Wegmans LPGA Championship
Monroe Golf Club
August 15, 2014
Brittany Lincicome, Rolex Rankings No. 61, -9
Inbee Park, Rolex Rankings No. 3, -6
Lexi Thompson, Rolex Rankings No. 6, -6
Lydia Ko, Rolex Rankings No. 2, -5
Meena Lee, Rolex Rankings No. 35, -5
Jane Park, Rolex Rankings No. 127, -5
Suzann Pettersen, Rolex Rankings No. 4, -4
Shanshan Feng, Rolex Rankings No. 7, -4
Julieta Granada, Rolex Rankings No. 47, -4
Jennifer Johnson, Rolex Rankings No. 48, -4
Paula Creamer, Rolex Rankings No. 12, +6
She hasn’t held a second round lead since 2009 but Brittany Lincicome now holds the 36-hole lead at a major championship for the first time in her 10-year career. The five-time LPGA Tour winner shot a 4-under 68 on Friday to take a three-shot lead at the Wegmans LPGA Championship. Lincicome leads a star-studded group that includes world No. 3 Inbee Park (66) and Lexi Thompson (72) who are tied for second at 6-under par.
“It’s been incredible,” Lincicome said of her first two rounds. “I haven’t been here in a while so it’s pretty exciting anytime you can shoot under par especially at a major. It feels really nice. I feel like all year I’ve been doing a lot of good things, hitting well, putting well, chipping well, they just don’t seem to all come together on the same day. So it was nice to play the last two days and just kind of seeing like I was out there doing my thing and there was not too much stress involved.”
Lincicome had three birdies, one bogey and an eagle on the 14th hole to give her the second-round lead for the first time since the 2009 Sybase Classic. After looking at the leaderboard after her round, the Florida native knows the firepower in the group pursuing her that includes four-time major winner Inbee Park and fellow Kraft Nabisco Championship winner Lexi Thompson. World No. 2 Lydia Ko shot 69 on Friday and is in a tie for fourth at 5-under par while No. 4 Suzann Pettersen is five shots back in a tie for seventh.
Asked whether the dangerous group of players will change her game plan heading into the weekend, Lincicome said without any hesitation that she’ll put blinders on to finish out the weekend.
“No, I am still going to go try to birdie as many holes as I possibly can, and with both of those players, especially Inbee, she can shoot 61 like it’s nothing,” said Lincicome. “So it doesn’t matter how big a lead you have with her behind you and Lexi or Lydia even, gosh, you just need to keep your same game plan that I’ve had and try to take advantage of the par 5s and just see if we can stay ahead of all of them.”
Fellow long hitter Lexi Thompson will be in hot pursuit on the weekend and plans on keep her foot down on the pedal as she chases her second major win of the season.
“I have nothing to lose, go for it tomorrow and play aggressive,” said Thompson. “I hit driver on every hole out here, so just hopefully my irons hold up for me like they did yesterday.”
Defending champion Inbee Park feels like she’s on the brink of a break through this week. Her last finishes on Tour were a fourth place at the RICOH Women’s British Open and a runner-up last week in Grand Rapids.
“I just came so close the last two weeks,” said Park. “I played in the British and last week. So I feel like something is around the corner. Hopefully, I can do it this week in a major. That would be great.”
World No. 1 Stacy Lewis shot 1-over 73 on Friday and is in a tie for 33rd and nine shots off the lead.
PUTTING PROWESS ON DISPLAY AGAIN
As crazy as it sounds, Inbee Park – the world’s No. 3 player - believes she’s actually hit the ball better in 2014 than she in her historic, record-breaking 2013 season when she won the season’s first three majors. The impetus for the difference in her estimation?
The flatstick. She’s averaging essentially the same putts per round – 29.09 as opposed to 29.05 a year ago – but she’s hitting the ball closer on the greens she says and hasn’t seen that translate into birdies.
She was particularly flustered with the putter after a 31-putt even par performance in round one, so Friday on a couple holes she just decided not to use it. She pitched in from the greenside bunker on the par-5 14th for an eagle and then again on the 1st hole – her 10th of the day – from just off the green to shoot the second best round of the day with a 6-under-par 66 to vault into a tie for 2nd.
“Quite different from yesterday, where yesterday nothing really wanted to drop for me, and today it was just falling from outside the greens,” she said. “So my putter decided not to be used today that much.”
She wasn’t 100 percent sure, but she doesn’t remember that ever happening before in a round.
“A bunker and chip shot? I don’t think so,” Park said when asked. I can’t even remember when I holed in from a bunker. I think it’s been a while, yeah.”
Park left the golf course after the first round thinking even par wasn’t that bad of a score and would leave her around 20 to 30th after day one. Instead, she was around 50th and said that was an obvious signal to her that the golf course had played easier than she had made it look in round one and she was determined to correct it and climb back into contention in a major after feeling like she let one slip away at the Ricoh Women’s British Open.
Park was even par on Sunday with three par-5s in the final four holes. Going 1-under through that stretch would have gotten her into a playoff with Mo Martin. Instead, she parred Nos. 15 through 17 and then made a bogey on the par-5 18th to close.
“I think that’s kind of a tournament I can’t really forget this year. I think it’s been the last round that I didn’t play well, and I had a really good chance,” Park said. “I don’t when that kind of opportunity’s going to come back again. I kind of still think about it, especially when I see Mo. Yeah, it’s hard. It’s tough to forget, but probably the week after was the hardest.”
