Evian Resort Golf Club
First-round Notes and Interviews
September 13, 2013
Mika Miyazato -6, Rolex Rankings No. 19
Suzann Pettersen -5, Rolex Rankings No. 3
Se Ri Pak -5, Rolex Rankings No. 41
Sandra Gal -5, Rolex Rankings No. 53
Christina Kim -4, Rolex Rankings No. 190
Lydia Ko -3, Rolex Rankings No. 8
The LPGA Ticker: Japan’s Mika Miyazato shot 6-under-par 65 to lead the LPGA’s fifth major, the Evian Championship… Suzann Pettersen misses short par putt on 18, cards 5-under-par 66… Inbee Park’s bid for fourth major of the season off to rough start following first-round 3-over-par 74… Amateur star Lydia Ko three shots back after first round 68
Rain forced the first round of the inaugural Evian Championship to be delayed one day but on Friday, the sun was shining brightly on the redesigned Evian Resort Golf Club and Mika Miyazato took advantage of the near perfect weather.
Miyazato is in the hunt for her first major championship following a 6-under-par 65. She leads by one shot over Norway’s Suzann Pettersen, Germany’s Sandra Gal and South Korean Hall of Famer Se Ri Pak who are each at 5-under-par 66. Pettersen seemed likely to tie the lead, but missed a short par putt on the par-4 18th to drop into a tie for second.
Of the four players closest to the lead, Pettersen is riding the most momentum. She won the Safeway Classic Presented by Coca-Cola two weeks ago, the last event on the LPGA Tour prior to this week’s Evian Championship. It was her 12th career victory on the LPGA Tour and her second of the 2013 season. She’s been in the midst of a solid stretch of golf, having recorded 9 top-10 finishes in his last 12 events including four top-3 finishes in her last six tournaments.
“I feel like I've been playing really good for about a year now, pretty much since I went to Well, pretty much since Asia last year I've been playing very consistent,” Pettersen said. “I'm feeling good. I'm trying to get better and better. I've been putting in the time where I feel it's needed. For this moment, it's definitely the greens, getting more confidence in my putter, and that's pretty much what I've spent the most time doing pretty much since the U.S. Open. It's nice to see that the practice and training pays off fairly quick.”
Pak is looking for the fourth different major title of her career. A victory at this week’s Evian Championship would complete the Career Grand Slam for Pak, who has already won the Wegmans LPGA Championship, the RICOH Women’s British Open and the U.S. Women’s Open. The only other major that Pak has not won is the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
“You know, I mean, I'm pretty much [one of the] long, old time players,” Pak said. “So the Kraft, in the four majors I was looking for it, but now we got extra one more major. Now giving more better chances. I think that's a good thing…If happening this week, would be great. Really I'm looking forward to it. Of course three days to go. Just trying to go out there and do my best.”
Not to be overlooked either is 16-year-old amateur Lydia Ko, who sits three shots back of Miyazato at 3-under-par. Ko is playing for the first time since winning the CN Canadian Women’s Open last month for the second straight year. She now has two LPGA Tour victories and four professional victories total on her resume, although she won’t turn 17 until next April.
Ko is trying to become the third amateur to win a major on the LPGA Tour. Pat O’Sullivan won the Titleholders Championship in 1951 and Catherine LaCoste won the U.S. Women’s Open in 1967.
“I haven't played that great in the majors this year, so I really wanted to be there,” Ko said. “My dad normally comes with me when we train like at home, and I could always see him like saying, ‘Oh, it's all right’. He was a little disappointed as well. Hopefully I won't make those doubles and triples I made in other tournaments.”
54-hole goal: On Friday evening, tournament officials released the following statement about the 2013 Evian Championship: “Based on the current weather forecast models for the next 72 hours, tournament officials will target the completion of 54 holes with a cut to top-70 and ties following 36 holes at the 2013 Evian Championship.”
Putter on fire! One of the biggest changes made to the Evian Resort Golf Club during its multi-million renovation this past year was the restructuring of all 18 greens on the golf course. It’s add a lot of undulation and break to the greens but one player who didn’t seem to have a problem reading these new greens was first-round leader Mika Miyazato.
Miyazato needed just 25 putts en route to shooting a 6-under 65 in Friday’s first round. Her longest putt of the day, though, was 30 feet and she said that most of the birdie putts she had during the day were short ones.
“Pretty good is the course management,” Miyazato said. “I think almost 17 green regulation today, so pretty good second shot.”
The Japan native’s best finish in a major came in a tie for second at the 2012 Wegmans LPGA Championship. While she’s seeking her first major title, she’s no stranger to being near the top of the leaderboard as she’s tallied six top-10 finishes in majors. But this would be her first top-10 finish in a major this season.
Time for a change: Sandra Gal spent the winter making changes to her golf swing, but the results at the start of the 2013 season were far less than she desired. After failing to crack the top-15 in any LPGA event through March, Gal decided to make a change in instructors. In April, Gal began working with Gary Gilchrist, who also works with Yani Tseng and Shanshan Feng among other LPGA Tour players.
“We simplified a lot of things,” Gal said of working with Gilchrist. “So just I think doing certain drills and keeping my swing a little bit more solid and more representable being a tall player has really helped me. Like I said, I knew it was coming. I just needed to be patient this year, which was hard, but I was.”
