RICOH Women's British Open First Round Notes and Interviews

Morgan Pressel
Photo Credit: David Cannon/Getty Images

Morgan Pressel of the United States hits her 2nd shot on the 4th hole during the first round of the Ricoh Women's British Open at the Old Course, St Andrews on August 1, 2013 in St Andrews, Scotland.

RICOH Women’s British Open
The Old Course, St. Andrews
Fife, Scotland
First-round Notes and Interviews
August 1, 2013

Morgan Pressel -6, Rolex Rankings No. 51
Camilla Lennarth -6, Rolex Rankings No. 340
Stacy Lewis -5, Rolex Rankings No. 2
Na Yeon Choi -5, Rolex Rankings No. 4
Nicole Castrale -5, Rolex Rankings No. 77
Ryann O’Toole -5, Rolex Rankings No. 234
Catriona Matthew, -4, Rolex Rankings No. 10
Paula Creamer -4, Rolex Rankings No. 11
Inbee Park -3, Rolex Rankings No. 1

Thursday’s First-round Recap

Inbee Park’s march toward history kicked off in Thursday’s first round of the RICOH Women’s British Open and for a significant portion of the morning, the leaderboard looked much like it had in the previous three LPGA major championships this year – with Park’s name right at the top.

Then Park got a reminder that capturing an unprecedented fourth consecutive major in a season likely wouldn’t be that easy.

A few wayward drives and two three-putts in her final three holes resulted in Park opening up this week’s major with what she described as “a rollercoaster” round. She shot a 3-under 69 that featured seven birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey on the Old Course at St. Andrews to put herself three shots behind first-round leaders Morgan Pressel and Camilla Lennarth, who each fired a 6-under 66.

“I played very good on the front nine and then I had a little bit shaky on the back nine,” Park said. “But I still feel really good about the game.  I was 6‑under through ten holes and that means I could do the same thing tomorrow. 

“There was a couple of bad drives and a couple of bad putts on the back nine, but it's the first round…A little bit disappointing, but I'm glad that I've done that in the first round instead of the final round.”

Pressel may be chasing her second career major title and a spot on this year’s U.S. Solheim Cup this week but all eyes were on Park Thursday as she began her chase at a historic Grand Slam. Park is trying to become the first golfer – male or female—to win four professional majors in a single season.

Park’s hunt for the Grand Slam has drawn worldwide attention and in spite of the increased attention focused on her this week at St. Andrews, the 25-year-old South Korean didn’t seem to be fazed by the pressure at the start Thursday’s first round.

After teeing off at 7:03 a.m. local time in cloudy conditions with a light drizzle, Park wasted no time getting her name on the leaderboard. She birdied the first hole and then managed to take advantage of the easier part of the golf course as she shot 31 on the front nine. Known for her solid putting, Park put on a clinic with her flat stick over the first 10 holes of her round. She sank birdie putts that measured close to 40, 30, 20 and 10 feet during that stretch and once again showed why she’s considered to be one of the best putters currently in the game.

Park moved to 6-under-par when she made a 5-foot birdie putt on the 10th, but gave the stroke back with a bogey on the par-4 13th. After driving the ball into the heather, Park had to slash out with her second shot and then hit her third to about 15 feet. She missed that putt for par and had to settle for bogey as she headed to the final stretch of holes.

Things proved to be more difficult for Park at the end of her round, as her driver wasn’t quite as steady. She missed a few fairways coming down the stretch, most of them to the right-hand side, and then three-putted on No. 16 and 17 as she carded a double bogey and then bogey to drop to 2-under-par. A birdie on the final hole got Inbee back to 3-under-par for the day.

Pressel meanwhile took advantage of calm, sunny conditions in the afternoon of Thursday’s first round  to make seven birdies and shoot 66. The 25-year-old American had a chance to go to 7-under-par on 18 but missed her birdie putt, which kept her from matching her lowest round in a major championship -- 65 which she shot in the third round of the 2010 RICOH Women’s British Open at Royal Birkdale.

Fellow American Stacy Lewis also put herself in the hunt for a second career major title on Thursday, shooting a 5-under 67 to take the early clubhouse lead. She finished the day in a tie for second with six other players including Rolex Ranking No. 3 Na Yeon Choi. Lewis managed to take advantage of the difficult finishing at St. Andrews, firing a 31 on the back nine to take advantage of the favorable scoring conditions on Thursday.

“I got more comfortable with my putter, made a couple of good putts for par,” Lewis said. “To come away, shooting 5‑under on the back nine on this golf course, I don't care if it's calm or if it's windy, it's a good score, so I'm very happy with the day.”

As for Park, her race at history will continue on Friday when she tees off at 11:48 a.m. local time. While the normally stoic Park didn’t show any outward signs of feeling the pressure of her chase leading up to Thursday’s first round, she acknowledged afterward that she’s glad the first part of her journey this week has been completed.
“I was a little bit nervous this morning before I teed off,” Park said. “But then once the round started, and especially playing so good in the first few holes, that really gave me a lot of confidence.  I didn't feel much pressure when I was playing during the round.  I'm just glad that it is already started and I got the first round under my belt.”
Eyes on the prize: Morgan Pressel strengthened her chances of making the 2013 U.S. Solheim Cup Team with a first-round 66 at the RICOH Women’s British Open. Meg Mallon’s 12-player squad will be finalized following play on Sunday and Pressel is currently on the outside looking in, one Rolex Ranking spot out of an automatic qualifying spot.

“I wish I had about a dollar every time somebody asked me that,” Pressel said, referring to how often she thinks about making the Solheim Cup team. “I'd be a bizillionaire.”

She added, “Having played on three teams, it's something that I don't want to miss and something that I'm definitely thinking about, and at the same time, trying not to think about and trying to worry about focusing on this week.”

The 25-year-old is a three-time U.S. Team member who recorded a 4-0 record during a 2011 loss to the Europeans. This week she is seeking her second major championship victory. In 2007, Pressel became the youngest major championship winner in LPGA history at the Kraft Nabisco Championship at the age of 19.

Early bird gets the worm? Stacy Lewis can’t remember a previous tournament when her tee time was in the six o’clock hour. But there she was on Thursday morning at the Old Course at St. Andrews teeing off at 6:41 a.m. in the second group of the day.

“I think that's probably the earliest actual tee time I've had,” Lewis said. “Sometimes when we have restarts for rain delays, we go out pretty early, but I don't have recall a tee time being in the 6s.”

The early wakeup call actually seemed to suit Lewis, who was the early clubhouse leader with a 5-under 67. But in spite of a birdie on the first hole, Lewis actually took some time to get things going in her round.

After making the turn at even par, Lewis managed to take advantage of the more difficult part of the golf course. She shot 31 on the back side, recording five birdies and capping off her round by making a solid birdie putt on the 18th hole to take early possession of the lead.

“I was very frustrated with the front nine,” Lewis said.” Especially the way I played the ninth hole, which is a pretty easy hole.  I decided to hook it into the rough off the tee and then hit it to the far right of the green and 3‑putt it.

“I was very frustrated with the way I was playing, but at the same time, I knew I was hitting it good, and that's the key on this golf course.  If you've got control of your golf ball; if you can cut it back into the wind or ride the wind, or if you can hit the shots, you're going to be fine, and I knew I was doing that.  I just had to stay patient with the putter.”

