Lorena Ochoa Invitational Presented by Banamex - First-Round Notes and Interviews

Lorena Ochoa Invitational Presented by Banamex
Guadalajara Country Club
Guadalajara, Mexico
First-Round Notes and Interviews
November 14, 2013

Pornanong Phatlum, Rolex Rankings No. 59
Amy Yang, Rolex Rankings No. 17
Inbee Park, Rolex Rankings No. 1
Anna Nordqvist, Rolex Rankings No. 25

Thailand’s Pornanong Phatlum fired a 6-under 66 to take the first-round lead at the sixth annual Lorena Ochoa Invitational Presented by Banamex. In search of her first official LPGA Tour victory, Phatlum carded seven birdies and one bogey to take a 1-stroke lead over South Korean Amy Yang.

Playing for the first-time in Guadalajara, Mexico, Phatlum looked to feel right at home as she recorded three consecutive birdies on the opening three holes to quickly get to 3-under. The putter remained hot for Phatlum, who only needed 25 putts on Thursday, as she went on to notch two additional birdies at the par-4 seventh and par-5 ninth to make the turn at 5-under.

“Well, today, my putting was very good,” said Phatlum. “I had a complete game today.”

Looking to improve on a season-best tie for second at the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic, the impressive play continued for Phatlum with birdies at the par-4 11th and par-3 13th before recording her first and only bogey of the day at the par-4 14th to drop to 6-under-par.

Phatlum would go on to par the remaining four holes and finish the day at 6-under-par to find herself in a familiar position atop the leaderboard. While Phatlum is no stranger to leading an LPGA Tour event, she admitted this week was a bit different with only 36-players in the field.

“Well, it’s not quite like this lead because there are not many players this week,” said Phatlum. “I just want to have fun on the course this week.”

Nipping on Phatlum’s heels is Amy Yang who only needed 29 putts on a round that included six birdies and one bogey. Yang quickly moved into the red numbers on Thursday with a birdie at the par-4 second before jumping to 4-under-par with three consecutive birdies beginning at the par-4 fourth.

“I think I did everything so well today, especially putter,” said Yang. “I felt really good over the ball every time.”

The solid play continued for Yang on the back-nine as she birdied the par-4 11th to move to 5-under for the day. Yang faltered with a bogey at the par-4 15th but quickly recovered to close her round in style with a birdie at the par-5 18th.

Beaming with confidence from her first career LPGA Tour victory at the LPGA KEB Hanabank Championship, Yang admitted she could enjoy playing a bit more now that she has a win under belt.

“It really helped,” said Yang. “I had some chance to win before. When I didn't achieve it, I was wondering if I can do it or not. But since the first win, I give a lot of confidence, and now I'm enjoying it more.”

Rolex Rankings No. 1 Inbee Park remains in contention to notch her seventh LPGA Tour victory this season as she fired a 4-under 68 to trail Phatlum by 2-strokes.

“My ball striking was really good today,” said Park. “I hardly missed any shots out there today, I didn’t miss any fairways and probably missed only a couple greens but I was getting some muddy balls there and just didn’t know where it was going to fly. I left a couple of putts out there today and I had a lot of opportunities. My ball striking was really good today though so hopefully I can keep it going the next three days.”


Staying patient…
Currently ranked number one on the LPGA Tour in putts per GIR, Inbee Park has relied heavily on the flat stick this season to catapult her to six wins, including three major titles. While this season has already been one to remember, if Park wants to finish it off in style, she will need to remain patient with a putter that has seemed to have gone cold in recent weeks.

“I mean last few weeks, last few months actually it’s been a little bit frustrating with the putter,” said Park. “When I am hitting the ball good and not being able to score well because of the putting that is a little bit disappointing. But earlier in the year I made so many putts I maybe that’s why because it’s not going in at the moment as much but my time will come, I am trying got be patient.”

If Thursday’s first-round of the Lorena Ochoa Invitational Presented by Banamex is any indication, it seems as if Park’s putter has returned to its old form as she only needed 27 putts.

