Mobile Bay LPGA Classic
RTJ Trail, Magnolia Grove, The Crossings
Second-Round Notes and Interviews
May 17, 2013
Jessica Korda -13, Rolex Rankings No. 46
Karrie Webb -12, Rolex Rankings No. 12
Chella Choi -11, Rolex Rankings No. 40
Pornanong Phatlum -10, Rolex Rankings No. 50
Sydnee Michaels -10, Rolex Rankings No. 122
Thidapa Suwannapura -10, Rolex Rankings No. 196
Lisa McCloskey -7, Rolex Rankings No. 426
Stacy Lewis -4, Rolex Rankings No. 2
Friday’s Second-round Recap
Jessica Korda shot a bogey-free 7-under 65 on Friday to take the second-round lead at the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic and heads into the weekend at 13-under par. It was Korda’s second-consecutive bogey-free round in Mobile and was firing on all cylinders to take a one-shot lead over LPGA and World Golf Halls of Famer Karrie Webb. Webb had quite the day herself, finishing with a 9-under 63 which included three-consecutive birdies to close out her round.
But the round of the week so far went to second-year LPGA Tour member Sydnee Michaels who beat the tournament record by two strokes with a 10-under 62. It was Michaels’ career-best round by three shots and was a 10-stroke improvement from her first-round 72. The UCLA product jumped from T63 to a tie for fourth at 10-under par alongside Thailand’s Pornanong Phatlum and Thidapa Suwannapura.
Chella Choi of South Korea held the lead for most of the morning and afternoon wave and followed up a first-round 67 with a 6-under 66 to finish at 11-under. She sits two shots off the lead in solo third.
Korda, who carded four birdies on the front nine and four on the back, said that it’s hard to go into a round on the Crossings Course with a certain number in mind to go low. Players have been putting up showy numbers and know a very low total will be needed to come out on top on Sunday.
“Yeah, I saw Sydnee, I saw she was like 8‑under through 12,” said Korda. “Like dang, that's getting it done today. But no, not really, I kind of just went out here with really no mindset. Just come out here, try and hit good shots and convert when you can and kind of take your punishments when you have to.”
Playing her first 36 competitive holes since taking a two-week break to nurse a wrist injury, Korda said she feels like she’s in prime form heading into the weekend. She hit every fairway and only missed one green in regulation on Friday.
“I feel really comfortable out here,” said Korda. “This is definitely one of the stops I wanted to come back to and I hope we can keep this event as long as possible out here because I really like it…I feel good. Today actually I didn't have one shot where I was kind of kind of windstedded or anything so it was good, it's definitely moving in the right direction.”
Webb played alongside Korda the first two rounds and said she’ll need to continue her solid play to keep up with the 20-year old
“I think I'll need to do that for the weekend playing with Jess,” said Webb. “She played really solidly for two days.”
Webb has shown she can win at Magnolia Grove when she won the AFLAC Tournament of Champions in 2000. She beat Dottie Pepper in a one-hole playoff which earned her a second Rolex Player of the Year title and second Vare Trophy. The Aussie said her mistake-free play on Friday helped her get into a groove.
“I'm not sure the last time I had a bogey‑free round, so I'm really happy about that,” said Webb. “That's sort of been my problem is I have bogeys at the wrong time and it really kills momentum. That's what happened yesterday, I turned at 2‑under and then doubled 1 and bogeyed 2 and all of a sudden I'm at 1‑over. I just was really happy with that fight back yesterday to finish at 3‑under and I think that really carried over into today and it was nice to play today without any bogeys.”
Webb will carry even more momentum into tomorrow after she finished her second round with three-consecutive birdies to close out at 9-under par.
Rolex Rankings No. 2 Stacy Lewis shot her second 2-under 70 of the week and is nine shots off the lead at 4-under par.
“I just made a bunch of birdies and just didn't ‑‑ made too many mistakes and you can't do it when people are shooting lights out,” said Lewis.