All eyes on Inbee: It didn’t take long for players to take notice of what Inbee Park was doing at the start of her round on Thursday at the RICOH Women’s British Open. After birdies on five of her first eight holes, Park’s name was once again atop the leaderboard at a major – something that’s happened with regularity throughout this season.

Former Rolex Rankings No. 1 Stacy Lewis said that she was getting ready to tee off on the 11th when she and Karrie Webb caught a glimpse of the leaderboard for the first time and saw Park’s name at 5-under-par through eight holes.

“We just kind of both looked at the leaderboard for the same time and both looked at each other and shook our heads,” Lewis said. “We knew she was going to be there, but it's like she keeps doing it over and over and over again.”

Comeback trail? It’s been a long road back for Nicole Castrale. After season-ending shoulder in June 2010 and the birth of her daughter, Eleni, in November 2011, Castrale found herself sitting 500th in the world and far from the position she once held as one of the top Americans on the LPGA Tour.

But when she returned to the Tour last year, Castrale was focused not just on trying to move back up the rankings and into contention. She wanted to make a case for a spot on the 2013 U.S. Solheim Cup Team and with the team set to be selected on Sunday evening, she’s trying her best to make that final push this week at the RICOH Women’s British Open.

Castrale got off to a good start on Thursday, opening the championship at St. Andrews with a 5-under 67 to put her into a tie for second.

“I knew it was going to be an uphill battle trying to make the team this year,” Castrale said of her Solheim Cup chances. “I’ve got myself back ranked to 75th in the world so I feel like I’ve done a pretty good job of moving up in the last two years. Although I wasn’t able to get Top-50 in the world at this point, and you know, that’s probably what’s going to make it World Ranking-wise for that second spot.

“I still have a chance this week.  I've been fighting all year, so just see what happens, see what Mother Nature brings.  This golf course can change from minute to minute really.  We'll just see what happens.”

Castrale could also become one of the LPGA Tour players to win after becoming a mom. It wouldn’t be the first time it’s happened at this championship either, as Catriona Matthew won the 2009 RICOH Women’s British Open just months after giving birth to her second daughter, Sophie.

“Catriona is really just one example,” Castrale said of other successful moms on the LPGA Tour. “You look at Juli Inkster, Hall of Famer American, who has had an outstanding career and she's a mom of two girls.  So it's definitely possible to do it out here. Is it a little tougher?  Sure, you have to have your priorities in order, maybe you don't practise quite as long, but it's quality.  You have the trophy there ‑‑ but once you go home, as much as I would obviously love to win here, I know when I get home back to the U.S., we have our trophy at the home.”

Changing Aim: Ryann O’Toole isn’t afraid to make changes to her golf game, even the week before a major championship.

O’Toole started working with Mark Sweeney and AimPoint last week in order to help her putting. After a couple sessions last week, she said that she walked the course with Sweeney at St. Andrews on Sunday. And in Thursday’s first round when she shot a 5-under 67, she already was seeing a difference in her putting even if most of it happened later in her round when she began to trust what she had learned.

“A challenge your first round in, but I think it really helped,” said O’Toole, who needed 31 putts on Thursday. “It helped on 17 when I made a 20‑footer to save myself, when I would have read it outside the edge and it was dead straight, so just trying to trust what you are being taught and go from there.”

Tweet of the Day: Morgan Pressel cracks she's at home this wk. She did, after all, grow up at St. Andrews CC & attend St. Andrews School, both in Boca Raton.” -- @RandallMellGC
Quotable: “Just look at the year she's had thus far.  She's calm, cool and collected really.  She says she gets nervous; no one can tell.  Even if she's nervous, she finds a way to be able to handle it inside, so you have to give her props for that.  Just because she looks calm, she's doing something right on the inside, as well.” – Nicole Castrale on Inbee Park

Of Note: Defending champion Jiyai Shin shot an opening round 1-under 71 and sits in a tie for 54th…A total of 73 players recorded rounds under par in Thursday’s first round. That’s more than half the field (144 players)…Top-ranked amateur Lydia Ko opened up this week’s championship with a 3-under 69,

MORGAN PRESSEL, Rolex Rankings No. 51

COLIN CALLANDER:  Good afternoon, we have Morgan Pressel who has fired a 6‑under par 66, leading the championship, congratulations, you must be very pleased with the start.
MORGAN PRESSEL:  Definitely.  I felt good out there.  I knew I could shoot 6‑under out here at St. Andrews, and nice to get off to a good start in this tournament.

COLIN CALLANDER:  The conditions seemed to be calm to start, got up and then dropped again, would that be correct?
MORGAN PRESSEL:  Yeah, planning my outfit for today, I anticipated wearing my rain pants and rain jacket all day long.  So I was very happy that ‑‑ it really only rained on us for one hole at most.  Right after the rain, the wind actually switched to maybe a little bit of a different direction and kind of calmed down and that made our back nine play a little bit easier.

Q.  When you say the wind switched, did you have a little bit of help on the back nine?
MORGAN PRESSEL:  It wasn't necessarily helping, but it wasn't into us.  It was mostly cross.  Really until maybe ‑‑ the second shot into 16 and 17 played into the wind, but the rest of the back nine was almost dead across, which made that par 5 nearly reachable and certainly some of the holes not play quite as long.  But also, it wasn't very strong.  So it made it more playable.

Q.  It's a major and you're only thinking about your golf out there, but going in, how much is Solheim Cup weighing on your mind and how important was today in regards to that?
MORGAN PRESSEL:  Well, it was definitely important.  I wish I had about a dollar every time somebody asked me that (laughing).  You know, it's a special week, the Solheim Cup and that's why everybody cares so much about it and that's why I care so much about it.
           
Having played on three teams, it's something that I don't want to miss and something that I'm definitely thinking about, and at the same time, trying not to think about and trying to worry about focusing on this week.  That was my biggest goal coming into this week was not to think about Solheim Cup and I only thought about it maybe a handful of times on every shot ‑‑ not on every shot.
           
When it did come up, I tried to say, hey, there's a lead out there and I'm trying to chase that lead.  I'm not worried about finishing in the Top‑20 or worried about my ranking or anything like that.  If I play my game, I'll be on that team.

Q.  If you had a dollar for every time you thought about the Solheim Cup ‑‑
MORGAN PRESSEL:  I'd be a bizillionaire.  I've had a lot of support and it's been nice.  I saw Laura Diaz on ‑‑ I made birdie on 15 I think, and I looked over and she was on, would it be the third hole, and she gave me a little thumbs‑up.  I've had a few players on the team send me notes, focus on your game, you know what you can do and don't worry about it.
           
That's definitely helpful and very kind, and I appreciate it very much.  I hope to be in Denver.

Q.  You made that nice run at Wegman's LPGA Championship.  How important was that to you in confirming that your form is returning and you're healing?
MORGAN PRESSEL:  Definitely.  Before that, I had struggled a little bit, but I felt like I was playing well, and I was hitting it well, and on the range I was hitting every target that I looked at.  I would get on the golf course, and I struggled.
           
So it took a little bit of a shift in my mental attitude out on the golf course, and a little bit more positive thinking.  Since then, I've really tried to commit myself to shots like I probably never have done in my career, and I think that's definitely why I'm playing better.

