ShopRite LPGA Classic Presented by Acer
Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club
Final-Round Notes and Interviews
June 2, 2013
Sunday’s Final-round Recap
All week at the ShopRite LPGA Classic Presented by Acer the focus was on the tough playing conditions. So leave it to a Hall of Famer to be the one to come out on top in Sunday’s final round. Karrie Webb started the day five shots behind second-round leader Shanshan Feng but fired a 3-under 68 to capture her 39th career LPGA Tour victory.
Webb got her day off to a hot start, making birdie on the second hole and following it up with an eagle on the par-5 third.
“It was hard,” said Webb. “You know, after that eagle I had to really try and get the adrenaline to calm down a little bit, and you know, I played the next few holes quite scratchy, but I managed to only make one bogey. So I made some good par putts after that as well.”
It was an emotional victory for Webb, who dedicated the win to her grandmother, Merion, who is currently in the hospital back in Australia. Webb had tears in her eyes as she recounted the tale of her grandmother telling her just to win this week for her when they weren’t sure if her grandmother would make it through the week.
“When my grandma, when I spoke to her, I think it was Wednesday night or Thursday morning, she told me that I needed to win this one for her,” said Webb. “I was like, this isn't the one that you tell me that I have to win for you because I was like I've never really even had a shot to win here.
“So when I got off to that start, I was like, oh, my God,” said Webb. “Well, when she started to make a turn for the better, my dad said, look, she's going to make it, so the pressure is off, you know. He felt for me after she told me I had to win it for her. But you know, I was in contention and in the lead today. I was like, wow, I might actually be able to do this for her.”
Webb would have her only bogey of the day come on the par 4 sixth and had pars across the board until she birdied her final hole to push her to 4-under par. She was playing two groups in front of the lead group which included Feng, who was 2-under heading to the 18th hole. Feng carded her third bogey of the day on the 17th and failed to make any spectacular shots on her final hole to force a playoff.
One day after firing a 4-under 68 to take the second-round lead, Feng had trouble getting anything going in Sunday’s final round. She shot a 4-over 75 to finish in solo second place. Although she didn’t finish on top this week, she’s looking forward to defending her major championship next week at the Wegmans LPGA Championship.
“Second place is my best finish so far this year,” said Feng. “When I was actually coming off the 18th green, my caddy this week said to me, you're ready for next week. So I think I'm ready and I'm really looking forward to go back.”
But Feng was hardly the only player to struggle with the difficult scoring conditions in Sunday’s final round. Steady winds near 20 mph with gusts even greater made it a very tough day for all of the competitors on the Bay Course at the Stockton Seaview Golf Club. A total of 10 players were under par at the start of the day but only three remained there when play was completed on Sunday evening. Only a total of 13 players were able to shoot rounds under par in the final round.
Webb joined Paula Creamer and Cristie Kerr for low-round honors with a 68. Gerina Piller (T5) and Alison Walshe (T18) both carded final-rounds of 2-under 69.
“I would say a 68 is a really, really good score today,” Feng said of Webb’s round.
South Korea’s Hee Young Park shot even-par 71 to claim solo third place at 1-under par and Jenny Shin (70) finished fourth, earning her first top-5 of the year.
Good company: Karrie Webb has already put together a Hall of Fame career in her 12-years on the LPGA Tour, but she joins another exclusive club: ShopRite LPGA Classic winners, a list that includes five other Hall of Fame members.
“One of my friends pointed out the owner board in the grill and pointed out the names that were on it and said at the beginning of the week that it was time that my name went up there,” said Webb. “I don't know what it is about the course. I think it's a really tricky golf course. You know, when you think about coming to this event, like I look forward to this event and then I get here and then I realize that it's not a walk in the park.”
The seven-time major champion said that it’s not only course experience that helps such good players win at the New Jersey track, but a matter of controlling emotions.
“And I think with Hall‑of‑Famers winning, I think, you know, we've obviously won a lot and we've overcome our emotions a lot and learned to stay patient,” said Webb. “I think this course is really one of those courses that you have to do that.”
