Wegmans LPGA Championship First Round Notes and Interviews

Lexi Thompson
Photo Credit: Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Lexi Thompson lines up a shot with her caddie Benji Thompson on the 18th hole during the first round of the Wegmans LPGA Championship at Monroe Golf Club on August 14, 2014 in Pittsford, New York.

Monroe Golf Club
Pittsford, New York
First-Round Notes
August 14, 2014

Lexi Thompson, Rolex Rankings No. 6, -6
Meena Lee, Rolex Rankings No. 35, -6
Brittany Lincicome, Rolex Rankings No. 61, -5
Lisa McCloskey, Rolex Rankings No. 230, -5
Jennifer Kirby, Rolex Rankings No. 331, -5
Cristie Kerr, Rolex Rankings No. 10, -4
Emma Jandel, Rolex Rankings No. 609, -3
Lydia Ko, Rolex Rankings No. 2, -2
Mo Martin, Rolex Rankings No. 25, E

At 6,720 yards with wide fairways off the tee but difficult approach shots into small, undulating Donald Ross greens, Monroe Golf Club was supposed to be a second-shot golf course and reward the bombers – the players who could feast on drivers off the tee and in turn shorter irons and wedges into par-4s.

The first-round leaderboard, though, shows a golf course allowing bombers and the short hitters to acquit themselves quite well with Lexi Thompson – the longest player on tour – and Meena Lee – 139th in driving distance – both tied atop the leaderboard at 6-under-par 66. Just one shot back is Brittany Lincicome (3rd in driving), Jennifer Kirby (19th in driving) and Lisa McCloskey (155th in driving) with a pair of 5-under-par 67s to open.

Thompson, Lincicome and Kirby relied on their length, averaging 265 or more on the day, while Lee and McCloskey relied on their putters with just 22 and 25 putts, respectively.

“I would definitely say my length is an advantage. Coming into the week I knew this golf course was going to be setup good for me,” Thompson said. “I get to hit driver on every hole, but you just have to hit it straight in majors because usually they grow the rough up pretty deep and that’s what majors call for.”

Thompson used that length to make one of only eight birdies on the day on No. 18 to close after posting back-to-back bogeys with three putts on Nos. 15 and 16 coming in.

The rookie Kirby was clutch like Thompson, knocking her second shot to inches on the par-4 18th after a bogey on the 17th to jump into a three-way tie for third. She was the only player in the afternoon wave that is within one shot of the lead.

Shanshan Feng and Cristie Kerr sit in a tie for 6th at 4-under-par. Eight players sit three shots in back in a tie for 8th.

SWING CHANGE FOR LEXI?
The old adage is “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” but it never seems to apply to the world’s top golfers. They’re always tweaking and none are above making a substantial swing change if they think it’ll make them better in the long term.

That’s the same for Lexi Thompson, who won her first major of her young career this season at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, but still has been tweaking her swing recently. It worked Thursday.

“Just being confident over my irons, and just working on the swing change and staying with it I think has helped me out so much and just trusting it out there,” she said.

So what needs changing in a swing that’s helped her rise to No. 6 in the world at the age of 19?

“It’s pretty simple. I mean I just usually take it back a little closed with my club face, so I’m just working on a little bit of more rotation on the way back,” Thompson said. “But mainly what I’ve always been focusing on is just more controlled swings and not getting too all over the place with my golf swing.”

CUT LINE CONCERNS
Second-year Tour player Lisa McCloskey admitted on Thursday to the stressors that take over in the first few years of adapting to life as a professional golfer. The Colombia native (and U.S. duel citizen) said the thought of having to play to a cut line each week has made playing each round an anxiety-filled task.

“Just kind of getting used to have a cut every week,” said McCloskey. “I know this is my second year and I should probably be used to it by now, but I feel like that kind of affects the way that I play. It kind of just tenses me up, and I can’t play as free as I would like to. So I think that’s been really, really hard for me.”

McCloskey, who was a four-time All-American in her college career at USC and Pepperdine, said getting four rounds together on a consistent basis has been a challenge. She’s made seven cuts in 16 starts this season.

“I mean once you kind of have like one or two good tournaments, it’s easy to kind of relax and feel more comfortable out there, but this year I just haven’t really gotten anything going,” said McCloskey. “So it’s quite a bit harder.”

Her round of 67 on Thursday ties her season-low and hopes to improve on her major record this week. She’s made five starts in majors (two made cuts) in her first two years on Tour and will try to beat her best finish of T62 at the LPGA Championship last season.

“Hopefully the cut won’t come into my head,” said McCloskey. “But I mean I haven’t been in this position either, really ever. So you know, I’m just going to kind of take it as it comes and try and be relaxed. I have a local caddie this week and he’s been really good at just kind of keeping me calm and talking about other things. So I think that helps.”

LET THE BIG DOG EAT
With a set up over 6,700 yards this week at Monroe Golf Club, players knew the long drivers off the tee would have a slight advantage hitting into the tricky greens at the Pittsford-based track. Although she has not played consistently this season, it was no surprise to see Brittany Lincicome’s name near the top of the leaderboard after the first round of the Wegmans LPGA Championship. The Florida native , who ranks third on Tour in driving distance, said that having tap ins all day is just the type of golf she likes to play.

“And today, like I said, I was hitting things to like a foot and just tapping them in.,” said Lincicome. “It was stress free. I was having fun with Meena and Christina, and we were just having a good time out there, so I think it’s just for relaxing and not putting pressure on myself and just going out there and having a good time.”

The five-time winner on Tour, whose last victory came three years ago at the 2011 CN Canadian Women’s Open, has only one top-10 in 2014. Her best major finish this year was a T15 at the U.S. Women’s Open. Lincicome’s round of 67 on Thursday was her best first round in a major since 2011 when she shot a 66 at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

“I think take today and just build. I feel like I’ve been playing well, I’ve been doing a lot of really good things,” said Lincicome. “It’s just not all coming together; I drove it well or I don’t putt it well. It’s kind of one of those things where it’s just not all kind of syncing.”

