Wegmans LPGA Championship First Round Notes and Interviews

Chella Choi
Photo Credit: Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Chella Choi of South Korea waves to the gallery on the ninth green during the weather-delayed first round of the Wegmans LPGA Championship at Locust Hill Country Club on June 7, 2013 in Pittsford, New York.

Untitled Document

Wegmans LPGA Championship
Locust Hill Country Club
Pittsford, New York
First-Round Notes and Interviews
June 7, 2013

Chella Choi -5, Rolex Rankings No. 41
Morgan Pressel -4, Rolex Rankings No. 68
Brittany Lincicome -3, Rolex Rankings No. 37
Se Ri Pak -2, Rolex Rankings No. 32
Jessica Korda -2, Rolex Rankings No. 39
Inbee Park E, Rolex Rankings No. 1
Yani Tseng E, Rolex Rankings No. 5

Friday’s First-round Recap

South Korea’s Chella Choi fired a 5-under 67 in wet and soggy conditions at Locust Hill Country Club to take a one-shot lead at the Wegmans LPGA Championship. Choi carded six birdies in her first 10 holes and made just one bogey in her round and leads Jiyai Shin and Morgan Pressel, who both shot opening rounds of 4-under 68.

The first round of the Wegmans LPGA Championship kicked off a day late after heavy rain postponed play before it began on Thursday. A total of 2 ½ inches of rain fell in the Pittsford, New York area over 24 hours on Thursday and there were questions as to whether play would be able to resume on time on Friday. Thanks to some tremendous work by the Locus Hill grounds crew staff, players teed off on time at 7:15 a.m. on Friday morning although there were still plenty of challenges with the rain having made the course play even longer than expected.

Early in the week the talk was all about the thick, heavy rough and the rain certainly didn’t make it any easier. Many of the players in the field cited the need to keep the ball in the fairway and it’s no surprise that the first-round leader did just that. Choi hit all 14 fairways on Friday and only missed three greens 

“I hit a really good driver today,” said Choi. “I hit 14 fairways.  So I'm really happy.  My goal is just keep fairway.”

The fifth-year Tour member, who is still seeking her first-career victory, played through rainy conditions for the majority of her round and battled steady rain on the back nine. Still she managed to limit her mistakes to just the one bogey on the par-4 13th.

Pressel held the clubhouse lead for much of the day after closing out her round with four consecutive birdies. She’s tied for second with Jiyai Shin, who had four birdies and no bogeys in her opening round. Shin won at Locust Hill back in 2009, the year before the LPGA Championship moved here.

“I played pretty well out there,” said Pressel, who shot 68 for the first time since the first round of the 2012 Mobile Bay LPGA Classic. “I didn't put myself really in any bad trouble which you can certainly find on this golf course.  I hit a lot of fairways, which you need to do.  I only missed I think two or three maybe, and the couple that I did, I most of the time saved par.”
Five-time LPGA Tour winner Brittany Lincicome is two shots back at 3-under-par and in solo fourth place. American Jessica Korda and LPGA and World Golf Halls of Famer Se Ri Pak are in a tie for fifth at 2-under-par. Korda is playing for her second LPGA win while Pak is seeking her 26th victory and sixth major championship. Pak is a three-time LPGA Championship winner.


Watch out for the rough! It’s been a year since Morgan Pressel injured herself at the 2012 Wegmans LPGA Championship and it has taken nearly the entire calendar year for the 25-year-old to figure out exactly what was causing the problems in her left wrist.

Pressel said that she started to feel something in her left wrist while hitting on the range at Locust Hill Country Club last year, but she thought it was hitting a shot out of the rough during tournament play that caused the initial problem.

“I did not hit the ball very well here last year,” Pressel said. “I was in the rough a lot and I truly think that is kind of what caused it was just the many, many shots I had to whack out of the knee-high rough here.”

Initially diagnosed as thumb injury, Pressel went through months of trying to figure out the correct diagnosis as the problem continued to plague her. She tried cortisone shots as well as taking various medication to treat the issue but it persisted until near the end of the 2012 season. And it was something that Pressel felt contributed to a disappointing year in which she posted just one top-10 finish in 23 events.

“I had over‑compensated probably for my injury in my golf swing, so that affected my results,” Pressel said. “I couldn't really practice.  I was just trying to get through 18 holes.  And in hindsight I should have kind of taken some time off.”

A winter of rest didn’t fix the problem as Pressel found herself being bothered by the injury during the Asia swing earlier this year. But after a physio therapist started working on her shoulder, elbow and neck to try to relieve the problem, Pressel finally felt some relief and she’s happy to be feeling healthy again. After managing to avoid what’s been described as even thicker rough on day one of the tournament, Pressel is hopeful that it stays that way.

Building confidence: Five-time LPGA Tour winner Brittany Lincicome hasn’t had the year so far in 2013 she was hoping for. The Florida native tried to make light of the situation when it was brought up in the media center after her first round and was announced that she has been having some on-course struggles.

“That's saying it nicely,” said Lincicome.

She’s missed five cuts in 11 starts this year and has a season-best T18 finish at both the ISPS Handa Australian Women’s Open and HSBC Women’s Champions in February and March. Lincicome said she’s always been a ‘feel’ player’ and once she tried to get too technical she lost grip of her own swing.

“For my game I really can't even pinpoint one specific thing,” said Lincicome. “Like the beginning of the year in the off season I tried taking lessons, and I'm a player that's kind of more of a feel player.  I just kind of hit it, find it and hit it again. I think I was trying to change too many things at one time, so I kind of stopped doing that.  And then I wasn't playing well, missed a couple of cuts in a row and lost my confidence.”

She decided to take off at the Tour’s last stop in New Jersey last week and gave herself a healthy reminder that she has the talent and game that has earned her five wins in her nine years on Tour.