That disappointing close can all be erased from memory here on Sunday.
“I feel like something is around the corner. Hopefully, I can do it this week in a major,” she said. “That would be great.”
Lydia Ko is completely used to having the “youngest” label placed on her for whatever accomplishment she seems to achieve on the golf course and the New Zealander admitted that her incredible feats at such a young age doesn’t phase her anymore.
Ko is the only player in LPGA history to win two events as an amateur, the youngest to win an event (15 years, 4 months, 2 days) and became the youngest player to reach $1 million in career earnings this season (17 years, 2 months, 26 days).
The Tour rookie could pick up another youngest title this week with a win and would become the youngest major champion in history (male or female). She’ll be 17 years, 3 months, and 24 days on Sunday. But Ko said she has done a good job at concentrating on the task at hand and none of the extra superlatives.
“For me I think about winning at the end of the week,” said Ko. “I know especially like Toledo I realized I became a millionaire after that. I mean, to kind of have those accomplishments is really cool, but I’m really going out there and trying to play the best I can. It’s hard to control what I do, but to control what other people are doing is pretty much impossible.”
Paula Creamer has played nearly every event of her professional career with her longtime caddie, Colin Cann, by her side. There was only one short stretch that she’s been without him and that was in 2005, her rookie season, when Cann was forced to the sideline by a broken ankle that he suffered at a tournament in Kingsmill.
So it’s understandable that Creamer became very emotional early Friday afternoon when she discovered that Cann, who is like family to her, was in so much pain with back spasms that he had to go to the hospital.
“Probably the hardest thing I’ve had to do in a long time is come out here without him,” said Creamer, who was headed to the hospital to see him after her round. “You feel such mixed emotions with everything. I’m not physically hurt, but my brain is on a whole he’s my brother. We’ve been together ten years and I cried. I hate to see him in pain, and I wish I could have helped him with something.”
With Cann unable to caddie, Creamer had to find another person to tote the bag on short notice. While Creamer warmed up, her mom headed to the scoring tent where Meaghan Francella, one of Paula’s good friends, was finishing up caddying for fellow Tour member Pat Hurst. Francella ended up making it a 36-hole day as she headed straight to the tee to meet up with Creamer.
The emotions understandably made it difficult for Creamer to concentrate during Friday’s second round. She shot a 5-over 77 to finish at 6-over-par and miss the cut by four shots.
For Creamer, it marks the first cut that she’s missed in a major since turning professional and ends her record streak of 39 straight majors without a missed cut. At the U.S. Women’s Open this year, Creamer had passed Tiger Woods’ previous record of 37 straight as a pro.
“Obviously, would have never wanted it to en like this,” Creamer said. “I don’t mind obviously, I mind, but it’s different if you just don’t go out and play good golf. But if something happens, an extra variable you add to it, it’s tough.
“I easily could have withdrawn and pulled out, but there is no way. I’m a fighter. I’m a grinder, and I birdied the last hole, and I’m never going to quit. It was an awesome run. It’s unfortunate it happened this way, but some things just have to come to an end at times.”
TEACHER OR STUDENT?
Lydia Ko says she looks up to her fellow LPGA Tour players and that her rookie season has been a year-long class of learning both on and off the course. But the 17-year old and youngest member on Tour has been taking her fellow golfers to school. Ko played alongside world No. 1 Stacy Lewis the first two rounds at Monroe Golf Club this week and heads into the week with a five-shot lead on Lewis who is at even-par after a 1-over 73 on Friday.
Ko said she always learns a lot when she plays with the 29-year old Lewis and battled the Texan down the stretch in two of her wins at the 2012 CN Canadian Women’s Open and the 2014 Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic.
“Whenever I play with her she’s playing great also, so like for example in San Francisco we were feeding off each other and making birdie birdie, and that’s kind of what happens out there. She puts herself in a really good position and makes a lot of birdies,” said Ko. “So when I go out there or see my name next to her name on the pairing sheet, I’m pretty excited to play with her because I learn a few things playing alongside her. She’s just a great person to play with.”
Ko has the chance to unseat Lewis as the No. 1 player in the world with a victory this week. Even though she six less putts than Lewis through the first two rounds, she says she wishes she had Lewis’ command on the greens.
“Especially in putting she just seems so relaxed on any putt,” said Ko. “She kind of just strips the ball and makes it happen, and the majority of the time it goes in the hole. So for me, I’m kind of jealous that she’s so relaxed, and those are the things that I kind of want to learn from her, kind of her mental aspect.”
PETTERSEN PRIMED FOR FIRST WIN OF 2014
Suzann Pettersen wasn’t pleased leaving the ninth green Thursday. She felt she had let a good opening round slip through her fingers with a double bogey on the par-3 8th hole – her 17th of the day – and a par on the par-5 9th to finish a 1-under-par 71 in round one. She didn’t have that same disdain for her Friday round, a 3-under-par 69 in tougher conditions than Thursday to position her at 4-under-par heading into the weekend.
“3-under today was a good score,” Pettersen said of the round that tied the low for the morning wave. “It is playable out there, but you’ve got to hit some great golf shots. But overall, very happy today. Nice to finish
round, a 3-under-par 69 in tougher conditions than Thursday to position her at 4-under-par heading into the weekend.
