Manulife Financial LPGA Classic
Grey Silo Golf Course
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Third-Round Notes and Interviews
July 13, 2013
It’s a different Park atop the leaderboard at the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic. Hee Young Park leads entering the final round in Waterloo hoping to steal the spotlight from another Park, her countrywoman and Rolex No. 1 Inbee Park who is seeking a fourth-consecutive LPGA victory.
On Saturday, it was Hee Young who etched her name in the LPGA record book on Saturday, becoming the 11th player in Tour history to card 61. Her three-day tally of 20-under-par (65-67-61=193) leads by one stroke over Angela Stanford at Grey Silo Golf Course.
“I didn't realize it,” Park said, when asked if she knew how low she was going today. “My long putting was pretty awesome. I just tried to trust it.”
Inbee must overcome a seven-shot deficit to win her fourth-consecutive LPGA tournament.
“I had a lot of opportunities today but missed a lot of putts,” Inbee Park said.
Hee Young’s 61 sets the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic tournament record held previously for two hours by Gerina Piller, who shot 62 in the third-round. Seeking valuable U.S. Solheim Cup points this week, Piller is six shots off the pace.
A 54-hole leader for just the second time in her six-year LPGA career, Hee Young last led entering the final 18 at the 2011 CME Group Titleholders, where she became a Rolex First-Time Winner.
Today, she carded eight birdies – including six on the back-nine where she shot 29 – and an eagle on the par-5 sixth hole. She lipped out an eagle chip shot at 18 before rolling in an eight-foot birdie for 61. Park is tied for the lead in birdies this week with 20, equaling Stanford and 36-hole leader Catriona Matthew.
Stanford, who entered the day three shots off the pace, carded a bogey-free 7-under-par 64 in the third round to move one back of Hee Young Park. The Texan is seeking her sixth LPGA victory and first since the 2012 HSBC Women’s Champions.
“When you see everybody going low, you have to go with them or you're going to get left behind,” Stanford said. “Anytime the greens are soft, you can be more aggressive.
Matthew entered the third round with a three-shot lead but was unable to build on that advantage with a third-round 68 that included a double bogey at the 12th hole. She is two shots off the pace set by Park seeking her fifth-career LPGA victory.
Matthew fell just short of winning her second major championship last month at the Wegmans LPGA Championship. She became the first-ever Scot to win the RICOH Women’s British Open in 2009 at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, just six weeks after the birth of her second child.
Park, whose wide smile and colorful outfits match a bubbly personality, is chasing her second-career LPGA victory. The 26-year-old has three top-7 finishes to her credit in 2013 including a tie for seventh at the Kraft Nabisco Championship in March.
“It's going to be hard,” she said when asked about tomorrow’s final round. “I mean, everybody can hit it 10 under, 9 under any time, so I cannot breathe… I have to keep it going.”
Hee Young Park goes low: Park became the 11th player in LPGA history to card 61 in competition on Saturday (see below). Only five players have carded rounds lower than 61, including Annika Sorenstam’s legendary 59 at the 2001 Standard Register PING.
