Reignwood LPGA Classic
Pine Valley Golf Club, Nicklaus Course
Second-Round Notes and Interviews
October 4, 2013
Rolex Rankings No. 26 Jessica Korda shot a 5-under 68 on the Nicklaus Course at Pine Valley golf Club in Beijing to claim the second-round lead of the Reignwood LPGA Classic. Korda’s two-day total of 14-under par leads China native and No. 9 Shanshan Feng and No. 3 Stacy Lewis by two shots. First-round co-leader Na Yeon Choi (71) sits three shots off the lead in solo fourth while world No. 1 Inbee Park (69) is within striking distance in fifth place at 9-under par.
Korda started the day 1-over through the first five holes but got things going midway through the round. Three consecutive birdies before she made the turn kick-started a bogey-free back nine that included three more birdies. The Bradenton, Fla. native holds the 36-hole lead for the second time in her career and is playing for her second LPGA win.
“I started a little slow today, but all in all I think it was a great day,” said Korda. “I putted really well, just kind of did the same things I was doing the first day. A little different score, but I'm not really disappointed with that.”
Feng had the low round of the day with a bogey-free 9-under 64 and gave the Chinese crowd at Pine Valley Golf Club plenty to cheer about. She said the pressure of performing for the Chinese fans held her back in the first round but went all out on Friday to put herself right in the mix.
“I think yesterday I did play under pressure because I wanted to do well, but actually I think the pressure made me like couldn't give it my all, and today I was like ‘I'm going to give it all,’” said Feng. “I mean this is the time. So I tried my best on every shot. Of course, I did miss a few birdie putts, but I made nine birdies with no bogeys, so I think that was a great round.”
Lewis stole the show on the back nine on Friday and strung together six-consecutive birdies on Nos. 12-17. The American has yet to record a bogey through 36 holes this week.
“I got off to a little bit of a rough start, kind of got impatient on the greens and didn't birdie the par‑5s like I needed to,” said Lewis. “I don't know, I hit it close on the par‑5s and made two pretty decent putts after that and kind of got things going in the right direction. Like I said yesterday, at the end of this golf course you can make some birdies, so I just need to stay patient and keep hanging in there.”
Playing host: Shanshan Feng has been anxiously waiting for the week of the Reignwood LPGA Classic and the Guangzhou native has embraced her role as face of the event as well as local tour guide. Feng and her parents took fellow Tour members Inbee Park and So Yeon Ryu as well as some CLPGA players to downtown Beijing last night to sample the city’s best Beijing duck.
“Last night I went outside to a very famous Beijing duck place,” said Feng. “I went with Inbee and So Yeon. We all went together and some Chinese players, too. And we had a great time and I think maybe that was the key.”
Feng said she was a bit uncertain how the outing would go given Park’s and Ryu’s parents both only speak Korean while her own only speak Chinese. She said good food and some drinks are internationally appreciated.
“It was kind of funny,” said Feng. “I thought it would be embarrassing because their parents didn't speak Chinese and our parents didn't speak Korean. But actually, once they sat down they were like ‘you want Beijing beer.’ And they drink it and they are like buddies now.”
Feng, Ryu and Park were grouped for the first round and Park agreed the night out kept the mood light for the entire group.
“Everybody drink beer and we did like Chinese way of cheers,” said Park. “It was fun. I played well yesterday, too. The three of us yesterday played together and went out to dinner together.
Budding friendship: Jessica Korda and Stacy Lewis will play in the final group in the third round on Saturday and both players were not shy to share words of respect for the other. Korda said she’s looked up to Lewis ever since she saw her play at the 2008 U.S. Women’s Open when Lewis made a run the major championship as a non-member.
“I actually was at the U. S. Open that she almost won in Interlachen, I think, and ever since then she's kind of been dominating on the tour,” said Korda. “And like I said, just really impressed with her, and hopefully we'll play tomorrow, so it'll be fun.”
After earning a spot on the U.S. Solheim Cup Team this summer, Korda was able to reap the benefits of having an eight-time LPGA Tour winner as a teammate
“I definitely think she's one of the players that has taken me under her wing, especially right before Solheim and kind of during Solheim,” said Korda. “But her play the last two, three years has been so impressive.”
Lewis spoke highly of Korda’s play and said she thinks their final group on Saturday will provide plenty of excitement.
“Jess has become a good friend and she's a great player and this golf course really suits her game really well because it's high and far,” said Lewis. “I think that's the key to this course is to be able to carry it on to the green and stop it. I like playing with her and I think we're both going to make a ton of birdies the next two days, so it'll be a lot of fun.”
Q. A little better today? You felt better overall?
INBEE PARK: Yeah. I mean it was much better ball striking than yesterday, but I think I missed only one green out there today, gave myself a lot of opportunities. Maybe eight, 9‑under was possible today and I missed a few putts, especially coming into 18. But it just happens.