“3-under today was a good score,” Pettersen said of the round that tied the low for the morning wave. “It is playable out there, but you’ve got to hit some great golf shots. But overall, very happy today. Nice to finish off with a par on 18 and good feeling for tomorrow.”
Pettersen’s been playing great golf as of late with a third, a tie for 2nd, and a tie for 6th in her last three starts but is looking for her first win of the season. The 14-time LPGA Tour winner is playing for her third career major championship. This golf course suits her, though. She’s able to hit driver every hole and is averaging 276.5 yards per drive.
“Right now the fairways are generous. Even if you do miss the fairways, if you get lies in the rough, you can just bomb it off the tee,” she said. “You can risk the few extra yards even if you miss it you’ll still be able to get to the greens somehow.”
Compared to the first round, the morning conditions were substantially tougher Friday with a breeze blowing upwards of 20 miles per hour throughout the day. The scoring average rose from 73.057 in the first round Thursday to 73.771 Friday.
“I think what’s protecting this course at the moment is the wind. It makes it that much tougher and a few more tucked pins today as well,” Suzann Pettersen said. “It’s just hard to get really close. It just shows that if you really play well you can score lower on this course, and that is always nice to know with the weekend ahead of you.”
Part of what makes the wind so tough is figuring out where it is coming from.
“It swirls among the trees, so it will be like gusting and one club will work and then it will gust and you’ll need double that,” said Jennifer Johnson, who shot her second straight 2-under 70 to finish at 4-under.
“It’s just tough because you have to adjust your aim, and you just have to pretty much just commit.”
WORKING FOR THE WEEKEND
A total of 73 players made the cut which fell at 2-over-par 146. Notables to miss the cut: Caroline Hedwall
Paula Creamer, Stephanie Meadow, Morgan Pressel
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I didn’t touch the golf club for five days. I was actually going to take the whole week off, but David (Leadbetter) said, okay, let’s have a lesson on Saturday. So I said, okay, I better get back into it. So I wasn’t hitting the ball really well last week so we were talking about my swing was still on holiday until Sunday.”
–Lydia Ko on taking her longest break from practicing this season a few weeks ago
Brittany Lincicome, Rolex Rankings No. 61, -9
THE MODERATOR: It's my pleasure to welcome in our second round leader here at the Wegmans LPGA Championship, Brittany Lincicome. 4‑under, 60 today pushes you to 9‑under through two rounds. An amazing week so far. Just take us through the past few days and how you've been feeling.
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Yeah, it's been incredible. I haven't been here in a while so it's pretty exciting anytime you can shoot under par especially at a major. It feels really nice. I feel like all year I've been doing a lot of good things, hitting well, putting well, chipping well, they just don't seem to all come together on the same day. So it was nice to play the last two days and just kind of seeing like I was out there doing my thing and there was not too much stress involved. Even when I had a chip shot that looked really bad, somehow I got it up‑and‑down and kept going.
THE MODERATOR: You said you want to build off what you did yesterday. What were some of the things that you thought you carried over well into today's round?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Just driving it well, especially on the par‑5s. I can get it on the fairway and reach both of them except 9, and just take advantage of those holes. Chipping in for eagle obviously helps. But, yeah, just I was kind of in a groove and having a good time with my two other competitors and we had a good time out there.
Q. Talk about the par‑5s here. You're playing them at 8‑under so far this week, incredible. You have the eagle on the back nine today. How important is it even just so far in the lead but also moving forward to capitalize on those opportunities?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Yeah, I feel like 9 is obviously really long, so if I don't birdie that one it's not as big of a deal. But the other ones if I don't birdie them, I feel like I've lost one stroke on the field if not two. So taking advantage of those is kind of the key to the week. Obviously, I'm not trying to put extra pressure on myself, but I definitely got into birdie mode. The par‑3s are crazy long, so I'm trying to literally get it on the green and two‑putt and get it out of there as quickly as I can. Take advantage of the par‑5s, and try to make pars on the par‑3s and that's the goal.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Brittany?
Q. Nice round, it didn't start well. What happened on the first hole, and then the second question is when you walked off the green, you looked like you were really not happy about what happened there. Just what happened on the first hole?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: You know, somebody yesterday I think had tweeted, I think it was a young fan that tweeted that I didn't three‑putt any holes yesterday, and I think it was just in my head that I didn't want to three‑putt and somehow I hit it too far on the green and knocked it way by and three‑putted. So it was more I kind of got in my own way. I didn't put a good stroke on the second putt and kind of being in this spot, I haven't been here in a while. It was one of those emotions where we're not doing this. I've been in this position before where I've had a good day and followed it up with a really bad day, and was trying to go into the next hole with just you can do this, just be confident and do it and let's not shoot 80 today was kind of going into the second tee box.
Q. Talk about you briefly referenced the struggles, but since your last win in '11, you haven't played really well the top 10. There have only been 10 or 11 of them, and you're too good of a player to be in that. So what's been going on these last few years?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: If you know, please tell me. I have no idea. I think my parents would say I'm dating a boy and that's probably why, poor thing. Hopefully he's not in here. Oh, he is (laughing). But I don't know. I feel like I've been doing a lot of really good things. I changed equipment and I feel like I've been playing really well, hitting it really well, driving it far which is awesome. But like I said, it's just not coming together, and I don't know what I was doing in '11, '09, all those other years that I won. I feel like I'm doing the same things, it just hasn't happened. So I have no idea.
