RICOH Women's British Open Second Round Notes and Interviews

Na Yeon Choi
Photo Credit: David Cannon/Getty Images

Na Yeon Choi of Korea looks on during the second round of the Ricoh Women's British Open at the Old Course, St Andrews on August 2, 2013 in St Andrews, Scotland.

RICOH Women’s British Open
The Old Course, St. Andrews
Fife, Scotland
Second-round Notes and Interviews
August 2, 2013

Na Yeon Choi -10, Rolex Rankings No. 4
Miki Saiki -9, Rolex Rankings No. 41
Morgan Pressel -8, Rolex Rankings No. 51
Suzann Pettersen -7, Rolex Rankings No. 3
Stacy Lewis -5, Rolex Rankings No. 2
Paula Creamer -4, Rolex Rankings No. 11
Inbee Park -2, Rolex Rankings No. 1

Friday’s Second-round Recap

Inbee Park hasn’t had to come from behind very often in major championships this season. But if Park’s streak of consecutive major titles is to reach four at the RICOH Women’s British Open this week, that’s exactly what she’ll have to do.

Park struggled as the winds picked up Friday afternoon at the Old Course at St. Andrews, shooting a 1-over 73 to put her at 2-under-par for the championship and eight shots out of the lead held by her friend and Rolex Rankings No. 4 Na Yeon Choi.

During a week in which all eyes have been focused on Park as she tried to become the first golfer—male or female – to win four professional majors in a season, the No. 1 player in the Rolex Rankings admitted Friday to feeling some of the pressure of her Grand Slam chase. But she stressed that it’s not hampered her in her chase but rather has given her confidence going forward.

“When you experience something big like this, some kind of big pressure like this, you're just really not afraid of any kind of pressure,” Park said. “How can it get bigger than this?  If you experience something like this, you're just ready to go and ready to experience something ‑‑ anything's going to be less than this.”

Park certainly has her work cut out for her as she chases Choi, who seeks her second career major championship this week following a win at the 2012 U.S. Women’s Open. Choi fired a 5-under 67 on Friday to take a one-stroke lead over Japan’s Miki Saiki, who shot the round of the day with a 66.

While most of the low scores were found in the morning wave of play when the wind proved to be much calmer, Choi was one of the few players who was able to deliver a low number as the winds from the North Sea gusted up to 35 mph. Particularly impressive was Choi’s play on the more difficult back nine where she carded a 34.

“The weather wasn't good,” Choi said. “It was very hard. But my focus was very good and my caddie helped me a lot.”

She added, “I had a daily goal every day so I just tried to stick with the goal. It could be like par is 74 or 75 today, but I didn't care, like every hole, par 3, par 4, par 5, doesn't matter for me.  I just try to play one shot at a time and I think that's why I had great results.”

American Morgan Pressel is alone in third place at 8-under-par following a 70 on Friday. Pressel is enjoying a resurgence in the majors this summer with a tie for third at the Wegmans LPGA Championship and a tie for 20th at the U.S. Women’s Open.

Rolex Rankings No. 3 Suzann Pettersen, South Korea’s Jee Young Lee and American Nicole Castrale are tied for fourth at 7-under-par.

For Park, the spotlight remains bright despite the eight shot deficit.

“You just never know what's going to happen the next two days,” Park said. “Especially if the conditions get tougher, I think anything could happen out here.”

A total of 69 players made the 36-hole cut which fell at 1-over-par 145

Unique preparation: With rain pouring down this past Sunday and the course at St. Andrews closed, Na Yeon Choi decided to find a different way to prepare for this week’s RICOH Women’s British Open. The 25-year-old headed with her caddie for the week and a local caddie from St. Andrews out to the Old Course to walk the golf course – but not in the usual way.
Choi and the two caddies walked St. Andrews backwards, beginning at the 18th green and making their way all the way around it back to the first tee. Choi said that she had heard that it was the way people used to play this golf course a long time ago and she was able to see the lines better from the tee boxes to the greens.
Seems like the preparation worked, as Choi holds the 36-hole lead after shooting a 5-under 67 on Friday afternoon when blustery conditions proved to make scoring quite difficult.
“This kind of weather, I have to focus my game. It doesn't matter where my ball is going,” Choi said. “It could be like bad luck and bad bounce.  I couldn't control that, so I really tried to stay in the moment and to stay positive.”

Luck of the draw: Looking at the leaderboard on Friday afternoon, there were very few players near the top of it who were still on the golf course. As the winds picked up around midday on Friday at St. Andrews, it became clear that those players who had already completed their rounds were at a significant advantage over those playing in the afternoon.
Winds blew steady around 20 mph for most of the afternoon and gusted all the way up to 35 mph, making scoring conditions much more difficult for those players who were put in the morning-afternoon draw over the first two rounds.
“I think because there's such a big difference from the morning to the afternoon today with the tee times, that played a huge part with just making birdies and pars out there,” Paula Creamer said of the difference in scores. “The good thing is, tomorrow we're all around the same time and we're going to go through the same conditions.”

