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

Paula Creamer
Photo Credit: Hunter Martin/Getty Images

Paula Creamer waves to the crowd after finishing her round on the 18th hole during round three of the Marathon Classic presented by Owens Corning & O-I on July 20, 2013 in Sylvania, Ohio.

Marathon Classic Presented by Owens Corning & O-I
Highland Meadows Golf Club
Sylvania, Ohio
Third-Round Notes and Interviews
July 20, 2013

Beatriz Recari -12, Rolex Rankings No. 26
Paula Creamer -12, Rolex Rankings No. 14
Lexi Thompson -9, Rolex Rankings No. 28
Chie Arimura -9, Rolex Rankings No. 32
Jacqui Concolino -9, Rolex Rankings No. 177
Jennifer Johnson -8, Rolex Rankings No. 54
Chella Choi -8, Rolex Rankings No. 36

Rolex Rankings No. 14 Paula Creamer and No. 26 Beatriz Recari both shot rounds of 4-under 67 in the third round of the Marathon Classic and will continue to share the lead at 12-under par heading into Sunday’s final round. The duo holds a three-shot lead over Americans Lexi Thompson and Jacqui Concolino and Japanese LPGA Tour rookie Chie Arimura who sit in a tie for third place at 9-under par.

Soft conditions from heavy overnight rain in the Toledo area provided players with more chances to be aggressive toward the pins compared to the first two rounds. Recari and Creamer started the third round tied for the lead with Alison Walshe at 8-under par and battled throughout the day.

“I played with her today, and she's a real fighter and a great competitor, so it's not a surprise to see that chip‑in for birdie on 17,” Recari said of Creamer. “I know that she's always going to give herself good chances and she played great.”

The duo both recorded bogey-free rounds and played within one shot of each other the entire day. Creamer held a one-shot lead heading to the 17th tee and they exchanged birdies on the par 5 after Creamer chipped in from the rough. But Recari responded with another on No. 18 with a six-foot putt to grab share of the lead.

“I had a great day too,” said Recari. “I started with a birdie which is great to start your round with, and then I hit my irons really well and gave myself chances all the time.  I had some putts that just went by the hole.  But I stayed patient, and it was really good to get that birdie there on 17 and 18 to get close to 67.”

Creamer, who won the Toledo-based event in 2008, said she is looking forward to playing in the final group on Sunday. It’s the first time the 26-year old has held a third-round lead since the 2012 Kingsmill Championship and is playing for her first win since the 2010 U.S. Women’s Open, where she also held the third-round lead.

“This is what I want,” said Creamer. “I've never made a secret of how much I like to win and be in contention.  But at the same time, I haven't given myself this opportunity too many times.  So it's here, and we'll see how I can handle it tomorrow.

American teenager Lexi Thompson trails the leaders by three shots after a third-round 67 and is playing for her second-career LPGA Tour win. Her first came at the 2011 Navistar LPGA Classic when she became the youngest winner on Tour. LPGA Tour rookie Chie Arimura (68) and second-year Tour member Jacqui Concolino (69) are seeking their first-career victories and sit alongside Thompson in a tie for third.

American Angela Stanford shot the low round of the day with a 7-under 64 which included eight birdies and one bogey. The 35-year old Saginaw, Texas native made the most of moving day and jumped from T52 to T11 and sits six shots off the lead.

Rolex Rankings No. 1 Inbee Park will have some work to do on Sunday to put herself in contention after a 2-over 73 in the third round. She’s eight shots off the lead at 4-under par in a T23.

“I just putted really bad today,” said Park. “Inside of that everything else was really similar, but nothing seems to be going.  I gave myself eight birdie chances out of nine holes on the back nine and nothing went in.  So just a bad putting day, nothing else.”

Ending the Wait? Paula Creamer has not hid her disappointment about the fact that she’s currently in the midst of a 3-year winless drought on the LPGA Tour. Competitive by nature, Creamer has always had high expectations for herself and the fact that she has played in 67 straight events without a win has not sat well with the 26-year-old golfer.

So as Creamer sits in a tie for the lead with Beatriz Recari heading into Sunday’s final round of the Marathon Classic Presented by Owens Corning & O-I, it’s no secret that she’s focused on finding her way back into the winner’s circle.

“Obviously, this is what I want,” Creamer said of leading entering the final round. “I've never made a secret of how much I like to win and be in contention.  But at the same time, I haven't given myself this opportunity too many times.  So it's here, and we'll see how I can handle it tomorrow.”