Gal, who hasn’t finished better than T50 in her three previous appearances at the Evian Masters, got off to a solid start on Friday with her 5-under 66. It’s a representation of some good play by her in recent months, including a season-best T6 finish at the Safeway Classic two weeks ago.
The turnaround didn’t come in time for Gal to make this year’s European Solheim Cup Team, as her efforts were hampered by a rough start to the 2013 season. While she was disappointed in not being selected for the team, Gal said she understood the decision. But she seems extremely focused on being a part of that squad in 2015 when her home country of Germany is the host.
“[It’s a ] huge focus,” Gal said. “I hear everybody talk about it already, so I think it's going to be so good for German golf just so see all that excitement that's around that tournament. It's just the biggest event there is this women's golf. It would inspire so many kids in German.
“I mean, being on this team for me is a must. Just say it that way: I have to be on it.”
Six-Pack? LPGA and World Golf Hall of Fame member Karrie Webb is uniquely positioned to win her sixth different major championship this week following a first-round 68 at the 2013 Evian Championship. Webb, who has already completed the Super Career Grand Slam – winning five different major championships – has 39 LPGA victories to her name including seven total majors.
Webb completed the Grand Slam at the 2001 LPGA Championship and the Super Career Grand Slam at the 2002 Women’s British Open. Her previous major wins included the 1999 du Maurier Classic, the 2000 Kraft Nabisco Championship and U.S. Women’s Open, and the 2001 U.S. Women’s Open. She also won the 2006 Kraft Nabisco Championship.
The Aussie is tied for sixth at 3-under-par with four others, including amateur Lydia Ko, Michelle Wie, Lindsey Wright and Na Yeon Choi.
Tweet of the Day: While Golf is finished for the day, it’s time for the traditional football match #EvianChamp! -- @EvianChamp
Quotable No. 1: I'm just getting too old to waste my energy or time. Just really trying to win as many as I can while I'm young. (Laughter.)” – Suzann Pettersen on recording top-3 finishes in each of her last three events
Quotable No. 2: “He asked me, because we were in the cart, if I was able to drive. They had just changed it from 15 to 16 for the driving license, so I said, ‘Not anymore I can't. You guys changed the rules.’” – Lydia Ko on her conversation while playing golf with the New Zealand Prime Minister last year.
Of Note…Rolex Rankings No. 1 Inbee Park, who won the first three majors of the 2013 season, shot an opening-round 3-over 74 on Friday. Park also won the 2012 Evian Masters…Michelle Wie fired a 3-under 68 in Friday’s first round and sits in a tie for sixth…Rolex Rankings No. 2 Stacy Lewis shot a 2-under 69 and sits in a tie for 10th. Lewis won the last major played this season at the RICOH Women’s British Open.
MIKA MIYAZATO, Rolex Rankings No. 19
Q. Great playing today. 6 under par round leading the tournament.
MIKA MIYAZATO: Yes.
Q. What was the best part of the day for you?
MIKA MIYAZATO: Best part is putting, because I was 25 putt today. I think best finish this year. (Laughter.)
Q. Overall with the new golf course, new greens to get to know, were you surprised how well you were able to putt on them?
MIKA MIYAZATO: Pretty good job. One year is so much different the golf course. I’m really surprised.
So pretty tough condition. A little longer than last year.
Q. So with only 25 putts, were you hitting it close or were you making long putts?
MIKA MIYAZATO: Pretty close, the second shot was. I don’t know how much – maybe long putt was 30 feet, I think.
Q. Okay. So one long putt. Other than that, a lot of short ones?
MIKA MIYAZATO: Yeah.
Q. Have you been feeling your game coming together, and was today an example of your game working really well?
MIKA MIYAZATO: Pretty good is the course management. I think almost 17 green regulation today, so pretty good second shot.
Q. Yeah, really good.
MIKA MIYAZATO: That’s why, I think.
Q. Just heading into the weekend, even after only one round, but at a major, to be in the lead, what’s that feeling like?
MIKA MIYAZATO: I don’t know, but we play 36 on Sunday?
Q. Possibly, yes. But just heading in, what’s it like to see your name at the top of the leaderboard at a major? What do you think about seeing your name up there in a major championship? That’s pretty impressive.
MIKA MIYAZATO: Yes, but I want to too much thinking the result. More important is detail. Like today I had a good putt, 25 putt, so keep doing just more focus in the my golf game.
(Indiscernible) talk, but so much thinking.
Q. Have you got to do anything fun in Evian this week?
MIKA MIYAZATO: No. I came last four years, so...
SUZANN PETTERSEN, Rolex Rankings No. 3
MODERATOR: We’d like to welcome Suzann Pettersen into the interview room at the Evian Championship. 5 under par, 66. Short miss there at 18, but just walk me through your round. Seven birdies, two bogeys. Pretty darn good.
SUZANN PETERSEN: Yeah, I played pretty good today. It took forever to play. I’m just happy I maintained my concentration throughout the back nine.
Two 3 putts, two bogeys. That last putt basically just jumped straight offline. The greens are definitely better in the morning, I would probably assume. They’re fairly wet, and with all the footprints and everything, you need to have a few bounces going your way to make a few putts.
Overall playing really about good. For me it was a good day off yesterday just to recover and get a little bit of energy.
MODERATOR: Back to back birdies, 15 and 16 where you took the lead. Just take me through the last few holes there. You said keeping your composure was key to your round.
SUZANN PETERSEN: Yeah, they’re good finishing holes, though, especially with the pin on 15. I decided to layup, so that was easy to get close. Stacy was faced with a really tough third shot.
