Kingsmill Resort, River Course
Second-Round Notes and Interviews
May 3, 2013
Ariya Jutanugarn -7, Rolex Rankings No. 23
Stacy Lewis -6, Rolex Rankings No. 2
Angela Stanford -6, Rolex Rankings No. 18
Suzann Pettersen -5, Rolex Rankings No. 5
Cristie Kerr -5, Rolex Rankings No. 12
Friday’s Second-round Recap
Seventeen year-old Thailand native Ariya Jutanugarn shot even-par 71 in the second round of the Kingsmill Championship to maintain sole possession of the lead and heads into the weekend at 7-under par. Rolex Rankings No. 2 Stacy Lewis and No. 18 Angela Stanford trail the teenager by one stroke and are tied for second at 6-under par.
Jutanugarn got off to a rough start on Friday, dropping shots on three of her first eight holes and made the turn at No. 18 at 3-over for the day. She blamed her flat stick for her early troubles and said all three bogeys on Nos. 10, 16, 17 came on missed short putts within five feet.
“So it just like have to keep like my putting, you know, everything's like I hit my irons like very good, my driver is like perfect, so I just want to try to fix my putting,” said Jutanugarn. “So after the front nine, my putting's get better but I still miss a lot of short putt.”
She gained her composure for her back nine and got her first birdie on the par 5 3rd hole. She went on to drain a 45-foot birdie putt on the par 3 5th hole and moved back to even par for the day with her final birdie on No. 7. The youngster, who her competitors have described as fearless, showed no signs of intimidation and said when she looked at the leaderboard, she did a good job of paying attention to herself.
“You know, when I first start on the front nine, I saw the leader, so it's okay, I just want to keep my game,” said Jutanugarn. “And right now for me everybody still have chance to win, so I just do my best my last two day.”
Lewis and Stanford sit one shot back and are within striking distance with two rounds to play. The American duo have mirrored each other this week, both shooting first and second round 68’s and both players carding four birdies and one bogey each in Friday’s second round.
“You know, I played pretty much the same,” said Lewis. “I think I hit it a little better today, which you needed to do because it was so windy, but I gave myself a lot of birdie chances, which was nice. Definitely would have liked to have made a few more putts, but I think I'm in a really good spot going into the weekend. The wind's not dying down out there so it's going to be tough this afternoon.”
Stanford, who has made the cut for her ninth consecutive time at Kingsmilll this week, said she was content with her similar back to back days.
“Overall it seems like it was Groundhog Day,” said Stanford. “I hit 14 greens again and had 29 putts again and got up and down every time again, so kind of interesting that they seem like carbon copies of each other. One was a 3‑putt, yesterday I had one 3‑putt, so it's really weird.”
Three players are in a tie for fourth after two rounds at 5-under par including two former Kingsmill Championship winners Cristie Kerr (2005, 2009), Suzann Pettersen (2007) and 2011 Kia Classic champ Sandra Gal.
A dangerous group of six players crowd the star-studded leaderboard at 4-under par including World Golf & LPGA Halls of Fame member Juli Inkster, 2012 Rolex Rookie of the Year So Yeon Ryu and nine-time LPGA Tour winner Ai Miyazato.
Childlike state of mind: With recent teenage stars like Ariya Jutanugarn and Lydia Ko taking the spotlight in women’s golf, the more seasoned golf pros have grown slightly envious of their fearless and carefree approach to the game. Rolex Rankings No. 2 Stacy Lewis, who played with Jutanugarn in Thailand, says the teen has an outstanding perspective on the course that not many players have.
“She does shoot at every flag, I haven't seen that,” said Lewis of Jutanugarn’s game. “She plays like a 17‑year old, she plays without fear. She swings at it hard and she hits it and she goes and finds it. I played with her in Thailand, I wasn't playing with her the last day but I played with her I think on Saturday, and she literally swings hard, picks up here tee and her caddie is watching where the ball is going. It's fresh air, it's nice to see that, it's nice to see somebody get up there and just hit a putt and not worry about it.”
Lewis says the youngster’s mentality is something every Tour pro strives to revert back to.
“I think Webb Simpson said it a couple weeks ago, that's what ‑‑ he was going to go try to play like a kid again,” said Lewis. “You start playing so many rounds and you've seen misses right and misses left and short and long and it gets in your head, so I think everybody's searching for that playing‑like‑a‑kid mentality.”
Back to basics? Suzann Pettersen (@suzannpettersen) may have found the trick to successful putting this week at the Kingsmill Championship but it’s nothing more than just a simple gesture she’s used in the past, which is putting with her eyes closed. The 11-time LPGA Tour winner says she used the technique in 2007 when she won five tournaments but decided to change it up in the next few years.
