RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup Third Round Notes and Interviews

RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup
Wildfire Golf Club at JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa
Phoenix, Arizona
Third-Round notes and interviews
March 16, 2013

Ai Miyazato -19, Rolex Rankings No. 9
Stacy Lewis -15, Rolex Rankings No. 3
Angela Stanford -13, Rolex Rankings No. 19
Lizette Salas -13, Rolex Rankings No. 58

Rolex Rankings No. 9 Ai Miyazato is staring down her 10th career LPGA Tour victory as she fired a flawless 5-under 67 to regain the lead at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup heading into tomorrow’s final round. The Okinawa, Japan native only missed one green on Saturday and recorded her second bogey free round of the week with five birdies.

Despite feeling uncomfortable at the start of her round, Miyazato kicked it into gear and drained a 12-foot birdie putt on the 18th to gain momentum heading into tomorrow.

“I didn't hit any bad shots and I had a few chances, a few birdie chances out there but I couldn't make it,” said Miyazato. “But still towards the end I started to feel more comfortable with my putting.  The last putt was really clutch, I think, so that's going to be good momentum to tomorrow.”

Trailing four shots behind Miyazato is 2012 Rolex Player of the Year Stacy Lewis (@Stacy_Lewis) and Jee Young Lee.

Overcoming Obstacles… During Ai Miyazato’s seven years on the LPGA Tour she has notched nine career victories but to many people’s surprise the poised Okinawa, Japan native hasn’t always been confident.

During her first three years on tour, Miyazato found herself being consistently outdriven  forcing her to compensate her swing and lose her fluid temp which she has become so infamous for today. During her rookie year in 2006, she finished 61st in driving distance, in 1007, 131st and in 2008, 99th.

“Yeah, the first three years was really stressful for me because I wasn't really hitting it long and all the players hit pass me like 50 yards away and I was like this is no fair,” said Miyazato. “After that I worked on my swing and I just lose my tempo and balance and everything.  I lost my confidence, too.”

Knowing something had to change if she wanted to have a long, successful career on the LPGA Tour, Miyazato teamed-up with highly touted instructors Lynn Marriott and Pia Nilsson, founders of Vision54 to regain her confidence. 

“It wasn't a really good feeling and I thought my career was just finished,” said Miyazato. “But after that I met Pia and Lynn and they helped a lot, and now I know myself really well.  Even though I'm not still hit long, but I know I can putt and my short game is pretty solid and I have confidence with that.  So you don't have to really hit long to the fairway because the golf is not everything about distance.  You can ‑‑ if you can control yourself really well out there, the result's going to follow.  Now I know about that, so it's really comfortable right now.”

Two-stroke penalty…When Stacy Lewis (@Stacy_Lewis) finished her round on the 18th hole on Saturday, the 2012 Rolex Player of the Year thought that she trailed Rolex Rankings No. 9 Ai Miyazato by two shots heading into Sunday’s final round. Soon after, Lewis learned that there had been an issue on the 16th hole when she was in a bunker and that a two-stroke penalty might be assessed under Rule 13-4 due to her caddie, Travis Wilson, testing the sand in the bunker.

Lewis, Wilson and two of the LPGA rules officials went to the TV trailer to review the film of the incident and the decision was made to assess the penalty.

“I didn't see Travis do anything when we were playing, I wasn't looking at his feet obviously,” Lewis said. “So we looked at the video and you have to slow it down, zoom in on his foot, he walks into the bunker, he kind of pushes ‑‑ he kind of bounces his knees a little bit and his foot turns.  And that was kind of the big indicators that his foot turned and you could kind of hear the sand crunch a little bit.  So that's deemed to be testing the sand.”

“It’s a ruling on intent, so our whole purpose of that shot was to find out how much sand was in the bunker,” she added. “That's the unfortunate part.  It looks like he's going in there to see how much sand is in there when that really wasn't what he was trying to do.  So more than anything I just feel bad for him because he feels awful, but he's the best caddie out here, so we'll be fine.  We still have a chance to win tomorrow, so we'll be okay.”

Giving Back… Rolex Rankings No. 19 Angela Stanford (@Angela_Stanford) is playing with a little extra incentive at this week’s RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup. The five-time LPGA Tour winner recently announced she will donate 50% of her winnings to her foundation, the Angela Stanford Foundation.

