Manulife Financial LPGA Classic Final Notes and Interviews

Inbee Park
Photo Credit: Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Lydia Ko of New Zealand pours water on Inbee Park of South Korea and her caddie after Park won the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic at the Grey Silo Golf Course in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

Manulife Financial LPGA Classic
Grey Silo Golf Course
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Final Round Tournament Notes
June 8, 2014

Rolex Rankings No. 2 Inbee Park (-23)
Rolex Rankings No. 13 Cristie Kerr (-20)
Rolex Rankings No. 1 Stacy Lewis (-15)

After a year’s absence, Inbee Park picked a heck of a way to storm back into the winner’s circle Sun- day, setting an LPGA final round record for a winner with a blistering 10-under-par 61 to come from two strokes behind entering the final round to secure her first win of the season at the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic. Park finished at 23-under-par 261, three shots clear of Cristie Kerr in second.

Her career-low and course record 61 matched the third round of Hee Young Park, the 2013 champion, from a year ago, but Park’s came when it mattered most.

“It never gets old. Obviously, my last win on the LPGA Tour was last year about this time a year ago and it sure felt longer than a year,” Park said. “I came really close a few times, but I couldn’t hold the trophy for last year, so just really happy that I finally got that down.”

Park trailed by two to Shanshan Feng entering Sunday but tied Feng with her fourth birdie of the day on No. 7 and took the lead on No. 8 with another birdie. She wouldn’t let up from there, making birdies on four of the first five holes on the back nine to pull away. She capped off the round with a birdie at the last to finish off the 61. Feng finished in sole possession of third at 18-under-par after a final-round 68.

“Seems like today, you know, I put my putter behind the ball and it just went in the hole,” Park said. “It’s just one of those days where I don’t really need to try hard to make it go in.”

Kerr mentioned after her round on Saturday that she thought the course was ripe for someone to go really low and come up and take the title and she nearly did Sunday. Her final-round 63 tied the second low round of the day and would have been the low round of the tournament for the first three days. Naturally, she was flummoxed that 8-under-par wasn’t enough to even really give her a chance coming down the stretch on Sunday.

“I never looked at the scoreboard until I came off 17, you know, with a reachable par 5 to see where I was and I was three back and I was stunned because I was 7 under for the day,” Kerr said. “You’d think you’d be close.”

Park’s win is her first of the season after winning six tournaments, including three majors a year ago, and the third year in a row she’s notched a win.

The win comes on the heels of losing her No. 1 ranking to Stacy Lewis a week ago, and she said pro- vided the extra motivation she needed.

“Yea, you think I’m motivated now?” said Park with a laugh. “Yeah, I think definitely I really kickstart- ed maybe the last week. Gave me some kind of motivation to go lower and harder on myself. Just, you know, I played great golf, just not enough [to hold No. 1]. It was actually good motivation that I had last week and even though I didn’t get [to keep] that spot, it’s fine.  I feel like I’m playing better golf and I’ve got a lot of confidence from this week.”

But more than the added motivation, it was her putting. She’s first on the tour in putting for the year but thought her putting had held her back in some tournaments that she could have won. It definitely didn’t on Sunday, using the flat stick a mere 25 times. On the week, she averaged only 27 putts – best in the field.

“The putter is definitely the key. I’ve been hitting the ball consistently all year, just my putter’s just not been wanting to do its job,” Park said. “This week obviously it did its job.”

NO. 1 TO PINEHURST
Stacy Lewis’ first week holding the No. 1 ranking didn’t go how she planned, but she finished on a strong note, tying for second best round of the day with a 8-under 63 to backdoor her way to a tie for 6th.

“Well, I just wanted to play well. I’ve kind of had some frustrating rounds all week so I just wanted to put together a good round,” Lewis said. “Still even left a few out there today, but it’s just nice to see some putts go in kind of leading into the off week and into the Open.”

Lewis will join Cristie Kerr as only the second American since the Rolex Rankings were established in 2006 to enter the U.S. Women’s Open No. 1 in the world. Park narrowed the gap but based off of projections, Lewis should still hold a narrow lead for No. 1 in the world entering the year’s second major championship.