Lincicome took advantage of the par 5’s on Thursday with birdies on all four. She said a stiff back has been bothersome earlier this week, but has let her driver do the work once it loosens up.

“You know, my back has been hurting a little bit, so when it kind of loosens up and I feel like I can rip it obviously on a par 5, regardless of how I’m feeling, I’m going to rip it,” said Lincicome. “I feel like I was very much in control, especially the practice rounds this week on Monday, I could swing as hard as I wanted. I knew exactly where the ball was going to go, which is a great feeling. So hopefully it’ll all line up this week and we’ll finish strong.”

THE BEAST TO FINISH
If the first round is any indication, the leaders are in for a challenge on their way in Sunday to hold the trophy on the 18th green. And the major meltdown that’s swallowed up some of the game’s best players is entirely possible. The stretch from Nos. 15 to 18 proved brutal for much of the field on Thursday. The three toughest holes on the course on were Nos. 18, 15, and 17 in that order.

Lexi Thompson was 1-over during the stretch. Lincicome was 1-over. McCloskey was 2-over. Kirby was even. Of the top five on the leaderboard, only Meena Lee made it through the stretch under par at 2-under through those four holes.

The par-4 18th played to 4.453, par-4 15th to 4.287, and the par-4 17th to 4.283. Even the par-3 16th, the easiest of the stretch played the 8th most difficult hole today at 3.140. Nos. 17 and 18 combined to allow just 15 birdies on the day but a whopping 177 bogeys and 14 double bogeys.

NO PICTURES ON A 68
Cristie Kerr finished her round and immediately headed to the range. Looking at the scorecard, it’s hard to argue with the way she hit the ball, but she said the scorecard doesn’t tell the story.

“I hung in there. I hit it bad all day, but managed to put up a good score, so I’m going to go work on my swing with my coach right now and hopefully hit it better tomorrow,” Kerr said.

Still, Kerr’s feeling great heading into round two considering she’s two shots back of the lead and didn’t hit it the way she’s accustomed to.

“I mean, you know, to kind of hang in there and just, you know, make pars when I needed to and make birdies when I hit it closer, it was a good round for me in that respect,” she said. “There’s no pictures on the scorecard, but I didn’t feel very good all day.”

ROOKIE BUILDING
Although she wasn’t in the field, Emma Jandel and her boyfriend/caddie, Patrick Miller, were heading to upstate New York for the Wegmans LPGA Championship . As the first alternate, whether she would get a spot in the field was in question. Ultimately, Michelle Wie was forced to withdraw and Jandel found out on Monday that she was in the field.

So far, she’s made the trip worthwhile on the golf course, too, with an opening round 3-under-par 69. The round ended in disappointing fashion with back-to-back bogeys, but as a rookie with two cuts made under her belt in nine LPGA starts, seeing her name on the front page of the leaderboard at an LPGA major was quite a thrill.

“You know, I’d say over the last few years it’s really where I can kind of – I see where I gotta go, and now it’s just a matter of doing it, and you know, getting your head on straight,” she said.

Her strategy this season has been basically play whenever you possibly can. She’s played 10 LPGA Tour events and 10 Symetra Tour events. At one point in the season, she had played 14 events in a row between the two tours.

Jandel’s seen signs recently that she could definitely do this. She fired a first-round 3-under 68 at the Marathon Classic Presented by Owens Corning & O-I, and put up a 4-under 67 on the opening day at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Presented by P&G. There was also the two top-10s in her last three Symetra Tour starts.

“Just putting myself in contention and being there and doing it, I’m building on what I got every tournament,” Jandel said.

So far the rookie’s off to a great start.

MO PAIN, MO GAME
When Mo Martin, the Ricoh Women’s British Open champion, arrived in Rochester on Monday, she wasn’t sure she’d be able to play this week. She was hopeful, but the thumb injury that forced her to withdraw from the Meijer LPGA Classic Presented by Kraft was still present and she wasn’t sure it’d be well enough to play.

As a result, she hit as few of shots as she ever has in the three days leading up to the tournament but decided to give it a go on Thursday, shooting an even-par 72.

“It’s tender. I can’t wait to take this wrap off, and I’ve never played with anything on my fingers. I’ve never had a sprain in my fingers, so this is new for me,” Martin said. “I’m hoping I’m going to recover quickly, but it’s still painful right now. I just want to minimize the risk of injuring it further.”

Considering the circumstances, she was more than pleased with a four birdie, four bogey effort to start the championship.

“I’m happy with it. It was the first time – well, I hit some shots in the pro am, but first time I hit a lot of shots out there, so just learning how this course reacts, where to land my shots and where the prevailing winds are,” Martin said. “Just a lot to learn about the subtleties here, but I’m happy with the way I played.”

QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I love it. I think it’s awesome to experience new cultures and go different places. If I could, I probably would have lived in like ten different countries.”
- Second-year player Lisa McCloskey on living in five different countries growing up & now traveling the world on the LPGA Tour

 

Lexi Thompson, Rolex Rankings No. 6, -6

KELLY THESIER:  Good afternoon, everyone.  We would like to welcome Lexi Thompson into the interview room.  Congratulations, Lexi.  A great 6‑under par round 66 today.  Tied for the first round lead at the moment.  Great finish.
LEXI THOMPSON:
  Thank you.
           
KELLY THESIER:  With a birdie on 18 which is playing as the toughest hole on the golf course so far today.  Take me through that round, hot start and then nice way to finish.
LEXI THOMPSON: 
Yeah.  Overall it was just a really solid round.  I mean I started off with birdieing No. 2 and 3, so that got me a little confidence early in the round, and I just tried to keep that going, pretty much keep that steady pace going.
           