“It would be really cool to ‑‑ you know, I don't even know what the winner's check is, but that would be really cool to give that amount to my foundation,: said Stanford. “Any birdie from here on in is just more money for the foundation, so that's kind of cool when you're out there thinking about it like that.”

Each year through her foundation, Stanford awards scholarships to Texas residents who have been diagnosed with cancer or whose parent or guardian has been diagnosed with cancer.

“I've always wanted to help kids and I always thought it would be pretty cool to do it, but to finally get to, I guess, put your money where your mouth is and getting to meet some of these kids is pretty cool,” said Stanford. “They go through more than I ever have, so and they're only 17, 18 years old, so I think by being involved and getting to know these kids, it's helped my perspective also.”

Stanford is in prime condition to earn her foundation a large amount of money as she shot a 7-under 65 on Saturday to move into a tie for fourth. Stanford contributed much of her successful round to watching her beloved Texas Ranges in a spring training game on Friday.

“Yeah, I was lucky enough to get an early time yesterday and the Rangers were playing right down the road in Scottsdale against the Giants, so made it there about the bottom of the third,” said Stanford. “I love sitting at a baseball game.  I know I've taken some heat in the past for going to baseball games, but I love it.  It's the one thing that I can just go sit and watch baseball and not think about anything.  So it was great.  I got out of here quick and just kind of mentally got away from it.”

Legendary advice: Nancy Lopez partnered with JoAnne Carner on Saturday morning to win a nine-hole Hall of Fame exhibition over Pat Bradley and Betsy King at Wildfire Golf Club in Phoenix. But Lopez’s biggest impact at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup on Saturday may have been the advice that she doled out to second-year LPGA Tour member Lizette Salas (@LizetteSalas5) the previous day.

Salas shot a 6-under 66 in the third round to vault into a tie for fourth at 13-under-par and she credited a piece of putting advice that Lopez gave her on Friday as the key to her success. On Friday afternoon, Lopez spent the day following all 18 holes of Salas’ second round.

Salas, who is the youngest daughter of Mexican immigrants, has looked up to Lopez for a long time and the two got a chance to meet in person for the first time at last year’s RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup.  But this meeting was certainly a special one as Salas had her mentor following her golf round all day and then had dinner with Lopez later on that evening as well.

“It was one of the best days of my career so far,” Salas said. “I was kind of struggling on the front nine yesterday and she pulled up in her cart and she said, ‘Am I going to have to show you how to do this?’  And I was like ohhhh.   I shifted into gear and I shot 32 on my back nine.  She said, ‘Yeah, that works.’

“It was such an honor for her to watch my game and to get compliments from her is so important to me.  We had dinner, my dad came too, my caddie, we all had dinner, shared stories.  She's just a lovely person, not just a great golfer, but she's an amazing woman with lots of good stories.  She told me her Solheim Cup stories and it was a great, great day for me and my dad.”

LPGA “Drops the Ropes” on Sunday… After the final group tees off on the 18th hole Sunday, approximately 50 girls from the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf program will be let inside the ropes to enjoy LPGA action up close and personal. The girls will be escorted by chaperones and LPGA Foundation staff and they will walk along the left side of the 18th hole behind the LPGA players. The girls will continue to follow the final group and they will sit just off the left side of the green to watch the final putts drop.

Quotable… “It’s too quiet in here – it’s not that sad.” – said Stacy Lewis to the Media Center after a press conference regarding her two-stroke penalty

Where it all began: This week’s RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup is all about honoring the women who helped make the LPGA what it is today. Each day throughout the tournament week, we will showcase a few of those Founders and Pioneers. Today we feature Marilynn Smith and Shirley Spork.

Marilynn Smith
Birthdate: 1929, Florida
Rookie Year: 1950
LPGA Victories: 18
LPGA Earnings: $296,258

LPGA co-founder Marilynn Smith was known as “Miss Personality” and the “LPGA’s Goodwill Ambassador” on the LPGA Tour in its early years. And it was Smith, wearing pearls and heels, who was often pushed out to ad-lib the LPGA’s earliest public relations efforts in front of fans, sponsors and the media. Accompanied by her fellow pros, she would often hit balls from home plate to the outfield and invite fans at Major League Baseball parks to come watch the local LPGA tournament. Once, she even attended a boxing match with the goal of reminding fans between rounds to attend that week’s LPGA event. Unfortunately, the grueling nature of the sport made Smith swoon and one of her fellow pros had to jump into the blood-splattered ring to invite boxing fans to come watch women’s golf.

