JTBC Founders Cup First Round Notes and Interviews

Mirim Lee
Photo Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Mirim Lee of South Korea hits a tee shot on the fourth hole during the first round of the JTBC LPGA Founders Cup at Wildfire Golf Club on March 20, 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Mi Rim Lee, Rolex Rankings No. 92 -8
Morgan Pressel, Rolex Rankings No. 35, -7
Inbee Park, Rolex Rankings No. 1, -6
Stacy Lewis, Rolex Rankings No. 3, -6
Karrie Webb, Rolex Rankings No. 6, -6
Gerina Piller, Rolex Rankings No. 29, -6
Michelle Wie, Rolex Rankings No. 46, -6
Lydia Ko, Rolex Rankings No. 4, -5

Rookie Mirim Lee shot an 8-under 64 to take the first-round lead at the JTBC Founders Cup on Thursday but it was a “59” watch that stole the show on the first day of play at the Wildfire Golf Club.

Morgan Pressel caught the attention of the golf world as she was 9-under-par through her first 11 holes. Pressel, who started her round on the 10th hole, made the turn at 7-under after shooting a 29 on her front nine thanks to five birdie and an eagle. She then proceed to birdie the first and second holes to intensify the “59” watch.

But a red-hot Pressel ran into a speed bump on the third hole, finding trouble off the tee. She had to take an unplayable due to her drive landing in a bush. After missing the green with her third shot, Pressel made an impressive up-and-down for bogey. It was the first of two straight bogeys for the Boca Raton, Fla. native and she wasn’t able to find that hot streak again. She finished with five straight pars to shoot a 7-under 65, putting her one shot back of Lee.

“I hit a very poor tee shot and ended up kind of on the side of this little bush, and I could have hit it left handed and there were a couple of burrowing animal holes around,” Pressel said of the trouble she found on the third. “I brought them over to ask, but I didn’t honestly think that I was going to get relief, and I don’t think that I deserved it.”

Pressel was asked if the hot start had her thinking of that magic number.

“I don’t know if I was necessarily thinking 59, but I probably just got a little bit excited, because I had never been that many under par in that short of a span of time,” Pressel said. “I just got a little bit quick, and came back to earth.”

There were plenty of low numbers to be found in Phoenix on Thursday, as a total of 75 players in the 132-player field shot under-par in the first round. A number of recognizable names were found near the top of the leaderboard including Rolex Rankings No. 1 Inbee Park, defending champion Stacy Lewis, LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame member Karrie Webb and two-time LPGA Tour winner Michelle Wie who each shot a 6-under 66 in the opening round.


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Confidence booster

Gerina Piller said her runner-up finish at the season-ending CME Group Titleholders last season was the exact confidence booster she needed at the end of the year to start 2014 in the right mindset.

“I just knew that I just belong out here, and it gave me a lot of confidence,” said Piller. “I’ve only been playing golf for 14 years,” said Piller. “This is my 14th year, so where my game, I know how to hit the shots, so just my confidence is kind of lacking. So the more I put myself in position, the more confidence I get, and I think that’s where the key is confidence.”

Piller, who is in her fifth year on Tour and playing for her first career win, made some club changes and a tweak in her grip heading into this week’s event. The UTEP alum said that the transition has been seamless.

“Shaft and head,” said Piller. “It’s a completely new club. I got a new 3 wood, and I just put a 5 wood in my bag to try it out. And back home I had some putters that I had TaylorMade make me and I just tried it out and worked with my coach, just a little tweak in my grip, and just feel good. It’s rolling really well.”

Running out of gas
Lydia Ko said a lack of on-course snacks might have been the cause for slowing down on her back-nine on Thursday.

“I normally eat more than I did today, and I normally eat a lot,” said Ko. “That’s saying something. And I forgot to bring like my food and my protein bars. Let’s say that. That’s my excuse, so I’ll bring food tomorrow.”

The New Zealander opened up with six birdies and a bogey on her first nine holes on the back nine. She picked up her final birdie on the par 5 5th hole before finishing with a bogey on No. 9.

The current leader in the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year race was paired with Rolex Rankings No. 1 Inbee Park and said she wasn’t as nervous as the first time she played with the nine-time LPGA winner. She said she took in as much of the Player of the Year’s mannerisms as possible.