Lowest 18-hole scores in LPGA history
59 (28-31) Annika Sorenstam, Moon Valley Country Club, Phoenix, Ariz., second round, 2001 Standard Register PING, par 72
60 (30-30) Meg Mallon, Dell Urich Golf Course, Tucson, Ariz., second round, 2003 Welch’s/Fry’s Championship, par 70
60 (29-31) Jung Yeon Lee, Dell Urich Golf Course, Tucson, Ariz., first round, 2004 Welch’s/Fry’s Championship, par 70
60 (31-29) Anna Acker-Macosko, The Ridge Golf Course, Auburn, Calif., fourth round, 2004 Longs Drugs Challenge, par 71
60 (33-27) Paula Creamer, Highland Meadows Golf Club, Sylvania, Ohio, first round, 2008 Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic Presented by Kroger, par 71
61 (29-32) Se Ri Pak, Highland Meadows Golf Club, Sylvania, Ohio, second round, 1998 Jamie Farr Kroger Classic, par 71
61 (32-29) Annika Sorenstam, Hermitage Golf Course, Old Hickory, Tenn., first round, 1999 Sara Lee Classic, par 72
61 (30-31) Karrie Webb, Walnut Hills Country Club, East Lansing, Mich., second round, 2000 Oldsmobile Classic, par 72
61 (31-30) Lorie Kane, Dell Urich Golf Course, Tucson, Ariz., first round, 2003 Welch’s/Fry’s Championship, par 70
61 (31-30) Suzann Pettersen, Dell Urich Golf Course, Tucson, Ariz., second round, 2003 Welch’s/Fry’s Championship, par 70
61 (30-31) Cristie Kerr, Cedar Ridge Country Club, Broken Arrow, Okla., second round, 2006 John Q. Hammons Hotel Classic presented by SemGroup, par 71
61 (29-32) Hee-Won Han, Panther Creek Country Club, Springfield, Ill., third round, 2008 LPGA State Farm Classic, par 72
61 (30-31) Eunjung Yi, Highland Meadows Golf Club, Sylvania, Ohio, third round, 2009 Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic Presented by Kroger, par 71
61 (31-30) Brittany Lincicome, Blackhawk Country Club, Danville, Calif., first round, 2010 CVS/pharmacy LPGA Challenge, par 72
61 (31-30) Anna Nordqvist, RTJ Golf Trail, Magnolia Grove, The Crossings, third round, 2013 Mobile Bay LPGA Classic, par 72
61 (32-29) Hee Young Park, Grey Silo Golf Course, third round, 2013 Manulife Financial LPGA Classic, par 71
Inbee Park update: Given her recent success with the flatstick, most would not have expected to hear the following from Inbee Park: “My putting's not been great, it was okay.”
But the Rolex No. 1 uttered that quote following a third-round 68 that left her seven shots off the lead. Park remains the center of attention on the LPGA as she chases her fourth consecutive major championship of the season next month at the RICOH Women’s British Open.
“13 under after three days, not bad, but the scoring out here, you have to go low every day,” she said.
See you at St. Andrews: One more player punched her ticket to next month’s RICOH Women’s British Open at the historic Old Course at St. Andrews. Ji Young Oh qualified through a tiebreaker today based on her 54-hole score this week in Waterloo. Oh shot even-par 71 on Saturday for a three-day total of 207. Felicity Johnson and Kris Tamulis both shot 72 on Saturday and will go head-to-head in Sunday’s final round for the final spot. They’re both tied at 5-under 208.
Ryann O’Toole (131), Nicole Hage (134) and Momoko Ueda (135) qualified for the first three spots yesterday based on their 36-hole scores from rounds 1 and 2.
Piller playing for Solheim Cup spot: With three events left to earn points, there is a tight race for American players vying for spots on the U.S. Solheim Cup team. Gerina Piller is currently on the outside looking in as she sits in the No. 13 spot in points. With four players within 14.5 points of each other in the Nos. 10-13 spots, and double points available at the RICOH Women’s British Open next month, Piller said it’s hard to ignore the final opportunities to make the team.
“I mean, I'm going to think about it, who doesn't?” said Piller. “I mean, it's your country, and to play for the U.S. would be a dream come true. I try to leave that at home and leave it on the range or wherever else. As soon as I step up on that first tee, you just think of the shot at hand. If you really concentrate on being consistent, hitting good shots and making putts, the rest of it will take care of itself.”
Piller had a career day on Saturday at Grey Silo Golf Course and was pleased with how complete her game was through her 9-under 62. It was Piller’s career-low round for 18 holes by a staggering four shots. Her previous best was 66 on three separate occasions, most recently in the final round of this year’s Kingsmill Championship.
Three-time U.S. Solheim Cup Team member Angela Stanford, who is also close friends with Piller, said she would be a great addition to the squad.
“She's my friend and I try to keep emotions out of it, but I'm glad to see that,” said Stanford. “I was happy to see that because I don't want to be putting in too many words to Meg because she is my friend. Her length I think would really help us on that team. She's got a great personality, real easygoing, she'd be a great team player.”
