Blackhawk Country Club
Final-round notes and interviews
October 17, 2010
Spanish rookie Beatriz Recari became a Rolex First-Time Winner Sunday when she shot a final-round, 2-under 70 to finish 14-under and win the CVS/pharmacy LPGA Challenge at Blackhawk Country Club in Danville, Calif. by one shot over Gwladys Nocera. Nocera (70) of France, also a rookie on the LPGA, came to the 18th hole three shots down, but after she birdied and Recari bogeyed the 17th hole, the lead was one. Recari, needing par, avoided the water guarding the front of the green and two-putted for the win. Recari (68-66-70-70=274, -14) became the first rookie to win on the LPGA this year.
“I saw that,” Recari said, when asked whether she knew she needed to par 18 to win. “I just had to put myself in position where I could have easy two putts, and I did, so I'm very, very proud.”
Nice move, Rook: With the win, Recari moves from fifth to third in the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year race. With her solo second-place finish, Nocera moves to second. Nocera can still catch leader Azahara Munoz; Recari cannot.
¡Viva España! Recari is the first Spaniard to win on the LPGA since Marta Figueros-Dotti at the 1994 Cup Noodles Hawaiian Ladies Open.
No Bull: Recari was born and raised in Pamplona, Spain, better known throughout the world as the city where they host the “running of the bulls.” Has she ever tried it? “Absolutely not,” she said without hesitation. “Absolutely not. You know, everyone asks me that, but I always say I've seen it enough times to realize that it's more dangerous than what people think. I watched it many times behind the fence, but that's about it.”
Life in the fast lane: Today, Recari drew on a once-in-a-lifetime experience she had earlier this month when she rode in an IndyCar two-seater with motorsports legend Mario Andretti. Recari took a 200 mph ride with Andretti around Homestead – Miami Speedway prior to the IZOD IndCary Series’ last race of the 2010 season. “I felt like that was a great experience coming before this tournament because I believe I had so much adrenaline and then I just felt so calm when I was standing on the putt,” she said. “That was a crazy experience. I was very, very lucky or honored to have such an experience.”
Hooked: Recari got into golf via her dad Jose Luis, and as an 11-year-old beginner, her head pro offered her a spot in the Spanish Championships, which she accepted. Even though she shot “hundreds,” she said, “I had this feeling,” she recalled her post-round thoughts. “I took my dad to the car, I was like I said, ‘Dad, I really want to do this serious.’ I said, ‘Would you support me? Would you help me?’ He said, ‘Yeah, of course.’ I live in the north and the winters are cold, so he said, ‘If the Sundays are cold and it's minus whatever, we're still practicing.’ I said, ‘I get it.’ And since then it's been a very interesting journey.”
Papa Garcia: Although she’s only met countryman Sergio Garcia a few times, Recari said his dad Victor has been an integral part of getting her into the victory circle on the LPGA. “I actually call him Papa Garcia,” she said. “They're a great family, and my second year on Tour I didn't have any sponsor or club sponsor or nothing, so I had to pay for everything. And Victor, his dad, he helped me a lot. He supported me with balls, gloves. And he really looked after me very well, so I have only positive comments towards them.”
Poised: Of the trio atop the leaderboard at the beginning of the day, only Redman stayed within striking distance of Recari. Although Redman couldn’t get any birdies to fall down the stretch, she finished 12-under, two back of Recari, who impressed her. “I think she did a really good job,” said Redman, a two-time winner and 18-year veteran. “It was tough out there today. She played it smart, and she got some good breaks and she hit a lot of really good putts.”
Rolex Race for No. 1 remains close: When tomorrow’s Rolex Rankings are released, the top-three are expected to remain the same with Japan’s Ai Miyazato at No. 1, Cristie Kerr at No. 2 and Jiyai Shin – who finishes second on the JLPGA this week – at No. 3. Kerr, the only one of the top three in this week’s event, finished tied for fifth at 11-under. She need to finish at least T3 (with one other player) to retake the top spot. “You play golf at the level that I play, you want to reach the pinnacle of your sport,” she said, when asked how much the No. 1 spot means to her. “But I'm going to play golf for a long time, so whether I get it back for the third time this week or not, I have a lot of golf for the rest of the year.”
Making the Most of It: Libby Smith, who Monday qualified this week, finished 6-under to finish tied for 15th.
