Lorena Ochoa Invitational Presented by Banamex
Guadalajara Country Club
Second-Round Notes and Interviews
November 15, 2013
Anna Nordqvist, So Yeon Ryu, and Pornanong Phatlum share the lead at 9-under-par after two rounds of play at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational Presented by Banamex. The trio will take a 1-stroke lead over Lexi Thompson, Gerina Piller, and Rolex Rankings No. 1 Inbee Park into tomorrow’s third-round.
First round leader Pornanong Phatlum followed-up a 6-under 66 with a 3-under 69 on Friday that included four birdies and one bogey. While the Thailand native had a red hot putter on Thursday’s first-round, the nerves of holding the lead proved to be too much as she needed 29 putts on Friday.
“Today, I'm very happy with my score, but the putting not very good today,” said Phatlum. “I just missed a few short putts.”
In search of her first official LPGA Tour victory, Phatlum will rely on her brother, Pornpong, to keep her calm inside the ropes this weekend.
“Yea, he always talks to me, calm down,” said Phatlum. “Don't pressure myself.”
Paired together during Friday’s second round, Anna Nordqvist and So Yeon Ryu leaned heavily on each other’s support to move into a share of the lead.
“You know I am always really happy to play with Anna (Nordqvist),” said Ryu. “We have so much fun always so I love it. We pretty much played so well especially on the back-nine. We hit a really great shot and she made every birdie putt. I was really excited to see her, to see how she is playing. Also, I really happy we finish with a birdie at the last hole.”
“I mean you know, it’s just a fun atmosphere and we played with Jenny Shin today and she was solid pretty much the whole round,” said Nordqvist. “You know you just try to keep up and you know feed off of each other and give yourself a large change for birdies.”
Nordqvist who is looking to capture her first LPGA Tour victory since the 2009 LPGA Tour Championship Presented by Rolex, had the flat stick working as she fired a second-round 5-under 67 that included six birdies and one bogey.
The Swede wasted little time moving into the red numbers for her second round with a birdie at the short par-4 first. Nordqvist would then give one back with a bogey at the par-5 third but was able to return to 1-under for the day after a birdie at the par-4 seventh.
After making the turn at 1-under for the day, Nordqvist caught fire on the closing nine with back-to-back birdies on the par-4 11th and par-4 12th. The birdies would continue to roll-in for the two-time LPGA Tour winner with birdies at the par-4 15th and closing par-5 18th.
Much like Norqvist, Ryu is inching closer to ending a winless drought after recording six birdies and one bogey en route to a second-round 5-under 67. While Ryu has good history in Mexico after finishing in a tie for sixth in last year’s event, she admitted she is playing with less pressure after spending time in Korea.
“Well, to be honest, I was a bit like crazy about the winning thing,” said Ryu. “I spent time in Korea last few weeks and lot of people talking about to me like, what do you think about the winning, when are you going to make wins, that type of things. So I think I couldn’t play my game last few weeks. I play golf for other people, but now I realize I have to play golf for, just my golf. so I’m just trying to have fun out there and don’t think about the like winning thing and if I could make a lot of birdie, I can be close to winning.”
Playing with less pressure, the South Korean made the turn at even-par on Friday but immediately jumped to 2-under for the day with back-to-back birdies at the par-5 10th and par-4 11th. The birdies would continue to roll in for Ryu as she carded birdies at the par-4 14th, par-4 16th, and par-5 18th.
All about the fans… When you see Lexi Thompson at an LPGA Tour, don’t be surprised if you see the young 18-year-old go out of her way to sign every autograph. After the third-round of the Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship, the Floridian signed autographs for so long that the ink in her pen ran out.
“The fans mean so much to me,” said Thompson. “I mean keeping in touch with them, seeing them out there, following me, just supporting me through the bad and good times it does mean a lot to me. That’s always how I’ve been. Even after a bad round, I’ll sign every autograph because I mean they came out to watch me, so I can spend some of that time to show that I care about them.
Making her second appearance in Mexico for the Lorena Ochoa Invitational Presented by Banamex, Thompson has accumulated a large fan base in Guadalajara. One fan in particular has kept in touch with Thompson throughout the year and even gave her a special gift this week.
“Well the fans are great here,” said Thompson. “This is my second year here and we get good crowds out here, so it’s great to see. But I have one fan here in particular, her name is Alba. She came out and watched me every day last year, and the same this year. She’s given me gifts and she’s so sweet. She tweets me pretty much every day, just keeping in touch and seeing how I’m doing. It’s great to see that.”
“She drew a picture of me holding a trophy, I guess,” added Thompson. “It was pretty awesome. Just to see how much they go through just to give me a gift. It means so much to me.”
On pins and needles… Gerina Piller clawed her way up the leaderboard after firing a blistering 7-under 65 during the second-round of the Lorena Ochoa Invitational. Piller, formally known as Mendoza, is playing for the first-time in Guadalajara, Mexico and feels right at home thanks to her love of the food and supportive fans.
“It’s been great, I love Mexico,” said Piller. “Most people don’t know this, but my maiden name is Mendoza. I don’t speak much Spanish, but I love the food, love the people and it’s just a great tournament. I never got to play with Lorena, but she’s been a huge inspiration.”