The greens are really tricky, especially the ones if you’re above the hole putting towards the lake. They’re just that much faster, so you got to be really aware and take it as it comes.
18 is a great finishing hole now. Good, solid par 4. 16, 17, 18, I think it’s a good change.
MODERATOR: What’s gotten into you the last few events? Top three in your last three, won Safeway, played well at Solheim. How do you explain it?
SUZANN PETERSEN: I’m just getting too old to waste my energy or time. Just really trying to win as many as I can while I’m young. (Laughter.)
MODERATOR: What drives you right now?
SUZANN PETERSEN: I feel like I’ve been playing really good for about a year now, pretty much since I went to – our trip to Africa. Well, pretty much since Asia last year I’ve been playing very consistent. I’m feeling good. I’m trying to get better and better. I’ve been putting in the time where I feel it’s needed.
For this moment, it’s definitely the greens, getting more confidence in my putter, and that’s pretty much what I’ve spent the most time doing pretty much since the U.S. Open. It’s nice to see that the practice and training pays off fairly quick.
MODERATOR: You’ve been playing great for about a year; you played well today. You’re going to Asia in a few weeks where you’ve played well across your entire career. As you look toward the end of the season, what’s on your mind?
SUZANN PETERSEN: What’s on my mind is to get through this week, put together a few more good scores, and take a break. It’s been a rough month for me. I’m not really 25 anymore, and this is my fifth week in a row.
Playing Solheim to start off a long stretch is probably not the best either. When you’re playing good, you just want to play. For me, I probably play my best when I play quite a few weeks in a row.
So like I said, just really trying to keep it together this week and looking forward to getting a little bit of a break before I head to Asia.
Q. With your putting, have you changed anything? Anything different about it?
SUZANN PETERSEN: No. Just that the ball drops in the hole a bit more often. Pays off on the scorecard. Few more circles.
No, not really. I just really have picked up the discipline of what I’m practicing and how I’m practicing. It’s always more fun practicing what you’re good at. I think that’s kind of part of been what I’ve done in the past.
My ball striking is for the most part my bread and butter, and it’s always easy to spend time working on that. But really just tried to be disciplined enough to put in the time and the effort to get my putting up to a level where I feel it’s good enough.
Q. Do you close your eyes still on some putts? You were doing that for a while, right?
SUZANN PETERSEN: At this moment I’m not doing it. That’s a feel that comes and goes. I feel like my practice is fairly consistent now, so I feel like what I’m trying to do is easier with my eyes open.
Q. I’ll ask then, too, we’ve seen in your career how you’ll get on runs and just be hot. Can you explain that, how that works?
SUZANN PETERSEN: Well, the guys say I’m pretty hot all the time. (Laughter.)
But if you’re referring to my golf game, like I said, I think I feel the more I play, the more rounds I put together, the better I usually score.
For me, I usually play better at the end of a stretch than the beginning. I’ve always been like that. That’s always how the beginning of the year is for me. Takes a little while before I kind of get going.
No, just grinding it out.
Q. You mentioned earlier how you’ve been feeling a bit tired and had a hectic program. Were you uncertain how your form would be in today’s round?
SUZANN PETERSEN: Mmmm, yeah. Yeah, always kind of feel – I know where I was at. I mean, I’m starting to get tired; at the same time, it’s not a problem firing up the adrenaline.
It’s easier on a day like today than in the Pro Am. That adrenaline gets you going and the gets concentration up. The whole event last week took a lot of energy; at the same time, it gives you a lot of energy, too. You see how everything works, actually use our sport help others.
So it’s just different emotions, different feelings, but it all adds up to a pretty good status as of now.
SE RI PAK, Rolex Rankings No. 41
MODERATOR: We’d like to welcome one of our co leaders, Se Ri Pak, into the interview room. Congratulations. Great 5 under par round today. Take me through the day. What were some the highlights of your round?
SE RI PAK: Well, I mean, first of all, really good to be here down and sitting here interviewing. Um, you know what? Just everything has been pretty calm and nicely. Like right now sunny day. Just everything going really smooth.
I missed – I wasn’t really miss too much shot, but just because fairway and green so soft because of the rain. That’s the help.
And especially my putting actually last couple weeks giving really, really hard time. I mean, just don’t know why. Just keep missing it. Can’t make any putt, and then you’re losing your confidence and make you a lot of trouble.
But I see my dad last week and he give my a little bit lesson because he know me – nobody know me better than him. He see it and give me a little bit tips. It really worked really perfectly, so that’s why I was really play well, because swing wise everything has been perfect, but just having trouble on the greens.
But now I’m making some good putts and good making and good up and down. That says a lot.
MODERATOR: You’ve had success here. You played really well here last year and finished eighth. I know the golf course is different now. How does the change in the golf course effect you? Does the new layout seem to suit your game?
SE RI PAK: First of all, probably everybody saying it’s lot longer than we used to play. At the same time, now lots of rain the last couple days. That gives even more longer because every shot we hitting the fairway always a (indiscernible) iron. Normally short iron, but it’s probably shortest I hit was I think 8 iron. That much been getting longer.
I mean, used to be here from fairway and kind of short golf course, a lot of undulations. But the change in golf course is a lot different than last couple years we playing. But at the same time, I think because of right now the course is set up getting longer, but as a well players having unexpect that distance wise, I think.