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.

Today, 5 eagles were recorded to go along with the 7 from Saturday. It brings the total money raised this year to $163,000. Through the first 14 tournaments prior to the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic, $151,000 had been raised.

QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Yea, you think I’m motivated now?
- Inbee Park on if losing the No. 1 ranking was a motivating factor

SOCIAL SCENE
Runner-up this week Cristie Kerr thanked fellow tour player, Nicole Castrale, for lending her a caddie this week. Castrale’s husband, Craig, looped for Kerr in Waterloo.


Rolex Rankings No. 2 Inbee Park

Quick Quotes

Q.  Inbee, what an incredible round today (inaudible).  Was the pressure taken off of you?
INBEE PARK:  I mean, I've got to say I definitely a little bit pressure off of me, and also at the same time I think I needed a little bit of motivation.  I just didn't have any win after the U.S. Open.  I was playing good but not great.  So yeah, I think last week was a very good motivation and inspiration for me, so this week I thought I needed to step it up a little bit and try to play (inaudible.)

Q.  After the putt went in at 14, were you thinking about the magic number 59 at all because you had us all thinking that? 
INBEE PARK:  Oh, really?  I didn't really think about the 59.  You know, all I thought about was just, you know, trying to bring that trophy home.  Yeah, just I knew there was a lot of birdies and the way I played today was everything seemed like it was trying to go in.  Even if I didn't make it, it was still close.  So it's the first time I putted really well in a while, so I was really happy that my putter's finally back, especially I think it's a really good timing.

Media Center

MODERATOR:  All right, everyone, it is my pleasure to welcome in 2014 Manulife Financial LPGA Classic champion, Inbee Park.  Inbee, great job today. 

I'd also like to introduce the CEO and president of Manulife Financial Canada, Marianne Harrison.  Marianne, do you want to open it up for some comments?  What a great week for you guys overall.

MARIANNE HARRISON:  Yeah, it actually has been a fabulous week for us.  It's been a wonderful tournament.  It's been such a success and I just want to say thank you to all the people that were involved in this tournament.  It was great, from the players, very excited, great excitement they showed us over the past few days, wonderful.  The course is in tremendous shape and I think people were very happy about that.  Thank you to the LPGA and SPI, they've been great partners the last three years.  And of course to all our volunteers.  We wouldn't be here without the volunteers.  They certainly play an important piece of this and we're very proud to be sponsoring this event.

MODERATOR:  Well, thank you for having us.  On behalf of the LPGA, what a wonderful event.  This is the third year, the excitement it's provided, the champions it's produced. 

Inbee, onto your 10th LPGA career victory.  What does this one feel like?  It doesn't get old, does it?

INBEE PARKIt never gets old.  Obviously my last win on the LPGA Tour was last year about this time a year ago and it sure felt really longer than a year.  I came really close a few times but I couldn't hold the trophy for last year, so just really happy that I finally got that down.  And especially after winning U.S. Open 2008 and not being able to win another tournament for another four years, I really didn't want that to happen again this year again.  The longer you don't have the win, the longer term you have, the harder it gets to hold the trophy.  So I'm just really happy that I got that done obviously this week.  Every time we come here, we just feel so welcome and everybody's very supportive of golf and so many people want to watch us.  Great atmosphere.  It was just a great week for me.

MODERATOR:  Last week you said maybe losing the No. 1 ranking was a little bit of the motivation you needed.  I think a 61 on a Sunday probably was quite the response.  Do you think that was the kick start you needed?

INBEE PARK:  Yea you think I’m motivated now? (Laughs).  Yeah, I think definitely I really kickstarted maybe the last week.  Give me some kind of kick start or some kind of motivation to go lower and harder on myself.  Just, you know, I played great golf, just not enough.  Yeah, it was actually good motivation that I had last week and even though I didn't get that spot right, it's fine.  I feel like I'm playing better golf and I've got a lot of confidence from this week.  And obviously with the U.S. Open in two weeks I think is a great confidence boost and I think it's great timing.

