Marathon Classic Presented by Owens Corning and O-I Second Round Notes and Interviews

Marathon Classic Presented by Owens Corning & O-I
Highland Meadows Golf Club
Sylvania, Ohio
Second-Round Notes and Interviews
July 19, 2013

Paula Creamer -8, Rolex Rankings No. 14
Beatriz Recari -8, Rolex Rankings No. 26
Alison Walshe -8, Rolex Rankings No. 90
Inbee Park -6, Rolex Rankings No. 1
So Yeon Ryu -5, Rolex Rankings No. 5
Katherine Hull-Kirk -2, Rolex Rankings No. 98
Stacy Lewis E, Rolex Rankings No. 2

Three weeks remain until the 2013 Solheim Cup but the leaderboard on Friday at the Marathon Classic Presented by Owens Corning & O-I had a decidedly European-American feel. Spaniard Beatriz Recari and Americans Paula Creamer and Alison Walshe are tied for the second-round lead at 8-under-par after shooting rounds of 65, 68 and 69 respectively in Friday’s second round at Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania, Ohio.

Temperatures soared into the 90s for a second straight day in northwest Ohio but the heat didn’t feel nearly as oppressive during Friday’s second round thanks to winds that gusted up to 25 mph throughout the day. The wind also made for slightly more difficult scoring conditions, although that didn’t appear to bother Recari.

Recari’s 6-under 65 was the low round of the day and tied for the low round of the week. There were a few ups and downs for the 26-year-old in her round as she tallied six birdies, two bogeys and one eagle en route to taking a share of the second-round lead. But overall she seemed quite pleased with the results.

“My round was really, really good,” Recari said. “I started with a good par save on the 1st hole where I laid up.  I was on the left in the rough and I had a tree blocking it, and I laid up short and good approach shots, and then a 15‑footer for par.  So that was good mojo and good way to start with a positive feeling.”

Creamer followed up her impressive opening-round 66 with a 3-under 68 on Friday. While she wasn’t able to record quite as many birdies in Friday’s second round, Creamer was pleased with how she performed in what she described as a “different golf course.”

“It played a little bit harder out there today,” Creamer said. “You know, the breeze definitely was picking up.  I know in the morning it was pretty dead yesterday.  A little bit of breeze in the afternoon. But it was a different golf course today.  It was getting a little bit firmer and some of the pin placements were a little tougher than they were yesterday, so a little bit harder to get close to the hole.”

Walshe, who was the first-round leader at 6-under-par, delivered her second straight round in the 60s. She finished up late in the afternoon when most of the second wave of players battled the worst of the windy conditions. The Westford, Mass. native sank a six-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to grab a share of the lead at 8-under par.

“It was obviously a nice way to finish,” said Walshe. “Any birdie, I'll take it.  It's good. To do it on the last hole was nice to have a little momentum overnight and going into tomorrow.  At the same time, ties me with the lead, so it was kind of important.”

The fourth-year LPGA Tour member is playing for her first-career victory but says she won’t get ahead of herself just yet. Walshe will try to keep the images of hoisting her first LPGA Tour trophy out of her mind until the end on Sunday.

“It's definitely another day away,” said Walshe. “I'm thinking about what I'm going to eat.  You know, like tomorrow I can go out there and first hole, just the First Tee bail is what matters. Then on Sunday, if I'm in that position coming down the last through holes I'll think about it.  I'm not going to think about it yet.”

Walshe also won’t be thinking about any Solheim Cup contention this week. While her co-leaders Creamer and Recari are expected to be on their respective teams for next month’s Solheim Cup, Walshe will have to wait at least two years until she’ll have an opportunity to earn the honor of wearing the red, white and blue at the event. Walshe was born in Ireland and moved to the U.S. when she was three. Under the current rules that disqualifies her from being eligible for the U.S. Solheim Cup Team but the rules are changing for the 2015 event.

Six American players who are currently ranked in the top-12 in U.S. Solheim Cup Team points are in good position to earn points this week with only two chances left on the schedule. U.S. Solheim Cup Team Captain Meg Mallon arrived onsite at Highland Meadows on Friday to continue her scouting for her two captain’s picks.

During Saturday’s “Moving Day” all eyes will likely be on Rolex Rankings No. 1 Inbee Park. After coming up short in her bid to record a fourth straight LPGA victory last week at the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic in Canada, Park has once again put herself in great position to capture win No. 7 of the season. Park fired a 2-under 69 on Friday and sits in a tie for fifth place at 6-under-par with 2013 LPGA Tour rookie Chie Arimura and No. 1 ranked amateur Lydia Ko.

Defending champion So Yeon Ryu has also kept herself in contention to deliver a second straight victory in Toledo. Rounds of 68 and 69 have put Ryu in a tie for eighth at 5-under-par with Lexi Thompson and Jodi Ewart Shadoff.

Iron woman takes a breather: Beatriz Recari earned the nickname “Iron Woman” out on the LPGA Tour due to the fact that it seemed Recari never took a week off. Recari played in all 27 events last season and she kept that streak alive through the first 10 events of this season before taking a week off during the Pure Silk Bahamas event in May.

And last week Recari decided not to play in the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic in order to give herself some rest. And after shooting 69-65, which put her in a tie for the second-round lead at this week’s Marathon Classic Presented by Owens Corning and O-I, it appears that the rest has only helped the 26-year-old Spaniard.

“I unfortunately took time off because I wasn't feeling 100%,” Recari said. “It was something that had bothered me for more than a month, so I decided to take the time necessary.

“I always said it was a joke with Iron Woman. I am not going to play every week if I don't feel like I can perform at my best.  I didn't feel like I could, so I decided to take a week off.  It was hard for me, but I took some days off to recover physically.  I did, and I'm feeling match better. I made sure the days leading into this week that I practiced really well and with quality, and I'm feeling good.”

Recari saw another streak come to an end at her last event, the U.S. Women’s Open. Recari had not missed a cut for 46 consecutive events prior to shooting 81-71 at Sebonack Golf Club last month to miss the cut by two shots.