Webb’s name will now go alongside Juli Inkster (1986, 1988), Betsy King (1987, 1995, 2001), Nancy Lopez (1989), Annika Sorenstam (1998, 2002, 2005) and Se Ri Pak (1999) as Hall of Fame winners at the event.
Solheim earners: Michelle Wie tallied her first top-10 finish of the season. Her tie for ninth at 2-over-par earned her 19.5 points toward the U.S. Solheim Cup points race and moves into the 13th spot in the rankings.
The top American finisher was Gerina Piller, who finished in a tie for fifth at 1-over-par following her final round 69. The Roswell, New Mexico native is trying to make her first U.S. Solheim Cup team and earned 25.5 points this week. She’s currently 11th on the points list.
Other American point earners this week included: Cristie Kerr- T18 (13.5 pts), Paula Creamer- T18 (13.5 pts), Nicole Castrale- T18 (6 pts) and Christina Kim- T18 (6 pts).
The top eight spots will automatically qualify for the team. Spots nine and 10 on the 2013 U.S. Solheim Cup Team will be determined by the Rolex Rankings which will be updated on Monday morning. Additionally, U.S. Team Captain Meg Mallon will have two picks to round out the squad.
Golden ticket winners: Jenny Shin, Jeong Jang and Chie Arimura punched their "Ticket to CME Group Titleholders" at the ShopRite LPGA Classic Presented by Acer, each earning a spot in the season-ending CME Group Titleholders event, which will be held Nov. 21-24, 2012 in Naples, Fla. The third-annual CME Group Titleholders is a season finale with a field made up of three qualifiers from every LPGA Tour tournament.
Of Note…Rolex Rankings No. 1 Inbee Park had a final-round 2-over 73 and finished the week in a T38 at +6…defending champion and No. 2 Stacy Lewis finished at 8-over par in a T58 after a final-round 3-over 74
Q. Happy to be here to officially say congratulations to you on winning for the 39th time out here on the LPGA Tour, the second time this year. You won earlier in Australia. Does this ever get old?
KARRIE WEBB: It never gets old. It never gets any easier either. Today was extremely tough, and I'm just glad that I pulled it out.
I didn't think coming down ‑‑ I knew I needed to make one birdie, I thought because I didn't think I could just par in and feel comfortable, so great birdie on the last.
Q. You've won so many times in so many different ways, how does this rank among your wins?
KARRIE WEBB: It ranks up there. You know, I've never really had a decent shot. I've played here probably, I don't know, 15 times and I've never really had a decent shot of winning this tournament. And actually my grandma at home has been ill and in the hospital this week and we actually thought that she was going to pass, and she told me that I had to win this tournament for her. And she's on the mend fortunately, but still, it's for her.
Q. Wow. I'm sorry to hear that. I'm sure you brought a big smile to her face with this great day of play.
KARRIE WEBB: Well, I don't think ‑‑ she's still in the hospital. I don't think she got to watch it today, but I'm sure my mom and dad will fill her in.
Q. Well, great job digging down deep and doing whatnot many have done and you get a ShopRite win for the first time in your career. Congratulations.
Media Center Interview
THE MODERATOR: All right. I'd like to welcome in the 2013 ShopRite LPGA Classic Presented by Acer winner Karrie Webb. Karrie, your 39th career victory on the LPGA Tour. Grinded it out in this final round. Talk about what this win means and just talk about this week in general.
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah. Well, I'm really excited to be sitting here. It's a lot of hard work paying off sitting here, probably more hard work mentally, on my mental part of my game, but I've been working really hard on all aspects of my game, and just to do it in such tough conditions today, just feel really pleased.
THE MODERATOR: You got a little emotional outside. I have to ask, you said your grandmom is a little sick in the hospital. She said win it for her.
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah.
THE MODERATOR: Talk about winning that and how special this win really means to you personally.
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah. Well, actually my parents called Wednesday night, and they didn't think that she was going to make it through the day. So I actually thought about flying back to Australia on Thursday, but she had ‑‑ I talked to her on the phone and she had said that she didn't want me to come home and that I had to win that one for her.