So that’s not easy. But still, at the same time soft. Fairways soft, greens. That definitely helps a lot. So that’s what I think good thing right now, and the other thing is really hard, too. It’s just half and half.
MODERATOR: This week marks the first time the LPGA has had a fifth major on the schedule. You’ve won the LPGA Championship; you’ve won the Women’s British Open; you’ve won the U.S. Women’s Open. Kraft had previously been the only major you hadn’t won. A win this week would give you four majors, which would be a career Grand Slam. What would that mean to add that distinction to your career?
SE RI PAK: You know, I mean, I’m pretty much long, old time players. So the Kraft, in the four majors I was looking for it, but now we got extra one more major. Now giving more better chances. I think that’s a good thing.
At the same time, if you think about it, the course I’m thinking so many years already, it’s pretty hard though. I’m trying to getting there. I knew I’m there and it’s just really not happening so far.
If happening this week, would be great. Really I’m looking forward to it. Of course three days to go. Just trying to go out there and do my best.
Q. Could you just tell us what the tip was from your father about the putting?
SE RI PAK: Actually, I was too much bending, I guess, my upper body, and at the same time arms being too rounded instead of kind of more straight to the putter. I mean, during the round you don’t really realize it, what’s wrong, this and that.
I mean, I’m trying to play well as I could at the golf course, but just I can’t fix it. I just can’t find it. I just couldn’t to make it happening. Then I was talking to my dad for last couples weeks I was in America. And, yeah, last week I was in Korea spend time with the family for couple days.
He actually see me putt and then he gave me tips about the gripping and like bending. My arms, he tell me to be a little more straighter. I think that makes it more make sense. If you do that, looks like I’m using my hands too much. So that is the most important, using too much hands, you know?
I don’t know if all players different, but for me, I think that’s the right answer for us from my dad. So I done it; I try it. Right now it’s not 100% comfortable, but, you know, I’m trying to – my dad told me everything really been happening really well, so I was listen all the time.
That’s why this week doesn’t matter if uncomfortable, I’m still working on it.
Q. You said you’re one the old timers on the tour. You’re two shots ahead of Lydia Ko who’s only 16. What do you make of her performance?
SE RI PAK: Well, she’s 16, right?
MODERATOR: Uh huh.
SE RI PAK: I play with her last year at KLPGA in December. I think that’s my first time I ever see her and first time I play with her. I was really huge impress me. Looks like she was a teenager, 16 years old. I mean, of course, you play the teenager, you know, the game, they don’t know much about the game. They don’t have the control of the game.
They just play golf. One day is good day, one day is bad day. Just great up and down. Stuff like that. But when I play with her first time, looks like she have her own game already. Only 16 years old, but she knew how to play, how to control, exactly what she was doing it.
She just impress so much for last time. And then since that, I tell everybody, I said, You know, she’s probably the best young players coming from pretty soon or later. She turn pro, probably the same thing. She gonna be very, very good. I’m pretty guarantee that. I pretty sure for her, I think she just ready to go.
Q. Can you just talk about compared to when you started your career, nowadays are you still as motivated? And the different pressures now, do you feel less pressure?
SE RI PAK: Well, yes, less pressure. At the same time, I’m still good motivation for all the young players, because they gives me great memory about the way I was that age, 20, early 20s, rookie years. I’m here, learn, play well and consistently and a lot of confidence.
Just all those when I watch it just give me a lot of good, good energies, and then I see them and just make it so proud of it. So enjoyable.
That’s why that makes me out here still, because – well, I’m still competing with all players, but at the same time, just right now so great to watch them. You know, just really happy to see them, and at the same time learn from them, too.
Because like old days is make a little bit difference, like changing stuff like that. So that makes it just keep going. You know, for me, as I say, just less pressure, but at same time I feel it’s more enjoyable.
MODERATOR: I know you battled an injury last year. Kind of off and on have had some things this year. How are you feeling right now overall health wise?
SE RI PAK: Health wise perfect right now. Last year was injury, but at the same time it gives me a little bit more break. Sometimes I’m not feeling good and I try to back off and rest it and come back full charging.
But before, a little bit injured, Ah, it’s just fine and just take it easy on it. Just a lot more learn from that last time in injury, because as long as I really like to play, I know was important thing to do for myself.
That’s why it’s a lot easy for me now to controlling what to do, how to take care, how to play. I mean, that gives – every player learn a lot by mistake. So from the injury, I actually heal there, but now I feel great. Again, I’m happy to be back in the play.
SANDRA GAL, Rolex Rankings No. 53
MODERATOR: Good afternoon everyone. We’d like to welcome our current leader, Sandra Gal, into the interview room. First off, congratulations; a great 5 under par round today on a new course that you haven’t gotten to play with all the changes much yet. What was the key to your round today, and how were you able to shoot such a great score?
SANDRA GAL: I don’t see really one key. I think I just played solid golf. Missed a couple fairways but got it back it play. I made a hit a couple long putts. Couple times I hit it stiff.
You know, felt pretty solid with my irons. I think just keeping it in play, rolling in a couple putts, and I think most importantly just having a really good mindset. I was really looking forward to this week. Been playing well the last few weeks as well, months coming up to this.
Just really enjoying myself out there. You can’t get enough of the views here. Just puts you into a really good mindset, I think.
MODERATOR: Talking about your game coming around, I know at the Safeway Classic you finished sixth – your best finish of the year so far. Was there something recently in your game that started it click? What’s been the difference offer the last few weeks where we’ve seen your game start to flourish?
