Aviara Golf Club
Second-round notes and interviews
March 22, 2013
Stick with it
Cheers to the weekend
In the booth
Tweet of the Day
Beatriz Recari -8, Rolex Rankings No. 45
Paula Creamer -7, Rolex Rankings No. 11
Karrie Webb -7, Rolex Rankings No. 15
I.K. Kim -6, Rolex Rankings No. 21
Spain’s Beatriz Recari (@BeatrizRecari) shot one of the best rounds of the day on Friday, a five-under 67, and took the lead after two days of play at the Kia Classic (@LPGAKiaClassic). Recari moved to 8-under par after her bogey-free, five birdie round and holds a one-shot lead over Rolex Rankings No. 11 Paula Creamer (@ThePCreamer) and World and LPGA Golf Halls of Fame member Karrie Webb.
Recari has been the epitome of consistency over the past year and will make her 38th consecutive cut this weekend. She was one of three players in the 2012 season to make every cut in each start she made (27). The 25-year old said last season left her with a positive attitude heading into 2013 and it has shown in her results.
“Well, definitely the consistency gave me a lot of confidence because that definitely showed me that I was on the right track and doing the right things,” said Recari. “Just in the winter I just focused on maybe raising the bar in my short game. I felt that maybe my short game wasn't at the high level that I wanted to have last year. I took a lot of positives from last year. I didn't win, which is something that I'm definitely looking forward to doing this year.”
Stick with it: Paula Creamer found herself searching for answers on the greens last season and tried to return to a familiar feeling she had earlier on in her career. She switched back to the two-ball model putter this past December, one she had used and won several times with on Tour.
“I used it probably for the first three years maybe on Tour, three and a half years, and then I kind of switched a couple times,” said Creamer. “I wanted to go back to something I was very comfortable with. It took me a while. I tried to go back to it sooner but I just couldn't do it. One of the reasons I switched was I had one and it got bent traveling and I never found one that I liked again, so I just kind of went away from it. Now it's good, I like it and it's back in the bag.”
Creamer ranked 34th in putts per greens in regulation and 44th in putting average last season and hopes the switch will prove some position change.
“I played with it at Swinging Skirts in Taiwan, so that was last December, so it's only been a couple months,” said Creamer. “But I decided after CME that I'm going to go back no matter what. No matter what happens, I'm not switching putters, I'm not doing anything, I'm just going to kind of grind through it with this one.”
Extra work: Karrie Webb found her form through her final nine holes and helped herself stay in contention heading into the weekend. The Australian is in pursuit of her 39th LPGA Tour victory.
“I hit it pretty similar to yesterday, probably just didn't make as many putts today as I did yesterday,” said Webb. “I think the pins are a little bit trickier, I found anyway, than yesterday. So I had a good last nine holes, I turned in 1 over but I felt like I was still playing pretty good. Three birdies on the back, so it was a pretty good round.”
Webb is coming off back-to-back T18 finishes in Singapore and Phoenix and said some extra analytical work this week has helped piece things together.
“It's sort of come together,” said Webb. “Put some hard work in at the beginning of the week because I wasn't super happy with the way I've been hitting it and watching video and emailing the video and lessons over the phone. But it's nice to feel like I know where the ball's going.”
Local advantage: Three-time LPGA Tour winner I.K. Kim feels right at home this week since the Rancho Santa Fe resident lives just 15 minutes away from this week’s host course, Aviara Golf Club. Kim credits the course staff for being so accommodating to local LPGA Tour players in the week’s leading up to the event in terms of access to the course and hospitality.
“You know, I'm just very comfortable,” said Kim. “The people around here are amazing. They let me practice whenever I get here. So it's good to see a lot of people, friends out here. So I think that makes me feel even more that, you know, welcome here.”
Kim matched Recari for low round of the day on Friday with a 5-under 67 and heads into the weekend two shots off the lead at 6-under par. She said the extra preparation the winter months in harsher conditions has made this week a bit easier with seven practice rounds under her belt.
“But I have to tell you, the conditions totally changed,” said Kim. “You know, it was really cold this winter. But it's playing much you know, because I practiced in the hard conditions, I have to say, so that helps out.”