“But took last week off to kind of go home and regroup, and you know, just try to remember that, you know, I've won five times on the LPGA Tour and I've been here before and I can do this,” said Lincicome. “So I was just kind of feeling more confident today and every time I had a par putt or birdie putt I told myself, you've been here before, you can do this, let's make this.  Just try to be more confident.  Even if I'm shooting 100, I'm going to try to be more confident.  That's the mindset coming into this week.”

Her last victory came at the CN Canadian Women’s Open in 2011 and said that a recent change in putters had her feeling good on the greens on Friday.

“I actually changed putters as well on Saturday to the Odyssey tank putter,” said Lincicome. “And it’s a little bit heavier, and I can't manipulate it as much.  So it felt like I was stroking it well out there, and just played really well.  So very excited.”

Leading legend: It’s no secret Se Ri Pak has been the trailblazer for the new generation of female South Korean golfers on the LPGA Tour. And although her win at the 1998 U.S. Women’s Open was the marquee moment of her groundbreaking rookie season, her win at the McDonald’s LPGA Championship two months earlier got things started for the Hall of Famer. Pak said her obliviousness to her surroundings in her first year on Tour helped her with not getting caught up in pressure situations.

“The funny thing is, after one event, the first time to win, and didn't really know that it was a major,” said Pak. “Just don't really know what's going on.  And then the second I was in the media room and I was interviewing and they said this is a major event; you know about it.  I was like, ‘oh, really?’  I really don't know it was major.  So that was first time winning was a major.”

The three-stroke win was Pak’s first-career victory and major championship and the first of her three LPGA Championship wins. She would also earn titles in 2002 at DuPont Country Club and in 2006 at Bulle Rock Golf Course. After her first-round 2-under 70 in Friday’s first round, Pak reflected on the early days of her celebrated career and how much they molded her into a Hall of Famer.

“And you know, I can't really be living in all this pressure, so I keep it going, and my game is getting better and better each week, and next thing I know is another chance to win a major,” said Pak. “So that's happening, 1998.  This is the beginning of it.  And that really, really meant a lot.”

Just two days ago, three of the top-ranked South Korean players sat on the stage in the media room for pre-tournament interviews and each touched on the impact Pak had on their decisions to take up the game. No. 1 Inbee Park, No. 3 Na Yeon and No. 9 Jiyai Shin are all considered members of ‘Se Ri’s Kids,’ the group of Koreans who followed in Pak’s footsteps to the LPGA Tour. Shin alluded to watching Pak in 1998 and how her success as a young player resonated with an entire country.

“Well, and then when we start like 15 years ago, we watching ‑‑ I think most Korean players, we have like very positive image for the LPGA wins, because when I start golf, I'm watching Se Ri Pak's win in 1998 U.S. Women's Open, so that's my biggest dreaming, be like her,” said Shin.

Pak is playing for her 26th win and sixth major championship and first since she defeated Karrie Webb in a one-hole sudden-death playoff at the 2006 McDonald’s LPGA Championship Presented by Coca-Cola.

Waving the Red, White & Blue: U.S. Solheim Cup captain Meg Mallon is on site at Locust Hill Country Club this week for the Wegmans LPGA Championship. And judging by the performance of the Americans in the first round of this week’s major championship, she isn’t the only one with her eye on the upcoming Solheim Cup.

Three Americans were in the top-five at the end of the first round with several others looming to earn big points this week. Points are doubled at this week’s major and top finishes by a few players could change the landscape of the points leaderboard.

Morgan Pressel, who shot her lowest round since her 68 in the first round of the 2012 Mobile Bay LPGA Classic, is currently in second place and hopes to make her way onto fourth U.S. Solheim Cup Team. She said the idea of not making the squad has held her back from performing on the course and

“Solheim is the three that have been the highlight of my career, and it's my goal this year for sure.  And there have been times when it has kept me from playing better because I've been so worried about it, so I'm trying to just go out and play my game and not worry about it so much”
           
And if I go out and try to win, then I'm thinking it will take care of itself and I'm trying to approach it from a little bit of a different point of view,” said Pressel. “And have a better picture in my head and not so much worry about top 20 and the points and everything else, but just go out and play some golf.”

Americans in the mix

Player 1st Round Position Solheim Cup Ranking/Points
Morgan Pressel T2 15th/101.5
Brittany Lincicome 4 5th/215
Jessica Korda T5 7th/190.5
Angela Stanford T7 4th/297
Lexi Thompson T7 6th/205.5


No row boats needed…
A total of 2 ½ inches of rain fell on Locust Hill Country Club on Thursday and it seemed like sure bet that the rain-postponed first round of the Wegmans LPGA Championship would not be able to start on time on Friday morning.

But thanks to the hard work and dedication of Locust Hill superintendent Rick Slattery and his grounds crew, who started working on the golf course at 4 a.m. on Friday morning, the first round went off as scheduled with no additional delays.

Getting the golf course ready wasn’t an easy task due to the fact that more than five inches of rain has fallen in the past nine days in Pittsford, New York. There was some casual water that remained on the course Friday and preferred lies (lift, clean and place) were played in the first round.

“We are extremely impressed with the work of Rick Slattery and his crew at Locust Hill,” said Sue Witters, Vice President Tour Rules & Competition. “Given the amount of rain we received yesterday, we thought we might be hard pressed to start at 7:15 a.m. today. We were able to start on time because of the hard work of the folks at Locust Hill.”

Ace Alert! Rolex Rankings No. 5 Yani Tseng got her first LPGA Tour hole-in-one in Friday’s first round on the par 3 15th. Tseng, who used an 8 iron from 140 yards unfortunately didn’t see it go in the hole, but caught on when a roaring cheer came from her following and playing partners.

“No, I see where it was, but I did not see it go in,” said Tseng. “I had a hard time seeing the ball today.  So I see it was good in the air, so that's all I needed.  This is my first hole‑in‑one since I turned pro.”

Tseng said it felt good as soon as she struck the ball.

“I mean after I hit it, I know it was a good shot,” said Tseng. “But I was just trying to be good distance, and I wasn't thinking it was going to go in the hole.  I thought it would be perfect.”