Two is the magic number: Miki Saiki’s run up the leaderboard came in dramatic fashion on Friday morning thanks to a pair of twos that she recorded on the front nine of her round.

Saiki, who plays on the JLPGA Tour in Japan, holed out for eagle on two of the par-4s on the front nine of the Old Course at St. Andrews – No. 4 and No. 7. Both shots came from over 100 yards as she holed one with an eight iron and the other with a wedge.

Had she ever done something like this in a round?

“First time,” Saiki said.

Saiki, who shot 30 on the front nine and tied the low round of the week with her 6-under 66, is no stranger to shooting low scores at the RICOH Women’s British Open. She actually tied for the low round of the week when this event was last held at St. Andrews back in 2007, shooting a 67 in the final round to finish in a tie for seventh.

"Because it is a major and we are here at the Old Course and surrounded by so much history then it must rate as my best ever round," Saiki said of her 66 on Friday.

Everybody’s Working for the Weekend: A total of 69 players made the cut, which fell at 1-over-par 145. The cut line ties for the lowest in tournament history, which also occurred in 2008 and 2011.

U.S. Solheim Cup Team Taking Shape, But Uncertainties Remain: By virtue of making the cut at the RICOH Women’s British Open, Lizette Salas is guaranteed a spot on the 2013 U.S. Solheim Cup Team via the Rolex Rankings category. She is joined by the top-seven players on the U.S. Team points list who are also locked in for spots. Four positions remain up for grabs and the Old Course at St. Andrews will be the venue where the plot unfolds this weekend.

Salas will play on her first Solheim Cup team alongside veterans Stacy Lewis, Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr, Angela Stanford and Brittany Lincicome, as well as newcomers Lexi Thompson and Jessica Korda. Salas can still move into the points qualification and free up the spot she currently holds in the Rolex category. The second Rolex Rankings spot remains up for grabs.

Brittany Lang, currently in the eighth and final points spot, can still be knocked out of her guaranteed spot. Players who still have a mathematical chance to qualify via the points list include Salas, Gerina Piller, Morgan Pressel and Michelle Wie, all of whom must win the RICOH Women’s British Open to guarantee a spot.

Players in contention this weekend with a mathematical chance to qualify via Rolex Rankings include Danielle Kang and Nicole Castrale. Jennifer Johnson missed the cut and can no longer qualify via the points race, but is still mathematically in the running for a Rolex Rankings spot pending finishes by others.

The 2013 Solheim Cup will be played at Colorado Golf Club in Parker, Colorado, Aug. 16-18.

Loving Scottish golf? Morgan Pressel is in contention to win the second major championship of her career and qualify for her fourth U.S. Solheim Cup Team this weekend at the RICOH Women’s British Open. The 25-year-old American is two shots off the pace of leader Na Yeon Choi at 8-under-par. Not bad for a player who previously despised links golf.

“Everything happens for a reason, and I think that my past struggles here at St. Andrews as well as links golf in general my first two years on Tour taught me a lot,” Pressel said.

Pressel fired a 2-under-par 70 on Friday in relatively calm conditions on Friday morning to move into solo third place with 36 holes remaining at St. Andrews. She is currently 12th in the U.S. Solheim Cup Team points race and needs a win to earn a guaranteed spot via points. She is also in the mix for an automatic spot via the Rolex Rankings category.

“At this point, you know, I've played well for two days, and I'm more focused on this tournament,” Pressel said, when asked about Solheim Cup qualification. “I feel like I've given myself the best opportunity to play on the team in the last couple months.  We'll see how it falls at the end of the week but I feel good about where I am.”

Move of the Day: Belonged to Jee Young Lee and Suzann Pettersen, who each fired a 5-under 67 to jump from a tie for 38th into a tie for fourth at 7-under-par.

Pettersen spoke early in the week about her confusion as to why for some reason she has always found trouble at this major. But despite missing the cut at last year’s event at  Royal Liverpool, Pettersen felt that she had once again found a certain comfort level with links golf.

“I think I said last year, that was the most comfortable I felt on a links course, and this year, I really feel like I'm in control of my game,” Pettersen said. “I feel like I'm really simplifying everything. Obviously you've got to give yourself a few chances and stay out of trouble, and if you give yourself enough chances, you're going to drop a few and just stay out of the big numbers.”

