 I had putts that I hit exactly the way I wanted to and they didn't go in, kind of a little bit like yesterday. But played really solidly, made a good par putt on 17, and 18 I hit a good putt for birdie, but it didn't break, didn't do anything.
So just a very important round for me. One that said I wanted to keep up that consistency, and I did that today. Even though I had some adversity in the middle of the round, I was able to bounce back from that.
Q. With the moderate numbers out there, what's the setup like today as opposed to yesterday?
CRISTIE KERR: You know, it's just playing kind of tough. Yeah, there were a couple of low rounds, but I think the key to this week is consistency, you know, trying to shoot four rounds under par. And I've done that halfway through the tournament, and I want to keep up that consistency and make a couple of those five, six-footers that have kind of eluded me the last couple of days, so it is great to see low numbers. But I think at the end you gotta look at kind of what your average score is at the Open and count them up at the end of the week.
Q. Always wanting to go on moving day. Also at the same time not try to make those big mistakes that everyone is trying to avoid out here this weekend.
CRISTIE KERR: I think I gotta go out and take care of my own job and forget about what everybody else is doing. It's not like football where you can tackle somebody; right? It's not like the Green Bay Packers up here.
I've just gotta take care of my own job and really execute my course strategy, and you know, it would have been a couple more under if a couple of those putts had gone. But you know, I got over par through the middle of the round and I was able to shoot under par. That's a really huge thing for me. And going into the weekend who knows how they're going to set it up. So you can't really predict.
Q. You made a birdie on 16 coming off the rough and after the two holes previously.
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah. That was huge. To see one of those putts go in, and you know, I told Worth, my caddie, that it was kind of my fault I hit it over to the right because had I hit hybrid good and turned, I would have been right in front of the green and I just wasn't set on that shot and I told him that was my bad there, but I made up for it.
Q. Any advantage to the early tee time this morning as opposed to yesterday?
CRISTIE KERR: I think you're seeing the lower rounds come out of the morning. I can tell you it's not getting any softer hitting into the greens. The greens are really bouncy, and you know, we'll see what afternoon scoring is like, but I was glad I shot under par.
Q. 6900-yard course, but there are still some good numbers coming out. You said you've had a couple of good rounds out there. What's making this course scorable despite the bear of yardage on it?
CRISTIE KERR: I think you're going to see some different pins on the weekend. I think they've been pretty generous with the pins so far, and I can tell you I don't think the USGA is going to like that there were so many low numbers the first couple days. So I think you might see a different course this weekend.
With that being said, 5-under is leading after two days, which is nothing, comparatively. I mean if it was really low scoring, 10 or 11-under would be leading, but it's not. It's an Open. We're very close to par still, and this course will show its teeth this weekend.
Q. With that in mind, you've won an Open before already in the past, so do you feel like you have an advantage over some of the younger players that maybe have not been in that position to see what an Open course can do on a Saturday or Sunday?
CRISTIE KERR: I always draw on that experience, of course, but it's hard to predict what's an advantage and what's not an advantage. You just don't know. Sometimes it's an advantage to not know that you can go out and win. You've seen that before. That's what happened with Webb Simpson at the Men's Open this year. So it's really hard to predict that. If I'm staring down somebody on Sunday at the 18th hole, I think that experience really helps. Thank you guys.
Q. Can you talk about your start on the round? You got off to a pretty hot start with an eagle on 2.
VICKY HURST: Yeah. No. 2 I think it was I hit it into I was about 250 yards out, put it to like 14 feet and made it for eagle. It was a good start. Followed up with a birdie as well, and I was pretty hot right off the bat, and played pretty steady throughout the middle of the round, and then I had a couple bogeys coming in, but overall very happy with my round.
Q. Do you know how many putts you had today?
VICKY HURST: I have no idea. I have to go back and check.
Q. I understand you've kind of been working on your putting? Can you talk about what you've been doing with your stroke?
VICKY HURST: Yeah, I've been working a little bit out here especially with the speed, so I'm very happy with how my work has paid off, and I'm really just my lag putting has really improved from last week, and going into this weekend is still what I'm going to focus on.