This week’s event serves as the penultimate tournament on this year’s LPGA Tour schedule and while Park currently leads the Rolex Player of the Year race over Suzann Pettersen, she will need to finish strong to become the first South Korean to take home the award.

If Park wins this week’s event she will clinch Rolex Player of the Year honors and while there is a lot on the line, she admits once the tournament starts, her nerves quickly subside.

“Actually today I felt actually a lot more relaxed than when I came in here. Once the tournament starts I don’t really think about Player of the Year. I think about it probably right after and before the play, but during the play I just try to think about the game.


Home sweet home…
Anna Nordqvist recently purchased a new home in Orlando, Fla., and while the Swede presented a challenge to HGTV in an effort to remodel the kitchen, a hectic travel schedule has hampered making the wish become a reality. While the kitchen has yet to be remodeled, Nordqvist used a two week break prior to this week’s Lorena Ochoa Invitational Presented by Banamex to make her home feel a bit more welcoming.

“No, but I've pretty much done everything else with the house,” said Nordqvist. “It felt like I left the signs up, I put up a lot of pictures and, you know, it's just nice being home, make it feel like home. I was obviously jet-lagged for a week. I was sleeping all day and wake up all night, so I had quite a bit of time to spare.”

With the finish line to this year’s LPGA Tour schedule is within reach, Nordqvist hopes to record her first LPGA Tour victory since 2009 then land a spot on HGTV.

“Yeah, most things are done,” said Nordqvist. “It's just a matter of having to come up with new projects and then my kitchen, but you know, I just love being home. It's been a very long year and I can almost see the finish line. Just a couple more tournaments. I sure would enjoy some time off.”

Pornanong Phatlum, Rolex Rankings No. 59

THE MODERATOR: Pornanog, nice round today. 6 under par 66. What was working for you out there?
PORNANOG PHATLUM: Well, today, my putting was very good. I had a complete game today.

THE MODERATOR: Pornanog, you’re no stranger to being in the lead. I know in Portland, you held the lead for a few days. Do you think that will make you more comfortable in the next three days?
PORNANOG PHATLUM: Well, it’s not quite like this lead because there are not many players this week. I  just want to have fun on the course this week.

THE MODERATOR: I know it’s your first time in Mexico. How has it been so far?
PORNANOG PHATLUM: It’s nice. Nice country.

THE MODERATOR: Pornanog, you have your brother on your bag caddying for you. How nice is it to have somebody out there that obviously you’re comfortable with?
PORNANOG PHATLUM: I’m very comfortable have my brother caddy for me. And he feel like a friend and sometime coaching me. And I think I’m lucky that I have my brother caddy for me.

Q: Your best finish in the LPGA is 5 for 12. How much are your chances of winning here? I see your last win was in the ladies’ Asian golf tournament, right? In January? So do you like our chances in this venue or winning your first LPGA tournament, official tournament?
PORNANOG PHATLUM: Yea, I really tried. I hope I can get win on LPGA tournament and really try hard on my game.


Amy Yang, Rolex Rankings No. 17

Q. Alright, another solid day out there. Five under par. What was working for you?
AMY YANG: I think I did everything so well today, especially putter. I felt really good over the ball every time.
 
Q. You won in Korea. You got your first LPGA tour under your belt. What has that done for your confidence? Has it helped it?
AMY YANG: It really helped. I had some chance to win before. When I didn't achieve it, I was wondering if I can do it or not. But since the first win, I give a lot of confidence, and now I'm enjoying it more.

Q. Did you put any pressure on yourself before that win to get that first win?
AMY YANG: No, I think I'm having more fun than I used to before.

Q. Have you had a lot of fun in Mexico so far?
AMY YANG: Yeah yeah yeah. I really enjoy the weather here, even though it was cold yesterday. I like it. I always enjoy here.

Q. So you're doing everything well now. What are your expectations for the next three days?
AMY YANG: Three rounds is a lot of golf. I'm going to just do my best each day and try to have fun. More patience.


