Reignwood LPGA Classic Pre-Tournament Notes and Interviews

Reignwood LPGA Classic
Pine Valley Golf Club
Beijing, China
Pre-tournament Notes and Interviews
October 1, 2013

Stacy Lewis
Michelle Wie
Press Conference Quotes

The LPGA Tour begins its five-tournament Asia swing this week at the inaugural Reignwood LPGA Classic outside of Beijing, the Tour’s first trip to the capital of China. In conjunction with the China Golf Association and the China LPGA, the Pine Valley Golf Club will play host to 81 LPGA and CLPGA players who will compete over 72 holes for a chance at the $270,000 first-place check and be the first to etch their name on the tournament’s trophy.

Headlining this week’s event will be Rolex Rankings No. 10 Shanshan Feng, the top-ranked golfer who hails from the People’s Republic. Feng made history last year when she captured the Wegmans LPGA Championship title, becoming the first Chinese golfer -male or female - to win a major championship. Her feat has helped spark a golf boom in her home country.

Six of the top 10 golfers in the Rolex Rankings are slated to be in the field this week including No. 1 Inbee Park and No. 3 Stacy Lewis, who are both seeking title defenses during the fall’s Asia swing. While Park currently leads the Rolex Player of the Year race, she’ll be looking to strengthen her grip on the award after Suzann Pettersen put herself within 77 point s after she captured back-to-back victories at the Safeway Classic and The Evian Championship. Pettersen unseated Lewis from the No. 2 spot, providing for what looks to be a dramatic finish to the 2013 season.


Off to a ‘Great’ start:
A large contingent of LPGA players were able to check off a bucket list item yesterday after making a visit to one of the modern seven wonders of the world. Tournament officials arranged a trip to the Great Wall of China on Monday where a small group took part in the event’s official photo while others braved the steps of the monumental structure.

Inbee Park, Yani Tseng, Shanshan Feng, Michelle Wie, Jessica Korda and CLPGA player Shi Yu Ting were greeted by a crowd of photographers anxious to shoot the iconic shots to officially open the week for the inaugural Reignwood LPGA Classic. The seven players donned traditional Qipao dresses for the shoot.

“It was amazing,” said Michelle Wie. “I actually went to that part of the Great Wall when I was I think eight years old. Then I went there and I was like ‘oh this is the part that I went to.’ But when else do you have the opportunity to come to Beijing, go to the Great Wall of China wearing the traditional Chinese outfits and take pictures. It was amazing, I had so much fun.”

Other LPGA players traded in their golf spikes for their walking shoes and took to the stairs where they climbed a portion of the Wall.

“It was tough,” said Morgan Pressel. “Shanshan, when we were playing at Evian, said it’s a hike to get up there. And I was like ‘yea sure it’s a hike,’ but no it’s really quite a hike. It’s scarier coming down because it’s so steep. We’re both sweating pretty good.”

“I think it will be really cool to go downtown,” said Julieta Granada. “I got to experience it yesterday a little bit. This is fun; this is why we travel. This is pretty cool.”


Dominating trio:
Inbee Park, Suzann Pettersen and Stacy Lewis been a dominating trio in 2013 and have created quite an exciting setting for end of the year title races. The three players rank in the top three in four separate statistical categories and will be challenging each other for the remainder of the season to earn tops honors. They’ll be battling it out for Rolex Player of the Year, Official Money List title, Vare Trophy (low scoring average) and most top-10 finishes.

“It’s been a great year the three of us kind of going back and forth, you know, we all had our tournaments where we play good, we haven’t really had the tournament going head to head, but, it’s good to see,” said Lewis. “Inbee, the way she starts the year is unbelievable, she won all the majors and then Suzann and I get the major later, you know, it’s really been good for all of us, it’s a good competition, you see what the other players are doing, and you try to figure out how to get better and watch what they are doing.

“I think we are making each other better, you know, there is a lot on the line, Inbee has got a pretty good lead on the money list, but you know, there are still two awards to grab. I know the other two are going to lie down any time soon.”

Park and Lewis will have a head start on Pettersen who is not in the field this week. Lewis said she knows she needs to make the most out of every event for the remainder of the season and welcomes the competition.