Q.  The other players who have all been here up near the top of the leaderboard were telling us they were up at 4.00, 4.30 this morning; did you enjoy your lie‑in?
MORGAN PRESSEL:  Yes, I did get a nice rest.  I still was up at 5.30, but that's just me.  I was going to go back to bed and I said, you know, I should probably stay up, because I'm just going to have to do it again tomorrow.
           
Tomorrow will be an early start, so it will be a quick turnaround.  It's supposed to be windy tomorrow, I believe.  I don't know if it will be windier in the morning or the afternoon, just going to get up early.  I like that.  I like to wake up early.  It doesn't bother me.  Get out there and go to work and take an afternoon nap.

Q.  Did playing with Catriona, did that help at all, a home player?
MORGAN PRESSEL:  I enjoyed very much playing with Catriona.  She's a great person, and we had a lot of fun out there.  We talked a lot and I was telling her ‑‑ that she birdied the last two holes, you know, in front of the crowd.  I said, "You're just such a crowd pleaser."  It was fun to see everybody pulling for her.
           
She played very well.  She certainly left some shots out there and still shot 4‑under par.

Q.  What did you do when you got up at 5.30?
MORGAN PRESSEL:  Working on some of my travel and stuff, boring stuff, the other side of the job, booking flights.

Q.  You and I talked coming into this week about how much your attitude has changed regarding links golf in general.  Can you just go back and give me some specifics of when were here in 2007 and what bothered you, and maybe how your mind‑set was different going around today?
MORGAN PRESSEL:  I don't know 100 per cent the differences.  I mean, when I was here last time, I also had a local caddie.  My caddie at the time had a family emergency, had to go home from Evian.  So I don't know that I was really happy enough necessarily even being here, and the weather was terrible.  I wasn't really used to that.  I don't know the course management.  I studied this golf course up‑and‑down for three days, and I still feel like could I have done a lot more work.
           
I think coming into this week, I was a lot better prepared in that sense, and just had a better game plan.  I mean, I probably hit driver everywhere, and hope that it didn't end up in a bunker; whereas now, I understand a little bit more how penal those bunkers can be and how important it is to avoid them.  But yeah, on that back nine today, I had chances to aim at flags, and I did.  So it's a little bit of give and take.
           
COLIN CALLANDER:  Could we go through the birdies, please, the details.
MORGAN PRESSEL:  On the first hole, I hit gap wedge from 118 and got a little bit lucky.  I didn't hit a great shot but it went to about a foot, so it was a nice start to the day.

COLIN CALLANDER:  Did that just get over the water?
MORGAN PRESSEL:  The pin was in the back, so it cleared by quite a bit.  I didn't hit a great shot.
           
And then on 5, I was maybe ten yards from the front edge and had 75 to the pin, because the pin was so far back.  I hit it to about two feet.
On 6, I hit a driver in the right bunker, and then pitched out and 2‑putted for bogey.
On 9, I hit a 56 from 98 yards to two feet.
On 11, I hit an 8‑iron from maybe 158, I believe it was, to ten feet.
On 13 was a good birdie.  I hit a driver and then hit an 8‑iron from 142 or so to about 20 feet and made birdie.
On 14, I hit driver, 3‑wood to just short of the green, a little pitch shot to about five feet.
 On 15, I hit a poor 3‑wood off the tee into the right kind of fescue, so it was very light.  There wasn't a whole lot over there, and hit a 6‑iron to about 15 feet and made that.

COLIN CALLANDER:  On 18, you had a pretty realistic chance for another birdie.
MORGAN PRESSEL:  Yeah, 18, I had a chance but just didn't get it to the hole.  Didn't hit it quite firm enough, which can certainly happen out here.

Q.  On your putting, how do you feel around the greens here, and is there anything you would change, because you were sinking some really good putts.
MORGAN PRESSEL:  Yeah, I don't know if there's anything that I'd necessarily change, but I feel like I've been putting well.  I worked a lot on especially speed the first few days here, because I had a few long putts, and every one that I had, I had a tap‑in left, which makes the day much less stressful.
           
You know, I think the greens are fairly tricky to read and I think I did a good job reading them today, because they are so subtle and was able to make some putts.

Q.  Coming back to the other question about 2007, and now you've obviously played a lot more links golf; has that helped you, or is it that you've matured in your putting attitude and outlook?
MORGAN PRESSEL:  A little bit of both.  When I came ‑‑ after I played here last time, I was pretty down on links golf and didn't really look forward to coming to the British Open.

Q.  I remember.
MORGAN PRESSEL:  Even if you look at my first round at Birkdale the next year, I think I shot 77 and I was ready to book my flight home.  It was kind of that next day when I went out and I shot 65, and I was kind of like, you know, I can do this.  And it gave me a better outlook for all the British Opens I've played since then.
          
Like I said, I've just gotten better at managing my game and hitting shots.  At British Opens, you don't just hit a stock draw, it just doesn't work.  You have to hit high shots, low shots, bump it, putt it from 40 yards off the green sometimes, do whatever it takes.  I think as a creative person naturally, I think I just had to implement that a little bit better out here.  I think that's certainly helped.

Q.  What did the gallery ‑‑
MORGAN PRESSEL:  It was funny ‑‑ and I live at St. Andrews Country Club.  So I've got, you know, unfortunately not here in Scotland.  But I photo ‑‑ I cracked myself up last week when I posted a photo of the little tee marker at home, and I said, "What's all the fuss about St. Andrews, I'm already here" ‑‑
COLIN CALLANDER:  Where is St. Andrews Country Club?
MORGAN PRESSEL:  In Boca Raton, Florida.  And so is St. Andrews School.
COLIN CALLANDER:  You're at home then.
MORGAN PRESSEL:  I know.  I feel right at home.  It's almost as warm today, too, which was nice.

Q.  On the first par 5, how did you play that shot?
MORGAN PRESSEL:  I just hit a 65‑yard pitch shot.  I mean, I had 75 still, which is almost ‑‑ I hit like a three‑quarter lob‑wedge.  I played a high shot.  Yesterday I hit it there, as well, in the practise round, and I took a sand wedge and I just hit it full to see just for my mind‑set to say, look, you're going to hit a full sand wedge and it's still not going to go over the green, because it's 110 yards from where I was on the back of the green.
           
Kind of goofing off yesterday allowed me to stand there and say, you know, it's a long way, get it to the hole.

Q.  What's the longest shot you hit ‑‑
MORGAN PRESSEL:  Of all the times I've been here, I'm not sure.  I didn't have really that many tremendously long putts today.  You know, maybe 50, 60 feet.  But when the opportunity presents itself, I could be putting from a long way away.
COLIN CALLANDER:  Thank you, Morgan, good luck tomorrow.

CAMILLA LENNARTH, Rolex Rankings No. 340

 Q.  Congratulations, fantastic opening round.  Your first time at St. Andrews?
CAMILLA LENNARTH:  Yeah, first time at St. Andrews and first time at the British Open.

Q.  How do you rate your performance?
CAMILLA LENNARTH:  I'm very satisfied, definitely.  I hit all the fairways and all the greens, and it went pretty smooth out there.

Q.  What was the highlight of your round today?
CAMILLA LENNARTH:  I actually think the highlight was ‑‑ I made birdie on the first hole.  I felt like, okay, well, I'm at least going to make one birdie.

