North Texas LPGA Shootout
Las Colinas Country Club
First-round Notes and Interviews
April 23, 2013
Caroline Masson -7, Rolex Rankings No. 54
Carlota Ciganda -5, Rolex Rankings No. 48
Inbee Park -4, Rolex Rankings No. 1
Mo Martin -4, Rolex Rankings No. 98
Christina Kim -3, Rolex Rankings No. 263
Taylor Coleman (a) -3
Thursday’s First-round Recap
2013 LPGA Tour rookie Caroline Masson fired a career-low, 7-under 64 to take the first-round lead at the inaugural North Texas LPGA Shootout at Las Colinas Country Club in Irving, Texas. Masson made seven birdies in her bogey-free round on Thursday to take a two-shot lead over 2012 Ladies European Tour Rookie of the Year Carlota Ciganda.
This week marks the LPGA’s first trip to the Dallas/Fort Worth area in more than 20 years. And the reception was a warm one for Thursday’s first round with sunshine returning to the area as temperatures moved back into the low 70s following a short cold snap early in the week. But the traditional Texas wind was still on display Thursday, although it didn’t bother the first-round leader.
“For some reason I feel like I'm playing pretty good in the wind,” said Masson, who is a native of Gladbeck, Germany. “My win on the LET in South Africa was also in like really, really windy conditions. And yeah, I'm hitting it well, so I think the wind doesn't affect my ball too much, and that will definitely help me throughout the week.
“But it's just also important to just make some putts on these greens because without putting well, I think you have no chance to shoot a really good round here. So it's just all coming together really.”
There is a talented group of players sitting three shots back at 4-under-par, which includes current Rolex Rankings No. 1 Inbee Park. Thirty-year-old Mo Martin, who is in her second year on Tour, also opened up with a 67 as did 2009 U.S. Solheim Cup Team member Kristy McPherson.
Two-time LPGA Tour winner Christina Kim has gone through some ups and downs in her career over the past few seasons, but she cruised to a 3-under 68 in Thursday’s first round. She sits in a tie for eighth with a few others including 16-year-old Taylor Coleman of San Antonio, Texas who qualified for this week’s event via Monday’s High School Shootout.
Stacy Lewis, a Texas native, struggled at the end of her round on Thursday. The No. 2 player in the Rolex Rankings bogeyed two of her final three holes to finish at 1-over-par. Lewis must finish fifth or higher to have any chance at regaining the No. 1 spot in the Rolex Rankings this week. Of course that task becomes much tougher if Park continues to play like she did on Thursday, making five birdies and one bogey en route to shooting a 4-under 67. It’s also no surprise that Park, who is known as one of the best putters on Tour, was commenting on the speed of the greens as one aspect of the course at Las Colinas Country Club that she enjoys.
“It was quite different with the speed because it's such a difference from last week but I'm very glad that I'm playing the fast greens,” Park said “I love fast greens, rolling greens. Last week was a very big challenge for me with slow and grainy greens which I struggle, but I was able to play better last week. So this is tough to adjust, but I love the greens here.”
It was a good day for some of the local players as well. Fort Worth resident Angela Stanford looked right at home on Thursday, shooting a 2-under 69 to sit in a tie for 11th. Stanford and the 16-year-old Coleman are the only two Texans currently ranked in the top 20.
There will be a cut to the top 70 and ties following Friday’s second round. As part of the “Shootout” format, there will also be a second cut on Saturday which will reduce the field to the top 50 players and ties.
A little like home? Caroline Masson is no stranger to playing golf in the Texas wind. The 23-year-old native of Gladback, Germany spent one year playing golf on the women’s team at Oklahoma State University before going on to qualify for the Ladies European Tour in December 2009.
“I think spending a year in Oklahoma prepared me for this,” said Masson, who was a freshman at OSU in 2008-. “It was windy. And I think also playing on the LET, because I mean it was different, tough conditions every week really. It's very different from week to week, so we're used to playing in the wind. And yeah, I think that helped me a little today. It wasn't too windy, to be honest. It was pretty good conditions today.”
Masson may be a rookie on the LPGA Tour but she spent the past three seasons competing on the LET. She tallied her professional victory at last year’s South African Women’s Open and made the decision to try to qualify for the LPGA Tour this past winter. She finished T11 at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament in December to earn her card for the 2013 season.
Prior to her impressive opening round in Texas, Masson had missed the cut in four of the five events she’s played on the LPGA Tour in her rookie season. But while Masson has gotten off to a slow start this year, she’s actually no stranger to holding a lead on the LPGA. Two years ago at the RICOH Women’s British Open, she led after the second and third rounds before being paired with eventual champion Yani Tseng in the final group on Sunday when she shot a final-round 78 to finish tied for fifth.