But while Smith was a true girl-next-door native of Topeka who called herself “just an ordinary gal from the Kansas prairie who has lived an extraordinary life,” she was a solid competitor on the LPGA Tour from 1957 to 1976, playing a more limited schedule until 1985. During that time, Smith won 21 tournaments, including two major championships at the 1963 and 1964 Titleholders Championships. The Kansan’s first LPGA win came at the 1954 Fort Wayne Open in Indiana, with her final professional title notched at the 1972 Pabst Ladies Classic. She recorded nine top-10 finishes on the LPGA’s money list from 1961-1972.

Shirley Spork
Rookie Year: 1946

Shirley Spork was always a player with a keen eye for golf swing technique, leading her to become one of six inaugural members of the LPGA Teaching and Club Professionals’ (T&CP) Hall of Fame. Spork graduated from Eastern Michigan University, where she won the first-ever National Collegiate Championship in 1947, which was the equivalent of today’s NCAA Championship. A teacher at heart, she was the Western educational director for the National Golf Foundation (NGF) for seven years and taught golf in the early 1950s at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio. Typical at that time, she spent the summer months competing on the LPGA Tour and the winter months teaching golf in the California desert.

In 1959, Spork helped found the LPGA’s teaching division along with Marilynn Smith, Betty Hicks and Barbara Rotvig. The Michigan native was twice named LPGA National Teacher of the Year (1959 and 1984). She also served as the LPGA’s T&CP chairperson for eight years. But Spork could also hit the shots, finishing among the top 10 on the LPGA’s money list in 1950, placing second in the 1962 LPGA Championship and fourth in the Carling Eastern Open that year. Widely considered the LPGA’s resident “trick-shot artist,” Spork would please crowds with golf shots on command and entertain fans in clinics wherever the tour traveled.

Of Note… Karrie Webb, winner of the 2011 RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup, took full advantage of moving day and climbed up the leaderboard from T35 to T13 after a 6-under 66…Reigning Vare Trophy winner Inbee Park fired an 8-under 64 to move from T39 to T8….Defending champion and current Rolex Rankings No. 1 Yani Tseng shot a third-round even-par 72 and stands T63.

Ai Miyazato, Rolex Rankings No. 9

MODERATOR:  All right.  I'd like to welcome our leader, Ai Miyazato, to the interview room.  Ai, thanks for coming in.
AI MIYAZATO:  Thank you.

MODERATOR:  Another bogey‑free round similar to Thursday.  Can you just take me through the day, what went well for you out there?
AI MIYAZATO:  Well, let's see, it was a pretty solid round.  I didn't hit any bad shots and I had a few chances, a few birdie chances out there but I couldn't make it.  But still towards the end I started to feel more comfortable with my putting.  The last putt was really clutch, I think, so that's going to be good momentum to tomorrow.

MODERATOR:  Is there anything you're going to work on this afternoon heading into tomorrow?
AI MIYAZATO:  No, nothing.  Just nice and relax, you know.  It's been pretty hot out here and just trying to save my energy for form.

Q.  How long was that last putt?
AI MIYAZATO:  It was about 12 feet.

Q.  And just how important is that to end your round on a note like that going into tomorrow?
AI MIYAZATO:  I think it was big because I know Stacy's going to make it, you know, her birdie putt, so I felt like that I have to make that putt.  Before going to step to address, I felt it, I knew it was going to go in, and I just felt really good feeling before I hit it.  So it's going to be huge for tomorrow.

MODERATOR:  Ai, if you win tomorrow, it would be your 10th win on Tour.  How would it feel to get to double digits in the win category?
AI MIYAZATO:  Well, I don't really want to think about that right now because I know the players are playing really solid this week.  There's so many, so many low scores so far, so you never know what's going to happen.  Need one more day, having fun and appreciate that I'm playing in a tournament again.  Just focus my game.

Q.  Ai, I think you hit 16 greens yesterday and 17 today?
AI MIYAZATO:  Yeah.

Q.  How well are you swinging the club?
AI MIYAZATO:  Well, my caddie told me that I hit 17 greens today and I didn't realize until then because I just focus every single shot and take it one shot at a time.  Because I'm focusing, taking one shot at a time, I think that's why I've been playing really solid.  And my irons are pretty good, especially my irons distance is really good so far, so hopefully I can keep doing that tomorrow.