“I played with her at Swinging Skirts, so lucky it wasn’t my first,” said Ko. “I was
really nervous when I was playing with her for the first time, but she’s such a great player and there are so many things to learn from her. She’s just cruising her way through and making birdies there and again and 6 under it is.

“I think like her short game is really good,” said Ko. “She kind of like feels like she’s just doing it without much thought, but it’s always next to the pin or it goes in. So I mean I hope one day I’ll have that kind of feeling.”

Eyeing the Crown
Gerina Piller got a major taste of international competition when she made her first appearance in a Solheim Cup last summer and the New Mexico native said she has now turned her attention to making Team USA for another event. Piller said she thought she might be out of contention for making the inaugural International Crown team but the 28-year old said she’s doing everything to put herself in a position to represent the red, white and blue again.

“I have thought about making the team,” said Piller. “I didn’t know if it was in reach this year, but obviously play well enough, get a win, get my world ranking up, I think I will have a shot.”

Piller is the fourth player on the outside of the top-4 in the Rolex Rankings for the Americans and a win this week in Phoenix would certainly put her in the mix for the final spot. She’s currently ranked No. 29 in the world while Cristie Kerr currently holds the final spot for the United States with her No. 14 ranking. The teams will be finalized following the Kia Classic next week.

“Anytime I can represent my country, I think that just hits a soft spot in my heart and I would just be ecstatic if I was given the opportunity,” said Piller.

Player Rolex Ranking
Stacy Lewis 3
Paula Creamer 8
Lexi Thompson 10
Cristie Kerr 14
Angela Stanford 16
Lizette Salas 20
Jessica Korda 27
Gerina Piller 29

 

Inbee Park, Rolex Rankings No. 1

Q.  You turned it on there on the back nine.
INBEE PARK: 
Yeah, just on the front nine, I was hitting the ball good all day today, but just on the front the putts didn't seem like they wanted to go in.  I read a couple of putts wrong, and on the back nine I had shots a lot closer than the front nine, and obviously I holed some putts on the back nine.
           
So it was a very solid round and very good irons today.

Q.  What was your distance and club there?
INBEE PARK:
  134, pitching.

Q.  When you play with Lydia, somebody who's 16 and playing like that, what are your impressions when you watch her play?
INBEE PARK: 
Every time I play with her she's very impressive, and she's very mature for her age and her game is very mature.  She's putting really good and hitting the ball straight, and that's what you need to do out here, and looks like she's doing it.

Q.  Is there anything she does on the course that reminds you she's only 16?
INBEE PARK:
  I don't treat her like 16, because she's obviously not playing or acting like 16.  I think she's very mature person as a person and actually on the golf course as a player.

Q.  Last year was such a big year and it had to be exhausting at the end, but you seemed fresh.  Can you just talk about how you got yourself fresh and ready for this year?
INBEE PARK: 
Yeah, the LPGA season started very early this season, and I didn't want to rush and start, and so that's why I took about five weeks off and just practicing for five weeks, and I think that really freshed me up, and I feel like, you know, I was well rested and fresh to go for the first tournament in Thailand.

Q.  Did you not touch a club?
INBEE PARK: 
No.  I didn't play for about three weeks after the first.  And once I got to Australia, that's when I started playing golf.

Q.  Do you feel good about the gold coast, doing your training there for the first time?
INBEE PARK: 
Yeah.  It was something different.  I think the weather was very nice this year, and everybody there treated me very nice, so I like it.  Obviously, you know, being bred there, it helped a lot.

Q.  How important was it for you to feel like you were fresh and starting the new year?
INBEE PARK: 
You always feel fresh when you start the season, but I was a little bit exhausted last year after all the things happened, and yeah, I think just trying to relax every moment you can and obviously have good Christmas and new year with friends and family.  I think that really gives you a lot of energy to go for the next year.

Q.  What were some of the things that you did for fun in Australia again?
INBEE PARK:
  I think I just did like everything that I could do, like tourist stuff, like going to the zoo and looking at containing radios and equal as.  I did some paddle boarding and surfing.

Q.  Are you a good surfer?
INBEE PARK: 
No, I'm not.  (Laughs).  I just spent a lot of time at the beach and in the water.