Mostly I missed the right‑to‑left putts today, so I'm going to work on that a little bit. And hopefully I can make more putts the next two days and my ball striking is going to be in better shape.
Q. Any reason you think behind the left‑to‑right putts?
INBEE PARK: I think right to left ‑‑ I felt like I hit it a little bit on the short side. So I think I'm going to set up the ball a little bit more on the hill side.
Q. Okay. Make some adjustments?
INBEE PARK: Yeah.
Q. Did you see Jess and NYC yesterday go out hot, 9‑under, one round. Did that kind of give you a little motivation knowing that there's birdies out there, everyone's going to try to go low?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, especially seeing the scores yesterday, I thought this course was definitely scorable. I kind of saw that on the practice round. And it was even better score than I thought. I think you just gotta go low here every day to win. Maybe 20 under par.
Q. Shanshan said you went to dinner last night, said the parents went out. Tell me a little bit about that. Said you had a really good time.
INBEE PARK: Yeah. Downtown Beijing, Shanshan's parents took us out there for Beijing duck and it was so delicious and we had a great time out there.
Q. That's what she said. She said I was a little nervous, nobody really spoke the same language, but she said once they had their beer, everyone was fine.
INBEE PARK: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Everybody drink beer and we did like Chinese way of cheers. It was fun, yeah.
Q. That's awesome. She said I think that really helped me just kind of relax and enjoy the setting.
INBEE PARK: Yeah. I played well yesterday, too. The three of us yesterday played together and went out to dinner together.
Q. Oh, you guys played together.
INBEE PARK: Yeah.
Q. I'm now joined by Stacy Lewis who shot 7‑under today, currently 12‑under for a two‑day total, tied for second. You really are comfortable on this course. You really showed that today, especially on the greens. Take us through that Back 9.
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I got off to a little bit of a rough start, kind of got impatient on the greens and didn't birdie the par‑5s like I needed to. I don't know, I hit it close on the par‑5s and made two pretty decent putts after that and kind of got things going in the right direction.
Like I said yesterday, at the end of this golf course you can make some birdies, so I just need to stay patient and keep hanging in there.
Q. Six consecutive birdies on the Back 9 through your last seven holes. Underachiever, what happened on the 18th to make it seven in a row? What happened?
STACY LEWIS: I was trying. I think my record is seven, so I was trying to tie that. I hit a good shot, hit to like five or six feet, but unfortunately the putt hit a ball mark, but I can't complain too much. 7‑under is a good score today.
Q. Seeing Jess and Na Yeon go out 9‑under yesterday, everyone says it's scorable conditions here, they knew there would be some low scores. Is that kind of extra motivation seeing that go down in the first round?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah. I mean I didn't quite see 9‑under on that golf course, but to watch Na Yeon do it, you know, you could see it was out there.
So you know, it's staying patient. That's the biggest thing. There are some holes that you just take your pars and move on and there's other ones you can make birdies on.
Q. You've said you like this golf course, feel very comfortable. You've played in Asia a bunch over your career. Scorable conditions and everyone's been saying there's birdies to be had, which you've taken opportunity of. What do you think is going to be key for the next two days to really kind of put up big numbers?
STACY LEWIS: When I first played this course, I didn't think ‑‑ honestly didn't think all these low numbers were even out there, but watching Na Yeon Choi shoot 9‑under yesterday kind of opened my eyes a little bit, and I think that's what you have to keep doing the rest of the week, you have to just keep making birdies and birdie the par‑5s and just keep giving yourself a chance at the end because showing what I did today, I think anyone is possible at the end of the day.
STACY LEWIS: Yeah. Jess has become a good friend and she's a great player and this golf course really suits her game really well because it's high and far. I think that's the key to this course is to be able to carry it on to the Green and stop it.
I like playing with her and I think we're both going to make a ton of birdies the next two days, so it'll be a lot of fun.
Q. Congrats Stacy. What I more annoying, the cameras or the smog?
STACY LEWIS: I think since we're trying to play golf, I think the cameras are more annoying. But they're both things you just kind of have to deal with and everybody's having to deal with it, so you just kind of have to go with it.
Q. How have you looked at the race to catch Inbee in the rankings?
STACY LEWIS: You know, Inbee has a pretty big lead now which she deserves since she won three majors, but I mean my goal is always to win the tournament and then hopefully, you know, that keeps me moving up in position. I want to get back to No. 1 in the world but I think Inbee has such a good lead right now that I don't think it ‑‑ hopefully ‑‑ I don't know if by the end of the year I'll be able to catch her or not, but that's kind of my goal going forward is to get back to No. 1 in the world.
THE MODERATOR: I'm now joined by Shanshan Feng, the local star this week who shot 9‑under in the second round, our counter leader. Shanshan, what was the difference between today and yesterday?
SHANSHAN FENG: Well, I think yesterday I did play under pressure because I wanted to do well, but actually I think the pressure made me like couldn't give it all, and today I was like I'm going to give it all. I mean this is the time.