After winning eight times over the course of her first four years on Tour, it appeared that Creamer was on her way to becoming one of the more dominant players on Tour. But her career slowed down some due to various illnesses and injuries including a stomach ailment that began to plague her in 2008 and a subsequent injury to her left thumb required surgery in 2010. It’s resulted in Creamer recording just one victory over the past four seasons, which came at the 2010 U.S. Women’s Open.

Still, Creamer has been pleased with how her game has been coming around of late. She tied for fourth at last month’s U.S. Women’s Open and has a total of four top-10 finishes this season. The key this week, she said, has been getting her flat stick going once again.

“I've made more putts,” Creamer said. “That's always a helpful thing.  I started off a lot better than I have in most events.  Kind of put myself in a good spot after Thursday, and came out and played well on Friday.  Today, just kind of kept it going.  So I think the first couple of rounds are a lot better than what I've been doing in the past.

Playing for No. 3: Since her playoff win against I.K. Kim at the Kia Classic in March, her only win of the season, Beatriz Recari has struggled to recreate the success that she experienced that Sunday in Carlsbad, California.  Since that win, she only has recorded one top-10 finish and missed the cut in her last event, the U.S. Women’s Open.  Something has changed for Recari in Sylvania this week, as she sits poised to make a run at her third LPGA Tour victory going into Sunday’s final round at Highland Meadows Golf Club as she sits atop the leader board with Paul Creamer at 12-under par.

“I had a great day.  I started with a birdie, which is great to start your round with, and then I hit my irons really well and gave myself chances all the time,” Recari said.  “I had some putts that just went by the hole.  But I stayed patient, and it was really good to get that birdie there on 17 and 18 to get close to 67.”

Despite her struggles leading up to this week, Recari is still having the best season of her 4-year career, as she sits sixth on the LPGA Official Money List and 26th in the Rolex Rankings.  A high finish at this week’s Marathon Classic Presented by Owens Corning & O-I would add to what has been a banner season for the Spaniard.

“Still 18 holes left, and a lot can happen.  So I just really am trying to stay in the present as much as I can and just go shot by shot and just stay patient. You know, like I did today,” Recari said.  “I started with a birdie, and I had some really good chances that didn't go in but I stayed patient out there, and it was great to finish with a birdie, birdie.”

Recari seemed to thrive off of being in such a strong group, which included Alison Walshe and co-leader Paula Creamer.  Creamer and Recari traded birdies all day and finished where they started, sharing the lead.

“I played with her today, and she's a real fighter and a great competitor, so it's not a surprise to see that chip‑in for birdie on 17,” Recari said.  “I know that she's always going to give herself good chances and she played great.”

Playing alongside Creamer also allowed for Recari to keep a close eye on her closest competition.

“It's easier because you're playing with the player scoring closest to you, if you can say it that way,” Recari said.  “But you still have to do your best. You can't control what she does, so you always have to stay focused on what you're doing.”

Recari isn’t lacking momentum heading into the final round after finishing round three with back-to-back birdies and hopes to carry that strong performance into Sunday.

“I felt really good and I'm feeling really good.  I'm playing really well, seeing the ball great and making some really good putts out there,” Recari said.  “So, yeah, I'm just going to stay patient and do the same thing tomorrow.”

Breaking back in: In 2011, Lexi Thompson became the youngest person to win an LPGA Tournament, at the unbelievable age of 16 years, seven months and eight days, when she won the Navistar LPGA Classic.  However, Thompson has yet to break back into the winner’s circle since that historic win in Alabama.  That could all change this week at the Marathon Classic Presented by Owens Corning and O&I, where she sits tied for third, three strokes behind the leaders.

“I hit it really well today,” Thompson said.  “I still left a few putts out there, but it's golf.  So hopefully it will be better tomorrow.”

The eighteen year-old will need another strong round tomorrow if she hopes to pass co-leaders Beatriz Recari and Paula Creamer.

“I feel really good.  Hopefully I'll drop a few more putts, I guess,” Thompson said.  “I just have to take one shot at a time.”

Thompson has been working hard to improve her consistency and ball-striking, two things that have come together nicely and have put her in position to improve on her best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at the HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore back in March.

“I've just been working on trusting my targets.  Picking out a target and just visualizing my shot,” Thompson said.  “That's what I've been doing every shot.  I think I've committed pretty good to them.”

Thompson had a chance to pull within another stroke of the leaders on the final hole, where her birdie putt ended up just short of the pin on the final par-5.

