Jamie Farr Toledo Classic Third-Round Notes and Interviews

Jamie Farr Toledo Classic Presented by Kroger, Owens-Corning and O-I
Highland Meadows Golf Club
Sylvania, Ohio
August 11, 2012
Third-Round Notes and Interviews

I.K. Kim -11, Rolex Rankings No. 10
Jiyai Shin -11, Rolex Rankings No. 11
So Yeon Ryu -11, Rolex Rankings No. 22
Hee Kyung Seo -11, Rolex Rankings No. 32

  

Tomorrow will prove to be a fight to the finish as four players are tied atop the leaderboard after the third round of the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic Presented by Kroger, Owens Corning and O-I. A star-studded group of Jiyai Shin, I.K. Kim, So Yeon Ryu, and Hee Kyung Seo all share the lead at 11-under-par.

Rolex Rankings No. 10 I.K. Kim has good memories of Highland Meadows Golf Club as she lost in a playoff at the 2010 Jamie Farr Toledo Classic to Na Yeon Choi. With the golf course experiencing significant rain overnight, Kim had to adjust to the soft conditions on Saturday.

“I had a good day,” said Kim. “I think overnight it rained a lot so the course was definitely playing more soft.  The greens were rolling a little slower than yesterday because of the rain. Sometimes it's really hard to adapt to that right away, but I think I did that pretty well today.  That was the key with the putting. Yeah, just feel good.  I think my game is getting better.”

Rolex Rankings No. 11 Shin only missed three greens and carded a bogey free round on Saturday which she credited her iron game for the impressive round.

“Well, today was another wet day, so I just tried to keep focused, do not make the bogey,” said Shin. “I made five birdies today.  My shot was getting better than yesterday.  So I play much easier today.”

Rolex Rankings No. 22 Ryu has had the flat stick rolling this week as she needed no more than 30 putts per round during the past three rounds. Despite starting out with a bogey today, Ryu rebounded with five birdies to shoot a 4-under-par 67.

“I think today is really good patience out there,” said Ryu. “The front nine my putt wasn't great, but after finish the front nine, actually the back nine part was really great, so I really happy with that.”

Rolex Rankings No. 32 Seo started her round with a bogey but recovered with two consecutive birides on eight and nine. She then faltered with back-to-back bogeys on 11 and 12 but quickly recovered with an eagle at the par-4 13th. Seo then went on to birdie 15 and 17 to finish the day with a 3-under-par 68.

“The shot was better than yesterday, so I can see through it to the target,” said Seo. “I made lots of good putts.  Obviously I started with bogey, but I tried to be patient. At the back nine I had two bogeys.  I could not concentrate at that hole.  I don't know why.  I was just trying to keep positive thinkings, bring energy up.  I got great bounce‑back on next hole with eagle.”

 

A Revaluation… I.K. Kim has become well known in the recent months for her classy demeanor and contagious smile but it is what she has recently had to endure that has proved she is a fighter. After missing a seemingly tap-in putt to win the Kraft Nabisco Championship, Kim suffered an injury which left her sidelined from several tournaments.

“I had a little injury after Kraft,” said Kim. “I think that's coming from overworking, all the different things.  I feel much better now.  I think I pushed myself a little too hard in the summer, all the scheduling and things that I made a little bit of mistake, I would have to say.  I'll do that better next time when I'm in that position.”

During the break from the LPGA Tour, the 24-year-old revaluated if playing golf was really the right career path for her.   

“I think it's a learning process,” said Kim. “Whatever I'm doing, it's working.  I just need to keep doing.  But I'm 24.  There's things I want to do.  Life is so much full of fun stuff.  Sometimes I look back, Is this really what I wanted to do?”

The time off made Kim quickly realize the LPGA Tour is exactly where she belongs. Kim not only relishes the opportunity to not only compete on the LPGA but she also feels fortunate to have people surround her who have her best interest at heart.

“I'm really fortunate and I feel lucky to have this opportunity at my age, to be able to travel and meet people, yeah, so that's where I'm at,” said Kim. “I just need to keep working hard with golf 'cause nothing comes easy.  That's what I'm learning.  Yeah, having good people around me, I think that's number one most important thing in everyone's life.”