“You know, you always want to play well in this last Asia swing just because there is so much money out for grabs and there are a lot of things on the line,” said Lewis. “You just try to be fresh, you know, I’m not playing all the Asia tournaments just because I want to be fresh when I am playing and I want to play good and have a chance to win.”


Thanks to Shanshan!
LPGA players are well aware of the influence China native and sixth-year LPGA Tour member Shanshan Feng had on bringing an official Tour event to Beijing for the first time. Feng earned widespread attention in her homeland after she won the Wegmans LPGA Championship and became the first player male or female to win a major championship. She has been involved in the preparations and promotion of the inaugural Reignwood LPGA Classic every step of the way.

Rolex Rankings No. 3 Stacy Lewis made sure Feng felt the gratitude from her fellow Tour pros for playing such a huge role in adding another event to the schedule. She acknowledged Feng at a press conference on Tuesday.

“I think we just need to say thank you to Shanshan because we’re here this week because of her,” said Lewis. “It’s really cool to come play in her country and her winning the LPGA Championship last summer certainly spurred this on a little bit so we certainly say thank you to Shanshan for bringing us all here.”

Feng, who tends to keep the mood light, especially in media settings, gave thanks in return.

“Thank you Stacy, you make me look so good,” said Feng.

Comfortable setting: Players have been giving the Nicklaus Course at Pine Valley Golf Club rave reviews leading into the Reignwood LPGA Classic this week and Nicklaus Design track have players feeling comfortable even on a course many have never seen before this week.

“The course is really good,” said Stacy Lewis. “It’s typical to what we see throughout Asia, you know, I feel pretty comfortable on it just playing on these types of golf over the last few years. But it’s in really good shape, and I think it’s going to firm up as the week goes on and get a little bit tougher.”

Michelle Wie, who claims to be a fan of Jack Nicklaus designed courses, said she was impressed with the course’s views and said it will be a fair test for the world’s best female golfers.

“It’s a great design,” said Wie. “I love Jack Nicklaus golf course designs. It is so pretty, it was a little foggy yesterday, so I couldn’t see much, but today, it’s so clear. There is so much water, the forest, the mountain lines. It is just so pretty, everything about it. It’s a tough golf course. There are some really tough holes but also holes where you can make birdie.”



STACY LEWIS, Rolex Rankings No. 3


I’m here with Rolex’s Ranking’s No. 3 Stacy Lewis at the Reignwood LPGA Classic in Beijing, China. Stacy, your first time here in China, you just got in yesterday, impressions so far on the resort here at Pine Valley, you got practice in today on the course.
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, you know, this is my first time here in China, the course is really good. It’s typical to what we see throughout Asia, you know, I feel pretty comfortable on it just playing on these types of golf over the last few years. But it’s in really good shape, and I think it’s going to firm up as the week goes on and get a little bit tougher.

Q: Now you’re coming off a solid tied for sixth finish at Evian two weeks ago, was it a kind of that point in the season you needed that two week break? Are you looking forward to try to keep that momentum going you can play pretty well?
STACY LEWIS: I was very much ready for the two weeks’ break. That is the first break I ever had since this season started. So it’s been a long year, and it’s nice to just put the club away for a few days, relax and get your mind right. And you know, my game is where it needs to be. I’ve been playing well the last few weeks. It’s just going to be getting a couple of putts to drop here and there.

Q: Now the final stretch of the season has only seven events left, is there any kind of approach you take or game plan to try to really peak at the end of the season and not fizzle out. Because you have been playing so consistently.
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, you know, the way our season is which is pretty tough, we have the majors more spread out this year. So you’re going to kind of keep your game going constantly. And now, you know, you always want to play well in this last Asia swing just because there is so much money out for grabs and there are a lot of things on the line.

You just try to be fresh, you know, I’m not playing all the Asia tournaments just because I want to be fresh when I am playing and I want to play good and have a chance to win. So it’s about managing your energy level at the end of the season cause everyone is tired, everybody is really for the off season.

Q. You said a lot on the line in this last stretch, now you, Suzann and Inbee are pretty much been the three kind of dominating forces on tour this year. You guys won all the majors, your ranking in the top three, player of the year, money list and scoring average. All these statistical categories, talk about the three of you in the competition kind of going back and forth for those end of the year awards that are kind of on the line, I know all three of you are super competitive and all want.
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, you know it’s been a great year the three of us kind of going back and forth, you know, we all had our tournaments where we play good, we haven’t really had the tournament going head to head, but, it’s good to see.