Q. You're very close to the lead. What does that do to your mindset for the weekend?
VICKY HURST: I'm going to stay with the same game plan, same mindset. Very steady. I've been hitting the ball great, chipping and putting it really well. So my game plan isn't going to change. It's going to pretty much stay the same and stay aggressive going into the weekend.
Q. Is that normally your M.O., to be aggressive if you can be?
VICKY HURST: Yeah. When I'm playing well, when I'm hitting it well, stay aggressive and not play too conservative just because I'm close to the lead. I mean it's the Open, so go out there and give it all I have.
Q. Do you try to use your length to your advantage here?
VICKY HURST: Yeah. It's a long course. They've shortened up a couple of tees but it's still a long course and taking advantage of having a driver in my hands.
Q. I'm not sure many people know about your story. Can you talk about growing up as the daughter of a Korean mom who loved to play golf, and this being the tournament where Se Ri Pak kind of opened the doors for that, for the Korean players, what's it like playing here and growing up with that background?
VICKY HURST: Well, you're very right. You're very true. Se Ri Pak was one of my idols growing up and she won here and I think I remember watching her play, and I mean she's one of the main reasons why I started in golf, and my parents got me into it because of her. And you know, she's out here this week. I'm not sure how she's playing, but it feels pretty good to be playing well on the course she won at.
Q. Is it true that your mother was playing golf when her water broke to give birth to you?
VICKY HURST: Yeah.
Q. Can you talk about that story a little bit or what you've heard about that story?
VICKY HURST: Well, (laughs) I was there. Let's see. Yeah, she was playing in and ruse Air Force base and her water broke on the 16th hole. And I was born a couple of hours later.
Q. Born into golf.
VICKY HURST: Yeah. I guess.
Q. Do you feel more prepared after you spent a lot of time at the top of the leaderboard at the Kraft?
VICKY HURST: Yeah, it has. Playing well at the Kraft especially going into Sunday and playing well, being at the top of a leaderboard at a major, I am feeling a little more comfortable being at the top of a leaderboard, and going into the weekend, I mean pretty much going to stay with my game plan, not pay too much attention, but just focus on the shots that I have ahead.
Q. Does a 66 surprise you out there today? I think that's what Michelle Wie finished with.
VICKY HURST: No. It doesn't surprise me. It's a great score out here. I think it's probably going to be one of the best out here today. The greens were pretty receptive. The course was playing tough, but I think with these great players out here playing, it doesn't surprise me.
Q. Just what are your thoughts, it's such an international game now over the last ten years. Does that make it so much tougher to be at the top of the leaderboard with so much talent from so many different countries after two days do you see it's becoming more and more difficult every year?
VICKY HURST: Yeah. We've got so many great players out here from all over the world and to be at the top of the leaderboard of any tournament on this tour is tough, so I'm very happy with how I played and I'm very positive going into the weekend.
Q. Again, being at the top of a leaderboard at a major and say, whoa, or are you just kind of keeping your even keel that it seems like you have?
VICKY HURST: I'm staying pretty steady out there, but I have to pretty much take it all in when I'm walking up 18 and seeing myself at the top of the leaderboard. It's really cool, especially this being the Women's Open.
Q. The course a lot of people made a big deal out of the 6900 yards being 500 yards longer than last time you came through. Is it playing every bit of that 6900 yards and what's it like hitting those longer clubs into the par-4s?
VICKY HURST: Yeah. It is very long, and this is probably one of the longest courses we're going to play all year. It's a tough track, but it's such a good course that if you're playing well, you know, it's going to show and there's a 66 out there today, and I played pretty well as well, and finished at 2-under.
Q. Thanks so much for coming up here, Lexi. Can you walk us through your round, tell us what happened today?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, it was sort of an up-and-down day. I had two doubles and a few bogeys, but I bounced back and made a few birdies. But overall it was an all right day, but sort of a roller coaster.
Q. Can you talk about 18?
LEXI THOMPSON: 18, I hit a good drive, and then I just pulled my iron shot. I was aiming towards the middle of the green and just pulled it pretty bad. Then didn't end up getting up and down, but I hit a good putt and made double.
Q. How about the 9th hole?
LEXI THOMPSON: 9 hole, I just came out of my second shot and ended up 3-putting. It was a little slower and ended up 3-putting.
