Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club- East Course
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
First-Round Notes and Interviews
October 10, 2013
South Korea’s Ilhee Lee tied the tournament record and takes the first-round lead after carding a 7-under 64 at the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia. Lee’s bogey-free, seven-birdie performance bested her low round of the year by three strokes. American Brittany Lang trails Lee by one shot and sits in solo second at 6-under par. A group of four players are in a tie for third at 5-under par including No. 11 Paula Creamer, European Solheim Cup team members Beatriz Recari and Jodi Ewart Shadoff and South Korea’s Eun-Hee Ji.
Lee, who became a Rolex First-Time Winner earlier this season at the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic, said she surpassed her number goal she set for herself coming into Thursday’s first round.
“My goal was 3 under par every day this week, so I feel like I'm okay for the next couple days, I think,” said Lee.
Lee only has one top-10 finish this season in addition to her win in the Bahamas and previous best round of 67 this year came in the final round of the Kingsmill Championship in May.
Brittany Lang started the day on the back nine and opened with four straight birdies on her first four holes.
“I did a really good job,” said Lang. “I've been swinging at it good but haven't made too many putts lately. So just trying to commit to my lines today, and really got off to a hot start. I felt really comfortable out there.”
Lang picked up three more birdies and had a share of the lead at 7-under-par with Lee heading to her final hole on the par 4 9th. But a pulled tee shot put Lang in trouble and she failed to convert on her 30-foot par putt to drop her one shot back.
“I had a great putt there and thought it was in,” said Lang. “I played great. It was a fun day. Just didn't make too many mistakes, hit the ball fantastic, had a lot of tap in birdies. It was just a very easy day. I think maybe a little bit more Gatorade out there because it gets pretty hot towards the end. I didn't finish off as strong as I'd like to. So get some rest and just make sure I'm eating and drinking enough out there.”
The 28-year old Texas native has only has one top-10 finish this season (T7-U.S. Women’s Open) and said an attitude adjustment before the start of the Asian swing was just the thing she thinks she needed.
“It's kind of been a weird year,” said Lang. “I've been hitting it really good, playing well, my attitude hasn't been the greatest, so I've been really working hard on that, and it's been really good. I think that is going to be the difference for me to finish up the good year. It means everything to me to finish this year strong, because I'm not where I want to be on the money list.”
Rolex Rankings No. 1 Inbee Park shot a 1-under 70 and is in a tie for 28th and six shots back. The South Korean said her biggest issue was dealing with the hot and humid conditions. Temperatures at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club reached 90 degrees Fahrenheit with a heat index of 100 degrees.
“I think just everything else was really good, but just my irons weren't loose enough, wasn't sharp enough,” said Park. “But I think because a lot of the because of the hot weather, that really made it hard to concentrate a lot out on the course. So I'm trying to relax a little bit more and go for it tomorrow. It's hard for me to play in that hot weather. I'm not a good player to play in hot weather. But I've had success in recent years, like this year in Thailand and last year in Malaysia. So I'll try to keep it going.”
Shake it off: No. 2 Suzann Pettersen said she felt great coming into this week after a three-week break following her win at the Evian Championship but the Norwegian said some unsteadiness this morning threw her off before the first-round on Thursday.
“Today was actually a good day out there,” said Pettersen. “I didn't have the best day morning. I woke up really dizzy. I wasn't quite sure if I could tee it up because just trying to find my clothes this morning made me feel nauseous.”
But the 13-time LPGA Tour winner shook off the conditions and finished the first round with a bogey-free, 4-under 67. She’s three strokes off the lead in a tie for seventh and said she left a few putts out on the East Course.
“But feeling better now, and this is the best I've made it all week,” said Pettersen. “So, hopefully, it's on an uphill swing, and hopefully I can hit a few more putts out there. Today I didn't make any putts, so 4 under today felt like I left three or four out there.”
Pettersen is playing without caddie Brian Dilley on the bag as Dilley and his wife are expecting a baby this week. Tim Vickers is looping for Pettersen and sits in as a familiar face.
“Tim is a good friend of mine,” said Pettersen. “He's caddied for me before a few times. He was down here, and it's just easy to have somebody you know and you can kind of just have a good time with.”
Timely vacation: No. 11 Paula Creamer got off to a nice start to her Asian swing this week and turned in a 5-under 66 on Thursday and sits two-shots off the lead through 18 holes. The American had seven birdies and a double bogey on the par 3 15th hole and continues on her quest to break back into the winner’s circle for the first time since the 2010 U.S. Women’s Open.