Tweet of the Day: After magical mystery tour of 14 fairway, Inbee makes 12-foot par save. She should have an eraser on that club. It makes mistakes disappear.” -- @RonSirak

Quotable: “Whether I win this week, whether I don't, the last two days what I experienced was great.  You know, if I can handle this kind of pressure, if I face this kind of pressure, I'm really not afraid of any kind of pressure from now on in my career.” – Inbee Park

Of Note: Defending champion Jiyai Shin shot an even-par 72 on Friday and sits in a tie for 31st at 1-under-par…Notable players to miss the cut include 2010 & 2011 RICOH Women’s British Open champion Yani Tseng, Laura Davies, and LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame members Karrie Webb and Juli Inkster…A total of four amateurs made the cut in this week’s championship – Georgia Hall, Celine Boutier, Emily Taylor and Lydia Ko.

NA YEON CHOI, Rolex Rankings No. 4

COLIN CALLANDER:  Good afternoon, we have Na Yeon Choi, the championship leader at 10‑under par after two 67s.  Very well played, how do you feel after that second round?
NA YEON CHOI:  Thank you.  First of all, I'm very satisfied the last two rounds.  You know, especially today, the weather wasn't good.  It was very hard.  But my focus was very good and my caddie helped me a lot.
           
And you know, I had a daily goal every day so I just tried to stick with the goal.  It could be like par is 74 or 75 today, but I didn't care, like every hole, par 3, par 4, par 5, doesn't matter for me.  I just try to play one shot at a time and I think that's why I had great results.

COLIN CALLANDER:  Was that your goal for today, to play one shot at a time?
NA YEON CHOI:  Yeah, I couldn't tell you like my secret daily goal, but yeah, this kind of weather, I have to focus my game.  It doesn't matter where my ball is going.  It could be like bad luck and bad bounce.  I couldn't control that, so I really tried to stay in the moment and to stay positive.

COLIN CALLANDER:  How many shots harder do you think today was than yesterday?
NA YEON CHOI:  I think at least three or four strokes harder than yesterday.

Q.  What type of goal ‑‑
NA YEON CHOI:  It's more like technically goal, that kind of thing.

Q.  Would you have thought a 67 was possible when you started?
NA YEON CHOI:  I don't think so.  I mean, today 67 was my best score out there, and I don't think I could have shoot lower than 67.

Q.  Since you won the U.S. Open last year, can you talk about what you've worked on as a player, and I know maybe you've been a little frustrated with some results this year, but how you feel like you've ‑‑ I guess improved and matured as a player since winning that tournament?
NA YEON CHOI:  Well, actually, my coach is here this week, and he came from Korea.  Last time I saw him, like that was in February.  And then this week, he saw me and then he said, like, hey, Na Yeon, where has all the confidence gone.
           
I think this year, I had pressure a lot from all the Korean fans and media, also family.  But I mean, last two months, I hit it very well.  Just my putter didn't go in.  I think that's not because like, you know, technique.  I think that was like because mental wasn't strong.
           
So you know, this week, my coach is encouraging me a lot, and he gave me a pep talk, and also my mental coach, Pia and Lynn, they are here.  This week, all my teams are here, my trainer, manager, coach, mental coach, caddie, everybody is here.  If I have a good result this week, that's because I have a good team this week.

Q.  What's your coach's name, and how long have you been working with him?
NA YEON CHOI:  My coach, his name is Robin Symes.  Actually he's Irish.  I met him seven years ago in Korea.
           
This week, my caddie is friend of my coach, also Irish, and they grew up together from Ireland.  My caddie also a pro, and they control me a lot this week.  I still have to go two more days, but they controlled me a lot, and like hundred percent, I trust them.

Q.  And is this your caddie for this week?
NA YEON CHOI:  Yeah, my caddie this week is just for this week.

Q.  After Inbee won the Women's Open in 2008, she had about a four‑year period where she talked about that pressure, too, to repeat it.  Have you guys talked a little bit about that?  Is there I guess more expectations on you, and do you have to sort of deal with that after you've had that major breakthrough?
NA YEON CHOI:  You know what, I'm a long time friend with Inbee, but we never talk about golf, especially off the golf course, we never ‑‑ like being golfers.  We always just talk about, just friends, or like movie or music or something.
           
Actually, I don't know how tough it was she had it, like tough time between that four years, but I can guarantee she was really tough ‑‑ a tough time.  It's hard to even ask her, because I know that kind of feeling, so that's kind of too emotional I think, so I never ask, and all my friends never ask me, also.
           
And the caddie, his name is David Young (ph).

COLIN CALLANDER:  Do you know why your coach was in Korea when you met him?
NA YEON CHOI:  He came to Korea like seven years ago.  I was only high school.  He was a teaching pro in Korea, still right now.
COLIN CALLANDER:  Whereabouts in Korea?
NA YEON CHOI:  Right now just a little outside of Seoul, and he has a big academy there and he has a lot of students there.