So Mom and Dad called the next night, and she'd took a turn for the better, and she's still in the hospital, but things are looking a little better than they did a couple days ago. So hopefully this will give her reason to feel better.
THE MODERATOR: I'm sure it'll bring her a bright spot for sure. You're one of only three 68s today, low round of the day, coming in five shots off, did you have a number in mind? Everyone thought even was going to win the tournament. Did you come in thinking you had to go a certain number?
KARRIE WEBB: No. I didn't really ‑‑ I knew that when it was windy and we were warming up, a lot windier today early than it was yesterday, that we were going to be in for a tough one. But I knew if I could get off to a decent start, and you know, I wouldn't have felt comfortable in Shanshan's position with a three‑shot lead.
This course plays really tough even with a small breeze because every hole is a cross breeze. I think there's only ‑‑ I think we played two holes downwind, and we don't play any ‑‑ sorry. 17 is almost dead into the wind, 17, 18. But other than that, every hole is cross breeze. So the greens are really tiny, and even when you got a wedge in your hand, you're like how do I hit this on the green. You're not even looking at the pin. You're just like how do I keep this on the green.
I just felt like if I could just plug away and be patient, and that's pretty much what I've had to do all week, but if I could do that, I didn't really have a number in mind, but coming down the stretch I was parring myself to sleep almost, although I was making some good par putts. But I knew I needed to get one more maybe to feel comfortable. So it was a great birdie on the last.
THE MODERATOR: Yeah, I was looking at your score card. It wasn't very colorful; it didn't look eventful, but you got off to a hot start. Does the scorecard tell the story, do you think, or do you think it was more of you kind of just stayed patient and just kind of parred along?
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah. I just did what I needed to do. You know, I think because the conditions were so tough you couldn't get too far ahead of yourself, so you just really had to think about each shot.
And we got timed for, I think, four holes, four or five holes. So in those conditions it's tough to know that you've only got 30 seconds to make a decision and pull the trigger.
So you know, for a while I think that's all I was focusing on was hitting a shot and not getting two shots for slow play.
Q. You made that birdie putt at 2 and then the par save at 4. What did those two putts do for you as far as giving you some confidence that you could make putts today?
KARRIE WEBB: The putt at 2, I mean that is quite an exposed green and that putt, it was good that that went in. I felt a little bit lucky. The wind ‑‑ it was off line for how I read it, and I think the wind blew it back on line.
So the next hole, 3, I made a really good putt for eagle there. You know, I hit it on my line and hit it in with good speed. So that was probably more comforting for the next putt on 4. And when I made that putt on 4, I knew that I was feeling pretty good today and just to not get ahead of myself.
It was hard. You know, after that eagle I had to really try and get the adrenaline to calm down a little bit, and you know, I played the next few holes quite scratchy, but I managed to only make one bogey. So I made some good par putts after that as well.
Q. Karrie, could you tell us your grandmother's name and what's wrong with her, what ailment she's in the hospital for?
KARRIE WEBB: Her name is Merion Webb, but she's 87. So that's about all that's wrong with her.
Q. . Karrie, the conditions obviously tough and you come through with 68. Your experience, how much do you think that played a part in your dealing with the conditions and staying focused on each shot?
KARRIE WEBB: Sorry. I was thinking about my grandma. What did you ask?
Q. You had a 68 today in very tough conditions. Do you feel your experience played a role in you concentrating every shot and being able to win this tournament?
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah. You know, experience does count for a lot, but I think every situation is different, and I feel like ‑‑ you know, I had to talk myself down a little bit today, you know, make sure that I didn't get too far ahead of myself, you know.
And the one thing that I was really proud of, I probably did better on the greens than I did with my full shots was that I committed 100 percent to the read and didn't overthink things and got in there and committed 100 percent and lived and died by whether it was going to go in.
And I probably haven't done that consistently enough on the greens for a very long time. So when the wind is really blowing and you know, balance is an issue, I really stayed focused; and really putting today was what won it for me. I wouldn't say that I hit my irons particularly well, but I made a lot of good putts.