“I played really well,” said Creamer. “I hit the ball actually very nicely. I've been working on my swing these last couple weeks and taking into the tournament that I was a little unsure about where it was going. But I continued doing what we were working on and it fell through or continued to be strong.”
Creamer comes to Kuala Lumpur this week fresh off a three-week break that included a week-long trip in Europe that included stops in Italy, Monte Carlo and Monaco. She said she thinks the time she was able to put the clubs away helped her refresh mentally. She said even a pair of new contacts have helped make a difference.
“You know, there is a lot going on in the middle of our schedule,” said Creamer. “It was really nice to just get away after Evian and just ship my clubs home with my parents and had a great vacation in Italy. I had two good weeks off. Went and saw the eye doctor and got new contacts. I feel like I can see the world in a different light now.”
INBEE PARK, Rolex Rankings No. 1
Q. How do you think your game went today?
INBEE PARK: I think just everything else was really good, but just my irons weren't loose enough, wasn't sharp enough. But I think because a lot of the because of the hot weather, that really made it hard to concentrate a lot out on the course. So I'm trying to relax a little bit more and go for it tomorrow.
Q. I'm guessing it's hard to play in really hot weather like this?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, it's hard for me to play in that hot weather. I'm not a good player to play in hot weather. But I've had success in recent years, like this year in Thailand and last year in Malaysia. So I'll try to keep it going.
Q. What is your aim for the end of the year?
INBEE PARK: My aim is the Player of the Year Award that I didn't get last year, so that is my goal.
SUZANN PETTERSEN, Rolex Rankings No. 2
Q. You looked like you were hitting every green possible?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Yeah, today was actually a good day out there. I didn't have the best day morning. I woke up really dizzy. I wasn't quite sure if I could tee it up because just trying to find my clothes this morning made me feel nauseous.
But feeling better now, and this is the best I've made it all week. So, hopefully, it's on an uphill swing, and hopefully I can hit a few more putts out there. Today I didn't make any putts, so 4 under today felt like I left three or four out there.
Q. We know you shot a 64 around here before. We know you love coming to Asia. Hopefully, this dizziness will go for the rest of the week. But you feel so at home in this part of the world?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Yeah, I feel comfortable. I'm trying to embrace it. I enjoy being here. I feel comfortable. How can you not love this place?
Q. You've won the last two, so you're looking pretty good coming into this week.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: It's a good start. You can't win a tournament on the first day, but you can definitely play your way out of it. So this is a good start. Like I said, I left a few out there, but a little tweak on the putting green there and hopefully I can be as sharp tomorrow morning.
Q. You've been on such a great roll since the Solheim Cup, confidence is also a key factor. It's like an extra club in the bag.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Yeah, for sure. I have a lot of trust in my game. It's always on a continuous progress of work and making sure like you maintain all the good basics. But overall I feel very good and feel like I can manage my way around all different kinds of golf courses.
Q. Are you going to treat yourself to a little focal food this evening?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Maybe a little curry, who knows. Just to kind of wrap the day up, but it's been a great day. Just trying to get a little bit of practice in there before the rains come.
Q. Your caddie?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: We're having a baby this week (laughs)
Q. He's having a baby. What made you get Tim on the bag?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Tim is a good friend of mine. He's caddied for me before a few times. He was down here, and it's just easy to have somebody you know and you can kind of just have a good time with.
Q. When is the baby due?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: They're already three days over. So it's pretty much any day.
Q. So Aunt Suzann?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Aunt Suzann or mommy Suzann.
PAULA CREAMER, Rolex Rankings No. 11
Q. Solid round, you got off to a very good start. Talk about the round, just good start?
PAULA CREAMER: Yeah, I played really well. I hit the ball actually very nicely. I've been working on my swing these last couple weeks and taking into the tournament that I was a little unsure about where it was going. But I continued doing what we were working on and it fell through or continued to be strong.
Q. 15, take us through that?
PAULA CREAMER: I hit a good shot. It was just the wrong shot at the wrong time. Just maybe wrong number in the sense of what we calculated with the wind and stuff like that. But you can't be wrong or mad when you hit the shot that you wanted to. You know, the big positive thing was I came back and birdied 17 and 18.
But things like that happen, unfortunately. You want them not to happen, but it's a good hole. It's a good little par 3 that you have to hit a good shot. I'm just really in between clubs on that side.
Q. Talk about the closing stretch just 15, 16, 17, and then 18 obviously an exciting hole. How that might produce excitement and obviously close out strong here? Talk about that closing stretch?