“I tried a lot of different things through the last six years to see if I can knock in a few more putts because I feel like that's where I can actually take advantage of my game and kind of improve the most and it would make a difference,” said Pettersen. “And I mean, going through a little different ways to putt, try to feel more free, tie to be less technical, be more natural. You name it, I've tried it. And it's not like I've never been a great putter. I've made great putts, big putts at the right moment in the past, but I feel like on the average day it hasn't been good enough and that's what separates me from winning and finishing in the Top 5, Top 10.”
Pettersen believes she is finally piecing her game together after deciding to switch back to closing her eyes after this year’s Kia Classic.
“Well, first step number one, don't ever be scared on the golf course,” said Pettersen. “Step number two, trust what you do, and if you practice enough, it feels natural. So for me, like I said, it's nothing ‑‑ I mean, I even chip with my eyes closed. All you're trying to do is a motion, like you're doing whatever motion you've been working on. It's automatic. It sits right in your fingers. I did it in '07, I putted really well, I won five tournaments.”
Second-round leader Ariya Jutanugarn says she may give it a try during Saturday’s third round.
“I mean, like I never try before a tournament, so tomorrow I will,” she said.
Pettersen says practicing with your eyes closed is sure to lower anyone’s score but advises to not “do it on the green all at the same time, it'll be chaos.”
A Night with the Stars! Four years ago, Angela Stanford’s (@AngelaStanford) world changed when cancer gripped two special women in her life, Stanford’s mother and close friend. With her friend’s help, Stanford’s dream of establishing an organization came to fruition. With already three years of successfully raising money through her golf tournament in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Stanford now hosts an event that features some of Texas’ country music stars. The second-annual A Night with the Stars will take place next Wednesday.
The Angela Stanford Foundation strives to help fund scholarships for students whose families were affected by cancer while also helping children in The First Tee Program and Lena Hope Home in Fort Worth. Stanford says her experiences have helped her understand the needs high school students who don’t have the funds for college.
“I always say if I would have been a senior in high school when my mom was diagnosed, I probably wouldn't have gone to school right away because all of the funds, especially for middle class families, just go straight to medical and everything that the patient needs, so everything becomes secondary to that,” said Stanford. “So we're trying to help those families that have kids that are seniors that still want to go to school, we're just trying to give them some support.”
Several players in who also live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area like Gerina Piller and Brittany Lang are frequent supporters of Stanford’s events. Stacy Lewis, a former Texas native, says Stanford’s organization is inspiring and tries to endorse it as much as she can.
“Yeah, you know, since I came on Tour, Angela's become someone I've looked up to and she's been a great friend to me and someone I can call if I have a question,” said Lewis. “I really believe in her charity. What she does for those kids is unbelievable. So I try to do what I can to help her just because she's a great friend and I love what her charity's doing, getting those kids to college that have been through a lot. I've been through a lot in my days, too, so I love that we're all on this platform that we can give back to people for whatever charity that may be.”
Stanford says the support of her fellow Tour players is something she cherishes.
“I'm pretty blessed to have such good friends out here, but they're solid people,” said Stanford. “So there's a list of them that they're just great people and they have big hearts and they always want to help.”
Cheers to the weekend: A total of 78 players made the cut which fell at 3-over-par 145.
Quotable: “I mean, you want to give yourself a chance to win every week, but after Hawaii I had to remind myself that a Top 10 is a good week. It's really okay. You're not going to play perfect every single week and that I can leave a lot of shots out there and still finish in the Top 10. That's something I took out of the last two weeks is I may not play my best but I'm still right there at the end of the week. Just trying not to put so much pressure on myself for every single shot to be absolutely perfect.” –Stacy Lewis on controlling high expectations for herself.
Of Note… Sponsor invite and 2013 LPGA Tour rookie Katie Burnett shot a 1-under 70 and is currently in a tie for seventh at 4-under par…Jin Young Pak of South Korea withdrew during the second round citing a shoulder injury…Jennifer Song withdrew on her 15th hole (No. 6)
Ariya Jutanugarn, Rolex Rankings No. 23
MODERATOR: I'd like to welcome in our current leader, Ariya Jutanugarn, shot even par today, one‑shot lead right now. Kind of a tale of two different ‑‑ your front nine and your back nine, three bogeys on your first nine holes, three birdies on your back. How did you regroup at the turn coming off of three bogeys thinking maybe you were going to crumble a little bit? How did you regroup in your head?
ARIYA JUTANUGARN: When I start I start on the back nine so I have to be (indiscernible) because I miss the putt, I have 3‑putt and I missed my short putt like two time. So it just like have to keep like my putting, you know, everything's like I hit my irons like very good, my driver is like perfect, so I just want to try to fix my putting. So after the front nine, my putting's get better but I still miss a lot of short putt.