Time for a breakthrough: Sydnee Michaels has been looking for a breakthrough. The Californian is coming off four-straight missed cuts and has spent all of her recent practice time trying to return to a care-free swing. She said she has spent hours looking at video and trying to get back to being comfortable over the ball. Michaels looked every bit comfortable on the Crossings Course on Friday when she broke the tournament record by two strokes.
“It feels so good to finally have a good round because I've been struggling the last few weeks and going through some swing changes, and the week off last week I just said, you know what, I'm just going to go back to what feels good,” said Michaels. “So I hit a lot of balls and just kind of got back to where I was feeling good over the ball again, so it feels so good to finally have a good round.”
Her previous best round came during the first round of the Safeway Classic Presented by Coca-Cola last season, where she also recorded her career-best finish, a tie for seventh. She said her iron game gave her plenty of scoring chances and she took advantage with eight birdies and an eagle.
“Probably my irons, you know, I hit it on line every time, I don't think I hit one that I was like, ohhhh,” said Michaels. “But I drove the ball fantastic, too, I hit it long and straight. All around I was very pleased with my game.”
Tough transitions: After recording back-to-back rounds of 67 in the first 36 holes this week in Mobile, Thidapa Suwannapura felt a sense of relief and happiness to be in contention for the first time at an LPGA event heading into the weekend. The Thailand product, who was a rookie last season but only made one start, admitted to having a tough time adjusting to competing with the level of talent on Tour. She earned full status for this season by finishing 4th on the Symetra Tour money list last year and had her fair share of successes on the Road to the LPGA.
“Pretty tough between the feelings between Symetra and here,” said Suwannapura. “In Symetra you play and you're still like Top 10, Top 20, but now everybody's playing good so you have to try harder.”
She would get her first win last year at the Vidalia Championship and added five additional top-10 finishes in 2012. She led the Tour in scoring average and rounds under par.
She said an ailing back, which started at the Kraft Nabisco, has also deterred her development this season. But has since made a strong recovery and hopes to keep her mistake-free play going into the final two rounds.
“Yeah, keep everything the same, you know, I feel so comfortable now with my game,” said Suwannapura. “I like this course.”
She hit every fairway on Friday and only missed one green en-route to her second 67 of the week. The score tied her career-best which she posted during the final round of ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open this season & second round at Kingsmill in 2012. She’s looking to improve on her career-best finish of T8 in Australia this year.
Not missing out: 2013 LPGA Tour rookie Lisa McCloskey (@LAM7SC) had a whirlwind of 24 hours in Mobile following her first round when she and her mother, Maria, were involved in a multi-car accident on their way home from Magnolia Grove. It was not a pretty scene at the site of the accident where the McCloskey’s car had considerable damage and showed how severe the impact was of the collision. With an array of scrapes from the airbags and a sore thumb, McCloskey decided she wasn’t giving up the chance to play on Friday.
“You know, I think I came out here with no expectations, just make‑the‑cut kind of thing,” said McCloskey. I probably would have been happy with even par or a couple over. But I don't know, the putter was really working for me on the front nine, and then the back nine things kind of slowed down, I think I kind of got a little bit tired. But I finished with two really good pars, so I'm happy.”
Playing on just a half hour of sleep, McCloskey showed no signs of distress and carded a four birdie, bogey-free 4-under 68 and marked a career-best round for the University of Southern California product. She’s currently in a tie for T15 at 7-under par.
“You know, I'm just happy to be able to play today and tomorrow and the day after, so I'll just kind of take it as it comes and hopefully put two more good rounds out there,” said McCloskey.
Cheers to the weekend: A total of 80 players made the cut which fell at even-par 144.
Quotable: “Yeah, we give Webby a hard time. She did outdrive me on the 1st hole today and she's like, ‘What's going on?’ And I'm like, ‘Did you work out last night?’” –Jessica Korda on some friendly banter with playing partner Karrie Webb who she and fellow group member Brittany Lincicome consistently outdrive.