But Recari isn’t going to dwell on the fact that she wasn’t able to keep the streak going.

“I would have loved to keep continuing and it was a disappointment not to make it,” Recari said. “I played good round on Friday, just not the first round. But I have had some time to reflect, and I am actually pleased that it happened because it was a good lesson that I had to learn.

“I took some positives out of it and I decided that it's no pressure.  If I have to start from zero again, I will start from zero.  I always go out there and do my best, regardless of the result.”

While memories of 60 danced in her head…Paula Creamer knows that she’s capable of shooting a low round at Highland Meadows Golf Club. All she has to do is look back at her career-low 60 she shot in the first round here in Toledo in 2008 for a reminder of that.

And after shooting a 68 on Friday to sit in a tie for the second-round lead at 8-under-par with Beatriz Recari, Creamer admitted that she does draw upon the success she’s had at this golf course each and every time that she plays it.

“That was an awesome round,” Creamer said of her 60. “I think yesterday I had a ton of opportunities to go low; today I did as well.  Obviously a little bit different, but a 60 out here anywhere is a good score.

“Do I feel like I can do it again?  Sure.  Why not?  It was fun doing it.”

Creamer’s past experience on this golf course also helped on a day like Friday when the breeze picked up and conditions weren’t quite as ideal for scoring as they were in Thursday’s first round. Having played this course numerous times, the 26-year-old Creamer said that she’s learned how to manage the various conditions.

“You know when to step on the gas and when not to,” Creamer said. “When you get a rhythm going on out here it kind of takes care of itself. Experience in any case takes care of the issues that you have out there.  Just being confident.  I have so much confidence out here, and the fans have been so great over the years.  I kind of feel like I have a little extra bonus with them in my back pocket.”

Surprise! Inbee in the mix: After failing to win her fourth-consecutive LPGA Tour event last week at the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic, Rolex Rankings No. 1 Inbee Park wanted to regroup with a certain part of her game that always seems to be her strength: her putting.  Park said last week she had a tough time with the green speeds in Waterloo, Ontario, but she’s feeling back to her old self at Highland Meadows.

“I didn't have a really good start,” said Park. “I started with bogey today, but I really played well rest of the day. I'm putting really good this week.  My putting has gotten a lot better than last week, so that's really a good positive to take on.”

Park shot rounds of 67-69 the first two days of the Marathon Classic this week and is currently two shots off the lead at 6-under par.

“Still working a little bit on my swing,” said Park. “I guess I see progress a little bit, so on the weekend hopefully I hit it a little bit better. I mean, it was a tough day. Just grinded for pars.  The last two birdies felt like heaven.  Felt really good.”

Park already has six wins this season and is no stranger to finding herself near the top of the leaderboard with a couple rounds remaining. And this week, like many others, she’s in great position to make another run at lucky No. 7.

Only two times this year has Park won after holding the second-round lead. In the majority of her victories this season, she has come from behind and used the weekend to seal the deal.

Event Won Position after 2nd Round
Honda LPGA Thailand 8
Kraft Nabisco Championship 1
North Texas LPGA Shootout T3
Wegmans LPGA Championship T2
Walmart NW Arkansas Championship T5
U.S. Women's Open 1

Cheers to the weekend: A total of 72 players made the cut which fell at 2-over-par 144.

Quote of the Day: I think my perfect scenario would be is if Inbee Park is in the lead going into Sunday and then an American player wins the British Open on Sunday so all the media is there.  Then we announce the Solheim Cup team and go right into the Solheim Cup.  I think that would be my ideal scenario.”
–U.S. Solheim Cup Team Captain Meg Mallon on announcing her two captains’ picks at St. Andrews next month

No more sharing! Katherine Hull-Kirk left the 14th green with her first ever hole-in-one but she also left with something else, even though she had no clue at the time…a brand new set of wheels.

“I didn't know that was on the line,” Hull-Kirk said.  “One of the LPGA staff guys came up to me on one of the holes and said, Oh, congrats on the car.  I'm like, What?  We won one?”

The hole-in-one came from 172 yards out with a 5-iron and landed about eight feet short of the hole and rolled in. Hull-Kirk wasn’t sure at first if it even went in.

“We were debating whether we saw it go in or if it finished behind the hole.  We couldn't quite tell,” Hull-Kirk said.  “We heard the two guys up near the green kind of cheer, and that was good enough for me.”

The ace provided a much needed jump start for Hull-Kirk whose strong round kept her above the cut-line for the first time in five events.

“I had a lot of holes to play, though,” Hull-Kirk said.  “I haven't made too many cuts this year, so I still had to play well coming in.  That definitely helped the score at the end of the day.”

Katherine wins a brand new Kia Cadenza, part of a promotion put on by Kia for the 14th hole at Highland Meadows Golf Club. Kia is the Official Automotive Partner of the LPGA.

“Yeah, I’m really thankful for Kia to sponsor it.  I will be very delighted to drive it around,” Hull-Kirk said.  “My husband and I were actually debating about buying a car because we've been splitting his.”

She won’t have to share anymore. 

Last push for Solheim Cup points: American players are making a final charge for U.S. Solheim Cup Team points with the Marathon Classic being the second to last chance points will be up for grabs. Six players who are currently ranked in the top-12 in points have put together two rounds to sit within the top-22 at the Marathon Classic. Points are awarded at the end of each event to those who finish in the top-20.

Player 2nd Round Position Rank in U.S. Solheim Cup Points
Paula Creamer T1 2nd (496.5)
Lexi Thompson T8 7th (232.5)
Gerina Piller T15 T9 (174)
Jennifer Johnson T15 12th (162.5)
Morgan Pressel T22 11th (164.5)
Brittany Lang T22 8th (226)

Captain America makes her rounds: Patriotism is in the air at the Marathon Classic Presented by Owens Corning and O-I and with all eye on the leaders here at Highland Meadows Golf Club, many can’t help but look forward three weeks to the much-anticipated Solheim Cup. The anticipation was fueled with the arrival of U.S. Captain Meg Mallon on Friday, who came to Sylvania to scout out several of the players who are on the bubble for Team USA. 

