Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic Pre-Tournament Notes and Interviews

Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic
Ocean Club Golf Course
Atlantis, Paradise Island, Nassau, Bahamas
Tuesday Pre-Tournament Notes and Interviews
May 21, 2013

Quick Quotes: Jennifer Johnson (below)

The Big Apple Visits Long Island:
Na Yeon Choi arrives at the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic fresh off media day for the 2013 U.S. Women’s Open at Sebonack Golf Club on Monday. The 25-year old defending champion spent the weekend getting accustomed to the major championship venue, playing the golf course twice between rain storms.

Her take away from several trips around the Jack Nicklaus layout? “The greens have a lot of undulations,” she said.

Choi is currently sixth on Tour in putts per greens in regulations at 1.758.

Suzann Pro Challenge Will Return in 2013: Suzann Pettersen returns to action this week at the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic fresh off a trip to her native Norway where she finalized plans for the second-annual Suzann Pro Challenge. The Oslo-based charity golf tournament will feature a bigger field with more international LPGA stars in 2013, but Pettersen isn’t ready to reveal too much about the star-studded affair just yet.

The only details she leaked on Tuesday were the date (the 2013 edition of the tournament will played the weekend prior to the Evian Masters, the LPGA’s fifth major championship) and a hint at the format.

“You can expect continents to battle it out,” she said.

In addition to planning her eponymous golf tournament, Pettersen has also been playing consistent golf this spring with a victory at the LPGA LOTTE Championship, a runner-up finish following a playoff loss at the Kingsmill Championship, solo third at the inaugural North Texas LPGA Shootout and a tie for third at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

The 32-year-old also became just the seventh player in LPGA history to cross the $10 million mark in career earnings at the Kingsmill Championship. In 11 years on the LPGA Tour, Pettersen has accumulated $10,001,429 in earnings.

Approaching the $10 million mark: Paula Creamer and Yani Tseng are the closest active players to crossing the $10 million mark in career earnings. Creamer, a nine-time LPGA winner, is currently eighth on the LPGA Career Money List with $9,838,158 in earnings across nine seasons on Tour. Tseng, twice the Rolex Player of the Year (2011-12), is ninth with $9,209,369 in six years on the LPGA.

Salas the Celebrity? It’s been a good year for second-year LPGA member Lizette Salas. She contended for a major championship at the Kraft Nabisco and shot 62 in the final round of the LPGA LOTTE Championship. She’s in the top six of several LPGA statistical categories including LPGA Official Money List (sixth), putts per GIR (fifth), Vare Trophy race for lowest scoring average (fifth) and birdies (sixth). But the real question is whether or not she is getting noticed away from the course?

“A lot more people are recognizing me at home (in Southern California),” said Salas. “I was at a Japanese restaurant in La Verne for my sister’s birthday and I had a golf shirt on and someone yelled from across the room. I didn’t know what to do. It feels so different, but I am having fun with it.”

She has been omnipresent on LPGA leaderboards this year, but her first Tour victory has remained just out of reach. Despite several close calls, Salas remains positive about the state of her game entering the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic.

“I feel great,” she said. “I needed a week off to refresh the batteries. I’m excited and ready to go to work after working with my swing coach at home. I went to TaylorMade and did a little equipment tune-up. I’m ready to go.”

Quote of the day: From Mobile Bay LPGA Classic champion Jennifer Johnson on propelling herself into the running for the 2013 U.S. Solheim Cup Team… “One of the coolest text messages I got was from Meg Mallon. I was very excited to get that. I love match-play, especially a team event for your country. I have to keep playing good up until the British, keep getting those points and see where I fall.”

Five Things You Don’t Know About… STEPHANIE SHERLOCK

1. She was born in Germany and speaks decent German
2. Her dad, Dave Sherlock, was a professional hockey player and her family moved at least 13 times when she was growing up to follow his career.
3. She is not afraid to admit that she is a big Celine Dion fan
4. Her family settled in Barre, Ontario, Canada when she was 12 years old
5. She spent part of the offseason living with her dad in his RV in Orlando. “I bring down the average age at the RV Park by quite a bit,” she quipped.



Q. How does it feel, a few days removed, to be a winner on the LPGA Tour at the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic?
JENNIFER JOHNSON: It feels really good. It’s starting to sink in. I think all the messages from friends and family make it feel more real.

Q. You’re only 21 but it might have felt like a long road to get that first win. What went through your head when you realized you won?
JENNIFER JOHNSON: It was just, “wow.” I put years in on the AJGA, went to ASU for a year, felt like I took the right steps, but I had to stay patient and work hard. It’s the greatest feeling ever.

Q. What has the reaction been from your peers?
JENNIFER JOHNSON: A lot of congratulations and it’s great to see that everyone supports one another. I have heard from friends from school who don’t follow golf much, Gary Player tweeted me.

Q. Is there one thing you might do with that winner’s paycheck?
JENNIFER JOHNSON: Not really. I’m a shopper, so maybe a cool purse. I might treat myself to a purse.

Q. Confidence-wise, I’m sure you have always felt you could win on the LPGA, but does last week really validate everything for you?
JENNIFER JOHNSON: Oh yeah. I switched coaches a year ago to Steve Bann and he has helped me so much. His teaching style is more about the process. It keeps me focused on working hard and improving, and you can get the outcome you want.

Q. You’re here in the Bahamas, a nice place to celebrate, but it’s back to business. Do you feel different at a new tournament as a winner on the LPGA?
JENNIFER JOHNSON: I’m in this position for the first time, but I don’t have my clubs yet and I may only play nine holes on the course for practice. I think I can just stay on the high of this victory.

Q. Even a tournament winner steal has to deal with the everyday worries of the airline traveler.
JENNIFER JOHNSON: I walked the back nine today and now I’ll walk the back nine. I borrowed a putter and a wedge and I’m visualizing a lot of shots.

Q. The overarching story here for you is the rise in the U.S. Solheim Cup Team points rankings. You have played some U.S. team golf in the past with the Curtis Cup and some others. How does it feel to be in the running for this year’s team?
JENNIFER JOHNSON: One of the coolest text messages I got was from Meg Mallon. I was very excited to get that. I love match-play, especially a team event for your country. I have to keep playing good up until the British, keep getting those points and see where I fall.

Topics: Notes and Interviews, Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic

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