MODERATOR:  It was pretty much a shootout today, birdies everywhere.  You guys went back and forth, Shanshan, Cristie was making a run.  Were you watching the leaderboards at all and how did you feel, or were you just in the zone pretty much on a birdie‑fest of your own?

INBEE PARK:  Seems like today, you know, I put my putter behind the ball and it just went in the hole.  It's just one of those days where I don't really needed to try hard to make it go in.  I really trusted my break and play my own golf.  I didn't really watch the board all the time.  I looked a couple times on the back nine and I knew I was having a good score and obviously playing with Shanshan.  I didn't really see ‑‑ I didn't know where Cristie was because she wasn't playing with me but I always knew where Shanshan was.  Yeah, I knew where I was.

MODERATOR:  Magic putter's back?

INBEE PARKYeah.

MODERATOR:  Open it up for questions for Inbee and Marianne.  Please use the microphone.

Q.  Inbee, congratulations on your victory today.  You mentioned that it's been a while since your last victory.  Can you just talk about I guess over the last year and how do you handle the disappointment to get here today?
INBEE PARKYeah, it's been ‑‑ like I said, it felt like it was a little bit longer than a year.  Even if I played good golf, I think my expectations were a little bit higher.  I played really good golf last year and it was obviously ‑‑ I knew that it was going to be very tough to beat what I did last year.  I think that's why this year's been a little bit harder for me because, you know, even if I finish second, third, fourth, it didn't really satisfy me as much as last year and my standards kept going higher and higher and from other people were higher and higher.  I thought maybe I was putting too much pressure on myself, that's why I think it took longer.  I think this week I really tried to just work on my game before the Open and I just really tried to not to think about the results and I think that's why I had a great result this week.

Q.  Just in terms of the final holes there, if you do have a substantial lead like you did, does your mindset change then on those final couple holes?
INBEE PARKI mean, no, mindset doesn't really change but it definitely takes a lot of pressure off of me, that's for sure.  Having a stroke or two‑stroke lead coming into the last three holes would have made it quite tough.  It doesn't really change because you just don't know what's going to happen with the last holes so I just try to be as low as I can.  But I think more motivation for me was that my career best score was 9‑under and I really wanted to beat that today and that was my motivation for the last hole.

Q.  You’re the 10th different winner on tour this year.  Does that give you any extra sense of pride that how hard it is to win out here every day?
INBEE PARKThat's hard because last year seemed like it was easier than this year to win but this year obviously it's been tough.  I feel that I played very good golf compared to last year but I couldn't win until this week.  That tells you how competitive how the LPGA Tour is and how good ‑‑ how players are playing great this year.  Yeah, it's good to have a lot of competitors, that always gives you good motivation.  Yeah, we're playing good golf.

Q.  Going into next week as the defending champion you have to be pleased beyond belief with the shape of your game. Talk about dealing with hype going in to the U.S. Open as the defending champion?
INBEE PARKYeah, I mean, this week's definitely a huge, huge help for me because I got a confidence boost before going to the U.S. Open.  Coming to this three‑week stretch I really wanted to have a trophy before I played the big major tournaments.  So yeah, I mean obviously last couple weeks have been not as good as I thought but obviously this week was big help for next week.

Q.  What are your thoughts about this course, and if in fact it's looking for a new home, the tournament will be looking for a new home possibly.  Your thoughts about leaving?
INBEE PARK:  I mean, if we move next year, I think it could be another great golf course but I enjoy being here for three years and obviously a lot of people, but I think it's going to be around the same area so we're going to get similar crowds and similar atmosphere.  Yeah, I think looking forward to play here or there.

(Question and answer in Korean.)

MODERATOR:  Only on the LPGA.  What exactly was the difference today do you think?  Was it the putter, was it anything that was extremely clicking this week?
INBEE PARK:  Definitely the putter is definitely the key.  I've been hitting the ball consistently all year, just my putter's just not been wanting to do its job.  This week obviously it did its job.  But the putter's not in a year, I think.

