Kingsmill Resort, The River Course
September 6, 2012
First-Round Notes and Interviews
Jiyai Shin, -9, Rolex Rankings No. 13
Maria Hjorth, -6, Rolex Rankings No. 40
Paula Creamer, -6, Rolex Rankings No. 18
Azahara Munoz, -6, Rolex Rankings No. 16
Beatriz Recari, -6, Rolex Rankings No. 70
Christina Kim, -5, Rolex Rankings No. 179
Darkness forced the suspension of first-round play at the Kingsmill Championship at 7:26 p.m. on Thursday. A total of 33 players will return to the River Course at the Kingsmill Resort at 7:10 a.m. on Friday to complete their first round
Former Rolex Rankings No. 1 Jiyai Shin looked to be in top form on Thursday, firing a career-low 62 to take the lead at the suspended Kingsmill Championship. Shin’s 9-under-par 62 set the tournament 18-hole record on the River Course at the Kingsmill Resort and gave her a two-shot lead over Dewi Claire Schreefel, who still had two holes remaining in her round when play was called due to darkness.
Among the other players chasing Shin are 2010 U.S. Women’s Open champion Paula Creamer and 2012 Sybase Match Play Championship winner Azahara Munoz, who are among a group of four players that finished at 6-under-par.
The impressive round by Shin, who is now ranked No. 13 in the Rolex Rankings, was interrupted after 12 holes by a 1-hour, 56-minute rain delay. Thunderstorms descended upon the Kingsmill Resort around noon ET, causing the disruption in play. The prolonged break didn’t seem to hamper Shin, who returned from the delay with a flourish by chipping in from 20 yards for birdie on the par-4 fourth hole.
“When I leave [the course for the delay], I'm really worried,” said Shin, who teed off on No. 10 on Thursday. “I thought, ‘Okay, I left the hard chip shot, how can I practice?’ In my memory, in my mind was all about the chip shot, it was really hard. Then after rest, a little bit of practice for chipping, and when I back to there I chipped it in. So it was so lucky for the delay today.”Shin certainly benefited from more than just luck, shooting 30 on her first nine holes and tallying nine birdies in her bogey-free round. In addition to marking a new career low for Shin, the 9-under-par round also tied the lowest round shot on the LPGA Tour this season. It had been done twice previously in 2012:
62 (-9) So Yeon Ryu, Jamie Farr Toledo Classic, 4th round Par 71
63 (-9) Stacy Lewis, Evian Masters Presented by Société Générale, 1st round Par 72
Return to the winner’s circle? It has been nearly two years since Jiyai Shin last won on the LPGA Tour. That victory came at the 2010 Mizuno Classic in Japan. Shin has had her share of opportunities in contention since that victory, but she has been slowed down by injuries including surgery on her left wrist this past May which sidelined her for two months.
Shin said that before her surgery this year, she was playing through pain and didn’t have much time to practice. Her time off following the procedure actually ended up being a good thing for Shin, who acknowledged that she had begun to press in order to return to the winner’s circle.
“It was good rest for me and then make me refreshed in my mind so when I come back, I really happy to play golf because I really waiting,” Shin said. “I know finally I get the feeling how I like to play on the Tour, so now I really enjoy on the Tour and maybe it help for the scores too.”
After besting her previous low round of the season (66) by four shots on Thursday, Shin certainly felt good about the state of her golf game. But she’s determined not to let the problems she had in 2011 when she put a lot of pressure on herself to get a win creep in again after capturing the first-round lead.
“Last year I think was I really want to win, I really want to win, so I thought last year I was pushing myself too hard, make more tired by myself,” Shin said. “Now this year changed in my mind a little bit and more enjoy, and like I told you, I really happy to play now. I just, I really like the competition with other players.”
Glad You Came: Azahara Munoz was still a senior at Arizona State University the last time that the Kingsmill Resort hosted the LPGA Tour. Yet the 2010 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year winner had heard plenty about the golf course from her fellow players. The praise was so strong in fact that it caused Munoz to alter her tournament schedule.
“At the beginning of the season I was maybe thinking about skipping this tournament just to have two weeks off at home and go straight to the British,” Munoz said. “And I think I said that to Sophie Gustafson and she said, ‘No, you have to go to Kingsmill, it's so amazing there.’ So I guess I changed my plans and I'm happy I did and it's great. The golf course is one of the best we play all year. Fans are really good, all volunteers, and so far everything has been great.”
Munoz’s play was also great in Thursday’s first round, as she opened up the tournament with a 6-under 65. She had seven birdies and one bogey en route to finishing the first day in a T2. So while this is only her first event on the River Course here at Kingsmill, Munoz already appears to have taken a liking to it.
“Everything was working well,” said Munoz of her game in the opening round. “I hit a lot of fairways, I was hitting really good drives. I hit, I think, 17 greens and a lot of them pretty close so I gave myself a lot of chances. And I hit a lot of putts, and a few of them I missed short of it, but I guess I need to get a little more used to the speed. But I mean, I'm really happy with my round. I maybe miss-hit a couple shots, but they were still on the green, so everything went pretty well overall.”