Q. Obviously, we talked about Lexi yesterday and her driver on this course. She used 14 drivers. How many did you hit in these first rounds? Did you hit it every hole besides the par‑3? Is that giving you an advantage this week in your length on this golf course?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Absolutely, there is no secret why Lexi and I are at the top of the leaderboard, both long hitters taking advantage of the par‑5s. I think I hit two 3‑woods each day out there with some bunkers that are kind of in between yardages. But, yeah, the more I can hit driver, the better. So we go to a golf course and it takes driver out of my hand, I'm pretty bummed. So here I'm excited.
Q. Going back to Locust Hill, how did you attack that golf course in terms of how many drivers you could hit?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: That's a good question. That golf course got so narrow I was wanting to hit pitching wedge off the tee to get it on the fairway. I felt like it was pretty close. 2‑wood, 3‑wood, I think there are more drivers here actually. That was just so narrow it was more positioning of where you wanted to hit it, and here you can kind of let it go and even if it's in the rough it's not too bad because I have a short iron to the green.
Q. When you got here were you pleasantly surprised when you played your first practice round here at what you found?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Yes, my caddie actually told me last week she had been here to walk it one day this year, and she said it was definitely more open than Locust. It was more like the tournament last we think we played at Grand Rapids, which is exciting to hear because I like to hit it far but it doesn't always go straight. So it was nice that the fairways were a little more forgiving, yeah, I like that.
Q. Talk about the thoughts and emotions going into tomorrow. Holding the lead after 36 holes. I know you're a great sleeper, but you do think you'll lose a little bit of sleep?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: No, that will not affect me at all. I'm staying with Laura Diaz' this weekend, with her husband and two kids. So I'm picking up pizza, and I should probably do that soon before she gets home. And probably just watch a movie and hang out and do the same thing I've done the last two nights and try not to think about it.
Q. You've had struggles the past two years and for a little while. How special is it? There is a lot of golf to be played, but to be at a major and also here the last year here in Rochester?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: I think more so that it's the last tournament here in Rochester. The fans are so awesome at this event. I really hope the Commissioner can get us back in this area sometime soon. There were so many spectators out there watching us and it was such a great vibe. We went to Wegmans this morning to get a sub for lunch and people were like good luck. Have a good day. It's just great to see. Most cities we go through they don't even know we're in town sometimes, so this community really comes together and loves the LPGA, and I would love to come back and get another tournament back here.
Q. Can you describe that hole?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Par‑5, had 6‑iron to the green, was trying to hit it to the middle of the green and pulled it. The pin was like 10 on from the left, so pulled it and short putted myself, was trying to hit like a flop shot, which if it wouldn't have gone in, it would have only been like a foot. It was actually a really good shot with the lie that I had which was really bad. It was long and only three from the left, so it was perfect.
BRITTANY LINCICOME: I had lob‑wedge into that green. I hit it like 350 yards off the tee. The putt was like a foot. What was the other one, 9? Actually I made a long putt to like 25 feet, probably, and hit it in the rough on my lay‑up shot and hit like a sand wedge into the green. 10, I don't remember, sorry.
Q. Lexi and Inbee just finished and they're minus‑6. So you go into tomorrow knowing you're 3 ahead. Does that change your mindset knowing that you have a little bit of a bigger cushion?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: No, I am still going to go try to birdie as many holes as I possibly can, and with both of those players, especially Inbee, she can shoot 61 like it's nothing, so it doesn't matter how big a lead you have with her behind you and Lexi or Lydia even, gosh, you just need to keep your same game plan that I've had and try to take advantage of the par‑5s and just see if we can stay ahead of all of them.
Inbee Park, Rolex Rankings No. 3, -6
THE MODERATOR: It's my pleasure to welcome in Inbee Park into the interview room. Inbee, stellar round today, 6‑under 66, ties your lowest round in a major championship, which is a little surprising, but you have to be very pleased with the way you played today, just 3 shots off the lead.
INBEE PARK: Yeah, it was a great day to day. Quite different from yesterday, where yesterday nothing really wanted to drop for me, and today it was just falling from outside the greens. So my putter decided not to be used today that much. I chipped in and I holed a bunker shot, I never had those kind of rounds before, only two outside the greens. So it was a really good round. I feel like I rolled the balls a little bit better on the greens as well.
Q. Take us through the chip outs. What holes were they?
INBEE PARK: Number 14, I was in the bunker on the left, that was for eagle. That went in from the bunker. And number 1, I was just off the green and I chipped it from there short.
Q. You've never had that done before?
INBEE PARK: A bunker and chip shot? I don't think so. I can't even remember when I holed in from a bunker. I think it's been a while, yeah.
Q. Fast start today, 4‑under through six holes. Was the mentality coming in today to be aggressive and get going pretty quickly?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, yesterday after the round I shot even par and I thought maybe it's not that bad of a score. Maybe around maybe 20th or 30th, then I went back home and I was around 50th. So I thought man, this golf course must be playing easy because it didn't play that easy for me in the morning. So I thought I need to change things a little bit and get a little more aggressive on the second day, and that's what I did today.
Q. Your second best round today, did you look at the scores coming into this afternoon? There weren't many low scores. Did you think maybe the windy conditions were going to play a factor? What was your thought process there?
INBEE PARK: I think it was really consistent yesterday and today. It was windy all the time. Obviously, with all these trees it's kind of tough to judge where the wind was coming from because it was swirling a lot, and it was on and it was off. So it was quite tricky out there, but I did well today.
