Ko Olina Golf Club
Kapolei, Oahu, Hawaii
Second-Round Notes and Interviews
April 17, 2014
ANGELA STANFORD -8, Rolex Rankings No. 17
MICHELLE WIE -7, Rolex Rankings No. 23
CRISTIE KERR -6, Rolex Rankings No. 11
HYO JOO KIM -6, Rolex Rankings No. 34
Rolex Rankings No. 17 Angela Stanford shot the tournament low round of 64 on Thursday to take the second-round lead at the LPGA LOTTE Championship Presented by J Golf. The five-time LPGA Tour winner improved her score from the first round by eight shots and leads fellow American and Hawaii native Michelle Wie by one at 8-under par. Wie shot a bogey-free 5-under 67 on Thursday and sits in solo second at 7-under par. World No. 1 Inbee Park, No. 7 So Yeon Ryu, 16-time LPGA Tour winner Cristie Kerr and sponsor exemption Hyo Joo Kim of South Korea are tied for third at 6-under.
Steady winds continued at Ko Olina Golf Club on Thursday but not as severe as early on in the week. Average winds continued between 12-18 miles per hour while gusts reach consistently in the high 20’s.
Stanford used two birdie streaks on both the front and back nine to close out with eight birdies and no bogeys. She had five consecutive birdies on Nos. 3-7 and picked up her final three in a row on Nos. 11, 12 and 13.
The round of 64 was Stanford’s lowest round since the 2013 Marathon Classic where she shot the same score in the third round. Her career low is 62 in the first round of the 2008 Safeway International. When asked when the last time she played this well, the Texas Christian University alum said the round was long overdue.
“I guess it's been a while,” said Stanford. “I can't really remember. It was nice to have today because I've had these stretches where I've played good in a round and then I'll make a bogey or two and kind of lose my focus. So it was nice when I had a couple long par putts to make or when I had to get up and down, I did. It was nice to be in that zone all day.”
“But today was about putting,” said Stanford. “Finally I got comfortable on these greens and it felt great. I mean, to see that the ball go in that much is a lot of fun. It was nice to see. I needed a round like that.”
Stanford has had a good history when holding the 36-hole lead. Four out of her five career victories came when leading or co-leading after the second round. Stanford ranks third in putts per green in regulation this week and had only 25 putts on Thursday. She said she’s always felt comfortable playing in the wind and something she’s naturally taken care of in her swing.
“I think it's more about putting,” said Stanford. “I hate to admit this, but I don't always control my trajectory on purpose. It just kind of happens. When I start getting into the wind, and I've talked about this with my instructor, for some reason my body just starts moving into the ball more and I tend to keep it lower. It may just be growing up in Texas and that is how you grow up playing golf.”
Wie said the wind still definitely played a factor on Thursday but good club selection and course management were key to her round of 67.
“It was still windy but not crazy windy as it was yesterday afternoon,” said Wie. “I'll take 5 under par. I knew I could have made a couple more birdies out there on the last couple of holes, but I'll take it. I think Duncan (my caddie) did a really good job on course management. I think we there's a lot tucked pins today. You kind of played it safe on a couple, made some putts. Then I think it was just good course management.”
Angela Stanford had low expectations of what would become of her second round at the LPGA LOTTE Championship after the Texan retweaked a muscle strain in her right forearm struggling to open a bottle of wine. Stanford said she strained it last week at San Francisco International Airport trying to put her luggage on a cart.
“Again, it hurt so bad this morning that I was just trying to make contact and get it around, and sometimes that helps because your expectations go way down,” said Stanford. “So I was really just trying to navigate my way and not be out there any longer hitting my more shots that I had to.”
The five-time LPGA Tour winner said the Tour’s medical team worked on her arm before her 8:00am tee time and lined her arm with physio tape.
“It's just the top of my forearm is sore,” said Stanford. “My guess is it's a muscle strain is what I think it is. I don't have the technical term. The guys upstairs don't seem worried about it. They're going to work it out. If they are not worried, I'm not worried.”
It won’t be the first time Angela Stanford and Michelle Wie will battle it out on the weekend in Hawaii. The American duo was paired in the final group at the 2009 SBS Open at Turtle Bay which Stanford eventually won by three shots. The 14-year LPGA Tour veteran reminisced on some of the memories she had when she won her fourth LPGA Tour title.