Q.  Seemed like you were going for a lot of pins on the back nine.  You guys were all being pretty aggressive at the pins?
INBEE PARK:
  Yeah.  We hit a lot of short irons on this golf course.  You have to shoot low scores for four rounds on this golf course, and obviously there's a lot of opportunities here and you have to hole your putts.  And obviously on this back nine I hit a lot of good iron shots, and only mistake today was the 3‑putt on No. 3 or 4, and yeah, that was my only mistake today.

Q.  You said you felt really good about your ball striking starting the year.  Your putting wasn't as sharp.  Is the putting pretty sharp now?
INBEE PARK:
  I wouldn't say I'm putting as good as my highlight of last year, but I think it's coming.  I think it's coming.  On the front nine it was a little bit disappointing putting but on the back nine it seems like it was going in a little bit better.  I mean my putt wasn't going in the center.  I was lipping in, like three putts lipped in, and I wanted to get it right in the center, but sometimes that's golf sometimes.

Q.  Is there anything that you learned from last year about pacing yourself in terms of not to get too exhausted?
INBEE PARK:
  Yeah, last year I hardly missed any events last year, especially beginning of the year.  And this year I'm just trying to pace myself, you know, to focus on the majors.

Q.  So which events will you skip?
INBEE PARK:
  I mean I don't know for sure right now.  So I wouldn't say, because I mean I took off early in this year, so in the middle of the year probably a couple before.


Stacy Lewis, Rolex Rankings No. 3

Q.  Very solid start from you.  A nice back nine.
STACY LEWIS:
  Yeah.

Q.  Take me through the day.  What was working super well?
STACY LEWIS: 
Well, early, you know, I hit some good shots, but had to make ‑‑ my speed was kind of off on the greens, had to make some five and six footers, but actually made them, so it kind of helped get the confidence going.
           
Then the back nine for me, it just sets up a lot better.  I feel like you can kind of free wheel it a little bit and still be more open and is made a few longer putts, but all day I hit the ball pretty well.

Q.  How are the greens in everyone said they slowed down almost throughout the day.  Talked to Karrie, and she said they slowed down a little bit.  Did you see that at all?
STACY LEWIS: 
I mean I don't think it was too noticeable.  I mean it kind of happens on every golf course.  I feel like the greens kind of slow down, but I definitely ‑‑ early I was hitting putts too hard.  I just wasn't ‑‑ I didn't have the speed well, and the front nine greens also have some more slopes in them, so I think they seem to play a little faster than they are.

Q.  What part about this course do you think most suits you where you feel super comfortable?  Is you seem very comfortable, not really out of sorts too many spots.
STACY LEWIS:
  Yeah.  Overall, a lot of tee shots they setup well for me.  They fit me eye.  I just like a golf course you can make birdies on.  That's the key.
           
If you hit good shots here, you're going to have decent chances at it, and the greens are rolling so good.  It's just nice to play a really good golf course and one you can make birdies on.  It's fun for us to play and fun for people to watch.

Q.  We like watching it.  What do you think about number wise this I guess whole week?  20s do you think will be able to ‑‑
STACY LEWIS: 
Yeah, there's always low numbers on this golf course.  You know, today actually the pins were harder than I expected them to be on the first day.  So I expected to see a nine or 10‑under truthfully just because the way the golf course plays, but the pins kind of didn't allow for that.
           
So kind of depends really what they do with the setup of the golf course, but I mean it's probably at least 20 under at the end of the week.

Q.  Yeah, I was going to say, even if they have a couple of tough pins.
STACY LEWIS:
 You got it.

Q.  Thank you very much.
STACY LEWIS:
  You're welcome.

Lydia Ko, Rolex Rankings No. 4

Q.  A little stumble on 18.  You had to take a drop?
LYDIA KO: 
Yeah, I was in the hazard, and it wasn't really a playable lie out of the hazard, even though there is no water in it.  So I took a drop, and then I was going to drop on the path, so I took another drop from there, and I was under the tree still and I had to punch a shot out there, and it was a really good shot, giving myself a 15‑foot putt for par was good in that kind of situation.

Q.  I followed you on the back.  You didn't miss a shot until then.
LYDIA KO: 
Yeah.  I normally eat more than I did today, and I normally eat a lot.  That's saying something.  And I forgot to bring like my food and my protein bars.