SANDRA GAL: Yeah, I struggled a little bit last winter. I did make some swing changes, and it really took a while for it to kind of settle in. I knew that was going to happen, but it was just a little bit tougher than I thought.
Everything started coming around last couple months. I started working with Gary Gilchrist in April. We simplified a lot of things. So just I think doing certain drills and keeping my swing a little bit more solid and more representable being a tall player has really helped me.
Like I said, I knew it was coming. I just needed to be patient this year, which was hard, but I was.
MODERATOR: A lot of changes to the this golf course, but you hadn’t necessarily played well here in years past. I think the best finish was tied for 50th. Do the new changes on the golf course seem to suit your game? Do you think this golf course fits you better now?
SANDRA GAL: Yes, definitely. I really did not play well here before. I was very happy to see that we made some changes. It’s our fifth major now. I do think it fits me much better. It’s a little bit longer, which suits me as a little bit of a longer hitter.
As well as shaping shots to those different tiers on those greens. I think it fits my eye also off the tee boxes a little better. Very excited about those changes..
Q. You said you made changes in the winter and started working with Gary in April. Were the two not...
SANDRA GAL: Yeah, no. I started with a couple changes in the winter, and those didn’t work out quite the way I wanted to. So I did switch coaches in April to Gary. He took it from there and simplified a lot of things.
Q. You were obviously disappointed about the Solheim Cup, but your form now, do you think that’s part it of it now, that you didn’t get on the team...
SANDRA GAL: No. I was very disappointed, but it has nothing to do with how I played. Like I said, the first half of the season was not great. I knew good play was coming, I just had to be patient. So around the time of the Solheim I just started to play well, but it was obviously too late to be picked.
My good play now is just a result of a lot of hard work and a good mindset.
MODERATOR: I’m sure it was a disappointment not playing on the Solheim Cup team this year, but looking ahead to 2015 when it will be played in Germany, how much more of a focus is that for you to make that team?
SANDRA GAL: Huge focus. I hear everybody talk about it already, so I think it’s going to be so good for German golf just so see all that excitement that’s around that tournament. It’s just the biggest event there is this women’s golf. It would in entire so many kids in German.
I mean, being on this team for me is a must. Just say it that way: I have to be on it.
Q. Highlights today? Any birdies, long putts, or chip ins?
SANDRA GAL: Yeah, I was lucky to hit the hole on 14th. Downhill putt on a par 3. Just hoped it would hit the hole and it did. So that was a longer one.
I hit it fairly close and made some good putts, so I don’t think I really sunk a lot of bombs. It’s kind of what you have to do on those greens as well. When you have a longer putt you’re likely to come over a ridge, so you’ve got to just try to hit it on the right tier.
Q. As far as the course changes, probably have heard players say it’s a year away from being the way they want it. What is your assessment on it and its suitability for a major?
SANDRA GAL: Yeah, obviously we all know this course needs to mature. The changes, what Evian or the tournament did here is incredible in nine months. I mean, I really couldn’t picture it. The fact that we’re actually playing I think is a miracle.
So definitely needs another year to mature and for everything to kind of settle in, but it’s for sure very challenging. I think it suits to be a fifth major.
Q. I watched you playing, and you were like really quiet, like on the course. You were always like aside and focused. Is that the way that you concentrate the best, or do you just come out with the daylight like later on and you were just tired?
SANDRA GAL: Just wanted to go to sleep out there. No, you may not notice, but I did talk quite a bit with my playing partners. It’s more from tee it fairway, and then we all go to our shots and focus on what we do.
I think just I wasn’t trying to be quiet. It’s more that I’m peaceful. So that’s probably what you see out there. I do enjoy hitting good shots and I will talk to my playing partners. We talked about all kinds of things today. I think peaceful is a good word.
Q. You missed some makeable putts on 15 and 18.
SANDRA GAL: Yes. Thanks for reminding. (Laughing.)
Q. Reflections on that, and will we see lower scores today?
SANDRA GAL: Yeah. I mean, I’m happy with 5 under. Like you said, I did miss a couple putts. I did make a lot of them as well, so I can’t complain. There were still two, three par 5s out there that I did not capitalize on.
See, it’s always give and take. I know I made I think three birdies on par 3s, so one day you make those and one day you go in two on a par 5. It’s give and take.
Is it going to below rounds out there? I do think there will be. I do think the afternoon is going to be warm and the ball is going to fly a little bit further and the greens are going to roll out a little bit quicker.
Yeah, I mean, not necessarily an advantage, but I think just maybe a little bit smoother and faster. I do think there will be some low rounds.
Q. Talk about the challenge of the weather. You were washed out yesterday. May have to play 36 Sunday, but there is a possibility of rain. Does that add to the mental challenge?
SANDRA GAL: Yes, I think it does in a way, but I always think about it that’s it’s the same for everyone. So the more you can accept the way it is, the better you’re going to do.
I think for us, the main thing is just keeping the course in playable conditions so we’ll get those 36 holes in.
CHRISTINA KIM, Rolex Rankings No. 190
MODERATOR: We’d like to welcome Christina Kim into the interview room. Congratulations. Great 4 under par round for you today.
CHRISTINA KIM: Thank you very much.
MODERATOR: Take me through the day. What were some of the highlights from your round?