“There are so many of them playing so well trying make the team.  The hard part for me is only selecting two,” Mallon said.  “That's why I'm here this week ‑ and I'll be at the British Open as well ‑ to watch players.  I watched a few players today and am going to back out this afternoon and watch some more golf.”

The team will be comprised of twelve golfers: eight from U.S. Solheim Cup points earned in LPGA Tour sanctioned events, two from Rolex Rankings and two captain’s picks from Mallon.  The golfers only have two more tournaments to gain points and impress their captain: this week’s Marathon Classic and next week’s RICOH Women’s British Open.

“[There are] still a lot of points to get, Mallon said.  “So it's an interesting couple of weeks coming up here, which is pretty exciting to watch, especially with how well the Americans are playing.  I think that's the great thing.”

As of this week only 14.5 points separate the ninth ranked players (Lizette Salas and Gerina Piller are currently T9) from the 14th ranked player in the Solheim Points, with those golfers involved in a tight race to make the team.  The struggle will not be an easy one, with every golfer fighting hard for the opportunity to represent their home country.

“The fact that they want to be on the team so bad and represent their country just shows a lot for their character for sure,” Mallon said. “A lot of factors are involved.  I've been a part of nine Solheim Cups.  I hope I can tap into some of that experience to help me select the right picks.”

Mallon hasn’t taken her two picks lightly, and has poured over stats and tapes to find the best fits to fill out her roster.

“Now it's getting narrowed down for sure.  Just seeing past records, how they're performing now,” Mallon said.  “There is just, like I said, a lot of pieces to the pie that go into the process of selecting your players.  Some of it's on the golf course; some of it is being at home.”

Selecting players is only one of the many responsibilities that Mallon took on when she accepted the position to coach the U.S. team.  From food to clothes, she compares her duties to that of a wedding planner.

“There is a lot that goes into this.  It's not just about the golf, which is the fun part for me.  It's all the preparations of putting together meals, clothing, you know, everything,” Mallon said.  “I compared it to planning a wedding for seven straight days, a different wedding every day.  It's that complicated.”

She will rely on her assistant captains, Dottie Pepper and Laura Diaz, along with her more experienced team members, to help her lead the team when they arrive in Parker, Colorado in three weeks.

“I have players like Paula Creamer, Angela Stanford, Stacy Lewis, that are all leaders, and they're leaders in different ways.  Some show it on the golf course and some off the golf course,” Mallon said.  “We'll definitely be leaning on them for that leadership, because those young players look up to them.”

With all the pressure that comes along with representing their country, Mallon hopes that her team will still remember the most important thing of all…to have fun.

“It's something that hopefully I can convey to my players is that first and foremost it's supposed to be fun.  I had a lot of fun playing in the Solheim Cup,” Mallon said.  “I think the more fun you have, the more relaxed you're going to be, and the better you play.

No matter how much research and preparation she does leading up to the event, Mallon won’t know how each player will react until the golf actually starts.

“Sometimes you don't find out until they tee it up on one.  You know, some players make a career out of playing golf; others like to be on the stage,” Mallon said.  “The Solheim Cup is a stage.  It's a high‑profile stage with a lot of energy and attention.  It takes a special player to embrace that and want to play in that.”

Mallon’s picks and the rest of the U.S. Team will be announced following the completion of the RICOH Women’s British Open in two weeks.

“I think my perfect scenario would be is if Inbee Park is in the lead going into Sunday and then an American player wins the British Open on Sunday so all the media is there,” Mallon said.  “Then we announce the Solheim Cup team and go right into the Solheim Cup.  I think that would be my ideal scenario.”

In da ‘Club 14’ The Marathon Classic hosted a raucous crowd in the grandstands at the 14th hole at Highland Meadows Golf Club for the second year. Aptly named ‘Club 14,’ tournament organizers pushed for a rules-free environment for fans, players and caddies.

“I love it.  I love this type of stuff,” said Alison Walshe. “I love when the crowd is going nuts and we get involved and the caddies get involved. I heard it when I was on the first hole today.  I was looking forward to it.  So I think it's really cool.  The fans were great.  Everyone in my group got involved. So I think it's pretty special to have that.”

Players and caddies alike participated in fairway races and tossed collectibles into the crowds. Those who failed to participate were lucky to get away without receiving a few friendly boos from the Toledo crowd. Walshe said her caddie, Mike Berger, might have to work on his stamina for next year.

I raced; my caddie raced. He should have won,” said Walshe. “He had it all the way to the last five yards.  He started strong and then he was a little bit weak in the end.”

Of Note... Mi Hyang Lee withdrew due to illness… Marina Stuetz and Esther also withdrew during the second round

 

INBEE PARK, Rolex Rankings No. 1

Q. Just wondering your overall thoughts on your round today.
INBEE PARK:  Yeah, I didn't have a really good start.  I started with bogey today, but I really play well rest of the day.
            I'm putting really good this week.  My putting has gotten a lot better than last week, so that's really a good positive to take on.
            Still working a little bit on my swing.  I guess I see progress a little bit, so on the weekend hopefully I hit it a little bit better.

Q.  Talk about the final two holes.
INBEE PARK:  Yeah, I mean, it was a tough day.  Just grinded for pars.  The last two birdies felt like heaven.  Felt really good.  Hit in two good wedge shots.

Q.  How much do you play in the moment and how much do you think about playing at St. Andrews?
INBEE PARK:  I don't really think about St. Andrews when I'm playing this tournament.  I'm just trying to tune my game up a little bit so I'm ready for going to British.  I'm just trying to get myself ready.

 

STACY LEWIS, Rolex Rankings No. 2

STACY LEWIS:  So when I'm not up there on the leaderboard, it frustrates me.
            So it doesn't really change it playing here.  It's great to have family and friends here, but doesn't really change my mentality.

Q.  Is there an adjustment you see that you'll make for tomorrow?
STACY LEWIS:  I'm just going to go do some work on the range and putt a little bit.  I need to clean up my rounds.  Making too many bogeys.  That's kind of the big thing.
            I feel like I'm doing some good things.  It's just couple little thing here and there.