Q.  So what was your mentality going out there?
CAMILLA LENNARTH:  I've been very excited, ever since I qualified on Monday, I've been looking forward to this.  I'm just very happy I made it here.  No matter what happens out here, I'm just going to enjoy every moment and take it all in.

Q.  Are you surprised you're tied for the lead?
CAMILLA LENNARTH:  Of course I'm surprised that I'm tied for the lead, but I know I can hit good golf shots.  It's just a matter of putting them all together at once, and I did today and I'm satisfied.

Q.  Did you have a local caddie or friend?
CAMILLA LENNARTH:  No, Markus, been on the bag since Holland.  So we have been doing pretty well, and I'm very happy that I have the same person on the bag all the time, because when I get nervous, he knows what to tell me and calm me down and when to talk and not, and he's learned my game pretty well.

Q.  Can you talk me through your birdies?
CAMILLA LENNARTH:  The first one, I knocked them close, but not like ‑‑ you know, they were in good birdie range.  But lately, last week in London, I started to putt well again.  So I just kind of carried that on to this week.
           
And putting well usually just kind of takes on a little pressure on the shots hitting into the green, because you feel like, okay, well, I'm rolling it well, and that makes you, you know, just kind of take your shoulders down a little bit and take a breather and you know you're going to have a shot at the hole at least.

STACY LEWIS, Rolex Rankings No. 2

COLIN CALLANDER:  Good morning, early first round leader, 67, 5‑under par.  You must be delighted with the start.
STACY LEWIS:  I am.  I kind of got to actually a frustrating start.  I birdied the first, but then played 1‑over the rest of the front nine, which is the front nine ‑‑ which is the nine you need to score on.  So with the hole locations today, the front was definitely playing the easiest.  I just didn't take advantage of it, so I was a little bit frustrated going into the back nine.
           
But it all kind of turned on 11.  I hit a great slot in there to five or six feet and made that for birdie and then from there, I played solid.  I got more comfortable with my putter, made a couple of good putts for par, and you know, to come away, shooting 5‑under on the back nine on this golf course, I don't care if it's calm or if it's windy, it's a good score, so I'm very happy with the day.

COLIN CALLANDER:  You teed up before 7.00 this morning, what time did you actually surface.
STACY LEWIS:  I was up at about 4.30 this morning.  I probably could have slept in a little bit more, but I wanted to make sure I was awake for that tee time.  This course and the way the weather is supposed to be today, the early tee time is definitely what you wanted, so I wasn't going to complain about waking up a little bit earlier.

Q.  Is that the earliest you've ever surfaced for a golf round?
STACY LEWIS:  I think that's probably the earliest actual tee time I've had.  Sometimes when we have restarts for rain delays, we go out pretty early, but I don't have recall a tee time being in the 6s.

Q.  Were you surprised to be an early tee time?
STACY LEWIS:  Yeah, I don't remember how they have done tee times in the past with kind of those marquee groups going off first like that.  Obviously they want you first off in the afternoon, is kind of the goal of it, but I don't remember ever going off that early.

Q.  Wonder what your expectations were coming in here.
STACY LEWIS:  I think everybody expects to win, expects to be in contention, but you know, more than anything I was looking forward to playing this course.  I love this course.  I loved it when I played Curtis Cup here.  I don't know, I feel so comfortable here that it's a much different feeling to any other British Open I've ever played just because I know the golf course.
           
Usually you go to an Open and you have no clue where all the bunkers are and things like that, so I felt more comfortable.  But my goal every week is to give myself a chance to win on Sunday, and this is certainly a good start to getting there.

Q.  What is it about this place that makes you feel so comfortable and brings out the best in you?
STACY LEWIS:  I honestly don't know what it is.  You know, you can miss it left here but usually my miss is right, so that doesn't really make much sense.
            I think you really just have to think your way around, I think that's what it is.  You can play it off of mounds, you can run some shots up there, and just adapting with the golf course and the weather and things like that.  I think having good memories certainly makes you like a place more, but this tournament's been on my radar since they announced it.
COLIN CALLANDER:  Because of the 5‑0 in the Curtis Cup?
STACY LEWIS:  I played really good that week, and it was so much fun.  Our team rooms were right behind the first tee box right in the clubhouse.  Our team rooms were in there and they let us kind of roam the place.  They showed us all around.  It was so cool.  I had a local caddie that week that I told him, I said, I want to know all the stories.  So he just told me all the stories all week.  I love the history of this place.

Q.  Obviously after nine holes, Inbee was playing and as you say, you had not got off to the best of starts, were you conscious that she had got off to a good start and you had to pick things up a bit?
STACY LEWIS:  I knew with the hole locations on the front nine that people were going to make birdies.  It was funny,  Karrie and I were on the 10th green and we saw a leaderboard for the first time and I think Inbee was 5‑under through eight and we just kind of both looked at the leaderboard for the same time and both looked at each other and shook our heads.  We knew she was going to be there, but it's like she keeps doing it over and over and over again.
           
The front nine is usually where you score, but for me it was the opposite, and I feel lucky to get way with one today.

Q.  What was the key and what's the key for you playing links golf versus the rest of the golf that you're used to playing the other 51 weeks of the year?
STACY LEWIS:  The key today was probably my putter on the back nine.  I got more comfortable with the putter and was seeing the lines a little bit better, making better strokes.
           
So that was probably the key and then links golf, I love it.  It takes a couple years of learning it and understanding it and knowing you're going to get some bad bounces, knowing you're going to get some good bounces and just a lot of it is just adapting with the weather, adapting with the way the golf course is playing.
           
Today it's playing pretty similar to the way it played on Monday because we got the rain, but then yesterday it had dried out and the balls were starting to roll out a little bit more, so not as many drivers off tees and then you get out there today and it's wet and you've got to hit a few more drivers.
           
You just have to adapt with the changing of the course and the changing of the weather.

Q.  Number of times you took driver yesterday compared to today?
STACY LEWIS:  I hit driver pretty much every hole on the back nine, and yesterday maybe I hit it, gosh, maybe once on the par 5.  Yesterday I was hitting a lot of 3‑woods off the tee on the back nine and today it was all drivers.

Q.  What was the pick of your birdies on the back nine, the best birdie?
STACY LEWIS:  The best birdie?  It was probably the chip‑in.  I hit probably my worst iron shot of the day on 15.  Hit it in the fairway and just fatted my iron shot and was about 15 yards short of the front of the green and chipped it in for birdie.
           
So I thought it was going to  ‑‑ that was one of the good breaks, because I thought it was actually going to stop and for some reason it kept breaking and went right in the side door.  It was kind of a cool way to keep that run going.

Q.  What did you hit on the first hole?
STACY LEWIS:  Hit a good drive.  Was right in the middle of a divot and kind of fatted it on to the front of the green.  I made ‑‑ I was only about five paces on the front, so I was probably a good 50, 60 feet and made that for birdie.  That was definitely the longest putt of the day.

Q.  When you made the turn, were you frustrated, upset?  Did you think you had given away an opportunity?  How did you really look at it when you made the turn?
STACY LEWIS:  I was very frustrated with the front nine.  Especially the way I played the ninth hole, which is a pretty easy hole.  I decided to hook it into the rough off the tee and then hit it to the far right of the green and 3‑putt it.
           