Q.  Are you aware there's some discussion about whether Stacy may be penalized two strokes for testing the sand on 16?
AI MIYAZATO:  No, I didn't know, I didn't know that, so I hope she's okay.

Q.  Do you like tournaments when scores are really low like this?  Does this suit you, birdie‑fests?
AI MIYAZATO:  Yeah, I like it.  I like kind of the majors, too, though.  You need really patient and try to make a par, but this week is totally opposite.  There's so many birdie opportunities out there and if you take it, it feels great, so I love it.

Q.  Pia was telling me that a couple years ago you were lamenting the fact that you weren't ever going to be really long like some of the other players ‑‑
AI MIYAZATO:  Yeah.

Q.  ‑‑ or have that kind of a game.  Can you just kind of take me through that mental process?  And obviously you must be comfortable with the fact that you're not going to be six feet tall or 320 yards.
AI MIYAZATO:  Yeah, the first three years was really stressful for me because I wasn't really hitting it long and all the players hit pass me like 50 yards away and I was like this is no fair.  After that I worked on my swing and I just lose my tempo and balance and everything.  I lost my confidence, too.  It wasn't a really good feeling and I thought my career was just finished.  But after that I met Pia and Lynn and they helped a lot, and now I know myself really well.  Even though I'm not still hit long, but I know I can putt and my short game is pretty solid and I have confidence with that.  So you don't have to really hit long to the fairway because the golf is not everything about distance.  You can ‑‑ if you can control yourself really well out there, the result's going to follow.  Now I know about that, so it's really comfortable right now.

Q.  What kind of battle do you expect with Stacy tomorrow?
AI MIYAZATO:  Just keep making birdies each other, you know, just like today.  I can see that Stacy's in good shape right now and she can putt and she hits really long.  Her iron distance is just amazing, so hopefully you can just keep making a birdie until the last hole.

Q.  If she wins, she could vault to No. 1.  You've been No. 1.  Do you want to get back in that mix and have a shot at it again?
AI MIYAZATO:  Well, I'll think about that after tomorrow, but right now honestly to be No. 1 is my goal within the long term.  Right now it's just having fun with my process to be there, so we'll see what's going to happen tomorrow.

Q.  Do you think you're more equipped to hold the No. 1 ranking now than you did when you first got it?
AI MIYAZATO:  Well, I don't know about my future, I don't know if I can do it or not.  Definitely the few years ago that I was on the top of the world, that was a great experience.  It never saw like that before so that definitely helps if I can be No. 1 again.

Stacy Lewis, Rolex Rankings No. 3

MODERATOR:  All right.  We'd like to welcome Stacy Lewis into the interview room.  First off, I just want to tell anybody, if you actually have a complete question about the ruling that took place, we will have Jim Haley, our lead official this week, available to answer any of those questions. 

Stacy, just to talk about it because we just spent some time looking at some film, there was a two‑stroke penalty assessed on 16.
STACY LEWIS:  Yep.

MODERATOR:  Can you just take me through what you were told and just what happened on that hole?
STACY LEWIS:  Yeah.  Well, I was told after the round on 18, we were signing our cards and Sue came up and said that we had an issue on 16 and so we went out and looked at it in the trailer.  I didn't see Travis do anything when we were playing, I wasn't looking at his feet obviously.  So we looked at the video and you have to slow it down, zoom in on his foot, he walks into the bunker, he kind of pushes ‑‑ he kind of bounces his knees a little bit and his foot turns.  And that was kind of the big indicators that his foot turned and you could kind of hear the sand crunch a little bit.  So that's deemed to be testing the sand.

You know, it's kind of ‑‑ it's a ruling on intent, so our whole purpose of that shot was to find out how much sand was in the bunker.  That's the unfortunate part.  It looks like he's going in there to see how much sand is in there when that really wasn't what he was trying to do.  So more than anything I just feel bad for him because he feels awful, but he's the best caddie out here, so we'll be fine.  We still have a chance to win tomorrow, so we'll be okay.