Winning ace: It would be no surprise if Jin Young Pak had frustration after she finished the 13th hole on Friday. The South Korean double bogeyed her fourth hole of the day but had a big reason to celebrate shortly afterward. Pak made a hole in one at the next hole on No. 14 which was designated as the prize hole for the week. One swing of her 7 iron from 164 yards won the 26-year old a brand new 2014 Kia Cadenza, the official car of the Kia Classic.
She tried to play the hole 150 yards and watched the ball take one bounce before taking the lucky drop. It was her sixth hole in one in her lifetime and when asked if she has ever won a car before, Pak made it obvious she had no idea she had won the car until after her round.
“I got a car? Really?”
Cheers to the weekend: A total of 73 players made the cut which fell at 3-over-par 147.
In the booth: Natalie Gulbis (@natalie_gulbis) joined the Golf Channel telecast crew in their booth Friday afternoon. She caught up with on-air talent Judy Rankin and Whit Watson and gave an update on her health status after her diagnosis of malaria a few weeks ago. Gulbis withdrew from the field this week prior to the first round but said she’s made significant improvements and is currently preparing for the season’s first major, the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
Tweet of the Day: Goes to Jessica Korda (@JessicaKorda) who took part in the Twitter Takeover and got a chance to answer questions from fans through the LPGA Tour twitter account this afternoon from the Golf Channel booth. Luckily for Korda, U.S. Solheim Cup Team assistant captain Dottie Pepper is a fan and asked her what the best piece of advice her father, Petr, has ever given her.
“@DottieandBogey Always have fun and don’t forget why started to play the game! –Bc you love it!! Oh and Hi #lpgaongc”
BEATRIZ RECARI, Rolex Rankings No. 45
Q. We're joined here by Beatriz Recari, just shot a 5 under today, current leader at 8 under. Take us through your day. Awesome round.
BEATRIZ RECARI: Yeah, I had great momentum from yesterday, I played really well. I felt like I left some putts out there. It was kind of shaky to putt on the greens yesterday, so today I started with a good opportunity, birdie opportunity on 2 and 3 that just lipped out. I was just patient out there and managed to make birdie on 5 and 6 and that kind of got me a little bit more positive and just kind of keeping going that momentum. And yeah, I just played really solid. I think I just missed one green and just made gave myself some chances, good birdie on 9, 10 and 11 and just kind of cruised from there, so very happy.
Q. You're very accurate off the tee, you're always ranking high on accuracy. A lot of players have been saying to stay out of the rough. How important is it to really keep it on the fairway this week and stay out of the rough stuff that people say has been kind of hard to manage?
BEATRIZ RECARI: Yeah, definitely, it's definitely very important to drive the ball very well on this golf course. Yesterday I just missed one fairway and I was in the rough and it was pretty challenging to get it out there on the green and stuff because the greens are very demanding, too. So definitely it is a key element to be on the fairway.
Q. You're so consistent, you're kind of what they call the Iron Woman now. That's the nickname. You didn't miss a cut last year in 27 events, two Top 5 finishes this year already, your first two events. What was different coming into this year, anything? Or what was kind of your mentality of staying so consistent, making every cut, having that consistency going?
BEATRIZ RECARI: Well, definitely the consistency gave me a lot of confidence because that definitely showed me that I was on the right track and doing the right things. Just in the winter I just focused on maybe raising the bar in my short game. I felt that maybe my short game wasn't at the high level that I wanted to have last year. I took a lot of positives from last year. I didn't win, which is something that I'm definitely looking forward to doing this year, and yeah, I think just like I said, I left 2012 with a lot of confidence and I just kept on doing the same things.
Q. You're always in the mix, you're always kind of right around the top of the leaderboard. Like I said, so consistent. You said you didn't get a win last year. Does that get frustrating when you said you're so close? You already have one win to your name back in your rookie year, but does it get frustrating when you say, oh, I'm getting so close but never breaking really into the winner's circle?