“You know, I hit a good putt on the last hole, so I can't get too frustrated.  It was just a misread,” Thompson said.  “But you know, I'm going to hopefully drop some more tomorrow and hit it as well as I did today.”

Thompson is one of few that can reach the eighteenth green in two at Highland Meadows Golf Club and her aggressive style for eagle opportunities had local media members drawing comparisons to LPGA Tour great Laura Davies.

“I've played with Laura quite a few times.  I would say she still hits it farther than me, but it's all about placing it on the fairway,” Thompson said.  “If I get a 3‑wood turning over and get it to the end of the fairway and then hit through it up there, I can get it pretty good.  But, yeah, you just have to get it to the end.”

Who’s that Girl? Chie Arimura is an unfamiliar face to most LPGA fans as the petite Japanese golfer is currently in the midst of her rookie season on Tour. But that’s not the case for those who followed her career on the JLPGA Tour.

Arimura, 25, won a total of 13 times on the JLPGA prior to qualifying for the LPGA Tour last December and had garnered an Ai Miyazato-like following in her home country. Now Arimura, who grew up in the same town as Miyazato, is trying to follow in her mentor’s footsteps by carving out a successful career on the LPGA.

“I cannot explain how much she's done something,” Arimura said. “Every time she helps, other Japanese players too, they helped me, and I always ask them something, so, yeah.  I can pick up a lot of things.”

Arimura has put herself in contention for her first victory on the LPGA Tour after shooting a third-round 68 on Saturday to move to 9-under-par and into a tie for third place. A win would also go a long way in pushing Arimura up the points list in the 2013 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year race currently sits in fourth place with 218 points. A victory this week would earn Chie 150 points, which would jump her into first place over current leader Moriya Jutanugarn (349).

But while it would be a great honor for Arimura to earn the honor, she said that her chances may be hindered by the fact that she’s going to play the majority of her events in the fall on the JLPGA.

“I don't think about it, because I don't play after September,” Arimura said. “So I didn't think about it and I didn’t know I was up there.”

Where Everybody knows your Name…Jacqui Concolino had never been to the Highland Meadows Golf Club prior to last July. But a few weeks before playing in the LPGA event in Toledo, Concolino decided to make a trip to the golf course to play a couple practice rounds. But Concolino got more than just some practice during her preparation for the event, as she established some amazing relationships and bonds that make this golf course feel like a second home.

“I came a couple weeks earlier and talked to the head pro and director of golf,” Concolino said. “They welcomed me out here.  So came out and got a game with a couple of members.  And lucky enough, they've been good friends and good supporters.”

Those members must have given Concolino some great tips about this golf course as well since the 25-year-old has delivered two of her best events on the LPGA Tour here in Toledo. After finishing in a tie for 11th at last year’s event, Concolino finds herself in contention heading into the final round of the Marathon Classic Presented by Owens Corning and O-I.  Concolino shot a 3-under 69 on Saturday to put herself in a tie for third at 9-under-par and she sits just three shots back of the leaders, Paula Creamer and Beatriz Recari.

“It's just a very homie feeling here,” Concolino said of Toledo. “So I really enjoy it and definitely looking forward to coming back next year.”

Playing to impress: It has been an all or nothing kind of year for Jennifer Johnson.  The American became a Rolex First Time Winner at the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic in May, but that remains her only top-10 finish on the season.  She looks to change that this week in Sylvania, where she sits tied for sixth at 8-under, within three strokes of the leaders, after putting back to back 66s on her score card in rounds two and three.

“You know, the higher up the leaderboard you are, the better,” Johnson said.  “So I'm pretty happy how I played the last two days.”

Johnson may have a little extra something to play for this week, as she only has this week’s Marathon Classic and the RICOH Women’s British Open to gain valuable points and impress captain Meg Mallon for a chance to make the U.S. Solheim Cup Team.

“The final spots are all really close, and there are five players for four spots,” Johnson said.  “So that is in the back of my mind, definitely.”

Johnson was on Mallon’s radar when the captain arrived at Highland Meadows Golf Club on Friday but the pressure hasn’t seemed to affect the surging Johnson.

“I'll just play my own game,” Johnson said.  “That is just an after effect of how I play.”

Playing her own game has been more than enough to attract the notice of Mallon and has also put her well within striking distance of her second LPGA Tour victory.  However, she will look to continue her strategy and keep her focus in the final round, instead of focusing too much on the potential high finish.