Q.  Is there anything you can maybe peg on this golf course ‑‑ you've played great so many places and haven't quite reached that level here.  Overtime, is there maybe a common thread here?
STACY LEWIS:  I don't know.  I think these greens are tricky, and I haven't putted these greens well over the years.  You would think after you play them a bunch you would learn them a little better.  I just haven't quite putted them well.
            I've been driving it straighter so I've given myself chances; just haven't made any putts.

Q.  (Indiscernible.)
STACY LEWIS:  It's really not.  I've been doing it now for so many years.  It's kind of become old hat.  I don't know, you're just doing it every year.  It doesn't really change.
            I put more pressure on myself to be up on the leaderboard than worrying about who is here watching.

 

SO YEON RYU, Rolex Rankings No. 5

Q. Just wondering what you thought about that round today.
SO YEON RYU:  Well, today a lot better than yesterday, but unfortunately my putting wasn't really great so I missed a couple birdie putts.  A little unfortunate.
            But after round I got a bit more putting practice, then ready to go low tomorrow.

Q.  Is it difficult defend a title?
SO YEON RYU:  Absolutely.  Always a little bit of pressure on my shoulder, especially if I'm playing as defending champion.
            But this is not a different tournament.  Just regular tournament.  I just want to keep focus on my ball and not think about other people's opinion or the other talking.

Q.  Did you feel a target on your back when you're playing?
SO YEON RYU:  A little bit, but I try to not think about it.  So today I just think about my game.  I didn't think about other thing.

 

PAULA CREAMER, Rolex Rankings No. 14

Q. Were the conditions much the same today as yesterday?
PAULA CREAMER:  No.  I mean, they played a little bit harder out there today.  You know, the breeze definitely was picking up.  I know in the morning it was pretty dead yesterday.  A little bit of breeze in the afternoon.
            But it was a different golf course today.  It was getting a little bit firmer and some of the pin placements were a little tougher than they were yesterday, so a little bit harder to get close to the hole.

Q.  Heading into the weekend with a good shot at this, how do you feel coming up here?
PAULA CREAMER:  I feel great.  I feel confident.  Hitting the ball well.  Gave myself tons of opportunities today.  Started off well but didn't hit many good shots the first couple holes.  But just kind of grinded through it, fought through it, I should say.
            But just two more days.  I love it out here.  The fans are great.  Just importantly just trying stick to my game plan and see what happens.

Q.  When you go into the weekend in the lead or really near the top, do you get a little bit more excited to play?
PAULA CREAMER:  I'm always excited to be out here.  Every day is a new day.  Obviously when you're in contention it's what you play for, it's what you want, it's why you practice as hard as you do.
            It's exciting to be in the top.  It'll be fun going out tomorrow.  We'll see what happens.  But I can only control myself.  Hopefully I can continue doing what I've been doing the last two days.

Q.  If it rains tonight, do you think that changes anything at all?  Do you think people will go for more birdies?
PAULA CREAMER:  We never know if it's going to rain or how much, if it's a little bit or not.  Yeah, obviously the golf course will change.  Hopefully it doesn't get too much rain because it's getting tougher with the fairways kind of running it here and there.
            Like I said, we'll see what happens in the morning and kind of take the game plan knowing that.

Q.  The longer it goes, do you have more appreciation for that 60 you shot few years ago?
PAULA CREAMER:  That was an awesome round.  Yeah, I think yesterday I had a ton of opportunities to go low; today I did as well.  Obviously a little bit different, but a 60 out here anywhere is a good score.
            Do I feel like I can do it again?  Sure.  Why not?  It was fun doing it.

Q.  So 60 is just a good score?
PAULA CREAMER:  No, it's a great score.  It's not 59, but it's not 61, so...

Q.  Second round 68 in much tougher conditions.  In some way was that round better than the first?
PAULA CREAMER:  It was.  Definitely played a lot tougher.  You could go low yesterday in the morning and it was a little bit different conditions today.
            But it's still out there.  The fairways are starting to firm up.  You're not hitting super long putts into some of these holes.  Starting to hit a little bit more wedges here and there.
            There are definitely some tucked pins.  Kind of got to be aggressive when you can and make your pars when it's necessary.

Q.  You talked on Wednesday about experience meaning so much around this golf course.
PAULA CREAMER:  Uh‑huh.

Q.  When the conditions get difficult like this, does that play even more into your experience?
PAULA CREAMER:  I think so.  You know when to step on the gas and when not to.  When you get a rhythm going on out here it kind of takes care of itself.
            Experience in any case takes care of the issues that you have out there.  Just being confident.  I have so much confidence out here, and the fans have been so great over the years.  I kind of feel like I have a little extra bonus with them in my back pocket.

Q.  (Indiscernible.)
PAULA CREAMER:  Definitely.  You know, I did shoot 60.  I didn't even know I shot 60 that day.  That's saying something about your golf.
            At the same time, I do.  I feel like you can come out here, and if you do well at par‑5s and make a little one you have run there, for sure you can.
            But if it stays like this then a 60 might not be attainable, but you never know.

 

BEATRIZ RECARI, Rolex Rankings No. 26

MODERATOR:  I'd like to welcome Beatriz Recari.  Thanks for joining us.  Taking a little deep breathe in the cool AC in the interview room.
            Talk about the heat today.  Obviously another factor, but it was a little bit breezier for you guys though.
BEATRIZ RECARI:  I felt like actually yesterday was a little bit hotter.  I don't know how many bottles of water I drank.  Definitely it's as factor, but it's the same for everybody.  You've got to stay hydrated, but other than that it was fine.
            My round was really, really good.  I started with a good par save on the 1st hole where I laid up.  I was on the left in the rough and I had a tree blocking it, and I laid up short and good approach shots, and then a 15‑footer for par.  So that was good mojo and good way to start with a positive feeling.
            I was feeling really good about my iron, and I was definitely more aggressive than yesterday.  I kept fighting as good as yesterday, so that's really the difference.  I gave myself some more birdie chances and I made them.
            Eagle on 15, and then good birdie on 16.  Two birdie opportunities on 17 and 18, but overall I'm really pleased with how the day went.

