HSBC Women's Champions 2013
Sentosa Golf Club, The Serapong Course
Third-round notes and interviews
March 2, 2013
Na Yeon Choi -14, Rolex Rankings No. 2
Stacy Lewis -14, Rolex Rankings No. 4
Paula Creamer -12, Rolex Rankings No. 13
Five-time LPGA winner Stacy Lewis (@Stacy_Lewis) and Rolex Rankings No. 2 Na Yeon Choi (@NYChoi87) sit tied atop the leaderboard heading into the final round of the HSBC Women's Champions in Singapore. Choi and Lewis, who is fourth in the rankings, both sit at 14-under-par, having shot rounds of 67 and 69 respectively on Saturday. American Paula Creamer (@ThePCreamer) also sits two shots back with 18 holes remaining of the event.
It was a back and forth day at the top of the leaderboard for both Lewis, the second-round leader, and Choi. Lewis bogeyed two of her first three holes of the day while Choi opened with back-to-back birdies to move into a two-shot lead. But it would turn into a tight battle. Three straight birdies by Lewis to close out the front nine moved her back into a share of the lead with Choi at 12-under-par.
"I just kind of hit a few bad shots early and just didn't make any putts, but really, from 3 on in, I played really solid," Lewis said. " You're going to hit some bad shots, it's expected. The pins were a little tougher today I thought, a little harder to make birdies, but made some putts on the back nine and it was good."
Two birdies by Choi in the first five holes on the back side would give her a one-shot lead. But then on the 15th a two-shot swing took place with Lewis recording birdie while Choi bogeyed the hole. Lewis would maintain that one-shot lead when play was suspended for a little over two and a half hours due to lightning in the area. Only the final group remained on the course when play was halted, and they were in the 18th fairway. When play resumed, Choi hit her wedge shot in close and sank a 12-foot birdie putt to move herself back into a share of the lead.
"I think that frees me up for tomorrow," Choi said of her birdie on the 18th. "I think I can remember that feeling for tomorrow. I mean, I finish strong and that putt, I hit pretty solid. It's nothing any tentative.
"I was a little nervous for the third shot, I don't know why. A lot of people were waiting; I didn't expect that. But I made it really good and I feel great."
Caddie of the Year: Stacy Lewis' caddy, Travis Wilson, was named the HSBC Women's Champions Caddy of the Year on Friday night at the annual HSBC Caddy Night. Wilson, who has been a caddie for 21 years on Tour, has been with Lewis since the start of her career and she
"He's been my only caddie for five years and whatever crazy things I want to work on or whatever I want to learn, he's always on board," Lewis said. "Just easygoing on the course and knows how to manage me and knows my game. It's perfect. When you have a good one, you don't let him go."
The Somerset, Ohio native began his career as a caddie for his aunt, LPGA Tour professional Tammie Green, back in 1993. Wilson, 40, was also credited by Lewis for playing a big role in her success so far this week.
"It's knowing how far each club goes off the tee and knowing in each situation how far I'm going to hit it and sidehill lies and uphill lies as in that kind of stuff, he just knows my game so well that it's like one person out there playing," Lewis said.
Despite the lack of a full practice round before play began this week, Creamer has put herself in contention heading into Sunday's final round of the HSBC Women's Champions. Following a third-round 69, Creamer sits two shots back of leader Stacy Lewis.
"I'm just so pleased to be out here, and let alone to be in contention on Sunday," Creamer said. "That's just beyond my imagination of what I thought even teeing it up on Thursday. It is what it is. I'm just going to go out and try to smile as much as I can and enjoy the great game of golf that we play. And sometimes you have to kind of get a little riled up and you feel those kind of emotions again."
Creamer got off to a slow start in her round on Saturday, shooting even par on her first nine. But she birdied the first three holes on the back to put herself right back up with the leaders. The back nine has been good to Creamer so far this week as she's gone a combined 11-under-par on the back side.