“I think some my best memories of Turtle Bay were hitting some shots down the stretch and being in a place where it is windy and having to hit the ball really high sometimes and having to hit the ball really low sometimes,” said Stanford. “I can still remember that final nine holes in 2009 just because I had to hit so many different shots and I did. So it's nice to have those memories.”
Michelle Wie has already had a busy week playing the role of hometown hero at the LPGA LOTTE Championship but the Honolulu native will even have more responsibilities after the tournament ends. The Stanford grad will be hosting a charity ping pong tournament on Saturday night after the conclusion of the LPGA event and will be raising money for the Hawaiian State Junior College Scholarship Fund.
“The background story is that we were at the I hosted the HSJGA Tournament of Champions at Grand Wailea,” said Wie. “And two years ago we were out someone's house on Maui and Greg Nichols (Ko Olina General Manager) and I got into this heated ping pong match. I lost unfortunately. But it was tight. But we were talking about new ways to raise money, didn't want to do the same thing every year. We're trying to think of something fun, and then we were like what about ping pong. So it kind of came about and we got a couple of the girls to support the event.”
The event named “Wie Love Ping Pong” will feature eight LPGA Tour pros and secured Hawaii Five-0 actor Daniel Dae Kim to make an appearance.
“It's going to be a lot of fun,” said Wie. “Kind of like a boxing arena kind of thing. I think Mark Rolfing is going to referee the whole match. We'll have a DJ playing. I think Uncle Bo is having some pupus out there. It's going to be a lot of fun. It helps out the Hawaiian State Junior College Scholarship Fund, so that's great.”
Wie said she hasn’t seen most of the pros’ ping pong games but mentioned Cristie Kerr as the early favorite.
“I don't know. It's hard to tell,” said Wie. “Cristie Kerr is pretty good. I myself am not horrible. So I don't know. I think it will be fun.”
A total of 77 players made the cut which fell at 4-over-par 148.
Quote of the Day
“It was like a slow buildup the whole day. I was really determined. I just wanted to keep the momentum going. I was very focused today” –Cristie Kerr on her bogey-free 6-under 66 on Thursday
Of Note…Vicky Hurst was disqualified after the first round due to signing an incorrect scorecard…Natalie Gulbis and Haley Millsap both withdrew due to injuries…Xiyu Lin was disqualified in the second round due to an infraction of Rule 20-7.
ANGELA STANFORD, Rolex Rankings No. 17
THE MODERATOR: It's my pleasure to welcome in Angela Stanford into the interview room. 8 under today. Had to be pretty fun, little bit of a birdie fest. Take us through this round and how you managed to deal with the wind today.
ANGELA STANFORD: Well, honestly, I was just trying to make it through today and I think maybe that helped my mentality is just one shot at a time.
Hit a really good shot on 3 and basically had a tap in birdie.
4 had another good shot.
The downwind par 5, hit two really good shots. Actually had to make about an 8 footer for birdie.
6 and 7, I just hit two really good approach shots in there and I guess I just had a really good feel for the greens today and made those two putts.
The back, same kind of thing on 11. Hit a really good shot in there, made the putt.
12, hit a great shot and actually made about a 20 footer there for birdie.
Then 13, made a good birdie putt there and missed a couple more opportunities. So it was a lot of fun.
Q. When was the last time you felt like you had to be in the zone, very long stretches of birdie runs? When was the last time you felt completely on automatic?
ANGELA STANFORD: I guess it's been a while. I can't really remember. It was nice to have today because I've had these stretches where I've played good in a round and then I'll make a bogey or two and kind of lose my focus. So it was nice when I had a couple long par putts to make or when I had to get up and down, I did. It was nice to be in that zone all day.
Q. Talk about the mindset coming in. Had the injury, retweaked. You thought you wouldn't be able to get through today. Do you think that helped that you had no expectations?
ANGELA STANFORD: Again, it hurt so bad this morning that I was just trying to make contact and get it around, and sometimes that helps because your expectations go way down. So I was really just trying to navigate my way and not be out there any longer hitting my more shots that I had to.