 

Cool Under Pressure… The past couple years, Jiyai Shin’s time on the LPGA Tour has been plagued by injuries. This year alone, Shin has only played in 10 of the 16 tournaments but this week is proving to be a bit different for the South Korean.

“Well, it's not hundred percent, but I think it's good enough,” said Shin of her recent health issues. “I really happy to come back to play this tournament because we missed it last year.  Also last couple months I didn't play so much.  I'm missing play on the Tour, and competition with other players. It's just like I'm on the way.  I have a little bit of pressure on myself.  But I miss it so much, it feels good.”

Shin finds herself tied for the lead heading into tomorrow’s final round. While Shin already has five LPGA Tour victories under her belt, she still admits to feeling some pressure to earn her sixth win.

“If we have a chance, we have a lot of pressure from the people, from myself,” said Shin. “But the good players, they're enjoying with the pressure on the tour.”

 

Secret Weapon… Last year’s U.S. Women’s Open champion, So Yeon Ryu is in search of her first official LPGA Tour win as a member as this week’s Jamie Farr Toledo Classic Presented by Kroger, Owens Corning and O-I. Ryu has added a secret weapon to her bag this week and that is the putter she used to win last year’s U.S. Women’s Open.

“It feels like if I see my putter, just feels like I can make the putt,” said Ryu. “I think the confidence really important at the putting, so that's why this week my putting's really great. And I think the green is really soft now, so it's really easy to make the birdie chance.  Everybody same condition.  I think everybody really know about this golf course.  So I think putt is really important key, yeah.”

The new putter seems to be working as Ryu had 29 putts on Thursday and 27 putts the past two rounds.

“Last few tournaments I pretty struggling with my putting, but now it's really great,” said Ryu. “I hope tomorrow my putt working really great again.” 

 

Dream Chaser… It has always been a lifelong dream of Hee Kyung Seo to win on the LPGA Tour as an official member, and tomorrow might just be the day. Seo already has one LPGA Tour victory under her belt but that came at the 2010 Kia Classic prior to becoming an official member.

“That's the first goal for me, to win an LPGA by a member,” said Seo. “So I'll just chase my dreams.”

Currently tied atop the leaderboard with three of her fellow South Koreans, Seo’s game plan for tomorrow’s final round is to concentrate on every moment.

“I'll just keep doing my thing,” said Seo. “I will try to just take my time every shot, try to not make such a mistake like today, two holes.  I will try to just concentrate every moment.”

 

I.K. Kim, Rolex Rankings No. 10 

THE MODERATOR:  I'd like to welcome I.K. Kim to the interview room.  Thanks for coming in.  Good round today.  Could you start out by telling me what you did well.
I.K. KIM:  I had a good day.  I think overnight it rained a lot so the course was definitely playing more soft.  The greens were rolling a little slower than yesterday because of the rain.

            Sometimes it's really hard to adapt to that right away, but I think I did that pretty well today.  That was the key with the putting.

            Yeah, just feel good.  I think my game is getting better.  Yeah, try to learn something every day.            

THE MODERATOR:  I know you lost in a playoff here in 2011.  Does it feel good to be back in Toledo?
I.K. KIM:  Definitely, it feels great.  This is one of my favorite tournaments.  I came here on my rookie year.  Yeah, I really missed it last year.  It's always nice to see all my friends out here.  They knew me since I was 18.

            Yeah, I love the atmosphere and the fans are great, so...            

THE MODERATOR:  I know you have one more day, but you haven't won since 2010.  How would it feel to get another victory?
I.K. KIM:  You know, I'm having this opportunity, so it's great.  Everybody works really hard.  I've been working really hard with my game.  I'm already happy seeing the progress.  Tomorrow I'm just going to keep having fun.  You know, I have to play my own game.

            Definitely there's a lot of good players on the top of the leaderboard.  I think it will be a great Sunday.  