CHRISTINA KIM: Well, one, it’s just great to be back here at Evian. It’s a breathtaking, very dramatic setting. It’s just good to be back. I missed out on one major this year, one last year, so it’s kind of nice to be able to come back.
This week the golf course is really proving to be major status because it’s kicking a lot of tail out there and not really yielding very many birdies. Obviously Se Ri Pak and Sandra Gal both shooting 5 under in the morning, I honestly didn’t think that I was going to have to try and go too low, but seeing that that was even out there kind of made me turn it into slightly higher gear.
But the longest putt that I made out there was probably on hole No. 7. I pushed my third shot on the par 5 to about 23, 24 feet. I was striking it fairly decently into the greens today, so, I mean, I didn’t really have very many putts outside of 20 feet.
You know, I mean, I didn’t hit it very well. It just kind of ended up near ish the hole and then – you know, I’ve been out here many years. You know about the whole topography of the mountain. Everything kind of follows gravity and goes towards the lake a little bit extra when you look at the putts.
That still holds true, which is one of the traditions I loved about the course before they made the renovations.
MODERATOR: Having played here so many times before, with the new greens is it still an adjustment? Having known them so well before, is it taking time to read the new putts?
CHRISTINA KIM: Oh, definitely. It’s definitely different. The greens are – gosh, they’ve got to be at least 50% larger than they were back in the day. Like hole No. 13, I think, is at a par 5 now; it was a par 4. I mean the green was maybe – or I think from the very front to the back it was 21 feet, but it never played more than 16 feet because there was (indiscernible) on the left hand side where the back of the green was and a very short back of the green on the right.
And then No.6, I remember amount of times I’ve been chipping between the crabapples that they have to the right of the old greens that aren’t there anymore. So being actually on grass is kind of nice again on this hole instead of being in the foliage.
But, no, I really, really enjoy the golf course. I always have, whether it was prior to it having been announced as a major or this week. It’s been just gorgeous. We’ve had some very frustrating issues with the weather obviously, but you can tell with our agronomist, John Miller, and the golf course staff and just the will of the players and everyone just really trying make the best out of it, and you can see it is just absolutely gorgeous today.
I mean, I didn’t really think a day like this was in the forecast for us. We’ve been very fortunate.
MODERATOR: Looking at your game overall coming into this week, did you feel things were starting to coming to? Did you see a round coming like this?
CHRISTINA KIM: Well, I shot 81 in Sweden on Friday last week, so I hope no, to be honest.
No, I have some incredible memories at this golf course. I’ve almost won it a couple of times. Came relatively close, within a couple shots, so I have some wonderful, wonderful memories.
Just being in the city of Evian, and yesterday during the break Yvoire, which is like half an hour down the road, a medieval city from like the 12th, 13th century. Just there are things that you cannot do in the States that are readily at your fingertips. I just figured I would make the best out of it.
It’s the last relatively full field event of the year, the last one with a cut. I figured there was a lot at stake right now, whether it’s people getting into the tournaments in Asia which are closing on Tuesday, followed by – you know, there are maybe a dozen players that might put into play whether or not they have to go to the final stage of Q School because it’s gone outside the top 100 in terms of priority.
So there are a lot of dynamics. I think they’re things that people don’t really think about. I think about the random stuff like that. It only helps magnify the importance of this tournament.
Q. What was the major I didn’t see you at?
CHRISTINA KIM: Kraft.
Q. Kraft, okay. What did you do that week? How did it affect you not being there?
CHRISTINA KIM: I burrowed myself in a hole in my bedroom. I wept for about two days. Last year the Ricoh Women’s British Open was the first major I had missed since my rookie year. My rookie year I got into the Kraft by virtue of how I played in every major, so it was kind of a little jarring to not be there.
But no, the Kraft is also such a special tournament. I’ve also had a lot of success over there. The crowd, the people, you know, just everything, the entire atmosphere. It’s very similar to here where it’s very, very special, but just obviously Americanized as opposed to French.
I hunkered down and wept for a little while. I didn’t watch a whole lot. I don’t because you ideally would be playing or on the TV yourself.
Actually, no, I did watch a little bit because that was Inbee’s – that run that started that week. I just hunkered down and practiced a little bit. I did get to watch a little bit of it coming down the stretch.
It drove me to want to come back and not miss any more, you know. This year was the first year I had to go to final qualifying for the U.S. Open.
That sucks; 36 holes in one day. It was kind of like how the weather was yesterday, but we managed to play through it all. There was a lot of – I don’t know. It was weird. I’m back here, and that’s all that really matters. Everything I went through just really helps me relish where I am now.
Q. You feel like you’re desire is back to what it once was?
CHRISTINA KIM: My desire is different. My game plan is different. Everything is just different. I’ve gotten a lot of perspective through a lot of things that have taken place with not just myself, but very close friends out here on tour.
Even seeing players like Stacy Prammanasudh and Amy Hung and Amanda Blumenherst ending their careers this week and I’ve known them forever. Them not being here in tournaments this time next year brings a lot of perspective.
Yeah, I went through a period of time where I was trying to avoid emoting too much because you always hear, you know, paraphrasing, things called Ochocinco complex or what have you.
I said, You know what? To hell it with. This is who I am and I’m going to play the way that I play. Today I really tried to play with a little bit of wisdom, but still being able to enjoy myself.
Had a couple stupid bogeys, but was really just able to relish the fact that – I missed one, two fairways all day today and only missed maybe a pawful of greens. No, the desire is definitely back. It’s just different. I’m almost 30. I can’t wait to get to 30. All the crap you learn in your 20s.