Q.  Ran out of gas?
LYDIA KO:
  Let's say that.  That's my excuse, so I'll bring food tomorrow.

Q.  This is your first time on this course this week; right?
LYDIA KO: 
This is my first time here, and it's my first time playing this tournament and first time in Phoenix and Arizona.  So first time everything.

Q.  There will be a lot of first times for you this year.  How big of an adjustment is that week to week, learning the course, where do I stay, how do I get places?  A lot of these women have already done that for years and years now.
LYDIA KO:
  Yeah.  Even though I played like 11 tournaments last year, the majority of the tournaments sometimes they change the courses and stuff.  So I'm taking the advantage and playing those tournaments that I did play, I'm going to play it again this year.
           
And there is going to be a lot of first times.  I guess that's what the rookie year is all about, and it's the first year on tour.  There's going to be a lot of firsts.

Q.  What about playing with Inbee?  Do you enjoy that and what do you enjoy about it, if you do?
LYDIA KO: 
Yeah.  I really have fun.  I've been paired with Jess the last couple of times, so I'm more used to Jess than Inbee.  But no, I played with her at swinging skirt, so lucky it wasn't my first.  I was really nervous when I was playing with her for the first time, but she's such a great player and there are so many things to learn from her.  She's just cruising her way through and making birdies there and again and 6‑under it is.

Q.  What stands out about her game when you watch her?
LYDIA KO: 
You know, I think like her short game is really good.  She kind of like ‑‑ feels like she's just doing it without much thought, but it's always next to the pin or it goes in.  So I mean I hope one day I'll have that kind of feeling.

Q.  When you petitioned the tour last year to ask the tour to waive the age requirement, you were convinced in every way you were ready to be professionally tour ready?
LYDIA KO: 
Yeah.  I didn't really know how the petition would go.  I admit I had not been accepted, but still then I could maybe hopefully get into some other tournaments and play a little bit of kind of each tour and I guess build up.  But I was lucky enough to have that accepted, and I'm now playing here.  And yeah, I guess you kind of need to be sure, because there is no going back.
(Audio missing)
LYDIA KO: 
Having kind of like a partner with you there all the time rather than just being there by yourself and playing week by week.  Then I would feel like it's a longer week.

Q.  You said you were really nervous when you played with Inbee the first time.  You always look so calm.  How do you manage your nervousness?
LYDIA KO: 
Well, even though I'm nervous, people think I don't look nervous.  I don't know why.  I'm like trembling inside.
           
But yeah, I think the most nervous I've been was at the U. S. Open when it was at Blackwolf Run in 2012, and I couldn't line the line on my ball on the first hole.  I was getting really shaky hands, but luckily it's not that kind of huge nerves kind of thing.  It's controllable.

Q.  So how do you do that?
LYDIA KO:
  I don't know.  (Laughs).  Yeah.  I don't really have like a secret way of controlling it.

Q.  Inbee said you don't act at all 16 on golf courses.  Is there anywhere you go or anywhere where you do act 16, girl friends?  I mean just ‑‑
LYDIA KO:
  Off the course.

Q.  Do you?
LYDIA KO: 
Yeah, off the course, I get into any hotel and I'm ready for like TV.  My mom's like get in the shower.  But first thing I do is like turn on TV, look at my phone, and technology, it's good.  It's helping me out, but sometimes I think I need kind of that to kind of get away from everything.  But it's good to kind of see that there is like nobody there and you can do anything and nobody will care.

Q.  What are you watching?
LYDIA KO:
  I watch a lot of like "CSI," "Criminal Minds," and then I get like freaked out and, oh, my God, if this happens to me.  And then I keep watching it anyways.

Q.  Are you worried that's going to happen to you at some point on the golf course?
LYDIA KO:
  Well, obviously I won't be stabbed or anything on the course.  That will be way out of my imagination.

Q.  Stay close to mom; right?
LYDIA KO: 
Yeah.

Q.  What's your new putter?
LYDIA KO:
  It's a V line, Odyssey V line.  It's like face balance.  So apparently that's good.

Q.  Pardon me for not knowing, do you go to school or do you take home schooling or some sort?
LYDIA KO: 
I go to school when I'm in New Zealand, but a lot of it I did kind of ‑‑ I take English and photography, and English, I did a lot of pass papers to kind of study it, and photography just take the opportunities to take really nice photos and kind of building a portfolio at the end.