Q.  I don't remember your exact card, but I don't think you dropped a shot over ‑‑ how many holes?  Did you make bogey on the last nine?
NA YEON CHOI:  Only 7th.

Q.  What was more impressive or do you think was better for you, the birdies that you made, or not making any bogeys from, say, 13 through 17?
NA YEON CHOI:  I mean, like obviously the back nine is more difficult than the front nine.  I think that I would like to have more birdies rather than bogey.
           
Every time, if I have birdie, I got good vibes from there, and especially if I make the putt, and I got confidence from that, because the last two or three months, my putting was like ‑‑ every day, like hit 15, 16 greens and 35 putts or 34 putts, but I missed so many birdie putts out there.  But the last two days, I made it.
 
I missed a couple birdie putts today, and also yesterday, but I made like some long putts and that gave me confidence I think.

Q.  Why are you making them now?
NA YEON CHOI:  I think a little bit I change my routine in basic stuff or technically.  Also, like last week, couple days, I tried close eye and hit a putt.  That kind of gave me some confidence I think.

I mean, like two months ago ‑‑ like two months ago, I couldn't even do it closed eye on practise green, I couldn't hit it.  I couldn't trust myself.

But this week, my coach gave me a lot of confidence and then I trust myself, so I tried a lot of putts with the closed eye and just to see the line, just it's all imagination, just my ball going in, going in, that kind of practise.

Q.  Did you make any putts with your eyes closed out there?
NA YEON CHOI:  Not on the course.  Not on the course.

COLIN CALLANDER:  Could you go through the details of the birdies for us?
NA YEON CHOI:  It's hard to remember, especially like today, like No. 3, I think my birdie putt was very close ‑‑ I'm sorry, like five hours out there, this kind of weather, it's hard to remember.
I think I still remember like 17, that's the only one I can remember, 17 and 18.  17, it's kind of difficult hole for today I think.  15, 17 was very difficult.
15, I hit 3‑hybrid from tee shot and then I hit 3‑wood from second shot, which means like second shot was longer than tee shot.  But I still hit a good shot from the second shot and I made a par.
17, I hit driver and 3‑hybrid for a second shot and then my birdie putt was like 45‑yard putt, and I made a 2‑putt.  Those two holes were like the most difficult holes today.

Q.  45 yards?
NA YEON CHOI:  Yeah.
COLIN CALLANDER:  What was your best birdie today, do you remember that?
NA YEON CHOI:  I think 15, I hit little past the green from the second shot.  So like I hit it past from the fringe but I made it like 35 feet.
COLIN CALLANDER:  Was that the longest putt of the day?
NA YEON CHOI:  No, actually on fifth hole, that was the longest birdie putt I made.  That was like a little more than 40 feet.
COLIN CALLANDER:  Thank you very much indeed, good luck tomorrow.

MIKI SAIKI, Rolex Rankings No. 41

COLIN CALLANDER:  Good morning, we have Miki Saiki.  She has just fired a 66, 6‑under par.  As background, the 66 is the lowest score shot at this championship.  The last time around there were two 67s, one by Miki herself, and one by Lorena Ochoa.
Many congratulations.  You must be absolutely delighted with your score today.
MIKI SAIKI:  I would have wanted to morning a low score today, as well.  There's a couple 6‑unders, myself, as well, back in 2007, so I wanted to shoot a more lower score today if I could have but other than that it was a great round.

COLIN CALLANDER:  Have you ever had two eagles in one round on par 4s?
MIKI SAIKI:  First time.

Q.  Could you talk us through those two eagles, please.
MIKI SAIKI:  The first one on No. 4 was 127 yards to the hole and a shot with an 8‑iron.  The one on 7 was 108 yards to the pin.  It went on the green.

Q.  What do you know about St. Andrews and do you know about the history of the town?  What can you tell us?
MIKI SAIKI:  Not very much but not about the town, no.
COLIN CALLANDER:  Having shot 67 last time, you must have been looking forward to coming back?
MIKI SAIKI:  Yes, if I have a chance, definitely.

Q.  Is that the first time you've holed two shots in a round or made two eagles in the same round in tournament play?
MIKI SAIKI:  Yeah, this is the first time.

Q.  Could you just tell us about the year and how the season has been going?
MIKI SAIKI:  I have won twice on the Japan ladies tour back in Japan, so I think I'm playing pretty consistent this year.