But mainly just doing my routine on every shot and just not really getting ahead of myself.
           
KELLY THESIER:  You were 7‑under through 14 and then got through a stretch of what I think are probably four of the most difficult holes on this golf course.  At least three of them are playing the three toughest today, 15, 16 and 18.  Back‑to‑back bogeys on 15 and 16.  What was going through your mind there and kind of what happened on those two holes.
LEXI THOMPSON:
  Well, you know, I hit good shots off the tee into the green.  It's just a three‑putted both of them.  But I just didn't have good speed on the two putts and didn't make the come backers.  But you know, it happens.  It's golf.  You're going to hit bad shots and miss putts, so I just tried not to let it get to me and just tried to birdie one of the last two and unfortunately it was the harder one of the holes, so I was pretty happy about that.
           
KELLY THESIER:  This golf course all week everybody's been talking about how it favors long hitters a little bit, it's going to play long.  How much did you think your length was an advantage for you today.
LEXI THOMPSON:
  Yeah, I would say it's definitely an advantage.  Coming into the week I knew this golf course was going to be setup good for me.  I get to hit driver on every hole, but you just have to hit it straight in majors because usually they grow the rough up pretty deep and that's what majors call for.
           
But today the wind kicked up on a lot of those holes and it was blowing, I mean some of those par‑3s are pretty long and a few of those par‑4s were straight into the wind today.  But I can reach some of the par‑5s, which is definitely an advantage.
           
KELLY THESIER:  We're going to open it up for questions.

Q.  So you hit driver all 14 of the holes?
LEXI THOMPSON:
  Yes.
Q.  You did.
LEXI THOMPSON:
  Uh‑huh.
Q.  So did you feel, like when you got here this week did you realize it was going to be grip and rip all week for you with the way the fairways are sort of generous here?
LEXI THOMPSON:
  Well, after I played the first time on Monday I realized that.  I didn't really hear too much about it coming into the week.  I knew it was going to be playing longer, but I didn't know like the width of the fairways.
           
But yeah, after I played Monday I knew I could take driver on every hole, which definitely I feel comfortable with.

Q.  And then to follow on that, are you finding that these fairways are perhaps a bit wider than you're used to seeing, especially in a major?
LEXI THOMPSON:
  Um, I would say some of them are a little bit wider.  I mean it's wider than Locust Hill last year.  But like I said, you just have to hit it straight because the rough can be thick in some spots and the fairway bunkers here have big lips on them, so it calls for pretty much pitch‑outs.  So I mean you gotta hit it straight.  Doesn't matter what club you're hitting.

Q.  What was your yardage and club into 18 and how long was the putt?
LEXI THOMPSON:
  I had 183 pin, 160 front, I think.  And I hit a knock‑down 5‑iron.

Q.  How long was the putt?
LEXI THOMPSON:
  The putt was probably about eight feet.

Q.  What's the longest club you hit into a par‑4 today?
LEXI THOMPSON
:  Into a par‑4?  I think it was that.  I think it was the 5‑iron.

Q.  (Inaudible)?
LEXI THOMPSON
:  Par‑3 I hit a 4‑iron.

KELLY THESIER:  Lexi, captured first major victory at the Kraft earlier this year.  How much confidence does that now having major champion by your name give you when you head into other major championships, how much did that kind of give you that boost.
LEXI THOMPSON: 
Yeah, it gave me a lot of confidence just going into any other event for that matter.  I always say after a Solheim Cup I always feel so much more comfortable because playing for your country and under that kind of pressure, you know, there's nothing like it.  So I knew I could pull those shots under that kind of pressure.
           
But getting that Kraft Nabisco win has helped me out so much.  Just pulling it off that Sunday, being relaxed and staying with it one shot at a time and doing my routine.  Gave me a lot of confidence going into every other tournament after that, especially majors.

Q.  Do you have any idea how many times you hit driver at Locust Hill usually on average?
LEXI THOMPSON: 
I would say I probably laid back at least five times on a few of the holes.

Q.  And I'm curious if you've gotten longer as you've been a pro in the last couple of years, because you have such an emphasis on fitness that just, is that a by‑product by chance?
LEXI THOMPSON:
  I would say I've gotten a little bit longer.  I've mainly just been trying to focus on flexibility and, you know, the right strengthening of core with my trainer.  But I definitely have gotten into fitness a lot more in the past few years, which I've seen a big improvement on my game and physical, I guess, appearance, so it has helped me out a lot and I look forward to keep on continuing that.
           
KELLY THESIER:  What have been the biggest changes?  I know we see a lot of your work out pictures on Instagram and you share a lot of the workouts that you do.  How different are your workouts now than they were perhaps a couple of years ago?  Like you said, flexibility, but what do you kind of do to keep yourself in shape?
LEXI THOMPSON:
  Well, a few years ago before I started with my trainer any workouts at all, I'm doing a lot more cardio now and I have set workouts instead of just going in there and doing whatever I felt was right.  Now I have set workouts.  I do a lot of cardio, at least 30 minutes a day, and then I focus on core a lot and balance, like Bocce ball exercises or TRX band work.
           
KELLY THESIER:  And how much do you hear back from fans, because I know you do share the workouts.  Do you get feedback from people about trying some of your workouts?  Do they ever say, oh, my gosh, that was really hard, because they look hard.
LEXI THOMPSON: 
Yeah, I get a lot of comments saying I'm going to do this one tomorrow.  So it's really cool to see that way I can impact them on workouts, too, not just my game.
           
But it does mean a lot to me, but I do get some feedback on a few of them that it sounds really hard, or it is, after a few days of it.