Q. Back in Hawaii. You are a winner here at Turtle Bay. Talk about being back in the state of Hawaii. Everybody loves coming here, just the atmosphere. Talk about coming band and having some good memories here.
ANGELA STANFORD: I love it here. I mean, I love Hawaii. Very relaxed. My parents just landed about an hour ago. So kind of a good feel today. I'm excited to see them and hang out with them in Hawaii. My dad has never been to Hawaii.
I just had a good I was excited about today and I just enjoy being here.
Q. A little bit of up and down season so far. You missed two cuts and then came into Kraft and played great. Was that momentum that came off of Kraft and continuing here?
ANGELA STANFORD: Yeah, I think so. Sometimes I get a little off track, whether it's my golf my golf and off the course, I was working on some things personally. It was nice to go back to place that I was familiar with it. That might have something to do with here. There is just some comfort in that. It was nice to play well at Kraft and then come here and be familiar with this place and keep playing good.
Q. What's the injury?
ANGELA STANFORD: I don't know the terms. I don't know the exact medical term. It's just the top of my forearm is sore. My guess is it's a muscle strain is what I think it is. I don't have the technical term. The guys upstairs don't seem worried about it. They're going to work it out. If they are not worried, I'm not worried.
Q. What are your best memories about Turtle Bay in 2009?
ANGELA STANFORD: I think some my best memories of Turtle Bay were hitting some shots down the stretch and being in a place where it is windy and having to hit the ball really high sometimes and having to hit the ball really low sometimes.
I can still remember that final nine holes in 2009 just because I had to hit so many different shots and I did. So it's nice to have those memories.
Q. When was the wind worse back then or the last two days?
ANGELA STANFORD: I thought the beginning of this week is as hard as I've ever seen it blow here. It can blow at Turtle Bay. I think yesterday and today are probably more normal. Beginning of the week, I kept thinking oh, boy, we're in for it if it keeps blowing like this.
Q. You keep hearing that you're such a great wind player. Clearly you are doing something right. What is the priority when you have to play in that kind of breeze?
ANGELA STANFORD: I think it's more about putting. I hate to admit this, but I don't always control my trajectory on purpose. It just kind of happens. When I start getting into the wind, and I've talked about this with my instructor, for some reason my body just starts moving into the ball more and I tend to keep it lower. It may just be growing up in Texas and that is how you grow up playing golf. I don't know.
So a lot of that just kind of happens as I go.
But today was about putting. Finally I got comfortable on these greens and it felt great. I mean, to see that the ball go in that much is a lot of fun. It was nice to see. I needed a round like that.
Q. What are your thoughts about you and Michelle, you spent the week together in 2009 playing together. What have you seen from 2009 to now, what have you seen as far as her career?
ANGELA STANFORD: I've always been a big fan of Michelle. I think she does things to the golf ball that 95 percent of the Tour can't do. I've always said that. I think she had to figure it out on her own.
I think you can be overcoached and overmanaged and over everything. It's obvious she has talent. Sometimes it takes the player to figure out how to find it. I've always been a fan. I think she's figuring out how to control her ball. She's figuring out to play. It's not always about how you swing; it's how you play. So I've been impressed.
She takes she has a lot of attention on her all the time. She handles it very well. I've always been a fan.
Q. After you won in 2009, that's about when you started your Foundation, I think?
ANGELA STANFORD: Uh huh.
Q. Last year you took off this week for you, it sounds like. And you talk about Michelle's perspective over the last years. When does that perspective come? When do you start realizing what type of stuff is important?
ANGELA STANFORD: I think, as bad as this sounds, sometimes failure and you start to figure out what makes you happy and who in your life makes you happy. And I think that's a lot of it.
So many times these young players come out here and they don't know what it is to fail yet. And that's what I think is that's what Michelle and I aren't extremely good friends, but if I were one of her goods friend I'd be the most proud of her for always getting back up.
To the media, she's failed at times. To the media, she hasn't lived up to whatever. But she keeps getting up and she's playing great. I think that's cool. I think when people in this game there are highs and lows and it's how you come back from though lows.