Q.  You've taken it down a little lower each day.  What have you picked up along the way that's helped?  Do you think that will carry into tomorrow?
I.K. KIM:  Well, I think I'm in a great place, not only on the golf course.  I'm happy on and off the golf course.  I think that's really important.

            There's times you get tired of practicing, all that.  But I feel much more refreshing on the golf course.  I think that's why I'm learning every day, picking up a little bit.  Little mistakes, you will make mistakes, but you have to learn from it.  I think I did that pretty well.

            Try to keep having fun and also playing well.  I think that will be the key tomorrow, be open‑minded, appreciate everything.

Q.  You have five South Koreans filling the top five spots here.  Who worries you the most?  Who is the best player of those five?
I.K. KIM:  Wow.  Every week is different, I'll have to say (laughter).  Everybody works so hard, not only the Korean players, but there's a lot of good players out there.

            I think it will be really exciting Sunday.  There are players that I grew up with.  I know them personally and I know their family issues and all that (laughter).  So even though we're playing in the U.S., having them around, I feel much more like home.  That's the success that comes, that really helps playing out here.  Yeah, so they're doing really well.

            I think they all like this golf course, by the way.

Q.  (No microphone.)
I.K. KIM:  You got to hit pretty straight.  You have to be consistent.  I think all the Korean players are pretty consistent with the ball‑striking.  This golf course, you have some opportunities.

            There's a few holes you have to be a little more conservative.  But there's par 5s.  Some are reachable, which I'm not.  I have my wedge in my hand, so I'm pretty happy with that.

            You know, all those things, you have to do the right thing and don't be too frustrated by the little things, then you'll have a good day out here.  So that's what I've learned.

Q.  (No microphone.)
I.K. KIM:  I just talked to my caddie, Oh, today we're definitely in Toledo, we're back in Toledo.  It was windy, kind of hazy.  It feels right.

            The first couple days when we had the practice round, it just played totally different.  It was dry and hot and humid.

            Yeah, we were playing the (indiscernible) the last few days.  Felt a little soft.  We got the mud and stuff.  You just got to be flexible with the weather out here.

            I don't really plan out what I'm going to do tomorrow.  I'm just going to get up in the morning, see the window, what it's like, and you have to adapt to it, play good as you can, yeah.

Q.  Coming in you had two missed cuts and a 24th at the Evian.  You said your attitude is good right now.  Any one thing that's changed or just an overall good feeling going on right now?
I.K. KIM:  Good question. I don't know.  I had a little injury after Kraft.  I think that's coming from overworking, all the different things.  I feel much better now.  I think I pushed myself a little too hard in the summer, all the scheduling and things that I made a little bit of mistake, I would have to say.  I'll do that better next time when I'm in that position.

            But definitely I feel much fresh.  I think it's a learning process.  Whatever I'm doing, it's working.  I just need to keep doing.  But I'm 24.  There's things I want to do.  Life is so much full of fun stuff.  Sometimes I look back, Is this really what I wanted to do?

            But if I didn't play golf, and I'm really fortunate and I feel lucky to have this opportunity at my age, to be able to travel and meet people, yeah, so that's where I'm at.

            I just need to keep working hard with golf 'cause nothing comes easy.  That's what I'm learning.  Yeah, having good people around me, I think that's number one most important thing in everyone's life.

Q.  You became pretty well‑known for that missed putt at the Kraft but better known for how you handled it after.  Can you talk a little bit about that.
I.K. KIM:  Well, I don't know.  I have had this interview before.  But definitely I think there's always reason for something.  You know, I had so much fun playing Kraft.  I will have another opportunity next year, if I'm able, if I want to.

            Yeah, I learned a lot from the Kraft.  I learn how many people really care about me.  It's very nice to have good people around me so I focus on the right things and pick out positive stuff.  So that's what I learn, yeah.

            But I definitely wish it went in, but what can I do.  You know, I'm here today.  Nothing happened.  You know, just experience, I guess.