“It was big for me playing with Yani in the last round, and just getting to know that atmosphere with all the cameras, because obviously on the LET we are not used to that,” Masson said. So it's always nice to be in contention. You learn from every round, especially when you fail, I guess, and I had a pretty bad last round. But I finished with two birdies, and overall it was just a great week for me and I really enjoyed it, and I think I learned so much, I can't even tell you.”
Rare feat: 2012 LET Order of Merit winner and Rookie of the Year Carlota Ciganda is two shots off the lead in North Texas. The Pamplona, Spain native shot 5-under-par 66 to move two shots off the pace of fellow European Caroline Masson.
Ciganda was the first player since Laura Davies in 1985 to claim both the money list and rookie honors on the LET last season. She joined Annika Sorenstam, Suzann Pettersen, Karrie Webb and others as Rookie of the Year.
“Those are very big names,” she said. “So it's for me an honor… I'm very happy, and now I'm just trying to win here in the States.”
In addition to joining that exclusive club, Ciganda also credits her friendship with 2010 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Azahara Munoz as a reason for her success, with whom she attended Arizona State University.
“She is like my sister,” Ciganda said. “She was always helping me and trying to make me happy all the time. So it's very nice to come here your first year as a rookie and be with your friends, because you are far from home.”
Youth on display…Sixteen-year-old Taylor Coleman overcame some serious first-tee jitters to shoot 3-under-par 68 on Thursday. One of two players to qualify for the North Texas LPGA Shootout via the High School Shootout on Monday, Coleman carded five birdies – including four on the back-nine – and two bogies in her first LPGA tournament round. But none of that seemed likely when she stepped onto the first tee.
“The first tee shot was really scary,” she said. “My foot slipped and I was shaking so bad. But my next shot was even worse. I was shaking even worse. But after about the second hole, after I made that putt for par, I lost all my nerves and I just had fun out there.”
After qualifying with a 1-over-par 72 in Monday’s High School Shootout, Coleman returned home to San Antonio and attended classes at Johnson High School on Tuesday and part of Wednesday. She returned last night and teed it up at 7:37 a.m. this morning.
Coleman nearly had a hole-in-one on the 13th hole, where she rolled in a four-foot birdie putt. She followed that up with a 30-foot birdie with the putter from off the green on 14. She added birdies at five, 10 and 17 and bogies at one and seven to enter the second round tied for eighth.
Deep in the Heart of Texas: El Paso, Texas was the sight of Mo Martin’s first professional win nearly six years ago. This week, she seeks her first LPGA victory at the North Texas LPGA Shootout in Irving. The 30-year-old second-year LPGA member is tied for third after a 4-under-par 67 on Thursday.
Getting to the LPGA was no easy task for Martin, who spent six years on the Symetra Tour – Road to the LPGA. She logged three victories on the LPGA’s developmental circuit – including the 2007 El Paso Golf Classic – before joining the LPGA in 2012 as a 29-year-old rookie.
“I remember on the Symetra Tour, my first win, it was a big deal,” she said. “There is definitely a process and it’s different every time.”
A “process” adequately describes Martin’s path to the top of the leaderboard this week.
“At UCLA, I walked on,” she said. “It’s been a journey. I wouldn’t trade my years on Symetra for anything. I learned about travel and I learned that this is what I want to be doing. I was close for a number of years (to the LPGA) and now I’m just doing what I learned out (on the Symetra Tour).”
Martin recorded a career-best tie for third at the 2013 Kia Classic. Last year, she finished 63rd on the LPGA Official Money List with $171,345.
Hometown favorites: Angela Stanford has big expectations – and a big fan following – this week at the North Texas LPGA Shootout. A first-round 69 helped ease Stanford into a tie for 11th after 18 holes at Las Colinas Country Club, about 30 miles from her home in Fort Worth.
The native Texan who earlier this week lamented the simple pleasures of staying at home – laying by her pool, driving her own car, cooking dinner in her own home – had a strong contingent of friends and family supporting her on Thursday. Without getting too far ahead of herself, Stanford was asked about being in mix come Sunday and what it might feel like in her hometown.
“It would be cool just because I think a lot of people would come out, and I think that would be cool for this tournament to have a real good turnout the first year,” she said. So I'm going to try and be up there and get a few fans out.”
New face in the crowd…Stephanie Louden spent 11 years playing on the LPGA Tour. The 34-year-old, who was a rookie on Tour back in 2002, made the decision at the end of the 2012 season to hang up her spikes and transition into a new phase of her career in golf.
Since leaving the LPGA Tour, Louden joined the Jim McClean Junior Golf Academy, which is located in Arlington, Texas, to help out the junior golfers at the academy with things such as the college recruiting process, managing the ups and downs on the golf course and assisting with some on the course work as well. Louden’s job is really about being a mentor to these junior golfers as they work to pursue the same dream that Louden saw fulfilled of being a professional golfer.
“There are 21 juniors out there that we have with us,” Louden said. “We have some international kids as well as a lot of kids from Texas and all over the U.S. It’s been wonderful working with all of them, a real pleasure.”
