LPGA LOTTE Championship Presented by J Golf
Ko Olina Golf Club
Kapolei, Oahu, Hawaii
Second-round Notes and Interviews
April 18, 2013
Thursday’s Second-round Recap
Rolex Rankings No. 6 Suzann Pettersen battled a number of elements at Ko Olina Golf Club in Thursday’s second round including some gusty winds and a little bit of rain to shoot a 69 and take a one-shot lead at 10-under-par through two rounds of the LPGA LOTTE Championship Presented by J Golf. Pettersen made four birdies and one bogey en route to taking the second-round lead, one shot ahead of defending champion Ai Miyazato, who tied for the low round of the day with a 68.
“You’re just really trying to play the course, what it gives us,” Pettersen said after her round. “There are certain holes you can take advantage of, and then others that are more ‑‑ where par is a good score. But I think today even on the holes where I felt like I should have made a birdie and I made a par, I said, Par is not going to hurt me today. So a decent day. It was tough to play solid golf.”
A day after scoring conditions were nearly ideal in Kapolei, Hawaii, the weather turned back to what it typical for the Aloha State. The winds blew steadily at 10-15 mph and gusted up to near 20 mph at Ko Olina for Thursday’s second round. It was immediately evident to the players who teed off in the morning group that scoring conditions would be much more difficult.
“We were warming up at 6:30, 7:00 in the morning and the wind is howling,” said Stacy Lewis, who shot 71 and is tied for sixth at 6-under-par. “I mean, going into the day sitting on the range you knew it was going to be hard. You just had to fight for every shot. You couldn't really try to make too many birdies. You just had to kind of take some putts if they came and grind out a few pars. Anything under par today, I think, is a good score.”
Miyazato was the early clubhouse leader at 9-under-par after teeing off in the morning wave and making seven birdies and three bogeys in her round. The Okinawa, Japan native really got things going during her back nine, putting together a stretch of five birdies in six holes to push her toward the top of the leaderboard.
Lewis, who is looking to regain her No. 1 ranking after losing it to Inbee Park on Monday, has slowly been putting herself in position to do just that. A victory this week would automatically move Lewis into the top spot while she has a shot to regain the ranking with a finish of sixth or better with all of those scenarios taking into account Park’s finish.
Park followed up her first-round 70 with a 1-under 71 and she sits in a T19 at 3-under-par. The only other player who has an opportunity to take over the top spot this week is Yani Tseng, who must win to regain the No. 1 position. Tseng has her work cut out for her as she sits in a tie for 38th at 1-under-par, nine shots back of the second-round leader, Pettersen.
Wednesday’s first-round leader, 17-year-old Thailand native Ariya Jutanugarn slipped back into a tie for seventh at 5-under-par after shooting a 3-over 75 on Thursday.
Conservatively aggressive? Suzann Pettersen (@suzannpettersen) is known for her competitive nature and she doesn’t shy away from trying to distance herself from the field. But on a day when scoring conditions were difficult as they were on Thursday, was Pettersen still play as aggressively as she would like to?
“Once you pick your shot, pick your club, it's go time,” Pettersen said. “I mean, playing away from the pin not so much, but playing smart. So when I had a short enough club in my hand I felt like I was aggressive enough. Just accepting that a game of perfect, it is not the day for that.
“So got up and down quite a few times. Feeling good with my putter. Yeah, just hanging in there today and just really trying not to get too comfortable. Just really tried to keep pushing and pressing. I'm pretty happy with a 69 today.”
The biggest key for Pettersen taking the second-round lead was her play on the back nine. Following a bogey on the 10th hole that brought her back to even-par for the day, Pettersen found a way to settle in and make three birdies down the stretch on No. 11, No. 13 and No. 16 which moved her one shot ahead of Ai Miyazato.
“It's one of my strengths,” Pettersen said of her play on the back nine. “I usually don't shy away when I get to the back nine. Feeling good, feeling sharp. I mean, par‑5s, I think it's tough throughout. Doesn't really matter what kind of shot you have. If you have a 90‑yard shot straight into the wind, into the grain, you're trying not spin it; you're trying to kind of flight it. You're going through the repertoire. It's like my caddie said before we tee'd up. It's going to be a war out there. And it was. We had sunshine, rainbow, rain. It was a great day.”