Q.  Can I ask about any hobbies away from golf?
MIKI SAIKI:  Shopping (laughter).

Q.  What do you like shopping for?
MIKI SAIKI:  Jewelry ‑‑

Q.  Have you bought any at St. Andrews?
MIKI SAIKI:  Not yet.

Q.  When did you leave school and were you at university in Japan?
MIKI SAIKI:  Graduated Tohoku University School in Sendai, Japan.  Turned pro in middle of the fourth year of university, but eventually graduated but playing as a professional.

Q.  Is there any figure in golf that acted as an inspiration to take up the game?
MIKI SAIKI:  My grandfather loves golf and he always inspires me to be a professional.  At first I didn't take it seriously but when he passed away, I decided to live up to his dream of me turning professional.

Q.  The 6‑under round over the Old Course, how does that rate in your career?
MIKI SAIKI:  I think today, I would rate it the highest just because it's a major, and the history of the course, as you take all that into consideration, yeah.

Q.  Do you have any ambitions to play in America on the LPGA Tour?
MIKI SAIKI:  For now, I think I'll play mainly on the Japan ladies tour.  But if I have a chance to play the majors, including the Ricoh Women's British Open, I'll keep on trying.

Q.  Did your grandfather tell you about St. Andrews?  Did he ever play here?
MIKI SAIKI:  Not much, no.  We never kind of talked about St. Andrews in particular.

Q.  And he never came here?
MIKI SAIKI:  My grand father passed away before I first played St. Andrews, so we never talked about St. Andrews in particular, no.

Q.  How good of a golfer was your grandfather?  Was he a low handicap?
MIKI SAIKI:  Level par handicap.
COLIN CALLANDER:  Did your parents play golf?
MIKI SAIKI:  They do.
COLIN CALLANDER:  Are they good players, too?
MIKI SAIKI:  Yes, my father was a very good player, as well, but a long time ago.
COLIN CALLANDER:  Does he play international golf for Japan?
MIKI SAIKI:  Amateur.

Q.  And your mother?
MIKI SAIKI:  She's an avid golfer but not on the level that my grandfather or father was.

Q.  This score today, will this make a big impact back in Japan, and are you fairly well known there?
MIKI SAIKI:  Yes, obviously I'm one of the top players, this tournament is through TV Asahi back in Japan, but the air time is late at night.  I hope the people back in Japan, my fans, still wake up and watch me play.
COLIN CALLANDER:  Thank you very much.

 

MORGAN PRESSEL, Rolex Rankings No. 51

MORGAN PRESSEL:  I played very well today.  Didn't really put myself in any trouble.  I only had one par putt of maybe about six or seven feet on 11 that was a tap‑in.  There's a lot of birdie putts out there.
I gave myself a lot of chances and they were scaring the hole but just didn't go in.  On the last hole, I was ready to give a big fist‑pump but that was in the middle of the hole but it was on the low side.

Q.  Getting into the Solheim Cup for the United States, how often do you think about that when you're out there?
MORGAN PRESSEL:  At this point, you know, I've played well for two days, and I'm more focused on this tournament.  I feel like I've given myself the best opportunity to play on the team in the last couple months.  We'll see how it falls at the end of the week but I feel good about where I am.

Q.  Over the last few years, it's been a reasonably tough journey for you.  I know you had wrist and thumb injuries last year; what's turned it and how good do you feel about your game once again?
MORGAN PRESSEL:  I feel good, probably better than I did before the injury, which is nice.  I practised very hard and kind of in a good place in my life, so it's been more fun playing golf.  I enjoy the travel a little bit more, and just enjoy competing and playing well.

Q.  And as a newlywed and life as a married woman on the Tour, how is that shaping up?
MORGAN PRESSEL:  It's great.  My husband is very supportive.  He is unfortunately not here this week but as he constantly reminds me, he has a job, as well, even though I would like him to be out here all the time.  He's always got my back.

Q.  It's always something to get off to a great start as you did yesterday, but then it's important to back it up, and you must feel like you've done that today?
MORGAN PRESSEL:  Well, definitely.  We had ideal conditions this morning, and definitely after the rain, it played tough but even on those tough holes, still didn't put myself in any trouble and that was the key out there.  I putted ball where I can see it and was able to ‑‑ I made a lot of pars.  I gave myself chances at birdies but at the end of the day I made a lot of pars.

Q.  That's one of the things about St. Andrews, is you hear a lot of players say, I gave myself chances, I gave myself chances, and the greens have so many subtleties in there, and they are big by their very nature.
MORGAN PRESSEL:  Yeah, sometimes a straight putt is the hardest; it's hard to aim right at the hole.  I practised a lot, a lot of straight putts leading up to this week or earlier in the week here.  Just burning the heart, I needed to hit a few of them and I just didn't it.  Sometimes I tried to read too much break into them.
They are so subtle because they are fairly flat for the most part.  There's a few areas of the greens that are certainly a little more severe, but there's a lot of makeable putts, but sometimes the straight putts are the hardest.