Q.  Take use through the recovery of the bogey, bogey, birdie, birdie.  That has to be comfortable in the middle of your round to be able to recover from that and close out strong?
BEATRIZ RECARI:  Yeah, I was a little bit upset, especially about that bogey, bogey, because especially on 11 I hit a great 6‑iron that was just past the pin, past the greens.  But I was just on the fringe, in between the fringe and the first cut of the rough.
            I hit it, but it was just lightning fast and it went by, I don't know, just ‑‑ I didn't make it and I was like, Eh.  I was determined to get it back, and I did.
            I made a good birdie putt on 12; then a good birdie putt on 13; good opportunity on 14; then eagle on 15 and birdie on 16.
            So, yeah, it s a good recovery, like you said, and I was pleased that it went that way.

MODERATOR:  I have to ask, sorry to bring it up, but your first missed cut at your last event at the U.S. Open.  The streak is cut, but 46 straight made cuts.  Talk about maybe having almost the weight lifted off your shoulders, or did you think you could go a little bit longer?
BEATRIZ RECARI:  No, I didn't have any weight on my shoulders.  I would have loved to keep continuing and it was a disappointment not to make it.  I played good round on Friday, just the first round.
            But I have some time to reflect, and I am actually pleased that it happened because it was a good lesson that I had to learn.
            I took some positives out of it and I decided that it's no pressure.  If I have to start from zero again, I will start from zero.  I always go out there and do my best, regardless of the result.
            Like I said, you know, it was a disappointment, but I learned a big lesson which was needed for me to keep improving.  I did a good job the last two weeks, and obviously it's paying off.  So I think pressure is self‑imposed.
            Like I said, I only focus on the lessons learned which were many, and that's it.

MODERATOR:  You took a couple weeks off; didn't play last week.  Anything in particular you practiced?  You love to practice and grind it.  Did you take time off or did you really go out and hit balls and grind it out to get back on track?
BEATRIZ RECARI:  Yeah, well, I unfortunately took time off because I wasn't feeling 100%.  It was something that had bothered me for more than a month, so I decided to take the time necessary.
            I always said it was a joke with ironwoman, you know, I am not going to play every week if I don't feel like I can perform at my best.  I didn't feel like I could, so I decided to take a week off.  It was hard for me, but I took some days off to recover physically.  I did, and I'm feeling match better.
            I made sure the days leading into this week that I practiced really well and with quality, and I'm feeling good.

Q.  Illness or injury you're refer to about not feeling good?
BEATRIZ RECARI:  Not feeling good.  You can read between the lines.

Q.  There are a lot of lines to read between.
BEATRIZ RECARI:  I don't like to call it injury.  It was something that was bothering me for more than a month.  I'm feeling much better.

Q.  Can you talk us through the eagle and your shots and what you hit, the distances?
BEATRIZ RECARI:  Well, if I remember right, it was either 150 or 152 to the pin.  It was slightly to the left.  It was like a 7:00 wind direction.  It was an 8‑iron.  It was really fitting my eye, because I normally see the tiny draw.  It was on the left and it was perfect to cancel the wind.
            I saw it land and I saw that it was the right distance with the amount of wind that was helping.  I saw it land and I saw that it was obviously taking the direction toward the pin.  I knew it was going to be a good shot.  I didn't now it was going to go in, but I felt good and it was a good shot.
            Yeah, I took two shots on that hole instead of one.  So it's always good to have.

Q.  Are you thinking about Solheim Cup already?
BEATRIZ RECARI:  Because everybody is asking me about Solheim Cup, yes, I'm thinking about it because I'm getting a lot of media requests from Spain and people are asking me if I'm thinking about Solheim Cup.  Only the British left, right?
            So it's in my mind because obviously people are making me more aware of it.  But I'm not really thinking about that that much.  I don't want to focus too much of that.
            It all comes down to the captain's decisions.  She has to pick the team she thinks, and whether it's me in there, great.  If not, you know, it's a team event.  It's not about me.  It's not about individuals.  All I can do is do my every week.  That's what I can control.  And make sure that she has the reasons to pick me.
            You know, it will definitely be a dream to be part of that team since I was so close two years ago.  It was definitely something I set up as a goal.  I can only say that if I don't make the team I'm relieved because I know that I did my best to make the team.  If I make the team, great.  Obviously I'm doing the right things.
            I'm feeling good.  I had a very good year so far.  I'm definitely excited about the second half and definitely going to ‑‑ I'm determined to keep up this level of play and keep improving and hopefully get more wins.

Q.  Have you paid attention to the points race and where you stand?
BEATRIZ RECARI:  No, don't tell me, please.

Q.  So you don't want any extra pressure?
BEATRIZ RECARI:  No.

Q.  Just tell me at the end, huh?
BEATRIZ RECARI:  Yeah.

Q.  There are quite a few Europeans that are likely to be on the team.  How strong is that team going to be?
BEATRIZ RECARI:  You know, to be honest with you, and I'm dead honest, I don't even know what position I'm in.  I didn't want to think about it because it's not my decision.
            I know that many good European players are playing great.  Suzann, Catriona.  So many others.  Julia.  She's playing great.  Had a good tournament in the U.S. Open.
            So what matters is Europeans are doing well.  Then it all comes down to who the captain wants to pick.  I haven't paid attention.  I can only focus on what I can do.

Q.  You've won on this tour.  I'm not suggesting that winning is not the goal every week, but is there something to be said for the consistency you've shown the last year and a half?  Did the cut streak mean a lot to you?
BEATRIZ RECARI:  Well, it obviously gave me good feedback.  You know, that was the result of that.  Just keep on doing the same things I'm doing and improving tiny little things and refining things little by little by keeping it simple and being very consistent.
            Obviously that's paying off and it has paid off.

