Honda LPGA Thailand Third Round Notes and Interviews

Anna Nordqvist
Photo Credit: Thananuwat Srirasant/Getty Images

Honda LPGA Thailand
Siam Country Club, Pattaya Old Course
Chonburi, Thailand
Third-Round Notes and Interviews
February 22, 2014

Anna Nordqvist -11, Rolex Rankings No. 27
Inbee Park -7, Rolex Rankings No. 1
Michelle Wie -7, Rolex Rankings No. 60
Catriona Matthew –4, Rolex Rankings No. 13

Rolex Rankings No. 27 Anna Nordqvist continued her stellar play in Thailand this week and extended her lead to four shots after a third round 5-under 67 at the Honda LPGA Thailand
. Nordqvist’s three-day total of 11-under par puts her on top of a star-studded leaderboard including No. 1 and defending champion Inbee Park and two-time LPGA Tour winner Michelle Wie who sit in a tie for second at 7-under par.

Nordqvist started the day with a one-shot lead and got started quickly with a birdie on the par 4 2nd hole. But two missed putts for birdie within three feet each and a bogey on No. 5 knocked the Swede’s momentum before the turn.

Wie, who was playing one group in front of Nordqvist, took the outright lead with her third and final birdie of the day on No. 10.

“I took the lead, I saw that,” said Wie. “But, yeah, I need to make a couple more birdies. There were a couple birdie holes coming in. I didn't really take advantage of the drivable par 4 (15th hole) today. But birdies are out there. Just got to be consist of the, not too aggressive on some holes, and got to make the putts tomorrow.”

Nordqvist turned things around immediately on the back nine and regained the lead with an eagle on the par 5 10th hole. The 26-year old said she hit the perfect fade with a 3-wood on her second shot and left a six-inch tap in.

“Any time you can tap an eagle you're pretty happy,” said Nordqvist. “I mean, I watched the leaderboard and saw nobody was really running away,” said Nordqvist. “But I knew there were a couple birdies on the back nine, but the wind picked up a little bit so made it a little bit tougher.”

She extended her lead to two shots with a birdie on No. 12 and to three shots on No. 15. After finishing with a bogey on the final hole in yesterday’s second round, Nordqvist said she wanted to make up for it on Saturday. She sank a five-foot slider to push her lead to four.

“I finished a bogey yesterday so a little bit of a revenge going into 18 today,” said Nordqvist. “Great shot from 50 yards up to the pin. Felt really good to make it and to leave the 18th green with some good mojo and can't wait for tomorrow.”

World No. 1 Inbee Park put herself in great position to defend her title and to have a chance to win in her first LPGA Tour event of the 2014 season. The reigning Rolex Player of the Year admitted to having some rusty spots in her game the first two rounds but looked back to form after a 5-under 67 on Saturday.

“I was like four or five back behind the leader (to start), so last couple days been like a little bit of rusty from five week break,” said Park. “I think just a little bit of everything didn't really work out last two days. I was just trying to work things out and get used to the tournament feeling. That's what I did today.”

“I feel like I'm a lot more comfortable and a lot less nervous.”

Stacked at the top: Nordqvist holds a four-shot lead with 18 holes to play but has a group of established winners trailing.
Six multi-win players are within six shots of the lead: Inbee Park -7 (9 wins), Michelle Wie -7, (2 wins), Yani Tseng -5 (15 wins), Cristie Kerr -5 (16 wins), Lydia Ko -5 (2 wins) and Lexi Thompson -5 (3 wins).

Third-round leader Anna Nordqvist said earlier this week that she was close to quitting the game toward the end of the 2013 season. But she found new motivation in the off-season and with some equipment changes has felt reenergized with her game. The two-time LPGA Tour said holding the lead heading into Sunday means a lot to her and means her off-season training has paid off. She made it clear after her round that she’ll be doing everything in her power to notch win No. 3 this week.

“I'm a competitor so I love to compete,” said Nordqvist. “Everyone who knows me knows I hate to lose.”

Nordqvist has led or co-led after three rounds only twice in her career and ended up winning on both occasions. Her two wins came in her rookie season in 2009 and has made 95 starts in between her last victory at the LPGA Tour Championship and this week.

“Definitely you got to be it's a tough position to be here, but the more you're in it the more comfortable you get,” said Nordqvist. “I think the great players out there, Inbee, Stacy, they've been up there so many times so they look pretty comfortable out there. For me, it's a matter of keep putting myself in those positions and the win will happen eventually.”