MODERATOR: How long were the putts you missed? Really short?
ARIYA JUTANUGARN: Like three feet.
MODERATOR: Both around three?
ARIYA JUTANUGARN: Yes.
MODERATOR: How about the other one, a little longer?
ARIYA JUTANUGARN: Other one's like five feet. And you know like, I mean, the back nine for me, so I have like 10 feet, it's like I can make birdie but I still miss like two time.
MODERATOR: Okay. How were the birdies on your back nine? Long putts or short?
ARIYA JUTANUGARN: I had one long putt like 15‑yard, very long, and then I have like one short putt, three foot.
MODERATOR: Where was the long one, long putt? What hole?
ARIYA JUTANUGARN: Par 3, 14 or 13.
MODERATOR: Sure, all right. Questions for Ariya?
Q. How windy was it for you and how much did that affect the way you played?
MODERATOR: How windy was it, the wind, the conditions how hard.
ARIYA JUTANUGARN: It's very hard because like when I started front nine, I hit the ball like ‑‑ you know, I don't have really chance to I can make the putt because it's hard to control the ball and I have a long putt, I still have 3‑putt, so it's pretty hard.
MODERATOR: You go at the pins really hard. Everyone says you go for a pin and you attack it, you go really hard at it. Do you think that had anything to do with the wind made it harder for you to attack or did you play it safe on any holes?
ARIYA JUTANUGARN: When I first start I don't want to play safe because normally I (indiscernible) but when I had one bogey come 1st hole so that's make me safe, and I have like two more bogeys coming so it make me like want to go back to my game on the back nine.
MODERATOR: So you thought you'd try to play it a little safe and it didn't help?
ARIYA JUTANUGARN: Sometime too safe. I have a long putt and I cannot make it because today my putting is not help me.
Q. Were you watching the leaderboard at all? There are some big names right with you and now right behind you.
ARIYA JUTANUGARN: You know, when I first start on the front nine, so I feel like ‑‑ I saw the leader, so it's okay, I just want to keep my game, and right now for me everybody still have chance to win, so I just do my best my last two day.
Q. This is kind of random, but have you ever putted with your eyes closed in competition?
ARIYA JUTANUGARN: No.
Q. Suzann Pettersen was in here earlier talking about how she's been doing that now for a while. Can you imagine doing that in a tournament?
ARIYA JUTANUGARN: I never, but I would try.
Q. Maybe it would help today?
ARIYA JUTANUGARN: Because I miss a lot, so maybe I try. Anything is maybe going to be better.
MODERATOR: Would you try it tomorrow?
ARIYA JUTANUGARN: Maybe on a putting green.
MODERATOR: Have you ever practiced that before, like ‑‑
ARIYA JUTANUGARN: I have.
MODERATOR: Like muscle memory.
ARIYA JUTANUGARN: I have, but not in a tournament. I mean, like I never try before a tournament, so tomorrow I will.
Q. You've talked about how your sister kind of helps you along the way. Does having her make the cut with you, does that give you any extra confidence going into the weekend?
ARIYA JUTANUGARN: Yesterday she not really help me because I have to help her, so she feel like more "I'm going to miss the cut again." So I say like just do your best, you know, we don't know the future, just keep going, your game is very good. And today she tell me she made a lot of birdies, so maybe she putt better than me today.
Q. You're only 17 years old and you've never finished worse than 4th. Do you feel like a star?
ARIYA JUTANUGARN: Star?
MODERATOR: Like a superstar.
ARIYA JUTANUGARN: No, you know, for me LPGA, they have like top players like superstar. I never think I'm a superstar.
MODERATOR: When do you think you'll get to be a superstar?
ARIYA: In my dream I want to be Top 10 in the world, world ranking, so maybe like two year.
MODERATOR: You think that's your goal, within two years?
ARIYA JUTANUGARN: Um‑hmm.
MODERATOR: I think you're on the right track.
Q. You're leading the tournament now after two rounds. Every past winner of this tournament's been a major champion. You've got some heat behind you. What are your thoughts now going into the third round?
ARIYA JUTANUGARN: You know, I think I have to focus on every chance to even have chance to hit the shot, but I don't think I'm going to win tournament or I'm going to lose, so for me everybody have chance to win so I still have chance to win, too.
Stacy Lewis, Rolex Rankings No. 2
MODERATOR: All right. We'd like to welcome in Stacy Lewis who shot her second 68 of the week, back‑to‑back 68s. Angela was just in here and had 68‑68 and said it was pretty much Groundhog Day, carbon copy round. Was it the same thing for you or was anything different from yesterday?