I was very frustrated with the way I was playing, but at the same time, I knew I was hitting it good, and that's the key on this golf course.  If you've got control of your golf ball; if you can cut it back into the wind or ride the wind, or if you can hit the shots, you're going to be fine, and I knew I was doing that.  I just had to stay patient with the putter.

Q.  I know anything can happen over 72 holes, but today, if you didn't take advantage of today, did you kind of basically leave something out there?
STACY LEWIS:  Oh, for sure, making the turn, I needed something ‑‑ I knew I needed at least 3‑under on the back nine, because I needed to keep myself in this golf tournament.  I think you shoot over par when it's like it is right now, you're going to shoot your way out of it.
           
So I knew I needed a good one, but at the same time, the weather could get horrible tomorrow and it could bring everybody back together.  So you just never know.
           
But if there's good weather, you've got to take advantage of it.

COLIN CALLANDER:  Seems to me any 2 on 11 is a good score, what did you do there?
STACY LEWIS:  I hit a little 7‑iron in there to about five, six feet and made a little slider for birdie.  11 is usually a hole where you take your 3 and run to the next, and I got a 2, so that was pretty nice.
           
The 3 on 18, I hit driver and I had 110 to the pin and just hit pitching wedge.  It went up to the hole and spun back.  I had about an 8‑footer up the hill and made that.  The one thing I like about this course is that you have some hard holes.
           
16 and 17 are hard holes, playing pretty hard, but then you've always got 18 in the back of your mind where you can make a birdie.  That's what I like about here, and any time you birdie the last, it's always nice.
           
Q.  What was the club on 11?
STACY LEWIS:   7‑iron.
           
12, I hit a little pitching wedge in there to about 15 feet and made that.
           
Then 14, I had about 240 to the front edge and just hit 3‑wood up.  I was short right of the green and chipped it to about two feet and made that.
           
Then 15 I chipped it in there.
           
Bogeyed 9.  I hit it left off the tee and kind of ‑‑ I hit a decent shot.  I just couldn't go at the pin at all from where I was, and I had ‑‑ I don't even know how wide the ninth green is, but I was about as far as you could be from that pin and I 3‑putted that.

COLIN CALLANDER:  You were up at 4.30 this morning; what's the plan for the rest of the day?
STACY LEWIS:  Rest of the day ‑‑ what is it, noon?  I guess I can have lunch finally.  I'll get a workout in.  I have some friends and family here and just go relax and enjoy the town and enjoy being here.  I mean, whether the weather is good or bad, you're in St. Andrews, so you can't complain.

Q.  Is that your earliest tee time?
STACY LEWIS:  I don't have remember having a tee time in the 6s.
COLIN CALLANDER:  Thank you very much, good luck tomorrow.

NA YEON CHOI, Rolex Rankings No. 4

Q.  Nice birdie at 18, had to feel good to finish there.  Just tell me about your round.
NA YEON CHOI:  I had a lot of birdies out there.  I think 18 birdie was highlight today.  I missed not many fairways.  I didn't miss very many greens and my shot was great today.
           
I mean, my coach, he's here and then like we came here on Saturday, we practiced like five days before the tournament and I got a really good tip from him.  I really tried to just stick with that goal, that little tip.  So I think that worked very well but still I have to play 54 more holes, so hopefully, I keep that feeling until like Sunday.

Q.  So just give me your impressions of the Old Course at St. Andrews.  Obviously now you've played it a few times in practise, played today's tournament round.  What's it like to be here?
NA YEON CHOI:  Actually, first day, when I got here, I felt really, really difficult ‑‑ weather wasn't bad, like rain and wind or very bad.
           
So first I was thinking like course is really, really difficult, but like weather was getting better and then I felt ‑‑ I got a few birdies out there and I got some confidence from there.  Then first day, I played with a local caddie here and then I got really good information from him and he said ‑‑ I still remember, he said if I respect to the golf course, then the course will respect me, too.
           
I mean, I got like really good ‑‑ some fresh feeling when I got here.  This is like, you know, Home of Golf, and a lot of people are very nice to all the players.  So I try to just enjoy the golf course.

Q.  You're certainly one of the favourites every time you play, but it's Inbee who is getting all the attention right now.  Just tell me about ‑‑ I don't know if you look at the Korean media or anything like that, but how's that reaction to Inbee been?
NA YEON CHOI:  Actually not many Korean media ask me this week.  I think all the spotlight to Inbee.  I think she has a pretty ‑‑ pressure on herself, but she is the best player in the world right now and she have to take it.  She's my friend, so hopefully she enjoys all the pressure.
           
But I mean, still, a lot of good player playing well, and Inbee ‑‑ being No. 1, I think it all motivates and kind of she inspires all the players.

Q.  Do you feel like you got a little bit lucky this morning with the weather, not too windy and the course was somewhat soft; do you think the morning wave of scores is going to be safe?
NA YEON CHOI:  I think so.  But I think even this afternoon is not much wind right now, but I heard the weather like pretty bad the next two days.
           
So I mean ‑‑ but we can't control that.  I mean, everybody has to play, prepare with the wind or the rain.  So we just have to enjoy or accept all the weather.

NICOLE CASTRALE, Rolex Rankings No. 77

COLIN CALLANDER:  Good afternoon, we have Nicole Castrale with us, who just shot a 5‑under par 67 to be co‑leader of the tournament, congratulations.  You must be very pleased with the round.
NICOLE CASTRALE:  Absolutely.  The weather was really pretty good considering the forecast, I think it was supposed to be a lot worse.  So it definitely was different today.  The front nine, the wind was a little opposite, so I picked some targets that were a little different than what we played it this week and years past.
           
Just tried to give myself good opportunities on the greens and I think I had good speed of the greens all day.  Back nine got a little windier, kind of switched back to the old wind and really just hung in there towards the end, because it can get quite tough out there.

Q.  Can you speak to, you made the Solheim Cup at the top of your game and the challenges you've gone through to get back to a spot like this.
NICOLE CASTRALE:  2010, had season‑ending shoulder surgery and 2011, we had our first child.
          
So I knew it was going to be an uphill battle trying to make the team this year.  I started last year ranked 500th in the world and I knew I was probably 12, 13 events behind everyone else on the points list who was playing.  So my goal was never to make the Solheim Cup on point.  Obviously I could do it but that was definitely uphill.
           
I've got myself back ranked to 75th in the world, so I feel like I've done a pretty good job of moving up in the last two years.  Although I wasn't able to get Top‑50 in the world at this point, and you know, that's probably what's going to make it World Ranking‑wise for that second spot.
           
I still have a chance this week.  I've been fighting all year, so just see what happens, see what Mother Nature brings.  This golf course can change from minute to minute really.  We'll just see what happens.

Q.  You talked about having a child, Catriona Matthew won this event after having a second child; does that inspire you, that you can come back and reach the heights again?
NICOLE CASTRALE:  Absolutely.  Catriona is really just one example.  You look at Juli Inkster, Hall of Famer American, who has had an outstanding career and she's a mom of two girls.  So it's definitely possible to do it out here.
           