She’s a Fighter… Paula Creamer (@ThePCreamer) has always been known amongst her LPGA Tour peers and fans for her competitive drive and will to win. These popular characteristics of the nine-time LPGA champion took center stage during Thursday’s first round of the Kingsmill Championship as she fought back from a bogey at the par-4 first with a birdie at the second and an eagle at the third.
Determined to not let the round slip away from her early, Creamer had a little talk with herself after the bogey which propelled her to a first-round 6-under par 65.
“There was no reason why it should have happened and it happened,” said Creamer. “I kind of just told myself I'm not doing this, like I'm tired of starting off not on the right foot, and just kind of came back with a great birdie on 2 and a little pitch-in on 3 for eagle from about 30 yards off the green from the pin, and birdied 6, 7, 8, 9.”
Despite residing in Orlando, Fla., Creamer feels right at home this week in Williamsburg, Va. where she previously finished tied for fourth in the 2006 and 2007 Kingsmill Championship. From the moment she reaches the guard gate at the entry of the Kingsmill Resort, Creamer’s competitive drive kicks into full gear.
“I like it, I like how it feels here, I like the people, everybody's been so nice, it's very relaxed,” said Creamer. “It's such a big tournament type of feel when you walk through or drive through the gates there at the beginning. It just makes you want to play well.”
A Family Affair… Maria Hjorth (@mariahjorth) has had a bit of a difficult season this year on the LPGA Tour as she has not finished in the top-20 in a tournament and has missed an uncharacteristic seven cuts.
This week could be just the turnaround she needs as she posted a first-round 6-under-par 65 with a very familiar face right by her side as her caddie. Hjorth married Shaun McBride on December 31,, 2007 and after a three year stent caddying on the PGA Tour, he is on his wife’s bag at this week’s Kingsmill Championship.
“I've got my husband on the bag this week, which it's just a great feeling working together,” said Hjorth. “The last time we worked together we had a win, so hopefully we can keep on going and keep the tradition going. I just felt really confident and really relaxed, great feeling out there today.”
McBride previously caddied for Hjorth at the 2011 Avnet LPGA Classic where she recorded her last LPGA Tour victory. While the two have experienced great success as a team on the links, Hjorth admitted the pairing will not be long-term as McBride hopes to pursuit a career in golf as an instructor and mental coach.
“No, it's not happening very often, this is the last time,” said Hjorth. “He's, you know, trying to go a different direction and not caddie anymore. Yeah, it just happened to be this week because my other caddie and I just, you know, separated and I needed someone for this week, and we kind of planned it a long time ago that he was going to work this week.”
Drive for Show, Putt for Dough… For Rolex Rankings No. 70 Beatriz Recari (@BeatrizRecari), much of this season has been a battle with the flat stick. While Recari has recorded four top-10 finishes this year, it wasn’t until a tied for 60th finish at the CN Canadian Women’s Open that she realized she needed to make a few changes with her putting.
A change with Recari’s putting began on Saturday in Canada but it wasn’t until the week long break between the CN Canadian Women’s Open and this week’s Kingsmill Championship that everything began to click.
“What happened in Canada, on the third round I had -- I hit 14 greens and 42 putts, so you can't play like that,” said Recari. “So we did a lot of work on the putting that afternoon and then I shot 3-under on Sunday. So something clicked for me and I just worked on the same few things we were working on in that putting green session Saturday afternoon in Canada and things started rolling. It's going well obviously, so I'm happy.”
The hard work seems to have paid off for Recari, who ranks 112th in putting average, as she fired a first-round 6-under par 65 that included 26 putts and a chip-on on the par-4 eighth.
“Well, last week was a week off and the week before was Canada where my putting was horrible, it wasn't good at all, so we did a lot of work on the green, lots of, you know, my routine lining it up and it definitely helped and I got a little better feeling on the greens and just hit the ball really well,” said Recari. “So that really the thing, I've been playing very consistent from tee to green all year round, it's just been a matter of getting the putts in the hole and that's really the difference today.”
Have a Little Help From Her Friends… Rolex Rankings No. 179 Christina Kim (@TheChristinaKim) has had her fair shares of ups-and-downs during her lengthy 10 years as a professional golfer. The 28-year-old made her debut on the LPGA Tour in 2003 and became a Rolex First-Time Winner at the 2004 Longs Drugs Challenge.
Kim went on to record one additional victory at the 2005 The Mitchell Company Tournament of Champions Presented by Kathy Ireland Worldwide and up until 2010, never went a year without notching at least one top-5 finish.
It wasn’t until 2011 that Kim’s struggles began to prevail and take center stage. In 2011, Kim missed five cuts and only finished in the top-20 twice and this year Kim has missed 11 cuts and only made $31,572 which lands her 111 on the LPGA Tour’s money list.
The combination of injuries, feeling unlike her normal outgoing self and bad play on the golf course have all resulted in the perfect storm for Kim.
“Well, this year is -- has been -- we all have our own personal demons,” said Kim. “I think I was able to see -- I've been down to Hades and back is the way I feel. Just a lot of combination of, over the last couple years, injuries that lead to bad golf, and then bad golf leads to not feeling so great, and then you don't feel so great and then you play badly. It's just this awful cycle.”
After a first-round 5-under par 66 at the Kingsmill Championship things might be turning around for Kim who has felt an overwhelming amount of support from her beloved fans on Twitter.