Q.  Lexi, since the Top 10 at the Open, four results that you're probably not thrilled about, has there been anything in particular that's held you back the last four starts, haven't in particular you haven't done well or is there something that's held you back a little bit?
LEXI THOMPSON
:  I would say just my last few tournaments have been my irons that weren't really spot on but I've been going through a little bit of a swing change just trying to get my club face in the right position.  It definitely takes a lot of time to get used to, but I mean golf is a lot about confidence.  You just have to go into every shot just telling yourself you're going to pull it off.  But going through the swing change has definitely slowed me down a little bit, but just being patient with it I think is key for me.

Q.  What are your impressions of the greens?  They said they're going to get a little faster they think during the week, but what are your impressions?  Do you find them difficult to putt or subtleties, anything like that or what are you finding out there?
LEXI THOMPSON: 
Yeah, some of these greens out here are pretty tough.  If you get it above the pin, it's extremely fast on a few of these greens, and you get some pretty big breakers out here.  But you know, that's what we look forward to in a major, challenging greens, and just an overall challenging golf course.  So I think that's what we look forward to.

Q.  I was just speak to go Karrie Webb about just her career a little bit.  She was where you are, before you were born, actually, 20 years ago, and she said that basically only recently has she come to appreciate it.  She was so in the moment that, you know, the competition almost got in the way of her being able to appreciate it.  Are you able to digest all that to appreciate the situation that you're in?
LEXI THOMPSON: 
Well, yeah.  I mean a lot of the times I just step back and just realize how grateful I am to be doing what I love and traveling the world, getting to play the best golf courses against top players in the world.  I mean it's such a huge honor and dream of mine always since I was little.
           
So you know, definitely the competition can get to you at some points, but sometimes you just gotta step back and realize how lucky you are to be out here.

Q.  Lexi, you are a south Florida resident, and your goal owe south Florida resident, Rory McIlroy just won two majors in a row on the men's tour.  How much does his success inspire or motivate you and perhaps talk about any interactions you and he may have had down in south Florida.
LEXI THOMPSON:
  I've actually never met Rory before.  (Laughs).  But it's so cool to see his success out there on tour.  I mean just not only with his golf game, but just how he is physically and his swing looks incredible right now.  And it's so cool to watch him just play really well out there and also watch Rickie play well in all those majors.  So you know, I hope the best for them.

Q.  Does that give you any extra motivation yourself to do something similar on the LPGA?
LEXI THOMPSON:
  Well, I guess it kind of does.  I mean it is amazing to watch them and how they've been playing in the majors or just in general out there on tour.
           
But like I said, I'm just going into every tournament doing my best and I'm out here playing a sport that I love and that's all I can do is just try and do my best and try to win.

Q.  You were saying that the ‑‑ that your irons have held you back the last couple of weeks.  What's it say about your iron game today that you hit 16 of 18 greens?
LEXI THOMPSON:
  Well, it was a lot better today.  Well, I've just been, like I said, I've been going through a little bit of a swing change, but my last few holes yesterday in the pro am and a little bit of a range session yesterday, and this morning warmed me up.  I felt really good.
           
So just being confident over my irons, and just working on the swing change and staying with it I think has helped me out so much and just trusting it out there.

Q.  Can you tell us just a little more specifically what the swing change is that you're working on?
LEXI THOMPSON:
  It's pretty simple.  I mean I just ‑‑ I usually take it back a little closed with my club face, so I'm just working on a little bit of more rotation on the way back.  But mainly what I've always been focusing on is just more controlled swings and not getting too all over the place with my golf swing.


Meena Lee, Rolex Rankings No. 35, -6

Q.  Take us through your round.  You said a very solid day.  You felt good about your putting?
MEENA LEE:
  Yeah.  It was a little bit of wind out there this morning, but my putting was really good today, it was 25.  So I was really happy to play.

Q.  Is that something you've been working on, your putting?
MEENA LEE:
  No.  It's the same thing, but just par putts.

Q.  Were you surprised how fast the greens were considering how much rain has come down, because they said the greens were fast.
MEENA LEE: 
Yes.  The greens are very soft, but still it's fast, even if it's downhill putt, it's still fast.

Q.  And how about just being tied at the top of the leaderboard after the first round of a major?  It's gotta be ‑‑ you're in good position.
MEENA LEE:
  Yes.  It's very exciting, and then, well, it's just first day, so I'll do my best tomorrow and weekend.

Q.  Have you had good starts to tournaments, either recently or maybe earlier?  I mean kind of take us through your last several weeks and how you've been playing leading up to this.
MEENA LEE:
  Well, I've been playing really good.  I got second in Dallas, so looking really good this season.

Q.  Bunch of Top 10s, but you missed the cut last week?
MEENA LEE
:  Last week, yes.

Q.  Any type of regrouping?  Did you have any mental regroup?
MEENA LEE:
  Yeah, it's a major tournament this week, so I got more like more relaxed.

Q.  Came in thinking let's just try to relax coming into this week?
MEENA LEE
:  Yes.

Q.  What do you like about this golf course?
MEENA LEE
:  I like this golf course.  It's in really good shape.  The greens perfect, fairways good.  I mean the other girls really liked this golf course.  So yeah, I like it too.

Q.  We talked about it being so long, but you're not one of the longer hitters off the tee.  What was your game plan coming into this week?
MEENA LEE:
  A couple of par‑5s a little short, so I ‑‑ second shot almost reach the green, so that's why I made a couple of birdies on par‑5s.


Brittany Lincicome, Rolex Rankings No. 61, -5

Q.  Were there any shots, like that albatross you saw the other day?
BRITTANY LINCICOME:
  No, but I did hit about three shots to about a foot, which was really exciting.  Obviously it's less stressful if I could just do that more often, the scores would be lower and my stress level would be way down, so hopefully we can keep that going tomorrow.

Q.  Do you ever ask yourself, when you said you hadn't been here in a while, do you kind of question yourself, geez, why haven't I been able to put it together until just today or do you take today and hopefully build on it as you go?
BRITTANY LINCICOME:
  I think take today and just build.  I feel like I've been playing well, I've been doing a lot of really good things.  It's just not all coming together; I drove it well or I don't putt it well.  It's kind of one of those things where it's just not all kind of syncing.
           