For me, I've been out here 14 years and I used to think, man, I'm old and I but now it's a blessing. It's a blessing that even with this injury, I'm like I've been so blessed to have those ups and downs. Sometimes that's perspective, when you look back and you say I'm still going and I still have a chance.
Q. As you are going through a round like that, do you keep an eye on the scoreboard or do you block that out and not pay attention to what the numbers are at that point or what people are doing behind you?
ANGELA STANFORD: I think on Thursday and Friday not as much. I think on they say Saturday is moving day. I think somebody will go low tomorrow, one or two people or whatever.
And then Sunday you got to kind of watch a little bit. At a place like this, with the wind blowing, and I'm assuming it's going to below the next two days, you have so much on your plate just trying to figure out what shots to hit and whatever, I found myself not looking at it as much just because I'm working so hard on every shot.
Q. Coming off of a round like that, do you try to put today's roundabout behind you and move forward and move to the weekend or do you play off how good a round you played today and try to replicate?
ANGELA STANFORD: I think I'm going to try to play off my putting. I'm going to take all the good from my putting and all those feelings with me. The way I hit the ball and the way the golf course plays is obviously going to change the next two days. So I'm going to take the good from the putting with me.
MICHELLE WIE, Rolex Rankings No. 23
THE MODERATOR: Well, it is my pleasure to welcome in Michelle Wie. 5 under today, 7 under total. One shot off the lead. Have to feel very good about the day today. A little less windy?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, it was still windy but not crazy windy as it was yesterday afternoon. I'll take 5 under par. I knew I could have made a couple more birdies out there on the last couple of holes, but I'll take it.
Q. I know you said you feel comfortable this week. Obviously you're home. Something about playing in Hawaii that feels more relaxed. I know me coming here it was hard to think I was going to work. It feels like you're on vacation. Do you feel more relaxed being from the state of Hawaii?
MICHELLE WIE: Last week I was very relaxed. This week, I think I'm trying not to put so much pressure on myself. I'm trying to go out there and have fun.
I definitely saw a lot of support from the crowd. They were cheering me on. I definitely felt that. It was a lot of fun.
Q. No bogeys. Where were you feeling strong about not getting into troublesome spots and not picking up any bogeys today?
MICHELLE WIE: I think Duncan did a really good job on course management. I think we there's a lot tucked pins today. You kind of played it safe on a couple, made some putts. Then I think it was just good course management.
Q. I know coming home you said you are getting really well fed, plenty of good dishes. Give us the one good spot to eat in this area and your best meal so far this week?
MICHELLE WIE: That's tough. Wow. My first thought is Uncle Bo's, it's really close to my house. I feel like I always drive by Leonard's and I cry because I can't have it. Shaved Ice is a must. Went to Matsumoto’s last week. But a lot of spots. I can go on. I can go on and on about foods.
Q. Can you talk on 13? That kind of did like a full 360 around the cup. Could you just talk about that putt?
MICHELLE WIE: That putt was really, really, really fast. It was downwind, down grain, downhill and I just barely touched it and I think the crowd rolled that one in for sure.
I thought it lipped out for sure, and it just kind of went around then, and so it was awesome.
Q. Looking forward to the weekend. Obviously some more low numbers today rather than yesterday. The conditions probably calmed down a little bit. Any number in your head going into this weekend? Obviously last year was kind of a birdie fest. People were shooting to go low. Is that an approach that you are going to take super aggressive this weekend?
MICHELLE WIE: I'm just going to see how it is the next couple of days. I think the wind is definitely a big factor out here.
Just kind of take it hole by hole, day by day, try to not to look too forward. Just try to stay in the present really and not get ahead of myself.
Q. You are playing hostess this weekend. I have to ask. You gave it a plug this week, but tell us the details about you event which is very cool. How did you get into the thought to do ping pong?
MICHELLE WIE: Well, the background story is that we were at the I hosted the HSJGA Tournament of Champions at Grand Wailea. And two years ago we were out someone's house on Maui and Greg Nichols and I got into this heated ping pong match. I lost unfortunately. But it was tight.
But we were talking about new ways to raise money, didn't want to do the same thing every year. We're trying to think of something fun, and then we were like what about ping pong. So it kind of came about and we got a couple of the girls to support the event. They are going to be out there, and it's going to be one of us and one amateur.