While Piller inched her way up the leaderboard on Friday, she was on pins and needles as she raced in the clubhouse to see how her husband, Martin Piller faired during the final-round of Web.com Q-School’s second stage.
“It’s great some days, when we get to see each other,” said Piller of their hectic travel schedules. “He’s actually in Dallas right now playing with Q-School. Today’s the last round, and I’m kind of anxious to go see how he did but we can help each other. It’s great to have that support.”
While Piller anxiously awaited the result of her husband’s finish in Q-School, she admitted the nerves will also be racing tomorrow as she searches for her first career LPGA Tour victory. While the nerves will be present tomorrow, she will rely heavily on experience gained from playing on this year’s U.S. Solheim Cup Team.
“I know I’m going to be nervous, but this year I got to play on the Solheim Cup so that will kind of help,” said Piller. “But I think it’s going to be a different nervous, but I’m sure I’m going to be pretty nervous.
THE MODERATOR: I’d like to welcome So Yeon Ryu and Anna Nordqvist into the interview room. Ladies you both played together today and had nice solid rounds. What was working for each of you out there?
ANNA NORDQVIST: It felt like we both hit it pretty good at the end. You know I felt pretty solid in my putting and I think we seemed to feed off of each other a little bit and had a couple birdies at the end.
SO YEON RYU: You know I am always really happy to play with Anna. We have so much fun always so I love it. We pretty much played so well especially on the back-nine. We hit a really great shot and she made every birdie putt. I was really excited to see her, to see how she is playing. Also, I really happy we finish with a birdie at the last hole.
THE MODERATOR: So Yeon we were talking coming in here how much you like being in Mexico. You’ve played well here in the past. How exciting is it to be back here?
SO YEON RYU: Normally the tournament is really serious, you know everybody really focus on golf and everybody think about how can we play well. Also this tournaments are the same, but this tournament environment is really like a fun thing. You know, after that all the players will hang and chill out with the margarita. I like this tournament so much.
THE MODERATOR: Anna how is it for you to be here in Mexico?
ANNA NORDQVIST: Well I think we all are all very sad that Lorena is not on tour anymore and I think, you know, what was so special about her was her passion about the game. I think we all love coming here because she shares her passion through this tournament. You know a lot of people work hard to bring this tournament to Mexico, but I feel like she is a part of this tournament so we all want to come there and be a part of it.
THE MODERATOR: Anna and So Yeon, it’s been a while since you both recorded a win, do you think you’ll feel the pressure on the weekend or is it just kind of business as usual?
ANNA NORDQVIST: Well there’s a lot of low scores out there today so, I mean, I was trying to make a birdie to keep up with the rest of the field.
SO YEON RYU: Well, to be honest, I was a bit like crazy about the winning thing. I spent time in Korea last few weeks and lot of people talking about to me like, what do you think about the winning, when are you going to make wins, that type of things. So I think I couldn’t play my game last few weeks. I play golf for other people, but now I realize I have to play golf for, just my golf. so I’m just trying to have fun out there and don’t think about the like winning thing and if I could make a lot of birdie, I can be close to winning.
Q. You’re very close. You’re leading this round and you’re very close to (indiscernible). How do you feel being so close to winning this tournament?
ANNA NORDQVIST: I mean we’re only halfway through and obviously the best golfers in the world are here so you can’t really think about winning or leading the tournament right know. We have two more days so you have to try to play your game and put low scores out there because it’s doable and if you don’t do it, someone else will.
SO YEON RYU: Looks like a lot of players make a low score. That means not only one two against us, so I don’t think its like pressure on my shoulders to catch the leader, that type of thing. The thing is, really matters how I play well.
Q. How did it affect you playing together with the three other leaders? Does it bring competition between you? Playing today with the other leaders, does it bring competition being that the other leaders are in the same group?
ANNA NORDQVIST: I mean you know, it’s just a fun atmosphere and we played with Jenny Shin today. She was solid pretty much the whole round. You know you just try to keep up and you know feed off of each other and give yourself a large change for birdies.
SO YEON RYU: Well if today was the final round it couldn’t be we like we really think of each other, but today is just the second round and we just have so much fun and encourage each other. So I don’t think it was a big impact to my game.
Q. A couple years ago you had a round like today and the next day you weren’t so good. So does it affect you knowing that?
ANNA NORDQVIST: (chuckles) No I can’t remember what I did last week. No I mean I just try to put my best foot forward, you know, not every day is a big day, but hopefully the more I work hard every day, you know and always try to do my best. Going into every day that’s the attitude I’m trying to have and at the end of the day I can say to myself I did my best and that’s all I can ask.
Q. Alright, another good day. What was working out there for you today?
PORNANONG PHATLUM: Today, I'm very happy with my score today, but the putting not very good today. I just missed a few short putts.
Q. What was going on with the putting today?
PORNANONG PHATLUM: I think I got a little bit pressure on myself. So I missed short putt.