Q.  As good a round as you had today, when you walked off 17 and 18 here with par, does that feel like you maybe left something out there because of the birdie opportunities those holes gave you?
BEATRIZ RECARI:  You know, you aim to do 18 birdies and hopefully get an eagle here and there.  Maybe 19 or 20‑under.  Obviously that's my goal.  If I don't shoot that, obviously I felt that I left something out there.
            But 17 and 18 I played the shots as I wanted and they were all very good shots.  I gave myself a chance.  They just went by.  It wasn't like it was off line at all.  I gave myself a good chance.  Some putts go in; some don't.
            I'm very pleased with 17 and 18 because I did my best and I hit very good shots and very good putts.
            I did very good on all the holes that maybe you don't think that they're birdie opportunities.  But you can't think that way.  You can't just see this is a par hole or birdie hole.  Then you go crazy.  You aim to do your best every hole.
            I don't look at it as I dropped two chances.

Q.  Have you ever done a full interview without being asked about Running with the Bulls?
BEATRIZ RECARI:  I think so.  But, I mean...

Q.  I just wanted to make sure that streak was... you've been there many times, I presume.
BEATRIZ RECARI:  Yeah.  You know, that's where I grew up.  For us, I always explain it, because internationally it's known as The Running of the Bulls, but there are so many more things going on.  It's a very religious festival for the locals.  There are a lot of traditions, a lot of things, a lot of festivities.
            Yes, it's a party festival and happy festival and there is a lot of singing and good food.  Yeah, just everybody is happy.
            But there is a lot of tradition.  I always want to make sure that I when I explain it people understand that it's more than just the Running of the Bulls in the morning.  It's a whole experience and ambience.  Like Christmas.  Everybody is happy for that week.
            So I am happy to see it and I loved ‑‑ when I was young I was always excited for that week to come.  I had so much fun with my family, with friends.  It's a very fun festival and always something to do every day.

MODERATOR:  When was the last time you were there for it?
BEATRIZ RECARI:  I think three years ago.  It's always from the 7th to the 14th of July, so always during the week of a tournament or in between two tournaments.  My commitment is here, and if I go back I'm not going to practice.  It's not good preparation.  So I obviously follow it through TV with my fans.

Q.  St. Fermin?
BEATRIZ RECARI:  Good job.

 

ALISON WALSHE, Rolex Rankings No. 90

MODERATOR:  We'd like to welcome in our co‑leader, Alison Walshe, into the interview room.  Great round.  Big birdie on 18.  Talk about the putt and how that hopefully will give you little bit of momentum going into the weekend.
ALISON WALSHE:  Yeah, it was obviously a nice way to finish.  Any birdie, I'll take it.  It's good.
            To do it on the last hole was nice to have a little momentum overnight and going into tomorrow.  At the same time, ties me with the lead, so it was kind of important.

MODERATOR:  What was different today than yesterday?  Today not as many birdies, but still another solid round.  What were the differences between round one and round two?
ALISON WALSHE:  The weather.  I mean, it was really breezy out there this afternoon.  On the first hole alone it was like a 15‑mile‑per‑hour wind.  So it was going to be up and down.  You can't be too aggressive on certain tee balls or certain approach shots.
            So that kind of made the difference.

MODERATOR:  Someone said with the vision of getting your first win, was there any feeling or any thought coming into this week that you're on the brink of a breakthrough?  Just what are your thoughts on holding the lead after two rounds?
ALISON WALSHE:  I mean, I'm always trying to win.  Always dreaming the dream to win a tournament.
            I'm really pleased with my game, so I think it can happen.  I step up to the tee every week right now and I'm pretty confident.  It's pretty nice to have two rounds and be in contention and not fighting to try to come back and be in the leader's group on Sunday.
            Hopefully I play well tomorrow and have a chance to do that on Sunday.

Q.  How many putts today?
ALISON WALSHE:  Give me a second.
            MODERATOR:  29 or 30?
            ALISON WALSHE:  I don't know.  Is it written somewhere?
            MODERATOR:  I think it was 29 or 30.
            ALISON WALSHE:  All right.  We'll go with that. 30
 
Q.  Yesterday was 22 with 11 one‑putts.
ALISON WALSHE:  Yeah.

Q.  Those days don't happen very often.  How did you feel after that?
ALISON WALSHE:  Going into today?

Q.  Yeah.
ALISON WALSHE:  It's literally you practice what you get.  All I did this week was grind on my putting.  I went out the first say, and, I mean, obviously a 22 putting day, you're not going to get that every day.  That's a great day.
            But I worked my butt off on putting earlier this week.  To go out that first day, it's kind of reassuring.  You practice what you get.
            Going into today I didn't expect to have another 22 putting day.  If I did, I did.  I was happy with my putting again today as well.

Q.  You didn't have some silly number of one‑putts today?
ALISON WALSHE:  No, not a silly number.  It was hard.  It was breezy out there, so getting close was tough.

Q.  An off‑beat question, but the 14th hole, how would you describe it?
ALISON WALSHE:  14?  What do I think of what's going on?  I love it.  I love this type of stuff.  I love when the crowd is going nuts and we get involved and the caddies get involved.
            I heard it when I was on the first hole today.  I was looking forward to it.  So I think it's really cool.  The fans were great.  Everyone in my group got involved.
            So I think it's pretty special to have that.

Q.  Did you throw anything?
ALISON WALSHE:  Yeah, I threw a couple golf balls.  I raced; my caddie raced.

Q.  Your caddie won?
ALISON WALSHE:  He should have won.  He had it all the way to the last five yards.  He started strong and then he was a little bit weak in the end.

Q.  What's his name?
ALISON WALSHE:  Mike Berger.

Q.  You talk about you always live the dream, the dream, the dream.  Do you start thinking about that now, or is that still another day away?
ALISON WALSHE:  It's definitely another day away.  I'm thinking about what I'm going to eat.  You know, like tomorrow I can go out there and first hole, just the First Tee bail is what matters.
            Then on Sunday, if I'm in that position coming down the last through holes I'll think about it.  I'm not going to think about it yet.