“When I'm out there, I can't really afford to think about the results, because that would just get in the way of hitting the best shot you can,” Johnson said.

 

Quote of the Day: She's just unbelievable right now.  She's playing so great.  You can't play great every week, but she's still right in the mix.  Even for that, everybody's kind of surprised you don't see her at the top.  But you still can't ‑‑ what she's done is remarkable.” –Paula Creamer on Rolex Rankings No. 1 Inbee Park who is eight shots off the lead heading into the final round.

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. Seven players who are currently ranked in the top-12 in points have put together two rounds to sit within the top-20 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 T3 7th (232.5)
Jennifer Johnson T6 12th (162.5)
Angela Stanford T11 4th (381)
Gerina Piller T11 T9 (174)
Morgan Pressel T11 11th (164.5)
Brittany Lang T20 8th (226)

 

INBEE PARK, Rolex Rankings No. 1

Q.        How did you play?
INBEE PARK:  I just putted really bad today.  Inside of that everything else was really similar, but nothing seems to be going.  I gave myself eight birdie chances out of nine holes on the back nine and nothing went in.  So just a bad putting day, nothing else.

Q.  You said yesterday you felt like your putting was coming around?
INBEE PARK:  Yeah, I mean, last week I felt like I was hitting bad putts.  But today, even I hit good putts, but it just didn't go in, really burning the edges or a just a little bit off speed.  But I'm feeling good about my stroke, and much better than last week.

Q.  What happened on number 1?
INBEE PARK:  Number 1, I went into the right bunker, and I had a side‑hill lie.  It came up short of the green.  I had a really bad lie.  My feet were in the bunker, and I just don't want bad bunker shots.

 

PAULA CREAMER, Rolex Rankings No. 14

PAULA CREAMER:  I love this feeling.  I haven't felt it for a while.  I've normally been chasing the leaders, but this is great.  This is right where I wanted to be.  We'll have a good day tomorrow and see what happens.

Q.  Talk about the round today.  What was your overall feeling?
PAULA CREAMER:  I played pretty consistent today.  I obviously wish I could have made a couple more birdies here and there.  I gave myself plenty of opportunities.  But it played totally different, the golf course.  It played a lot longer; a lot of the tee boxes were moved back, so it was probably a little bit tougher.  However, you can still make birdies out there once you get going.
           
The greens are really receptive, tomorrow they will be a little bit firmer, but not much has changed.

Q.  Is this going to be match play between and you Beatriz tomorrow?
PAULA CREAMER:  There are a lot of people in the mix.  You can get hot out here and shoot a low number, so I can't worry too much about what she's doing.  I've got to go out and play my own game because there are going to be a lot of players that can fire at pins and post a low score.  I'll just have to make as many birdies as I can.

Q.  You've had a bit of a dry spell since the last time you won here.  How much do you anticipate trying to put an end to that tomorrow?
PAULA CREAMER:  No, I obviously, this is what I want.  I've never made a secret of how much I like to win and be in contention.  But at the same time, I haven't given myself this opportunity too many times.  So it's here, and we'll see how I can handle it tomorrow.

Q.  What do you anticipate being what you have to get done to separate yourself from the rest of the pack, because it's a pretty tight pack tomorrow?
PAULA CREAMER:  Yeah, I'm going to have to make as many birdies as I can, eliminate the bogeys.  I didn't have any bogeys today which was a positive.  But just to continue what I've been doing for the last three days.

Q.  The rain last night, did that kind of help you open things up a little bit?
PAULA CREAMER:  You know, it just changed the golf course.  You can fire at pins a little bit more.  Not as much thinking of where you need to land the ball.  But at the same time, you have to control your spin with certain shots, and it's more you're off tees where it's really changed instead of really hitting into the greens.  It's more tee shots that have changed.

Q.  So far this week what have you found out here that's been lacking in your game recently or in the past few years?  Is it something that you've put together out here this week that's above and beyond what you've done?
PAULA CREAMER:  I've made more putts.  That's always a helpful thing.  Just, I started off a lot better than I have in most events.  Kind of put myself in a good spot after Thursday, and came out and played well on Friday.  Today, just kind of kept it going.  So I think the first couple of rounds are a lot better than what I've been doing in the past.

Q.  Do you play very much with Beatriz?
PAULA CREAMER:  Not much.  A couple times here and there, I played with her at Kia; I played with her at Texas.  That's really it.  Maybe a couple times last year.