Comfort zone: Ai Miyazato certainly looks at home as she strolls down the fairways of the Ko Olina Golf Club and considering the amount of success that she’s had on this golf course it’s no surprise. MIyazato led or co-lead each of the final three rounds of this event last year. She’s trying to do the same this year after taking the second round lead by shooting a 4-under 67 on Thursday when the winds picked up in Kapolei.
“I'm not sure if it suits me. I feel really tough out there,” Miyazato said of playing in the wind. “I'm pretty tired now. But, you know, like I said, I grew up in the wind and I like to play in this wind.
“This morning when I get to the golf course I'm like, now I'm in Hawaii. Hawaii is always windy place, and always fun to play this weather conditions.”
Miyazato followed up her opening round 67 with another solid round of 68 but she acknowledged that Thursday’s round proved to be much more of a test for her.
“It was definitely windier than yesterday so it was pretty tough out there.” Miyazato said. “But the first couple holes it was kind of up and down because I made birdie and bogey and birdie and bogey. It was kind of roller coaster. After that I felt like more used with this wind. Then the back nine I just made great putts out there. It was great feeling.”
Height advantage? Stacy Lewis (@Stacy_Lewis) isn’t accustomed to being the tallest person in her playing group but the 5-foot-5 golfer was just that for the first two days of the LPGA LOTTE Championship Presented by J Golf. Lewis was playing alongside a pair of diminutive 5-foot-2 players, Ai Miyazato and rookie Moriya Jutanugarn.
“I told my caddie [Travis Wilson] yesterday, You must feel really tall,” Lewis said. “I think it's he's almost six feet tall. It's definitely different. I'm used to being the short one.”
Considering that Miyazato is the defending champion who is sitting one shot back of the lead through two rounds and Lewis is three shots back in a tie for sixth, perhaps there is an advantage on this golf course to being a little vertically challenged?
“I don't know,” Lewis said with a laugh. “I think what Michelle Wie was saying about her putting stance and trying to get lower to the ground, so maybe it is. I don't know. To play well on this golf course you got to hit it straight. I think that's the biggest thing this week.”
Sticking around for Friday: A total of 77 players made the cut, which fell at 2-over-par 146
Growing pains: One day after matching her own career low round with an 8-under 64, 17-year-old Ariya Jutanugarn felt the woes that the winds in Hawaii can bring. Jutanugarn, who is playing in Hawaii for the first time in her career, followed up her stellar opening round with a 3-over 75 on Thursday.
“Sometimes you have to adjust the yardage because it's hard like really windy,” Jutanugarn said after her round. “Sometimes it's pretty hard and have to hit like low ball.”
Jutanugarn had two birdies, three bogeys, and one double bogey in her second round.
Quotable…”The closer I get to Asia the better I feel with my game. I am just really trying to take advantage of being as close to Asia as I can and try to bring it closer to towards the mainland.” – Suzann Pettersen, who won back-to-back events in Asia at the end of last season, on her success playing in Hawaii
Tweet of the Day: “Words can not explain how excited I am to make a cut. Something so simple that has been so hard lately :-) Can’t wait to play tomorrow!!! -- @Brittany1golf (Brittany Lincicome)
Of Note…LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame member Se Ri Pak shot a 3-under 69 on Thursday and currently sits in a tie for ninth at 5-under-par…Christina Kim is currently tied for 13th at 4-under-par following back-to-back rounds of 70. Kim’s last top-10 finish on the LPGA was T6 at the 2010 LPGA Sime Darby LPGA Malyasia…Hawaii native Michelle Wie made the cut right on the line (2-over-par 146) after shooting a 4-over 76.
MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome our current leader, Suzann Pettersen, into the interview room. Congratulations. Leading this tournament right now at 10‑under par.