Louden was out walking the golf course on Thursday at the North Texas LPGA Shootout for nine holes watching one of those junior golfers. Haley Mills, 18, is a student at the academy and earned her way into the field by winning the High School Shootout on Monday. Mills shot 70 to earn the first of two spots given to high school player this week for the unique “Shootout” format.
“She did an awesome job,” Louden said. “She handled herself really well.”
Louden now lives just north of Dallas in Frisco, Texas with her husband, Mike, and their son, Lucas, who turned five on Wednesday. With Lucas set to enter kindergarten in the fall, Louden felt that now was the time to make the switch from traveling full-time on the LPGA Tour to making a new career in the golf industry.
“It’s one of those things where you have a season for everything and I’m kind of moving out of that part of golf now,” Louden said of her playing career. “Hopefully I can help other juniors as they are going through the process and help them in the right direction.”
Quotable: “We are in Texas, everything's bigger, including the wind” – Christina Kim, on dealing with wind this week. She shot 3-under-par 68.
By the Numbers…1
The number of autographs that 16-year-old Taylor Coleman said that she has signed. That autograph occurred after her first-round 68 at the North Texas LPGA Shootout on Thursday.
Tweet of the Day: “Hey @barackobama when you are done dedicating libraries and kissin babies, I'm at 2:11 off of 1. Las Colinas golf club. Hope to see ya then” -- @CindyLaCrosse’s message to the president who was in Dallas to celebrate the opening of the George W. Bush Library
Of Note…Rolex Rankings No. 4 Yani Tseng fired a 2-under 69 in Thursday’s first round…Last week’s winner of the LPGA LOTTE Championship Presented by J Golf in Hawaii, Suzann Pettersen, shot an opening-round 70 in Texas.
THE MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome our current leader, Caroline Masson into the interview room. Congratulations, a great 7‑under par round. A rookie on the LPGA Tour this year, but you've had plenty of experience playing professional golf before that. Take me through your day out there and what really got your round going out there today.
CAROLINE MASSON: Yeah. Well, I started with a birdie on 10, you know, which calmed me down a little bit. It's always nice to start with a birdie.
I was just ‑‑ I feel like I was really focused out there, very concentrated and hit a lot of good shots, a lot of putts. Just missed one green and made a pretty good putt there for par. So yeah, it was just a really solid round today.
THE MODERATOR: You're a native of Germany and you've spent the last three years on the LET tour before this year? What has this experience been like in terms of taking that experience from playing on the LET and winning over there to now coming out here and being a rookie but probably not feeling completely like a rookie?
CAROLINE MASSON: Yeah. I'm still a rookie sometimes. But on the course I've played some rounds as a professional, so it's still the same game. It's actually nice to know some players. You know, it makes me feel a little more comfortable, I think.
So yeah, I don't know. I'm just enjoying it, and I enjoy playing here. The courses are great, and it's all a little bigger than on the LET. So yeah, it's been good so far.
THE MODERATOR: Being at the top of a leaderboard even at an LPGA event isn't completely foreign to you. The 2011 Women's British Open you went into the final round playing in the final group with Yani Tseng, and quite an experience to get that, especially in a major. Take me through what was that experience like for you and what have you learned since then that you now bring in when you are up there near the top of the leaderboard?
CAROLINE MASSON: It was crazy. Yeah, it was my second year as a pro, and yeah, I think I didn't realize it when I was actually playing. I played really well. I think I did hit one bunker in Carnoustie, and I think that's a pretty good finish there.
So yeah, it was big for me, you know, playing with Yani in the last round, and just getting to know that atmosphere with all the cameras, because obviously on the LET we are not used to that. So it's always nice to be in contention. You learn from every round, especially when you fail, I guess, and I had a pretty bad last round.
But considered the two birdies, and overall it was just a great week for me and I really enjoyed it, and I think I learned so much, I can't even tell you.
THE MODERATOR: And playing here in Texas, this isn't completely foreign to you. You did spend one year playing at Oklahoma State before you went back and played on the LET Tour. What experience, like playing in the wind and playing in Texas, similar golf courses, do you feel pretty comfortable on this golf course?
CAROLINE MASSON: I do, yeah. I think spending a year in Oklahoma, you know, prepared me for this. It was windy. And I think also playing on the LET, because I mean it was different, tough conditions every week really. It's very different from week to week, so we're used to playing in the wind. And yeah, I think that helped me a little today. It wasn't too windy, to be honest. It was pretty good conditions today.
Q. How were the fans here in Texas?
CAROLINE MASSON: I think everyone was really supportive, you know, and I had a great group today with Brittany and Natalie, so there were a few people following us.
Yeah, everyone was really seems to be like excited that we came back to Texas, and I think we're all enjoying it out here.
Q. How has your season gone so far? I mean have you had a lot of rounds like this?
CAROLINE MASSON: Well, I mean so far I'm not really happy with my season. I had a good finish at the Kraft, finished tied for 13. But I missed like four cuts so far, you know.