  

Jiyai Shin, Rolex Rankings No. 11

THE MODERATOR:  I'd like to welcome Jiyai Shin to the interview room.  Can you start out by telling me what went well for you today.
JIYAI SHIN:  Well, today was another wet day, so I just tried to keep focused, do not make the bogey.  I made five birdies today.  My shot was getting better than yesterday.  So I play much easier today.            

THE MODERATOR:  I know you've had some health problems in the past few years.  How are you feeling now?
JIYAI SHIN:  Well, it's not hundred percent, but I think it's good enough.  I really happy to come back to play this tournament because we missed it last year.  Also last couple months I didn't play so much.  I'm missing play on the Tour, and competition with other players.

            It's just like I'm on the way.  I have a little bit of pressure on myself.  But I miss it so much, it feels good.            

THE MODERATOR:  Do you think you always apply a lot of pressure to yourself?
JIYAI SHIN:  Of course, because lot of players are dreaming for the win.  If we have a chance, we have a lot of pressure from the people, from myself, so...  But the good players, they're enjoying with the pressure on the tour.            

THE MODERATOR:  What would it mean for you to walk away with a win tomorrow?
JIYAI SHIN:  Today I just focus on my game, my swing tempo.  I just keep doing like this tomorrow, too.  It was work today, so hopefully it work tomorrow, too.

Q.  With so many Koreans near the top of the leaderboard, do you know a lot about each of them?  Between you, is there a competition?
JIYAI SHIN:  There's a lot of Korean players playing on this Tour.  Also we are very close because we just came over to play in U.S.  We missing, homesick, missing friends and family in Korea.  That make us close to each other.

            At the time, it's very close to the win, so I think it make more good competition because we are good player on the course and good friends out of the course.  It will make it fun to watch for the people tomorrow.

Q.  If we had each of you vote, who would end up being voted the best player of this group?
JIYAI SHIN:  Well, it's pretty tough (laughter).  Doesn't matter because I just focus on my game, so it doesn't matter who play with me.

Q.  You played here three days now.  Do you get an inkling for what might make the difference tomorrow, since everybody is so logjammed at the top?  Who has to do what to win this tournament tomorrow?
JIYAI SHIN:  This course is not too long, but it's pretty much tiny.  Few holes very tiny.  First we need to just keep on the fairway in front of the tee.

            That's why I play so good this week, because my strength is consistent.  I think the Korean players pretty strong with the consistent.  So last two years for this tournament win the Korean players, too.  Lot of Korean players have a chance to win this week.

            Well, I don't know.  I want, because I missed last couple years.  But I know so many good players out there, so I just do my best.  Yeah, just do my best.

  

So Yeon Ryu, Rolex Rankings No. 22 

THE MODERATOR:  I'd like to welcome So Yeon Ryu to the interview room.  Can you talk me through your round today.
SO YEON RYU:  I think today is really good patience out there.  The front nine my putt wasn't great, but after finish the front nine, actually the back nine part was really great, so I really happy with that.

            Last few tournaments I pretty struggling with my putting, but now it's really great.  I hope tomorrow my putt working really great again.            

THE MODERATOR:  You said yesterday you have your putter that you used at the U.S. Open back in your bag.  Talk about that a little bit.
SO YEON RYU:  It feels like if I see my putter, just feels like I can make the putt.  I think the confidence really important at the putting, so that's why this week my putting's really great.

            And I think the green is really soft now, so it's really easy to make the birdie chance.  Everybody same condition.  I think everybody really know about this golf course.  So I think putt is really important key, yeah.

THE MODERATOR:  A win tomorrow would make you the first rookie to win this year.  What would that mean to you?
SO YEON RYU:  Actually, after U.S. Women's Open I don't have any win.  I really waiting my next winning.  I want to make win tomorrow, yeah. 

Q.  The Koreans are all very close off the course.  When you talk, do you think, This would be fun if all of us decided this tournament?  Do you ever talk about something like that?
SO YEON RYU:  Actually, lots of Koreans playing the LPGA Tour.  I think pretty help each other.  If some Koreans have a winning chance, everybody waiting on the 18th green, everybody concongrat to the winner.  So I think our relationship is pretty great.

