LPGA LOTTE Championship Presented by J Golf
Ko Olina Golf Club
Kapolei, Oahu, Hawaii
Third-Round Notes and Interviews
April 18, 2014
ANGELA STANFORD -13, Rolex Rankings No. 17
MICHELLE WIE -9, Rolex Rankings No. 23
HYO JOO KIM -9, Rolex Rankings No. 34
Rolex Rankings No. 17 Angela Stanford extended her lead to four shots after carding a 5-under 67 in the third round of the LPGA LOTTE Championship Presented by J Golf. Honolulu native and No. 23 Michelle Wie (70) and 18-year old sponsor invite Hyo Joo Kim (69) are in a tie for second while 16-time Tour winner Cristie Kerr (70) sits in solo fourth at 8-under par.
No. 1 Inbee Park, No. 7 So Yeon Ryu and American rookie Amy Anderson are in a tie for fifth at 6-under par and seven shots off the lead.
Wind continued to be a factor at Ko Olina Golf Club and Stanford said she was happy to pick up three birdies on the front nine to get her momentum going for the final stretch.
“I didn't think the wind was blowing as hard when we started, so it was kind of nice to get out there and get a little bit of a rhythm,” said Stanford. “It really picked up on the back. So it got tough towards the end just because it was windy and it started to become a really long round. But for the most part, my putter my putter was great again, so that was a lot of it.”
Stanford ranks third in the field in putts (80) through three rounds. Her only bogey of the day came on the par 4 10th hole but followed it up with three consecutive birdies on Nos. 11, 12 and 13. The 14-year LPGA Tour veteran said her birdie streaks this week are a bit lucky and credits the layout of the course at Ko Olina.
“I just like some of these holes and I think every golfer will tell you, when you play different golf courses, there are some holes you like and some you don't,” said Stanford. “I'm fortunate that the ones I like are grouped together, so that's fine nice. The ones I don't like are kind of bookends.”
Stanford has some good history with leading or co-leading after three rounds. All five of the Texan’s wins have come when she was atop the leaderboard after 54 holes. She’s made 51 starts since her last victory at the 2012 HSBC Women’s Champions.
After dropping three shots back after Stanford’s stretch on birdies on the back nine, local favorite Michelle Wie bogeyed the par 4 18th hole to fall four shots off.
“Yeah, left a couple of shots out there today, but I have one more day and hopefully tomorrow I'll make a lot of birdies and catch up to her,” said Wie. “It's going to be fun tomorrow. Ideally going into tomorrow I wouldn't want to be this far behind. I think it'll make it more interesting tomorrow. Just go out there and try to make some birdies early on and see what I can do.”
Any player on the LPGA Tour would expect to be the underdog heading into the final round paired with local favorite Michelle Wie. But Angela Stanford knows she’ll have at least four fans in a gallery of her own. Her parents, Nan and Steve, made the trip to Kapolei as a 40th anniversary present to themselves and are joined by Angela’s aunt and uncle out on the course.
“My dad's first time in Hawaii,” said Stanford. “So my mom has her hands full because he's not for much for vacation. He's having a good time. They are enjoying watching golf. But my aunt and my uncle are here also.”
Stanford said it never gets old having her parents cheering her on even in her 14th year on the LPGA Tour. She said having them in the crowd during the final round on Saturday while the rest of Hawaii cheers for Wie will be a comforting factor.
“They planned it around the golf tournament since they were coming,” said Stanford. “It's nice to have them here. I think they are just I mean, it just never gets old, I guess. You love having your parents around because there's that comfort. And I know all of Hawaii is routing for Michelle tomorrow, so I know I got a few hometown in the crowd tomorrow.”
Eye on the big stage
Hyo Joo Kim said her goal at the beginning of the week was to finish in the top-10 at this week’s event. Even now that she’s within striking distance of recording her first LPGA Tour victory, the 18-year is going to stick to her game plan.