Is it a little tougher?  Sure, you have to have your priorities in order, maybe you don't practise quite as long, but it's quality.  You have the trophy there ‑‑ but once you go home, as much as I would obviously love to win here, I know when I get home back to the U.S., we have our trophy at the home.
COLIN CALLANDER:  What's the name of your child?
NICOLE CASTRALE:  Eleni. 

Q.  If I remember right, the shoulder surgery was in June or so, and then the baby came the next November.  How much were you really able to play like yourself, even in that short period of time?
NICOLE CASTRALE:  I believe in 2010, I probably played about seven events before I had surgery.  Then in 2011, I believe I probably played around the same amount, seven or eight events, and then we just ‑‑ I was having some ‑‑ somewhat complications and we decided to stop playing.  It was the best off‑season.  We had her on 11‑11‑11, so she's kind of like our lucky charm.
           
Obviously, I didn't play a lot the last two years.  So last year was kind of a rebuilding year, getting back out there.  I felt like I did a pretty good job.  It's not like my World Ranking had plummeted; just because it doesn't freeze when you get hurt or have a child.  So our goal was just to get back to where we were, and it was going to take time.

Q.  Do you feel that's where you are now, maybe before the shoulder surgery, are you back to that position in terms of your game?
NICOLE CASTRALE:  We are getting there.  It's definitely been a battle this year.  I'm just going to keep on fighting.

Q.  So much focus is on Inbee Park this week and the history she can make, and she got off to a great start; did you look at any leaderboards and did you have any thoughts on what she was doing?
NICOLE CASTRALE:  My husband, Craig, who caddies for me, I believe he said she was 5‑under through eight.
           
It's amazing; the fact we all possibly can play with history.  I played with her a few times this year, and it's amazing what she's done to this point, the composure she has.  I don't know what she shot today but I'm going to guess she'll be in the mix come Sunday.

Q.  Did Craig tell you that?  What was your reaction?
NICOLE CASTRALE:  I wasn't surprised.  I mean, just look at the year she's had thus far.  She's calm, cool and collected really.  She says she gets nervous; no one can tell.  Even if she's nervous, she finds a way to be able to handle it inside, so you have to give her props for that.  Just because she looks calm, she's doing something right on the inside, as well.

Q.  Can you just talk about what the Solheim Cup means to you?
NICOLE CASTRALE:  Yeah, playing on this tour, it would be hard to find any American every two years that their goal is not to play on the Solheim Cup.  I've been fortunate, I've played on two, and like I said, that was a goal of mine going into last year.  I'm just going to give it my all the next two days and see what happens.

Q.  You talk about Inbee's inner calm.  She actually admitted it deserted her from 13 through 17 today, where she bogeyed and had a double‑bogey, as well.  Does that surprise you that she had a mini‑meltdown and does that give you maybe a bit of hope that she's human, after all?
NICOLE CASTRALE:  I don't know if you've been out on the golf course but you don't have to have a meltdown to make a double‑bogey.  You could hit a good tee shot and it ricocheted left into a bunker that you then have no shot to get it out of.
           
So meltdown, I don't think so, and I bet she's not thinking she's had a meltdown, either.  I mean, 3‑under par, any time at a major in the first round, I think is a good start?

Q.  The point she was making, mentally she lost it a little bit in that passage, I know that everyone can make bogeys, but does it surprise you that she would make that admission that she struggled for a while?
NICOLE CASTRALE:  I would say it's human.  I mean, it's normal.  I don't know if you would find any player that says they don't struggle at some point in their career, just because she's won three Majors to this point, I'm sure at times during those ‑‑ I mean, she didn't play No. 18 on the 72nd hole at Rochester very well.  I bet you she had some inner struggles there, but in the end she was able to get it done.
           
You know, she's human.  We're all trying to do the same thing.  We are trying to get the ball in the hole with the least amount of strokes, and there you go.

COLIN CALLANDER:  You got the ball in the hole very well today.  Could we go over the six birdies, please.
NICOLE CASTRALE:  Sure.  I made birdie on 2.  All the first few holes look alike.  I hit 8‑iron to about five feet and made that.
           
No. 5, I made birdie.  I hit 9‑iron to about 12 feet.
           
No. 7, I hit 9‑iron again to about six feet.
           
No. 8, I hit a gripped 8‑iron to about six feet, made that.
           
No. 9, I made a long putt, about a 60‑footer, so that was my bomb for the day.
           
No. 11, I hit 7‑iron to about 12 feet, made that.
           
No. 15, I 3‑putted and made bogey.
           
Then finished off with three pars.
COLIN CALLANDER:  Thank you very much indeed, good luck tomorrow.

RYANN O’TOOLE, Rolex Rankings No. 234

Q.  5‑under, what worked well for you?
RYANN O'TOOLE:  Ball‑striking was definitely on today.  I didn't put myself in trouble at all, so that was nice.  Stayed out of the bunkers, which I think is obviously key.  But my irons were on target today.  I hit some really good long iron shots.  Hit some good short iron shots.  I had a bogey‑free round.
           
I think just, you know, treated this course kind of like an Open.  Tried to figure out where to miss it, the best place to hit it on the greens where it's the easiest putts to have.  I left a lot out there.  I had a lot of birdie opportunities.  For a while, the longest putt I had was 25 feet and kind of inside 15.  But I made some good putts.
           
I've been working with Joe Hallett, so I think my game is really coming along in that sense and I just started AimPoint with Mark Sweeney before I came, so trying to implement that.  So a challenge your first round in, but I think it really helped.  It helped on 17 when I made a 20‑footer to save myself, when I would have read it outside the edge and it was dead straight, so just trying to trust what you are being taught and go from there.

Q.  When did you start working with AimPoint?
RYANN O'TOOLE:  I had a session with them last Wednesday and worked with them again on Thursday, and he's helped me out all week.  He walked the course with me on Sunday and walked it with me on Sunday, and came out on Wednesday a bit.  He's trying to make sure that I had it down.
           
But still, anything that's new, whether it be a swing change or whatever, you get into the tournament, you want to, you don't do it as quickly or you don't ‑‑ you kind of question it, and that was I think the beginning process of, hey, just trust it and let them fall.  So I think all of my putts, if I missed on the edge, a little slow today, and I think that was about it.

Q.  When you play in the afternoon and you see the low scores in the morning and conditions are pretty calm, do you put a low number in your mind that you have to make as many birdies and not par as usually do in an Open?
RYANN O'TOOLE:  That's the hard thing, you go out in the afternoon and people have already finished or are playing and doing well.  It's hard not to chase and that's always been my biggest struggle because I go out and try to press.
           
The first two holes, I had really easy birdie putts that I just missed inside ten feet and my caddie had to kind of remind me of what my process was, make pars, and I just went back to that and told myself I'd rather have 18 of those all day and have a stress‑free round.  I'm bound to make something, and I did.  I just hung out and waited and they dropped.
           
I mean, you know, those holes that you kind of have to work a little bit, you don't want those.  I'd rather just go fairway, green and 2‑putt all day.

Q.  Is this your first time this week playing here?
RYANN O'TOOLE:  I played in the British last year.

Q.  But this golf course?
RYANN O'TOOLE:  This golf course, first time I've ever been here, yeah.

Q.  Thoughts early on in the week?
RYANN O'TOOLE:  It's a super‑cool course.  The whole week is a lot of prep for it, because you could play each hole so differently, and it's really trying to figure out targets, and go, okay, where is my biggest landing spots and what does it take to get there.
          