Q. Do you think you'll feel more pressure tomorrow, or you think now, you can just and have fun?
PORNANONG PHATLUM: I will try to not get pressure tomorrow. And play off my short.
Q. We talked yesterday about your brother being your bag. Does it help to have him out there? Does he calm you down?
PORNANONG PHATLUM: Yea, he always talks to me, calm down. I don't pressure myself.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks for coming in. Quite the round today. 8 under par. What was working for you out there?
LEXI THOMPSON: I would say I just went into today playing fearless and just committed to my lines. I dropped a few more putts today, and that always helps.
THE MODERATOR: You recorded your first official LPGA tour this year in Malaysia, which was actually your second victory on tour. You think capturing that second victory has kind of put the pressure off you a little bit?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yea, I think it definitely has. You know getting the first one, you know, is obviously an amazing experience. There’s nothing like it. You work so hard to get that second one and it didn’t come for another year or so it was a lot of hard work, but it paid off. I’m just going to keep trying to go after the win.
THE MODERATOR: We were talking a little bit coming up here about the fans in Mexico. You have one that’s kind of been by your side since you first got here last year. Can you talk a little bit about your relationship with her and what she has done for you?
LEXI THOMPSON: Well the fans are great here. This is my second year here and we get good crowds out here, so it’s great to see. But I have one fan here in particular, her name is Alba. She came out and watched me every day last year, and the same this year. She’s given me gifts and she’s so sweet. She tweets me pretty much every day, just keeping in touch and seeing how I’m doing. It’s great to see that.
THE MODERATOR: She actually drew you a picture, right? She give that to you this week?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yea, she did. She drew a picture of me holding a trophy, I guess. It was pretty awesome. Just to see how much they go through just to give me a gift. It means so much to me.
THE MODERATOR: I was in Taiwan and I witnessed you sign autographs for so long that your pen actually ended up running out of ink. Can you just talk about the role that the fans play in your career and what they mean to you?
LEXI THOMPSON: The fans mean so much to me. I mean keeping in touch with them, seeing them out there, following me, just supporting me through the bad and good times it does mean a lot to me. That’s always how I’ve been. Even after a bad round, I’ll sign every autograph because I mean they came out to watch me, so I can spend some of that time to show that I care about them.
Q: (indiscernible) What did you do differently than the previous years?
LEXI THOMPSON: I would say just in the past year I’ve been working a lot on my short game. I’ve changed a lot in my chipping and putting, especially over the last few months before the (indiscernible). So it’s definitely paid off. I think just being more consistent out on the golf course, making my misses a little bit tighter instead of missing way left or way right. I think that’s been a big help with my game. And just trying to say steady out on the golf course.
LEXI THOMPSON: You mean just a lot of people bunched up at first place? Well you know it’s the top 35 players in the world that are competing in this tournament, and that’s what makes this tournament one of the best, other than the venue obviously. It is one of the best tournaments and the best fields, and you know you have to play well every day in order to win this tournament. And I think that’s what makes it a great event. And you have to shoot an average of 5 under, 4 or 5 under every day.
Q: We’ve seen players get younger and younger and younger. How tough is it for a girl at such a young age to deal with the pressure and everything that’s happening in the tournament?
LEXI THOMPSON: You know, it is very hard. It’s something to get used to, the pressure, and the expectations of everybody. But you start at a young age, play a lot of tournaments, I think that always helps. And that’s what’s helped me play against older and older age divisions in tournaments and playing week after week. I think that’s what helped me out the most. Growing up with two older brothers has helped out, too. But it is hard with the nerves. You just have to play in the events and get used to it.
THE MODERATOR: Gerina, another solid day for you there. You’re 8-under for the tournament and right up there, what was working well for you today?
GERINA PILLER: Pretty much everything was working. I’ve been hitting my driver really good. Out here with the course being wet, being one of the longer hitters, it definitely has an advantage. And just putting myself in the position on the green and making putts.
THE MODERATOR: Gerina, how has it been in Mexico so far?
GERINA PILLER: It’s been great, I love Mexico. Most people don’t know this, but my maiden name is Mendoza. I don’t speak much Spanish, but I love the food, love the people and it’s just a great tournament. I never got to play with Lorena, but she’s been a huge inspiration.
THE MODERATOR: Speaking of your name change, your husband, Martin, is a professional golfer as well. What is that like being married to another professional athlete and to be on kind of different schedules?
GERINA PILLER: It’s great some days, when we get to see each other. He’s actually in Dallas right now playing with Q-School. Today’s the last round, and I’m kind of anxious to go see how he did but we can help each other. It’s great to have that support.
Q: How do you feel today about being one of the leaders? 8 below par?
GERINA PILLER: I feel great. I’ve never been in the lead before on LPGA. It’s great to get out and shoot a low round. Just looking forward to the weekend.
Q: Gerina, since you haven’t held a lead before in LPGA, do you think your nerves will be racing tomorrow in the first tee or is it just kind of business as usual?
GERINA PILLER: I know I’m going to be nervous, but this year I get to put on the Solheim Cup. That kind of helped. But I think it’s going to be a different nervous, but I’m sure I’m going to be pretty nervous.