“My fans on Twitter, you know, though I don't know all of the -- however many I have of them, they've for the most part been very, very inspirational and kept me going through a lot of really tough times,” said Kim. “It's nice even when someone that you don't know, you know, to say that it's going to be okay, that there are people that care about you, you know?”
Of Note… Cristie Kerr, a two-time winner here at Kingsmill, opened up this year’s event with a 1-over-par 72…Mika Miyazato shot a 5-under 66 on Thursday and is tied for seventh. Miyazato has finished no worse than T16 in her last eight LPGA events…Paola Moreno, who gained entry into the Kingsmill Championship by winning the Eagle Classic on the Symetra Tour, fired a first-round 3-under par 69.
MODERATOR: We would like to welcome our current leader, Jiyai Shin, into the interview room. Congratulations, a career low 62 for you today. Set a new tournament record and it ties the low round of the year so far on the LPGA Tour, 9-under par, pretty impressive.
JIYAI SHIN: Very impressive myself too, thank you.
MODERATOR: With the kind of day that you had out there with a long delay, the rain, how were you able to keep yourself mentally in that round and be able to put together so many birdies?
JIYAI SHIN: Actually, finally I can say golf is not too hard, not only for today, but today was not too hard for me. When I started this morning, it was a little wind. I just keep focused for just saved a play, safe to fairway and saved a green, but first couple when I made a birdie, so after that I get okay, I feel good today, so let's play a little bit aggressive. My shot was really good today and also my putting was really good. I played in 2009 of this event. In my memory, my putting some days was good, but some days was really doesn't work with my putting. So when I come back to here, a lot of practice time for the putting, so it was good work today. Then 62 is my lowest score, too, so I really happy, and now this week, today I just started with my new caddie, so I think we make a great start, like make a good team.MODERATOR: What's the name of your new caddie?
JIYAI SHIN: His name's Florian, he's a French guy, so now I get a little bit of French.MODERATOR: For how hot you started, you shot 30 on your first nine, did you kind of sense early on that you had something special going today?
JIYAI SHIN: Well, I just give…after first nine holes, when I thought he back nine really tough, so I just didn't make any change in my plan. My plan was no bogey. And also on the back nine, rain start and then we stopped for a couple hours. I think the rain helped for me because when I left on No. 4, I left with a tough chip shot like 20 yards to the hole, and then when I leave, I'm really worried. Okay, I left the hard chip shot, how can I practice. In my memory, in my mind all about that chip shot because it was really hard. Then after rest, a little bit of practice for chipping, and when I back to there I chipped it in. So it was so lucky for the delay today. And the rain also, it helped make more softer the greens, so I hit more aggressive on the back nine, too.MODERATOR: This year you had a little break, I guess, too in your season for surgery that you had on your left wrist. What was that like coming back from that and how quickly have you kind of refound your game after taking that long layoff?
JIYAI SHIN: Actually, before when I take the surgery, I play with my pain, so lot of time I just spent time for the recovery, so I can't practice. My like mentally psychology getting worse, so I just take the operation. I made the decision and I break two months. It was good rest for me and then make refreshed in my mind so when I come back, I really happy to play golf because I really waiting. I know finally I get the feeling how I like to play on the Tour, so now I really enjoy on the Tour and maybe it help for the scores too.Q. (Question about chip-in on No. 4.)
JIYAI SHIN: Almost 20 yards, yeah.MODERATOR: Jiyai, your last win came at the 2010 Mizuno Classic on the LPGA Tour. It's almost been two years. We’ve talked to a lot of players about when you go through droughts of winning, how eager are you to get back to that winner's circle and how much is that kind of a goal of yours?
JIYAI SHIN: Well, actually last year I think was I really want to win, I really want to win, so I thought last year was push myself too hard, make more tired by myself. Now this year changed in my mind a little bit and more enjoy, and like when I tell, I really happy to play now. I just, I really like the competition with other players. So I also think I still played good, I didn't win, but last event in Canada I finished 3rd and before the tournament I close to win. So I think I’m still good playing and I have a lot of chance, I get a lot of chance for a win. This week also I think I have a good chance for a win, too. So I just keep focused, I just waiting for a long time, I know, but I still waiting, too, and I just do my best.
MODERATOR: Any more questions for Jiyai? Well, we love to see that smile and we're glad you're having so much fun out there. Congratulations on a great round today and best of luck the rest of the week.
JIYAI SHIN: Thank you so much.
MODERATOR: All right. I'd like to welcome Maria Hjorth into the interview room. Maria, thanks for coming in. Great round today, 6-under par 65, including an eagle. Can you just take me through your round and tell me what you did on the eagle?
MARIA HJORTH: Yeah, I played solid today, gave myself some good chances, made a few -- a couple really good par saves out there, too, which always you need to do. And the eagle, I hit a really good drive and then I had 220 to the pin and I hit a 3-wood to a foot.
MODERATOR: You've had a bit of an up-and-down year this year. Can you just talk about what this round could do for your confidence and about your year thus far?
MARIA HJORTH: Yeah, it's been mostly down this year, not so much up. It's great. I've been feeling pretty good in my game but nothing has really happened. I've got my husband on the bag this week, which it's just a great feeling working together. The last time we worked together we had a win, so hopefully we can keep on going and keep the tradition going. I just felt really confident and really relaxed, great feeling out there today.