I think being long helps in a sense, like you don't always have to take driver.  The last 12 holes, I took driver twice, on 17 and 18.  So I told my caddie, we go off 17, I haven't hit driver in a long time.  It is a really cool course like I said.  Your misses are on the green.  So what, you have a 60‑footer, but you prefer that than chipping over the mounds or the bunkers.  This course is awesome.
           
To be able to look backwards as you're playing and go, oh, you can play the course this way, too, down the opposite way, it's just a phenomenal golf course.

CATRIONA MATTHEW, Rolex Rankings No. 10

Q.  Great finish, leaves you two shots off the pace as we speak, very handily.  Satisfied?
CATRIONA MATTHEW:  Yeah, very pleased.  Always nice to finish with two birdies, especially 17, this year being a par 4, nice to birdie that one and a nice one on 18.  Overall pretty pleased.  I think this is going to be the easiest day from the weather forecast and nice to see a few birdies on the board.

Q.  We were looking at and you following you, the par putt on 16 seemed to be a really big one?
CATRIONA MATTHEW:  Yeah that was a good 2‑putt.  Gave me momentum to go into the last two holes.  17 was a tough hole, so par there is good.  Gave me momentum to finish off.

Q.  Played so solidly, particularly in the Majors this year, how would you gauge your form at this stage of your career coming into this one?
CATRIONA MATTHEW:  I would say my form is probably the best it's ever been.  Probably playing as well as I ever have.  Maybe I'm maturing well with age.

Q.  I would say so, definitely.  In terms of the definitely of preparation that you've undertaken coming into this week, is it more than you would normally have done, given the ambition to do well here?
CATRIONA MATTHEW:  I've had two weeks at home, so I played more links golf, been out at North Berwick in the evenings, the weather has been so nice.  Kids have had me on the beach all the time.

Q.  Nice to see you reunited with Graeme on the bag, splitting his time at home here in Scotland while you're out with someone else on the bag.  Must be a pretty huge thing because you've been inseparable in terms of a working relationship for a long, long time.
CATRIONA MATTHEW:  Yeah, I've been working with an a relationship guy who has been caddying three quarters of the time and Graeme has done a few, it's been an adjustment but it's been working well.

Q.  What did you hit on 17?
CATRIONA MATTHEW:  I hit a good drive just into the left‑hand rough, and just tried to hit a punch kind of running 4‑iron short and run up the hill.  Ran up to 25 feet past the hole and holed a good putt.

Q.  How many times do you birdie that hole ‑‑
CATRIONA MATTHEW:  Not often.  You'd take four pars around here on that hole.

Q.  Was it the same on 16?
CATRIONA MATTHEW:  Yeah, I laid up short of the bunker.  I think that's just the way I'm going to play that hole, so I had a rescue into the green.  Pulled it a little.  I don't know whether I was on the second green or on the 16th green, so it was a long first putt.

Q.  Total distance, maybe 30 yards?
CATRIONA MATTHEW:  I think about 40 yards.

Q.  Your game is obviously solid all the way around?
CATRIONA MATTHEW:  Yeah, I played well.  Missed out on a little putt on 4.  I don't know what happened there, just one of these things, and then kind of chunked a wedge on 10, but apart from that, played really well.

Q.  And the birdies, the early ones?
CATRIONA MATTHEW:  I never can remember ‑‑ 2, I hit an 8‑iron just to the back of the green and then holed probably a 20‑footer for birdie.
           
Then 3, I hit sand iron to about five feet, holed that one.
           
6, again, really good drive.  Hit sand iron to eight feet, holed that one for birdie.
           
7, a sand iron I hit to probably about 15 feet.
           
Then 10, I just chunked the second shot, not very good.
           
Then 17, 18.  18, I hit gap wedge into seven feet.

Q.  I didn't actually see, was it above ‑‑
CATRIONA MATTHEW:  Just below, so the easiest spot to be.

Q.  Is that as easy as the Old Course plays?
CATRIONA MATTHEW:  Yeah, there really wasn't much wind out there.  Yeah, I really felt as though I had to try to take advantage and post a good score today, because I think the forecast is for wind to come the next few days.
           
Yeah, I think that's probably the easiest we are going to get it.

Q.  Do you prefer 17 as a par 5 or a par 4?
CATRIONA MATTHEW:  To be honest, it doesn't make much difference.  It's just a number on the scorecard.  We are playing it from the same tees, so it doesn't make much difference.

Q.  Did you get strong support from the crowd?
CATRIONA MATTHEW:  Yeah, it was good.  It was nice to play at home.

Q.  You say you played some at North Berwick the last two weeks?
CATRIONA MATTHEW:  Yeah, a mixture, go out at night and play a few holes.

Q.  Playing on the beach with the kids, is that pretty helpful, as well ‑‑
CATRIONA MATTHEW:  I've never been one who could practise eight hours a day, so you know, as long as I can get a few hours practise, that does me fine.

Q.  Do you have the girls out this week?
CATRIONA MATTHEW:  No.  They were going to come and then they didn't like the fact that they had to walk outside and walk, as well.

Q.  You've done two weeks back, because there wasn't a tournament on the LPGA the week before, do you think that's helped you being a bit more relaxed?
CATRIONA MATTHEW:  Yeah Toledo, had that week and last week off, and so played a lot more golf here and get used to the links‑style again.

Q.  Less things to fight against, not having jet‑lag ‑‑
CATRIONA MATTHEW:  You're coming in a bit more relaxed.

Q.  Much more like a home tournament?
CATRIONA MATTHEW:  Normally you're rushing from Evian and straight to it.

Q.  Not typical weather for Scotland?
CATRIONA MATTHEW:  It has been for this last month.

PAULA CREAMER, Rolex Rankings No. 11

Q.  You walked off the 18th hole with a pretty big smile on your face, 68.  Are you happy with that?
PAULA CREAMER:  Yeah, I am.  I was kind of laughing at my putt actually more than just the round.  But I played really well, I played solid.  Still had a lot of opportunities out there.  A little bit different wind today than the practise rounds, so the golf course played different.
           
I'll take it, for sure, first day of the British Open, without a doubt.

Q.  There was a little bit of rain early on in the round, but not a lot of wind to speak of; did you feel like these were the conditions to really make a score?
PAULA CREAMER:  I did.  When you wake up at 4.00 this morning for a 6.52 tee time, you don't really know what to expect, but it was.  On the range, I had some rain.  I really only brought out my umbrella once, but then again, I'm a person that it has to be just dumping rain for me to even use an umbrella.
           
You could score, for sure.  The pins were accessible.  But, you know, you'll take 4‑under rain or shine out here.

Q.  We talked about opening round in Toledo a couple of weeks ago and the fact that you had ‑‑ you were playing well; how important was it to shoot 68 today?
PAULA CREAMER:  Oh, I think it was very important.  It says a lot when you get off to the right start.  I have a lot of confidence in the game read now.  Golf courses like this really rely on a team.
           
And Colin, my caddie, he's so good out there.  He knows every number known to man and I really trust his targets.  If I'm going to hit it ‑‑ he says it's going to be good and a lot of it is the luck of the bounce, but it is a good start to the right direction.