Of Note…Michelle Wie has recorded scores of 7, 3 and 4 on the par-5 18th hole this week. She is currently 10-under-par 203 following a bogey-free 67 on Saturday…
INBEE PARK, Rolex Rankings No. 1
Q. Good day today, perfect position for tomorrow. Any insight for the approach into the final round?
INBEE PARK: I think I'm like 7 shots back. I mean, it's not impossible, but I had a lot of opportunities today but missed a lot of putts. I mean, I hit the ball the way I wanted to, that's the positive part to take away. Hopefully the putts will go in tomorrow. At least was no bogey today, but I think I gave myself a lot of opportunity and I was really satisfied with the way I was hitting the ball, so yeah, I mean, I just want to keep my ball striking going.
Q. It has to help your attitude going into tomorrow. You're a little bit off, but Hee Young goes out, shoots 61, we saw 62 today. That has to kind of help with your outlook on the possibility of going super low?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, I think the type of golf course it is, if your putts go in, I think you could go really low out here. You could see by all the scores, it's possible. Yeah, I mean, just go out there tomorrow and just do my best.
Q. You mentioned to us earlier in the week how you like fast putts and so far the greens have been fairly slow. Are they getting to a point where you feel comfortable with them with your game because that's how you like to play?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, obviously the greens are getting drier and it's getting firmer and faster, but there are certain greens that are really bumpy and certain greens that are really smooth. It's not consistent, but they're trying to get it to there, I think. My putting's not been great, it was okay. 13 under after three days, not bad, but the scoring out here, you have to go low every day.
Q. Do you think anybody who's in double digits right now really has a chance come tomorrow?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, I think so. 10 shots might be too much for one day, but probably within like 6, 7, I think it's not impossible.
CATRIONA MATTHEW, Rolex Rankings No. 13
Q. Take us through the round.
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah, didn't maybe click quite as well today, didn't hit it quite as close. Had a lot of chances but just kind of left a few, and then silly double on 12, kind of getting a bit greedy going for the hole and just pulled it. Nice to come back with a couple birdies.
Q. Able to grind it out there in the final nine, though?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah, nice there to finish with a birdie. I birdied 15, another one, so nice to come back with a couple birdies, so still in there with a chance for tomorrow.
Q. What about the greens, are they still very receptive, have they dried up a bit?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: They're a little bit drier. They're still pretty receptive, but yeah, the whole course has dried out any day.
Q. Is this anyone's tournament?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I've not really seen the scores a whole lot but I see I'm, what, 2 behind. So yeah, I don't know where everyone else is at. You saw Hee Young obviously shot 10 under, so anyone within probably 7's got a chance.
Q. Can you just tell us about the black band that you're wearing?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah, for the Korean player. I didn't really know her that well, I came across her just a couple of times. I think just died suddenly in the mid 50s, very sad. She was a commissioner of the Korean LPGA as well, so did a lot for Korean golf.
ANGELA STANFORD, Rolex Rankings No. 19
Q. Well, another solid day. What did you think was the key just to keep things going in the third round?
ANGELA STANFORD: Putting again, I think I had 29 putts, I hit 17 greens, so I was making some and that's the key. When everybody's going low, you've got to get the ball in the hole.
Q. Talk about being aggressive today, going at more pins. Just talk about conditions. Still saying soft or getting a little harder?
ANGELA STANFORD: Yeah, I was surprised that the greens are that soft because the fairways seem to be firming up. I don't know if it's going to be the same tomorrow, it will be interesting, but really surprised that the greens are still that soft.
Q. Still kind of going at it as aggressive as you have been?
ANGELA STANFORD: Yeah, yeah.
Q. We asked you earlier in the week, I think it was yesterday, about giving us a guess at the low score that wins this thing. Do you want to change that prediction now?
ANGELA STANFORD: I thought around 20, but I would think 24, 25 now. I don't know, that's just kind of going on what people are kind of averaging, I guess. Yeah, 24, 25.
Q. Is this the kind of course that demands aggressive play, attacking pins?
ANGELA STANFORD: I guess so. I mean, when you see everybody going low, you have to go with them or you're going to get left behind. Anytime the greens are soft, you can be more aggressive.