Inbee Park, Rolex Rankings No. 1

Q. Solid round today, 4-under 68, two off the lead, what was working?
Inbee Park:  My ball striking was really good today. I hardly missed any shots out there today, I didn’t miss any fairways and probably missed only a couple greens but I was getting some muddy balls there and just didn’t know where it was going to fly. I left a couple of putts out there today and I had a lot of opportunities. My ball striking was really good today though so hopefully I can keep it going the next three days.

Q. Yeah I heard you tell Tom that you have been struggling a little bit with your putter which things seems crazy coming from you what has been going on?
Inbee Park: I mean I really don’t know cause’ I am putting the same stroke, same roll, it seems like you know I had a good putt but I missed the whole by a little bit I missed a couple of red putts today sometime it will fall I think.

Q. Has it been frustrating to you at all? 
Inbee Park: I mean last few weeks, last few months actually it’s been a little bit frustrating with the putter and when I am hitting the ball good and not being able to score well because of the putting that is a little bit disappointing. But earlier in the year I made so many putts I maybe that’s why because it’s not going in at the moment as much but my time will come, I am trying got be patient.

Q. It seems like on the golf course and even off the golf course you are so laid-back has that been a little weird being recognized where ever you go?
Inbee Park: Yeah especially back in Korea, I mean I really can’t go anywhere without you know being recognized. It has been a little bit different, you know a different lifestyle, but I am trying to get used to it, but sometimes its, there is a good side to it and there is a bad side to it I guess and I can’t say I have been enjoying it 100% but there is parts that I really enjoyed and there is parts that I really need to get used to.

Q. Did you have any add of nerves on the first tea this morning with player of the year?
Inbee Park: Actually today I felt actually a lot more relaxed than when I came in here. Once the tournament starts I don’t really think about Player of the Year. I think about it probably right after and before the play, but during the play I just try to think about the game.

Q. So, Do you feel normal finally when you are out there in the golf course? (Chuckles)
INBEE PARK: I mean all the golf course I try to be normal in a way striking the ball well its easier to stay normal.


Anna Nordqvist, Rolex Rankings No. 25

Q. Alright, solid day. Right up there again. What was working for you?
ANNA NORDQVIST: I felt a little rusty the first couple holes to be honest with you. You know, I had two weeks off. Enjoyed being home. I started my irons pretty good. You know, I had quite a bit of chances, felt like I rolled putts very well. It's just a matter of getting the right speed itself. Couple good birdies. I stayed out of trouble today. So it seemed to be a solid day.
 
Q.Where did you go? Did you go to Orlando over the little break?
ANNA NORDQVIST: Yea, I went back home to Orlando for two weeks. 

Q. Have you done anything with your kitchen yet? Have you remodeled at all?
ANNA NORDQVIST: No, but I've pretty much done everything else with the house. It felt like I left the signs up, I put up a lot of pictures and, you know, it's just nice being home, make it feel like home. I was obviously jet-lagged for a week. I was sleeping all day and wake up all night, so I had quite a bit of time to spare.

Q. In the off season, do you plan on working on your house?
ANNA NORDQVIST: Yeah, most things are done. It's just a matter of having to come up with new projects and then my kitchen, but you know, I just love being home. It's been a very long year and I can almost see the finish line. Just a couple more tournaments. I sure would enjoy some time off.

Q. Do you think a win would make it even more sweeter to be at home?
ANNA NORDQVIST: Absolutely. I mean, I feel like my game's been pretty consistent this year. I've been working very hard these last couple of years, and I feel like my game is in a really good spot right now. A win would definitely be good going into the off season.

Q. The fact that you know you're playing well - does it make it any less frustrating for you?
ANNA NORDQVIST: Yea, I mean, at times, I feel like I'm doing some really good stuff and just haven't seen the results and haven't been able to score. Ya know, I just try to be patient. The one thing I've learned 4 1/2 years on tour is try to stay patient. You can never force results to happen.

 

Topics: News and Notes, Nordqvist, Anna, Park, Inbee, Phatlum, Pornanong, Yang, Amy, Lorena Ochoa Invitational [+]

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