But I always felt like I wasn't too far away really. It was just like one bad round, or I don't know, just couldn't really make any putts or whatever.
So I felt like, okay, there's a good round, you know, in me. I just gotta be patient, and yeah, I think that's what I did. So I'm pretty happy. I'm just very happy that I could actually pull off such a good round today.
Q. You were speaking a minute ago about learning experiences and stuff. When you have a round like this to start a tournament, how does your mindset change or how do you have to keep your mindset the same heading into the second round and on the weekend?
CAROLINE MASSON: Yeah. I've had good first rounds before, and yeah, you just have to stay in the present really. Tomorrow is going to be ‑‑ I heard the forecast, so it's going to be a tough day, I guess. Might have some rain in the afternoon.
So it was great to have such a good round, but it's three more rounds, so I just have to focus really. I just want to keep doing that, play like I did today and just really focus on every shot and pay a lot of attention to the greens, especially down here you gotta be really careful because they are pretty quick for me. So just keep doing the same thing and just not thinking about it too much.
Q. With the winds coming up, like they say they're going to be changing directions and stuff, obviously it's going to be tough conditions. I imagine you play pretty well in tough conditions considering you hit one bunker at Carnoustie; right?
CAROLINE MASSON: Yeah, for some reason I feel like I'm playing pretty good in the wind. My win on the LET in South Africa was also in like really, really windy conditions. And yeah, I'm hitting it well, so I think the wind doesn't affect my ball too much, and that will definitely help me throughout the week.
But it's just also important to just make some putts on these greens, you know, because without putting well, I think you have no chance to shoot a really good round here. So it's just all coming together really.
Q. Any long putts?
CAROLINE MASSON: Well, not that long, actually. I think the one on 9 was the longest, but yeah, I had a few really good chances within ‑‑ okay. Now I have to convert because I'm in meters. So that would be like ten feet or something. So I made a few good putts, and I made a longer one on the last, but yeah, it was just good to give myself like a lot of chances for birdie. And if I missed one, I was just staying calm because I know that there were going to be some more chances.
Q. What would it mean for you to make the Solheim Cup team this year?
CAROLINE MASSON: It's a huge goal for me. I like team sports and I'm a team player, and I played in the Junior Solheim Cup twice. So playing the Solheim Cup was always a dream and it would be awesome.
I mean, you know, I did really well last year on the LET, so I was doing well in the European rankings, and it'll be tough for me to keep that spot, you know. So I just want to play well and as a result maybe the captain has to pick me.
That's my goal for this year. But I just want to stay concentrated every week, play well every week, and I think the Solheim might come as a result really.
THE MODERATOR: We Welcome Carlota Ciganda into the interview room, 5‑under 66, she's in second. If you would just tell us a little bit about your round. You shot a nice 66 today.
CARLOTA CIGANDA: Yeah. I started playing good golf today with a birdie on the second hole, which was the 11th, the par‑3.
I made another birdie on the second par‑3. I made two birdies on the par‑3s. I played really good those ones, and I think the difference was that I made a lot of putts today.
I was playing very good the last week, so I was feeling comfortable with my game. And I just putted much better than other days. I was patient out there and just to enjoy the beautiful golf course. I'm very happy with my round.
THE MODERATOR: So last year you did something very interesting. You won the Money List and the Rookie of the Year title on the Ladies European Tour. You were the first player since Laura Davies in 1985 to do that. How cool is that?
CARLOTA CIGANDA: Yeah. That was a great year for me. I didn't have a lot of expectations last year. It was just my first year on the European Tour. It was a lot fun, getting to travel Europe, getting to know a lot of people, traveling all around the world. And it was great. I was playing just to have fun, to keep enjoying myself.
I won two tournaments. And yeah, at the end in Dubai I won the Money List and it was very special when Laura gave me the trophy.
THE MODERATOR: So some other players who won the Ladies European Tour Rookie of the Year include Laura, Annika, Suzann Pettersen, Karrie Webb. How nice is it to be in the same class as those players?
CARLOTA CIGANDA: Yeah. Those are very big names. So it's for me an honor to be part of the rookie Ladies European Tour. So I'm very happy, and now I'm just trying to win here in the States.
Last year it was very difficult, and I'm just trying to play my best golf here and try to enjoy myself here.
The MODERATOR: You tied for sixth at the opening event in Australia this year. You haven't had too many great finishes since. How do you explain the nice 67 today?
CARLOTA CIGANDA: I think the main defense was my putting today. I think playing good golf, when you are not putting good, it's hard to score, and I think today I made 27 putts. So that's really good for me. So I think that was the key today because I've been hitting good shots, good driver. So I'm just going to try to keep playing good and let's see if I can make putts.
THE MODERATOR: Are you thinking at all about the Solheim Cup later this summer?
CARLOTA CIGANDA: I mean that would be awesome. Playing the Solheim Cup with Europe, that would be unbelievable. I think every European wants to be on that team, and I would love to.