Inbee, the way she starts the year is unbelievable, she won all the majors and then Suzann and I get the major later, you know, it’s really been good for all of us, it’s a good competition, you see what the other players are doing, and you try to figure out how to get better and watch what they are doing. I think we are making each other better, you know, there is a lot on the line, Inbee has got a pretty good lead on the money list, but you know, there are still two awards to grab. I know the other two are going to lie down any time soon.


MICHELLE WIE, Rolex Rankings No. 85

I’m here with Michelle Wie at the Reignwood LPGA Classic in Beijing, China. Michelle, you had a pretty interesting day yesterday; you had a photo call at the Great Wall just tell us about that. What a unique experience, just tell us what went down yesterday and how awesome that experience was.
MICHELLE WIE: It was amazing. I actually went to that part of the Great Wall when I was I think eight years old. Then I went there and I was like ‘oh this is the part that I went to.’ But when else do you have the opportunity to come to Beijing, go to the Great Wall of China wearing the traditional Chinese outfits and take pictures. It was amazing, I had so much fun.

Q. You had the Miley Cyrus buns going and the paparazzi following you guys. I think I saw a camera man filming outside the sunroof of a car on the way there. Talk about the reception you guys have had here already. Tons of photographers, I haven’t seen anything like it. Talk about the Chinese media and the community here in Beijing and how they’ve accepted you here.
MICHELLE WIE: I feel very welcomed this week. The media here are very receptive and they are extremely excited to see us which makes us really excited to be here. And the resort is obviously so beautiful and our rooms are amazing. It’s just everything about here, the food is great, this week we got to see the Great Wall, going to the city today, and I can’t wait to see what the fans are like.

Q: Now, this year, since you’ve graduated from school, it’s pretty much the first full season you ever played on an LPGA tour, you’ve been here forever almost. Talk about kind of going into the final stretch and how you feel stamina-wise and how you kind of maintain your stamina throughout all the season.
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, the last two weeks I had for the first two weeks break I’ve had since January. I feel great. I thought I was going to be much more tired coming to the tournament in the end. But I feel really good. I’ve been kind of pacing myself all throughout the year. But I’m close to touching them all. It feels good, you know, it feels good to play for a full schedule and I’m having a lot of fun.

Q: You got your first looks yesterday and today at the course, thoughts? What do you think of the setup, it’s obviously a new course, what are your thoughts on it?
MICHELLE WIE: It’s a great design. Obviously I love Jack Nicklaus golf course designs. It is so pretty, it was a little foggy yesterday, so I couldn’t see much, but today, it’s so clear. There is so much water, the forest, the mountain lines, it is just so pretty, everything about it. It’s a tough golf course. There are some really tough holes but also holes where you can make birdie. I think it’s going to be very interesting.


Press Conference Quotes

Q. Is this your first time to Beijing and what are your expectations for this week?
MICHELLE WIE: I actually came here when I was eight years old. Me and my family came here to visit Beijing. My expectations for this week is obviously to win but try to control what I can control. I’m going to try my hardest and see what happens.

Q. We heard it’s your first time in China and how do you feel about it so far? What are the big differences in playing in China than in the America?
STACY LEWIS: Yes, this is my first trip to China. I just got here yesterday so I haven’t really seen too much of it but the golf course kind of reminds me of a lot of the courses we see throughout Asia so I really feel pretty comfortable on it. I think we just need to say thank you to Shanshan because we’re here this week because of her. It’s really cool to come play in her country and her winning the LPGA Championship last summer certainly spurred this on a little bit so we certainly say thank you to Shanshan for bringing us all here.

SHANSHAN FENG: Thank you Stacy, you make me look so good.

Q. Inbee, you’ve played so well this year and hope to continue that. How are you feeling coming into this week?
INBEE PARK: Beijing is the city I always really wanted to visit and see the Great Wall and I finally saw it yesterday. It was a really good experience to see it and I’m just really happy to be here. Playing in Asia this week, I’m from Asia and I just feel very comfortable playing here. I’m going to try my best this week and play good.

Topics: Notes and Interviews, Lewis, Stacy, Wie, Michelle, Reignwood LPGA Classic

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