Q.  What kind of a player is she?
PAULA CREAMER:  She's steady.  Hits a lot of fairways and greens, gives herself a lot of opportunities to make birdies.  But at the same time there are so many players out there that you have to kind of be aware of.  But she's definitely going to be fighting until the end, for sure.

Q.  Considering the season Inbee has had, does it surprise you that she's not in contention?
PAULA CREAMER:  Yeah.  She's just unbelievable right now.  She's playing so great.  You can't play great every week, but she's still right in the mix.  Even for that, everybody's kind of surprised you don't see her at the top.  But you still can't ‑‑ what she's done is remarkable.

 

BEATRIZ RECARI, Rolex Rankings No. 26

Q.        Beatriz, certainly you've got to be thinking about winning tomorrow.  But you're out against a tough field, especially (no audio).
BEATRIZ RECARI:  Yeah, definitely.  I played with her today, and she's a real fighter and a great competitor, so it's not a surprise to see that chip‑in for birdie on 17.  I know that she's always going to give herself good chances and she played great.
           
I had a great day too.  I started with a birdie which is great to start your round with, and then I hit my irons really well and gave myself chances all the time.  I had some putts that just went by the hole.  But I stayed patient, and it was really good to get that birdie there on 17 and 18 to get close to 67.

Q.  Well, this is a golf course it seems as though you're long enough off the tee, but certainly very, very straight.  So that is an advantage.
BEATRIZ RECARI:  Yeah, definitely.  There are some tee shots out there that it doesn't seem like it, but you do have to shape the shot. (Indiscernible).  And on 7, for example, you have a big tree on the right, so you definitely have to be smart off the tee, and sometimes you have to step back a little bit.
           
But, no, I love this course.  I have a good record on this course.  I love it.  I think the greens are rolling really true.  So, yeah, I'm feeling really good, and definitely making some putts, so that's a bonus.

Q.  What is your mindset going into the final round?
BEATRIZ RECARI:  Well, same as today.  Still 18 holes left, and a lot can happen.  So I just really am trying to stay in the present as much as I can and just go shot by shot and just stay patient.  You know, like I did today.  I started with a birdie, and I had some really good chance that's didn't go in.  But I stayed patient out there, and it was great to finish with a birdie, birdie.

Q.  Is it difficult at all since you're in the same group with your co‑leader to kind of play match play?  Is it easy to get caught up in it, I guess?
BEATRIZ RECARI:  Yeah, definitely, it's easier because you're playing with the closest to you kind of scoring player, if you can say it that way.  But you still have to do your best.  You can't control what she does, so you always have to stay focused on what you're doing.

Q.  Is it possible to carry momentum from one round to finish birdie‑birdie?
BEATRIZ RECARI:  Yeah, it's always a bonus because I've had good chances and I felt really good about it.  It's always great, definitely.  Like I said, I felt really good and I'm feeling really good, I'm playing really well, seeing the ball great and making some really good putts out there.  So, yeah, I'm just going to stay patient and do the same thing tomorrow.

Q.  There is a sizeable group of players that have a chance tomorrow, what do you anticipate being the difference tomorrow, whoever separates themselves?
BEATRIZ RECARI:  To be honest, I don't know.  I haven't seen the leaderboard.  I don't want to get too caught up on other players' scores.  But the difference, like always, will be on the greens and making those putts and obviously, giving yourself good chances to make them.  But it all comes down to putting.

Q.  Have you played much with Paula in the past?
BEATRIZ RECARI:  I've played a couple of times, especially this year.  I've played with her in Texas, and I played with her in Kia.  It's always great to play with her.  She's a great player.  It's always great to play with her.

Q.  What would it mean for you to win this?
BEATRIZ RECARI:  It would mean a lot, honestly.  But I still have 18 holes left tomorrow, so I just want to stay in the present and whatever happens, happens.

Q.  With the season that she's had and Inbee not being in contention, does that surprise you out there?
BEATRIZ RECARI:  I didn't know she wasn't in contention, but it's definitely a surprise.  She's so consistent.  She's such a great player.  She's had such a good run up until now.  She won three in a row in the U.S. Open, so she's definitely having a great season.
           
But, like I said, you can't control what other players do.  You can only control what you can do.  I'm just happy that I'm tied for the lead after the third round.

 

LEXI THOMPSON, Rolex Rankings No. 28

Q.        Feel pretty good after that round?
LEXI THOMPSON:  Yeah, yeah, I do.  I hit it really well today.  I still left a few putts out there, but it's golf.  So hopefully it will be better tomorrow.