MODERATOR: I know your daughter Emily is out here with you this week. Can you just talk a little bit about life playing on the Tour and also being a mom and how it is having her out this week?
MARIA HJORTH: Yeah, it's great having her out. I haven't had her out that much this year. Obviously my husband has been home quite a bit. We even have a nanny traveling with us this week, too, that helps out. But it's different having them -- having them out. You realize, I think, when you're all by yourself how much time you get to yourself. When she's around, obviously you want to spend time with her, too, so you obviously make sure that you put some time aside and spend time with her. But it's different. You just have to make sure that you balance everything, that you have great balance as a mother and as a professional golfer, but it's a great life.
Q. Of the top scores, it's everybody's best first round of the year. What do you attribute to the low scores?
MARIA HJORTH: Yeah, I mean, definitely the course is playing soft; that always helps, I think. The fairway becomes wider because the ball doesn't roll as much. Obviously you can hit it straight up to the pin, but on the other hand, the greens get a little bit bumpy because you're going to have a lot of footprints and spike marks out there. I just think there wasn't really much wind. We had a little bit of wind when we came out the second time, but other than that, it was just in a way a pretty easy -- easy the way the course was playing today actually with just soft and no wind.
Q. You had a win with your husband on the bag and then you played really well today. How often do you guys talk about working together more?
MARIA HJORTH: No, it's not happening very often, this is the last time. He's, you know, trying to go a different direction and not caddie anymore. Yeah, it just happened to be this week because my other caddie and I just, you know, separated and I needed someone for this week, and we kind of planned it a long time ago that he was going to work this week. But he's just kind of a one-off. Obviously we work well together, but I don't think it would work doing it full time, for sure.
Q. What is his new direction?
MARIA HJORTH: It's a little bit more into the coaching part, coaching and the mental part of golf. He's got some great experience with obviously being a caddie and being in the golf business for a long, long time. He can read people so well and really see what's going on, going on in people's minds, although obviously he's not a mind reader. But he knows so much about golf and he's got so much experience that I think it would be a great way for him to still work within golf but within a different area.
Q. How long did your husband caddie on the PGA Tour?
MARIA HJORTH: On the PGA? Three years.
Q. Maria, all six players that have won here are former major champions. Is there something about the course that kind of identifies the best player or brings out the best players, rewards the best players?
MARIA HJORTH: I think so. I think the course is playing maybe a little bit longer with being a bit softer. I think it's a ball striker's course, and I think you have a lot of great ball strikers winning this tournament. Obviously it's playing different, I think, this year because I remember the greens being pretty firm sometimes and playing a little bit different, but unfortunately we seem to be having some rain here most of the time we come here.
Yeah, I think if you're a great driver of the ball, you're going to put yourself in great positions and maybe have a little bit shorter irons into the greens than other players. So I think definitely, you know, it's a ball striker's course.
MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Paula Creamer into the interview room. Congratulations, a great 6-under par round for you today.
PAULA CREAMER: Thank you.
MODERATOR: With a little bit of a delay mixed in between. Got off to bogey on the 1st hole, but then the rest of your front nine was pretty impressive play out there. Can you take me through that nine and the rest of the day and what was really working well for you?
PAULA CREAMER: Yeah, the bogey on the 1st hole was -- (banging noise outside.) That's what I felt like. No, it was a terrible bogey. There was no reason why it should have happened and it happened. I kind of just told myself I'm not doing this, like I'm tired of starting off not on the right foot, and just kind of came back with a great birdie on 2 and a little pitch-in on 3 for eagle from about 30 yards off the green from the pin, and birdied 6, 7, 8, 9.
The rain delays, they come and go. It's one of those things that you've kind of got to use your experience from the past. And obviously I didn't make any more birdies on the back side, but I still played really well, gave myself some chances. It's been a long day and I'll still take a 65, that's for sure.
MODERATOR: Everybody talked about how excited they are to be back at this golf course, to be back here. I know you played well in the past, you have tied-for-4th finishes in '07 and '06. What is it about this golf course that you really love, and it seems judging by your score today that you really seem to like the look of this golf course.
PAULA CREAMER: It just sets up really well for me. With all the rain, it's not a huge advantage on some holes to be super long or short or whatever; you just have to be really precise with your irons and that's always been a strength of mine. For me, just matching up hitting good iron shots and making putts, I haven't been able to do that this year. Today I could show that I did it on the front nine for sure.
I like it, I like how it feels here, I like the people, everybody's been so nice, it's very relaxed. It's such a big tournament type of feel when you walk through or drive through the gates there at the beginning. It just makes you want to play well.
MODERATOR: To get off to such a good start, I know you put together some good rounds this year and then not necessarily been able to kind of carry it through the rest of the event. How big was for you to kind of put that number up there today on a course that you like and get off to this great start?
PAULA CREAMER: I can't control what happens the next three days what people do, but for me this is a big confidence booster and just going out and playing the game that I know I can play and that I've had in me for so long. It's been a struggle this year. It's nice to be able to go on, have a front line like I did, feel what it feels like being in the zone, that kind of thing, just seeing it and picking it up out of the hole, that kind of emotional feeling.