PAULA CREAMER: That par 3, 15 is a really good hole no matter where they put the pin. The 16, the par 5, they move that box around a lot. It's a birdie hole, but you have to hit a good city shot and good second shot. When they move it up, it obviously benefits the longer hitters. They can get there in two. 17, I like that hole. It's a good one. I know they're going to tuck the pins here and there. And then 18, it's all about the tee shot. It will be a good tee shot, and then you have a shorter iron into this green. The greens are getting firmer. They're bouncing a lot. Hopefully we don't have (Indiscernible).
Q. Yeah, talk about the conditions. I haven't asked anybody, wet, dry? They said dry coming into it?
PAULA CREAMER: I think the greens are probably the best I've ever seen here. They've gotten some sand and some top dressing on them. But they're rolling really pure. Hit a good putt and it goes in. Fairways are a little bit wet. Little surprised with that since we haven't had any rain. It was playing really nice.
Q. Good. We talked about your vacation yesterday?
PAULA CREAMER: Yeah.
Q. Think that was something that really helped you come in and refresh after a tough stretch?
PAULA CREAMER: I do. You know, there is a lot going on in the middle of our schedule. It was really nice to just get away after Evian and just ship my clubs home with my parents and had a great vacation in Italy. I had two good weeks off. Went and saw the eye doctor and got new contacts. I feel like I can see the world in a different light now.
But it was really nice to be able to be home too. I've just worked really hard with David my coach.
ILHEE LEE, Rolex Rankings No. 39
Q. Good round to start. I think that was your best round this year by three shots, I think. That's what it looked like. You finished 64?
ILHEE LEE: Yeah.
Q. Was everything kind of clicking or everything felt very good?
ILHEE LEE: Yeah, the putter was good today. Yeah, the putter was good for today.
Q. Everything else just kind of was okay, but the putting was on?
ILHEE LEE: Everything was good. Driver was good, and the 6 iron was good, the putter was good.
Q. And the putter was on?
ILHEE LEE: Uh huh.
Q. Has that been something that you haven't been doing so well recently on or was that something that you were working on?
ILHEE LEE: I was trying to read the grain first on the green. I think that helps a lot.
Q. So you thought you read the greens pretty well?
ILHEE LEE: Uh huh.
Q. You already have one win this year. That was your first win. Everything was good, you celebrated. Any turning point after that that you thought I can win out here and that you maybe really trying to get that second win?
ILHEE LEE: No, actually, I did not. I just did what I did before so, yeah, because I was kind of lucky with it. So it was just a good I felt like that was just a good week.
Q. Do you expect to stay up there in the coming days? Are you 7 under?
ILHEE LEE: Yeah, 7 under par.
Q. Do you think you can maintain that performance? Are you trying to maintain that or improve anything in the next couple of days?
ILHEE LEE: My goal was 3 under par every day this week, so I feel like I'm okay for the next couple days, I think. So, yeah, it's okay. It's fun.
Q. So you already broke your original goal, so you think that might take a little pressure off you?
ILHEE LEE: Yeah.
Q. So you'll keep trying to relax and do the same thing?
ILHEE LEE: Right.
Q. You've played here the last three years?
ILHEE LEE: Played here? This is my second year playing here.
Q. Tied for 16th last year?
ILHEE LEE: Yes.
Q. So you like this course? You played pretty well last year.
ILHEE LEE: I think I'm okay with hot weather.
JODI EWART SHADOFF, Rolex Rankings No. 46
Q. From what I saw on the highlights you had a couple of eagle chances. Talk about this course setting up to your game. You obviously can bomb?
JODI EWART SHADOFF: Yeah, long off the tee, and that's a huge advantage especially I've had a little less club in than most of the girls out here to these greens. So definitely an advantage when you can get home in two on a couple of the par 5s, so that definitely helped out today.
Q. Four straight birdies to start; that had to be a pretty solid way to get the week started. What went through that stretch? What went through your mind there?
JODI EWART SHADOFF: I was just very calm going out there today. Hit some good shots and all the shots were really pretty close. Yeah, when I was like on my third and fourth holes I was like, all right then. Let's just keep going on.
Q. Have you ever had a start like that?
JODI EWART SHADOFF: No.
Q. Was that out of nowhere?
JODI EWART SHADOFF: Yeah, pretty much. I've never had that good of a start.
Q. Four in a row?
JODI EWART SHADOFF: Yeah.
Q. Usually a slow starter or just not like that?
JODI EWART SHADOFF: Usually a slow start, yeah. Definitely I tend to play my better golf towards the end of the round.
Q. Take me through the mid round; you got the two bogeys and followed it up with a birdie. Take me through the bogeys? What happened there?