THE MODERATOR: If there's any questions for Carlota, we'll take them now. I do have one more. We have quite a few young Spanish players on the LPGA right now, Azahara, Belen, Beatriz Recari, all of whom have had a lot of success. Have you looked to them for some advice for any type of friendship out here?
CARLOTA CIGANDA: Yeah. They are very good friends of mine, especially Aza and Belen. We used to play a lot in amateur golf. When I went to Warrington Estates, Aza went too. So she was like my sister. She was always helping me and trying to make me happy all the time. So it's very nice to come here your first year as a rookie and be with your friends, because you are far from home. So it's really nice to have those girls, people with you. So I'm just very thankful that they are here and they are helping me a lot.
Q. I know stats can be deceiving, but it says 4 of 13 fairways. Or were you just a little off the fairways?
CARLOTA CIGANDA: How many fairways? 4?
CARLOTA CIGANDA: 4? I didn't know that.
Q. Yeah. But you were still in control is what I'm trying to get at.
CARLOTA CIGANDA: Yes. It's no problem.
Q. With your putting.
CARLOTA CIGANDA: I hit a few to the left, but I mean there's not a lot of rough here and you can hit it from the rough easily. So I didn't know that. But I think the key was my putting today.
Q. Did you make any long putts?
CARLOTA CIGANDA: I made a few long ones. So probably 10, 12 meters. Yeah.
THE MODERATOR: Last one before we go, you're listed as your hometown is Pamplona. Have you ever run with the bulls?
CARLOTA CIGANDA: I didn't. I think that's really dangerous. Only crazy people do it. But I mean I will cheer every year. It's from the 7th to the 14th of July, and I have watched from the balcony when all those crazy people run; South Americans and Australians. They're great.
CARLOTA CIGANDA: Yeah. When they see I am from Pamplona, they always ask me about the Running of the Bulls and if I run. Yeah.
THE MODERATOR: We’d like to welcome Inbee Park to the interview room. Congratulations. A great first round, 4‑under par, 67. Take me through your day out there. What was really working well and how were you able to put together such a great round today?
INBEE PARK: Yeah. There was no wind today, in the morning. It was perfect conditions of scoring out there today this morning.
I hit the ball really good. I hit a lot of fairways and greens. Putted really good on the front nine.
Back nine I probably missed a couple of four or five‑footers. That's been my only mistake of the day. And everything else has been going very good.
THE MODERATOR: Was there any certain hole you can kind of point to that got you going in the right direction today?
INBEE PARK: I gotta say No. 8 when I made my third birdie. Yeah, because it was almost going in the hazard and it just stopped a foot short of the hazard and I made birdie from there. So that was a turning point.
THE MODERATOR: When you talk about this golf course and we know it's harder when the wind is picking up. When you have a day like today, is it really kind of a thought that you gotta take advantage because the weather looks like it could change, maybe some rain and possibly more wind on the weekend?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, I think so. We might not get this kind of day the next two days. So when it's good you gotta score good. And my game was going really good out there today, so I was able to score today.
Q. Okay. I've gotta ask, what happened for your bogey that you had on 14? What happened there?
INBEE PARK: Yeah. I just missed the green and I used the putter, but I just two‑putted from there.
Q. You said it's not really windy out there. That wasn't kind of what you guys expected when you went out there, was it?
INBEE PARK: We played in really tough conditions the last two days; wind, cold, yeah, everything that you could ask for. It was very tough and cold.
But today it was very warm and nice, so it was a totally different golf course today.
THE MODERATOR: Talking about missing some of the putts, everybody's been talking about how fast these greens are. Has it been kind of an adjustment getting used to that, and do you think that's kind of led to maybe some of the putting woes today?
INBEE PARK: Yeah. It was quite different with the speed because it's such a difference from last week. But I'm very glad that I'm playing the fast greens. I love fast greens, rolling greens.
Last week was a very challenge for me with slow and grainy greens which I struggle, but I was able to play better last week.
So this is tough to adjust, but I love the greens here.
Q. Your driving distance was 271 yards today and you mentioned being just a foot short on No. 8. Did you get a lot of rollout today on the fairways? Were they cut a little tighter?
INBEE PARK: Yeah. It was 260 out of the hazard. I hit it through and it went about 60 yards, and that's been the run that I've been getting all day today. I'm not driving 270. It's firm and faster here.
THE MODERATOR: Take me through the round and what was working well for you.
MO MARTIN: Thank you. It's good to be here in Texas. I had my first professional win in Texas. So I've got good vibes here. Today coming off some nice momentum, hitting the ball well, and I just really had a good feeling for these greens. Hit 15 greens today and took advantage of a lot of the opportunities. I had 29 putts, 15 greens, 10 fairways. Today hitting it pretty close.