Teaching and Club Professional Spotlight: The Wegmans LPGA Championship provides a special opportunity for five LPGA Teaching & Club Professionals to compete against the world’s best women golfers in a major championship. The winners of the five sectional LPGA T&CP events and the national championship receive spots in the Wegmans LPGA Championship field. This week we will spotlight these five amazing LPGA T&CP members and let you get to know a little bit more about the women who dedicate themselves to the advancement of golf through teaching, coaching and managing golf facilities. Today we spotlight…Northeast Section Championship winner Sue Ginter (@Sue_GinterGolf).

Wisconsin native Sue Ginter is making her fourth appearance at the Wegmans LPGA Championship in the last five years and claimed the T&CP Northeast Section Championship to earn a spot in this week’s field. Sue played on the LPGA Tour for eight years and made the transition to becoming a Teaching and Club Professional five years ago. She says the biggest difference on Tour now from when she used to play is the physical prowess in players across the board.

“They’re in such good shape and they hit it so much further,” said Ginter. “Everybody is a pretty powerful hitter out here.”

She said playing competitively keeps the fire going for her and also helps her relate to her students better.

“It’s really fun to play it,” said Genter. “I work in the Met section and we have a lot of tournaments. It’s nice to still be competing. I think it helps me still enjoy being in the business. It helps because I feel what they feel. I play enough to feel the nerves and not really knowing why your swing is or isn’t working.”

Five Things You Should Know About…Sue Ginter

  1. She won her fourth T&CP sectional championship at Rolling Hills Country Club in Pittsburgh and is currently the golf professional at Rolling Hills Country Club in Wilton, CT.
  2. Sue played collegiate golf at the University of Texas in Austin and said that she really wanted to go to school in a warm climate. “They were the furthest south out of people recruiting me. “I didn’t want any more blizzards.”
  3. She got started in golf at the age of 10 years old through the junior program at Butte des Morts G.C. in Appleton, Wisc. She started in the program on the same day as PGA Tour professional JP Hayes.
  4. Sue took time off during her 2004 season on Tour and gave birth to her son, Lance, who is now nine years old.
  5. After she finished playing on Tour, she sat for the actuarial exam and figured it’d be good to have a back-up plan.


Tweet of the Day:
 Goes to GolfChannel.com writer Randall Mell who made light of the near-miracle setting at Locust Hill Country Club when the first-round got underway on time Friday morning.

“No truth to reports LPGA commish Mike Whan, in flowing white robe, declared "Let my people go!" And then, raising his staff, parted the seas” --@RandallMellGC


Quotable: “
My father wants to retire every before tournament.  But I want my first win to be with my father. My father always before tournament, every time before tournament, ‘I don't wanna caddy for you; I want to retire,’ but no, you just caddy for one more tournament. For six years.” –Chella Choi on the battle she has had with her father, Ji Yeon, for the past six years to keep him caddying for her.

 

Chella Choi, Rolex Rankings No. 41

THE MODERATOR:  All right.  We'd like to welcome our current leader Chella Choi into the interview room.  You're in at 5‑under par, you hit every fairway today, all 14.  Was that the most important thing about shooting 5‑under par?
CHELLA CHOI:  Yes.  I hit a really good driver today.  I hit 14 fairways.  So I'm really happy.  My goal is just keep fairway, so I really happy.

THE MODERATOR:  Were you ever in the rough at all near the greens?
CHELLA CHOI:  Yeah.  Let me think.  Yeah.  I think I missed three ‑‑ I missed the green.  But two is left short, the fairway.  And one time ‑‑ yeah.  Three times left short.  I shot it really good today.

THE MODERATOR:  You had five birdies on the front nine.  You birdied six of your first ten holes.  Did you feel like you had a really low round when you came to the course today?
CHELLA CHOI:  I just tried to hit fairway and I tried to hit the greens, so I had a lot of birdie chances today.  I don't know why, but my shot is really good today.  So yeah.

THE MODERATOR:  What happened at the 13th hole where you had a bogey?
CHELLA CHOI:  I had 165 yards to the pin.  But I hit a really good chance with my hybrid, but hit like five yards behind the hole.
           
I hit it really good, though.

THE MODERATOR:  You had a tie for fourth at the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic, and you lead the tournament entering the final round.  Talk about that experience.  What was that like?
CHELLA CHOI:  That was a really good experience for me.  And before final round I really great.  So I wanted my first win in Mobile Bay, but I can't because Jennifer Johnson played really good last round.
           
But I had a really good experience playing full day under par.

Q.  Yes.  What hole were you on when the rain started up?
THE MODERATOR:  When it started raining, what hole?
CHELLA CHOI:  I think No. 5 a little bit.  And front nine it rain or a little bit dark, but back nine is every hole is rain.

Q.  Chella, what was the difference between the front nine and the back nine?  Obviously on the front nine you had a whole lot of birdies.  The back nine, was it a little more of a fight or what was the difference?
CHELLA CHOI:  I think greens is a little bit softer than front nine.  But I had a little bit four times for birdie chance, but I can't make the putts if it's dark or a little bit more gray.
           
But I really good made par on last hole.

Q.  Could you tell us the story about your dad caddied for you and how he was?
CHELLA CHOI:  Yeah.  My father want to retire every before tournament.  But I want my first win to be with my father.

Q.  How long has that been going on?
CHELLA CHOI:  Sixth year this year.  Yeah.  My father always before tournament, every time before tournament, "I don't wanna caddy for you; I want to retire," but no, you just caddy for one more tournament.  Okay.  For six years.

Q.  What was your father's job before he became your caddy?  And yesterday when you went to bed at night, did you think it was possible with an afternoon tee time that you would get 18 holes in today?
CHELLA CHOI:  Actually, I had a little bit tired from last week.  We have a lot of wind and a little bit of rain came last week.  So I had a little bit tired, but I had really good rest yesterday.  All day rest.
           
So my energy is better than before.  So my shot is good.