Quite different conditions today than yesterday. Take me through the day. How were you able to manage the winds and put together such a solid round?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Well, I think overall it's been very fair conditions for the entire field today. I think it was blowing quite hard from early morning, and it's been pretty steady throughout the day. At least the entire field played under the same conditions.
It was definitely tough out there. The range is the most exposed part, so warming up was almost the toughest.
Then playing the course, just really trying to play the course, what it gives us. There are certain holes you can take advantage of, and then others that are more ‑‑ where par is a good score.
But I think today even on the holes where I felt like I should have made a birdie and I made a par, I said, Par is not going to hurt me today. So decent day. It was tough. It was tough to play solid golf. It was tough to kind of get the right club to my hand at all times.
MODERATOR: Talking with some of the other players, the biggest thing they said was going out and taking advantage yesterday and putting together a really good number and holding on today.
Was that a key yesterday, putting together a solid round, that you were able to keep it together today and stay at the top of the leaderboard?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: The older you get the smarter you get. I did have that on my side yesterday. (Laughter.)
MODERATOR: When you look at holes today, were there any that you were able to take advantage of that you think helped you move in the right direction?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: You know, I mean, today you're playing a golf course where numbers don't really matter. It's about controlling the spin, your shots, really trying to be creative.
I don't think I hit one stock shot today, so it says it all. I guess there is only one par‑5 that was reachable today, and that was 5. I didn't actually go for it.
So walking up for the par on 5 was maybe so‑so. Maybe felt like I lost a little bit towards the rest of the field.
But at the same time, par wasn't going to hurt me, so I just kind of kept plugging along.
MODERATOR: You've had success in Hawaii before. Is there something about this state that seems to suit your game?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: The closer I get to Asia the better I feel with my game. I am just really trying to take advantage of being as close to Asia as I can and try to bring it closer to towards the mainland.
Q. How difficult was it to be aggressive in today's round?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I mean, once you pick your shot, pick your club, it's go time. I mean, playing away from the pin not so much, but playing smart.
So when I had a short enough club in my hand I felt like I was aggressive enough. Just accepting that a game of perfect is not the day for that.
So got up and down quite a few times. Feeling good with my putter. Yeah, just hanging in there today and just really trying not to get too comfortable.
Just really tried to keep pushing and pressing. I'm pretty happy with a 69 today.
Q. How would you compare the 69 today to the 65 yesterday?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: It's so different conditions. Not really comparable.
Q. Do you think you played better today?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: It's hard to say. I mean, you can hit a good shot and get screwed. But like I guess some of the rest of the players have said, yesterday was nearly perfect day for scoring. There was hardly any wind.
Today is what you expect it to be. So just happy it stayed pretty consistent throughout the day. I was a bit surprised it didn't lay off towards the end when the cloud cover came off.
But it's okay.
Q. Can you go over the birdies for us?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Birdies?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Game of pars.
I birdied the first par‑3. Made a 15‑footer from above the hole.
I birdied 11. Chipped a 9‑iron to tap‑in.
Then Beatriz hit it inside of me. I didn't think there was that much room behind my ball and the cup, but...
Then I birdied 13. Made another 12‑footer for birdie.
Then I birdied 16. I hit a cut 4‑iron into that back pin and made another 15‑footer.
I think that was about it.
Q. Any long par saves today?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Not really. When I missed the green I got up and down pretty easy. I made a bogey on 10. I was stuck in the rough and couldn't really get to it and didn't get up and down.
Overall, no, look at the positives. I'm in a good position. Today was a very important day for me just to keep pressing and playing good golf and not kind of shying away.
Q. That was a really tough lie for your second shot on No. 10, right?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Where?
MODERATOR: On 10.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: 10, yeah, there's not a good place to play from anywhere on this course from the rough. It's guesswork. On 18 I got a fly out of the first cut. It's really hard to predict.
Sometimes you just got to play percentage. 18 I'm standing there knowing that I need to fly with the 8 and I can try and cut to 7. Just really trying to play the percentage. The cut 7 flew way too long.
It's guesswork. I think that's maybe more penalizing this year than other years. There are just certain holes. They narrowed the fairways maybe a cut or two.