Q. And to follow up, part of calming yourself down, was that the excitement over maybe getting a win for the first time in two years?
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah. Obviously I won at the start of the year in Australia, so I have had the feeling, but getting a win on the LPGA, you know, you're beating the best of the best. And you know, I don't want to be out here if I don't feel I can do that.
So when I put myself in there with a chance, I think I want it badly more so than I did when I was younger. I think I want it in a different way, I guess, than when I was younger.
Q. Karrie, you're the fifth Hall‑of‑Famer to win on this course. Is there something about this course that seems to bring out the best in the LPGA players?
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah. One of my friends pointed out the owner board in the grill and pointed out the names that were on it and said at the beginning of the week that it was time that my name went up there.
I don't know what it is about the course. I think it's a really tricky golf course. You know, when you think about coming to this event, like I look forward to this event and then I get here and then I realize that it's not a walk in the park.
Like you think about this course and you look at the scorecard and it's not an exceptionally long golf course, but we never play with no wind. I mean this is probably the extreme, but you know, when you get here and you're playing the practice round, and it's just a really tricky golf course.
And I think with Hall‑of‑Famers winning, I think, you know, we've obviously won a lot and we've overcome our emotions a lot and learned to stay patient, and I think this course is really one of those courses that you have to do that.
Q. And secondly, you've played here a lot in the past, but you've never really contended here, but you always seemed to shoot one low round here. Is there something different this week or something click different?
KARRIE WEBB: I didn't have to shoot 63 this week. Yeah, the scores obviously weren't ‑‑ well, the course and the conditions weren't conducive to really low numbers, but you're right. I haven't ‑‑ when my grandma, when I spoke to her, I think it was Wednesday night or Thursday morning, she told me that I needed to win this one for her. I was like, this isn't the one that you tell me that I have to win for you because I was like I've never really even had a shot to win here.
So when I got off to that start, I was like, oh, my God. Well, when she started to make a turn for the better, my dad said, look, she's going to make it, so the pressure is off, you know. He felt for me after she told me I had to win it for her. But you know, I was in contention and in the lead today. I was like, wow, I might actually be able to do this for her.
Q. Karrie, people talk about being old, and I mean 38 is not old. I mean how much is left in the tank?
KARRIE WEBB: A lot. You know, I don't know what the length of my career is, but you know, when I made that eagle today, that adrenaline, and then you know, the crowds are always quite good here. I think just the way the course is designed, it's a little amphitheater around every green.
You know, that feeling that I have, that's why I practice, you know. When I feel like I'm going through the motions doing all this work and maybe not getting the results that I want, today is why I do it.
You know, if I can keep throwing those wins in there, it'll keep me out here.
Q. You said that when you saw the weather conditions for today, your eyes brightened, and yeah, a lot of people can come back to you, but do you have an advantage being an Australian playing in the wind, being maybe weaned on the wind? Are you more comfortable maybe than other players?
KARRIE WEBB: I don't know. I mean Australia is quite a windy country. I did grow up playing in quite a bit of wind. But you know, believe it or not, my coach was here this week and we were working on wind shots because I didn't feel like I was playing them very well, which put me in two minds a little bit on the course this week. So I've still gotta nail down what we were working on.
But I've tended to play well in the wind, I think. I like to be able to play shots. You know, I don't just stand there and hit it one way, hit a draw. You know, I like the challenge of the wind, I think. It narrows my focus a little bit rather than you've got 150 and you have to pitch 150 and you hit the club that you hit 150, you know.
I think I knuckle down and focus a lot better when conditions are tough.
Q. Karrie, generally speaking, in this area it's such a professional sports town, there's a lot to do around Atlantic City. Do you think when a recognized name like yourself wins, does that help the LPGA Tour like attract casual fans?
KARRIE WEBB: I hope so. I don't really know the answer to that, but you know, I think whenever any of our top players are doing well and playing well, I think that's great for our tour, and you know, if me winning brings that sort of focus to the event then that's great because this event's been here a long time and we'd like to see it stay.