Q. Have you ever seen a tournament like this where course records are being slashed left and right and 18 hole, 36 hole records, 54 hole records, have you ever encountered anything like this before?
ANGELA STANFORD: Well, we see a couple courses throughout the year that give up some birdies, but they're the best players in the world and if you give them soft greens, it's like letting, what, the kid go after candy. They're the best players and conditions are allowing it, and the wind is blowing the right direction, I think, to help on some of the par 5s and everybody's just having at it. You know, this is only our second year here, so if we're here for 10, 15 years, this might be a year that it plays the easiest. But it's just so early on, we don't know that yet.
Q. You've been in a couple final groups this year. Just talk about going into tomorrow being so close to the lead, just right in the mix, just thriving off of that. You always say it's what we play for, being in the hunt. Talk about that feeling knowing you're right there tomorrow.
ANGELA STANFORD: Definitely want to be in the last group on Sunday, last few groups, you know, and everybody's kind of in chase mode and I think that's better, I would rather play like that. So everybody will be chasing tomorrow and I'll be one of them.
Q. Are you happy to see Gerina go low? I know you guys are close and she's kind of vying for a Solheim Cup
ANGELA STANFORD: Yeah.
Q. bid. She said it was definitely a good time to put things together.
ANGELA STANFORD: Yeah, she's my friend and I try to keep emotions out of it, but I'm glad to see that. I was happy to see that because I don't want to be putting in too many words to Meg because she is my friend. Her length I think would really help us on that team. She's got a great personality, real easygoing, she'd be a great team player.
HEE YOUNG PARK, Rolex Rankings No. 37
Q. Well, congratulations, awesome round for you, career low. We just looked up, only the 10th player in LPGA history to shoot 61. Pretty awesome. Did you feel this coming or was it kind of coming as a surprise?
HEE YOUNG PARK: I mean, I didn't realize it. I mean, my best score was like 9 under, and then today actually came close but I didn't know I beat the 9 under. Karine played really well, too, like sort of hit really close and yeah, it was pretty good group. And then long putting was pretty awesome, like 1st hole till 4th hole like pretty short before the holes, so a little bit disappointing after then and just to trust it and try to more past the hole all the time and that was work. And keep left like 20 footer or 15 footer back to back, so I just kind of tried to have the same feeling and tried to putt this and it was working well.
Q. Did you look at the leaderboard at all today?
HEE YOUNG PARK: No. I mean, my caddie and I, just one rule, when I play, no matter if I play well or not, don't look at the leaderboard and any number.
Q. You've had kind of an up and down year, you've either had a top 5 finish or not a good week. Have you been concentrating on something to maybe just stay consistent for three or four rounds?
HEE YOUNG PARK: I mean, compared to last year, this golf course was pretty firm and then pretty hot, like hotter, but this year like really soft and then I can hit it really well, hit the short iron, so that's why I came from more confident. And then a lot of straight uphill putt, a lot of straight downhill putt, so I make it a lot and getting more motivation from the straight putts.
Q. How badly did you want that one to go in? I think everybody did.
HEE YOUNG PARK: I know, I didn't expect it put in the hole but it was falling hole, today kind of, you know, like flash hole, like coming into the hole or making something going on, I don't know, I have to (indiscernible) my ball. Yeah, my chipping was pretty good and last hole even, yeah, I finished really well, finished the birdie, so it's going to be fun tomorrow.
Q. So were the greens any different? Did you notice today compared to rounds 1 and 2, were they picking up some speed?
HEE YOUNG PARK: Yeah, green actually pretty consistent, and then you know, last week and earlier a lot of rain, but they, you know, they condition really well, so pretty similar to the practice round and pro am day so I can putt it.
Q. What are you expecting out of championship Sunday here in terms of a score, could you guess on that?
HEE YOUNG PARK: No, it's going to be hard. I mean, everybody can hit it 10 under, 9 under any time, so I cannot breathe still so I have to keep it going.
Q. No comfort level at all, is there? There's no comfort level at all, you've just got to think of you've got to be aggressive tomorrow, don't you?