“I'm not going to change my goal today or tomorrow,” said Kim. “The Top 10 is still my goal, but anything I know where I am now and anything that happens from this point on, and if I finish better than top 10, that is a bonus and I will have a good time.”
Kim is playing in her third LPGA LOTTE Championship and she finished T12 in 2012 and tied for 9th last year. The 18-year old is playing on a sponsor exemption and plays primarily on the KLPGA where she was named the Volvik Rookie of the year in 2013. If Kim were to win tomorrow she would have the opportunity to claim membership immediately. Asked if she is looking to take her game to the LPGA, Kim said she hasn’t looked down the road that far but says the LPGA is the ultimate goal.
“My plan this year is if I play well, you know, in my own tour today, my goal was to come to the LPGA through Q School,” said Kim. “Obviously at the end the day, I want to be at the LPGA. This is big stage, and I want to come play at the LPGA. So if it happens, we'll see what happens. I definitely eventually want to come play on the LPGA Tour.”
Eagles for a cause
“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.
Ayako Uehara recorded the lone eagle of the day during Friday’s third round and came on the 15th hole. Her eagle brings the total money raised this year to $82,000. Through the first seven tournaments prior to LPGA LOTTE Championship, $81,000 had been raised.
Quote of the Day
It would be a lot of fun. It would be awesome. I'm just not going to think too far away head. I have a lot of work ahead of me for tomorrow. Just see what I can do. I'm going to play my hardest and just play my heart out tomorrow and see what I can do. –Michelle Wie on what it would be like to win her third LPGA Tour title in her home state of Hawaii
ANGELA STANFORD, Rolex Rankings No. 17
THE MODERATOR: It is my pleasure to welcome in our third round leader Angela Stanford into the interview room. 5 under, 67 today, had the lead going into the final round at 13 under. Talk about the round today, how you felt, just another solid round out of you.
ANGELA STANFORD: I didn't think the wind was blowing as hard when we started, so it was kind of nice to get out there and get a little bit of a rhythm.
It really picked up on the back. So it got tough towards the end just because it was windy and it started to become a really long round. But for the most part, my putter my putter was great again, so that was a lot of it.
Q. Bogey on 10. What happened there?
ANGELA STANFORD: You know, I misjudged the wind there. The hard part about and I did it a couple of times. The hard part is you're going into these crosswinds, if you decide to hit a shot that you are trying to hold into the wind, it's not going to go as far. I didn't hit the shot that I wanted to. Probably should have hit a different club, but it's okay.
Q. Another streak on the back nine of birdies. What is it this week about catching fire, catching that momentum? Five in a row yesterday, three in a row yesterday on the back nine. Three in a row again on the back nine today. What has been the key to keeping the momentum, getting a birdie and staying in the groove of that?
ANGELA STANFORD: I just like some of these holes and I think every golfer will tell you, when you play different golf courses, there are some holes you like and some you don't. I'm fortunate that the ones I like are grouped together, so that's fine nice. The ones I don't like are kind of bookends.
Q. Parents are here this weekend. Talk about having them here with you. When was the last time they were able to come out and visit? It's your dad's first time in Hawaii.
ANGELA STANFORD: My dad's first time in Hawaii. So my mom has her hands full because he's not for much for vacation. He's having a good time. They are enjoying watching golf. But my aunt and my uncle are here also.
It's kind of my parents' 40th wedding anniversary gift to themselves. They planned it around the golf tournament since they were coming. It's nice to have them here. I think they are just I mean, it just never gets old, I guess. You love having your parents around because there's that comfort. And I know all of Hawaii is routing for Michelle tomorrow, so I know I got a few hometown in the crowd tomorrow.
Q. I'm going to assume patience is important for conditions like this. Growing up in Texas, I'm going to assume you know how to slice the ball in these kind of conditions and keeping it lower or whatever. Is that something that you are aware of out there?