MODERATOR:  I was going to say, two‑stroke penalty, it doesn't takeaway from the fact that you had a tremendous round out there.  What really was working for you today, and it seems like we talked to you every week where you're right in there going into the final round.  How's it feel again to have another chance to win tomorrow?
STACY LEWIS:  It feels really good.  In my mind I shot a bogey‑free 66 today and that's what I'm going to take home tonight.  I played really well today.  Definitely could have made some more putts.  I hit a ton of greens, I just didn't make many putts, but I played great today.  And Ai is playing really well.  I think you shoot a number like I did today and I was two back, I thought shooting a 66 I could get a little closer.  Ai's playing great, so it's going to take a really good round tomorrow, but I'm playing well and it's out there.

MODERATOR:  We've seen a lot of those low numbers.  If you look at the leaderboard today, a lot of players made the jump up on moving day as most people call it.  The way you've been playing lately, do you feel that you can post one of those low numbers tomorrow, that the game is in shape to be able to do that?
STACY LEWIS:  Oh, for sure, I think I only missed one green today.  This golf course, it's all about your wedges and how close you can hit them and making those putts.  I certainly gave myself opportunities to shoot at least 8‑under today, but it just didn't happen.  I know a low one's out there, I just haven't shot my low number this week, I know that.  There's ‑‑ tomorrow's a big day for me.  I'm going to look forward to it.  Travis and I are going to go have fun out there and we'll be pretty motivated.

Q.  Just curious, why he was in the bunker?
STACY LEWIS:  I think he was just walking over to look at the lie.  I mean, he walks in the bunker occasionally to look at the shot, that's not kind of out of the norm for him.  I don't know what he was trying to do, truthfully.  I mean, he says he wasn't trying to do it, so I believe him.  Truthfully, if his foot didn't turn at all, we don't have an issue.  I don't know, the situation, I think when you put it on video and you kind of look at it from an outside perspective, it's a two‑shot penalty.  Were we trying to do that?  No, not at all.

Q.  So you didn't call him in, he just went in?
STACY LEWIS:  Yeah, we were just talking about the shot.  I think my head was even turned the other direction and he just kind of walked in and looked at it and walked back.  I think as he was walking back, he kind of stopped and kind of bounced his leg.  I don't know if he put his weight on his toe or I don't know what he did, but his foot kind of, it just ‑‑ his heel kind of went back and forth.

Q.  So what did you say to him after it was decided you were going to get a penalty?
STACY LEWIS:  I mean, he was ‑‑ he's very upset about it.  I told him that, you know, the good part is that we got it before the cards were turned in so I can still play tomorrow and we have a chance to win.  That's our goal every week is to have a chance to win on Sunday.  So, I mean, I know he's really upset right now, but that's the first penalty we've ever had like that in four and a half years, so everybody makes mistakes and we'll move on from it and we'll be fine.

Q.  It sounded like in the audio at least from what we heard on Golf Channel, you were asking where the wedge was going to dig.  Were you concerned about how firm the sand was?
STACY LEWIS:  Yeah, that's the problem with the whole situation is when you move your foot, when he moves his foot like that, it looks like he's trying to figure out how much sand is in the bunker, and that's what ‑‑ any time you go in a bunker to hit a bunker shot, you're trying to figure out how much sand is in the bunker, so we said is this wedge going to dig, is it going to bounce.  That's what we were trying to figure out.  That's the unfortunate part.  Any bunker shot, you're trying to figure out how much sand is in there.  That's the problem is I didn't ‑‑ I just ‑‑ I didn't have a good answer, I didn't know what to tell the officials.  That's the problem.  You kind of take back and look at it from an outsider's perspective, it's a two‑shot penalty.

 

Angela Stanford, Rolex Rankings No. 19

MODERATOR:  All right.  I'd like to welcome Angela Stanford into the interview room.  Angela, thanks for coming.  They refer to Saturday as moving day and that's exactly what you did, a nice 7‑under round.  Can you just take me through the day?
ANGELA STANFORD:  I guess I should say I have to thank my allergies because I got here this morning and my eyes, you know, just are burning, I'm tired.  I don't know.  So I'm like, man, I've just got to get through today.  Sometimes when I have days like that I really play one shot at a time because I know it's probably going to be a tough day.  I just hit a really good shot into No. 1 and tap‑in birdie and kind of got the day going. 