Q.  If you look at the four players tied at 11‑under, there's not a score higher than 69 or lower than 66.  I heard the word 'consistency' over and over.  Is that really what separates you and your fellow Korean players, just playing consistent?
SO YEON RYU:  I think, yeah, pretty well.  But sometimes someone is crazy and hit a low score, a 61, 62, like that.  Truly Paula hit 61 at this golf course, so maybe tomorrow some players have a chance.  I hope it's me (laughter).

 

Q.  We know Se Ri was a big influence.  Can you put a finger on what makes the Korean women so strong in golf at this point, other than just being consistent?  From a young age, how do you get going so early?
SO YEON RYU:  It's really tough question.

            Uhm, I think first the Korean practice a lot.  After Se Ri win the U.S. Women's Open, Se Ri explain how she could success at the LPGA Tour, she said she practice so much.

            Actually the practice environment here in the LPGA is really great.  In Korea, the practice environment, it's a little not great, it's a little bad.  If we move to America, we can practice a lot.  The environment is really great.

            The driving range is actually not real grass, it's a plastic grass, something like that.  So it feels like a little different.  But here in America, everything is same condition as golf course.  I think that's why Koreans getting improved.

 

Q.  Do you find yourself playing conservative more not to make mistakes?  If so, is Sunday a day where you just have to let that go and go for it if you want to win?  What is your perspective on conservative versus taking a chance?
SO YEON RYU:  I think patience is most important thing.  If sometimes I really want to make a win, I tend to concentration my game.  I just thinking about the winning compared to some other players.  So I think just keep patience and just thinking about my game, not other player's game, don't compare to other players, just thinking about my game.  I think that's a really important key, yeah.

  

Hee Kyung Seo, Rolex Rankings No. 32 

THE MODERATOR:  I'd like to welcome Hee Kyung Seo into the interview room.  Take me through your round today, what you did well.
HEE KYUNG SEO:  The shot was better than yesterday, so I can see through it to the target.  I made lots of good putts.  Obviously I started with bogey, but I tried to be patient.

            At the back nine I had two bogeys.  I could not concentrate at that hole.  I don't know why.  I was just trying to keep positive thinkings, bring energy up.  I got great bounce‑back on next hole with eagle.

            So I really like it, yeah.            

THE MODERATOR:  Going back to last year, you won the Louise Suggs Rookie of the Year award.  You had a memorable remark from the speech, telling everyone you were in the rearview mirror.
HEE KYUNG SEO:  I wanted to add a little bit of humor.  Somebody was help me because, yeah, I couldn't do that by myself.  It was a little hard for me.  I really practice hard to memory that words.

            Yeah, I think everyone wants to be No. 1, so I just mentioned that, that I'll be the No. 1 very soon.  

Q.  What did you say?
HEE KYUNG SEO:  I said that when I came to that awards, I said that in the car mirror, the object is closer than they appear.

Q.  Everybody wants to be No. 1 right now.  Right now there's four No. 1's.  There's nothing higher than a 69, lower than a 66.  What is it going to take tomorrow for one of you to separate yourselves from the others?
HEE KYUNG SEO:  I think it's very important to keep the fairway.  It's little soft now.  The tee shot is very important.

            One more thing is, on the greens, we have to say that we have a chance, we have to make it to get a win.

Q.  Do you feel you'll maybe try a few things tomorrow that ordinarily you wouldn't; take a few chances instead of being conservative?
HEE KYUNG SEO:  No.  I'll just keep doing my thing.  I will try to just take my time every shot, try to not make such a mistake like today, two holes.  I will try to just concentrate every moment.            

THE MODERATOR:  I know you won once on the LPGA already prior to becoming a member.  A win tomorrow would make you a Rolex first‑time winner.  What would that mean to you?
HEE KYUNG SEO:  That's the first goal for me, to win an LPGA by a member.  So I'll just chase my dreams.

Topics: Marathon Classic, Kim, I K, Ryu, So Yeon, Shin, Jiyai, Seo, Hee Kyung, Notes and Interviews [+]

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