ANGELA STANFORD: Yeah, I think sometimes it's just about taking one more club and being okay with the ball getting up in the air.
So I think growing up in Texas, I hit it low anyway and it's a disadvantage at some golf courses, but here in Hawaii it helps. So sometimes I let it get up in the air and I let the wind help me. I think that's been the fun part this week is I've gotten to hit so many different shots.
I kind of get lost in the round because there's not a single shot that's the same.
Q. What would be your mindset sitting on a 4 shot lead going into tomorrow? How will you approach the final? Will you do the same thing you have been doing?
ANGELA STANFORD: Honestly, I didn't realize it was a 4 shot lead. Again, I just think it's so it got hard there in the end. Sometimes you are just trying to hang on. I think it's just going to be hard enough as it is to play. So hopefully that's going to work to my advantage because I'm going to be so wrapped in just trying to hit golf shots.
Q. How is the elbow or the forearm?
ANGELA STANFORD: It's getting better. The physio guys are awesome. I felt better tomorrow. I told them when I came in yesterday that I was pushing nine or ten pain wise. Today when I walked in it was about seven. They are doing a great job and it's nice to have them here.
Q. What about the difficulty of following up a really good round like you did yesterday. A lot of times you see people and they go right back up to a 77 or whatever? How difficult is that?
ANGELA STANFORD: I guess I didn't think about it. I hate to sound like a broken record, but it's so different every day.
Even though the wind seems to be blowing from the same direction, I caught myself telling my caddie a few times it's not the same wind. I thought it was, but it's not.
I think just because each day is so different that anything can happen any day, and I you know, it helps me because I need to play one shot at a time.
Q. You and Michelle were neck and neck for a while there and you separated a little bit on the back nine. What did you observe from Michelle's game today?
ANGELA STANFORD: That there's not enough space. I can't create enough space between her right now.
I tell you, the shot she hit on 12 was cool. I told my caddie that. I'm like, "That was cool." Not many people can do that.
I played with Michelle at Kraft this year the first two days, and I told her, as we finished on Friday, that I need a good pairing. I enjoy playing with Michelle. She's fun to watch. So not that I'm watching her, but it's she hits it different, and she hits some creative shots out there. For me, it's fun because I like watching that and I like do doing that too.
Q. Keys for tomorrow? 18 holes left.
ANGELA STANFORD: You know, I really just need my putter to stay hot. I don't know the weather. I don't know what the wind is supposed to do. I think I need to keep hitting good putts. That's been the story the last two days. For me, I feel like it's about my ball striking. If I could hit it good then I would play good. For the first time, it's been my putting and it's kind of fun.
MICHELLE WIE, Rolex Rankings No. 23
THE MODERATOR: My pleasure to welcome Michelle Wie into the interview room. 2 under today, just talk about overall the round today, how you felt coming into the final stretch. Obviously not the last hole you wanted to finish on but get us through the day.
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, left a couple of shots out there today, but I have one more day and hopefully tomorrow I'll make a lot of birdies and catch up to her. It's going to be fun tomorrow.
Q. Coming into the final round, does it change your game plan when you're going to be coming from behind? I know sometimes that helps people. You are not going to be off the radar, let's just be honest. Do you think it's less pressure coming from behind?
MICHELLE WIE: I mean, ideally going into tomorrow I wouldn't want to be this far behind. I think it'll make it more interesting tomorrow. Just go out there and try to make some birdies early on and see what I can do.
Q. Did you feel like you were putting yourself in position to potentially cash in on several birdies there?
MICHELLE WIE: Oh, yeah, a lot of birdie opportunities today. It was one of the head scratching days where I'd hit putts. I'd hit it the perfect speed, right where I want to and then it go completely off the direction. So I had some putts, hit some bombs, hit some wind, just one of days where it was really my day to do it, just stay patient out there today.
Unfortunately I made a bogey on the last hole. It's just one of those days where hit good shots and need to do the same thing tomorrow and be patient.