STACY LEWIS: You know, I played pretty much the same. I think I hit it a little better today, which you needed to do because it was so windy, but I gave myself a lot of birdie chances, which was nice. Definitely would have liked to have made a few more putts, but I think I'm in a really good spot going into the weekend. The wind's not dying down out there so it's going to be tough this afternoon.
MODERATOR: 29 putts each round, how's your work on the greens? I know that's something you said you've been working on, concentrating on. How is your work on the greens?
STACY LEWIS: It's been okay, kind of been hit or miss. My chipping's been really good, which you need to do around here, so if I miss the green I've got an up and down. I've had trouble reading the greens today. I was misreading some putts at the end. I don't really know how to work on that, maybe I'll watch some of the coverage this afternoon and see if I can read the greens a little better, but that's something I need to do better going into tomorrow.
MODERATOR: Now, aside from all the No. 1 talk, obviously it's been a topic you're battered with over and over and you said it's something that you were trying to kind of manage and not have in the front of your mind, but you're one of the biggest critics of yourself, you're so hard on yourself and expect so much. How important was it to play well here this week amidst the rankings or anything like that. You've come off two Top 10s playing okay, but how important was it to come in and get a good start and finish well here?
STACY LEWIS: I mean, you want to give yourself a chance to win every week, but after Hawaii I had to remind myself that a Top 10 is a good week. It's really okay. You're not going to play perfect every single week and that I can leave a lot of shots out there and still finish in the Top 10. That's something I took out of the last two weeks is I may not play my best but I'm still right there at the end of the week. Just trying not to put so much pressure on myself for every single shot to be absolutely perfect. You're going to hit some bad ones, you're going to hit some bad ones that bounce good and you might make birdie off of it. So just kind of not trying to be so hard on myself and just trying to have more fun out there.
MODERATOR: This is your third time playing here, you played in your rookie year.
STACY LEWIS: Third or fourth?
MODERATOR: I saw you played your rookie year 2009, missed the cut, and then last year tied for 9th. So obviously improving.
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, this golf course you have to play ‑‑ I think you have to play it a lot to learn the lines off the tees and the different winds. When we played last year the winds were opposite, we had more south wind, and every day this week we've had a north wind. So different lines off the tees and holes play a little different so it's a lot of local knowledge. Cristie Kerr loves this golf course and I think it's because she's played it so many times.
Q. Did the wind get worse as your round went along and what specific problems did the wind cause for you?
STACY LEWIS: It did. It was blowing when we started but it was probably midway through the front nine when it really started to blow pretty good. We were on probably about our 8th hole was when it started. It really, it's drying out the course so the downwind holes, it's releasing on the greens and it's definitely affecting some putts. The 18th hole is playing brutal today. They moved the tee up and I still hit 4 iron into the green, so it's playing tough. It's just one of those days you've got to grind it out, take your pars and go to the next hole.
Q. Here's you, you know, at the top of the sport kind of battling for No. 1. What do you know about Ariya, the 17‑year old who just comes out shooting at every flag, and was that 8‑under yesterday? What is the talk among all you guys that don't know much about her?
STACY LEWIS: She does shoot at every flag, I haven't seen that. She plays like a 17‑year old, she plays without fear. She swings at it hard and she hits it and she goes and finds it. I played with her in Thailand, I wasn't playing with her the last day but I played with her I think on Saturday, and she literally swings hard, picks up here tee and her caddie is watching where the ball is going. It's fresh air, it's nice to see that, it's nice to see somebody get up there and just hit a putt and not worry about it. She's a great player, she hits it far. We'll see how she does in the wind, you know, with that mentality. It will be a little different in the wind, so I think she'll maybe bring it back a little bit hopefully.
Q. Does it ever make you wonder how much fun it would be to turn off all the noise in your head and just go back to playing carefree and just hit it and go get it?
STACY LEWIS: I think that's what everybody's searching for every week. I think Webb Simpson said it a couple weeks ago, that's what ‑‑ he was going to go try to play like a kid again. You start playing so many rounds and you've seen misses right and misses left and short and long and it gets in your head, so I think everybody's searching for that playing‑like‑a‑kid mentality.
Q. To piggy back on that, do you tell yourself ‑‑ I mean, are you at the point where you've told yourself that?
STACY LEWIS: No, I mean, I'm not quite to that point. I don't know if I've seen quite enough bad shots for that.
Q. Well, not bad shots, but about pressure that you might put on yourself?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, right, I think that you're trying to free yourself up and forget about the mechanics of it and just go and hit the shot. I think that's what everybody's trying to do, but she does it to another level so it's fun to watch.
Q. If I might batter you with one more No. 1 question, was there a moment where you actually set as a goal somewhere in college or on the Tour, I want to be the No. 1 player in the world?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, it probably wasn't until the middle of last year that I really thought it was possible and something I could hopefully get to. The one thing is that I didn't really get to enjoy it. I was so busy and had so many things going on that I didn't really get to enjoy it. So that's kind of my goal for getting back there is to get to enjoy it and to get to have more fun off the golf course.