Q.  I was just going to ask how the extra day of rest affected you going into today.  Was it helpful to you to have one extra day off?
CHELLA CHOI:  Yeah.  Really good for me.  I just watched a movie and nothing golf.  Really good rest yesterday.

Q.  Chella, what did you learn after leading, heading into the final round in Mobile?  What did you learn from that experience?
CHELLA CHOI:  I really upset after Mobile Bay because I had a try at my first win.  So my father and my family, like, okay, you're fine; you have a lot of chances this year.  So yeah, like pretty good a lot of things.  So yeah.

THE MODERATOR:  Last year you had a career‑best finish not far from here at the Manulife tournament where you lost in a four‑way playoff.  You tied for second.  Is that an experience that you think about when you're in contention in a tournament?
CHELLA CHOI:  Yeah.  That's what I play final round 8‑under last year Manulife tournament.  So very good experience for me, like I can more lower scores.  So yeah.

THE MODERATOR:  Last question, have you done anything fun in Rochester since you've been here?
CHELLA CHOI:  Yeah.  Of course

THE MODERATOR:  What's that?
CHELLA CHOI:  Yeah.  Of course.  I really enjoy here.  Play golf.

THE MODERATOR:  Other than golf.  Did you eat anywhere fun?
CHELLA CHOI:  Oh.  Yeah, a Korea restaurant in here, two restaurants in here, so really good here.  And I play with the course president yesterday, she played with me.  So I asked her why is it too hard, like greens so small, like just 20 yards.  He say he like air‑conditioning.  So I don't have answer, like yeah, okay, I keep the fairway and hit the green.

THE MODERATOR:  That was with the president of (inaudible)?

CHELLA CHOI:  Yeah.

THE MODERATOR:  Okay.
CHELLA CHOI:  My favorite color is orange, so my game is better than before, then it is my fault.  Yeah, I like it.

 

Morgan Pressel, Rolex Rankings No. 68
Brittany Lincicome, Rolex Rankings No. 37

THE MODERATOR:  We'd like to bring in Morgan Pressel and Brittany Lincicome, currently No. 1 and 2 to the clubhouse in the first round of the Wegmans LPGA Championship.  Thanks for coming in, ladies.  Nice rounds out there.  I'm going to start with Morgan since she birdied the last four holes to finish 4‑under.  Just take us through your round, and more importantly, the last four holes of your round that put you on top of the leaderboard.
MORGAN PRESSEL:  Yeah.  I played pretty well out there.  I didn't put myself really in any bad trouble which you can certainly find on this golf course.  I hit a lot of fairways, which you need to do.  I only missed I think two or three maybe, and the couple that I did, I most of the time saved par.
           
And I kept the ball in front of me, and on the last four holes I just had four good chances at birdie.  I happened to make ‑‑ I hit a crummy wedge on 17, but made the putt.  So nobody has to know about the wedge shot.
           
And a couple of weeks ago, actually in the Bahamas, I switched putters to ‑‑ it's the same Odyssey metal X that I've been playing, number six, but with a different insert, a little bit softer, and it's allowed me to roll the ball better, and more importantly, feel more comfortable over the putts.  And my putting was the reason why I played well today for sure.

THE MODERATOR:  Before we get to Brittany I'm going to bore everybody and make you take us through what clubs you hit in on the last four holes.  You don't have to do that.  We'll just go to Morgan.
MORGAN PRESSEL:  Okay.  What did I hit, on 15?  I hit a 9‑iron on 15, probably to about 15 feet.  I hit an 8‑iron into 16, again, probably 15 feet.  I hit a lob wedge into 17 and then maybe had a 20, 25‑footer.  And then on 18 I hit a 5‑hybrid to about six feet, and I was truly trying to lag the putt.  It was that ‑‑ I had that much break and it was that downhill.  I mean the hole got in the way at that point.

THE MODERATOR:  Good putt.  Britt, 3‑under today.  You had the lead for part of the day.  Tough bogey at 18, but still a great day.  Just take us through your round.
BRITTANY LINCICOME:  Yeah.  Kind of the same as Morgan.  First of all, I think we both played really good today because we were together.  And we had Caroline today, who is another amazing girl.  So just a fun day out there today, and it was nice.
           
I was driving the ball really, really well.  I knew I was going to hook it all day, and I just played for it and it was going in the middle of the fairway almost every single time except 18.
           
So that's good.  Being a longer hitter, I can hit it off line a little bit further than most players, and it's nice to be in control of the golf ball.  I took last week off to kind of work on a few things.  I had a buddy in town, and we practiced every day, and I actually changed putters as well on Saturday to the Odyssey tank putter.  And a little bit heavier, and I can't manipulate it as much.  So it felt like I was stroking it well out there, and just played really well.  So very excited.

THE MODERATOR:  You're both major champion.  Morgan in '07 became the youngest LPGA major champion at the age of 18.  You won the same Kraft Nabisco Championship two years later.  Just talk about coming through a major, and maybe this week is a little different because Thursday got postponed.  Now you're playing the first round Friday.  Obviously the importance of the majors on our calendar and how you approach this week.
BRITTANY LINCICOME:  You know, tournament days just kind of flow together.  I don't even know today is Friday, to be honest with you.  I guess it's going to catch up on Saturday or Sunday when we're playing 36 holes, one of those days.
           
Obviously it's a major.  I try not to over think during the majors.  Like a lot of girls will go to the U.S. Open and practice early.  And I don't ever do that because I don't feel like I want to add more pressure to myself, especially this golf course, I mean the fairways every year are getting narrower and narrower and the rough is super thick and obviously it's really wet out there.  So it's a course that you have to be driving it well, and then if you can make a few putts here and there, you're going to be on top of the leaderboard.  But it's a fun golf course and I'm excited for the next three days.