MODERATOR:  You announced this week that you were donating half of your winnings this week to your charity, the Angela Stanford Foundation.  Does that give you any extra incentive to play well this week?
ANGELA STANFORD:  Yeah, for sure.  It would be really cool to ‑‑ you know, I don't even know what the winner's check is, but that would be really cool to give that amount to my foundation.  Any birdie from here on in is just more money for the foundation, so that's kind of cool when you're out there thinking about it like that.

MODERATOR:  How does it feel to be able to help young girls go to college?
ANGELA STANFORD:  You know, I've always wanted to help kids and I always thought it would be pretty cool to do it, but to finally get to, I guess, put your money where your mouth is and get to meet some of these kids is pretty cool.  They go through more than I ever have, so and they're only 17, 18 years old, so I think by being involved and getting to know these kids, it's helped my perspective also.

MODERATOR:  I heard you say when we first came in that you went to a baseball game last night.  Did that help you at all today and what game did you go to?
ANGELA STANFORD:  Yeah, I was lucky enough to get an early time yesterday and the Rangers were playing right down the road in Scottsdale against the Giants, so made it there about the bottom of the third.  I love sitting at a baseball game.  I know I've taken some heat in the past for going to baseball games, but I love it.  It's the one thing that I can just go sit and watch baseball and not think about anything.  So it was great.  I got out of here quick and just kind of mentally got away from it.

Q.  This course isn't supposed to be that easy, but we're seeing 64, 65, there's been a 63 this week.  Why are there such low scores?
ANGELA STANFORD:  You know, there hasn't been much wind and I think the fact that it's been hotter.  It's weird because I think you can sense out there all of a sudden the ball starts going a little bit farther and it's playing kind of firm and fast, so that's just a combination for low scores.

Q.  A lot of people chasing the leaders today have shot 64, 65, 66, 65.  Is it harder to be that aggressive when you're on top of the leaderboard on Saturday, or is there just kind of a natural inclination to protect your lead a little bit as opposed to if you're six shots behind saying, all right, I've got to fire at pins and go?
ANGELA STANFORD:  You know, I wouldn't say on Saturday.  Maybe people are thinking it on Sunday, but not Saturday because we still have a whole day tomorrow.  I felt starting today, you've just got to make as many birdies as possible because the leaders are going to do the same thing.  And honestly, I didn't think I would be sitting here, to be honest.  I don't know, you just never know what's going to happen out there.  Definitely Saturday is the day that you just want to put the pedal to the metal whether you're at the top of the leaderboard or where I started.

MODERATOR:  We had a big Solheim Cup announcement here this week.  With this being a Solheim Cup year, how does that feel?  Are you any more fired up than unusual?
ANGELA STANFORD:  No.  I guess so.  Solheim Cup years, you know, regardless of where you are on the list, you still want to try to get points and you want to be playing well going into Solheim.  You don't want to just make the team, you want to make the team and help the team win.  That was something that once I understood that, it was a lot ‑‑ it was just easier and I think ‑‑ I'm not trying to just make the team, I'm trying to be better so when we get to August, I can help us win.

Q.  Earlier in the year in New Zealand you were shaking the rust off.  I know you're happy to be playing in the U.S.  Can you just kind of talk about the progression of your game from New Zealand to now?
ANGELA STANFORD:  You know, I can't say that it's been just a dramatic change.  I think I've kind of made some decisions off the golf course to kind of relieve a little pressure on the golf course.  I'm probably not going to play in as many events this year.  I'm not going to go overseas a couple times later in the year.  By making some of those decisions already, I'm having a much better time on the course.  I just decided that, you know, sitting here at 35 years old, I don't need to do what I did at 28, and I was putting so much pressure on myself and I think starting the year that way, I had already dumped all this pressure on myself and came home and just said I don't want to travel like that, I don't want to be like that.  This is what I want.  And I've talked to my family, I've talked to my instructor, and everybody's been real supportive of just do what you want to do.  So I think that coming into this week just made it a lot lighter.  I've had a great week.

Q.  How many events are you going to play?
ANGELA STANFORD:  I actually am not completely sure, but it will be at least 16.  It has to be at least 16.  I'm not going to the Bahamas, I'll tell you that, in the near future, that's the one I probably won't go to.