Q.  Feel good going into tomorrow?  You're just 2 shots behind right now.            
LEXI THOMPSON:  Yeah, I do.  I feel really good.  Hopefully I'll drop a few more putts, I guess.  I just have to take one shot at a time.

Q.  Is it you kind of play within yourself, and then kind of monitor where the scores are at the turn tomorrow?  And if need be, you get really aggressive and go for the pins?  How do you think your way through it?
Yeah, obviously, focusing on one shot at a time and see what my opportunities are.  If there are a few tough pins, you play right to the middle of the green and take a 15‑, 20‑footer, and then go for the easy pins.

Q.  Lexi, has there been anything specific in your game that you've been working on that you feel like is coming to fruition this week?
LEXI THOMPSON:  I would say just my consistency and my ball striking.  I've just been working on trusting my targets.  Picking out a target and just visualizing my shot.  That's what I've been doing every shot.  I think I've committed pretty good to them.

Q.  Do you leave today with just a hint of frustration?  You had a chance to take another stroke lower there and you were really close on that last pin.
LEXI THOMPSON:  Yeah, I mean, I had a chance on the hole before it too.  You know, I hit a good putt on the last hole, so I can't get too frustrated.  It was just a misread.  But you know, I'm going to hopefully drop some more tomorrow and hit it as well as I did today.

Q.  Did your eyes kind of light up when you see closing par‑5s on a hole and you get it back in the end?
LEXI THOMPSON:  Yeah, my eyes definitely light up.  I can get pretty close to number 17.  18, being a little bit more wet today, I was a good 50, 60 back.  But, yeah.  I mean, they're pretty easy birdie holes if I just get it in the fairway there.  So I definitely like that.

Q.  Your chip, do you have a distance to the front of the green just roughly, a good guess?
LEXI THOMPSON:  Distance to the front?  I know I wanted to land it 40, and at the angle I was going it was probably around 35 to get on.

Q.  Did you in one of the first two rounds, did you hit that green in two there?
LEXI THOMPSON:  I did.  I hit it on the back fringe.

Q.  Back fringe?  Do you remember that day?
LEXI THOMPSON:  I think it was the first day.  I actually hit my drive to the end of the fairway and hit a pretty low 3‑wood running up there.

Q.  The only other person that we can even remember ever having a birdie or an eagle putt on this hole is Laura Davies.  Are you that kind of long?
LEXI THOMPSON:  I've played with Laura quite a few times.  I would say she still hits it farther than me, but it's all about placing it on the fairway.  If I get a 3‑wood turning over and get it to the end of the fairway and then hit through it up there, I can get it pretty good.  But, yeah, you just have to get it to the end.

 

CHIE ARIMURA, Rolex Rankings No. 32

Q.        First off, great playing today.  Kind of what was the key to your round?
CHIE ARIMURA:  Yeah, so I didn't miss the green today.  So I think that all holes are better.

Q.  So overall when you see your name at the top of the leaderboard, what is that feeling?  You're a couple shots off the lead, but to go into Sunday in contention.
CHIE ARIMURA:  Yeah, I feel good so far this week.  So I'll keep going, and I will focus on what is in front of me.

Q.  You're fourth right now in the Rookie of the Year race.
CHIE ARIMURA:  Oh, really?

Q.  Is that something that you think about during the year?  Is that a goal of yours?
CHIE ARIMURA:  Not really.  I don't think about it, because I don't play after September.  Like I played Japan Tour.  I didn't think about it.  So I didn't play well in this field, so I didn't know I was up there.

Q.  How has this first year been for you on the LPGA?
CHIE ARIMURA:  Well, it's a very hard time than I thought so far, but I think I will get good experience.  It's a very good thing for me.

Q.  And I know you and Ai Miyazato grew up in the same area, and she's been someone you've looked up to.
CHIE ARIMURA:  Yeah.

Q.  How much has she helped you this year?
CHIE ARIMURA:  Yeah, I cannot explain how she's done something ‑‑ oh, how can I say?  Every time she helps, other Japanese players too, they helped me, and I always ask them something, so, yeah.  I can pick up a lot of things.

Q.  Going into tomorrow's round, anything that you want to do better or that you think you need to work on heading into tomorrow?
CHIE ARIMURA:  I'm not sure.  I'd like to concentrate at the time on this.  I feel I'm getting better this week, so I'll keep going.