THE MODERATOR: For those that don't know, I know you said your putter was working well for you today. Give us the background story. Still using the putter that you ‑‑ I want to say stole ‑‑ from So Yeon. Tell us the background on that?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, I just at International Crown she was holing so many putts, and I said good putter. That must be a really good putter, and I told her, can I give it a try? And I hit a couple and really liked it, so I started using it.
Q. Did she get any compensation for that?
INBEE PARK: No.
Q. Did you take her actual putter or did you get another one like that it?
INBEE PARK: I got another one like it.
Q. You didn't actually take it from her? You ordered it and it came in?
INBEE PARK: Yeah.
Q. From the stats it looked like you only needed 15 putts in the first 14 holes?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, I had 25 putts today, so to start off the round I putted a lot from just off the fringe, so I think that really got my average down on putting. I think I putted just off the green four or five times today. So I was really long.
Q. Inbee, you were so fabulous in the majors last year. Have you missed being in this position? How hungry have you been to return?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, I mean, this year major golf tournaments this year I haven't been playing as well as last year, obviously. The course was playing a little bit different last season, the course like Kraft Nabisco and this year they got longer, they had no rough. So it played a little bit different, and I think it didn't really suit my game that much this year in the majors.
But the majors this year has been really firm greens and just long distance and not many roughs out there. So it's been a little different from last year's set‑up as well, but I just didn't play as well.
Q. We talked a lot about expectations and you knew coming into the season how difficult it would be to replicate last season. But how much would it mean to you to be able to get at least one major win this week and Evian left?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, I just came so close the last two weeks. I played in the British and last week. So I feel like something is around the corner. Hopefully, I can do it this week in a major. That would be great.
Q. Not to be a downer or anything. But do you think about the last hole at the British that much? Does that go through your mind? I mean, you were so close, as you say.
INBEE PARK: I think that's kind of a tournament I can't really forget this year. I think it's been the last round that I didn't play well, and I had a really good chance. I don't know when that kind of opportunity's going to come back again. I kind of still think about it, especially when I see Mo. Yeah, it's hard. It's tough to forget, but probably the week after was probably the toughest. After a couple weeks from there it was okay.
Lexi Thompson, Rolex Rankings No. 6, -6
Q. Almost feel like a battle out there between you two but you still managed to get to par and stay in this thing?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, today was a little more difficult than yesterday. Just didn't hit it as well, but I did make a lot of good putts today, so I'm going to take a positive out of it and go to the range for a little bit after and prepare for the weekend.
Q. Talk about the wind and placement today?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, well, the wind has been picking up every day out here, even in the practice rounds it was blowing a good 15 miles per hour. So it's expected going into every day. But some of these pin locations today were a lot more difficult to get to. So I'm expecting them to get harder as the week goes on.
Q. You have big names at the top of the leaderboard now including last year's champion. Do you like this type of leaderboard with these names up there?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, it's a great leaderboard so far. I'm just focusing on my game right now, focusing one shot at a time and see where it goes.
Q. Just kind of your mindset knowing that you need to play well just to kind of keep pace because you know somebody's maybe ahead of you or behind you could get hot and really jam things up?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, well of course, in any tournament you know you have to play well each day because there are so many great players out here. They're the best in the world. So you have to shoot under par especially out here. It seems like a few under is a good score on this golf course each day. So just got to focus one shot at a time, and hopefully I'll play like I did yesterday.
Q. Brittany said a moment ago she'd rather be one shot behind than one shot ahead. You're 3‑behind her. Do you feel you have an advantage because the pressure's not on you going into tomorrow or Sunday?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, I'd say I definitely feel that way. I have nothing to lose, go for it tomorrow and play aggressive. I hit driver on every hole out here, so just hopefully my irons hold up for me like they did yesterday.
Lydia Ko, Rolex Rankings No. 2, -5
KELLY THESIER: Good afternoon, everyone. We'd like to welcome Rolex Rankings No. 2, Lydia Ko into the interview room. Congratulations, a great 3‑under par round today, 5‑under par overall on this golf course. You're not one of the longest hitters on Tour. We kept talking all week about how this golf course is suited for long hitters. What have you been able to do on this golf course that's helped you to succeed so far over the first two days?
LYDIA KO: Yeah, coming into this week I knew that this course had a little bit of an advantage for the long hitters, but especially holes at 18 where I had like 210 yards to the pin. It kind of makes me feel like it's a reachable par‑5. But actually I hit the ball steady, and I've been pretty confident with the long game, and I just gave myself as many opportunities as I could.
Q. We've noticed your first win on the LPGA Tour came while you were playing with Stacy Lewis. You won your first LPGA Tour as a member in San Francisco while playing with Stacy Lewis. Now you are playing well again playing with Stacy. You two talked about you like playing with one another, but is there something about playing with her that brings out the best in your game?
LYDIA KO: Whenever I play with her she's playing great also, so like for example in San Francisco we were feeding off each other and making birdie‑birdie, and that's kind of what happens out there. She puts herself in a really good position and makes a lot of birdies. So when I go out there or see my name next to her name on the pairing sheet, I'm pretty excited to play with her because I learn a few things playing alongside her. She's just a great person to play with.
Q. As the day went along it seemed there was some wind at times. Were conditions a little tougher today than they were yesterday?