If I could just get the Cliffsnotes version and just skip –like if I could just cryogenically freeze myself for ten years and then just be at 30, I would have been – I would’ve taken that route in a heartbeat.
No, I’m a little wiser. Maybe a little bit more not scar tissue, but just toughness out there I think I didn’t have back in the day.
Q. Can you just talk us through your round today? Sorry if you’ve already done that.
CHRISTINA KIM: No, I haven’t because I don’t remember what happened. Six birdies and two bogeys. I birdied my first hole, the 10th hole today, from like 164 yards; I hot a 6 iron to about five feet and then made the putt.
I was like, Wow. A lot of times when we’re out there if you birdie the first hole we say it’s either a 59 watch or the kiss of death. That’s what a lot of people say. If you don’t birdie within the next three holes coming in, you kind of – I don’t know, a lot of times the amount of time you finish under par when you bogey the first hole versus birdieing it, it’s an interesting number.
But birdied No. 10, and then, gosh, I’m so sorry. I don’t remember. I birdied 14 – 13, excuse me, the par 5. I hit a wedge shot to about three feet or so.
No, no, no. That was 15. I guess it was 14. Which one is 14? I’m so out of it right now. It’s just – um, 14 is – no, I parred that one.
10, 11, 12, I parred. 13, 14. Yeah, I guess my next birdie was on 15. Yeah, the par 5. I hit it to about three feet from 105 yards or so and then tapped that in. Then just played really steadily throughout day.
Birdied No. 1. They pushed us up a little bit on the tee, which was kind of nice because then you didn’t have to think about playing a 5 iron to the front edge. I had 148 yards and hit a 7 iron to about eight, nine feet or so straight down the fall line. I was pin high with the flag, so just going straight toward the like lake.
Then No. 2 I hit it to about two and a half feet with an 8 iron from a 141 yards it was playing.
Then I birdied – excuse me, bogeyed No. 6. I went from fairway bunker to greenside bunker and then just – just wasn’t the best effort with my putt. It was the afternoon. The greens were starting to get a little bit – just because the sheer amount of moisture that they’ve somehow been able to – I don’t know. It’s probably down at the lake right now. Just the fact that the course is as dry as it is is amazing.
The greens were starting to get a little bit bumpy as the day was progressing. But then followed it up with a birdie on 7, which was, again, like 23 feet or so. A poor third shot, but was able to really utilize my putter.
Then 3 putted on 8. Silly bogey. It was like 20 feet or something like that, and then three whacked that.
Then played a fun little shot on 9, which was my finishing ing hole. There was a big nodule thing? That popped onto the green that wasn’t there last year. Didn’t realize I was going to have to contend with that. Hit this kind of weird, duffy, floppy shot that just carried past it and trickled to about five and a half, six feet.
It was just straight up the chute from there. It was just a matter of making sure I got the pace to get it to the hole.
Yeah, that was about it. Not a lot happened. Hit almost every fairway and green and just plugged along. When I saw that I was on hole 4, which was my 13th hole, the last stretch, I got a little bit of a second wind just to be able to make it through the round.
Q. How would you say the new course is for your game in particular?
CHRISTINA KIM: I’ve had a lot of success here. I’ve almost won this tournament twice. I’m a dual member of the LPGA and the Ladies European Tour. I am a proud member of both. I love going around and traveling. I took one year of French in high school, but have probably learned ten times as a much by coming here and trying to speak like a stupid American. But just trying to learn the different languages.
The course, it’s beautiful. People were saying, Is it going to play easier or harder err because it’s so soft? So your ball is not going to trickle into the rough, which is very, very deep here, but you’re also going to have a longer iron into the green. Even though they’re more receptive, you still have to hit them.
It’s got 18 tee boxes and 18 cups, so I think it suits my game quite well.
Q. How are feeling about tomorrow now?
CHRISTINA KIM: You know, I’m really not focused on tomorrow. At this point, I’m just focused on right now and making sure I do the right thing to prepare myself for tomorrow in terms of going out, making sure I get enough rest.
First off tomorrow at 7:45, which is going to be not hot. Need to make sure that I’ve got layers. Going and make sure that I give myself a good meal tonight. We spend every night at Pizza Rapido down in town. There is just a line of players coming in. They must make a killing every year this week.
So we’ll just see how it goes and get some really good rest. This course can tear you a new one if you’re not watching.
LYDIA KO, Rolex Rankings No. 8
MODERATOR: We’d like to welcome Lydia Ko into the interview room. Congratulations. Great start to this Evian Championship for you. 3 under par today. Take me through the day. Were there any highlights that stuck out from your round today?
LYDIA KO: No. I did make a couple of good shots to the pin, so I had quite a few, you know, three or four feet birdie putts. I made most of them, apart from one.
I think I was really happy with my bogey on 18. Hit it in the water for my second shot, and then hit the pin for my fourth. Made up and down. So I thought double, easy double, even triple. So I was really happy about that.
MODERATOR: This is your first time playing here. You didn’t really see the golf course before the renovations. Since the changes, is this a golf course this tends to suit your game?
LYDIA KO: I do hope so. (Laughter.) I mean, the greens are very undulated. I think that’s one of the biggest things here. I’ve been trying to go on the putting green as well.
It’s playing like a medium length right now with the tees forward on some holes. Some holes can get really long, which means like a 3 wood or a 5 wood into some holes, which will make a whole different course.