It certainly comes with a pressure. It's a hard position to be in because you expect yourself to play like a No. 1 all the time and you're not going to. So it does come with that pressure, it's just how you manage it. I'm going to ‑‑ I learned, I think I was there for four weeks and I learned a lot in those four weeks. So it's good for the game, though. I like that there's some battle with back and forth the scenario with Yani and Na Yeon and Inbee and myself. It's fun, I like it. It's good for the Tour. I don't know, we'll just keep at it. It's fun to battle Inbee. If we both keep making some putts at the end of the day, it creates some good golf out there.
MODERATOR: No. 1 or No. 2, whatever your ranking, you've been getting to do some really cool things. For these guys who might not follow you every single day or know what you're doing like me, what are some of the coolest things you've been able to do or have you heard from anybody that really stuck out to you? You received your Player of the Year down at Augusta, you met Rory. Talk about a couple things that you were able to do that you were really proud of or kind of made you a little excited.
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, that week we had off after the Kraft wasn't really an off week. I went to a Atlanta and did some interviews at CNN with Dr. Sanjay Gupta, which was fun. Went to the Masters, got the Player of the Year award, filmed a commercial. Let's see. I've done photo shoots, I've been all over the place. A couple weeks ago I filmed Feherty. We went to Arkansas and filmed the Feherty show so that will be coming out the end of this week.
MODERATOR: How was that? I never got to ask you.
STACY LEWIS: It was a lot of fun. He's just as crazy all the time as he looks on the show, but it was cool. We talked a lot about my back and my story. I actually took my back braces with me and took them and showed him. That's the first time I've really showed them to anyone, so I'm excited to kind of see the response I get from that.
Q. Earlier Angela was mentioning how supportive you are of her foundation and its pursuits, and it seems like the players are very supportive of one another's charitable endeavors. Can you talk about hers in particular and then just kind of the overall attitude out here of supporting one another?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, you know, since I came on Tour, Angela's become someone I've looked up to and she's been a great friend to me and someone I can call if I have a question. I really believe in her charity. What she does for those kids is unbelievable. So I try to do what I can to help her just because she's a great friend and I love what her charity's doing, getting those kids to college that have been through a lot. I've been through a lot in my days, too, so I love that we're all on this platform that we can give back to people for whatever charity that may be.
Q. Stacy, you mentioned you're ready to pull your hair out over the greens. Can you explain that a little further? Is it tough to read them?
STACY LEWIS: I'm just not reading these greens night, I don't know what it is. I read them to go one way and they go the other. The wind is not helping because the wind is moving some putts around, but they seem to not be breaking as much as I'm playing, so I think I'll look at that, but I have not figured out these greens yet.
Q. What is it about this course that so many major champions have won here? Why do you think that is?
STACY LEWIS: It's hard, you have to hit every club in your bag, especially today with the wind. I think it became comical how many times we hit 6 iron into a green today. We hit four, five 6‑irons and then you've got to hit your wedges close on the par 5s, so it demands every shot in the bag and that's why the list of past champions is so good.
Angela Stanford, Rolex Rankings No. 18
MODERATOR: All right. I'd like to welcome in Angela Stanford to the media room. Another good round, another 68. Take us through it. You're tied for 2nd right now. What was working well for you and what happened on that bogey on 1?
ANGELA STANFORD: Overall it seems like it was Groundhog Day. I hit 14 greens again and had 29 putts again and got up and down every time again, so kind of interesting that they seem like carbon copies of each other. 1 was a 3‑putt, yesterday I had one 3‑putt, so it's really weird.
MODERATOR: Did you come out of yesterday thinking I want to replicate what I did yesterday? Did you feel okay with that and you pretty much did the same thing?
ANGELA STANFORD: I know I wanted to hit it as good as I hit it yesterday, but yesterday I was sad I left some out there. Today I felt like I got the most out of today, so I think that's just, in the two days with the wind blowing a little bit harder today, today's round felt better than yesterday.
MODERATOR: Talk about this venue, coming back. You've played here every time the Tour's been here, you made every cut, three Top 10s I think I saw. Talk about this course, how it suits you, how it feels to be back this week.
ANGELA STANFORD: I love it here from top to bottom, from the resort to the volunteers, the community, and the golf course is just awesome. I love ‑‑ it's just beautiful to begin with, but you know, I love how you have to hit the ball solid. I don't know. The greens are always perfect. I just love being here, just the feel is kind of laid back. And I don't know, I just told a reporter out there you could put this venue on our schedule five times for all I care. There's absolutely nothing I don't like about this place.