"This golf course, I seem to play the back nine a lot better," Creamer said. "I think I hit one fairway on the front nine. So I was kind of struggling a little bit here and there. On the back nine I just felt really confident, a little more comfortable. Made a bogey on 16, but that happens and just trying to get another birdie coming down the stretch."
It's electric...Third-round play was suspended at 3:14 p.m. due to lightning in the area. Only the final group remained on the course when play was halted. It resumed at 5:45 p.m. resulting in a delay of two hours, 31 minutes.
Moving on Up! There were a number of players who were able to take advantage of Moving Day on Saturday. Among those were Jessica Korda (@JessicaKorda) and Karine Icher who each shot a 4-under 68 in the third round. The stellar score moved Korda from T13 into sole possession of eighth place while Icher jumped into a tie for ninth.
Quotable:. "They are both such great players. They obviously have won numerous times and they are playing well. I think it's exciting when you do have so many people that are kind of in the mix, and I think this golf course, three or four groups in front of us to be aware of, as well." – Paula Creamer on playing with Stacy Lewis and Na Yeon Choi in the final group on Sunday
Of Note... Defending champion Angela Stanford shot 1-over-par 73 and is tied for 57th…Eun-Hee Ji withdrew prior to the third round due to illness…Rolex Rankings No. 1 Yani Tseng shot a 1-under 71 on Saturday and is tied for 19th at 4-under-par.
Na Yeon Choi, Rolex Rankings No. 2
Q. Just take me through the day, especially what was it like to have to sit there for 2 1/2 hours and waiting.
NA YEON CHOI: Actually I started very well first of all, and second of all, I got a really good birdie. Both I hit 6-iron and I felt great. I mean, the weather wasn't good until, you know, we finished, but we can't control about that. I was sitting down inside and just talk about non-golf with the caddie and just tried to thinking positively. Just go out there one shot, one putt, didn't even think about that. I just stayed and feel very excited to play tomorrow.
I feel kind of comfortable with this situation, this position, so it should be a really exciting game tomorrow.
Q. Stacy got off to a slow start and you got off to a hot start. And on the back nine, she was starting to get on fire, and you made par on 8 and 9, how big were those two pars?
NA YEON CHOI: I made a lot of putts, even for par. I got bogey on 15, same as yesterday, but you know, that shot, maybe a little change of strategy for tomorrow because I hit both bunker from the tee shot.
So I mean, everybody knows that she's a good player, Stacy, and you know, it might be like intimidating player in contention right now. But I've got confidence and I played well today and yesterday, so we'll see.
Q. How big was it for you on 18 to come out there and after waiting for so long to be able to come out and make birdie?
NA YEON CHOI: I think that frees me up for tomorrow. I think I can remember that feeling for tomorrow. I mean, I finish strong and that putt, I hit pretty solid. It's nothing any tentative.
I was a little nervous for the third shot, I don't know why. A lot of people were waiting; I didn't expect that. But I made it really good and I feel great.
Q. How did you deal with the weather delay?
NA YEON CHOI: We cannot control about that. We always expect rain in Singapore and Thailand and in Asia. If we tee off like ten more minutes early, then maybe we could have finished, but I cannot control that. I just took a rest and then came back and I made a birdie.
Q. It helps you in the end --
NA YEON CHOI: Maybe if I just played, I couldn't make birdie, but anyway, I made it and I feel great.
Q. That must make you feel great for tomorrow.
NA YEON CHOI: Yeah, I mean, hopefully that spirit I want to bring to tomorrow, too. You know, especially these greens, I feel kind of like confidence for reading the lines.
I mean, even tomorrow, just I try to focus my game and have fun out there, have fun with the atmosphere on the course, just like that.
Q. Golf is always shot by shot, and round by round; as I understand it, if you win here, you'll be very, very close to taking over as world No. 1. Is that something that you ever think about?