Tweet of the Day: Goes to Mobile native and University of Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron. The three-time BCS National champion met Lewis and Lincicome at Thursday night’s Mobile Bay Bears game and caught some second round action of the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic on Friday
“Loved watching great golf play by @JessicaKorda @Brittany1golf @Stacy_Lewis unbelievable golfers and cool girls. See y'all tomorrow” --@10AJMcCarron
Of Note…First-round co-leader Lexi Thompson shot 2-under 70 on Friday and is in a tie for seventh at 9-under…Rolex Rankings No. 7 Jiyai Shin had a turnaround day on Friday, carding a 6-under 66 to improve to 6-under for the week and currently sits in a tie for 21st...No. 17 Azahara Munoz had one of the better second rounds and finished with a 8-under 64 to move into a tie for seventh at -9.
Stacy Lewis, Rolex Rankings No. 2
Q. Kind of the same as yesterday?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I just made a bunch of birdies and just didn't ‑‑ made too many mistakes and you can't do it when people are shooting lights out.
Q. What happened on the double?
STACY LEWIS: I just hit it in the water. It's just my misses right now are just kind of ‑‑ I short‑sided myself and just leaving a hard up‑and‑down in places where you can't make par from and that's kind of the difference.
Q. What about greens, I know you said your reading's been kind of off?
STACY LEWIS: I actually putted pretty good. I mean, the greens are tricky, you're going to misread some and that's just kind of the way it goes. But I made some putts. I came back and birdied the next two holes after making double, so I did a lot of good things out there.
Q. Yeah, I was in the booth and they said oh, she's so mentally tough, you double and come back and birdie.
STACY LEWIS: Yeah.
Q. Is that something that you feel like you're making mistakes but you're doing a good job at recovering?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I think that's kind of the difference between now and two years ago. Two years ago I missed the cut and now I'm at 4‑under, so it's just a learning process.
Karrie Webb, Rolex Rankings No. 12
Q. Better than yesterday, but yesterday wasn't all too bad.
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah.
Q. Just take us through, no bogeys.
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah, no bogeys. I'm not sure the last time I had a bogey‑free round, so I'm really happy about that. That's sort of been my problem is I have bogeys at the wrong time and it really kills momentum. That's what happened yesterday, I turned at 2‑under and then doubled 1 and bogeyed 2 and all of a sudden I'm at 1‑over. I just was really happy with that fight back yesterday to finish at 3‑under and I think that really carried over into today and it was nice to play today without any bogeys.
Q. Yeah, you had a lot less putts today from what I saw.
KARRIE WEBB: Well, when you shoot 63...
Q. Yeah, so you're feeling a little better on the greens?
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah, actually I made that one on the last and I made one ‑‑ I made a couple longer ones on the back, probably a 20‑footer, just over 20‑footer on 14 and about an 15‑, 18‑footer on 11. But other than that, they were pretty short putts inside about five feet. So I hit the ball quite well and I kept myself out of trouble.
Q. You've played here a number of times. Talk about the conditions. Everybody was saying it was soft early on but now they're saying the greens are rolling pretty nicely.
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah, the greens are putting really nice. It's probably the best I've seen this course condition‑wise for a long time, especially since they redid it.
Q. How different is it from winning (inaudible)?
KARRIE WEBB: It's a lot different. The greens are a lot more fair, I guess. But I liked the course the way it was, if you were on your iron game, because it really rewarded great shots. I think you can get away with some stray iron shots here now, but I think it plays nicer. I think they could actually, with the way the greens are now and, you know, when they first ‑‑ when we first came here after the redesign, the greens were really hard so we couldn't play the course much longer because it was hard to stop the ball on the green as it was. But now the greens, they're mature now and they're holding and I think we could easily play this course a little bit longer.
Q. Down the stretch it was like you were trying to win some type of derby or something, birdie birdie birdie?
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah. I think I'll need to do that for the weekend playing with Jess. She played really solidly for two days.
Q. Looking at the scores today, people tore the course all to pieces. I mean, you would have set the course record except somebody already did today.
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah.
Q. You and Korda are the only two people that really shot those kind of numbers in the second round.
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah.
Q. I mean, in the afternoon. Was it harder in the afternoon, the wind came up, things like that?
KARRIE WEBB: It was, but it was a pretty consistent direction. 14 pretty much is the only tricky hole with the wind because the wind really swells and it makes that club quite hard to pick. But, you know, when you're playing with Jess and Brittany, if I hit a really good one I'm 20 yards behind them. In certain parts of the golf course where they can carry parts that I can't, I'm 40 yards behind them, so I'm the little short one out there trying to keep up with the big girls.