MODERATOR: I was going to ask you, kind of think you're going to maybe cut back a little bit, kind of manage your schedule that way. When you saw it on the schedule a little earlier in the year, it obviously did not matter, that's an automatic yes?
ANGELA STANFORD: Yeah, and this was a nice stretch. I love Hawaii, home I had to play, and I love it here. So this has been a great three weeks.
MODERATOR: Let's talk about the conditions. We heard you say it's getting very windy, very happy to get the round in, gusty, getting worse throughout the round. Just talk about wind and the course conditions for today.
ANGELA STANFORD: Well, I saw it ‑‑ you could feel it all day, the wind started to below a little bit harder as we played but it really became gusty like our last four or five holes and I didn't expect that. And the weird part was it was kind of changing directions, and when you get into those trees and it gets gusty and then it kind of starts swirling on you, even No. 8, Jane's ball kind of went through the green just a touch and I'm five yards in front of her maybe and mine kind of gets blown up in the air and it comes up short, so it just got really gusty.
Q. You said the rounds were kind of carbon copies but yesterday you parred all the par 5s and today you birdied them all. What was the difference on that?
ANGELA STANFORD: I did? I did not know that.
Q. Yeah, you did.
ANGELA STANFORD: All right.
Q. That's why you came in here.
ANGELA STANFORD: Yeah, thanks. You know, I don't know. I guess, well, I think when the wind blows from this direction you have to take advantage of 15 and 7 and yesterday I didn't. Yesterday I hit two really bad second shots. So today I hit a little bit better second shots on those two holes. No, I take that back, I had to lay up on 15. I don't know. I guess I just put my ball in better position on the par 5s. Those two you have to take advantage of.
Q. Meghan mentioned that you've made all eight cuts here, you're one of only two players ‑‑ well, now nine cuts and you're one of only two players to have done that. Do you keep a mental ‑‑ is that a surprise? Did you know when you came out, never missed a cut here?
ANGELA STANFORD: I did not know that. Being one of only two players, that's pretty cool. Like I said, I don't know, I guess I just ‑‑ I love it here, and what I'm learning about myself is if I'm comfortable, I'm probably going to play well and I was comfortable last week at home and then coming here. You know, my parents come every year, my mom's coming in late tonight, so I don't know, this almost feels like home, just laid back and people are so friendly that it's just easy to be here and play.
Q. How cool was it to be part of that inaugural North Texas tournament? It must have been awesome for you given your roots?
ANGELA STANFORD: It was neat and it was neat to see people come out that I hadn't seen in a while. That's what going into it, I knew the cool part about that was I was going to get to play golf in front of people that maybe had never seen me play in. Person, so that was the neat part about it for me is that I got to play in front of people that they may see me on TV on occasion. I had an aunt come out and I said, well, how is that different from TV, and she's like, that was so cool, I got to see you on every single shot. But she loved it, so things like that were pretty special, pretty cool.
Q. Were the Rangers home last week? Did you get to go to a game?
ANGELA STANFORD: I saw Sunday's game. I took the redeye home Saturday from Hawaii and saw Sunday and then they hit the road. Probably good because I would have been distracted, I would have been sitting at the ballpark instead of entertaining.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about your foundation and what was the genesis, the motivation of it? And what is it, four years now? Just where you feel it is and what you want to do with it in the future.
ANGELA STANFORD: Well, I've always wanted to do something with kids, and when my mom was diagnosed in '09 with breast cancer that kind of changed my world obviously. Then I had a close friend who kind of nudged me to start the foundation. She passed away from a type of cancer and just the more I realized it was becoming a part of my world, I felt like okay, if we're going to help kids, let's help the kids that are affected by cancer.
So we give scholarships to kids with cancer or family members with cancer. I always say if I would have been a senior in high school when my mom was diagnosed, I probably wouldn't have gone to school right away because all of the funds, especially for middle class families, just go straight to medical and everything that the patient needs, so everything becomes secondary to that. So we're trying to help those families that have kids that are seniors that still want to go to school, we're just trying to give them some support. And we give scholarships, it's over the four years. We don't just give them one year and leave them. We kind of stay with them. If they make their grades, we stay with them all four years.
Q. Meghan mentioned that you're kind of curbing your schedule a little bit. Is that so you can spend more time with the foundation and its pursuits?
ANGELA STANFORD: I have a really good executive director who plays golf also out here and she does the bulk of the work and I should help her more. Mostly ‑‑ and I do feel guilty about that. Being gone all the time, it's hard to kind of be completely 100 percent involved. So a lot of cutting my schedule back is just to be rested more, but also to be home more.
MODERATOR: Talk about other player involvement, you always have outings or ways to raise money, how much that means to you. I see pictures with a group of players that come out in Texas. How many events have you had, how many players usually come?