Q. You're really the only player in the afternoon to put on a score. Were you aware of that?
LEXI THOMPSON: I didn't really pay attention to it. I was just going out with the same attitude no matter what they shot. I was trying to make birdies and pars and ended up making a few bad scores, but it happens at Opens.
Q. I don't know if you saw Michelle Wie shot 66. Did you think there was a 66 on this course?
LEXI THOMPSON: It's out there. As long as you just find the fairways and place your ball in the right spot on the greens. It's definitely out there. But you have to have your pretty much A-plus game.
Q. How was the course playing differently from today to yesterday?
LEXI THOMPSON: Today for me it was a lot longer of a day teeing off at 2:09. But there wasn't much wind either days, maybe a few harder pin placements, but overall played pretty similar.
Q. Are you expecting the USGA to make it a lot more difficult on the weekend? What do you anticipate?
LEXI THOMPSON: I'm not sure. They might push a few more tees back and tuck some pins. That's what they do on the weekends. Maybe challenge us a little bit more.
Q. Hi, Yani. Take us through your round today.
YANI TSENG: I played very well for like 12 holes, and then after that I kind of made some 3-putts, and didn't hit my irons well and just dropped like three bogeys on the Back 9. Just otherwise could have finished much better today.
But there is something I always can improve. I even feel yesterday I played better. Only two bad holes, but today it could be much better, but still two more days to go, and I wish to make some more birdies.
Q. You said yesterday you felt like you played really well. You just didn't score well?
YANI TSENG: Yeah.
Q. And today you seemed to score a little better, but didn't play well.
YANI TSENG: Yeah, I didn't play quite well on the back nine.
Q. So 2-over heading into the weekend, how do you kind of look at yourself where you stand?
YANI TSENG: Still not far back. When you see the score today, there is so many under par, so tomorrow, I believe on the weekend they're going to be much tougher. But I think this course I still can make lots of birdies out there. Just need to be patient and see tomorrow if I can shoot 4-, 5-under, get back to 2-, 3-under, that would be great.
Q. Talk about the difficulty of the golf course and playing it for the second time in competition. Do you learn something each time you play?
YANI TSENG: Yeah, just found out the course is not as hard as we thought. The fairways quite firm and the ball rolls a lot. So we don't hit many like long irons today. So it was easier than I expect, but maybe -- I don't know. There always can make some more birdies out there.
Q. Did the heat feel any different today than yesterday?
YANI TSENG: I feel much better than yesterday, but tomorrow is going to be good, so I'm excited about that.
Q. Tell me what the difference was.
STACY LEWIS: You know, I actually didn't play that bad yesterday. I just kind of let a few things get to me. My attitude was not very good, and I came out today, I didn't really have anything to lose, and I knew I was playing well. So just a little better attitude.
Q. Is there a little bit feeling of pressure of maybe trying to get a few birdies early, just make sure you get yourself under par for the day and get sort of building toward I gotta make the cut if I want to win; right?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I knew I needed to shoot a couple under just to make the cut, but I kind of looked at it as chipping away at the lead, so that makes me not focus on the cut. That's what I did. If I can get to under par tomorrow, I think I'll be in a good spot. I'm happy I came back and played better today.
Q. How big was the birdie at 2 after bogey one?
STACY LEWIS: Oh, it was huge. I hit a bad second shot, bad chip shot that putt and I was like here we go again. And birdie at 2, bounced back right away, made a really good putt, and that really kind of calmed me down, and from there I didn't really hit a bad shot from there in.
Q. How far was the putt?
STACY LEWIS: About eight feet.
Q. The kind you need to make?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I mean a par 5 you hit a wedge in there pretty close, you have to make it, here at a U. S. Open you have to make it.
Q. Did you work on anything yesterday or do anything after your round? I know it was so late in the day?
STACY LEWIS: Honestly I got done with the round and I told my coach, I said I don't know what I would work on. I made a couple -- one bad swing on 6, and really, shooting a couple over is not really a bad score out there. So I didn't really know what I needed to work on, so I didn't really do anything. We also finished at 8:00. So less than 12 hours to my tee time.
Q. In some ways is that not better because then you're not stewing on it, too?
STACY LEWIS: Absolutely. I was glad I didn't play in the morning, and I had all day yesterday to think about it and then this morning to think about it, so it was good that I was able to get into a rhythm early this morning.