Once the flood gates open, they'll hopefully.
Q. You are no stranger to large galleries, but I think you had a really good, large supportive one today. Can you comment on that a little bit?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, it's great. Crowds were bigger today than they were yesterday. Hopefully they'll be bigger tomorrow. I love the support from the people. I love a lot of my friends came out today, family and friends came out. It was nice seeing them. Hopefully a lot will come out tomorrow. It was great. It was a lot of fun.
Q. Game plan for tomorrow? Keys to the round? Obviously you said putts weren't dropping, so work around the greens?
MICHELLE WIE: I just need to stay patient. The speeds today were good. Keep doing the same thing I'm doing, keep giving myself chances and really cash in on them.
Q. Have you done the visualization of you winning in Hawaii? Can you think of what this place would be like if you were to end up on top?
MICHELLE WIE: It would be a lot of fun. It would be awesome. I'm just not going to think too far away head. I have a lot of work ahead of me for tomorrow. Just see what I can do. I'm going to play my hardest and just play my heart out tomorrow and see what I can do.
Q. I think you went to the putting green right after your round. Did you feel like you were able to shake off any frustration you might have had or get a betting feeling ending the day like that?
MICHELLE WIE: I think the moment that I shook off my frustration was right when I pounded the driver. That always makes me feel better.
HYO JOO KIM, Rolex Rankings No. 34
Q. Another good day. How did you feel about the round overall?
HYO JOO KIM: I had another great day today. I started today with a birdie, so it was a great start. I felt good, my shot felt good. It seems like I keep screwing up on the 18th hole, the last hole. So tomorrow hopefully I have a better finish on the 18.
Q. What was working for you very well today? What was the part of your game that was good?
HYO JOO KIM: It was one particular thing that really worked out for me today. When the situation asks for whether it's a great save shot, when I had the birdie opportunities, the things just worked out for me when there was situations I had to take care of.
Q. What about the putting? I know your said your putting has been good this week. How was the putting?
HYO JOO KIM: Good as usual, except for this one.
Q. So tomorrow I'm assuming your biggest goal would be to birdie 18?
HYO JOO KIM: All I want is a par.
Q. So you'll probably be in the final group tomorrow. Do you think you have any nerves? What is the goal going into tomorrow now that you're in contention?
HYO JOO KIM: I think it's going to be a lot of fun. Obviously both pros that I'll be playing with are pretty long. They are superstars. I think I will be a little bit nervous but it will be great day and I'm going to have a lot of fun.
Q. Do you think that will be a good advantage for you being under the radar? You will be the underdog, do you think that will help with the pressure?
HYO JOO KIM: You know, I'm kind of indifferent. I think if I hit some good shots, I'm sure the crowd will cheer me on. I know that I have to make good shots to be cheered on and they will be cheering for the other two players. It's fine. I won't worry about it.
I usually don't spend too much time or attention on the gallery anyway. So if I hit well then they will cheer me on and I'm ready to go.
Because they are both pretty long hitters, as soon as I hit my shot I'm going to get ready for my next shot because I know it's coming.
Q. At the beginning of the week you said your goal was to do Top 10. Now you are the hunt to possibly win. Do you change goals now? Do you think tomorrow you are gunning for a win?
HYO JOO KIM: I'm not going to change my goal today or tomorrow. The Top 10 is still my goal, but anything I know where I am now and anything that happens from this point on, and if I finish better than top 10, that is a bonus and I will have a good time.
Q. Have you thought anything about becoming a LPGA member if you were to win? I know that's a little far out, but if you were the win would you take membership right away?
HYO JOO KIM: My plan this year is if I play well, you know, in my own tour today, my goal was to come to the LPGA through Q School. Obviously at the end the day, I want to be at the LPGA. This is big stage, and I want to come play at the LPGA. So if it happens, we'll see what happens. I definitely eventually want to come play on the LPGA Tour.