THE MODERATOR: When I was asking some caddies about what you were doing well out there today, they said your distance control was unbelievable. You were close to pin high most of the time and you were under the hole. Did you feel pretty good about that or something you've been working on or something you were glad to see working well for you?
MO MARTIN: Yeah. Actually I've gotta give a lot of credit to my caddy, Kyle. We joke around and say it's our one‑year anniversary coming up. But we've worked a lot on tournament round distance and we've scoped the course pretty well.
I told him a couple of weeks ago, I said, I'm finally beginning to trust you, and I think he's trusting my game and what he knows about it and giving me advice. It was a good plan. We stuck to it and it worked really well today.
Q. You're in your second year out here on the LPGA Tour, and for those out there that might not know your story, it took a little time for you to get here to the LPGA Tour. Spent a number of years playing on the Symetra Tour. Last year your rookie year. What's the journey like to get to this point?
MO MARTIN: Well, I kept improving every year. At UCLA in college I walked on to the team. So it's been a journey for a number of years. But I wouldn't trade my years out on Symetra for anything because I learned a tremendous amount, how to manage myself as a professional, learned about the travel and learned this is really what I want to be doing.
So it's difficult to get on the LPGA, difficult to get on the PGA. I was close for a number of years, so I just kept to it and now I'm sticking to what I learned out there.
Q. When you talk about your first professional win you got in Texas, tell me about that. What was that victory like and where was that in Texas?
MO MARTIN: That was in El Paso, Texas. So West Texas. And my grandfather was there, and he's 101 now. He came out to nine events last year and he's already been out to three, and he's quite an inspiration for me.
And that tournament actually came down to the last hole. I was tied. We had to play 36 that day because the wind canceled the event the day before. It was over 50 miles per hour, and I actually had food poisoning on Friday. So it was quite the story. And the doctor said, oh, you're going to win the tournament because I only treat winners. And one of my Pro‑Am partners told me I was going to win that week. So it was a pretty magical week.
But I ended up birdieing 18, and I hit it to about two feet, and my playing partner parred, and so I won on the last hole, the 36th hole, and Grandpa gave me a hug, and he said, oh, good job, but it's all dramatic. (Laughs).
THE MODERATOR: We always enjoy seeing Lincoln, her grandfather, out here and I didn't get to see him.
MO MARTIN: He's watching from the ranch in California.
Q. And I know he was out there earlier this year when you had your best finish that you've so had far on the LPGA. You tied.
MO MARTIN: Everybody always says that first year on tour is kind of a real learning experience of getting everything together, not knowing the courses and not having to put in as much work, I think that's been a few strokes at least. And just getting more comfortable. I mean there's more media out here, at lot more attention. So that's one of the learning curves. But it's been fun.
Q. Your grandfather is an inspiration to me as well. Impressive. Does he have a scooter or something? How does he get around and how do you guys travel? Does he fly with you?
MO MARTIN: He typically comes in on a Wednesday. So just before. And either my mom or my aunt will travel with him. And at home he has a Segway that he rides. And then out here he gets on a scooter and he's with me for all 18. So he's quite a trooper. He still has his driver's license too. And he has to get tested every year, so don't be scared.
THE MODERATOR: Your story of how you and your grandfather really became close is one that's really impressive for most people because you two weren't always very close, but you got older and when you two kind of came together, I guess, and really got to know each other, that you've developed this tremendous bond. Can you just kind of tell the story of how you really got to know your grandfather and what age that was?
MO MARTIN: Yeah. Well, it started with my father passing away in college, and I just ‑‑ I mean family dynamics can be funny with everybody, and I just didn't really spend a lot of time with him. So I knew who he was, but I had no idea what he had done or the type of person he was.
So when my father passed away, I actually took it upon myself to go spend some time with him; and the first time I walked into his office, I saw just a bunch of articles on me, and I knew that he had been following me for the entire time, and I just had no idea. So that brought me to tears.
And from then on I mean we've pretty much been inseparable. I talk to him every day. And if I need advice, he's the person I talk to. I think who else has made as many decisions as he has, and I just have a tremendous amount of respect for who he is and how he does is it.
THE MODERATOR: And he has some great keys to what it takes to live a long life, doesn't he?
MO MARTIN: Yeah, don't listen to what you hear because he eats ice cream at every meal. He puts ice cream on his cereal. He eats whatever he wants what he wants, but he stops when he's full. So what he says about diet is he says you're born with your taste buds and that tells you what to eat, whatever tastes good, and then you have your appetite which tells you when to stop. That's simple.
Q. I really like his tips, and being an ice cream lover myself, it's a great way to live. But overall when you think about your career so far, and what you've been able to do, now getting to a point where you're up towards the lead, are you more comfortable having had all the experiences that you've had being in this position, and you're so close there now towards the lead on the LPGA?
MO MARTIN: Yeah, absolutely. I mean I remember on the Symetra Tour the first time I was in the last group and it was a big deal. And then my first win it was a big deal. I thought did that really happen. Yes, it did. And then I went on to win three times.