ANGELA STANFORD: Our spring event's next week and this will be the second year we've done this and Gerina Piller lives in the area so she'll come over, I'm sure B. Lang will come over. Stacy Lewis is always supportive. She tells us she may not be in town but she's still going to help us out.
And then the golf tournament in September, we've always had anywhere from 16 to 18 girls that show up and a lot of them don't take the money. I'm pretty blessed to have such good friends out here, but they're solid people. So there's a list of them that they're just great people and they have big hearts and they always want to help.
Q. Given the conditions that you talked about and the frustrations that they bring, was it hard refocusing after the bogey on the 1st hole because you didn't have any more slip‑ups the rest of the way.
ANGELA STANFORD: Yeah, I kind of got mad there when I got to 2 tee because I knew it was getting harder and I knew that I couldn't do things like I just did on 1 green and it was only going to get tougher from then on .I told my caddie I didn't need a pep talk, but I gave myself my own pep talk and just put my head down and played the rest of the way.
Suzann Pettersen, Rolex Rankings No. 5
MODERATOR: I'd like to welcome in Suzann Pettersen, 2‑under today, 5‑under for the week. Take us through your round, pretty good position heading into the weekend. Feel good with two rounds left to play?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Yeah, I think I'm pretty happy with how it turned out today. It was going to be a tough day, conditions were a little harder than yesterday. I saw the average score is probably a little bit higher than it was yesterday. Started off and just plugged along, played smart. Yardages doesn't really matter, it's really about just controlling the spin, and it's getting cold out there to finish this late.
MODERATOR: I saw your huge blowup picture in the hallway, in the clubhouse, former champ, a couple years younger.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Wrinkles.
MODERATOR: But coming back here as a former champ and coming back to anywhere where you've won before, is that harder for you knowing that you've played well here and so your expectations kind of heighten up, or do good memories just kind of come through knowing that you have the opportunity to play well?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: No, I don't think being a past champion at courses we come back to is any different than to a course you haven't won on. Obviously certain courses might suit your eye better than others. This is definitely one of ‑‑ probably the best course we play all year and I think you can see how past champions have been great ball strikers, good golfers, and I'm glad I was able to put my name on that list on this course back in '07. I've grown a lot since then, even though it feels like it was yesterday. It was a great way to kick off my career here on the LPGA and just happy to be in contention once again here, feeling very good.
MODERATOR: Cristie said she's a much different player from when she won and Inbee said the last time she played here she's very different. What do you think's most different from your game when you won back in 2007 then to this year?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Well, I think it's very similar. I think my mentality is very much the same. Obviously you've grown over the years and you get more experience, but I think the actual playing mode for me is very similar. It's offensive hitting the shots that I'm seeing and not kind of backing off and that is what kind of keeps me in this game and this is what I love to do. I don't like to play away from the pins, but obviously on a day like today you've got to play smart, you've got to pick the right club at the right time with the right gusts, and today was a day where you could easily have taken yourself out of the pack but I decided to do the other thing so I closed the gap a few.
Q. You said that you kind of have to manage yourself, it sounds like, on a day like today when the conditions are like they are. Angela and Stacy, when they finished the morning, they said it's going to be brutal out there and for most people it was. How did you learn to manage it as well as you did today?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Well, first of all, I think the range is probably one of the most exposed places out there. Then you've got No. 10 and No. 18. Once you kind of get into the woods, it's actually a little better. As gusty as it might feel around the clubhouse in the open kind of spots it's more manageable around the course. It's playing a little bit longer. Well, I'm glad Stacy and Angela thought it was going to be a nightmare out there. It wasn't that bad.
I like it when it's tough, it's very challenging. Like I said, you can't really back off, you can't really bail out. Once you decide on a club, you've got to hit the shot you're seeing, otherwise you could be three clubs short or two clubs long. For me it just sharpens my focus a lot. Yeah, got to try and take advantage of the birdie looks that you have. I started off really well, I started off with a good look on 10, 11, 12, and then finally dropped on 13, so patience and kind of being aggressive at the right moment is probably the key around this golf course today.
Q. Do you think not letting the conditions get to you mentally gives you an advantage over a lot of players?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Well, all you can do is play what the course gives you. I think the conditions have been fairly similar all day. I don't think there was an advantage playing early, I don't think there was any less wind in the afternoon. Overall I think it's been pretty equal conditions for the entire field. So, I mean, you can decide to take your way out of it by losing it and kind of get upset with the conditions, but I try to just embrace it and grow stronger on it.
Q. Still putting with the eyes closed?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Yeah, me and Stevie. Stevie had a decent day on the job today.
Q. Tell the guys here who might not know that when you started in Hawaii ‑‑
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Well, it started at Kraft actually. I don't know if that's much fun to know, but I putt with my eyes closed.