Of note: The round of the day belonged to Sarah Kemp – six birdies, an eagle and two bogeys for a 6-under 66 that moved her from T36 to T10… Paula Creamer, a native of nearby Pleasanton, shot a 2-under 70 to finish 4-under overall and T25… Juli Inkster, a two-time champion here (1999 and 2000) shot a 1-under 71 to finish 1-under overall and T40. Inkster, a Bay Area native and resident, was also a four-time All-American at San Jose State… Defending champion Sophie Gustafson shot a 1-over 73 to finish 2-under overall and T33.
BEATRIZ RECARI, Rolex Rankings No. 172
THE MODERATOR: So Beatriz, congratulations. Just tell us how you're feeling right now.
BEATRIZ RECARI: Well, I'm kind of like realizing that I won. I still cannot believe it. I think it'll take me kind of a couple days to assimilate that. I'm flying tonight to Malaysia, so I'll probably have a couple hours to actually think what happened this week. No, I'm thrilled. I did a very good job. I had three weeks off. I worked very hard, and that paid off. I played very well last week. And I got a great feeling when I came in, a good vibe, and I'm just very, very happy and proud of myself of that result and the kind of competition that I showed out there.
THE MODERATOR: So what's more nerve wracking? Going 200 miles per hour with Mario Andretti or keeping a lead on the back nine?
BEATRIZ RECARI: You know, I felt like that was a great experience coming before this tournament because I believe I had so much adrenaline and then I just felt so calm when I was standing on the putt. That was a crazy experience. I was very, very lucky or honored to have such an experience. But no, you know, that was fun for me. This is my job, and you know, I still have to keep it fun and focus and just yeah, just focus on what I have to do and just stay calm and be aggressive.
THE MODERATOR: Did you know what you had to do on 18? Did you know Gladys birdied before you?
BEATRIZ RECARI: I saw that. So I knew that, again, the pin was on the left. I'm just going to draw it. I had a drawing line as well, and I just had to put myself in position where I could have easy two putts, and I did, so I'm very, very proud.
Q. Yesterday you talked about when you won your first tournament last year in Europe, you know, you blew the five shot lead and you had the spectacular shot to win, that you learned a lot about managing your game and focusing under pressure. What was it like out there today? How well do you think you did?
BEATRIZ RECARI: Well, I think I did very well. I stood very strong I started very strong on the first, the second, and almost eagled the third, had a tap in for birdie. Birdied or bogeyed the fifth, birdied the sixth again. So I was feeling very strong, and I was all the time getting the lead, if it was only by one shot. And then I was always up there, so that gave me confidence. And then it started raining, and I just, okay, just the course is playing longer, different. So just have to position the ball, put myself into a neutral situation and stable situation, and I did. And that's why I'm saying I'm very proud of how I handled myself out there. I did not allow the nerves or think any further than what I had to do right in front of me, and that's why all the hard work and mental work is paying off, or has paid off.
Q. You talked the other day about some of the great Spanish players in the past, Seve and Olazabal and Sergio. Are there any female players? Seems like Spain's had a lot of great men's players, but not that many on the women's side.
BEATRIZ RECARI: Yeah. As I was growing up, well, in Europe Laura Davies is very famous, of course. And then Annika Sorenstam had a fantastic stretch, and then as I got a little bit older or into my 16, 17, 18 years, then Lorena came up. So of course, you know, I always knew that I wanted to be serious and be a pro, so when I turned 18, this was my goal was to be here. But I knew during those four years I played in Europe it was a matter of getting my game ready to be here and be competitive. And last year when I got my made a victory, I said okay, I'm ready to go out there. I think I have improved and I believe I can make it. And then I had to start from Q School, and I had big expectations coming in at the beginning of the season. I was hoping or expecting myself to keep my card. I said, okay. I didn't know what to expect really. I didn't know what I was going to face because of course I was going to play with the best players in the world, and that was a big step for me. I would have never expected this, but I hope but I think, you know, when you do things right and when you focus on what you have to do, this just happens. You cannot force it. So I'm still not believing that I won, but I apparently did. So I'm very happy.
Q. You talked about it raining out there. What went through your mind when it did start raining, pretty good? Wasn't it bad weather when you won in Finland last year?