Moving on up: Catriona Matthew made the biggest jump of the day on Saturday with a 7-under 65. The Scot was blemish free through 17 holes and was on pace to tie the tournament record of 63 until a double bogey on the par 5 18th hole. She was nine shots off the lead and jumped from T33 into a tie for ninth.

“I gave myself a lot of chances and just holed them all today,” said Matthew. “Then obviously a disappointing way to finish. I would have taken 65.

Two-time Honda LPGA Thailand champion and former world No. 1 Yani Tseng took advantage of moving day as well, carding a 6-under 66. She’s six shots off the lead and looking for her first win since the 2012 Kia Classic.

Top Thai: Sponsor invite Thidapa Suwannapura is currently the top Thai player in the field after her second consecutive 2-under 70 today. She sits in a tie for 19th at 3-under par. With a strong finish this week, Suwannapura will help secure her spot on the team for Thailand in the inaugural International Crown. She currently sits in the fourth spot on the squad based on the current Rolex Rankings.

Show me the eagles… Eight total eagles were made today in the third round of the Honda LPGA Thailand and players raised $8,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project as part of the season-long Wounded Warrior Project® Weekends.

Par 5 1st hole: Brittany Lincicome (+2), Jessica Korda (+6)
Par 5 10th hole: Anna Nordqvist (-11)
Par 4 15th hole: Catriona Matthew (-4), Suzann Pettersen (-2), Brittany Lincicome (+2), Brittany Lang (+2), Jessica Korda (+6)

The eight eagles today pushes the season-total to $39,000.

Wounded Warrior Project® Weekends is a season-long charity program that will be tied into the Race to the CME Globe. Each Saturday and Sunday at LPGA tournaments, CME Group will donate $1,000 to Wounded Warrior Project® for each eagle that is recorded. This amount will increase to $5,000 for each eagle during the weekend of the CME Group Tour Championship and a formal check will be presented to the Wounded Warrior Project® during the trophy ceremony at the CME Group Tour Championship. To get involved and learn more, visit woundedwarriorproject.org.


INBEE PARK, Rolex Rankings No. 1

Q. Very strong start. Two birdies. Take me through the birdies.
INBEE PARK: 1st hole was about 77 yards, sand wedge, and hit it to less than a foot. Tapped it in.
No. 2, what did I do? I hit 8 iron to five, six feet, and holed that.
No. 8 was a missed green to the right and didn't get it up and down to the bunker.
No. 10, I chipped it to about a foot.
No. 11, iron shot, 8 iron to four feet.
12, 7 iron to six feet.
13 was about 9 iron to a foot.

Q. So all very short putts.
INBEE PARK: Yeah. I hit a lot of great iron shots out there today. I think I still left four or five birdies out there.

It was very good ball striking day, but obviously putter wasn't as hot as the ball striking. 67 is still a very good score.

Q. What were you thinking coming into today?
INBEE PARK: Just I was like four or five back behind the leader, so last couple days been like a little bit of rusty from five week break.

I think just a little bit of everything didn't really work out last two days. I was just trying to work things out and get used to the tournament feeling. That's what I did today.

Yeah, I feel like I'm a lot more comfortable and a lot less nervous.

Q. How badly did you want to get a good start this week? Being defending champion, did you think, I really, really want to do well, or did you want to ease into this?
INBEE PARK: Being your first tournament you want to think that this is only a start so you don't need to win, you don't have to play so well.

But I had a start like last year where I won the first week and had such a good season, so just know that if I can win this week it's going to be a very good lucky charm.

So, yeah, think it'll be a very good start. I felt so comfortable last year after winning this event. That made my year. Yeah, I think it would be nice if I could do that again.

Q. Be kind of a rerun.
INBEE PARK: Yeah.

Q. Going into tomorrow you're two back off Anna. You have a number in mind going into tomorrow?
INBEE PARK: I think I shot exactly the same number until today. Last year I shot like 5 under, 1 under, 1 under, and this year was 1, 1, 5. So last day, 5 under. Yeah, what's what I'm shooting for, or maybe one better than last year would be great.

Like I say, these three rounds been great for first event. I'll just do my best tomorrow. Even if I don't win, there are 30 more events left.

Q. How about the weather today?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, a lot hotter. Obviously the fairways were a little bit drier so the balls were running. Course was playing a little bit shorter.

Yesterday and day before was really wet and it was playing quite long for me, so I was hitting a lot of long irons and not giving me a lot of birdie putts.