JODI EWART SHADOFF: Just a little bit of lack of concentration. I mean, it's really hot out here, and you've just got to really stay hydrated and stuff like that can happen when you're not all there. Yeah, just a couple of pretty loose swings and didn't get up and down.
Q. Charley Hull was in the press room and she said something about the heat too. It has to be the English girls because girl who's live in Florida are like, yeah, we love it. And everyone who is from England probably doesn't?
JODI EWART SHADOFF: Well, I live in Florida now.
Q. You probably get used to it?
JODI EWART SHADOFF: It affects everyone. You've really got to concentrate and work on staying hydrated. If you don't, it's going to affect everybody the same.
Q. Coming into this week, you've had great finishes. Coming out of Solheim on a, high and then not really following up; just this stretch of the season have you been working on anything specifically to try to close out strong?
JODI EWART SHADOFF: No, it's getting to that point in the season where my body tends to break down a little bit. It's not all there. You just kind of are ready for the season to end and have a little bit of a break. I mean, it's really just swing things. Just the same things that seem to pop up when I get tired. Just this week I told myself to go back to basics and try not to overthink everything. I think that was my problem last week was just getting too wrapped up in swing thoughts.
Q. So just easing out of it and not overthinking stuff?
JODI EWART SHADOFF: Yeah.
JODI EWART SHADOFF: Yeah.
Q. Well, solid start. Are you having any trouble closing out events with keeping things going once you get things going well to keep them going?
JODI EWART SHADOFF: Yeah, a couple of times. I mean, I think the times that I put myself in the position, I think it's going to get a lot easier. I mean, I've had maybe four or five, five or six times this year where I've been in the position and my game has held up like the U.S. Open and Toledo. Finished well there, and then other times where I've played well and just not been able to keep it together. So it's all a big learning experience.
BRITTANY LANG, Rolex Rankings No. 56
Q. Currently, second here in the first round. Just talk about your round. You're off to an awesome start, four straight birdies. Talk about that start and how it jump started your week?
BRITANNY LANG: Yeah, it was great. I love this event. The Sime Darby is a great host. I like Malaysia, the people are so nice so I always have a good attitude coming in here. I did a really good job. I've been swinging at it good but haven't made too many putts lately. So just trying to commit to my lines today, and really got off to a hot start. I felt really comfortable out there.
Q. Talk about this stretch and the season. You haven't had too many awesome finishes recently. Talk about really wanting to finish well in this 2013 season?
BRITANNY LANG: Yeah, it's kind of been a weird year. I've been hitting it really good, playing well, my attitude hasn't been the greatest, so I've been really working hard on that, and it's been really good. I think that is going to be the difference for me to finish up the good year. It means everything to me to finish this year strong, because I'm not where I want to be on the money list.
Q. Tell us about your game today? Almost finished same as the leader on the last hole?
BRITANNY LANG: Yeah, I played great. It was a fun day. Just didn't make too many mistakes, hit the ball fantastic, had a lot of tap in birdies. It was just a very easy day. Had a lot of fun playing with Mo and Aretha Just had a good time.
Q. Tomorrow any changes in your game plan?
BRITANNY LANG: No, I think maybe a little bit more Gatorade out there because it gets pretty hot towards the end. I didn't finish off as strong as I'd like to. So get some rest and just make sure I'm eating and drinking enough out there.
Q. Talk about the course conditions. I know everyone said the greens are in pretty good condition and the green reading is pretty straightforward. The fairways were surprisingly wet. Just talk about conditions and what you adjusted to?
BRITANNY LANG: Yeah, the course looks great. The fairways are soft, so we're playing it up, getting the mud off the ball. The greens are fantastic. They're rolling great. There is just the right amount of firmness, so it's fantastic, yeah.
CHARLEY HULL, Rolex Rankings No. 129
THE MODERATOR: Okay day today, 1 over you finish. Just talk about your round today, how you managed the course and how it suits your game?
CHARLEY HULL: Well, I played all right. It was just I left a putt short of the hole. They're rolling really good the greens, but I find them a bit slow to what I'm usually used to. But I've hit every putt within 17 feet and just missed a few. So it was one of them days.
Q. So just tightening up the putting going forward and everything else you felt?
CHARLEY HULL: Yeah, and two drives to begin with got me off to a bad start, and then I made a birdie, so it was all right.
Q. So you're pleased with how you're bouncing back? Didn't get off track too much?
CHARLEY HULL: Uh huh.
Q. Last time I saw you we were at Canada in the CN and then you played at Evian. Talk about your schedule the past couple months what you've been up to after Evian as well?