Q. You said earlier that you might want the wins more now than you did when you were younger. Can you just talk a little bit more about that, just why that is?
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah. I think when I was winning a lot the 22, 23‑year‑old me wouldn't have said that I was taking it for granted, and I don't think in a 23‑year‑old way I was, but I definitely did not enjoy that great golf enough. And I don't know if it's a regret, but you know, I want to ‑‑ you know, golf is a sport that can beat you down very quickly. So you really should enjoy the good.
And you know, I've been through ‑‑ I haven't really ever been through any bad times, but you know, times where I haven't won, and you know, questioned whether you can do it again. And when I say that I want it more, I just want to ‑‑ I want it so that I can enjoy it more than I did when I was winning a lot.
Q. This is one of those chicken‑and‑egg questions. Could you have won without the wind? I mean is a five‑shot deficit too much?
KARRIE WEBB: Yes and no. I think it would have brought more people into the mix. It would have made Shanshan feel a bit more comfortable. But with no wind this course can also give up some pretty low numbers as we've seen. So you know, I could have won. But you know, we won't know.
Q. Although it's early in Australia, is there any chance anybody from your family back there knows that you've won?
KARRIE WEBB: Oh, they know.
Q. And your grandmother?
KARRIE WEBB: I'm sure she knows now. She's still in the hospital. The LPGA is on satellite TV in Australia, and she has it specifically so she can watch me. She wouldn't have got to watch me, but I'm sure my mom and dad were at home and my other grandmother would have been watching as well.
THE MODERATOR: A win is good any week, but headed into a major next week at Wegmans, how much does this mean? Obviously your game is coming together and you feel very confident. Talk about going into next week and hopefully grabbing another one.
KARRIE WEBB: Yes. I think ‑‑ it feels great. Obviously I think, you know, I just wanted to get another good week under my belt this week heading into next week. And obviously we've got the U.S. Open and British Open coming up.
But you know, to get a win, you know, on a course where I've never really had a chance to win is a big bonus and gives me a lot of good confidence going into next week where I have won a couple of times.
THE MODERATOR: All right. I'm joined by our runner‑up this week, Shanshan Feng. Shanshan, tough day today, but obviously you grinded it out. A runner‑up finish, not too bad. Talk about the day and how you thought you closed out the three‑day tournament this week.
SHANSHAN FENG: Actually I think I ‑‑ overall I think I did pretty well. I mean this year, like I said earlier, my best finish was seventh, and before the round today I just said to myself, I said my goal was Top 5. Just Top 5 would make me happy.
And the conditions was really, really tough today out there, and although it was like a 4‑over round, but I think I tried my best and I stayed really patient, so I think I played well.
THE MODERATOR: You got ask about the conditions. How much did the wind play into club selection, how you were approaching every hole? How bad was the wind in comparison to the past two days?
SHANSHAN FENG: I think it's been a little different because yesterday I played in the morning. So the wind wasn't blowing as hard, and I would say the wind was maybe like anything from 5 to 10, but today it was more like 20 and gusts with like 25. So it was kind of tough.
And last hole I remembered it was 111 tee. I tried to hit the 131 shot, and it came up actually still a little short.
THE MODERATOR: You got off to a really tough start, two early double bogeys. Did you do any type of regrouping at a certain point and said, all right, let's get something together and get this going? Was there a certain point in the round where you said I need to get something going?
SHANSHAN FENG: Not really, because you know my habit, I don't look at scoreboards during the play, so I didn't know where I was at, and before the round I said to myself, I need to be patient today, just stay patient, and I think I did. So I wasn't ‑‑ you know, I didn't lose my concentration after those two double bogeys.
And I think I finished okay.
Q. Shanshan, the club selection on No. 11 and No. 17, I believe they were both upwind, par‑3, and you came up short on both. I don't know if it was club selection or the actual swing. What clubs did you use and would you say that those two swings were costly for you?