Q.  He's going to be asking for a raise, so you'd better watch out?
PAULA CREAMER:  No, it's important, I've been working really hard and obviously it's been a challenge the last couple of years out there.  It hasn't been terrible, but we've stuck together, and it's team work.  It's not all about me.  It's about both of us.

INBEE PARK, Rolex Rankings No. 1

COLIN CALLANDER:  Good morning again, everyone.  We have Inbee Park with us who has just completed a 3‑under par 69 after a very early start this morning.  How did you feel about the round this morning?
INBEE PARK:  Felt like a roller coaster today.  I played very good on the front nine and then I had a little bit shaky on the back nine.
           
But I still feel really good about the game.  I was 6‑under through ten holes and that means I could do the same thing tomorrow.  There was a couple of bad drives and a couple of bad putts on the back nine, but it's the first round, and could have been much better.  A little bit disappointing, but I'm glad that I've done that in the first round instead of the first round instead of the final round.
           
Yeah, I'm looking to improve the next three days.

Q.  Are you feeling the pressure at all?  Everyone's talking about you doing the Slam and all the rest of it, is that something you're becoming aware of and is it hindering your game at all?
INBEE PARK:  Well, I was a little bit nervous this morning before I teed off.  But then once the round started, and especially playing so good in the first few holes, that really gave me a lot of confidence.  I didn't feel much pressure when I was playing during the round.  I'm just glad that it is already started and I got the first round under my belt.

Q.  Just curious did you feel more nervous before you teed off this morning than you did at Sebonack?
INBEE PARK:  Yeah, I think so.  Yeah, because I know what I was playing four.  I made a little more nervous, but I made a birdie on the first hole, so maybe I can play under the pressure.

Q.  Two questions I wanted to ask about the back nine, your pace on the putting was so beautiful for ten holes and it suffered a little bit on the back.  What happened there?
INBEE PARK:  I think I didn't get a to putt a long putt until the first 3‑putt.  I didn't really get to putt 25 yards before that hole, and that was my first one‑putt, and the greens were a lot slower than I thought.  Just missed it on the speed, and the same thing on the next hole.  I thought I hit it hard and it just didn't go.

Q.  And secondly, you had a couple of drives that you lost to the right.  I'm curious, when you got to 16, with the road all the way down the right side, were you planning to be that far left or were you being protective?
INBEE PARK:  I was always going to go to the left side there, and that was my strategy going into this week.  Yeah, I was never aiming right.  That was, you know, some place that I was actually going for.  That was a target I went for.

Q.  You were not super happy with how you were driving the ball the two tournaments coming into this, but did you feel you like you had worked that out?  Were you a little surprised on the back nine?
INBEE PARK:  Yeah, I thought I was almost ‑‑ that I fixed all my problems coming into this week, especially until yesterday, I was hitting it so good on the practise round and then I didn't really miss any balls.  Yeah, I thought I was really prepared and that I was really ready, but those couple of bad shots really shocked me, and I really wanted to fix them right away, and couldn't really concentrate on the greens when I hit those shots.  Yeah, I've learned my lesson.  Good thing I've got my time to fix that today and tomorrow.

Q.  You were very badly bunkered at the 16th, very nastily bunkered, was that the only way to get out sideways, left out of the bunker?  Was that the only way to get out?
INBEE PARK:  Well, I could have gone right, and maybe I could have tried to go at the pin, but it was a  little bit half and half, so I didn't really want to take the risk.  I was actually going for a bogey, and the left side was the best play for me, yeah.

Q.  How close was ‑‑
INBEE PARK:  I think it was about two feet.

Q.  One more question about that bunker shot.  Your short game has been so fabulous; was it almost, did you have to talk yourself out of trying to go for the pin?
INBEE PARK:  Yeah, I mean, I actually was really confident that I could go over the lip, but my caddie said, I think that's really high, and when you doubt yourself, you can't get out of these bunkers.  So once doubt gets into your mind, I wasn't trying for that.

Q.  Did you get a sense that the crowd were pulling for you out there, given what you're on the cusp of?
INBEE PARK:  Who was?

Q.  The crowd, the spectators.
COLIN CALLANDER:  Did you get a sense they were pulling for you, the crowd.
INBEE PARK:  Yeah, I felt like everybody was rooting for me, and that was such a nice feeling to have.  And especially when you're far away from your home and a lot of people are cheering for you and wishing you luck, that's really sweet.

Q.  You holed some really long putts, a couple of 30‑footers on the front nine.  When you made that par save on the 12th, did you have any feeling at all that you weren't going to miss today?
INBEE PARK:  Yeah, I mean, that putt was big, and I thought I wouldn't make anymore bogeys if I'm putting like this.
           
But still a little bit worried about the drive that I hit, and yeah, I was just trying to, I was just concentrating so much on my swing that I couldn't ‑‑ I really lost my concentration in the middle of the round there through 13 to like the 16th, 17th hole.  I really just wanted to fix the swing.  I couldn't concentrate on the greens.

COLIN CALLANDER:  Probably a good time to go through the birdies and bogeys.
INBEE PARK:  The first hole, I hit a 9‑iron to about 15 feet.
           
I'd better go backwards ‑‑ No. 18, I hit a gap wedge to eight feet.
          
No. 10, I hit a sand wedge to about five feet.
           
No. 8, 8‑iron to about 15 feet.
           
No. 6, I can't really remember No. 6.
COLIN CALLANDER:  The one with the blind drive?
INBEE PARK:  All the front nines are blind drives.  (Laughter).
           
No. 4 I remember.  It was a rescue to about 15, 18 feet.
COLIN CALLANDER:  Could we also go over the bogeys?
INBEE PARK:  No. 17, I hit a 7‑iron short, about 20 yards short, and 3‑putted from there.
           
16, I was in the bunker with 7‑iron and I hit it to the left side, which is about 30 yards from the hole and 3‑putted from there.
           
No. 13, I hit my drive to the right, and the second shot, I hit 6, a rescue ‑‑ I hit a rescue to the left rough.  I hit the shot and hit the chip and it was about 20 feet and missed that.

Q.  I just wondered about your thoughts on an early start.
INBEE PARK:  Early start?  I want to start early every day here.  That's the calmest time of the day and didn't real play with the wind this morning.  It was a little bit rainy, and it looks like this afternoon is actually really nice.  Hopefully we get that tomorrow.

Q.  Is there part of you that's relieved that this first round is over?  There's been so much talk about what you could do, and now you're actually into the tournament.
INBEE PARK:  Yeah, whether the result is good or bad, I'm just glad that it already started and I finished the first round, 25 per cent of the tournament.  You know, if I could walk out of this tournament with no regrets, that's what I'm looking to do and yeah that's all I could ask for.
           
I played and I learned my lesson ‑‑ I wouldn't say it's a regret, a couple of mistakes but that can always happen.  I tried hard, that's all that matters.

Q.  Any idea the last time you had back‑to‑back 3‑putts?
INBEE PARK:  It's tough to remember when was the last time.  These greens here are so big, you could have 40‑, 50‑yard putts, it could happen.  You have to be prepared for 3‑putts here.  You are always going to have 3‑putts here.
COLIN CALLANDER:  Thank you very much.

 

 

Topics: Notes and Interviews, Park, Inbee, Lewis, Stacy, Castrale, Nicole, Ricoh Women's British Open [+]

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