THE MODERATOR:  Morgan, how about you, your approach TO this week?  You showed up, you tried to play yesterday; it didn't work.  You said on TV you thought maybe you wouldn't even tee off until noon today.  Does that affect the way you look at the next few tournament rounds?
MORGAN PRESSEL:  Well, I mean the thing is our past handful of majors, we've certainly had some delays and it feels like in the U.S. Open you have a lot, here in Rochester we have a lot.  Last year at the British Open we had that one day where I think we played two holes and they washed the round.
           
So you always know coming into a major that it's going to be a long week because you're going to do everything ‑‑ everything is going to make every option to get 72 holes in.  And we're hoping for no more rain the rest of this week.  I was very happy that we were able to get today in and start on time today.
           
And yeah, glad we're done.  But we certainly want to have enough time to play 36 on Sunday, and but you just gotta be patient in a major.  It throws a lot at you, and I think that's the biggest difference is the mental strength that it takes to play a major, to know you're going to make bogeys, but make birdies when you have the opportunity.
           
And you know, having a whole day off yesterday, I was pretty bored, but I mean I just tried to relax so that I would be ready for the next long three days.

BRITTANY LINCICOME:  I took a nap and went to the movies, by the way.

THE MODERATOR:  That sounds like you.

MORGAN PRESSEL:  I did pretty much nothing but worked out a little bit.

Q.  First of all, just tell us about the golf course.  Obviously the ball IS staying on the fairway, if you hit it there and it's staying on the greens, too.  Did you have many adventures in the rough today?  Just give us an overview of if the course is harder or easier after all the rain.
MORGAN PRESSEL:  I think the rough is a little bit thicker because of all the rain.  I had a couple of SHOTS in the rough.  One, I tried to hit a hybrid out because I could get to the back of the ball, but there was kind of a wall of grass in front of it, and it never got up over that wall of grass, and I hit it may be 10 feet.
           
And then on another hole I was just on the outside of the ropes, so I was where people had kind of trampled it down a little bit, so I had a decent lie.  Then the third time I hit it in the rough I could barely see it and I had to take a sand wedge and hope to get it somewhere in the fairway because it was that thick.  And I was only maybe a foot into the rough, and the ball had actually landed in the fairway and kind of kicked left.
           
Like you said, it was so wet that I was surprised that happened.  But I just had to take my medicine.  That was probably the only mistake that I made all day was I didn't take my medicine on 4 when I did hit it in the rough, but I was able to get up‑and‑down for bogey from about 100 yards, which kind of kept the momentum going in my round.

BRITTANY LINCICOME:  Yeah.  Kind of the same.  Definitely it was already thick to begin with and now it's wet.  So it kind of slows the club down even more I guess.  Really 18 was my only biggest mistake, I think, of the whole round.
           
I was driving it so well all day.  I was like, oh, this is going to be great, I'm going to get my hook and then got super slick with it.  Actually, the further you missed the fairways, the better your lie, I felt like, where obviously the people were kind of trampling.  If you missed the fairway by like a foot or two, it was going all the way down to the bottom and you were going to have to chunk out some type of a lob wedge to get it back into play because you couldn't advance much further than that.

MORGAN PRESSEL:  And it helped that the marshal is right there and can spot it.  He puts a little flag down so you know that they have found your golf ball.

BRITTANY LINCICOME:  If we didn't have the marshals, we wouldn't find our golf ball out there.  No chance.  It would take hours.

Q.  Just one more.  You can both answer it.  You're both having struggles this season.  You missed some cuts?
BRITTANY LINCICOME:  That's saying it nicely.

Q.  You missed three in a row at one point.  I mean obviously you've both kind of broken through today, but if you could just kind of quickly give us an overview of what maybe some of the struggles have been this year.
MORGAN PRESSEL:  You know, I said to Brittany when we got into the scoring tent, I said, that's a little better for the two of us.  You know what I mean?
           
And we certainly thrived off each other out there, and she was making birdies and I was making a birdies on a course where it didn't look like many people were.  But playing with each other, it looked like the course was certainly playable.
           
And I mean I've struggled with my wrist since I played here last year, and it took a while to overcome that.  It took a while to really want to play golf again and enjoy playing golf again, and I feel like I'm in a better place.
           
And I was excited when I saw the pairings came out and I was playing with Brittany because we do enjoy each other's company and have a lot of fun together.

BRITTANY LINCICOME:  For my game I really can't even pinpoint one specific thing.  Like the beginning of the year in the off season I tried taking lessons, and I'm a player that's kind of more of a feel player.  I just kind of hit it, find it and hit it again.
           
I think I was trying to change too many things at one time, so I kind of stopped doing that.  And then I wasn't playing well, missed a couple of cuts in a row and lost my confidence.  But took last week off to kind of go home and regroup, and you know, just try to remember that, you know, I've won five times on the LPGA Tour and I've been here before and I can do this.
           
So I was just kind of feeling more confident today and every time I had a par putt or birdie putt I told myself, you've been here before, you can do this, let's make this.  Just try to be more confident.  Even if I'm shooting 100, I'm going to try to be more confident.  That's the mindset coming into this week.

Q.  For both of how much is the Solheim Cup on your mind?
BRITTANY LINCICOME:  I did see Meg out there two different times today watching.  Meg and Beth actually were out there.
           
Yeah, I was lucky enough to get invited to the dinner this week, and they gave us these little bracelets, and I said I was going to wear it to remind myself to obviously keep playing well to stay high enough on the points.  But still need to be playing good going up to that event.  It just kind of instills the confidence and hopefully help my team out.

MORGAN PRESSEL:  Solheim is the three that I've been on has been the highlight of my career, and it's my goal this year for sure.  And there have been times when it has kept me from playing better because I've been so worried about it, so I'm trying to just go out and play my game and not worry about it so much.
           
And if I go out and try to win, then I'm thinking it will take care of itself and I'm trying to approach it from a little bit of a different point of view, I guess, and have a better picture in my head and not so much worry about top 20 and the points and everything else, but just go out and play some golf.