Today was tougher day, but golf game worked out much better because I was able to have a lot more opportunity.

Q. You said you were nervous coming into this week. Did you expect that?
INBEE PARK: Yeah. Always like the first week back is always nervous. I usually get that on the first day and last day when I'm in contention.

Obviously I got through the first day, and one more day to go tomorrow.

Q. You think you'll be a little nervous tomorrow?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, I think so, because this is only first week back. I think everybody else will be.


CATRIONA MATTHEW, Rolex Rankings No. 13

Q. Not the finish you wanted, but what a day.
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah, I gave myself a lot of chances and just holed them all today. Then obviously a disappointing way to finish. I would have taken 65.

Q. Yeah. Talk about the first round 76. Did you do any regrouping?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Australia missed the cut but felt I hit the ball as well as I have done. Then 76, you know, it was just one or two bad shots here and there but overall had played well, so I knew it was coming.

Q. What about the weather today? Dry up a lot of the greens? Change course conditions?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Not a whole lot, no. I think probably the humidity probably keeps the greens that wee bit softer.

Q. Yeah. What off season for you? A lot of family time? Down time?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah, played the (indiscernible) event first week in December and didn't touch a golf club again until January. Went away for an intensive five day practice. Just a little rusty.

Q. Yeah, absolutely. Dust it off. Coming into this season, throughout your career do you take more time as the career goes on to spend time with the kids?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah, I suppose these last few years. I've always taken a break in the winter, but I won't play more than three in a row and try and go home for two. I'll play less than most people, but still a fairly full schedule, 22 events.

Q. Nine shots back coming into today. Did you have any game plan?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: No. I mean, obviously nine back I just wanted to go out there and try and get as low a number as I could. Can't say I was really thinking about getting up there with the leaders, but I wanted to go out and try and build and get a couple of good rounds for next week.

Q. Run me through the eagle on 15.
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah, nice driver to 12 feet.

Q. A lot of scorable holes on this course. Coming down into Sunday, is there a number you think you might need to put together?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Always tough to say. There are some scorable holes and some tricky holes. 16, 17, and then 18, they're tricky holes.
So you just never know. You just got to take your chances I think when you get them.


ANNA NORDQVIST, Rolex Rankings No. 27

MODERATOR: Like to welcome our third round leader into the interview room, Anna Nordqvist. Anna, solid 67 for you today, 11 total. Four shot lead. Did you see it coming today?
ANNA NORDQVIST: I played really well yesterday. Just couldn't seem to get anything going. Played pretty solid front nine; missed a couple short putts.

But you just try to stay patient. Finally got some momentum on 10.

Q. Talk about the two missed putts, probably three feet each just about. How important is that to put that behind you and kind of continue on, don't let that get in your head?
ANNA NORDQVIST: I got a great start with a good birdie on 2. On 5, hit a great first putt and just thought it was going to go straight but it didn't.

So just missed it there, but tried to keep going.

I hit a great wedge shot on 7 and missed that, so that was a little bit of a momentum killer.

You just try to hang in there really after that shot.

Q. Talk about the shot on 10 to set up the eagle. Take us through that entire hole. Had to be a turning point in the round.
ANNA NORDQVIST: Yeah, took a really aggressive line off the tee. Tried carrying it as far right of the bunker as I could. I think I had 220 to the pin. A little bit into the wind.

I hit a perfect fade, and I think it was within a couple inches. Obviously that was huge for my round.

Q. Fairway wood?
ANNA NORDQVIST: Yes. 3 wood.

Q. Six inches?
ANNA NORDQVIST: Yeah. Any time you can tap an eagle you're pretty happy.

Q. Yeah. Strong back nine. Watching the leaderboards at all? I know Michelle took the lead after her 10 holes. Did you take a peek at that? Did that give you a boost on the back nine?
ANNA NORDQVIST: Yeah, I mean, I watched the leaderboard and saw nobody was really running away. Matthew had a good round. She was up there.

But I knew there was a couple birdies on the back nine, but the wind picked up a little bit so made it a little bit tougher. 10 is a great birdie hole and I had eagle, so that made a great par putt on 11.

So from there it was pretty solid. Then hit my driver on the green on 15 to get a pretty easy birdie there. So, you know, you just try to be aggressive. I was rolling the putter really well on the back, so I gave myself a lot of chances.