And today, like I said, I was hitting things to like a foot and just tapping them in.  It was stress free.  I was having fun with Meena and Christina, and we were just having a good time out there, so I think it's just for relaxing and not putting pressure on myself and just going out there and having a good time.

Q.  You mentioned the fun.  You had the pro am.  You went to the most unique no hitter at a Red Wings game ever probably.  Are you having a lot of fun?  Do you feel relaxed out there and the familiarity with Rochester even though it is a new course?
BRITTANY LINCICOME
:  Absolutely.  The only thing this weekend that I missed was the bowling tournament on Tuesday, which was I was kind of bummed, but I was really tired, so I guess that takes precedence over bowling.
           
But yeah, it's great to be back in this area.  I really hope the commissioner can get us back here.  You see all the fans that are out today.  They love the LPGA.  They love women's golf, and they deserve to have another tournament back here some day.

Q.  Wider fairways, softer course.  Kind of felt like a longer hitter would have an advantage.  You and Lexi are both at the top of the leaderboard.  Is that how it's playing out?
BRITTANY LINCICOME:
  I think so.  I mean obviously we had a little bit of rain a couple days ago, so that kind of softened it up a little bit, so the further you can hit it, obviously, the better, the further you can get it down there.
           
The par‑5s are all reachable, except 18 today, or 9, and the par‑3s are playing 200 yards, so it's kind of ‑‑ you pick your poisons, obviously you need to attack the par‑5s and try to make pars on the par‑3s.

Q.  Are you swinging harder when you know you can get out there or do you just trust your swing and it'll take care of itself?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: 
You know, my back has been hurting a little bit, so when it kind of loosens up and I feel like I can rip it obviously on a par‑5, regardless of how I'm feeling, I'm going to rip it.
           
But yeah, I feel like I was very much in control, especially the practice rounds this week on Monday, I could swing as hard as I wanted.  I knew exactly where the ball was going to go, which is a great feeling.  So hopefully it'll all line up this week and we'll finish strong.
           


Lisa McCloskey, Rolex Rankings No. 230, -5

KELLY THESIER:  Good afternoon, everyone.  We'd like to welcome Lisa McCloskey into the interview room.  Lisa, second year player on tour and a great first round today, 5‑under, 67.  Four straight birdies, 6, 7, 8, 9.  Take me through that stretch.  What was really working well in your game out there?
LISA McCLOSKEY:
  Yeah, I didn't actually know it was like four in a row.  I was just kind of in the moment and putter was really working well today and the last four holes I guess I just ‑‑ you know, I didn't stick them super close, but I was makeable range, probably 15 feet, and yeah, I just felt really comfortable with my putter.  So just kind of not thinking about things and just trying to be in the moment.
           
KELLY THESIER:  This is the first time that we've played out of this golf course at Monroe Golf Club.  What is it about the golf course that stood out to you today and what do you really like about it?
LISA McCLOSKEY:
  I think it's really fair.  The fairways are really wide, so I think it's ‑‑ yeah, even the long hitters have kind of I'd say a pretty big advantage this week.  And you know, I'm nowhere near a long hitter, and I still think the course is pretty fair, you know, on the holes that are longer, they still have that kind of that big runup right before the green so you can kind of run a wood up there.
           
But yeah, I think the course is really good and the greens are really, I think, fair pace right now.
           
KELLY THESIER:  For a lot of the people in here that might not have known you before, I was reading some of your little stats and talking about how you've lived in so many different countries.
LISA McCLOSKEY:
  Uh‑huh.
KELLY THESIER:  I think I counted five total?  Is that right?
LISA McCLOSKEY: 
Yeah.  There's five.
           
KELLY THESIER:  Colombia, Venezuela, Abu Dhabi, Italy and the U.S.  What took you to so many different places?
LISA McCLOSKEY
:  My dad's a petroleum engineer, so we just kind of moved around.  Ever since he graduated from college, he's been kind of moving around, and he met my mom, who's Colombian, and we've just kind of lived all over the place.
           
I love it.  I think it's awesome to experience new cultures and go different places.  If I could, I probably would have lived in like ten different countries.
           
KELLY THESIER:  So this tour is absolutely perfect for you as we travel all over the world.
LISA McCLOSKEY:
  It is.  It is.  I mean I miss home a little bit sometimes, but for the most part I love seeing the world, and I wish I could get into more of the Asian events.  But yeah, I mean we get to go everywhere in the U.S., and you know, just really nice places all the time.
           
KELLY THESIER:  Well, if you keep playing like this, I think you'll be getting into more of those Asian events.  We'll open it up to questions for Lisa.

Q.  Your favorite place to live, and why, out of the countries you've lived in?
LISA McCLOSKEY: 
Probably Colombia, just because I was born there, and I have a lot of my family there, and I just love the people.  They're so welcoming and friendly.
           
But I don't know, at the same time I love Abu Dhabi.  It's so modern and so much to do, and great beaches.  It's just good and Bads with every place, but probably Colombia and Abu Dhabi.

Q.  The conditions of this course this morning, toward this afternoon, do you think it's going to get tougher this afternoon?  Do you think it's going to get easier?  Do you have any opinion on that?
LISA McCLOSKEY: 
The last couple holes it seemed like the wind was kicking up a little bit, so that could play a factor.  But I mean I teed off at 7:48 and it was still a little breezy, and probably a little bit wetter.
           
I think just kind of depends on the wind, but I'd say probably play about the same.

Q.  Did you have an issue with your card this morning or something?
LISA McCLOSKEY:
  Oh, no.

Q.  No?
LISA McCLOSKEY:
  The hammer issue happened when I was in college.

Q.  Oh, okay.  I thought maybe driving to the course.  Obviously you drove the ball well today.
LISA McCLOSKEY:
  No.  I probably wouldn't be here.  Yeah, no.  That was a while ago.