Lizette Salas, Rolex Rankings No. 58

MODERATOR:  All right.  We'd like to welcome Lizette Salas to the interview room.  Congratulations, a tremendous round out there for you today.  First off, take me through the day and what was really working well for you.
LIZETTE SALAS:  Let's see, I took a little different strategy with putting today.  I got a couple tips from Nancy Lopez yesterday.  She was watching me all 18 holes and figured I might go along with her advice since she was, you know, a pretty decent player.  That's what was really working for me today.  Six birdies, no bogeys, just made some clutch putts for par.  Wasn't quite hitting it as good as I wanted to today compared to yesterday and the day before, but I just stayed patient, and even though I got in trouble, I still made good up‑and‑downs for par and I just stayed calm and just smiled a lot out there.

MODERATOR:  You've talked a lot about Nancy being one of your mentors and I know you had met her before, but for her to come out and watch you for 18 holes, I saw that you tweeted about it, you got to have dinner with her.  What was that whole experience like and to get that sort of advice from her?
LIZETTE SALAS:  Oh, gosh it was one of the best days of my career so far.  I was kind of struggling on the front nine yesterday and she pulled up in her cart and she said, Am I going to have to show you how to do this?  And I was like ohhhh.   I shifted into gear and I shot 32 on my back nine.  She said, Yeah, that works.  Just having dinner with her.  I didn't expect her to watch 18 holes, I thought she was going to take off after nine.  But it was such an honor for her to watch my game and to get compliments from her is so important to me.  We had dinner, my dad came too, my caddie, we all had dinner, shared stories.  She's just a lovely person, not just a great golfer, but she's an amazing woman with lots of good stories.  She told me her Solheim Cup stories and it's a great, great day for me and my dad.

MODERATOR:  Speaking of the Solheim Cup, this is the year when everybody from the U.S. or Europe is really focused on trying to make the team.  You've been earning points along the way and really have a decent shot of making this team in your second year on the LPGA Tour.  What would it mean for you to be on that U.S. team, and is it something that you're thinking about as you're playing this year or do you have to kind of keep it in the back of your mind?
LIZETTE SALAS:  It's definitely a goal for me this year to make Solheim Cup.  And there's so many great American golfers playing right now, I don't want to get too ahead of myself or get too caught up in those points because we have 14 or 15 events left before they pick the team.  I'm just trying to play my kind of golf, staying patient and making those clutch putts.  My name has been on the leaderboard a little bit in Thailand and Singapore and so I'm trying not to look at the leaderboard so much, but it's kind of cool having my name up there.  Come August, if they pick me for Solheim Cup, that would mean so much to me and my family.

MODERATOR:  You talked a little bit about being up at the top of the leaderboard.  You had a very solid rookie year last year and now you seem to be building off of that.  What did you take from last year and how much confidence in how you were able to perform last year carry over in what you've been able to do so far?
LIZETTE SALAS:  I've just been making a couple swing changes and just listening to my instructor out of Palos Verdes and listening to my dad and now taking advice from Nancy and just been playing so comfortably the last couple of months.  My off season was a little short, but just kind of keep that momentum going from last year, not playing with any expectations from last year, just going on and playing solid golf, and just if the putts roll in, fine.  If not, there's a next hole.

Q.  I want to ask you one more.  I know both your mom and dad were out here today.  We've talked about how much a role your dad played in your golfing career.  What does it mean for you to have them out there?  I know your dad was there in Asia as well following along.
LIZETTE SALAS:  Yeah, my mom flew out this morning and just to have them here makes me smile a lot more.  Just to hear my mom scream in the background, you know, the little little nicknames she gives me, I was like oh, mom.  Just kind of takes the whole pressure off of trying to win a tournament or trying to be Top 10 or whatever.  It just relaxes me just to have them here, and being in Arizona not too far from California makes it a lot better and I have friends and family that live out here, so I'm playing very comfortably here.

MODERATOR:  Any goals heading into tomorrow, final day of the tournament, seeing yourself up there on the top of the leaderboard?
LIZETTE SALAS:  You know, just making putts, staying present and not getting too caught up on the leaderboard.  That's the thing, I'm not going to look at the leaderboard tomorrow, I'm just going to go out there and play my kind of golf.  I've had three solid days and if I can make it one more day, that would be great.

Topics: Notes and Interviews, Miyazato, Ai, Lewis, Stacy, Salas, Lizette, Stanford, Angela [+]

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