Like I said, you can play from the fairway, but it's really hard to get close from the rough.
Q. Did you feel like on 13 ‑ I think that was a pretty big putt for you ‑ that that birdie propelled you to a really strong finish today?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Well, it's one of my strengths. I usually don't shy away when I get to the back nine. Feeling good, feeling sharp. I mean, par‑5s, I think it's tough throughout. Doesn't really matter what kind of shot you have. If you have a 90‑yard shot straight into the wind, into the grain, you're trying not spin it; you're trying to kind of flight it.
You're going through the repertoire. It's like my caddie said before we tee'd up. It's going to be a war out there. And it was. We had sunshine, rainbow, rain. It was a great day.
Q. (Question regarding Beatriz Recari.)
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Beatriz played a really good solid day. She was right there with me for quite a while. I think she bogeyed one of the last couple holes but played really good.
She is a very strong contender. I can really see myself being paired with her in the Solheim. She's a fighter. Very good, solid putter.
She's got the hard work and the ethics to grind it out
MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome or current leader Ai Miyazato into the interview room. Congratulations. A great 4‑under par round today when conditions weren't easy to score out there. You really got things going on your back nine.
Take me through the day and how you were able to work through these conditions.
AI MIYAZATO: Well, it was definitely windier than yesterday so it was pretty tough out there. But the first couple holes it was kind of up and down because I made birdie and bogey and birdie and bogey. It was kind of roller coaster. After that I felt like more used with this wind.
Then the back nine I just made great putts out there. It was great feeling.
MODERATOR: Stacy said that both of you really got things going on the back nine.
AI MIYAZATO: Yes.
MODERATOR: But was it fun? Yesterday you both played really well. Stacy said that you guys tend to play well on similar golf courses. Is it fun to play with someone else that plays a similar straight‑ball game?
AI MIYAZATO: Yeah, Stacy is a really consistent player. She won't really have a mistake. It was definitely a great atmosphere these couple days. It's always fun to play with her.
She has a good sense of humor, too and she always makes me fun. It was just really nice to play with her.
MODERATOR: You had success her last year when the wind picked up. You seem it like windy conditions. Does this really suit you, especially when it gets tougher for the rest of the field?
AI MIYAZATO: Well, I'm not sure if it suit me. I feel really tough out there. I'm pretty tired now.
But, you know, like I said, I grew up in the wind and I like to play in this wind.
This morning when I get to the golf course I'm like, now I'm in Hawaii. Hawaii is always windy place, and always fun to play this weather conditions.
I definitely have a good feelings from last year. But you never know what's going to happen, so just take day by day and just do my best out there.
MODERATOR: We know you came so close in Phoenix to winning already this year. How confident are you in your game and the way you've been playing?
AI MIYAZATO: I been playing really good. Didn't have good putting in Nabisco, though, but it was really nice week off last week.
When I get here, I was just really happy to be playing golf again. I think my game is in pretty good shape. It's golf. You never know what's going to happen. You have to focus every single shot.
The greens really tough read, so hopefully I can keep it going.
Q. Can you go over the length of your birdie putts today?
AI MIYAZATO: All birdie putt?
Q. All 25 of them. (Laughter.)
AI MIYAZATO: Let's see, No. 3 I had 12 feet.
No.4 it was almost like 25 feet.
No. 5 I had 10 feet.
No 7 I got 12 feet again.
No. 8 was 20 feet.
No. 11 was 12 feet again.
No. 15 was 20 feet.
Q. Yesterday as well as you played you missed a couple short ones, right?
AI MIYAZATO: Yes.
Q. Was there an adjustment today?
AI MIYAZATO: Yeah. I remember I missed my three‑foot birdie putt yesterday and couple times 10‑feet putt.
Well, yesterday I shot 5‑under, so I didn't feel that I'm missing the putt, you know.
Q. Beyond the wind, you've been leading here for about a year and a half now at this course. What else fits you beyond the wind?
AI MIYAZATO: I would say greens. Bermuda green I think. Like from Okinawa they have Bermuda greens, too, so I'm used to these greens.