Q.  Morgan, I don't know that you told us of your wrist injury.  Can you tell me what happened and what the diagnosis was and how long it affected you?
MORGAN PRESSEL:  Yeah.  It was ‑‑ it started here last year.  I kind of started to feel it on the range.  And I did not hit the ball very well here last year.  I was in the rough a lot, and I truly think that is kind of what caused it was just the many, many shots I had to whack out of the knee‑high rough here.
           
And it started with ‑‑ I'd start to try to play a little bit with it, and I had to go home from the U.S. Open and got a Cortisone shot in my thumb because that was where it was bothering me then.  That lasted a couple months.  And then come to the British Open and we had to play 36 on Sunday and my wrist started bothering me.  I go see a specialist and he tells me that it's intersection syndrome, which is where a couple of ligaments in your radial nerve meet in your wrist.  And so I took some oral Prednisone.
           
Then ‑‑ it was almost the end of the season by then, and I had over‑compensated probably for my injury in my golf swing, so that affected my results.  I couldn't really practice.  I was just trying to get through 18 holes.  And in hindsight I should have kind of taken some time off.
           
And I took most of the winter off as I got married and all that.  And I got to Asia and it was bothering ‑‑ it started to bother me again after I had been practicing for a couple of weeks.  The physio therapist out there helped me to realize that it's actually a little bit more in my shoulder and in my elbow and in my neck, but I feel it in my wrist.  I know it's really strange, but since I've been treating it that way and making sure to stretch out the nerves that run all the way down my arm, I've had a lot less pain; and staying out of the rough today certainly helps.
           
There were a lot of different ‑‑ I think intersection syndrome caused the pain, but I think that it's just very tight left side from my neck all the way down into my hands.  So I spent a lot of time trying to stretch it out, trying to get the soft tissue in my elbow a little bit in my neck and in my shoulder.  And it's all help.

BRITTANY LINCICOME:  I think it's the big ring on her finger. 

THE MODERATOR:  Yeah, that thing might be weighing you down.  You did get married in the off season.  Just tell us about that real quickly.

BRITTANY LINCICOME:  I wore her ring all day yesterday in the rain delay.

MORGAN PRESSEL:  I looked at the table at one point and I'm like, where's my ring?  Oh, Brittany's got it.
           
Yeah.  I definitely had a very special off season.  And I'm very lucky, very happy.  Andy was here earlier, but he's getting ready for the Wal‑Mart Arkansas Championship in a couple of weeks.  But he's already texted me about telling me he's proud of me and wants me to play well and he's been my biggest supporter.

THE MODERATOR
:  Who was at your Solheim dinner?  What does the bracelet look like?
MORGAN PRESSEL:  It's just this little white dude that says "I love USA," and there was I think the Top 8 players on the rankings right now were at the dinner, Meg Mallon, Beth Daniel, Dottie Pepper, Laura Diaz.  I think that was it.
           
We just had a dinner.  It was just kind of more just to get everybody together.  And didn't really even talk about Solheim too much.  Meg kind of gave an inspirational speech when we were all leaving, but it was more kind of just to get together and chitchat with everybody I guess.

THE MODERATOR:  Where did you eat?

MORGAN PRESSEL:  Right across the street from Wegmans.  Hi, Jess.  Jessica Korda, everybody.  We didn't talk at all out there.

Q.  Meg's telling me that I guess she talked to Ron and you guys had a great session right before this event.  Can you just kind of talk about what you guys worked on?
MORGAN PRESSEL:  Yeah.  Ron is here this week, and it's nice to spend some time with him, and we've been working on really not so much mechanical or anything.  My biggest problem is when I get out on the golf course my tempo gets a little quick.  So that's something that I always work on in the back of my mind.
           
But really committing to the shot and seeing a good picture and approaching the round a little bit differently than I have, trying to get out of a little bit of a pessimistic attitude, I guess, and tell myself that that's the shot that I want to see and that's what I'm going to hit.

Q.  And each time you got in the rough this week, were you nervous?  Did you have like a flood of memories of last year?
MORGAN PRESSEL:  Definitely.  I was a little bit nervous, but it makes me want to hit it in the fairway even more.  So extra motivation to not hit too many shots out of the rough.
           
You know, I didn't practice too much out of it.  I mean what's to practice?  You're gonna take a wedge on it anyways, but I did hit a lot of chips out of the rough, and it wasn't bothering me, so I felt pretty good about that.  So just tried to make sure I stay on top of it, take a little Advil this morning and help me get through the round.

Q.  (Inaudible).
MORGAN PRESSEL:  I hit a 5‑hybrid in the rough and I hit another 5‑hybrid.
THE MODERATOR:  Next time you come in we're going through every hole, every shot.

Q.  Morgan, four straight birdies.  I mean how much momentum do you pick up?
MORGAN PRESSEL:  Well, I mean just coming in on the last few holes, I mean I just saw the line on the putts.  I mean like all day I'd been hitting in the fairway and been on the greens, but I just committed to my line and just saw the ball rolling where I wanted it to and made four really good putts on the last four holes.
           
And out here, putting is what wins major championships.  Like I mentioned earlier, my new putter, and I feel good about it and I'm looking forward to the next three rounds.

 

Se Ri Pak, Rolex Rankings No. 32

THE MODERATOR:  All right.  We'd like to welcome LPGA and world golf Hall of Fame member Se Ri Pak to the interview room here at the Wegmans LPGA Championship.  Se Ri, your 16th appearance at the Wegmans LPGA Championship.  You're a two‑time winner of this event.  You won it back in '98.
SE RI PAK:  Three time.

THE MODERATOR:  Three‑time winner of this event, the first of which was in 1998, your rookie year.  Before we talk about your round, just tell me what it means to sit next to this trophy and think back to 1998 when you made the biggest appearance on the golf scene that anybody really has ever made.
SE RI PAK:  Well, 1998 is basically my first season in U. S.  I came directly from Korea.  Of course, I don't know anything about it.  All I know is just trying to join in the LPGA and trying to learn my game from best golfers on tour.  So I decided to come out, and I play, of course.  Don't know anything about it.
           