NA YEON CHOI: I think that if I think about that on tomorrow, then I don't think I can have good results. So I will try to just think about one shot at a time and focus my game. I don't care how they play, just try to focus my game. That's the kind of like daily goal for tomorrow.
Stacy Lewis, Rolex Rankings No. 4
Q. Great round, you got off to a bit of a rough start, tell us what happened on the first.
STACY LEWIS: I just kind of hit a few bad shots early and just didn't make any putts, but really, from 3 on in, I played really solid. You're going to hit some bad shots, it's expected. The pins were a little tougher today I thought, a little harder to make birdies, but made some putts on the back nine and it was good.
Q. And how did you feel up to the break?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, it was very frustrating. We waited all day, the pace of play was not very good, and it's frustrating, probably three fast players are in the back there, and we had to sit there and wait. It is what it is and luckily we got finished today.
Q. Did you play well all around, or talk us through the turning point of how you got it going again.
STACY LEWIS: I would say I got up-and-down on 7 for birdie, and then made a long putt on 8 and then hit it close on 9. I think that birdieing those three definitely got me going the right direction.
Q. And then the back nine?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I played solid. I had some birdie chances I didn't make. But made some good pars on some tough holes and just played solid.
Q. And obviously looking forward to tomorrow, playing again with Na Yeon?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, it will be great. We are both playing really well and she played well again today. It's going to be tight tomorrow and we are going to have to make some putts. But she's great and it will be fun to play with her.
Q. Great to be in this position?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, it is, that's my goal every week is to give myself a chance to win on Sunday. Now I've done that and now we can just go out there and have fun tomorrow.
Q. And your caddie winning --
STACY LEWIS: No, he was embarrassed by all the hype about it, so it was fun.
Q. Very nice to see him win that prize?
STACY LEWIS: It's been great. He's been my only caddie since I turned pro and he's been great to me. I'm just glad to see he got honoured for it.
Paula Creamer, Rolex Rankings No. 13
Q. Perfect timing, you got in just in time.
PAULA CREAMER: I know, my goodness gracious. We saw it coming and we're thinking okay, we'll probably all just finish, but honestly I'm shocked that they didn't get the last hole in.
Q. One consolation for not being in the final group.
PAULA CREAMER: Exactly. Sometimes it has its perks of being second to last.
Q. Let's talk about that back nine because what a start you got off to on 10, 11 and 12.
PAULA CREAMER: I did. This golf course, I seem to play the back nine a lot better. I think I hit one fairway on the front nine. So I was kind of struggling a little bit here and there.
On the back nine I just felt really confident, a little more comfortable. Made a bogey on 16, but that happens and just trying to get another birdie coming down the stretch.
Q. What a great finishing hole, as well.
PAULA CREAMER: Yeah, dinner will taste a lot better, especially not having to grind it out on the last hole. Just look forward to a good day tomorrow. This is much more than what I ever expected to be in, in this position right now, and just to keep enjoying it.
Q. You're just two shots back, I know the win for you has been a couple of years in the making; how do you feel about tomorrow's round?
PAULA CREAMER: I feel great. Like I said, I'm just so pleased to be out here, and let alone to be in contention on Sunday. That's just beyond my imagination of what I thought even teeing it up on Thursday.
It is what it is. I'm just going to go out and try to smile as much as I can and enjoy the great game of golf that we play. And sometimes you have to kind of get a little riled up and you feel those kind of emotions again.
Q. You'll be playing with Stacy Lewis and Na Yeon Choi who I know you must know very well; who do you think is going to be the big threat out of those two?
PAULA CREAMER: You can't really say either one; they are both such great players. They obviously have won numerous times and they are playing well. I think it's exciting when you do have so many people that are kind of in the mix, and I think this golf course, three or four groups in front of us to be aware of, as well.
Q. You have a head start because you're in the clubhouse and they are still in the 18th?
PAULA CREAMER: That will be good, try to get some treatment again and get out here.