Like I said, I don't want to put too much pressure on myself, but of course I come here to win. I play every tournament, even when I don't feel I'm at my best, I still feel like I can get a Top 10 or whatnot. Hopefully I can continue the way that I'm playing and we'll see what happens.
MODERATOR: I was talking to Jiyai a little bit ago and she hasn't won in almost two years and that feeling -- she said even last year she said like she put almost too much pressure on herself to just get that win, and now she's trying to enjoy it a little bit more and not feel that pressure. Do you feel that way at times?
PAULA CREAMER: Oh, definitely. I mean, I put the most pressure on myself, for sure. Two years, I think about it every day. I mean, my last win was two years at Oakmont, and with surgery and things like that your body's not going to bounce back as fast as you would like it to.
But I have no excuses with that, I feel pretty good, and just been working hard on my golf swing and realizing that it's a long process. I expected it to happen very fast and my patience was not where it should have been earlier this year. Now I've kind of had to look back on it, reflect. I've had a lot of talks with my caddie, Colin, and he says just enjoy what you're doing, enjoy everything. I didn't really get that until last week on my week off. Now I feel good, I feel I'm very happy. If I hit a bad shot, I hit a bad shot, I just move on and go to the next one.
Q. The weather, rain and all, there are a lot of good scores today. Is that a function of the weather, is it a function of lift, clean and place, is it a function of y'all are really good?
PAULA CREAMER: No, I mean, lift, clean and place is necessary. Obviously you saw how much rain we had in that brief time. It's -- certain golf courses you have to allow for release and this and that, and you have to come up with a bunch of numbers and that kind of thing. Now, when it's this soft, you really just have one number, what is it to the flag, because you can fly everything there, they're just so soft, but you still have to make the putt.
Being this soft, there's tons of bumps, spike marks, things like that out there that you can't control. So I think it's a mixture of it being soft and being able to fly the ball right to the flag, but also when you do that, you should be able to have relatively close putts.
Q. Paula, I noticed in both your practice swings and your waggle, you're doing this thing where you're setting your wrist. What's that about? Is that new?
PAULA CREAMER: Yeah, it's a new thing. My coach, David Whelan, and I, like I said, we just totally have broken down my golf swing from the off season until now. After surgery my left arm and my hand and my thumb was just incredibly weak and I started getting more and more flat.
Now I'm a lot stronger, I have a lot more strength, and I'm able to put the club in the right spot. But it's been very hard for me to get swing thoughts of setting your wrists or don't come across it, you know, keep your hips still. It might work for some people, but for me it's all about coming up with a certain swing thought. For some reason right now, that feeling, it just helps with me and then I just take it straight back and try and keep my right elbow from casting out. That's where I get those left-to-right shots, which I cannot stand. I haven't done that -- I think I hit maybe one or two today.
But I'm understanding my golf swing so much better than eight years ago when I turned professional or even five years ago and I think that's been the difference, I'm starting to feel it so much more with that one little move. I can't tell you why, it just kind of clicks.
MODERATOR: All right. We would like to welcome Azahara Munoz into the interview room. Congratulations, a great 6-under round today. Can you take me through the day out there today and what was really working well for you?
AZAHARA MUNOZ: Thank you. Everything was working well. I hit a lot of fairways, I was hitting really good drives. I hit, I think, 17 greens and a lot of them pretty close so I gave myself a lot of chances. And I hit a lot of putts, and a few of them I missed short of it, but I guess I need to get a little more used to the speed. But I mean, I'm really happy with my round. I maybe miss-hit a couple shots, but they were still on the green, so everything went pretty well overall.MODERATOR: We were just talking about the long rain delay, but how does that affect your round and how do you manage to keep yourself in it when you're playing well, you have a break and then you have to go back out there?
AZAHARA MUNOZ: Yeah, obviously when they blew that horn, we knew it was going to happen. But as you said, when you're playing good, you don't want it to happen, you just want to keep going. But it is what it is and you just have to make the best of it. I had a lunch break, which I was not supposed to have, so we had lunch and relaxed a little bit and went out there again.
MODERATOR: How much differently did the course play after the delay? I know we've had a lot of rain all week so it's been a little wet out there anyways, but did you notice the difference in the greens at all or how this course is playing?
AZAHARA MUNOZ: Actually, as much rain as we had today, the course at the beginning was kind of dry; there really wasn't mud on our ball or anything. But when we came back, it was much more wet and I think the greens were a little slower, I'm not sure if it was just me, but I just missed a few putts short. It is wet, so for people playing in the afternoon, I think it's going to play a little longer.
MODERATOR: And you've had a tremendous season so far this year, five Top 10 finishes, which included your first victory on the LPGA Tour at the Sybase Match Play. What has been the difference for you this season in terms of after that win, does your confidence level just skyrocket?
AZAHARA MUNOZ: I was actually playing pretty well before my win, too, but it did, you know, because I guess I realized I can win and I can put a few low rounds out here. So it was nice to get my first win out of the way. I just want to enjoy it. I've been playing pretty good, hitting the ball farther and better. You know, courses are getting shorter for me and I think that's been the main advantage for me this year.MODERATOR: I know this is your first time here at Kingsmill. Everybody talks about this place and how excited everyone was about the return. What had you heard about it beforehand and what have you really enjoyed about it so far?