The funny thing is, after one event, the first time to win, and doesn't really know that it was a major.  That's the first thing.  Yeah.  Just don't really know what's going on.  And then the second I was in the media room and I was interviewing and they said this is a major event; you know about it.  I was like, oh, really?  I really don't know it was major.  So that was first time winning was a major.
           
And then beginning with that, it's been fun.  Actually I won a lot already.  I played with Beth Daniel.  She was in the Hall of Fame and she was really great top player, and we play together and I learn a lot from them.  And I was so lucky to get a trophy, which is the rookie that won the major the first time in a tournament.  That was pretty exciting about it.  And actually my games and everything, I feel like a lot of confidence.
           
And you know, I can't really be living in all this pressure, so I keep it going, and my game is getting better and better each week, and next thing I know is another chance to win a major.  So that's happening, 1998.  This is the beginning of it.  And that really, really meant a lot.

THE MODERATOR:  You've come a long way since that time.  25 wins, five major championships in total.  And you find yourself near the lead here at the 2013 Wegmans LPGA Championship.  Take us through your round today, how you played.
SE RI PAK:  This golf course has been really tough condition, probably ever I play.  We always wet conditions here pretty much every year, but this is probably hardest condition I ever play.
           
As soon as I get there, making fairway a lot more tighter than last year.  The rough is a lot more thicker, and then plus, we got a lot of rain yesterday.  That makes it even harder.
           
So starting first tee I was so focusing on every shot.  Really doesn't matter if I missed it.  Try to get up‑and‑down, move on to next tee.  And that's hard conditions.  After that, of course, I get up‑and‑down and good putts good saves, and I'm here.  I didn't know it was such a great round, but it's good.

THE MODERATOR:  Last year after two rounds you were leading this tournament.  What is it about Locust Hill or the LPGA Championship that just works well for you?
SE RI PAK:  I think the LPGA Championship does work really well for me.  And I don't know that this golf course doesn't really work ‑‑ well, yes.  First two rounds should be good, but hopefully next three rounds, again, even though I have a great chance again this week, and hopefully I play the rest of the rounds.
           
So especially it's harder conditions right now.  I'll just go out and focus every hole and play as hard as I could and we'll see on Sunday.
           
THE MODERATOR:  Earlier this week we had three chairs right here.  It was Inbee Park, Na Yeon Choi and Jiyai Shin who were three raining major champions at the Kraft, the British and the U.S. Open, and they spoke very highly, as many Korean players do, of you and the impact that you had on them.  If you were in the audience looking at that, what would you be thinking to see three young Koreans, three major champions all talking about you as their influence?
SE RI PAK:  I'm very proud of what's happening right now.  Since '98 I never thought it would really happen.  Of course, some players, probably a couple of players all try, of course, it's a possibility, but never ever thought about it's going to be right now a big impact in our country, definitely in Asia, too.  So it makes it a lot []to see what's happening right now.  From our country, the young age right now that plays so well and they know what to do and they know what the game is, and now they win all the majors.  Very impressed.
           
You know, it's really hard, because I was a rookie.  As I said, first we play on the LPGA, of course your goal is trying to be out here, win the tournament.  Of course, you're hoping you're in the majors, and you know, keep it going as a professional, but you never thought about it happening so quick.
           
But these players, young players right now, they are actually doing so well.  And they pretty much every week top of the leaderboard.  So that's really happy to see that.  I'm very happy to see that right now.  And of course, that gives me a lot of energy to keep it going on tour.  So that's a good thing.

 

Jessica Korda, Rolex Rankings No. 39

THE MODERATOR:  All right.  We'd like to welcome in Jessica Korda who's currently two shots off the lead of Morgan Pressel at 2‑under par.  Jess, welcome.  Your second trip to Rochester in the last month.  You were here for media day at Locust Hill a few weeks ago.  The weather is a little bit better than it was when you were here previously when we had some sleet.
JESSICA KORDA:  And snow.

THE MODERATOR:  And a little bit of snow.  But this week it's rained, and yesterday we got washed out.  So just tell us about what you did yesterday and how you prepared today to shoot 2‑under par.
JESSICA KORDA:  Yesterday my practice was chipping in the hallways of our hotel.  My roommate Jodi and I were trying to hit our balls in the air.  So that's what afternoon looks like on the LPGA Tour.

THE MODERATOR:  You stay a lot of weeks with Jodi Ewart, another young player on tour, for those of you who don't know who Jodi is.  If you would, just walk through the round for us.  You shot 2‑under par.  Great score to post in the first round.
JESSICA KORDA:  Yeah.  I just tried to keep the ball in the fairway off the tee.  The rough is so nasty.  Every time you get in there it's just an advance, trying to get it back in the fairway.
           
And I got stuck up in the rough on 4, I think, and bogeyed that hole.  And came back with a couple of birdies on par‑5s that I could reach and get really close to.  So definitely being long out here I think helped me today, and I tried to stay out of the rough as much as I could.  Most of my bogeys came because I was in the rough.

THE MODERATOR:  The state of your game, I feel like we're seeing your name on the leaderboard most tournaments you're at.  You had a great chance to win Mobile a few weeks back.  You're already a winner on tour.  You won last year at the Australian Open.  Just tell us about the state of your game coming into Wegmans.
JESSICA KORDA:  I think I'm just having a lot of fun out here and being relaxed out there is definitely helping.  Knowing a lot of the players and feeling comfortable, just being myself and having a lot of fun with the game, and I think that kind of makes it a show out there.  So the better I can play and come back in here, the better I'm doing.  So the more I have fun, the better I play.

Q.  Did you see Meg out there following you?
JESSICA KORDA:  She was out there today?

Q.  Okay.  You didn't.
JESSICA KORDA:  We had a lot of people walking with us.  I played with Inbee and Paula today. So didn't really look outside the ropes.