Q.  What's been the toughest part of being a pro?  Today you made it look easy, but ‑‑
LISA McCLOSKEY:
  Just kind of getting used to have a cut every week.  I know this is my second year and I should probably be used to it by now, but I feel like that kind of affects the way that I play.  It kind of just tenses me up, and I can't play as free as I would like to.  So I think that's been really, really hard for me.
           
I mean once you kind of have like one or two good tournaments, it's easy to kind of relax and feel more comfortable out there, but this year I just haven't really gotten anything going.  So it's quite a bit harder.

Q.  So then for tomorrow you're giving yourself a nice little cushion.
LISA McCLOSKEY:
  Uh‑huh.

Q.  How will you try not to think about the cut tomorrow?
LISA McCLOSKEY:
  Yeah, hopefully the cut won't come into my head.  But I mean I haven't been in this position either, really ever.  So you know, I'm just going to kind of take it as it comes and try and be relaxed.  I have a local caddie this week and he's been really good at just kind of keeping me calm and talking about other things.  So I think that helps.

Q.  Is this your lowest round on tour?
LISA McCLOSKEY:
  No.  I think I shot like 64 in China last year.

KELLY THESIER:  Speaking of last week, you played really well at the Meijer LPGA Classic.  Is there something in your game right now that's really seeming to be working well or is it just building that mental confidence of playing well?
LISA McCLOSKEY:
  I think it's more mental confidence.  I've played ‑‑ like I've played better in past events, but just haven't been able to score.  You know, I haven't played great these past two weeks, but the scoring is a lot better, and just being comfortable if I miss the green that I can get this up‑and‑down and kind of making birdie putts when they come to me.

Q.  Lisa, you mentioned your mom is from Colombia.  Where is your father from?
LISA McCLOSKEY:
  He's from Detroit.

Q.  Okay.  So you're an American citizen?
LISA McCLOSKEY:
  Yes.  Both.  Yes.

Q.  Okay.  So I see you played on the U.S. Curtis Cup team.
LISA McCLOSKEY: 
Yes.

Q.  That was why I was asking.
LISA McCLOSKEY: 
Yep.  I've played for both countries probably since I was 10.

Q.  So you have dual citizen?
LISA McCLOSKEY:
  Yeah.  I have dual citizenship.
           
KELLY THESIER:  When did you pick up the game and where were you living at the time, I guess, when you picked it up?
LISA McCLOSKEY: 
I was like five, and I was living in Venezuela, and they just had this junior program, and ‑‑ yeah, so my parents both play and so does my brother, so kind of like a family thing.

Cristie Kerr, Rolex Rankings No. 10, -4

Q.  Difficult to finish in these kind of conditions obviously?
CRISTIE KERR:
  Yeah.  I mean it was kind of a long day, you know, starting up late.  And it was getting dark out there and getting colder, so I kind of hung in there.
           
I hit it bad all day, but managed to put up a good score, so I'm going to go work on my swing with my coach right now and hopefully hit it better tomorrow.

Q.  You'll get some work in.  Obviously you have a quick turnaround.
CRISTIE KERR:
  Yeah.  That's why we're doing it out here.

Q.  When you say you hit it bad all day, but you're still just two shots off the lead, do you feel better then knowing you can get better?
CRISTIE KERR:
  Yeah.  Definitely.  I mean, you know, to kind of hang in there and just, you know, make pars when I needed to and make the birdies when I ‑‑ you know, I hit it closer, you know, it was a good round for me in that respect.  There's no pictures on the score card, but I didn't feel very good all day.

Q.  I know that you won the first major here in Rochester, and I know that there's three rounds to go, but I'm sure you'd like to kind of bookend this thing.
CRISTIE KERR:
  Definitely.  It's going to be sad to leave, but hopefully they'll see how much this tournament means to the community and they'll bring it back even if it's not a major.

 

Jennifer Kirby, Rolex Rankings No. 331, -5

KELLY THESIER:  Hello, everyone.  We would like to welcome in 2014 LPGA Tour rookie, Jennifer Kirby into the interview room.  Congratulations.  A great 5‑under par round today, on a difficult golf course, and perhaps even more impressive, a birdie to finish on the most difficult hole on the golf course today.  Take me through the round.  What was really working well in your game today.
JENNIFER KIRBY:
  I definitely hit it close a lot today, so I mean I had a lot of short birdie opportunities, and I made almost all of them, which helps, and took advantage of most of the par‑5s which were close to being reachable.
           
KELLY THESIER:  You're a Paris Ontario native, so not too far from home being up here in upstate New York.  Does this golf course remind you of courses that you grew up around or what are some of the characteristics of it that you enjoy.
JENNIFER KIRBY:
  Yeah.  It's definitely very close to home, and the style of the course is very similar, you know, very traditional and big trees and stuff like that.  But the course is in great shape, and I really enjoy the layout.
           
KELLY THESIER:  You're currently ranked 19th on tour in driving distance and we've been saying all week this golf course is suited for long hitters.  They tend to have an advantage.  How much do you think your length might have played a role in your round today.
JENNIFER KIRBY:
  Yeah, I think definitely.  I mean before I went out I saw a lot of hitters at the top of the leaderboard, so I mean I knew in playing the practice rounds it's a big advantage to be able to reach most of the par‑5s in two and have a shorter iron into most of the par‑4s as well, and I had a lot of short irons in today, so it definitely played that way.
           
KELLY THESIER:  Questions for Jennifer.

Q.  Was there anything to lead you to believe that you would play this well to start this major?
JENNIFER KIRBY:
  I had two weeks off before the last event, and you know, I worked really hard and I thought my game was in really good position, but I mean last week I didn't play very well, but I knew that I was playing a lot better than the score represented, so it was nice to finally get the scoring that was going with what I thought my game was at.
           