Q.  We touched on this yesterday but have you thought of your former self and to hear you reveling in the unique nature of links golf now, if we had said to you that five years ago, you would be having these kind of thoughts and conversations, what would you have said then?
MORGAN PRESSEL:  I would have said that I'd probably grown up a bit (laughing), I guess it will come.  I mean, everything happens for a reason, and I think that my past struggles here at St. Andrews as well as links golf in general my first two years on Tour taught me a lot.
This is my 8th year, and that makes me feel really old sometimes at 25, but I've learned a lot in those eight years.  Everybody says build on your experiences and learn from all of your mistakes but sometimes you don't see that until a little bit further down the road.

Q.  Embracing the challenge as you are, how does that involve you for the weekend, having given yourself this position at the halfway stage?
MORGAN PRESSEL:  Well, I don't know where it will end up at the end of the day, but I'm going to go back and take a nap while everybody else plays in the wind.
You know, I'm happy.  I'll be in contention going into the weekend, and I'm playing well, so I can't ask for much more than that.

SUZANN PETTERSEN, Rolex Rankings No. 3

Q.  5‑under par; what did you basically come to grips with on the Old Course today?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  Continue what I did yesterday, a very stress‑free 2‑under, felt like I left a couple out there.  Had a good night's sleep and just kept digging at it.  It feels like the wind, not as much as we had ‑‑ but got to play smart on the way out, smart on the way in.  I just spoke to Peter, he said if I can come back even par, that's usually a good job around this course.

Q.  The wind picking up obviously for the afternoon, and obviously good side of the draw in that respect, you'll be able to watch others tackle that today?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  Yeah, I think over the years, I think it evens out.  I think I had the worst part of the draw last year.  But I'm very happy with the way I played.  Feeling great with my putter, so that's for me a very, very good sign.

Q.  And you can watch it from the comfort of a most amazing residence.  You probably have one of the best views in golf this week?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  I have the best seat in the house, for sure.  What time is it, 11.30?  I can sit there and watch golf for the next eight hours.

Q.  This is the major that's probably the major that's frustrated you more than the others.  Do you feel more confident about your ability to perhaps try and go and pull this one off this time?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  Well, I think I said last year, that was the most comfortable I felt on a links course, and this year, I really feel like I'm in control of my game.  I feel like I'm really simplifying everything.
Obviously you've got to give yourself a few chances and stay out of trouble, and if you give yourself enough chances, you're going to drop a few and just stay out of the big numbers.

Q.  A nice early start, and you made the most of it.  You must be very, very pleased with your morning's work?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  Yeah, very happy with this round.  Got off to a fairly quick start.  Gave myself plenty of chances and don't feel like I left anything out there really.  Finishing stretch is quite a few tough holes, so if you want to play smart, you're still leaving yourself a lot of long approaches.  I think it's just hard to hit them close.  Even now, very, very happy.

Q.  When you headed out first thing this morning, you would have recognised that there were challenges to be taken does.  That bring a pressure in its own chance a little bit?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  Not really.  Just got to go out there and follow your game plan, have a game plan for all different conditions.  We didn't really expect it to rain but things change quite quickly around this place, and it is supposed to be windy this afternoon, so I guess a little bit lucky with the draw.

Q.  When you headed into this week, did you feel that you were sort of on course for a decent week?  Did it feel like you brought your A Game here, or have you found it as the week's gone on?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  No, I felt like I did fantastic preparation prior to.  First year coming straight off ‑‑ I was pretty close to coming off Evian, which had been a nightmare for me to adjust to the two contrasts of how golf was played.  I feel like I've mentally prepared well, and trusting my game.

Q.  In terms of the British Open and what it means to you, it's been the one that's cost you perhaps the most problems over the years, do you feel that change in the schedule is something that helps you in that regard?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  I don't think it's caused many problems, but hasn't really given me any super‑highs.  Overall, I'm very excited about this week and just trying to take advantage of the second time around here and trying to play accordingly to the conditions.

Q.  And does St. Andrews make it extra special, sort of kind of almost a Super British Open in some respects; it elevates it above the others?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  Yeah, I think so.  Every time you turn a corner coming around the hotel down 17, it's always a spectacular view and it's always stunning every single time.  So really just trying to take it all in and enjoy myself.

Q.  And heading into the weekend, what are the thought processes having given yourself this platform now?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  Just got to go out and keep doing what I'm doing, giving myself a lot of great chances, playing smart, trying to play to my strengths and not really take too many risks of being greedy off the tee and so far it's paid off.