Karrie Webb, Rolex Rankings No. 6

Q.  Just give me the ins and outs.
KARRIE WEBB:
  I believe ‑‑ I haven't thought about it too much, but I think I didn't miss a fairway or a green.

Q.  I didn't think you did either.  I was about to look that up.
KARRIE WEBB: 
Yeah.  It's a lot easier to play golf when you're hitting every fairway and every green.  So felt like I actually left a few out there.  Didn't putt as well as I have been putting.
           
I thought the greens actually slowed down this afternoon, just probably, you know, after today's growth, but definitely not as fast as they were this morning.

Q.  Yeah, everybody said they were pretty skit ish, I think.  Coming into it was that something you expected?
KARRIE WEBB: 
Well, they were faster in the lead up to today than they've been ever, the three years that we've been here.
           
And then this afternoon they slowed down a little bit, but I expect them to be fast again tomorrow morning.

Q.  Anything course wise that stood out to you?  Anything on the course?
KARRIE WEBB: 
No.  I mean with these weather conditions it's like playing in a bubble, I think.  Maybe one or two yards of breeze.

Q.  I'll take it.  Low numbers, obviously the leaderboard is pretty stacked.  Anything going into the next three rounds that you think?
KARRIE WEBB: 
Well, if the conditions stay like this, you're just going to have to hit it well and make putts.

Q.  Yeah.  I think it'll be a shoot ‑‑ I think 20 something won?
KARRIE WEBB: 
Won last year.

Q.  Anything in particular you think that's super important out here?
KARRIE WEBB: 
No.  I mean if I can continue hitting fairways and greens and get back to putting it the way I have to start the year I should be in good shape.

Q.  Anything in particular on the putting that didn't click?
KARRIE WEBB: 
No.  I gotta go and sort it out.  Just not hitting my lines.  So something is off.

Q.  Just reading off or something?
KARRIE WEBB: 
Yeah.


Gerina Piller, Rolex Rankings No. 29

Q.  Here with current leader, Gerina Piller.  Gerina, 66 to open up the week.  You have to be very, very pleased with your round.  Talk about how you did it.
GERINA PILLER: 
Yeah.  I actually put some new clubs in the bag this week and a new putter, and I've always thought that I've hit the ball really well and just can't get anything rolling on the greens.  And today my putter was really hot, and gave myself opportunities.  And I just think everything today was good, off the tee, irons and chipping and putting.

Q.  All right.  Talk about the club change.  Is that the first you've made or are you more of a club changer on the fly?  How was that transition for you?
GERINA PILLER: 
Yeah.  I'm not really much of a changer, especially ‑‑ I will in the off season, but not the week off.  And I just went to Cool Clubs, and they just checked on my specs and kind of gave me an affirmation of what my clubs were.  I thought it was me, and it was actually my clubs, so I got that taken care of and I'm really confident and I feel good with all my clubs in the bag.

Q.  You have two Top 10s already this season.  Just talk about how confident you are with your game right now.  You just seem very, very confident, very at ease.  Talk about the state of your game right now.
GERINA PILLER: 
Yeah, it feels good.  The more I can get in that position, obviously the more confidence I get, and so I just keep on reminding myself that I'm good enough to be out here and I have the shots and I just need to let myself do it.
           
(Break in audio)

GERINA PILLER:  I think it's helped me.  Doesn't matter if I'm nervous or a lot of pressure.  I still know I can hit a good shot.

Q.  Did ending last year where you were so close, had a shot going into the final hole, did that make you hungrier or make you angrier?  How did that affect you going into this?
GERINA PILLER:
  Well, I just knew that I just belong out here, and it gave me a lot of confidence.  I've only been playing golf for 14 years.  This is my 14th year, so where my game, I know how to hit the shots, so just my confidence is kind of lacking.  So the more I put myself in position, the more confidence I get, and I think that's where the key is is confidence.

Q.  What did they do to your clubs?  Was it a loft thing?
GERINA PILLER:
  Shaft and head.  It's a completely new club.  I got a new 3‑wood, and I just put a 5‑wood in my bag to try it out.
           
And back home I had some putters that I had TaylorMade make me and I just tried it out and worked with my coach, just a little tweak in my grip, and just feel good.  It's rolling really well.

Q.  Was Tuesday the first day you used them then?
GERINA PILLER:
  I've been using my putter for about almost two weeks, and my new clubs I hit them on Wednesday.