So I tried my best on every shot. Of course, I did miss a few birdie putts, but I made nine birdies with no bogeys, so I think that was a great round.
Q. Now, you've fully embraced this role here. Obviously this crowd behind you. Have you ever experienced anything like this?
SHANSHAN FENG: Well, I don't think so. It makes me feel like I'm a star, but I just really appreciate for the fans to come.
Q. Now, a really strong day today. What are you looking forward to to kind of really contain your momentum through the next two rounds?
SHANSHAN FENG: Well, my goal like early this week I was aiming like maybe 15 or 16‑under. Of course, now I'm 12‑under through two days. But I'm going to just stick to my plan and try my best on the big shots.
Q. Long putts. Anything that stuck out considerably?
SHANSHAN FENG: Well, I think today my iron shots were pretty good, so I think I totally made nine birdies, right, except for the last hole it was a 2‑putt birdie. And I think I only made ‑‑ I think the longest putt I made was maybe 15 feet. And then I think everything was inside like six or eight feet. So my iron game was really good today.
Q. And you said coming in you were struggling with your putting a little bit?
SHANSHAN FENG: Well, for sure, early this week, I did. And then we fixed a little bit, fixed my posture a little bit and then I think it helped.
And of course, like last night I went outside to a very famous Beijing duck place. I went with Inbee and So Yeon. We all went together and some Chinese players, too. And we had a great time and I think maybe that was the key.
Q. I meant to tell you, I had duck the other night. So what was the restaurant called? Where was it?
SHANSHAN FENG: No commercials.
Q. So it was good. Awesome. And was that the first time you took the girls out to dinner downtown?
SHANSHAN FENG: With the parents, too.
Q. The parents all came, too?
SHANSHAN FENG: Yeah. It was kind of funny. I thought it would be embarrassing because their parents didn't speak Chinese and our parents didn't speak Korean. But actually, once they sat down they were like you want Beijing beer. And they drink it and they are like buddies now.
Q. That's amazing. So your parents are here?
SHANSHAN FENG: Yes. They are here.
Q. And So Yeon?
SHANSHAN FENG: So Yeon's mom and Inbee's dad.
Q. Oh, my gosh. That's one big happy family. That's amazing. All right. And who did you play with?
SHANSHAN FENG: Today. Mo. I played with Mo and Aza.
Q. And you like the big crowds, you like playing in front of a lot of people?
SHANSHAN FENG: Yeah, I do. I really enjoy it. I got so excited because once I hit the shot they were like, oh, good shot and once I make a birdie, nice birdie. So I think that was why I kept making birdies because I wanted to hear that again.
Q. Yeah. I would too. How crazy do you think this place will get the next couple days?
SHANSHAN FENG: Well, I don't know. I think since I'm playing not bad, then maybe it will be more people.
Q. I'm now joined by our second leader, Jessica Korda. Jess, awesome round again today, 5‑under, 68. You have a two‑shot lead. You didn't feel any burden with the lead coming into today. Just take us through your round, how you felt out there.
JESSICA KORDA: I started a little slow today, but all in all I think it was a great day. I putted really well, just kind of did the same things I was doing the first day. A little different score, but I'm not really disappointed with that.
Q. Now, a little higher scores today, not as many low, but scoring conditions, everyone said they saw you and Na Yeon go out 9‑under and thought there's birdies to be had here, so does that kind of give you a little bit more motivation knowing you have to go low today?
JESSICA KORDA: I wouldn't say that I knew I had to go low today. I knew the golf course really suits my eye and I knew that I can make some birdies, and I had a lot of birdie opportunities out there.
It was more I think today the sun wasn't really out, and the temperatures were a little different, so the ball just traveled through the air a little differently than we were used to, a little shorter, but all in all I think it was a great day, and I really like the golf course.
Q. Now, I just talked to Stacy. She said you guys will most likely play tomorrow together hopefully. She said you guys have become very good friends. You mentioned yesterday kind of looking up to her as a role model. Just talk about your guys' relationship and how big of a role she's played in your career.
JESSICA KORDA: I definitely think she's one of the players that has taken me under her wing, especially right before Solheim and kind of during Solheim.
But her play the last two, three years has been so impressive. I actually was at the U. S. Open that she almost one in Interlachen, I think, and ever since then she's kind of been dominating on the tour. And like I said, just really impressed with her, and hopefully we'll play tomorrow, so it'll be fun.
Q. Long putts. Anything super long, super short?
JESSICA KORDA: I don't really remember. Just go and forget.
Q. You felt better on the greens than yesterday?
JESSICA KORDA: They were a little bit bouncier today, I think, but I think all in all they were in good shape.
Like I said, I think it's the smog that's coming in right now, it's making it heavy, and it's harder to breathe out there. You cough a lot.
Q. Embracing the leader role going into having the lead after two?
JESSICA KORDA: I don't know. Am I in the lead.