Q.  Yeah, she was going back and forth, back and forth.  How much is the Solheim Cup on your mind and what are your thoughts going the next two months before we get there?
JESSICA KORDA:  You know, definitely before Thursday starts I'm thinking about Solheim, and on Sunday I'm looking at points and see if I've moved up.
           
But like Meg told us at dinner and has told us many times over and over again, if we think about winning tournaments, the points will take care of themselves.  He doesn't want us to think about the Solheim points.  So that's what I'm trying to do out there, and hopefully I can get on the team and help them win.

Q.  How pleased were you to get the round back today because you had it to 2 and then back to even and back to 2.  How pleased were you to get the round back on track?
JESSICA KORDA:  I was definitely happy.  Made a long putt on 16 to get it back to 1‑under.  You know, I knew I could birdie 17, get on the green and two‑putt.  So I was just scrambling really.  I was just trying to really hit the green and hit the fairway and get out of there.
           
It's playing really tough.  Not that it wasn't playing tough at the beginning of the week, but I think with the added inches of rain and the rough is playing really ‑‑ it's mean.  It's mean.

Q.  Is your length helping this week?
JESSICA KORDA:  I think on certain holes, yes.  You know, I had a hard time keeping the ball on the green today because every time I would hit it it would spin right off.  So all of a sudden I'd have like a 40‑footer instead of like a 10‑footer.  So yes and no.  So on par‑5s, yes.  On par‑4s, not really.

 

Inbee Park, Rolex Rankings No. 1

Q.  Solid start first day, even par.  Kind of take me through the day and what was really working well for you?
INBEE PARK:  I was hitting the ball great today.  I mean didn't putt as well as I thought I would have, but I mean I putted really bad last week, and it was getting better this week.  So I mean that's a positive to take.
           
And I mean I played very good until the last hole.  I had a double on the last hole, which two holes that I came today was just bad clubbing for the back pins.  I was going too aggressive and just hitting it over the greens a couple of times and that was my only mistake.

Q.  Take me through 18.  What happened on 18?
INBEE PARK:  I hit the drive on the left side and punched out.  It was like 100 yards, I was in between club, and I decided to control the bigger club, and it was just over the green, which you know, you shouldn't be there.  Just wrong club.

Q.  Coming off having won the first major of the year, now the second one, do you feel ‑‑ I mean sometimes people talk about the Slam, different things that go on.  Do you start thinking about majors after you kind of capture one early in the year?
INBEE PARK:  Yeah.  I mean you get to think about it a little bit more than ‑‑ because since I won the first major and I want to do it really bad this week, too, but it's a tough golf course, and you know, I'll take even par every day here.  It's not a bad start.  And I have three more days to play this good.

Q.  And just how nice was it?  I mean you guys saw how much rain out there.  To be able to come out here and play this morning and actually get out there on time?
INBEE PARK:  I think they've done a great job of cleaning all the water on this golf course for us.  I was really surprised that we were actually starting on time today.  That was a very good effort.
           
Yeah, and the course is in fairly good condition.  It was in perfect condition before it rained.  But I feel kind of bad for them.  It was in best condition ever, and they got this much rain, but I mean I'm sure it's going to be all right.

Yani Tseng, Rolex Rankings No. 5

Q.  You did not see it go in?
YANI TSENG:  No.  I see where it was, but I did not see it go in.  I had a hard time seeing the ball today.  So I see it was good in the air, so that's all I needed.  This is my first hole‑in‑one since I turned pro.

Q.  Oh, it is?
YANI TSENG:  I've been waiting for a long time.

Q.  No kidding?
YANI TSENG:  And I got it, too.  So that was good.

Q.  How many have you had in your lifetime?
YANI TSENG:  This is five.  I have four when I was on the amateur.

Q.  Okay.
YANI TSENG:  So that was fun.

Q.  Did you know it was good as soon as you hit it?
YANI TSENG:  Yeah.

Q.  Just describe it.
YANI TSENG:  Yeah, I mean after I hit it, I know it was a good shot.  But I was just trying to be good distance, and I wasn't thinking it was going to go in the hole.  I thought it would be perfect.

Q.  How are you feeling?  Are you getting better?
YANI TSENG:  I'm getting better, but my gums, like my tooth still hurts really bad.  So I couldn't eat much.
           
But everything is getting so much better.  Like my energy level, my everything is kind of very good.  Like I don't feel tired after 18 holes.  So it's good.

Q.  I think I read it was tonsillitis and it spread up?
YANI TSENG:  Yeah.  But now it's all gone.  It's still swollen a little bit, but it's not bad.

Q.  What have you eaten?  What did you eat yesterday?  What did you eat today?
YANI TSENG:  I went in a Chinese restaurant, and the owner was from Taiwan, too, so they make like congee for me to eat, you know, like water with rice.  I'm like old people now, couldn't chew much.

Q.  Here she insults millions of old people.
YANI TSENG:  Yeah.  So I was like my grandma, every time she eats, we have to kind of like a bird, so now I'm doing the same thing.

Q.  What do you think of the whole round today?
YANI TSENG:  I hit it very solid today.  My ball is precision.  My alignment is much better.  So I just need to trust my swing more.  And I mean I hit lots of good shots out there, hit lots of good drives, too.  I had like one yard, like one feet and just in the rough.  And those rough, it's very tough.  So just need to be patient and I make couple bogeys out there, but I don't feel anything because I know everybody is going to make bogey.  So I mean just be patient and try to get it on the fairway and just do the best you can do because it's a very tough course, especially it's wet.  It's hard to get lucky in the rough, I mean this rough.

Q.  Do you have the other four holes that you made holes in one?
YANI TSENG:  No.

Q.  So can I have that one?
YANI TSENG:  No.

Q.  Do you have any of those four?
YANI TSENG:  No, I don't.

 

 

Topics: Notes and Interviews, Wegmans LPGA Championship, Choi, Chella, Pressel, Morgan, Korda, Jessica, Lincicome, Brittany [+]

Andrews Sports MedicineArpin Van LinesFloridas NaturalMedjet AssistMichelob ULTRAPrudentialSmuckers