Q.  Wednesday.  Really?
GERINA PILLER: 
Yeah.  I picked them up before the pro am.  Yeah, I really, really like them.

Q.  Yeah, I guess.  Who did you work with at cool clubs?
GERINA PILLER: 
Chris Thomas.

Q.  You burst on to the scene at the LPGA championship.  How did that sort of elevate or bump up or speed up your goals having done that?  Did it take you to another level right away?
GERINA PILLER: 
Absolutely.  I mean especially at that kind of course, and obviously it's a major.  I felt that, you know, I just kind of clunked along, and you're going to make a bad stroke and you're going to have bogeys, but it doesn't totally completely make you not in contention.  So especially that week.  I mean I think I was going ‑‑ I was like 20 something going into the final round, and it's not like I teed it up thinking like, oh, I don't have a shot or anything like that, or I had to make up all this ground.  But I just went out there, and it's one of those things where you play well, the results are going to take care of themselves.

Q.  Did it change the way you viewed yourself?
GERINA PILLER: 
Um, I don't think so.  If anything, like I said before, just it gave me confidence.  But golf's one of those things where you just ‑‑ sometimes it just comes all together and sometimes it doesn't.

Q.  So what do you think it would take for you to finally be confident, to be the Gerina Piller that you know you can be?
GERINA PILLER:
  Just doing what I did today, just keep myself up there on the leaderboard and put myself more in contention and not just coming back on ‑‑ I think I've ‑‑ my husband calls me a lurker.  Kind of like lurk around 20th or something and then Sunday I post a good round in the Top 10.  But I think maybe putting myself in that position before Sunday, so going into Sunday being higher than what I've been.

Q.  It's looking better and better.  Do you feel like it's better and better?
GERINA PILLER: 
I do.  I feel like with my new swing coach, and I feel like I'm a lot more consistent and everything is just ‑‑ it just feels better.  I wouldn't say it's easier, but it's easier than it was prior.

Q.  Who is your new swing coach?
GERINA PILLER: 
Mike Wright.

Q.  Mike Wright?
GERINA PILLER
:  W‑R‑I‑G‑H‑T.

Q.  How long have you been working together?
GERINA PILLER:
  We just finished a year.

Q.  And I walked in late.  What are the new clubs and what were you playing?
GERINA PILLER:
  I had an old RBZ, and I just switched to the new JetSpeed, 3‑wood.  And then I had an Adams hybrid that was fairly old, and I really, really liked it, but I just wanted to get just a little better.  And so I switched to 5‑wood jet speed from TaylorMade.

Q.  Have you thought about international crown at all?  You're kind of one of the Americans right in the mix, I know.  A really high finish or a win would jump you into that.  You got your first taste of playing for team USA at Solheim.  Is that something you've thought, I really want to make this team?
GERINA PILLER: 
I have thought about making the team.  I didn't know if it was in reach this year, but obviously play well enough, get a win, get my world ranking up, I think I will have a shot.

Q.  Right in the mix.  What would that mean to you coming off of a Solheim win?  You said it meant a lot to you, but to turn it around and kind of come out of nowhere if it you could get a spot?
GERINA PILLER
:  Anytime I can represent my country, I think that just hits a soft spot in my heart and I would just be ecstatic if I was given the opportunity.
           

Morgan Pressel, Rolex Rankings No. 35, -7

MORGAN PRESSEL:  ...shots on the first two holes, got a nice little bounce and then made a 12‑footer, and I'm like, okay, well, we can still make birdies, and continued to do that.  So I made a lot of putts.  I mean I hit good shots as well, but I certainly made a lot of putts on that back nine, made a nice, I don't know, 50‑footer or so for eagle on 15 and had a lot of other chances as well, but I'll certainly take that 9‑under through 11 holes, and it wasn't the finish that I would have hoped for, but it gives me a little bit of confidence knowing how many birdies I can make and I'm capable of.
THE MODERATOR:  Can you remember a time when you ever got off to that hot of a start, and when you are 9‑under through 11 holes, do you start thinking, we all have that magic number in our head, do you start thinking about that?
MORGAN PRESSEL:
  I don't know that I've ever gotten off to that hot of a start.  I don't know that I've ever gotten off to that hot of a start.  I don't know that I've ever shot 29.  I could look that up.
           