 

KATHERINE HULL-KIRK, Rolex Rankings No. 98

Q. Take us through your hole‑in‑one.
KATHERINE HULL‑KIRK:  Hit a little 5‑iron.  Just took a little bit off it and it landed I think about eight yards short of the hole and took one or two bounces and just rolled in.
            We were debating whether we saw it go in or if it finished behind the hole.  We couldn't quite tell.  We heard the two guys up near the green kind of cheer, and that was good enough for me.
            It was exciting.

Q.  You won a brand new 2014 Kia Cadenza.  Tell us how you feel about that.
KATHERINE HULL‑KIRK:  Super excited.  I didn't know that was on the line.  One of the LPGA staff guys came up to me on one of the holes just a couple holes ago and said, Oh, congrats on the car.  I'm like, What?  We won one?
            Yeah, really thankful for Kia to sponsor it.  I will be very delighted to drive it around.  My husband and I were actually debating about buying a car because we've been splitting his.
            I guess I'll have my own now.

Q.  That obviously put a little hop in your step the rest of the day.
KATHERINE HULL‑KIRK:  The hole‑in‑one?  Definitely, yeah.  I guess I had a lot of holes to play, though.  I haven't made too many cuts this year, so I still had to play well coming in.
            That definitely helped the score at the end of the day.

Q.  At what point did you hear about the car?
KATHERINE HULL‑KIRK:  Now that I think about it, only on the 7th hole, which is my third‑last hole.  Confirmed.  So I guess maybe if I had found out earlier I might have been a bit more jittery out there.

Q.  Or distracted.
KATHERINE HULL‑KIRK:  Or distracted.  Yeah.

Q.  For the day, 4‑under until that last hole.  You gave one back.  What was the big difference between yesterday and today?
KATHERINE HULL‑KIRK:  I think I just hit more fairways today and definitely hit more greens.  So I had more chances to make birdie.
            Yeah, just I was able to make a couple birdies, and that hole‑in‑one certainly helped.  Nothing drastic, but, yeah, just finally went my way today.

Q.  One general comment about your year to date.  Talk your season so far.
KATHERINE HULL‑KIRK:  It's been sloppy.  I switched coaches back in March and just been struggling with getting confidence in what I've been working on.
            Yeah, hopefully this will be the turning point.  I've always loved Toledo and love coming here.  Hopefully I get some good vibes this weekend.

Q.  And a brand new set of wheels.
KATHERINE HULL‑KIRK:  And a brand new set of wheels.

 

MEG MALLON, 2013 Solheim Cup Team Captain

MODERATOR:  It is my pleasure to introduce the 2013 U.S. Solheim Cup team captain, Meg Mallon, into the interview room.  Meg, thanks for coming in out of your busy day.
MEG MALLON:  Thank you.

MODERATOR:  I know you were very busy out watching players.  You got in some holes this morning and will be back out this afternoon.  I'm sure you have the countdown going on somewhere, but just over three weeks to go.  Can you believe it's finally here?
MEG MALLON:  I know.  Really my countdown is two tournaments.  Still a lot of points to get.  So it's an interesting couple of weeks coming up here, which is pretty exciting to watch, especially with how well the Americans are playing.  I think that's the great thing.
            There are so many of them playing so well trying make the team.  The hard part for me is only selecting two.  That's why I'm here this week ‑ and I'll be at the British Open as well ‑ to watch players.  I watched nine holes today, a few players today, and going to go you back out this afternoon and watch some more golf.
            It was very nice for the tournament to put together the random pairings of two American groups in a row that I can watch pretty easily.  That made it easy for me.

MODERATOR:  Yeah, you have to be pleased.  Last time I checked, there were six players within the top 12 U.S. Solheim Cup points and top 20 here trying to get those last few points they can get.  They're really grinding.  Have to be pretty proud of how they're playing and really trying to get those last couple spots.
MEG MALLON:  Yeah, I am.  The fact that they want to be on the team so bad and represent their country just shows a lot for their character for sure.

MODERATOR:  Last time I read your blog ‑ you were writing a blog for our website ‑ you said one of the biggest things you said was getting your whole family to travel down, making sure they get there.  It's going to be a family affair.
MEG MALLON:  Well, yeah.  I was going to say, because at this tournament I used to ask for an amazing amount of tickets just for this event.  They know how big my family is.  It's just really special for me that they want to come, that my friends and family want to come out and do that.
            I am still working on tickets and all that, but at least all the hotels rooms and flights and that are all set.
            There is a lot that goes into this.  It's not just about the golf, which is the fun part for me.  It's all the preparations of putting together meals, clothing, you know, everything.  I compared it to planning a wedding for seven straight days, a different wedding every day.  It's that complicated.  Yes, for 12 players.

MODERATOR:  It's been a two‑year journey, like you said, so much planning and so many details.  At this point, two events, three weeks left, what's really on the day‑to‑day agenda for you?
MEG MALLON:  I mean, pouring over stats, watching the players.  Now it's getting narrowed down for sure.  Just seeing past records, how they're performing now.  There is just, like I said, a lot of pieces to the pie that go into the process of selecting your players.  Some of it's on the golf course; some of it is being at home.
            A lot of factors are involved.  I've been a part of nine Solheim Cups.  I hope I can tap into some of that experience to help me select the right picks.

MODERATOR:  They dynamic stat for you.  You picked Dottie Pepper and Laura Diaz.
MEG MALLON:  Uh‑huh.

MODERATOR:  Talk about those two and how their role and being assistants, what they've brought to the team in terms of ‑‑ things maybe some other assistants might not have done.  What's the most integral thing they've done?
MEG MALLON:  Dottie and I spent our whole careers together and really got to know each other very well through the Solheim Cup.  I just felt it was a perfect time for her to come back into the fold in the Solheim Cup.
            She was arguably the face of the Solheim Cup in the '90s and just wore her passion on her sleeve.  It's just been terrific having her back involved and being a part of the event.
            Then I needed a player that was still close to the players on tour, still playing on tour, and Laura Diaz was the perfect fit for me.  She played in four Solheim Cups.  She was trying to make this team as well.
            But she was out here day‑to‑day.  I needed a player out here that could give me a heartbeat of what's going on.  I couldn't do that.  Unless you're playing, you really don't know what exactly is going on.
            So the two of them together have been a great fit for me and have been very complementary as far as their skills go.  I am looking forward to working with them for that week.