MODERATOR: In terms of length, have you gotten longer? You’ve been a longer hitter, but have you seen your length increase from last year to this year?
LYDIA KO: I think so. I hope so again. I’m like 16 now, so I think this kind of time where length kind of goes a little bit further.
Yeah, I especially notice that the LPGA is playing longer and longer every year, so definitely distance is a big key.
MODERATOR: You’ve been traveling for quite a bit over the past couple months and haven’t played a ton of events. You’re coming off a victory at the CN Canadian Women’s Open, defending your title, how much confidence did that give you coming into this week into a major championship, and is it your goal increase your performance in the majors?
LYDIA KO: Yeah, coming off a really good week in Canada. I think my confidence went from here to a little higher, especially with my putting. My putting helped me today and helped me in that tournament as well.
Couple weeks have passed, and I’ve been in tournament mode for I think two weeks. Yeah, I was kind of afraid that I would lose that feel.
Yeah, you know, I haven’t played that great in the majors this year, so I really wanted to be there. My dad normally comes with me when we train like at home, and I could always see him like saying, Oh, it’s all right.
He was a little disappointed as well. Hopefully I won’t make those doubles and triples I made in other tournaments.
Q. Tell us about that little chip you played off the green at 16, was it?
LYDIA KO: Yeah. There was a highlight, too. Yeah, I hit my 6 iron and I said, Oh, my God that’s big. Thank goodness it went left so it was still on the green. When I got there, I was like, Oh, it’s not even better being on the green because I had that slope.
So I knew if I putted it like I would have to go really close to even off the green, which would kind of be risky, or I’ll go down anyway. I thought I might as well fly it and slightly kind of bump it into the hill for it to go down.
Q. You did one of those at St. Andrews, didn’t you?
LYDIA KO: Yeah. Did that at one of the holes as well and I hit it to like two feet then. Yeah, wasn’t as close, but still made pretty much up and down from there. That was really big. And Janet, the Chinese girl, she was just right of me and made two putt from there.
It was a really good hole for all three of us.
Q. Was there any time at which you three chatted?
LYDIA KO: I think it was mostly like two and two and two like that. Wasn’t like the whole three of us talking.
Q. What did you learn about your Chinese friend?
LYDIA KO: I actually played with her in the practice round, so I kind of knew. It was pouring that day. She was hitting next to the pin, so I knew she was a really good player. She played well within St. Andrews. Charley, I played with her four times out of last four tournament rounds I played. I knew she was a great putter especially.
I kind of wanted to see her posture and stuff because it’s definitely working for her.
Q. What would you and Charley chat about?
LYDIA KO: Like about what’s going to happen the next couple months, what I did before. Yeah, just a little bit of carry on chat from three weeks ago.
Q. If I remember well, a birdie on the par 5, but I’ve seen a wonderful shot on the 3rd. You hit the pin very, very close. Were you quite far from the pin on the 4th, that means you have no birdie chance on the other par 4 or...
LYDIA KO: I normally make my birdies everywhere apart from the par 5s, so today was like a whole different day for me.
I kind of hit it close to the pins on the par 5s, which gave my more opportunities. 3 was a really good shot as well the, but I didn’t hit – well, I hit one really good hybrid the par 3, 14th.
Other than that, like I hit a lot of hybrids and 6 irons and stuff today. Especially with some of the slopes on the fairways, it’s quite hard it hit it at the pin and go for it every single time.
Q. In August, your prime minister sent two messages on Twitter. The first about squash, and for you to congratulate after you win Canadian Open. What does it mean for you a girl of your age?
LYDIA KO: I actually played with the prime minister, so I kind of got to know him. We were in the same cart together so we started talking. Yeah, it was really fun.
That was at the New Zealand LPGA Championship last year. After that I saw him again this year as well. Yeah, it’s really cool to kind of know the prime minister and have met him.
My friend, like a month ago, she sent me a Snap Chat saying, Oh, my God, the prime minister is behind me playing on the driving range. I was like, yeah, I met him. Yeah, it’s really cool. It’s always cool when you get to see someone live when you’ve seen them before like the on the signs or on TV.
Q. You come from a country which is really small country, but sport is important. Have you pressure to from your country?
LYDIA KO: You know, like last year the rugby World Cup the All Blacks won it, and that was huge. And especially New Zealand, I personally think it’s a very rugby kind of country, so to me it’s like rugby, cricket, and net ball, and golf is like down here.
But New Zealand has some great golfers like Michael Campbell, Danny Lee, and so many other big names. So it didn’t give me that much pressure, because I know there were so many great players that were much better than me before in the past.
Q. How good a golfer is your prime minister?
LYDIA KO: I think he played okay. You know, obviously he doesn’t have much time to play golf. If he was out at the golf club every single day, people would say, Why are you out there and not doing the politics or the government work? I think he was a pretty good golfer.
Q. Was he nervous at playing you or were you nervous at playing with him?
LYDIA KO: I think I was nervous. He asked me, because we were in the cart, if I was able to drive. They had just changed it from 15 to 16 for the driving license, so I said, Not anymore I can’t. You guys changed the rules.
Yeah, it was really great. We’re playing in the same team, not separately, so I think that made it much more fun.
Q. (No microphone.)
LYDIA KO: 15 to 16.
Q. (No microphone.)
LYDIA KO: Yeah. Safer at 16.