Q. Birdie on 18 has to be nice. How much of a momentum booster is that going into tomorrow?
ANNA NORDQVIST: Yeah, I finished a bogey yesterday so a little bit of a revenge going into 18 today. Great shot from 50 yards up to the pin. Felt really good to make it and to leave the 18th green with some good mojo and can't wait for tomorrow.

Q. You've been leading the tournament all three days. Are you comfortable being up in the front?
ANNA NORDQVIST: Yeah, I mean, it's great week. It's only my second tournament this year, but seems like the work I've been putting in this winter has been paying off. I'm very where my game is at right now. Just can't wait for the season.

Couldn't ask for a better position going into tomorrow.

Q. Did you lead or co lead after both of your wins?
ANNA NORDQVIST: Yeah, I think I was a little bit behind when I won Tour Championship. But any time you have a couple strokes or you're in contention going into Sunday, that's all you can ask for.

Q. Is that an acquired mentality to have, to be excited to have the lead going into the third round with your experience?
ANNA NORDQVIST: Yeah, I'm a competitor so I love to compete. Everyone who knows me knows I hate to lose.

Definitely you got to be it's a tough position to be here, but the more you're in it the more comfortable you get. I think the great players out there, Inbee, Stacy, they've been up there so many times so they look pretty comfortable out there.

For me, it's a matter of keep putting myself in those positions and the win will happen eventually.

Q. Last wins were in 2009. How much would a win here, especially at the beginning of the season, mean to you here?
ANNA NORDQVIST: Yeah, I mean, I just try to take one day at a time. There is not much that I can do other than my best tomorrow.

Definitely starting off the good year with some momentum, that would be a really good start.


MICHELLE WIE, Rolex Rankings No. 60

THE MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Michelle Wie into the interview room. Michelle, great 69 in the third round here at the Honda LPGA Thailand. Right in the mix. Three shots off the lead. Take us through the day today.
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, I had a really fun day today. Playing with Stacy and Sandra, really fun group. It was good. Couple hard pins; couple easy pins.

Didn't really take advantage of the par 5s like I wanted to, but I can't really complain about it.

Hopefully tomorrow I'll just have a lot more birdies.

Q. Probably final group tomorrow. How good does it feel to be in the mix, that all the hard work paid off and you're going into Sunday with a good chance of winning?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, yeah, it's fun being in contention, I think. Being in the final group on Sunday, you kind of work hard Thursday, Friday, Saturday to get yourself in that position.

So I'm just going to go out there and have fun and try to take the most advantage of it.

Q. It's a loaded leaderboard right now. You took the outright lead after 10 holes. Watching the leaderboard at all? Is that giving you an extra push to get things going?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, I took the lead, I saw that. But, yeah, I need to make a couple more birdies. There were a couple birdie holes coming in. I didn't really take advantage of the drivable par 4 today.

But birdies are out there. Just got to be consist of the, not too aggressive on some holes, and got to make the putts tomorrow.

Q. Last win came in 2010. How badly this off season did you readjust your goals or make any type of adjustment mentally to say, I really, really want to get that third win? Two under your belt. What do you think it's going to take to get No. 3?
MICHELLE WIE: I think just not thinking about it. I took a really nice mental vacation this off season. Went home for five weeks and didn't take my clubs. Just worked out a lot and was active. Did a lot of active resist I guess my trainer called it.

I know I want it. It's not a question to me how much I want it. It's just a question when I go out there tomorrow it's another day. Just going to go out there and try to take advantage of being in contention and make a lot of birdies and we'll see what happens.

I really want that win, but I'm not going to put the added pressure on myself.

Q. You have recommitted yourself to fitness.
David Donatucci, talk about what your regimen has been like with him?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, you know knock on wood I finally feel healthy. I've been through a lot of injuries where I couldn't work out or hurt myself working out or whatever. So I finally feels good to be healthy knock wood.

But it's good. I work out with him. It's just fun.

Q. I heard he kicks your guy's butts essentially. He's tough.
MICHELLE WIE: Six days a week.

Q. Tomorrow do you have a number in mind? What do you think it might take to come out on top?
MICHELLE WIE: Like I said before, you really have to take advantage of the par 5s here. They're birdieable holes. If I do that tomorrow, I think I'll be good.

Couple good par holes. Just go out there, and my main goal is to take it shot by shot and not think too far ahead and have fun out there and make a lot of birdies.

Topics: Notes and Interviews, Nordqvist, Anna, Park, Inbee, Wie, Michelle, Matthew, Catriona [+]

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