Q.  You had a stellar Solheim Cup record.  What's it take to be a successful player that level?
MEG MALLON:  Well, you know, it's something that hopefully I can convey to my players is that first and foremost it's supposed to be fun.  I had a lot of fun playing in the Solheim Cup.  I grew up playing team sports my whole life.  You play an individual sport like golf and then you get to the opportunity not only to play on a team but then to represent your country, that should be a lot of fun.
            So I think that's the biggest part of it.  I think the more fun you have, the more relaxed you're going to be, the better you play.
            I also had great partners, too.  I was lucky to play with some really great players, a lot of Hall of Famers.  And I got to give a nod to my captains.  They put me in good positions.
            It's the most fun I've ever had playing golf.

Q.  Follow‑up on that:  How do you put the pressure aside, because there is going to be pressure.
MEG MALLON:  You know, there is.  Pressure is just what you make up in your own mind.  You know, it really is.
            We're playing a game.  It's all positive things:  You have your home field, you have your fans behind you.  Your senses are so keen that week.  I hit golf shots I never hit in regular tournaments at the Solheim Cup.
            And then my biggest job too is we're playing in altitude, and then you throw in adrenaline and then I got some 18, 19, 20 year old kids.  So a lot of energy will be going on there.
            So that's going to be our biggest challenge.  They're going to be so fired up.  I don't want to see them hitting 20 yards over the green because of it.
            So there will be a lot of coaching going on between Dottie, Laura, and I as far as preparing them for ‑ at least trying to prepare them ‑ for how they'll feel on that first tee.

MODERATOR:  Follow‑up:  Two rookies are currently qualified on points, Lexi and Korda.  Have you approached any veteran players recently to kind of maybe urge them fill the role of the leadership and kind of just being maybe another captain on the course?
MEG MALLON:  Absolutely.  I believe people can show leadership in different ways.  You know, I have players like Paula Creamer, Angela Stanford, Stacy Lewis, that are all leaders, and they're leaders in different ways.  Some show it on the golf course and some off the golf course.
            We'll definitely be leaning on that for that leadership, because those young players like up to them.
            It's also a great opportunity for them to get to know each other, too.

Q.  Meg, you talk about pouring over stat sheets, past performances, all that.  How much of it, though, comes down to a gut feel when you're making picks, two people basically representing you?
MEG MALLON:  That's right.  You know, I think it's some of that.  I think the gut feeling has a lot of that, but I think that comes from all the preparation that you do prior to that.
            You know, I can say right now that I can look at logically who should be the picks.  Come Sunday of the British Open, that gut feeling may come into play.
            Take a look at Rosie Jones.  She had a total gut feeling about Ryan O'Toole and selected her, and Ryan played great in the Solheim Cup.  So it's always an interesting situation.
            I will say, though, being a pick, you have to handle being a pick.  It's not just about you've been playing great.  You also have to handle having that position.  I've seen players that, you know, it didn't help their career very much because it was a tough position to be in.
            I've seen players thrive and make them better players being in that position.

Q.  Were you ever a pick or did you always qualify?
MEG MALLON:  I always qualified.  And I've said from the getgo, I don't have any sympathy for anybody that hasn't made the team.  If you haven't made the team, you haven't made the team.  That's it.

Q.  You qualified a lot off what you did on this golf course.
MEG MALLON:  I did.  Although I got disqualified that one year.

Q.  I remember that.
MEG MALLON:  That hurt my chances.  I'm now in the USGA Rules of Golf video because of what happened here.  Did you know a ball hanging on a lip that's oscillating is deemed to be at rest?  Yeah.

Q.  It is now.
MEG MALLON:  Yeah.  We learned that in Toledo.  They were peeling my name off the leaderboard.  I was in the lead.  I shot 65.  It was a three‑round tournament, and the next day had the Golf Channel go, Look at the ticker.  I had gone over the time.  They were peeling my name off the leaderboard as my group is going on without me.  Yeah.
            But I got them back in 2004, though, didn't I?

Q.  Did that make '04 even sweeter?
MEG MALLON:  Oh, yeah, absolutely.  We talked about this.  This is a full‑circle event for me.  I was driving through Michigan past Grand Blanc yesterday, and I won the amateur in Grand Blanc.  The Michigan amateur is what got me into the Toledo event as an amateur.
            Then it became my last professional event.  I retired here, too.  And my last professional win was in Toledo, so very special place for me.

Q.  You've gone on record as saying the Solheim Cup is not for everybody.  Could you elaborate on that?
MEG MALLON:  Well, sometimes you don't find out until they tee it up in one.  You know, some players make a career out of playing golf; others like to be on the stage.  The Solheim Cup is a stage.  It's a high‑profile stage with a lot of energy and attention.  It takes a special player to embrace that and want to play in that.
            You know, like I said, it's not for everybody.  Sometimes they don't find out until they play in it.  You have to examine that, too, as you're looking at your picks and how your team is being made up.

Q.  So the biggest stage, the majors, does that carry a little bit more weight with you?
MEG MALLON:  Yeah.  If you're in contention in the majors, absolutely.  I think that has a lot to do with preparing you for that and how they handle that for sure.

Q.  Talk about what it's going to be like to make your picks on the green at St. Andrews.
MEG MALLON:  Yeah, I think my perfect scenario would be is if Inbee Park is in the lead going into Sunday and then an American player wins the British Open on Sunday so all the media is there.  Then we announce the Solheim Cup team and go right into the Solheim Cup.  I think that would be my ideal scenario.
            Yeah, how thrilling to be in the home of golf and have the women's greatest stage of the British Open, and then two hours after the last putt drops we select our teams.  It's going to be great.  I hope.  (Laughter.)

MODERATOR:  Any other questions for Meg?  All right.  Thanks for joining us.
MEG MALLON:  Thank you guys.  Go USA!

 

 

 

 

Topics: Notes and Interviews, Marathon Classic

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