 

CHELLA CHOI, Rolex Rankings No. 36

Q.        Well, good round.  No bogeys?
CHELLA CHOI:  Yes.

Q.  Was today very important in minimizing the stakes or getting a low round?  What was your game plan coming into today?
CHELLA CHOI:  Well, today course conditions a little bit wetter than yesterday, so I tried more to carry the pin.  So I had more birdie chances than birdie yesterday and no bogeys today.  So good up‑and‑downs.
           
I think 16, 17, 18, I don't make the birdies, so I think I will be good tomorrow, and I'll do my best.

Q.  You're always in the mix, and you always make a run on Saturday.  Do you think you do that? CHELLA CHOI:  16, 17, 18, I like those holes.  So I think three holes, two birdies I tried, but no birdies, so, yeah.

Q.  Is there anything about Saturdays that you think you play particularly well?
CHELLA CHOI:  Saturday is moving day, right?  So I had five birdies, no bogeys, so pretty good score.  But I had a lot of chances and no birdies on par‑5.  So I think I will try more birdies on par‑5s tomorrow.

Q.  So you think the rainy conditions from last night helped you definitely want to go aggressive?
CHELLA CHOI:  Yeah, yeah.

Q.  How about the rest of the people in your group?  Was everybody playing aggressively and going for the pin?
CHELLA CHOI:  Yeah, yeah, they did the same thing trying to.

Q.  Do you think that attributes to a lot of low scores today?
CHELLA CHOI:  Yeah, I think so.

Q.  What about tomorrow?  Do you think it will dry out a little bit or stay the same?
CHELLA CHOI:  Maybe no rain tonight, right?

Q.  I don't know.
CHELLA CHOI:  Maybe, so I think it will be drier than today.  Maybe some conditions as yesterday for tomorrow.

Q.  You're still in the hunt.  Is dad really trying to get you to win?
CHELLA CHOI:  Yeah, hopefully.  But I don't know, how is the score?  4 behind, right?

 

JENNIFER JOHNSON, Rolex Rankings No. 54

Q.        Back‑to‑back 66s, awesome.  Just talk about your round today,  no bogeys on the back nine, just how everything went?
JENNIFER JOHNSON:  Yeah, on 3.  I just kind of had a stupid bogey hit my drive in the trees.  4, I played great.  4 and 5 I kind of got the rhythm back.  Then three‑putt 6, and that was enough of that and kind of got it back on track.

Q.  Now, Meg's out here.  She said she went to see you play a little bit.  Has that been any extra motivation?  Obviously, you're making that last push for Solheim?
JENNIFER JOHNSON:  Oh, definitely.  The final spots are all really close, and there are five players for four spots.  So that is in the back of my mind, definitely.

Q.  Does the fact that your strategy maybe more aggressive, less aggressive, knowing the Solheim Cup points are on the line?
JENNIFER JOHNSON:  I'll just play my own game.  That is just an after effect of how I play.

Q.  Do you like your position going into the final round?
JENNIFER JOHNSON:  I like it.  You know, the higher up the leaderboard you are, the better.  So I'm pretty happy how I played the last two days.

Q.  You had a rough start here Thursday.  How did you get it back so well the last two days?  What was the biggest adjustment?
JENNIFER JOHNSON:  Yeah, I don't know.  I started hitting the ball close, making the putts I needed to.  It adds up.

Q.  Now your first win, you came from behind.  It was kind of we were sitting there waiting at the green to see what happens.  You've done it before, and now you have a win under your belt.  Do you ever reflect on that experience?  That was a huge turning point in your career, obviously?
JENNIFER JOHNSON:  I'll definitely use it for some confidence.  But when I'm out there, I can't really afford to think about the results, because that would just get in the way of hitting the best shot you can.

Q.  Knowing you can do it and you've done it before, obviously, it will help going into tomorrow?
JENNIFER JOHNSON:  Yeah, I think so.

Q.  Are you excited for St. Andrews?
JENNIFER JOHNSON:  Yeah.  I've been there, but I haven't played the course.

Q.  Is that right?  Are you kind of a golf historian?
JENNIFER JOHNSON:  No, we were there two years ago at Carnoustie, so we took a little drive over.

Q.  What were your impressions just walking around?
JENNIFER JOHNSON:  It's a cool place.  I don't really know much about it.

 

JACQUI CONCOLINO, Rolex Rankings No. 177

Q.        Talk about your chip‑in on 17?
JACQUI CONCOLINO:  Well, it was a poor first chip, obviously.  Then just one of those where you get it on the green with a little bit of top spin, and it's going to get tracked and possibly go in.  It looked good the whole way.