AZAHARA MUNOZ: Well, it's funny because at the beginning of the season I was maybe thinking about skipping this tournament just to have a week off at home, actually two weeks off at home and go straight to the British.
And I think I said that to Sophie Gustafson and she said, No, you have to go to Kingsmill, it's so amazing there. So I guess I changed my plans and I'm happy I did and it's great. The golf course is one of the best we play all year. Fans are really good, all volunteers, and so far everything has been great.
MODERATOR: All right. I'd would like to welcome Beatriz Recari to the interview room. Beatriz, thanks for coming in. Great round today. You had a bogey-free day. Can you just talk a little bit about the day, what went well for you?
BEATRIZ RECARI: Well, last week was a week off and the week before was Canada where my putting was horrible, it wasn't good at all, so we did a lot of work on the green, lots of, you know, my routine lining it up and it definitely helped and I got a little better feeling on the greens and just hit the ball really well. So that really the thing, I've been playing very consistent from tee to green all year round, it's just been a matter of getting the putts in the hole and that's really the difference today.
MODERATOR: You played with Jiyai today. Did you two kind of build off of each other's momentum?
BEATRIZ RECARI: Yeah, I think that definitely helped. It's always great when you play with a player who's making birdies, and she started birdie-birdie. So I'm like, okay, I really have to pick it up here. Yeah, it's been like a battle, making putts, so it was definitely a very enjoyable day.
MODERATOR: This is your first time to Kingsmill. What are you thoughts on the golf course so far and the town of Williamsburg?
BEATRIZ RECARI: I was really excited to come because everybody said so many positive things and spoke so highly about the course, so I was really looking forward to coming. I think it's a great course, it's not just a typical resort course. You definitely have to hit it solid from the tee. And then the rain, it's playing a little more wet, so you have to position in the right places on the green, too. So it was -- it is a very challenging course, and the greens are small and undulating, so you have to play your best, that's for sure.
MODERATOR: You've had three Top 10 finishes this year and you've been in contention in a couple major championships. Can you just sum up your year, how it's been so far?
BEATRIZ RECARI: It's been a very enjoyable ride. This is my third year on Tour and that was something that the first two years wasn't good enough, my major -- how I played in the majors. I say after the first round in both of them, I went to the media center so that's really great and fun. And yeah, I've said it before, I've been playing really well, just not making enough putts. So that's something that I worked on, did a little bit of (inaudible) as well last week and that helped, especially on the short putts. So I think everything is coming together. I did work on the routine, the thing affected the most for my putting, and I'm just feeling much more comfortable over the ball when I'm putting. Overall, I'm very happy, very pleased with how things are going and hopefully I can hold a trophy soon.
Q. Beatriz, you talked about the emphasis on your putting between Canada and today. Specifically, did you make anything long, either for birdie or for par saves, and if so, where did those come?
BEATRIZ RECARI: You mean today, like the putts? Well, I mean, I left the ball close to the pin so my birdies were most of the times good birdie chances. I think I made like a 15-footer on 13, that's the only putt that I made that was longest. Then I had a chip-in for birdie as well. So yeah, overall there were -- like I said, there were good birdies. I played really solid, that's something I really have to say.
What happened in Canada, on the third round I had -- I hit 14 greens and 42 putts, so you can't play like that. So we did a lot of work on the putting that afternoon and then I shot 3-under on Sunday. So something clicked for me and I just worked on the same few things we were working on in that putting green session Saturday afternoon in Canada and things started rolling. It's going well obviously, so I'm happy.
Q. Where did the chip-in occur?
BEATRIZ RECARI: On 8. It was pin high just on the left, like 20 feet, where the pin is. It's a pretty narrow target, so not very far away
Q. Did you notice any significant changes in the course after the rain delay?
BEATRIZ RECARI: No. What I notice is that they move some tees forward. Because it's my first year, I didn't know and nobody kind of told us or I wasn't told. So a few holes were playing a little bit short, I guess, because of the rain that they had because definitely being set up long. I thought that it was going to be a good challenge for my hybrids on the practice days. I thought I was going to hit many hybrids and not much today, so that was probably the biggest change, but not especially. I think the good thing of this is that it will probably dry pretty quick in the time frame that we had. But it was soft, the course is soft.
Q. Did the lift, clean and place after the rain help, because everybody who finished this morning played it up; now you were able to lift clean and place. Did that help any for you?
BEATRIZ RECARI: No, it was the same, no. We lifted and cleaned from 1st hole, so no. Like I said, I didn't have one where I had to like drop it because of accidental, or how you say, yeah, like casual water, that's the word, for casual water. I didn't have that. You just felt that the course was soft, you didn't have any casual water. So obviously it drained considerably fast so it didn't affect whatsoever. It was lift and clean. I thought after practice days that they were going to do that because the fairways weren't that great in many areas and you can't mark the entire course like that. So I wasn't surprised this morning when I saw that they were going to let us lift and clean.
MODERATOR: All right. We'd like to welcome our current clubhouse leader, Christina Kim, into the interview room. Congratulations, a great 5-under round today. First off, I know this is a very special place to you here at Kingsmill. How did it feel to go out there and be able to put together a round like you did today.