I don't know. I just have a good feeling with this golf course. I think that's maybe why.
Q. Help to be short in this course?
AI MIYAZATO: Sorry?
Q. When you look at the leaderboard and look at the height of all the leaders...
AI MIYAZATO: Oh, height. (Laughter.) Well, maybe. (Laughter.) I'm tiny enough and maybe low center of gravity. Maybe that helps. I don't know.
MODERATOR: They asked Stacy how was it to be the tallest person in her group today. She said that doesn't happen very often.
AI MIYAZATO: No, it doesn't.
Q. I'm working on something about the volunteers. Is there anything special or specific about here that has been helpful or not helpful?
AI MIYAZATO: Yeah, all the volunteers very nice over here. It's like I would say over here the people are more having own time. You know, they are like really relaxed and always smiling. Just makes me comfortable to play golf over here.
Like every time I get to the tee, the people say, the volunteer saying, Hi, how are you? Sometimes Aloha, what's going on? Just having a little chat, it's really comfortable to have.
So the people are really nice over here.
MODERATOR: All right, we'd like to welcome Stacy Lewis into the interview room. Congratulations. Solid round today.
Take me through the day. I know the conditions today were much different than yesterday out there on the golf course. What was it like playing out there and how much more difficult was it with the wind?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, we were warming up at 6:30, 7:00 in the morning and the wind is howling. I mean, going into the day sitting on the range you knew it was going to be hard. You just had to fight for every shot.
You know, you couldn't really try to make too many birdies. You just had to kind of take some putts if they came and grind out a few pars. Anything under par today, I think, is a good score.
MODERATOR: You were talking yesterday about playing with Ai and how you guys seem to play well on the same types of golf courses. What is it about this golf course that you think suits both of your games?
STACY LEWIS: Um, I don't know. I think we both hit it pretty straight. We both can tend to make some longer putts. I think to play well on this course you have to make some longer putts.
I think if we ‑‑ best ball on the back nine I think we would've shot 8‑under today. It's always fun playing with her because we go back and forth making birdies.
I would say coming down the end we will probably be pretty close, too.
MODERATOR: When you look at today, considering that the wind might still be strong in the afternoon as well, do you think there was an advantage of playing in the afternoon yesterday and the morning today? Did you notice the wind pick up as the day went on, or were they pretty steady the entire time?
STACY LEWIS: I would say yesterday it was pretty calm all day. So definitely probably an advantage to get out early today. The course will be a little softer. Maybe the green is a little more receptive. Definitely at the end of the day they started releasing out a little more.
I definitely think it was an advantage to play in the morning today. It was howling at 7:00, so I don't think it's going to get much easier as the day goes on.
Q. After playing with Ai, what do you feel like she did best today?
STACY LEWIS: I think the best thing about her is she doesn't let a bad shot get to her. She'll make a bogey and be okay with that, because she knows she can make some birdies.
You know, really, the last five holes she didn't hit any shots particularly close to the hole, she just made some long putts. With the greens slower and the way they are, that's what have to do.
So she's really consistent and level and kind of doesn't let good or bad shots get to her.
Q. How tall are you?
STACY LEWIS: 5'5".
Q. What it's like to be the tallest person in your threesome?
STACY LEWIS: I told my caddie yesterday, You must feel really tall. I think it's he's almost six feet tall.
It's definitely different. I'm used to being the short one.
Q. Just based on what she's done here the last couple years and what you're doing this week, is it an advantage to be short?
STACY LEWIS: I don't know. I think what Michelle Wie was saying about her putting stance and trying to get lower to the ground, so maybe it is. I don't know.
To play well on this golf course you got to hit it straight. I think that's the biggest thing this week.
Q. Can we go over the birdies?
STACY LEWIS: My birdies?
STACY LEWIS: Let's see, we started on the back, so 13, the par‑5, I made probably a 25‑footer down the hill for birdie there.
Then made the turn and went to 1. I hit a wedge to about four feet and made birdie.
Then the other par‑5, 5, I hit hybrid into the green and was kind of hole‑high right and chipped it about five feet and made that for birdie.