So there's definitely a process. I mean that can't be overstated. So that experience I give a lot to. And it's different every time. So the no's are going to go and they're going to be there and that's going to be great, and that's the part to embrace, but definitely the experience is something to keep under my belt.
Q. A psych major; is that right?
MO MARTIN: Correct.
Q. Did you ever think about going into psychology instead of driving yourself crazy out here?
MO MARTIN: I mean being a psych major can help whatever you do. But yeah, I started looking at the books and saying, oh, I recognize that, recognize that, recognize that. But I actually went into school wanting to study marine biology. So I've always been interested in the sciences, and it just ended up being psych that fit in with playing at UCLA, which getting a degree there is pretty demanding.
Q. What did your grandfather do for a living?
MO MARTIN: Good question. Before I got to know him I would have a hard time answering that. But he has seven U.S. patents. He started out as a geophysicist, and when World War II broke out, he realized that the war was going to be won in the air, so he went back and got his aeronautical engineering degree. He worked for Douglas. Then he invented the Vortex generator which helped the first sweatback wings take off and land. And then he went back to geophysics.
And then he didn't want raise the family in big business, so he pretty much left everything and bought 100 acres of orange groves and started ranching.
Well, no. He's not done yet. And the thing that impresses me most is I had no idea. And he's the most humble human being I've ever met, and he wouldn't tell anybody this. I mean he wears his cowboy hat. He wears the same outfit every day. I mean he's a beautiful human being.
He lives in Porterville, which is three hours north of LA.
THE MODERATOR: Any more questions for Mo? Well, I think Lincoln was watching today, and I'm sure he's very excited to see your score, and we always look forward to seeing him out here, so enjoy the next time we do get to see him out here on Tour.
MO MARTIN: Okay. Great. I can't wait to talk to him.
CHRISTINA KIM: It was a great day out there today. I had a wonderful pairing with Ryann O'Toole who I played with on Solheim Cup as well as Madison Pressel, who is one of the big stars this week, one of the collegiate amateurs. So I had a wonderful pairing. And just a great day, a lot of fun.
Q. How was the course?
CHRISTINA KIM: The course was awesome. This is actually a very atypical golf course than what we normally play just because we have to play our ball. You know, it's normally just hit it down the middle and hit it onto the green and then you gotta work on your putts. But out here it's demanding of every shot. I think I touched almost every club in my bag and I love playing a golf course where you can do that.
Q. This is not going to be an easy competition. What do you have to do to really stay ahead of the group?
CHRISTINA KIM: You know, in order to stay ahead, you just gotta keep having the putts drop and just know where you have to hit it and more than that know where to miss it.
And you know, there's going to be a lot of wind. We are in Texas, everything's bigger, including the wind. So I think that you know, you gotta be able to play shots high, play 'em low, hit 'em right, hit 'em left. You gotta have every single shot in the bag. And I think that's really one of the reasons why I love this place so much. But it's Texas. Gotta love Texas, baby.
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. We'd like to welcome 16‑year‑old Taylor Coleman from San Antonio, Texas here to the interview room this afternoon. What a great round. First LPGA event after qualifying in the high school shootout on Monday and you come out and shoot 68. Just tell me what was this day like for you. I'm sure there were plenty of nerves early on, but what a great round.
TAYLOR COLEMAN: Thank you. I actually played pretty consistent. I was going out there just trying to smile and have fun with my caddy and not look at the scoreboards and just stay focused.
And after a rough first hole, I came back and I was able to make a few birdies on the back nine and then finished a good round.
THE MODERATOR: Those nerves on the first hole, I know that tee shot must have been tough and you said chunked a little bit on that second shot?
TAYLOR COLEMAN: Yeah. The first tee shot was really scary. My foot slipped and I was shaking so bad. But my next shot was even worse. I was shaking even worse, but after about the second hole, after I made that putt for par, I lost all my nerves and I just had fun out there.
THE MODERATOR: What was the experience like in terms of I know you were here on Monday and you played in the qualifier and then you actually had to go back home to go back to school to actually get some class time in and then got to come back yesterday afternoon, but what has it been like being around these pros? And I'm sure these are people who you look up to and get to watch on TV a lot. What has it been like practicing around them?
TAYLOR COLEMAN: It's been nerve‑wracking also seeing how they're hitting it and how perfect they're all hitting it. But it's a great experience. I am so glad. And I have an amazing opportunity to be there with all of them and it's cool having them say hi to me and saying hi back and being able to talk to them.
THE MODERATOR: I know you listed Paula Creamer as your favorite player. Have you gotten a chance to meet Paula yet or have you seen her yet?
TAYLOR COLEMAN: No, I haven't, but I saw her ‑‑ she was right next to me on the putting green. I saw her putting. We didn't talk at all.
THE MODERATOR: I'm sure she's going to be impressed. Shooting 68 out here, tied for third, pretty impressive way to come and debut, but what were kind of the keys for you out there today? What were you most focused on as you were playing out there on the golf course?