Q.  Saved yourself there.  Paula made the same shot right‑left, and it seems that you're going to have to make those type of shots to win this thing?
JACQUI CONCOLINO:  Yeah, absolutely.  It was my second chip‑in this week, and hopefully I've got another one in me for tomorrow.

Q.  I'm just hearing the story now about last year.  You played super well last year after coming early and all that good stuff.  Everybody said you knew the numbers before you started playing.  Talk about that background story and how things have come?
JACQUI CONCOLINO:  I came a couple weeks earlier and talked to the head pro and director of golf.  They welcomed me out here.  So came out and got a game with a couple of members.  And lucky enough, they've been good friends and good supporters.

Q.  Is that just kind of a comfort level?  I was telling him you're someone who knows people, and you play well where you're comfortable?
JACQUI CONCOLINO:  Yeah, yeah, I think that's one of the reasons why I feel comfortable out here.  It's just a very homie feeling here.  So I really enjoy it and definitely looking forward to coming back next year.

Q.  So three rounds in the 60s?
JACQUI CONCOLINO:  I believe so.

Q.  So playing solid golf, just very confident, very comfortable.  Have you been working on anything that you wanted to click that has clicked this week?
JACQUI CONCOLINO:  Yeah, just working on a couple things on my swing.  Had a couple new short game shots that I got in the bag this week, and they've helped me out tremendously.  Short games have been spot on, so I'll keep that going tomorrow, and I'll give myself a good shot at the tournament.

Q.  Have you been working with someone on short game specifics?
JACQUI CONCOLINO:  I've been working with Joe Hallet on my swing, and Kenny Nairn back in Orlando on short game.  He's going to go with me to Scotland as well.  So he's from there, and grew up there.  Played the course a bunch of times so, it should be good.

Q.  That's your first time at St. Andrews?
JACQUI CONCOLINO:  Yeah.

Q.  I meant to look at the criteria.  How did you get in?
JACQUI CONCOLINO:  I think I got in on the top 90 on the money list.

Q.  There is a section in the LPGA Player Guide where they've asked players how did you spend your first check, your first professional check.  And there are answers like Lincoln Town Car and Toyota 4‑Runner and Louis Vuitton purses.  Your answer was a bag of tees.  I'm wondering was that check for like 89‑cents or something?
JACQUI CONCOLINO:  It probably was, yeah.

Q.  Do you remember giving that answer?
JACQUI CONCOLINO:  No, I don't.  But I remember buying tees, for sure.  It was in mobile was my first LPGA check last year, and I needed tees after that.  We were going to the next tournament.

Q.  I was telling Dave about you taking off a year and coming back to competitive golf, getting revived and things like that.  Looking back on that break, do you think that's something that you always needed to do?
JACQUI CONCOLINO:  Yeah, I always needed it.  Just got a little burnt out in college and needed some time to myself.  Ever since I was 13, I've been doing everything for golf, golf, golf.  I never really had some time to enjoy your friends and family how you would want to.
            So that's what I did for about a year and a half, two years and started getting back on track.

Q.  You've won tournaments before.  You know how in the position going in you're a couple shots back.  Are you comfortable?  Do you like coming up from behind coming into Sunday?
JACQUI CONCOLINO:  Obviously, you'd rather be in the lead, have any advantage you can on anybody or tied for the lead.  I'm going to do the best I can, and if that's not good enough, I'm going to try next week.

Q.  Everybody that comes on this Tour is dreaming the same dream.  Do you think about that tonight?  Do you try to just close it off?  I mean, when do you start thinking about winning?  When do you let it fester?
JACQUI CONCOLINO:  At your rookie meeting, after Q‑School they ask you what your goals are, and every rookie's answer is to win majors, to win tournaments.  Realistically, I knew that probably wasn't an option last year because there is a lot of growing that has to be done out here to get in that position unless you're a phenom like Lydia Ko or a couple of these other girls.  So there is definitely a learning curve out here and everyone has to go through it.

Q.  Are you ready to cross that curve, do you think?
JACQUI CONCOLINO:  I think so.  I think I'm mentally stable enough.  I've put myself in a position before.  You know, maybe not this close to the lead or this close to the final group.  But I've been there on Sunday within a few shots, so I'll draw on that and do the best I can.

 

 

Topics: Notes and Interviews, Marathon Classic, Creamer, Paula, Recari, Beatriz

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