HEE YOUNG PARK: Yeah, of course. Tomorrow not think about any birdie or bogey but par number, I'm going to be focused on my every single shot, like target and try to hit it solid, that's it.
Q. Does that change your mentality going into it then, if you're still leading after the day's done how you approach tomorrow when you tee off?
HEE YOUNG PARK: This is not really often for me in U.S.
Q. When was the last time you had a lead on Sunday?
HEE YOUNG PARK: Like two years ago. That was even, yeah, not really close. Anyway, yeah, I mean, my friends, actually really friendly with the friends, so I'm not going to think about competition for everybody rather than just play, enjoy leaders, everyone, that's it.
Q. Talk about Inbee, her performance of late. Obviously she's up in I think the first page of the leaderboard. A lot of people have said she maybe has a little bit of an intimidation factor whether it be her on the leaderboard knowing she can go, I mean, 61 tomorrow. Talk about her accomplishments as of late.
HEE YOUNG PARK: You guys saw that last several weeks, she can putt, too, and she's long, too. So she anytime ready to hit like low on the pars, and she really got confidence and she know experience how to play final round, especially other than other girls. So, I mean, she's going to be try doing her best, but I'm going to do on my best.
Q. Park versus Park.
Q. I read in the Players Guide you're a Blackhawks fan, so people in Canada will be happy to know you're a hockey fan, maybe not Blackhawks fan, there's a lot of Leaf fans here.
HEE YOUNG PARK: You know, just a hockey game to it, I like Blackhawks, but I more like right now just hockey game. I know here is a huge fan of hockey, so yeah, I mean, hopefully hockey games coming soon.
Q. Have you ever been to an NHL game?
HEE YOUNG PARK: Not yet, but make sure I might try.
Q. How did you become a hockey fan?
HEE YOUNG PARK: My one of the best friends, she was sort of try to teach otherwise about lot of English stuff, and then, "Hee Young, how about just enjoy any sports and then you can conversation with the people, you know."
Q. Like pro ams and stuff, how to speak English?
HEE YOUNG PARK: So I just getting to it and she was at the Chicago Blackhawks and then this year they done like record it, like back to back won and then, "Hee Young, did you see that? You should root for Blackhawks no matter what." Okay. And then even like playoffs, that was unbelievable, like I couldn't sleep and then like every like midnight like oh, my God, when's the next game? I didn't know that people, when they watch the game, they like cook and grill and then bring out
HEE YOUNG PARK: Everyone sort of party, so oh, this is cool. I didn't know that in Korea. It was good.
Q. What about the socks? Everyone was commenting on the socks today.
HEE YOUNG PARK: I mean like Sandra Gal, she gave to me sort of like pom pom like black and red like long socks and oh, this is cool and nobody just tried any different color socks, and then why not? I'm a female golfer, sort of people like the fashion, so why not try? Don't have to wear only white socks, right? I'll do it. People watching not my face, more like bottom. Oh, look at the socks girl.
Q. So what have you got planned then for Sunday in terms of what are we going to see you wearing?
HEE YOUNG PARK: I don't know if I wear another like special socks, then like oh, yep, then I have to wear all the time so I'm not sure tomorrow wear or not.
GERINA PILLER, Rolex Rankings No. 60
Q. So career best round, just how was the course playing today?
GERINA PILLER: It was great, it's in great condition. The greens are still pretty soft, so just kind of fire away. It helps that I'm hitting my irons great, driving it great. Last couple days I've had longer birdie opportunities, but today they fell, so it felt really good.
Q. The wind seemed to pick up a bit out there today in certain spots. Was it a factor at all?
GERINA PILLER: Here and there. It's kind of hard because on one hole it might be into you and the next hole it's opposite, you'd think it would be down, and it will change. So you definitely have to pay attention and commit to your shot and really trust what you're doing and the number that your caddie gives you.
Q. With all due respect to your score today, but Catriona went in with a 3 shot lead into today, it's evaporated now. Do we really know what's going to happen until the 72nd hole tomorrow?