I don't know if I was necessarily thinking 59, but I was just ‑‑ I probably just got a little bit excited, because I had never been that many under par in that short of a span of time, and I just got a little bit quick, and came back to earth.
           
THE MODERATOR:  Can you take us through the unplayable lie a little bit?  I know you had a kind of discussion with the rules official.
MORGAN PRESSEL:
  Well, I hit a very poor tee shot and ended up kind of on the side of this little bush, and I could have hit it left‑handed and there were a couple of burrowing animal holes around, and I brought them over to ask, but I didn't honestly think that I was going to get relief, and I don't think that I deserved it.
           
And so I ‑‑ it was a little bit too risky of a shot to try and hit it.  So I decided if I took two club lengths, I could still get to the Green, and so I made a safer choice and took the unplayable lie.
           
THE MODERATOR:  Pretty impressive bogey still there, when you have to take an unplayable.  Had to feel pretty good about that one when you walked away.
MORGAN PRESSEL: 
Definitely that seven or 8‑footer I made for bogey, it's like okay, next hole.  Dodged that with a bogey and we can make some more birdies coming in.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions for Morgan.

Q.  What were you doing on the range that you weren't too excited about?
MORGAN PRESSEL: 
What I did on the back nine.  (Laughs).  I was just hitting ‑‑ and it's been that way for a few days.  I'm working a lot on my golf swing, and it just ‑‑ it hasn't quite been where I want it to be, and even came out ‑‑ this is the first time I've ever done this.  I changed my whole routine.  I was out a couple hours early today and just hit balls, maybe an hour, hour and a half almost.  And trying to fix it, just texting Ron trying to get a feel for something, and I didn't really have it going to the tee.  So I didn't know what to expect.  Like I said, I had no expectations.
           
And the shot that I figured out how to play, sometimes when I try and ‑‑ when I try and hit a draw and I get stuck it goes way right.  So I just said, well, we'll just play the fade.  So I just kind of aimed down the left and played a little bit of a fade which was unusual for me, but it was a way I could keep the ball in play and it worked for 11 holes.

Q.  So will you go back to the range then?
MORGAN PRESSEL
:  Uh‑huh.  Rock's waiting for me.
THE MODERATOR:  Well, for someone who hasn't had the swing, didn't you have a hole‑in‑one last week?
MORGAN PRESSEL
:  I did.  I had a hole‑in‑one.  I was playing with Rock and my husband, Andy.  And it was fun.  It was exciting.  Always nice to have an ace.

Q.  Morgan, can you just speak to the upward trending of your game since you had your wrist problems?  And is this just more encouragement?
MORGAN PRESSEL: 
Definitely.  That's why I can't get too upset about my back nine.  The more I put myself in position like that, the slower I'll be with my tempo and I won't get quite so quick.
           
And on top of the ball striking, today I putted lights out.  So if they all can come together more often, then I'll be better off, and I feel like I'm in a good place on the golf course.  I enjoy being out there, and like I said, I'm working a lot on my golf swing and working on getting in better positions to hit better shots and be more consistent.  And it's a slow process, but I think that I'm gaining on it every day, and I mean I'm on the range a lot.  And it's nice to be healthy and be able to do that with my wrist.  And I just ‑‑ I feel like I'm getting better, both mentally and physically.

Q.  Do you feel like your game and the confidence has returned to where you feel good about winning, trying to win?
MORGAN PRESSEL: 
Definitely.  I feel like I'm in a place where I mean I've played well the first four tournaments of the year, and you know, again, today, without what I thought was a good game, I played well and I put myself in position for the weekend.
           
I mean first round, you know, it's the first round.  There's three more days, but it's definitely a confidence builder, and the more rounds, like today, I can ‑‑ and even the more tournaments, like Singapore, put myself in position coming down the stretch.  I did the same in Australia.  The more I can do that, the more comfortable I'll be, and I definitely feel like I have the ability to win again.