Q.  Do you know why you putted better today or this week?
INBEE PARKWhy?  I really try to go back to what I was doing last year, how I putted last year, looking at the videos and stuff like that trying to see what was different, trying to see what I did different this year and really try to go back to the old way.

Q.  Shanshan said maybe she brought you some luck today and that she would like some dinner.
INBEE PARKYeah, I have dinner with Shanshan twice in all golf career and she won those two weeks, so she thinks I'm a lucky charm, that's why she was ‑‑ she wants to win.  She's like yeah, we definitely want a dinner now, you have to buy me dinner.

MODERATOR:  Where did you guys eat last night?
INBEE PARKWe didn't eat last night.  If we ate last night, I wouldn't have won.

Q.  So you will buy her dinner then?
INBEE PARKMaybe off week.

MODERATOR:  Any other questions?  Thank you both for coming in.  Congratulations again on the great week and thank you again for hosting us.

 

Rolex Rankings No. 13 Cristie Kerr

Q.  You've got to be pleased, you said you needed to go out and shoot lights out.
CRISTIE KERR:  Yeah, I did.

Q.  Two shots better?
CRISTIE KERR:  Yeah, I never looked at the scoreboard until I came off 17, you know, with a reachable par 5 to see where I was and I was three back and I was stunned because I was 7‑under for the day.  You'd think you'd be close.  But what is she going to end up shooting today? 

Q.  Twenty‑two, she's at 22 now.
CRISTIE KERR:  What did she start at?

Q.  Oh today?  Today she's 9‑under today. 
CRISTIE KERR:  So if she birdies this hole, 10.  What are you going to do?

Q.  Can't complain.  Talk about playing so well going into the U.S. Open.  You have to be pleased.
CRISTIE KERR: 
I feel good.  I can't believe I've got to fire my caddie over here.  We joke because every time he works for me we do great.


Q.  The one‑week wonder, he comes in, comes out.
CRISTIE KERR:  Pretty much, yeah.  But it was great, a great week.  I did great with my focus, except for that last (indiscernible) on that last hole.  Maybe a little deflated knowing I would've had to hole it out from the fairway.  No, I played great.  I can't complain.

Q.  It was essentially just a case of you did everything you possibly could but it's not going to be enough, right?
CRISTIE KERR:  Last two days, the last two days, yeah.  I mean, I guess that second round where I shot 2‑under kind of hurt me, but this kind of golf course you've got to have four really stellar days and I had three really stellar days.  There's only one winner so I have to be pleased with my performance.  


Rolex Rankings No. 1 Stacy Lewis

Q.  How badly did you want to finish strong this week?
STACY LEWIS:  Well, I just wanted to play well.  I've kind of had some frustrating rounds all week so I just wanted to put together a good round.  Still even left a few out there today, but it's just nice to see some putts go in kind of leading into the off week and into the Open.

Q.  How big is that?  I know you said you wanted to continue playing well.
STACY LEWIS:  Yeah, yeah.  These first few days I felt like I played well, just didn't score well.  Didn't take advantage of the par 5s, which is what you have to do on this golf course.  So I knew it was out there, it was just getting some putts to fall early and, you know, luckily I did.

Q.  Unfortunately, Inbee's just going crazy.
STACY LEWIS:  Yeah.

Q.  But another top finish.  Does that just make you feel better leaving this week?
STACY LEWIS:  Yeah, anytime you finish on a good note it's a good thing.  Hopefully get a little backdoor Top 10 out of it, which will be nice, but more than anything just finishing off with a good round.  I knew I was a long ways out of it even after Friday so it was going to take something special this weekend, but just good for finishing on a good note.

Q.  Just putts that weren't dropping or anything you'll change with your swing?
STACY LEWIS:  The swing wasn't quite where I want it but it was kind of the same every day, and today, just made a few more putts today.

Topics: Notes and Interviews, Manulife Financial LPGA Classic, Kerr, Cristie, Lewis, Stacy, Park, Inbee [+]

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