Q. Talk about your round. That was one of the better rounds of the day.
MELISSA REID: Yeah, I played very good. Didn't really do much wrong. I felt like my swing was a little bit better than yesterday. I got a little bit tense yesterday. So just let it happen, played very steady. I think I missed three greens all day.
Q. How hard was it to recover just from the heat from the afternoon and turn around and get it going this morning?
MELISSA REID: It was okay. I think that's why we go to the gym, for that very reason we do get in positions like this sometimes and you get the other extreme when it's raining and you obviously get very tired. So that's why we do the gym work. That's why we try and keep ourselves fit.
Yeah, it was actually quite nice, I think, playing late than early, so you get everything done and kind of keep the momentum going.
Q. How much would it mean to you you'll be right above the cut. How much does it mean for you to make the field for the weekend?
MELISSA REID: Obviously you want to play on the weekend. After my round yesterday, obviously it would mean a lot. I kind of took myself completely out of the tournament yesterday, but a good round today has definitely given me a chance to -- you know, you never know, I could be 169. And have a good finish. We just gotta see what the scores are like this afternoon, and hopefully I'll make the cut.
Q. My condolences for your loss. I saw somewhere where you said it was almost cathartic to get back out there, especially after Prague when you won and now here.
MELISSA REID: Yeah. I mean it was quite tough. I had four weeks off of tournament play. Obviously Prague was quite nice. It was definitely my best win I've had so far, and you know, we had the funeral last week, so my preparations for this week have not been as good as I would have liked, but obviously family is priority. Golf is very far down the pecking order in that sense.
Yeah, it's nice to start playing well again, and yeah, it's not as easy as I thought.
Q. I know it's hard for any athlete to have to mourn because you're such a public figure. But you apparently received a lot of support from your --
MELISSA REID: Oh, it's been superb. From not just the LET, but from the LPGA. You know, past players, and the golfing world is like a big family because you are traveling with pretty much the same people week in and week out. So to have the support, yeah, just basically support I've had from everyone is really touching and it really did touch the family, and it really does mean a lot, and it's definitely helped the whole family to get through such a horrific time really.
Q. Is it at all surprising, I know you said it's a family, but to have that much support from everyone pouring in and offering to take the time?
MELISSA REID: Oh, of course it is. It's completely overwhelming. I mean I never expected it. I mean I never thought anything like this would happen to me. But I mean, you know, like I said, the support is completely overwhelming and it really has helped. You know, everyone has been coming and giving me hugs. It just means that people care. You know, to be fair, my mom had a big impact on a lot of people because she was kind of an on tour mom. My mom and dad used to come out to quite a lot of events, so they feel like it's a personal loss as well.
Q. Is she a golf mom?
MELISSA REID: I wouldn't say a golf mom. Actually, I'm very lucky. I have very supportive parents that never pushed me. They kept me in the lines, but they never -- you know, they guided me, I would say. They always let me do whatever I wanted and allowed me to make mistakes. They're certainly not one of these pushy parents. They're very laid back and I'm very grateful for what they've done.
Q. Did they get you into golf or how did you get into golf?
MELISSA REID: Yeah, they got me into golf. I used to play football or soccer as you guys call it. Football. I used to play football, and couldn't play with the boys anymore and didn't particularly enjoy it with the girls. I mean I did all sports as a kid, but I took up golf at about 11 years old, from 11 years old, and my mom and dad played, but not to a high level. Yeah, I guess I just picked it up from that and just went from there really.
Q. All the mental stuff you go through on the course and sometimes you're alone in your thoughts, does that sometimes make it more difficult or easier?
MELISSA REID: To be fair, I've always let my mind wander sometimes, which has not always been good. But actually now my mind's obviously -- I'm thinking about my mom quite a lot, and it's actually making me fight a little bit more than probably what I would normally. And I've always been a bit of a fighter, but I have a little bit more determination now since obviously I want to do it for her, and I want her to be proud of me every single day.
So it's kind of, you know, not taking things for granted, and yeah, like I said, I'm just trying to be a fighter.
Q. What was it like to have her on tour with you all that time?
MELISSA REID: It was great, because you know, they had some great times as well.