Q.  What's your all‑time low round at any age?
MORGAN PRESSEL: 
62.

Q.  When was that?
MORGAN PRESSEL: 
In high school state championship.  A long time ago.

Q.  That counts.  Then in terms of putting, I was talking to Paula a little bit the other day about when she first came out on tour, people said that the aggressive nature of her putting would go away as scar tissue that had developed over the years.  Missing, in other words.  Do you feel like you're putting like you were as a kid now?  Does that feel like that's coming back, that confidence?
MORGAN PRESSEL: 
Well, yeah, I mean I just feel like I'm seeing the line really well, starting the ball where I want to.  I changed my putting grip in Singapore, and I feel like it just gives me a little bit more of a consistent roll.  And I just stand over a putt and try to hit it where I want to and if it I misread it, I misread it, but I'm hitting really good strokes and my speed has been good.  It's funny because Paula texted me and I texted her back and I said you inspired me.  I went out there and tried to putt like you.  I didn't make any 75‑footers, but I made a couple of long ones.

Q.  What's your putting grip?  What did you do?
MORGAN PRESSEL: 
It's not a big change, but I took my left hand from my finger being like this to my finger being down the shaft.  Sounds like a huge change ‑‑ I mean doesn't sound like a big change, but helps me keep my hand going through a little bit better.

Q.  (No microphone).
MORGAN PRESSEL: 
Yeah.  She texted me and I texted her back.

Q. THE MODERATOR:  Any more questions for Morgan?  All right.  Let's get you to the range.
MORGAN PRESSEL: 
All right.  Thanks.  Gotta go work on it.

Michelle Wie, Rolex Rankings No. 46

Q.  All right.  66.  Very strong opening.  Talk about the round, the eagle on the front nine.  Can you give us the details on that?
MICHELLE WIE: 
For sure.  I just couldn't really get anything going the first couple of holes, and I think that eagle really kind of got me going.
           
It was good.  I hit 3‑wood, 5‑iron over the green and then chipped in.  So that was a good chip‑in.

Q.  So you think that was the booster on the front nine that kind of got things going?
MICHELLE WIE:
  I think so.  I think it was also the 3‑putt on the next hole that kind of got me going as well.  That too.  (Laughs).

Q.  What about the round?  You had five birdies after that.  Any of them that stood out?
MICHELLE WIE: 
No.  I just, you know, nothing really.  I just hit a lot of wedges in today.  It was really firm.  Just a lot of wedges.

Q.  How was putting?  Everybody is saying the greens are quick.
MICHELLE WIE: 
Yeah, the greens are quick.  Just miss a lot of them.  Hopefully saving up for tomorrow and the weekend.  But yeah.

Q.  How was playing with Webb and Pettersen?
MICHELLE WIE: 
Oh, I was really excited coming in today playing with Suzann and Karrie, two of my favorite people, and I look up to both of them, and I just made a lot of birdies out there, so that was a lot of fun.

Q.  What about, you say you're always so comfortable now.  You're feeling very comfortable with your game.  Anything this week coming in did you feel was going to be your strong point in particular?  You had a couple weeks off.
MICHELLE WIE: 
Yeah.  Just recharged my batteries a little bit after Asia.  Just excited to be on the West Coast, or close to the west close.

Q.  Close enough.
MICHELLE WIE:
  Close enough.  West side of the country.  And it's just, you know, it's a fun golf course.  You know, it's good to see the founders, I think.  It's just great to see them.  Kind of puts things in perspective, like what they've been through to put us in this situation, so we're just thankful for them.  And I think it's a great week in general.  We get to celebrate the founders, so I got excited this week.

 

Mi Rim Lee, Rolex Rankings No. 92

Q.  That was a wonderful round.  I was talking to Paul, and he said your iron shots were really the key to your great round.
MIRIM LEE: 
Yeah.

Q.  With your swing what was really good about your iron shots?
MIRIM LEE: 
Everything was good.  So today putting was a little bit not good.  Everything was good, yeah.  Good day.

Q.  You said not a lot of long putts.  Short putts?
MIRIM LEE:
  Yeah, just two, three long putts.  So today not no difficult today.  Easy today.

Q.  You got off to a really good start, like birdieing seven I think of your first nine holes in that stretch.  Did you feel good on the range when you were hitting?  Is it?
MIRIM LEE:
  Yeah.  Practice round and today morning I hit really good.
           
It was good.  So everything is just good.

 

 

 

 

Topics: Notes and Interviews, Lee, Mirim, Pressel, Morgan, Lewis, Stacy, Ko, Lydia, Park, Inbee, Piller, Gerina, LPGA Founders Cup [+]

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