Happy to say that we got Daniel Dae Kim to be one of the participants as well. And it's going to be a lot of fun. Kind of like a boxing arena kind of thing. I think Mark Rolfing is going to referee the whole match.
It's going to be a lot of fun. We'll have a DJ playing. I think Uncle Bo is having some pupus out there. It's going to be a lot of fun. It helps out the Hawaiian State Junior College Scholarship Fund, so that's great.
Q. Who is the early favorite? Who do we look out for that's got their top ping pong game on Tour?
MICHELLE WIE: I don't know. It's hard to tell. Cristie Kerr is pretty good. I myself am not horrible. So I don't know. I think it will be fun.
Q. I have two questions. First of all, what's the best thing on the menu at Uncle Bo's? And the second question is Angela shot really great out there today. Are you having visions of 2009?
MICHELLE WIE: I think that everything on the menu is pretty good, but I have to say the six little piggies is my favorites on his menu. The (indiscernible) pig fried rice is also really good too.
I'm just so excited. I love playing with Angela. We have a great time together. I'm looking forward to it. I hope we get to play together tomorrow.
CRISTIE KERR, Rolex Rankings No. 11
Q. Less windy today?
CRISTIE KERR: On the front 9, I would say it's a bit less windy. On the back it definitely picked up. Now it's similar to what it was yesterday. It was good to get out in the morning. We had a lot of wind yesterday. I would say it was just slightly less. Overall today I played really well.
Q. Anything that stuck out birdie wise, momentum wise throughout the round?
CRISTIE KERR: It was like a slow buildup the whole day. I was really determined. I just wanted to keep the momentum going. I was very focused today.
Q. I asked Eric yesterday, first trip for me. I was on your flight. And I said he was like a superstar. Coming into this, just managing him on a big trip, has that helped?
CRISTIE KERR: It's been pretty easy. It's great when we have help. We have a great friend helping watch him. I get more rest actually when we have people with us than I do at home. I was exhausted last week.
Q. Putting wise, what was
CRISTIE KERR: I made a lot of putts, made a lot of putts. Made a great putt on 16 and 17.
Q. How long were those?
CRISTIE KERR: 16 was about 12, 13 feet and probably about the same on 17.
Made a great 2 putt on 18. Made a lot of good putts for par and those are good momentum keepers.
Q. Headed into the weekend, anything change?
CRISTIE KERR: Do the best I can. Just keep grinding and going to be windy the next couple of days too and keep our head down and keep going. Keep the ball out of the wind.
Q. Couple of people said the greens are a little slippery.
CRISTIE KERR: There were a couple faster putts today, but depends on where you're putting from.
HYO JOO KIM, Rolex Rankings No. 34
THE MODERATOR: I would like to welcome in Hyo Joo Kim into the interview room. Another great round, 2 under today, not as good as yesterday but still stuck with it. Tell us how you felt throughout the entire round today.
HYO JOO KIM: I expected it to be a better round today, but it turned out to be worse. But I'm doing all right.
Q. Talk about the birdies. You got off to a good start. Talk about the front nine. How did you feel coming into the round today?
HYO JOO KIM: I start out good but as I progressed, I lost confidence.
Q. At what point in the round did that happen, do you think?
HYO JOO KIM: I had attempt to make a birdie, but I couldn't make it to a birdie. So that's the point when I kind of struggled.
Q. What hole was that?
HYO JOO KIM: From the 8 hole, I started to make mistake, but I got bogey.
Q. What are you going to try to do tomorrow and the weekend and minimize mistakes and not try to make as many mistakes?
HYO JOO KIM: I plan to have birdies all the time, whenever I have a chance. You know, it's windy outside so that's a big factor.
Q. You said your putting was good yesterday, do you think it was just as good or worse today?
HYO JOO KIM: I like the putting that I performed today.
Q. What are you going to try to do tomorrow and Saturday? What is your game plan? Anything specific you want to do better?
HYO JOO KIM: I think golf course is more slippery than other golf course, so I'm going to play I'm going to overhit it when I putt.
Q. Are you used to playing in winds like this or is this very windy for you?
HYO JOO KIM: I had a few matches last week and it was kind of windy, as well. So I'm used to it.