No. 6 I made a great birdie. Drove it right and hit it to about 35, 40 feet below the hole and then made that for birdie.
Q. You two might play again together tomorrow?
STACY LEWIS: Depends how the scores fall. I made bogey on the last hole and I thought if I was at 7 I could have a chance to be in the last group.
I'll be in the last couple groups, and, I mean, that's where I want to be going into the weekend.
Q. (No microphone.)
STACY LEWIS: Well, it depends on the conditions. If the wind calms down you can make some birdies. If it's like this the rest of the weekend, par is your partner.
You take as many pars as you can and make some birdies here and there.
MODERATOR: Ai has talked about the advantage of having grown up in Okinawa and had windy conditions. You grew up in Texas where it's windy as well. Do you feel pretty comfortable playing in wind? Does it suit you?
STACY LEWIS: I don't know. I don't know if the wind particularly suits me. I hit it pretty high. Ai hits it a little bit lower than I do. I hit it high and have more spin, so doesn't necessarily help me with the wind.
I like it because it's hard. You have to shape shots and see shots in your head. It's not your normal just get up there and aim at the target right down the middle. You have to be a little bit more creative, I guess.
Q. How was today for you compared to yesterday's day on the course?
ARIYA JUTANUGARN: Oh, you know, today was really (wind interference.)
I hit like a lot of bad shot today. I cannot control my iron and I still miss like a lot short putt.
Q. How much of your game do you have to change because of wind? Did you change your approach because of the wind today?
ARIYA JUTANUGARN: You know, like sometimes you have to adjust the yardage because it's hard like really windy. Sometimes it's pretty hard and have to hit like low ball.
Q. How did you feel finishing up today?
ARIYA JUTANUGARN: Today I have a lot of bad shot, you know, and sometimes when (wind interference) not very good, so have to work on it.
Q. How do you hope to improve or what do you hope to change going into tomorrow?
ARIYA JUTANUGARN: Should be my iron and my putting. I miss a lot short putt today.
Q. Even par today. Overall, were you happy to be able to get out of there with a solid round considering the wind this morning?
JANE RAH: Yeah, definitely. I knew from the front nine I would have to take advantage just because it plays a lot easier.
And I did. I made three birdies on the front. The back nine I played the same. It was just hard to maneuver around with the wind, so I just tried to manage and not make such a big score.
Q. Do you think there will be an advantage to the fact that you played yesterday in the afternoon when it was calm and then this morning when the winds might not have picked up? It sounds like this afternoon it's going to be pretty breezy.
JANE RAH: Yeah, in that case, definitely. It was a little breezy yesterday. I mean, I think the girls in the morning got really, really huge advantage. Obviously it's going to even out today.
Q. Overall, how have you been feeling about your game? Solid first round yesterday; another good round today.
JANE RAH: I've actually hit it better than I have this week, but finally my short game is coming around.
That's been my struggle throughout the whole beginning of last year. I had three weeks off because I didn't play in Kraft, so I just chipped and putted my mind out.
So it's definitely paid off. I'm thankful things are coming together now.
Q. Where did you spend your three weeks?
JANE RAH: In Torrance, California. Just at home.
Q. So good time to kind of work on that short game and get it going.
JANE RAH: Yeah, I took advantage of the time off. It was much needed for me.
Q. As you look ahead to the weekend, what are the keys to this golf course to keep you up near the lead?
JANE RAH: I think I'm just going to have to manage the wind as best as possible. I'm going to have to take what I learned from the last two days and try to apply it.
I've been practicing a lot in the wind at home gearing up for this week, but it's a lot different playing in a tournament, you know.
So I think if I can just not let the wind affect me so much. You know, if you're by the green you can get up and down. It's not such a big green, so...
Q. Coming into your second year on tour, is there more of a comfort level?
JANE RAH: Yes. A huge comfort level. I just know what's going on. I know the golf courses. So like especially this week, I just play nine and nine. I don't have to kill myself trying to play all 18 holes.
I'm able to take it a lot more steady and just I know what's going on so I don't feel as bad or looking like I'm lost.