KELLY THESIER:  What have you been working on specifically in your game?  Is there anything that you feel like you've made strides on recently?
JENNIFER KIRBY:
  I mean definitely putting all year has been, you know, improving continually.  So today I saw that, and just, you know, being able to get over putts confidently and know that I'm going to make them.
           
But a lot of the ‑‑ a lot of today was just being really solid from tee to green and you know, having short birdie putts makes it a lot easier.

Q.  All year long on tour we've watched the stars shine, the stars have been winning all the biggest events and then along comes Mo Martin after toiling in the Symetra Tour for six years, a Cinderella story, wins it.  Watching her win the Women's British Open, is that an inspiration for you this week?
JENNIFER KIRBY:
  Yeah.  It was definitely nice to see a fresh face win, because it seems like the same people winning over and over multiple times.  So yeah, that was really inspiring, and congrats to her, and hopefully someone can do the same this week.
           
KELLY THESIER:  Jennifer, you're in the midst of your rookie year.  What have been the biggest lessons that you've learned so far from being a rookie?  It's a little different when you're out there week after week competing professionally.  What have you taken away so far.
JENNIFER KIRBY:
  You need to find a good caddie, which I've done.  So I'm really happy with that.
           
Just learning the course is a whole new experience each week, and you know, being comfortable.  You know, just being comfortable in new positions, like this is a new position for me, so tomorrow is going to be inexperience to feel comfortable, you know, being so close to the lead.  But again, it's Thursday and I'm just happy I played really well.
           
KELLY THESIER:  Who's your caddie?  Who did you finally find a fit with.
JENNIFER KIRBY:
  Paul Martinez.
KELLY THESIER:  And how long has he been on the bag now.
JENNIFER KIRBY: 
Probably over six events now.
KELLY THESIER:  So you're starting to finally get that relationship going.
JENNIFER KIRBY:
  Yeah.  Good relationship going and we know what each other is thinking, so that helps.
KELLY THESIER:  I know one familiar face I tend to see out on tour every week is your mom.  Is your mom here this week?
JENNIFER KIRBY:
  Yeah.  My mom and my dad is here this week, so it's nice to be able to play in front of them.
KELLY THESIER:  And what is it like kind of having someone with you, kind of going through this, because I know your mom's been that person?  What's it been like for you to have her out there week after week as you're kind of learning through this whole experience?
JENNIFER KIRBY:
  Yeah.  I'm very lucky because she has been out to almost every event this year, so I mean she helps a lot just to take things off me like laundry and stuff like that when I'm on the road.  She's just trying to make it as easy for me as possible just trying to adapt and learn everything.
           


Emma Jandel, Rolex Rankings No. 609, -3

Q.  Nice way to start, huh?
EMMA JANDEL:
  Yeah.  Great.  I couldn't be happier.  I know I bogeyed the last two holes, but I hit good shots and I'm doing a lot of good things, so I'm really happy to be here and excited to play tomorrow.

Q.  Tell us a little bit about yourself.  Obviously a rookie this year.
EMMA JANDEL:
  I am.

Q.  So tell us a little bit about who you are and kind of your story.
EMMA JANDEL
:  Sure.  I'm from Dayton, Ohio.  I grew up playing all the sports.  I played a lot of basketball growing up, and my best offer was to go to Ohio State, and I took it, and I couldn't be prouder to be a Buckeye; and I'm just really excited to be here.

Q.  What's it feel like to be a rookie on tour and kind of get this attention now?  And a nice first round in the championship.
EMMA JANDEL:
  You know, I'm just so excited just to be here, and just every event is so impressive.  Like there's so much that goes into it besides golf, and I think it's just awesome to see how professional the ladies are out here and how well they do with the community and how well they do with all the charities involved and everything else on top of their golf game.  It's really impressive.

Q.  Has this been one of your better rounds of the year so far do you think?  Despite the two bogeys coming in.  I mean you got up to five.
EMMA JANDEL:
  Oh, yeah.  I'm playing solid.  I've had a couple of hot starts.  In Arkansas I was playing well, and you know, I've really been playing well all year.  It's kind of just handling myself in all the different situations.
           
And you know, it's a little different, you know, having cameras in your face, so I'm just kind of learning to put it all together; and I know I got the game, so it's just a matter of kind of seeing it all out here.  I guess I'd never been to an LPGA event until the first one I played in this year.  So that was pretty cool.

Q.  Tell us about the process of getting in the field this week.  I know you were one of the last two qualifiers getting into the field on Monday.  How did that process work and how excited were you when you found out you were in?
EMMA JANDEL:
  Yeah.  I was lucky to see Michelle Wie withdrew because that got me in the tournament.  I was the last one in the field.  Found out Monday morning.  So that was exciting.
           
I came here, my boyfriend is on the bag, so it's nice to have a friendly face on the bag.  And we kind of made the trip either way.  So we're hoping for the best.

Q.  Is it a struggle mentally as a rookie out here you want to make as many fields as you can, and once you make a field, you obviously want to cash.
EMMA JANDEL:
  Right.  Right.

Q.  But then when you do have good rounds and you put a couple more of these together, you're going to be right there on Sunday.
EMMA JANDEL: 
Definitely.  You know, it's really ‑‑ I'm just focusing on golf.  It doesn't matter what tour I'm on, where I'm playing.  I'm just focusing on hitting good golf shots and in the end good things will happen, so if you get wrapped in alternates and this and that and travel, it's not really going to get me anywhere, so I just better focus on what I gotta do out there.

Q.  You said you were never at an LPGA event before this year?
EMMA JANDEL:
  I went to a Solheim Cup once, but it wasn't like an actual event.  So I was kind of fish out of water there for a little bit.