LYDIA KO: I mean, you think that playing in the morning there would be less wind, but we had wind from just the first hole and it kind of continued. But I think it was kind of forecasted to be like this all day anyways, but I guess everybody's playing in the same conditions. I mean, wind definitely makes it a little tougher.
Q. Just 17 years old, but do you feel like you're a role model for girls that are just two or three years younger than you? Do you see it that way?
LYDIA KO: No, I don't really see it that way, but there are some times when the girls come up to me and say, Lydia, you're my role model. It kind of makes me feel a little special to, I guess, be a role model when I'm still in high school and I'm only 17. I mean, for them to think of me as a role model, it kind of makes me feel like I need to play better, perform good, and I guess be that role model that they think I am.
Q. I understand your wrists were hurting yesterday on the range when you were warming up, and I know you went to get treatment after the round last night. Can you just give us an update on what's going on there?
LYDIA KO: It definitely feels much better today. I mean, it felt much less pain than when I was on the range, because I got it taped up, and that's been supporting my wrist so it's not been going anywhere. But it feels better compared to yesterday, so that's good news that it's not getting worse.
Q. Is it something you've had an issue with in the past that is flaring up again?
LYDIA KO: No, I haven't really had a wrist problem for a while. But to kind of feel it on the range yesterday when I was hitting my driver, it was quite different and I couldn't really hold the club at one point. But it felt okay during my round yesterday and I think if it stays like this I'm definitely playable with it.
Q. There were talking about you being 17. You do have the opportunity this week if you were to win this event to become the youngest major winner in history. Do you think about those milestones as you hit them? I know we were talking about youngest ever to reach a million dollars on the LPGA Tour. When you have the opportunity for something like that, do you think about that at all? Is there pressure when you have those sorts of things as a possibility?
LYDIA KO: For me I think about winning at the end of the week. I know especially like Toledo I realized I became a millionaire after that. I mean, to kind of have those accomplishments is really cool, but I'm really going out there and trying to play the best I can. It's hard to control what I do, but to control what other people are doing is pretty much impossible.
I'm going to go out there and just have some fun. I'll have to see. There are still two more days of golf for myself and still half the field is playing right now.
Q. When you get on a golf course that seems obviously suited for the big hitters, what do you tell yourself so that you don't put yourself in a hole right from the start?
LYDIA KO: I think the majority of the par‑5s are reachable for the majority of the players. So I think that's where I try to think, okay, you need to birdie on holes like 3 and 14 and go from there, just give myself as many opportunities as I can. I wish I was a really long hitter where I can hit the ball like 290 yards, but that's not the case. So I'm just trying to play to my strength and my game.
Q. When you went to Universal and took some time off, was that a five‑day stretch of not touching the golf club that I heard about?
LYDIA KO: Yeah, I didn't touch the golf club for five days. I was actually going to take the whole week off, but David said, okay, let's have a lesson on Saturday. So I said, okay, I better get back into it. So I wasn't hitting the ball really well last week so we were talking about my swing was still on holiday until Sunday.
Q. Is that the longest stretch you've gone without hitting a club in years?
LYDIA KO: No, not really. I've had times where I kind of took two months off or one and a half months off because of exams during the end of the year. I've done that a couple of times over the last couple of years.
Q. This would be the longest stretch since you've started the season though, right?
LYDIA KO: Yeah.
Q. You said playing with Stacy you liked the idea that you could learn something from her. What have you observed from her or learned from her?
LYDIA KO: Especially in putting she just seems so relaxed on any putt. She kind of just strips the ball and makes it happen, and the majority of the time it goes in the hole. So for me, I'm kind of jealous that she's so relaxed, and those are the things that I kind of want to learn from her, kind of her mental aspect.
Q. I know you had six birdies. Can you remember what you hit in on some of them?
LYDIA KO: On the first hole I hit my 6‑iron a little short, like a 30‑footer and I holed that. On 2, I three‑putted 3, and I was on the green for two, so I had a two‑putt for birdie. 4, I kind of short sided myself to the right and was going to make up‑and‑down for bogey. Then I made pars along the way and made another birdie on 8. I hit it to about 8, 9 feet and holed that. 10, I hit my hybrid, but it ended up being pin high, and I had a 15, 16‑footer for a birdie and holed that. Then I had like two three‑footers for birdie on 12, and then bogeyed 13 because I went past into the rough, then birdied 14. I made up‑and‑down from the front of the green, and I think that's about it.
Q. Talk about where you are and how you're in pretty good shape?
LYDIA KO: I think I'm in a good position. The overnight leaders are just getting started. I know that I've put myself in a good position for the weekend.
Q. Everybody's talking about conditions, but everybody's talking about the wind. Can you talk about how you dealt with it today?
LYDIA KO: You think when you play in the morning you might not get the wind, but we had win from hole one and it kind of continued that way. I think that's what the forecast is. I think we didn't have a tournament where there was no wind, so it would be stranger if there wasn't. I guess wind is just part of playing.
Q. Does it feel different this year to last year in Rochester being an amateur and now a professional? Is there more pressure this year?
LYDIA KO: Not really. I'm just trying to take the game as it is. I'm still playing the same sport and just enjoying it. I've put myself in a good position compared to last year. I kind of just made the cut and tried to go from there.
Q. We look at you as a professional, but at the same time a 17‑year‑old. Do you still feel like a teenager or do you feel like you're a grown up?