CHRISTINA KIM: Well, it felt great. Obviously to be able to say you've got a tee time in an LPGA tournament, bottom line, is a very special thing, but to be able to come back here to Kingsmill to Williamsburg and to a community that's known professional golf for a number of years. The PGA TOUR was here all the way from the '80s until 2002, and then we took up the tournament in 2003, it was a couple-year hiatus.
It's very special to be back because these people, they know what they're doing. They love their golf, they're passionate about it, they're thankful to have us here, which I don't understand why because we're taking up all their tee times, but whatever. They've been great.
I remember my rookie year we came here and the volunteers, they just came off the PGA TOUR the year before and they were -- I mean, obviously we've got Fort Eustis down the road, but they were so like almost militant with, you know, stop in the name of LPGA, you know, like very -- they were just so -- they were great at what they did. It's nice to come to -- I'm sorry, I digress.
No, it's great to be here. Obviously I've had a lot of success here. I've had, you know, a couple of times I almost won this tournament. My one and only actual withdrawal from a tournament came here back in 2009 when we were last here, so it's kind of nice to be able to come back and redeem myself fairly injury free.
MODERATOR: Take me through that round a little bit. You started on the back nine, on 10, and you got a string of birdies on that back nine. What was kind of the key for you, and once you got the first one, did you feel the momentum start going your way?
CHRISTINA KIM: Well, I birdied the 1st hole, and a lot of times we talk, whether on the PGA TOUR, the Ladies Tour in Europe and Asia, they oftentimes, the birdie on the 1st hole denotes a kiss of death unless you back it up, and I actually didn't back it up. I went birdie-bogey, so I was a tad bid worried, I'm not going to lie. But I had a great up-and-down on 13 and then started just a string of birdies on 14, 15, 16 and 17.
And, you know, for me it was just a matter of just keeping the ball in front of me and making sure I could find it again. Actually, during that string of birdies, I didn't hit the best shots, I just ended up with some great results; no putt outside of really 10, 12 feet. Then made the turn and I was like okay, new nine, let's go hole by hole, every three holes try and get even, 1-under, 2-under, something like that. Made a couple birdies on the back nine. Actually struck it a lot better on the back nine; my back nine, I should say, excuse me. But no, just a great day. It was nice to see the ball going in the hole, having 10 less shots than my last competitive round.
MODERATOR: You've been so vocal this year about your frustration with some of the struggles that you've had on the golf course. What has this year been like now? I know you've been involved in Twitter, but being able to share it and hear feedback and talk to your fans, why do you think that's important?
CHRISTINA KIM: Well, this year is -- has been -- we all have our own personal demons. I think I was able to see -- I've been down to Hades and back is the way I feel. Just a lot of combination of, over the last couple years, injuries that lead to bad golf, and then bad golf leads to not feeling so great, and then you don't feel so great and then you play badly. It's just this awful cycle.
And then it affects your personal life. You get, you know, short with your friends, with the people that you love, your family. It's really easy to get short with your family because they're your family, so easy to do.
You know, it's given me a lot of perspective. I have been thinking a lot because, you know, I've been out here 10 years, finishing my 10th year on the LPGA Tour, so I'm technically a veteran, but I'm 28 at the same time. So there are a lot of girls that are around my age that are just coming out on Tour and really starting to blossom, and it's a very strange feeling to know that I've been out here that long but I'm still so, you know, young technically that it's just been a very strange combobulation of just weird stuff. I can't even put words to it.
My fans on Twitter, you know, though I don't know all of the -- however many I have of them, they've for the most part been very, very inspirational and kept me going through a lot of really tough times. It's nice even when someone that you don't know, you know, to say that it's going to be okay, that there are people that care about you, you know? It's not obviously all golf related because if it was, that's pathetic because golf doesn't rule my life. But it's -- I don't know, it's hard to describe.
I came into this week with a new mindset because I've been down in the dumps and, I don't know, I think it's a combination of how special this place is to me as well as all the great memories I've had, even though it was on rye and bentgrass, not Bermuda. There were so many wonderful memories that I can't help by smile this week. It's been such a great feeling to be able to smile again, you know?
MODERATOR: Speaking of smiling, we were talking a little bit before we came in just about recently you had posted a blog post talking about some of the struggles that you've had over the past couple years, a little bit of depression and struggles and that. I know earlier this year Lindsey Wright was another player who kind of came forward and was talking about hers and she talked about how much it meant to her, the feedback that she got afterwards in sharing hers. What has it meant to you having heard back from people now after posting that, and what was kind of your reasoning in wanting to share it now?
CHRISTINA KIM: Selfishly, the main reason that I wrote it was, you know, to help myself. I always could, but I wasn't really in the mood to spend $500 for someone to say -- you know, for me to go, blah blah blah and say, Well, what do you think? And he says, Well, what do you think? And I'm like, Well, I'm paying you money to tell me what I'm thinking.