Q.  It's an exciting time of the year, isn't it, Solheim Cup around the corner, as well?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  I can't wait to take them down.  (Laughter).

STACY LEWIS, Rolex Rankings No. 2

Q.  Given the conditions this afternoon, how happy are you with that round of level par?
STACY LEWIS:  I would have liked to have gotten one there at the end.  I had two good chances on 17 and 18.  But overall, it was playing so hard out there.  It was just a grind.  You had to make ‑‑ at least I had to make a bunch of 4‑ or 5‑footers for par, and even par on a day like this when it's windy is a good score.

Q.  You talked about your Curtis Cup experience here and experiencing so many facets of this golf course, but had you gone through 32‑mile‑an‑hour a winds back then?
STACY LEWIS:  We had a little bit of wind.  I don't remember it being quite that much.  I think holes 11 through 17, I had 4‑ or 5‑iron into every single hole, so it was so long.  You really just had to make some good two putts, and it was definitely playing hard.

Q.  You've had a good season by anybody's standard, two wins, you've reached No. 1 in the world, but you've been relatively quiet in the Majors ‑‑ puzzling, I'm sure, for you.  But what's clicking this week compared to other Majors this year?
STACY LEWIS:  I think I'm just putting a little better.  I'm making those key putts and making some birdies, a couple longer putts here and there.  I was looking forward to this one.
I love this golf course, so I think I knew I'd play a little bit better here.  I don't know why the other Majors were the way they were, but I'm just glad I'm playing good here.

PAULA CREAMER, Rolex Rankings No. 11

Q.        Are you disappointed with that?
PAULA CREAMER:  Not really.  I felt like I gave one away on 17 and didn't make birdie on the par 5, but other than that, I played really well.  I hit a lot of good golf shots.  On that back nine, it's hard.  When you make that turn to come around back into the wind right‑to‑left, it's playing difficult.  So you take some on the front and just trying to coast on it on the back.

Q.  Most difficult nine holes of the year?
PAULA CREAMER:  I don't know about most difficult of the year, I think because there's such a big difference from the morning to the afternoon today with the tee times, that played a huge part with just making birdies and pars out there.  But it's just a pretty difficult back nine, coming into the stretch of the last six holes, those are hard.  But the good thing is, tomorrow we're all around the same time and we're going to go through the same conditions.

Q.  Do you enjoy that challenge?
PAULA CREAMER:  Oh, I love it.  I love the harder, the better, the wind, just everything about it.  There's just so much thinking going on.  We sleep good at night after days like this, and that's what a British Open is about.  You want to be able to shape the ball and you want to be able to think about different things, and yesterday was kind of a fluke.

Q.  Do you pay any attention to the leaderboard or how things stand or how far back you are?
PAULA CREAMER:  Not really, not today, just because I knew the morning played a bit easier and there were some birdies to be made early on, and just on the back nine, like I said.  The front nine, you can make birdies.  It's still very difficult, but you're having short irons in.  On the back nine, you're hitting 5‑woods and four rescues, things like that.  But I wasn't a very good leaderboard watcher today, but I will be tomorrow.

INBEE PARK, Rolex Rankings No. 1

INBEE PARK:  A little bit of everything wasn't really working well out there today but it was very tough conditions.  I just don't feel like I played horrible today.  I think I grinded really well out there today.  1‑over today, a little bit unlucky with the draw, getting afternoon today, not playing in the morning when it's lovely but that's the way it is.

Q.  You said yesterday you were a little concerned with a couple of shots you hit on the back nine, did you manage to fix those today?
INBEE PARK:  Well, not perfectly fix it, but I didn't miss that many shots to the right today, mostly to the left.  I would say I fixed it a little bit because it's going the other way, but I'm trying to get that straight the next two days; whether I win or whether I don't, the last two days that I had here, lots of great moments that I've collected ‑‑ if I can handle this kind of pressure, I'm not afraid of anything in my career from now on.

Q.  Do you feel like you've handled it well?  Are you satisfied?
INBEE PARK:  Well, not satisfied ‑‑ but last two days ‑‑ it was a great experience, I've got to say.

Q.  Your caddie said you found a little something on the back nine, what did you find and how much confidence can you take from where you finished up?
INBEE PARK:  Well, today my play was overall pretty much the same with the ball‑striking.  Not everything clicked, but I feel like I'm almost getting there and I feel like it's getting better than yesterday's back nine, so just trying to take it step‑by‑step.

Q.  Would you like the wind to blow tomorrow?  With you like conditions to be tough or like it was on day one?
INBEE PARK:  I would say I wanted it to blow and conditions to be tough, because I'm so far back.  Just I need to narrow some gap in these tough conditions.