GERINA PILLER: I mean, it's anyone's game. Like today, if you get someone that gets hot with their putter and I mean, it's a free for all. The course is in great condition. Like I said, the greens are soft, so that's kind of a green light for us as pros that we can just kind of throw darts and it makes it a whole lot easier.
Q. Care to venture a winning score tomorrow?
GERINA PILLER: I'm just glad I'm done today, I get to go kick back and look forward to tomorrow.
Q. Got to ask you about Solheim. I know you're trying to make the team. How much does a round like this help your chances and your confidence going towards that?
GERINA PILLER: It was huge. It's easy to come out here and try to force it. It's really big. For my 2nd hole of the tournament this week on Thursday, I triple bogeyed and it just crushed me because, I mean, you want to play good, you want to start off good, and just since then like to come back and shoot 1 under after that triple and I also had a bogey, it feels awesome. Then yesterday I had a ton of opportunities. I missed I don't know how many 6 footers for birdie and 4 footers, so I knew I was due and once I got my putter rolling, I was up there.
Q. Three events to go before Solheim. I'm sure it's in the back of your mind, but is it something you're thinking about?
GERINA PILLER: I mean, I'm going to think about it, who doesn't? I mean, it's your country, and to play for the U.S. would be a dream come true. I try to leave that at home and leave it on the range or wherever else. As soon as I step up on that first tee, you just think of the shot at hand. If you really concentrate on being consistent, hitting good shots and making putts, the rest of it will take care of itself.
Q. What do you think about the Manulife and just the crowds out here the last three days?
GERINA PILLER: It's been great. The volunteers are phenomenal, the crowds have been great, very supportive. It's just been a huge attribute to our schedule and I look forward to many more years to come.
BROOKE HENDERSON, amateur
Q. Was there much talk at all between the two of you during the day, small talk at all?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, a little bit. She's super friendly to strike up a conversation, so it was a lot of fun.
Q. Does that distract you, playing with somebody like that? Is it any kind of an intimidation factor?
BROOKE HENDERSON: I was looking forward to it going into today and it lived up to my expectations, that's for sure. She got on a little putting roll there the last few holes and that was great to see.
Q. So how do you think you played today, how was your round, your general opinion?
BROOKE HENDERSON: I started out well, I was 2 under through three. I missed a few short putts, which I need to go work on that, but other than that it went all right. I need to clear up a few things for tomorrow and hopefully get a good round in.
Q. Just wondering with the course being the way it is, so soft, do you almost put pressure on yourself to maybe produce maybe a little more than what you normally would?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Definitely softer greens out here. The course is drying up, so it's a lot different than it has been the last couple days, but definitely need to take advantage a little bit more, make a few more of those little putts.
Q. You said earlier in the week, Brooke, that you're just going to play your best and have fun out here, it's a learning experience. Now that you're playing so well, does that attitude change?
BROOKE HENDERSON: No, no, I'm just out here for experience, that's for sure. Yeah, I got a good round in yesterday and hopefully I can have one similar tomorrow.
Q. What were you thinking yesterday when you were looking back and seeing that you were up ahead of Lorie Kane and Jennifer Kirby? That's pretty well known names in Canadian golf. Anything run through your mind at that point?
BROOKE HENDERSON: I don't know, I had some good (indiscernible) so I was happy, but I know there's a few days left so I wasn't too overjoyed.
Q. How do you prepare yourself for playing in front of these huge crowds, like probably the biggest you ever played for before, right?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, for sure.
Q. Does that change things for you?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Not really. It's so much fun, a little bit of an adrenaline rush and I want to give them a good show.
Q. Brooke, what does it do for your confidence to have Tristan on the bag?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Oh, it's great, yeah. He's really good at reading greens and yardages, he's bang on. So having someone that knows my game on the bag as well is definitely a big plus.
Q. Just want to touch on the Michelle Wie thing again. Here she is signing autographs, yet you're standing here with all the reporters around you. Did you think you would see that at this point in your career?
BROOKE HENDERSON: I don't know. I've been pretty blessed to be where I am today, so I'm just going to try and keep getting better and try and improve for future years.