BEATRIZ RECARI: It was cold, yes. I mean it gets it was late August, so by the time, you know, it gets very cold out there. But you know, I just said I did not allow myself to get affected by the scores, the leaderboard or weather conditions, you know. No matter what, if it's sunny, if it's raining, it's the same for everyone, so you just have to focus on put yourself into a birdie situation or par situation and whatever and you have to do it no matter what. If it's raining, if it's hailing, it doesn't matter. You have to do it.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about how old you were when you first started playing golf, what got you into the game and maybe elaborate a little on what you said the other day about Seve?
BEATRIZ RECARI: Yeah. Well, I'm from Pamplona, which is very well known for the Running of the Bulls. So I started when I was 11 because my dad took it up and started playing. He came from the soccer world. He was a soccer coach, so he was used to doing a lot of sports and exercise, but then he started his own business, and you know, it is a difference when you're exercising all day long and then all of a sudden you're sitting down in a chair all day long. So that impacted his body. And he said, okay, I have to start again doing some exercise, and he didn't want to jog or do some tennis, so he started playing golf. And he took me for the first time, and I caddied for him. And I liked it so much that one month later then they offered me to go or the head pro told me if I wanted to go to the Spanish Championships. So I asked my dad if he was able to take me because it was all the way south, so it was a big drive. He said yes. Then after the last day I remember I mean I shot 100, but I remember that, you know, I had this feeling, I took my dad to the car, I was like I said, dad, I really want to do this serious. I said, would you support me? Would you help me? He said, yeah, of course. You know, because I live in the north and the winters are cold. So he said, if the Sundays are cold and it's minus whatever, we're still practicing. I said, I get it. And since then it's been a very interesting journey.
Q. You were 11 at that time?
BEATRIZ RECARI: Yeah.
Q. Why did you like it? What captured you?
BEATRIZ RECARI: I don't know. It was a strange feeling. It was kind of my first touch into competitive sports, and I really liked it. I've always been a person that whatever I do, I wanted to do it very well, whether it was my studies or anything. And it just captured me. And I had these feelings, like I shot 100. I don't know if I finished whatever, last position, but I said, I want to be good and I want to be the ones that are winning.
Q. Have you had a chance to meet Seve or Jose or Sergio?
BEATRIZ RECARI: No. No. Well, Sergio, yes. I'm very good friends with his dad, and I actually call him Papa Garcia. No. They're a great family, and my second year on Tour I didn't have any sponsor or club sponsor or nothing, so I had to pay for everything. And Victor, his dad, he helped me a lot. He gave me gloves. He supported me with balls, gloves. And he really looked after me very well, so I have only positive comments towards them. And Sergio, I haven't met him that many times because obviously he travels a lot, and he's very busy, but he's very nice as well, and Olazabal, I didn't meet him, but my first coach was the same as his coach when he was an amateur because I live just one hour away from where he lives.
Q. Seve is sort of a larger than life figure in Spain.
BEATRIZ RECARI: Sure.
Q. I'm just curious how much of an inspiration he was as you were taking up the game and your thoughts now given what he's going through.
BEATRIZ RECARI: Well, when I studied from the beginning, I didn't know anything, and you know, I could only hear fantastic things about Seve, and then you get to see them and all these stories are how because he's from the north, too. They're only two hours away from where I live. I got to play on his course, and actually he designed nine holes, and I played there and it's brutal. It's brutal. I mean all blind shots from the tee box all the time.
Q. Where is that?
BEATRIZ RECARI: In Pedrena. In Santander actually. His golf course. But he was an inspiration for everyone. I mean he's a legend in Spain, and it's very sad what's happening to him right now, and I hope that he comes back to where he was health wise.
Q. Can you clarify when you were talking about that Spanish Championship, you went there to watch or to play?
BEATRIZ RECARI: No, no. I played there.
Q. You played.
BEATRIZ RECARI: Yeah, yeah. I shot 100.
Q. 100. Okay.
BEATRIZ RECARI: Yeah. I shot like 64 in nine holes, so yeah.
Q. You were just taking up the game?
BEATRIZ RECARI: Yeah. I had only been playing for a month, and I mean everyone in the club had a 5 wood, 7 iron. I didn't know. It was the Spanish Championship.