MODERATOR: And you used to in 2007 and you got away from it and came back.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I don't remember if I actually did that when I played here in '07. I started that year. I think I started in the fall in 2007. It's something that I do when I practice a lot. Obviously I practice quite a few hours, so it's not a thing that I change when I go out on the course. I feel very comfortable with it. I feel actually a lot, what can I say, I feel freer when I close my eyes. Once I close my eyes, I just have to trust what I've seen and trust the feel and the speed and start praying.
Q. When do you shut your eyes in the process?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Well, once I'm lined up, settled in, yeah, just before I start stroking it. You should try it, it works. It could help your game. It's helped my game.
Q. I understand you don't just go out there and start shutting your eyes while you're putting in competition. Like you said, you practiced that and you work on it, then you take it to the course during competition. But the first time you do that in a round in competition, you said in the fall 2007, that has to scare the hell out of you to think, is this actually going to work? Or had you worked on it so much at that point it just was ‑‑ you were determined to do it and that's what you're going to do?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Well, first step number one, don't ever be scared on the golf course. Step number two, trust what you do, and if you practice enough, it feels natural. So for me, like I said, it's nothing ‑‑ I mean, I even chip with my eyes closed. All you're trying to do is a motion, like you're doing whatever motion you've been working on. It's automatic. It sits right in your fingers. I did it in '07, I putted really well, I won five tournaments. Then it's like if your back hurts and you go to the doctor and you start doing all the exercises, you feel better, you stop doing the exercises and the same thing I did. I felt now I can open my eyes again because now I putt well. On a good day that's okay, but on the average day it's not good enough for me.
So I started ‑‑ I mean, I tried a lot of different things through the last six years to see if I can knock in a few more putts because I feel like that's where I can actually take advantage of my game and kind of improve the most and it would make a difference. And I mean, going through a little different ways to putt, try to feel more free, tie to be less technical, be more natural. You name it, I've tried it. And it's not like I've never been a great putter. I've made great putts, big putts at the right moment in the past, but I feel like on the average day it hasn't been good enough and that's what separates me from winning and finishing in the Top 5, Top 10.
So ever since we were at Kia at Carlsbad, I said, you know what, I'm just going to go back to what I know and what I trust and it's been really good since. I tell you, the hardest things are the really short ones. You just expect to go over and take the ball out of the hole. Well, for me it's a very calming feel.
Q. You said you went through a lot of different things to experiment with some different techniques before you got to the closing your eyes. Did you talk to somebody about that? Was there something that suggested that or was it ‑‑
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Well, it was something I worked on with my coach at the time. There's a lot of athletes ‑‑ I mean, Nick Faldo played a couple tournaments with his eyes closed. You've seen pictures of Michael Jordan throwing free throws with his ‑‑ I mean, all you do, it's automatic. It's not like you look how hard do I have to hit it. If you have a piece of paper and you toss it at the bin, you don't think how hard, it's just a natural motion.
Q. Muscle memory?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Yeah. If you practice enough, it's no problem.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Don't do it on the green all at the same time, it'll be chaos.
Cristie Kerr, Rolex Rankings No. 12
Q. Obviously a bummer way to end with a bogey, but you still managed to keep that putter hot today, 12‑foot putt there. Take me through your round and how you're feeling.
CRISTIE KERR: It played really tough today and I made a good birdie on the 13th hole. Actually, the best swing of the day was on 18 where, you know, we misjudged the wind a little bit and ended up in a bad spot and made bogey, and then birdied 7 and then just, you know, you saw what happened on the last hole. So kind of uneventful but it's a round where you needed to kind of stay around the lead and not take yourself out of it. It was tough conditions, so I would have liked to shoot 1‑under today for sure, but I didn't hit it that great today compared to yesterday.
Q. Unforgiving is probably the best way to describe today with the conditions?
CRISTIE KERR: I wouldn't say unforgiving. I mean, it's still pretty scorable, you just have to have your A game out there and I kind of had my B‑plus game. I didn't really hit it that great, didn't control the golf ball that well and the distances, so I didn't have a ton of makeable birdie opportunities. I did birdie a couple of the easier holes today. Going to work on it for tomorrow. This is kind of what you get at Kingsmill this time of the year.
Q. Still feel good going into the weekend?
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, definitely. It's kind of weird with the new tee times getting done so late. There's another hour of golf behind us. I don't envy them, they're going to be kind of playing in the dark coming in. I'm definitely looking forward to the weekend, I just hope they can finish today.
Q. You're in a spot that's pretty familiar to you, you've won twice here. What's your mindset going into the weekend?
CRISTIE KERR: You know, I did my mental stuff good today, just got to hit it a little better and get the putter going hot.