For me it was very therapeutic and it was a means for me to let my fans know. You know, I've gotten a lot of tweets and questions from fans during tournaments of, you know, like WTF, what's going on? And a lot of times it really is -- even for me, as vocal as I am, it's hard to have the words actually come out of your mouth to say I'm fighting some issues, I've got some things going on in my life, I'm not very happy right now, and asking for help is impossible. I can't ask for help, you know? I always want to try and help others, see what I can do to help the LPGA or help my fellow players or, you know, give 10 bucks to a guy on the street, whatever it is. It's hard for me to ask for help.
The feedback's been -- I mean, I've just been completely floored with the feedback. Everyone's been like, you know, you can go through this, you can battle through. Sometimes there were days, like really bad days, where, you know, when someone says, Hey, you're not smiling today, I just really want to punch them in the face. It happens. There's something that goes on where people say, Oh, I'm here for you, tell me everything, and it doesn't matter, it won't help. It's like sometimes the best thing to do is just to say Hey, I know you're going through some things right now, I'm here. Not, I know it's going to get better, you know it's going to get better. Then it makes you feel even worse when things don't.
I've got a lot of people -- a lady, Monica (inaudible) that we've been, you know, communicating back and forth about our struggles and she's been an inspiration for me and really been able to help me a lot, and hopefully I'm able to reciprocate that to her. But no, it's been very difficult. But, you know, like I said, we all have our own demons and everyone goes through stuff in life.
Q. You said on the stretch of four holes where you made birdie that you didn't hit good golf shots, but yet you said the putts were fairly short. That doesn't quite equate in my mind. How did you hit it so close if you're hitting it so poorly?
CHRISTINA KIM: Well, part of the struggles I've had on the golf course have been my ball striking, I've been fighting some tendinitis in my forearm region. Back when we were here last time and the years before, you know, I was always -- I was always one of the longer players on Tour. If I had to carry a 6-iron 172 yards, I carried a 6-iron 172 yards. Now I'm hitting it two clubs shorter, I'm hitting it nowhere, and it's taken me a long time to finally be like it's okay, fighting through some injuries, you got fat, you've got to lose some weight if you want to get some yardage back.
No, I just duffed it close. But a lot of it's because I put such a premium on my ball striking, even though I haven't been able to strike the ball like I've been able to in the past. Because I've done it, I know it's there, and because I've done it, I know what a good shot feels like and none of those felt like that. I just duffed it close, that's the best way to put it, honest to God.
Q. And then one quick one, did you think you made the putt on 9?
CHRISTINA KIM: No, no. I knew that putt because I've had that putt. We've been here what, eight times? I've probably had that putt six of the eight times we've been here and it's always make sure you get it past the hole, make sure you get it past the hole, it's uphill and into the grain, make sure you get it past the hole.
I knew like before I hit it, it was one of the putts where it was like, you know, if you want to have it on the right line and the right speed, I didn't have enough -- I didn't take it back far enough. And I was like if I (indiscernible) this, this could end up five feet off line. I was like there's a slim chance it could go in, but I would need a lot of wind to help if I was going to make that.
Q. Since your play hasn't been so good lately, one of the reasons you get an early tee time. With the way the weather is, shooting 67, getting in the house --
CHRISTINA KIM: 66.
Q. That's right, 66. Do you look at it as fortunate today considering the way the weather is?
CHRISTINA KIM: Oh, snap, it's raining. To be honest, it may sound totally cliche, but I'm just thankful to have a tee time, you know? We all get the same chances, everyone plays in the morning, everyone plays in the afternoon. On the PGA TOUR, whoever's first off goes first off in the afternoon as well. We go about it a slightly different system.
But I'm just happy to be out here and I'm thankful because, like we keep going back to when I was saying I don't want to talk about it really, or I never meant to post it to talk about, you know, there were some demons I faced, there was a time when I wouldn't be here today, and I'm just thankful to be able to be here and in Williamsburg with all the fans. It's like we never left. It's such a wonderful feeling to have the same people here year in and year out.
No, you know, I feel for the girls that are out there because, I mean, 7:45 was the last time to come in before they blew the horn. That's going to make for a long day. There's years in the past where we've had entire rounds washed out. I know this tournament faces some tough, you know, times, you know, dealing with us girls, you know, all 144 of us in the clubhouse at the same time. I think that I'm just grateful that I did what I did and I was able to be out here, although 4:45 was not a very nice wake up call.
MODERATOR: With the extra rain, do you think -- I mean, how much might that affect how the course is playing? I know there was some rain --
CHRISTINA KIM: (inaudible) so much shorter. Just in general because it's Bermuda, the fairways aren't going to be as firm in general, so they're not going to run out as much. You know, it's nice that there's one place in the U.S. that has a surplus of rain because most of the country's in a severe drought.
We did play the ball up today, which I was honestly thankful for because I was worried that we wouldn't because there was four inches of rain over the weekend or something outrageous like that. But the course is in phenomenal shape, to be honest, and that A-4 grass that they've got on the green, typically you would never find that in a place that has humid, hot, sort of, you know, stagnant air as you have here, but it's flourished here. The grounds crew have done an incredible job. It's done a wonderful job with setting the golf course, it's mowed nice and tight. At 7:35 anyway, the ball is rolling really nicely. You can tell the love and care is still here. We all worried, you know, in honesty when InBev released the Kingsmill Resort, but I've spoken with a couple members and they're very happy with Xanterra's done with the resort, so I couldn't be anymore happy for them.