BEATRIZ RECARI: Definitely frustrating. It's a positive thing to always put my name out there. It's a matter of like my experience after winning is a matter of just staying patient out there and just really focus one shot at a time and not look too much at the leaderboard. I think it's very important to put yourself in the position to win. I would love to win every event, but there's a lot of really good competitors and players out there and it's hard, but I just, you know, always to be in the mix is the important thing.
PAULA CREAMER, Rolex Rankings No. 11
Q. Take us through, a lot of birdies.
PAULA CREAMER: Yeah, I played well, played well the last couple days. Yesterday I didn't hit it as solid as I wanted. I hit some balls afterwards, kind of found a couple things, and today made some more birdies, but had two bogeys still. There's big greens out here, so you get in a tough spot and sometimes you hit in little hills, you hit a good shot and you don't get rewarded and that's kind of the hard part about it. I had two three putts.
Q. Overall, what's the feeling?
PAULA CREAMER: No, I feel good. I'm ready for the weekend. Hopefully, you know, I can go out and keep doing what I'm doing and stay in my own world and see what happens on Sunday.
Q. Did you think that you might be able to shoot a pretty good score today going off earlier?
PAULA CREAMER: Yeah, there's a big advantage to this golf course, going early. Not only are the greens a lot better but just the wind's not as tricky. And that front nine in the afternoon, it's tough because there's so many little canyons everywhere and the wind's just swirling, but it is an advantage. I wanted to try to go as low as I could. It was a good day. Obviously I could have made a couple more here and there, but we'll take it.
Q. Does it fit your eye? Is there a fairly good comfort level out here?
PAULA CREAMER: Yeah, very good. The fairways are pretty wide, but you've got to be able to hit in the right part of the fairways and then you have to the biggest strength is my irons and hitting in the right parts of the greens.
Q. Any shots stand out?
PAULA CREAMER: Let's see, last hole was kind of good. I was in the rough on the right and I didn't have a very good tee shot, but hit it to about three feet, so that was kind of nice, made a birdie.
Q. was that the hole?
PAULA CREAMER: 7, 7, I almost yeah, it was almost literally (motions to within inches)
Q. The two ball putter that you've gone back to, you were talking I think in pre week about that had been a putter you had won with. How much had you won with that, how long did you use it?
PAULA CREAMER: I used it probably for the first three years maybe on Tour, three and a half years, and then I kind of switched a couple times. I wanted to go back to something I was very comfortable with. It took me a while. I tried to go back to it sooner but I just couldn't do it. One of the reasons I switched was I had one and it got bent traveling and I never found one that I liked again, so I just kind of went away from it. Now it's good, I like it and it's back in the bag.
Q. How long has it been back?
PAULA CREAMER: I played with it at Swinging Skirts in Taiwan, so that was last December, so it's only been a couple months. But I decided after CME that I'm going to go back no matter what. No matter what happens, I'm not switching putters, I'm not doing anything, I'm just going to kind of grind through it with this one.
Q. Are you feeling healthy as far as the car accident and stuff?
PAULA CREAMER: Yeah, it's kind of hard in the mornings when it's cold, my shoulder starts to bug me a little bit, but overall, I do, I feel a lot better. My neck is not a hundred percent where it's at, but it's not you know, I'm not hurting myself when I'm out here and it's not affecting my game a hundred percent.
Q. Are you flinching at all when you're in the car?
PAULA CREAMER: Yeah, I'm a nightmare in the car, I'm awful. I have to drive or I have to be in the back seat where I can't see. It's getting better, but still it's I get a lot of anxiety before I even get into the car. Like I said in my press conference earlier, people who have been in accidents understand that and people who haven't really they don't get it. My mom, my dad, they've been really good with me because I've been like, "Watch out, watch out." I have to just sit there and I put my music on and I just close my eyes.
Q. Did you see it coming?
PAULA CREAMER: Yeah, I did.
Q. Was it T boned?
PAULA CREAMER: No, we hit the car I mean, we were going 90 miles per hour, so we were moving, and we hit them and then we just kept getting hit. Well, they hit somebody and we hit them. It was like a domino effect.
KARRIE WEBB, Rolex Rankings No. 15
Q. Another consistent round and still up near the top of the leaderboard. Take me through your day today and what kind of you were able to do out there on the golf course.