Chella Choi, Rolex Rankings No. 40
Q. Great round.
CHELLA CHOI: Yes.
Q. How did you feel? Everything was clicking?
CHELLA CHOI: Maybe my ‑‑ first win! I'm just kidding. My shot is really good, my shot is really good and my distance is better than before than last year. My (inaudible) it's not bad but bad then last year, so I tried really hard on my putting, focus my putting like 80 percent putting, just 20 percent shot. So shot is same, my condition is same, shot, everything same, but putting is much better than before, last tournament.
Q. So since last tournament all you've been concentrating on is putting?
CHELLA CHOI: Yeah, shot the same last week and every same, I think shot is really good, but my putting, I don't make a lot of putts before a couple tournaments, but today and yesterday's really good, my putting. Yeah, my confidence is better, so hopefully my best.
Q. Did you have any long putts for birdie, anything that stuck out?
CHELLA CHOI: Actually yesterday and today, like five yards.
Q. All within five yards?
CHELLA CHOI: I don't make a lot of putts, so I think it's better than before. I think some make the putts so read is better and confidence is better, so I make a lot of birdies. No bogeys today.
Q. That's always good. How important was that to save par here?
CHELLA CHOI: Yeah, because I try second shot, it's a little bit 25‑yard more run.
Q. They moved up the tees?
CHELLA CHOI: Yeah, so after tee shot is second shot is just 8 iron, 140‑yard to the pin, so I try 8 iron. I think try behind me, but after hit just into the wind, so wind is changed, but I make the putt, so it's okay.
Q. You shot 5‑under in the first round, 6‑under in the second round, are you going to shoot 7‑under tomorrow?
CHELLA CHOI: Hopefully, just for me.
Q. Is that what it's going to take, you're going to have to shoot 6‑under, 5‑under every day to win this tournament?
CHELLA CHOI: Yeah, actually my shot is good and my putting game and my short game is good, so I can do it.
Q. How many times have you played at this course?
CHELLA CHOI: Four times. I like that course because near to my home, six hours to drive to my home, Jacksonville, so some volunteer from Jacksonville, so a little bit person cheers for me so I really happy.
Q. So you drove here?
CHELLA CHOI: Yeah.
Q. Do you know your best finish on this course?
CHELLA CHOI: Maybe 20.
Q. So you're ready to break through?
CHELLA CHOI: Yeah
Jessica Korda, Rolex Rankings No. 46
Q. 36 holes, no bogeys. Has it been a while since you've done that?
JESSICA KORDA: Yeah, definitely, it's been a long time. It feels good, though. I'm hitting the ball good and I'm having a lot of fun out there.
Q. Karrie said she was playing with you and Lincicome, she was like 20 yards, 40 yards short sometimes. Do you think this course ‑‑ obviously I think it sets up for long hitters, you, Lexi. Once you get in those areas where it can carry, do you think that's been a huge advantage for you guys?
JESSICA KORDA: It's definitely the par 5s have been. I've reached every single one today, so that's been really nice. Yeah, we give Webby a hard time. She did outdrive me on the 1st hole today and she's like, What's going on? And I'm like, Did you work out last night?
Q. Pumping iron?
JESSICA KORDA: Yeah. So like I said, we were just keeping it kind of light out there and having a good time and you can kind of see it from our scores, so we were playing pretty well.
Q. Did you have a number in mind today figuring people were going to go low, or did you see Sydnee?
JESSICA KORDA: Yeah, I saw Sydnee, I saw she was like 8‑under through 12. Like dang, that's getting it done today. But no, not really, I kind of just went out here with really no mindset. Just come out here, try and hit good shots and convert when you can and kind of take your punishments when you have to.
Q. Did you hit every fairway today?
JESSICA KORDA: Probably.
Q. Every one?
JESSICA KORDA: I think so.
Q. Just off the tee, you feel ‑‑