CHARLEY HULL: Yeah, I played the Ladies European Tour the week before last, so about two weeks ago, and I played pretty good there. I got food poisoning in the last round, so I wasn't feeling really good. But I was kind of top 10, so it was all right.
Q. Talk about your year so far on the LET. You've been playing awesome, just outstanding golf. Talk about that experience and your first preseason and how you've been playing and getting a lot of experience under your belt?
CHARLEY HULL: Yeah, it's been really good. I've gotten a lot of experience. I've had seven top tens, I think, in my 11 tournaments I've played in. I think kind of was given to me. I got within one shot of the lead after the third and half round. I got a bit tired after that and came in 17th. But I'm getting a lot of experience now and looking towards playing more and more golf.
Q. Now coming back to another LPGA event, you probably got to see a lot of European Solheim Cup teammates. Is it good to see them in how is it catching up to them and seeing them on more of a regular basis?
CHARLEY HULL: Yeah, it's good. It's good to see everyone because there are a lot of people out here, and it's nice to catch up with some of them. I find some of the Americans quite funny, which is good.
Q. Talk about your decision, you planned to go to Q school and decided not to go through with that, and decided next year you'll do mostly LET?
CHARLEY HULL: Yeah.
Q. Just talk about what went into that decision and how you came to that?
CHARLEY HULL: I'm only 17, and that means I'd have to spend a lot of time over there. I want to have a bit of a childhood to see my friends and stuff, so that's kind of why.
Q. That's a good decision. Lydia, I believe there are reports that she's going to turn pro shortly. You guys have played a decent amount of golf together under the spotlight as young stars. Your thoughts on her decision to do that? Everyone says she was pretty much ready to do it, but what are your thoughts on her turning pro?
CHARLEY HULL: Yeah, she's a great player. I just think she's awesome. I'd say she's probably the main one to be out there because she's so straight, and she just seems like she's world No. 1 already, if that makes any sense. She just does everything good. Just like she's so straight.
Usually I'm pretty straight as well. But the last couple months I've had a bit of a way with my driver because I've been working on some stuff and trying to keep my balance. So just working on that and see how it goes in the future.
Q. Is this the first time in Asia?
CHARLEY HULL: Yes, the first time in Asia. I've been to Turkey, but I don't know. Half of it is in Asia. But, yeah, this is my first time.
Q. First time in Malaysia?
CHARLEY HULL: Yeah.
Q. How do you find playing on the golf course here?
CHARLEY HULL: I think it's very beautiful. I really like it. It suits my eye when I look at it. I think the greens are rolling very nice. They're really smooth. The weather sometimes is a bit hot for me, but today wasn't too bad.
Q. In the Solheim Cup you played in, how was the feeling?
CHARLEY HULL: Yeah, it was really good. I didn't really notice what I'd done until about five weeks after, because I don't know, I was just trying to get ready for Canada now because that was like the week after was my first LPGA proper event, so it just kind of sunk in. I tell you a couple weeks ago it sunk in, and it was like cool.
Q. Because you’re 17, you didn't want to go to Q school?
CHARLEY HULL: Because of what?
Q. 17 years old, you didn't want to go to Q school?
THE MODERATOR: Yeah, she doesn't want to play LPGA full time because she'll have to essentially move to the states or be away from her home at 17.
Q. Are you a Yankees fan?
CHARLEY HULL: I'm not a fan of the New York Yankees. Sorry, in England we all wear them for a fashion thing because I didn't know what they meant. And my sister's boyfriend had it and I saw it at their house. So when he wasn't there I stole it and put it on my head. Then on the TV he said to my sister, where's my cap gone? He turns the TV on and he sees it on my head. So since then, he says you've made my cap famous, and he bought me loads of different colors.
Q. But they're a good baseball team?
CHARLEY HULL: Yeah; that's good, I'm going to support them now.
Q. Prior to coming to Malaysia, what have you heard about it, and what do you want to go and see, places you want to go and see? Do you have any?
CHARLEY HULL: The hotel that we're staying at has a big shopping mall, and I think your shops are really, really good.
Q. Better than back home?
CHARLEY HULL: Similar. I think they've even got a top shop here, I think. And all my wardrobe is from Top Shop, so, yeah, I really like it. It's really, really good.
Q. Expectations the next three rounds? Anything to look forward to trying to improve?
CHARLEY HULL: I don't know. Just go out there and enjoy it. Probably hole a few more putts because I need to get past the hole, but I'm not too fast on this.
Q. How is it playing the next few events in Asia?
CHARLEY HULL: I'm not playing in the next two events, but I'm playing a couple in China.
Q. Are those LET events?
CHARLEY HULL: Yeah. So I'm looking forward to them.