LYDIA KO: When I'm on the course, I don't know what age I am. I know I make some dumb, clumsy mistakes and then I go, there you go. That 17‑year‑old is coming out. But when I'm off course watching TV and I just feel like a normal teenager just doing the teenage things.
Q. You're so new at this as a pro. Does a major championship feel different to you? You've been in them, but does it feel any different this week where you are now going into the weekend?
LYDIA KO: Like this year I didn't really have an opportunity where I put myself in a good position for the weekend, but I think this week I'm playing pretty good, I'm pretty confident. It's good to be in this position, but I got the opportunity to play in some majors last year, and that's definitely helping me with the pressure.
Meena Lee, Rolex Rankings No. 35, -5
Q. Okay, Meena, talk about your round today. Second round just as good as yesterday. What was working out there?
MEENA LEE: Well, it was tough out there because it's a little bit windy today. I hit it really good today, but I had a couple missed putts. We'll see two more days.
Q. I know you mentioned the wind created a big challenge today. What is your plan tomorrow going into Saturday and Sunday and what is the big strategy?
MEENA LEE: Okay, well, I think my play into par‑5s is make a birdie. So I'll try to make more birdies on the par‑5. That is my plan.
Jane Park, Rolex Rankings No. 127, -5
Q. Great round today, run us through it.
JANE PARK: Thank you. I knew that the conditions were very difficult, so I stayed as patient as I could. Luckily a lot of my putts dropped today, so I was very fortunate for that.
Q. 4 back of the lead, you've got to feel good about that going into tomorrow?
JANE PARK: Definitely. It's a major and they're going to set up the course tough. I'm just going to keep the same attitude, stay as patient as I can and take my opportunities when I get them.
Q. Disappointed not to finish with a birdie there?
JANE PARK: No, not at all. Donald Ross is a great course designer, and even on a par‑5 with a good lay‑up, you can't really get too aggressive with these greens. I'm very happy with my par on the last hole.
Q. You called him a bloody genius, I think, during the practice round.
JANE PARK: I did.
Q. What makes you like his courses so much?
JANE PARK: I won the U.S. Amateur on a Donald Ross course, and I love how they're visually pleasing off the tee and into the greens. You can kind of use the greens to your advantage. Hit it to the middle of the green and they'll usually funnel either way. A lot of the pins were in good places today, very accessible, so I'm sure they'll tuck them over the weekend.
Q. How did you get to those pins with the winds blowing so hard?
JANE PARK: I hit the ball fairly low, but just on a course like this with wind like this you really have to commit to your shots. Fortunately I was able to do that today.
JANE PARK: Just, like I said before, just stay patient and take my opportunities when I get them.
Q. Does it feel anymore intimidation in this?
JANE PARK: Yes, definitely. It's not only a battle with the other girls, but it's a battle with myself, and I haven't had that great of a year. I've been injured, battling injuries, and trying to gain confidence from being away for so long is pretty difficult. But I'm very proud of the way I played today, and I'm really looking forward to the weekend.
Q. What were those injuries and how long were you out?
JANE PARK: Well, beginning of the year I started one event in Australia and both my wrists were sprained. I had an MRI, and I was dealing with some sprains. I had to pull out of the U.S. Open this year, another Donald Ross course, I had to pull out because I had a back spasm. It just comes with the territory. Lot of golfers get injured.
Suzann Pettersen, Rolex Rankings No. 4, -4
Q. 4‑under, how you feeling after 36?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: 3‑under today was a good score. It is playable out there, but you've got to hit some great golf shots. The wind is a bit choppy. It bounces up‑and‑down all the time. You've just got to try to find the right pockets and try to hit the right shots that gives you the highest percentage. But overall, very happy today. Nice to finish off with a par on 18 and good feeling for tomorrow.
Q. After two rounds, what have you learned about this course that maybe you didn't think after the practice round or what are you learning about this course?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: It's always testing when you come to new courses. You don't quite know where the scores are going to be. I think what's protecting this course at the moment is the wind. It makes it that much tougher and a few more tucked pins today as well. It's just hard to get really close. It just shows if you really play well you can score lower on this course, and that is always nice to know with the weekend ahead of you.
Q. Are you surprised that you can score low around this course? The talk was this can be tougher than locusts.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Right now the fairways are generous. Even if you do miss the fairways, if you get lies on the rough, you can just bomb it off the tee. You can risk the extra few yards even if you miss it you'll still be able to get to the greens somehow. The par‑5s are playable, which is very fun, tough par‑3s, mediocre par‑4s, and good par‑5s.
Q. It seemed the wind kicked up a little at the end of your round. Are you fortunate that you're off the course now?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: It feels consistent with the wind since I teed it up yesterday. This morning was a little bit breezy.
Shanshan Feng, Rolex Rankings No. 7, -4
Q. Talk about your round today.
SHANSHAN FENG: I think today the conditions were a little tougher because we had more wind and the wind was kind of gusty and my iron shots were a little better than yesterday. Didn't do as well on the par‑5s today, only made two birdies. But I think even par is not a bad score. 4‑under for two days, I think I'm still in good shape.
Q. How tough are those last four holes, 15 to 18?
SHANSHAN FENG: 15 to 18? I think ‑‑ oh, the front nine. Oh, I think I made two bogeys the last four holes. I don't really remember. Were they par‑4s?