SHANSHAN FENG: I think those I actually didn't play enough wind because I think I thought it was more like a 10‑yard wind and if I could keep it a little lower, usually you can go through the wind, which I didn't because it was more like a 20‑yard wind. And yeah, so I made two bogeys on those two holes.
Q. Which clubs did you use?
SHANSHAN FENG: On the 11th I used a 5‑iron; I tried to hit it low. And then 17 was a pitching wedge.
Q. You said you don't look at the scoreboards. Did you know where you were like the last three holes after Karrie finished?
SHANSHAN FENG: No. Not really. My first time to look at a board was actually after I hit my third shot on 18. My ball was already by the green, and that was first time I looked at the board and I was like, geez, there were only three people under par. Couldn't believe it.
Q. So before you hit your second shot on 18 you did not know that you needed an eagle to tie?
SHANSHAN FENG: No. I didn't know, but even though if I knew, I wasn't going to change my plan because ‑‑ I did ask my caddy, it was 200 yards to cover the long stuff, which into the wind it would be at least a 20 carry. And even though if I carry and then it would be like a 50‑yard and 50‑yard shot. So it doesn't make a difference.
Q. How much did the course conditions change today between the wind and the whether and whatever?
SHANSHAN FENG: Of course, you can tell by my scores. I think I did pretty well for the first two days. I was really good at controlling the trajectory of the balls, and I was actually having a lot of birdie chances.
But today it was just hard to even hit the balls on the green because it was just blowing so hard.
I remember that, I forgot, the seventh or sixth hole, my second shot I was using a pitching wedge. I was aiming like 25 yards on the right and ended up on the left side of the tee. So it was kind of hard. I thought it was ‑‑ we were warming up for the British Open.
Q. Paula Creamer and Karrie Webb and Cristie Kerr all shoot 68s today. They're all veterans. They've all played in conditions like this before. Do you think that maybe helped them when you look at the leaderboard and see there was only three people under par for the tournament and not a lot of negative scoring today?
SHANSHAN FENG: I would say 68 is a really, really great score for today. I would say actually four over didn't sound too bad to me. But maybe that's why I've never played well in the British Open. Yet. Yet.
Q. Addressing the greens, not their bumpiness necessarily, but they seemed a little crispy pretty much all three days, a little quick.
SHANSHAN FENG: You mean firm?
Q. Yes. It just seems like they were a little bit firmer than maybe we're used to seeing. Do you think it was the wind or the climate? What do you think that was attributable to?
SHANSHAN FENG: I think it was the wind because when we stand on the greens, we actually think that it's pretty soft, but because of the wind ‑‑ when it's downwind, then it goes wherever. It takes big bounces, but when it's regular wind, it's okay.
THE MODERATOR: The big week coming up, while we had a busy week, just talk about taking this momentum and your really good performance here into next week to defend your title at Wegmans.
SHANSHAN FENG: Second place is my best finish so far this year. When I was actually coming off the 18th green, my caddy this week said to me, you're ready for next week.
So I think I'm ready and I'm really looking forward to go back.
Q. Finished out. A little frustrating, but you closed out pretty strong, I thought.
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah. Just on the back nine I had a lot of good iron shots. Just got really unlucky with the bounces and whatnot.
Overall I fought hard, and I'm pretty proud of the way I played this week and I think it's a good week leading up to a major, so I'm just excited to get over there and play well.
Q. Going into next week obviously you'll have a little bit of momentum but it's almost like a major in terms of condition wise, it's almost like British Open conditions. Mentally do you think that's preparing you to play well?
MICHELLE WIE: For sure. Almost glad it was a three‑day event. It was hard out there. It was really mentally and physically challenging playing in the wind. It was getting quite strong at some times, but it's a great tournament and great finishing hole with the grand stands. So I had a lot of fun.
Q. Yeah. Talk about walking up to here. Obviously the announcer got everyone a little rowdy. Talk about just the New Jersey crowd and everybody embracing the tour when they stop here?
MICHELLE WIE: The crowd is great here. Everyone is really energetic. They love watching us play and we feel just really welcome here.