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah, I hit it pretty similar to yesterday, probably just didn't make as many putts today as I did yesterday. I think the pins are a little bit trickier, I found anyway, than yesterday. So I had a good last nine holes, I turned in 1 over but I felt like I was still playing pretty good. Three birdies on the back, so it was a pretty good round.
Q. Pretty good position to be in heading into the weekend. Any specific things that you feel like you've got to do to keep yourself in contention?
KARRIE WEBB: Just keep doing what I'm doing, hitting fairways and greens, I think, and then just being patient on the greens. I think anyone's making everything every chance they have and I think everyone's doing that, so yeah, the same as the first two days.
Q. I heard they might move some tees up for the weekend to give you guys kind of some chances to go at these holes. How will that change at all how some of these play?
KARRIE WEBB: Maybe one or two of the holes it would change, but it would just depend where it is and how far down I get my tee shot whether it's going to change how I play the hole or not.
Q. And I guess just overall when we talked about your game going in for this year, I'll ask it just again, but feeling good about what you've been working on for these first two rounds?
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah, you know, it's sort of come together. Put some hard work in at the beginning of the week because I wasn't super happy with the way I've been hitting it and watching video and emailing the video and lessons over the phone. But it's nice to feel like I know where the ball's going.
I.K. KIM, Rolex Rankings No. 21
Q. Obviously a really good round today. How did you feel about it?
I.K. KIM: You know, putts were dropping this morning. You know, it was similar. Yesterday I played really solid and today I hit a lot of good shots. And, you know, this golf course, you're not hitting a wedge into the green, especially for me. I'm hitting 5 iron, 6 iron. But the putts, you've got to make some putts and I did that well on the front nine and I kept hitting the putt really well on the back nine as well, so I'm just very excited.
Q. You finished with three straight birdies?
I.K. KIM: On the front.
Q. On the front?
I.K. KIM: Yeah, I did. I shot 31 on the front and then even par on the back. But this golf course, you've just got to keep hitting a good shot and give yourself opportunities and that's not birdie hole every hole, so you just have to play really solid.
Q. You've got a lot of the chances to play out here leading up to the event. How did that knowledge help you coming into this week in terms of knowing this golf course?
I.K. KIM: You know, I'm just very comfortable. The people around here are amazing. They let me practice whenever I get here, you know what I mean? So it's good to see a lot of people, friends out here. So I think that makes me feel even more that, you know, welcome here. Welcoming everyone, but I live 15 minutes away and I think coming out and practice this winter. But I have to tell you, the conditions totally changed. You know, was really cold this winter. But it's playing much you know, because I practiced in the hard conditions, I have to say, so that helps out.
Q. How many rounds did you get in here before this tournament would you say?
I.K. KIM: Almost handful, yeah.
I.K. KIM: With the practice round and pro am, probably like seven.
Q. And you were talking about the course being long. Was there a sense on your part that you would be able to play well here? You can practice all you want, right, but if the course doesn't suit you
I.K. KIM: You know, sometimes your 5 iron is getting closer than your wedge, you know what I mean? It doesn't matter really what distance, it's just overall. There's long par 5 and 4s but there's also birdie chance, you know? You have to birdie those holes and finish it low. You still have to grind it out.
Q. What were your birdie putts on 7, 8 and 9? How long? What were those distances?
I.K. Kim: I hit it really close on 8 with a wedge. It was a par 5. 9 also was maybe
Q. 30 feet?
I.K. KIM: No, probably eight feet. And on 7, you know, I have bad memory. Oh, actually that was another one, eight feet.
Q. So you kind of went eight and then the par 5 one was
I.K. KIM: Yeah, tap in. I have to say there was birdie chance out there.
Q. How much time have you spent here at home? How much time have you spent in San Diego since like December or so?
I.K. KIM: Actually, I was overseas traveling and then I got back right after Christmas and I spend whole winter. And this winter hasn't been really friendly. It was like 32 at one point. I thought we were going to have a white Christmas, it was really cold. But you can't complain living out here, sunshine.