TAYLOR COLEMAN: I was just mostly focused on hitting each fairway and each greens and having a few putts and whacking it up there close, and when I was given a good opportunity to make birdie, I was trying to take advantage of it, and I did.
Q. Taylor, as you said, you kind of calmed down and got things going. Just talk about what was the big difference on the back side and just the several birdies you had there? Any particular shot that really you remember from the day?
TAYLOR COLEMAN: On the back nine I was getting more comfortable with my swing and having some more confidence, and I think the shot on No. 13, the par‑3, I hit it pretty close and we all thought it was going in, and I hit it to about four feet and made the putt and then started it all. And then I drained a 30‑putt off the green on the next hole. So that kind of gave me a big confidence boost.
Q. Can you explain your second shot, what happened? You said that was even worse than the drive. I wondered what happened. And then how did you get yourself going after that?
TAYLOR COLEMAN: I was shaking so bad, and my swing was probably just shaking on the back swing and the down swing. But after that I just started to have fun and not worry about my swing so much.
Q. Taylor, prior to qualifying on Monday, when was your last competitive round and where was it?
TAYLOR COLEMAN: It was actually Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. I had two tournaments. I had a regional on Wednesday and Thursday, and I shot 63, 73. And so that was a good boost going into my AJGA tournament that weekend where I shot 76, 71, and that got me third place there. So going into Monday's round was a good confidence boost, and I played well there also.
Q. That's the class 5A regionals you're talking about?
TAYLOR COLEMAN: Yes.
Q. And I'd like to follow up if I could. You dealt with nerves today. How do you deal with a little bit of confidence going into tomorrow? Is that a different juggling act?
TAYLOR COLEMAN: It's a little easier knowing that I played really well the first day, and so tomorrow I'm just going to go out there and have fun again and not worry about it and not have my nerves that I did today.
THE MODERATOR: I know you had your coach Tim Hobby out there on the bag today. How much did that help you having him there to kind of help calm those nerves a little bit?
TAYLOR COLEMAN: That helped me a lot because he's had a lot of experience caddying for every tour out there. He's a great player as well, so he was able to help me read the greens and helped me choose which shot to hit into the greens and it really helped me a lot.
THE MODERATOR: And how long have you been working with Tim?
TAYLOR COLEMAN: This is my third year, almost three and a half years. And he's really changed my golf game.
THE MODERATOR: And when did you start playing golf? How long have you been a golfer? I know you played on the AJGA. Take us through what your experience has been like leading up to this point.
TAYLOR COLEMAN: I started hitting golf balls with my dad, started getting lessons when I was six years old, and then when I was eight years old, I started playing the U.S. Kids Tour and STPGA Little Linksters. And from there I think I was around 12 when I started playing AJGA. And that really helped me a lot. That gave me great learning experience, and the AJGA has just helped me so much.
THE MODERATOR: I saw you in a lot of good luck messages on your Twitter account from a lot of friends, and one of your friends even said that she was going to miss you in English class today, so I'm sure you're going to be getting a lot of messages later. And if there's any more questions for Taylor?
Q. Autographs, I saw you signing one. How many have you signed?
TAYLOR COLEMAN: One.
Q. So you'll need a little bit more practice on that?
TAYLOR COLEMAN: I think so.
Q. How much fun has this ‑‑ I realize it's only one day, but how much fun has it been leading up to this and then today?
TAYLOR COLEMAN: It's been so much fun. It's been a blast out here with my family and my coach and just being around all these LPGA players makes it even more fun.
THE MODERATOR: Any more questions for Taylor? Thank you so much. Best of luck tomorrow. I hope you just keep enjoying the entire experience.
TAYLOR COLEMAN: I will. Thank you.
Q. So hometown event. Came out, pretty good first round. Just take me through the day. Obviously a few people following you out here.
ANGELA STANFORD: Yeah. It was nice, I think, to get off in the morning, just kind of found a rhythm early and tried to be patient, and I know anything can happen on this course.
It was nice to have a bunch of people out. Seems like every day we have more and more.
Q. You talked on Tuesday just about some of the simple pleasures of being able to lay by your own pool, sleep in your own bed. Has there been anything else this week that's kind of reminded you how much you love being home?
ANGELA STANFORD: I think getting in your own car and going to your own house and then cooking at home. Obviously we don't get to do that much on the road and I don't do it much at home anyway.
I thought about that today because I'm asking people where they're eating, and this is the most I guess I've had at home in a long time.
Q. Really good. Last one, you're 2‑under, 70 today. So obviously you're in the mix. I don't want to put you too far ahead, but how nice would it be to be in the mix on Sunday here with the hometown crowd? You must have thought about it.
ANGELA STANFORD: It would be cool just because I think a lot of people would come out, and I think that would be cool for this tournament to have a real good turnout the first year. So I'm going to try and be up there and get a few fans out.