Q.  Were you awe struck at all when you first were on the TOUR or was it kind of natural for you?
EMMA JANDEL:
  Pretty natural.  I'd say really just growing up seeing everything on TV and then just a little different being here.
           
You know, I'm the one who always wants to be out there doing it, so I feel very comfortable.

Q.  What's your amateur resume like as far as, I'm sorry, you said you grew up in Ohio, Dayton?
EMMA JANDEL:
  Yes.

Q.  So I mean you obviously played a lot of youth golf there and kind of all the amateur circuit around there?
EMMA JANDEL
:  Yeah.  I won the Ohio amateur back‑to‑back years, 2006 and 2007, but I really ‑‑ I didn't start playing a lot of golf until going into my senior year of high school.  I was playing basketball through to my junior year.  So I mean basketball went through July.  So I picked up the golf clubs in August and played till October and then it was time to put them away again.

Q.  And now here you are, contention in a major.
EMMA JANDEL:
  Yes.

Q.  Even though it's just after a first round, is it a kind of a shake‑your‑head‑open‑your‑eyes moment?
EMMA JANDEL
:  You know, I don't want to say like I just picked them up in July.  I have a younger brother and he's also a professional golfer, and we've kind of been going at it forever.  So it was always there.  And it's always been competitive.
           
You know, I'd say over the last few years it's really where I can kind of ‑‑ I see where I gotta go, and now it's just a matter of doing it, and you know, getting your head on straight.

Q.  What's your brother's name and what tour is he on?
EMMA JANDEL: 
My brother's name is Sam Jandel.  And he's just getting started on mini tours and doing the qualifiers here coming up in fall, winter kind of stuff, yeah.

Q.  What's the age difference?
EMMA JANDEL: 
My brother's 23, and he's 6' 10, so he's my bigger little brother.  He's still always my little brother.

Q.  Would you still post him up when you were playing basketball in the driveway?
EMMA JANDEL:
  You know, he wasn't that big back then.  It was kind of once I left for school he just kept going and didn't stop.

Q.  Any family here?  You're kind of close enough where it's drivable.
EMMA JANDEL:
  Yeah.  You know, it's tough for my parents to make it right now, so they said if they could come out to Portland, so I've got my boyfriend here, so he's my family.  My housing's been awesome.  My housing dad's been here all day, so I feel like I have family here.  And I know they're watching and they're here with me, so that's really important.

Q.  What's your boyfriend's name?
EMMA JANDEL:
  Patrick Miller.

Q.  Couple good Symetra Tour finishes recently.  Did that give you confidence going into this week?
EMMA JANDEL:
  Yeah.  Definitely.  You know, just putting myself in contention and being there and doing it and acting on the last day, I'm building on what I got every tournament.
           
You know a lot of girls say they can't play more than like three or four weeks and I played like 14 in a row a few weeks ago.  So for me I'm just learning on each situation where that's more valuable than sitting at home for me.

 

Lydia Ko, Rolex Rankings No. 2, -2

Q.  Thoughts on your round today?
LYDIA KO:
  I think I played pretty good.  2‑under to start at a major is, I think, pretty solid start.

Q.  What did you make of the course?  I know you had a few chances at the pro am.  Differences maybe today?
LYDIA KO: 
I think it was playing a little drier than the pro am did and the practice days, with it not raining last night, that was quite key, and yeah, I mean the course was playing slightly shorter than what it was the last couple of days.

Q.  What's the key on Friday around here to move forward and try and make your move?
LYDIA KO:
  I'm not really sure what the pin positions and everything is going to be, but I guess just have to hit good shots for all different clubs, you know, drivers and the hybrids and wedges.  So just have to, I guess, play my way through, and if I play like I did today, I think I'll be in good position.

Q.  I read you have a superstition that if you're playing well on the green, you don't want to see a ball marker.  Did that continue today?
LYDIA KO:
  I even forgot to bring my ball marker today, so I had to actually borrow a quarter from another caddie.  So that wasn't a really good start, but I putted pretty good, so maybe I won't give the quarterback to him.

Q.  Not the best start, but good finish.  How do you build on that?
LYDIA KO
:  My Front 9 ‑‑ well, the Back 9 was ‑‑ I played pretty good and I came off 2‑under on that nine, and to me that nine is a little tougher, so yeah, I think overall I played pretty solid.

Q.  A lot of golfers took advantage of the 14th hole, birdieing, even I think some eagles.  What were your thoughts on that hole?
LYDIA KO: 
You know, especially with the longer hitters you can hit some hybrids and woods into there, and I made a birdie myself there.  You kind of have to come off that hole with a birdie or better.
           


Mo Martin, Rolex Rankings No. 25, E

Q.  How's it feel?
MO MARTIN:
  It's tender.  I can't wait to take this off, and I've never played with anything on my fingers, and I've never had a sprain in a finger, so this is new for me.
           
I'm hoping I'm going to recover quickly, but it's still painful right now.  I just want to minimize the risk of injuring it further.

Q.  Bit of an up‑and‑down first round, but still solid score.
MO MARTIN: 
Yeah, I'm happy with it.  It was the first time ‑‑ well, I hit some shots in the pro am, but first time I hit a lot of shots out there, so just learning how this course reacts, where to land my shots and where the prevailing winds are, so just a lot to learn the subtleties here, but I'm happy with the way I played.

Q.  And we talked a bit beforehand about long hitter's course, long hitter's course.  Did you feel that to be the case today?
MO MARTIN:
  You know, I saw Lexi up there, so I'm sure she made some birdies; and I don't know, she probably didn't have a 3‑wood coming into 18.  But that played quite long, and the wind just got up here, so some of these long par‑4s into the wind, they're definitely playing long.

 

 

 

Topics: Notes and Interviews, Thompson, Lexi, McCloskey, Lisa, Lee, Meena, Kirby, Jennifer, Lincicome, Brittany, Wegmans LPGA Championship [+]

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