Q.  You're a very composed person, so when you're nervous, how does that show in you?  How do you feel when you're nervous?
INBEE PARK:  Well, I can see ‑‑ because I'm not striking the ball that bad or putting that bad, so that tells me that I'm not feeling the pressure.  Might not be 100 percent, but trying to get there, trying to make it there.  Whether I win this week, whether I don't, the last two days what I experienced was great.  You know, if I can handle this kind of pressure, if I face this kind of pressure, I'm really not afraid of any kind of pressure from now on in my career.
That's something that not everybody gets to experience, so yeah, it's a great experience.

Q.  You had a few lucky breaks on the back nine, too, can you talk about that part of it, deal with the bad breaks?
INBEE PARK:  Yeah, this course, you're always going to get a bad bounce, bad breaks.  I guess everybody gets bad bounces here, so you have to kind of play with that, too.

Q.  When did you start feeling this pressure?
INBEE PARK:  Just every ‑‑ I think since I got here I think I started.

Q.  When you first got to the golf course?
INBEE PARK:  Yeah, yeah.

Q.  How difficult was the wind on the back nine?  A lot of the players have said it was pretty tough.
INBEE PARK:  Yeah, especially coming in holes from 13 to 17, it is playing really long with the wind and everything blowing sideways, it's tough to hit it right at the pin.  You have to really aim far away from the pin, so that's the tough part.  Yeah, I mean, the course was playing a bit long for me, and on the back nine, I was hitting like rescues, 5‑woods, 3‑woods.

Q.  What happened on your shot on 14, the third shot on the par 5?
INBEE PARK:  That was a really bad lie, and everything was going into the grain and going into the wind.  I thought it wasn't going to come out very nice, but actually it came out really hot and ran ‑‑ I think it ran a lot.  I didn't see the shot.

Q.  You were still able to save par there, so maybe you didn't score as well as you wanted to, you still had some big putts, actually, on the back.
INBEE PARK:  Yeah, especially on 13, 14, the par 5, great save there.  You know, I made some good putts out there today.  Made some great saves.  I think everybody would have made some great saves today.  I think a lot of people was putting for pars this afternoon.
Yeah, that's something that you have to deal with when you're playing with the wind.  It's tough playing with the wind.

Q.  Are you still in it?
INBEE PARK:  Yeah, I would say you just never know what's going to happen the next two days.  Especially if the conditions get tougher, I think anything could happen out here.

Q.  Some people love to play from the lead and some people like to come from behind.  Do you mind trying to catch up?
INBEE PARK:  Yeah, I don't mind both ways.  When you're behind, you feel a little bit less pressure, but you have to play harder to get there.

Q.  What did you do on the first hole?
INBEE PARK:  I missed the green to the right and didn't get up‑and‑down from there.

Q.  That drive on 1 was probably ‑‑ did that get you off to a little bit of a bad ‑‑
INBEE PARK:  It was left.  I was trying to avoid right because I missed a couple of shots right yesterday.  The left shot, I didn't really mind.

Q.  Can you think of a putt where you felt like the way you hit it, that the pressure was there, when you're talking about your swing?
INBEE PARK:  I mean, I don't feel it like in one putt or some putts, but just I think overall, you know, I think I just feel it ‑‑ I don't know exactly what putts or what shots I hit.

Q.  How have you handled other people here, everybody is asking you so many questions everywhere, so how do you think?  How do you handle this?
INBEE PARK:  Well, this is pretty much the only week I'm going to get that much, so I should enjoy this moment (laughter).  I'm trying to enjoy every moment that I'm here.  Yeah, it's something different, and yeah, I should enjoy this moment.

Q.  Did you foresee this, that you would one day have all these people around you?
INBEE PARK:  I mean, it feels a little bit awkward for me, but this is coming with good playing and with great results of golf.
So, yeah, I'm happy with it.

Q.  When you talk about having the experience of feeling the pressure and it will help you the rest of your career, do you think this could all relate, sort of, to when Annika played the Colonial, and having gone through that experience, it helped her the rest of the way?
INBEE PARK:  Yeah, I think so.  When you experience something big like this, some kind of big pressure like this, you're just really not afraid of any kind of pressure.  How can this get bigger than this?  If you experience something like this, you're just ready to go and ready to experience something ‑‑ anything's going to be less than this.

Q.  When you go back to your room at night, do you feel more exhausted than a typical week, just carrying the load of everyone?
INBEE PARK:  I mean, not exactly.  I think I still have a lot of energy, so I don't feel like I'm exhausted when I go home, especially with weather here, it's not so hot, so it doesn't really exhaust you.

 

 

Topics: Notes and Interviews, Ricoh Women's British Open, Choi, Na Yeon, Pettersen, Suzann, Pressel, Morgan [+]

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