Q. Yeah, par‑4s?
SHANSHAN FENG: Oh, the par‑4s, right. I think the par‑4s, you have to hit your driver very well, and then second shots are kind of tough, especially the last hole. I mean, the 18th hole, the green is so difficult. I was lucky because both of the days I hit my ball really close to the hole and it was a direct shot. So I took them both of the days, but I've seen people going around and around.
Q. If this wind dies down, I know you're not one to look at the leaderboard, but are you still in striking zone?
SHANSHAN FENG: I didn't set any goals coming in this week, so I don't care where I'm at right now. I think I tried my best going forward the first two days and I'm just going to keep doing the same thing over the weekend.
Julieta Granada, Rolex Rankings No. 47, -4
Q. Round of the tournament, run us through it.
JULIETA GRANADA: Yeah, I just got off to like a really good start. I birdied 2. I eagled three3. I just made some really good putts today, unlike yesterday, so it felt really good.
Q. Kind of feel like you're pretty close to into it now, right?
JULIETA GRANADA: Yeah, it was weird yesterday because I took three weeks off, and it was like my timing was a little bit off from tournament golf. So today I was just trying to get my rhythm, and I think I did that pretty well.
Q. The conditions were pretty windy out here today. Was it just the mindset of just be steady and when you have a chance for birdies, just go for them on some of the par‑5s?
JULIETA GRANADA: Yeah, I mean, definitely here the par‑5s, you have to take advantage of. They give you a little bit of a break, and, yeah, the course completely changed. It was dry, it was fast, the greens were super fast, so it was like you had to adjust on the go.
Jennifer Johnson, Rolex Rankings No. 48, -4
Q. Did you think the pins were tough today?
JENNIFER JOHNSON: Yeah, some of them are pretty crazy. I'm like wondering what some people were thinking setting those, but you've got to stay patient because everyone's playing the same pin.
Q. How difficult was that wind? Was it picking up later in the round did it seem like?
JENNIFER JOHNSON: Yeah, I would say middle of my back nine it really picked up. I was glad I didn't have to play 18 with this wind because I don't think I would have gotten there.
Q. When you guys talk about the wind, why does it cause you so many problems? Talk about the wind.
JENNIFER JOHNSON: It swirls among the trees, so it will be like gusting and one club will work and then it will gust and you'll need double that. It's just tough because you have to adjust your aim, and you just have to pretty much just commit.
JENNIFER JOHNSON: It depends. If the wind keeps up, I would say, yeah. Probably it does.
Paula Creamer, Rolex Rankings No. 12, +6
Q. Talk about what happened?
PAULA CREAMER: I came out into the parking lot and came out on the putting green, and he was sitting in a chair and I could just tell he was not doing well. First thing I said was, okay, I'll figure it out. It's okay. Don't even think about coming out today, and he literally took a half hour for him to stand up and move five feet. So he's been in the hospital all day.
Probably the hardest thing I've had to do in a long time is come out here without him. You feel such mixed emotions with everything. I'm not physically hurt, but my brain is on a whole ‑‑ he's my brother. We've been together ten years and I cried. I hate to see him in pain, and I wish I could have helped him with something.
Q. Has he had back issues before?
PAULA CREAMER: His back has been bothering him a little bit the last couple months, but he does his exercises and things. I'm hoping it's just a pinched nerve and whatnot. But it's not something we're going to mess with. Obviously, I'm going to go to the hospital right now to go straight and see him and see how he's doing. It's unfortunate. You never think something like that's going to happen, but it's a good lesson for everybody, really.
Q. I remember I think it was at Cherry Hills he was watching you on a scooter?
PAULA CREAMER: Yeah, he broke his ankle at Kingsmill.
Q. Is that the last time you've been without him?
PAULA CREAMER: Yeah, that was '05, my rookie year, so this was an experience to say the least. But obviously I didn't play great, but my expectations weren't super high going into it. Still I can hit the golf ball where I want to and that kind of thing, but it's tough. I think it's harder mentally if you have that than a physical injury.
Q. How much is the wind a factor?
PAULA CREAMER: It's more routine. It's more being comfortable and picking targets. I'm not quite hitting it the way I normally do, so he and I even have been kind of struggling with things let alone bringing in one of my best friends to be on the bag and trying to figure that out. But it was playing hard. We could still make a lot of birdies out there at the same time. I just did not play good golf.
Q. This isn't the way he wants to end this run, you like it here and the fans love you here. I know they're going to be disappointed. Can you talk about one last time what this community has meant to you?
PAULA CREAMER: I've never kept it a secret how much I love coming here. Even today I must have heard a hundred times keep your head up. So many people saw what happened on the putting green and how distraught I was. My dad is carrying the bag around for me and all. Literally Meghan showed up on the first tee. We met right there and we went.
But the fans have been so supportive of my golf. For a place for this to happen, I guess in hindsight, it was a blessing because they kind of just motivated me to get around the course and try to take my mind off of what happened this afternoon early on.
Q. (Indiscernible) I hate to mention it, but it was an amazing feat that went for a long time. Did that enter your mind today?
PAULA CREAMER: Coming down the stretch, yeah, of course. Obviously, would have never wanted it to be like this. I don't mind ‑‑ obviously, I mind, but it's different if you just don't go out and play good golf. But if something happens, an extra variable you add to it, it's tough.
But I easily could have withdrawn and pulled out, but there is no way. I'm a fighter. I'm a grinder, and I birdied the last hole, and I'm never going to quit. It was an awesome run. It's unfortunate it happened this way, but some things just have to come to an end at times.