Q. Where do you think this win can take you? I mean where does this sort of send you? Obviously this is something you've thought about a long time and wanted to achieve. How does it maybe affect your confidence or your game going forward?
BEATRIZ RECARI: Oh, it affects a lot my confidence because obviously it was the right thing to come back to basics, although, you know, I still have to improve my game. But it's obvious that it's working, so I just have to trust myself more and let it happen. And I just did it, and I'm speaking here right now, but I don't know where it's going to take me. I mean I just you know, I can imagine the future, but that's only in my mind. I just want focus day by day, and the rest my agent can handle. I don't know. I have to focus on my game and that's it.
Q. I think your best finish this year was ninth in a Match Play event.
BEATRIZ RECARI: Yes.
Q. When you came on Tour this year, did you think it would be great to get a victory or were you even thinking about winning when you came out here this year?
BEATRIZ RECARI: No. No. I mean as I said, for being a rookie, I didn't know what to expect. I was just going tournament by tournament, and it was hard in the beginning. It was very, very hard. And I just my expectations for the year was to keep my card and, you know, play the majors, you know, finish in the top 80 and play the majors of the limited fields next year. You know, you always imagine where you want to be in your golf and you imagine yourself winning, but you don't know what's going to happen. You have to focus day by day and just let it go.
Q. What's your dad's name?
BEATRIZ RECARI: J O S E L U I S.
Q. Same last name?
BEATRIZ RECARI: Yes.
Q. And did you say he started his own business and that's when you got into golf?
BEATRIZ RECARI: No. He started his own business. My parents are tax accountants, and then my father or my parents on the side they have a restaurant. Garcia (indiscernible). I give them some publicity. You know, you stop and you start, and you know, it takes years. It was a few years after that he stopped coaching.
Q. Have you ever thought about participating in the Running of the Bulls?
BEATRIZ RECARI: Absolutely not. Absolutely not. You know, everyone asks me that, but I always say I've seen it enough times to realize that it's more dangerous than what people think, and absolutely not. I watched it many times behind the fence, but that's about it.
Q. You grew up not in the same city, but is it right by your house?
BEATRIZ RECARI: No. No. That's in the old city. I live kind of not in the outskirts, but not in the old city. Downtown.
Q. You never even considered it? Do you have friends or family that have done it?
BEATRIZ RECARI: Yeah. A male friend of mine. But he was so proud because he actually got hit by a bull, and he carries the picture everywhere. He is as proud as anyone can be. But no, all my girl friends, no, we stay away, and it's just kind of a male thing, stupid thing.
Q. Not too many women do that anyway; right?
BEATRIZ RECARI: No. Every year you see more women doing it, but I saw once I think it was two years ago that a lady fell because, you know, the ground in the old city is all bricks; it's uneven bricks. And a 600 kilo animal is running behind you with two horns and hundreds of people running behind you. So she fell on the ground and like broke all her teeth. No. I'm definitely not up for that.
Q. You're smarter than that.
BEATRIZ RECARI: Yeah. I play golf.
GWLADYS NOCERA, Rolex Rankings No. 111
Q. Gwladys, nice round. Do you think she knew that you were only one behind her?
GWLADYS NOCERA: Yeah. Yes. You can see on the
Q. They took the scores down.
GWLADYS NOCERA: Yeah. You don't look over there. I think, yeah.
Q. You made birdie on 18?
GWLADYS NOCERA: Yes.
Q. That had to be satisfying to put that pressure on her and give yourself a chance.
GWLADYS NOCERA: Yeah. I mean I didn't make many putts today, so I mean that was time to make one. It was good it came on 18, but I wish I had made a couple more before, but that's golf.
Q. Now, you know Beatriz reasonably well, don't you? You've played quite a bit with her on the European?
GWLADYS NOCERA: No, not much.
Q. Oh, okay. What can you say about her, sort of her game, her personality?
GWLADYS NOCERA: Well, I don't know that much, so it's hard to say anything.
Q. How much tougher was the course today with the weather? How much tougher did it play today?
GWLADYS NOCERA: Well, it was much longer, and the ball didn't carry anywhere, it was so cold, so it wasn't the same course today, so yeah.
Q. What did you think when you saw the conditions? Did you think that would help or maybe just make it hard for everybody?
GWLADYS NOCERA: Yeah. I guess it's harder for everyone, you know. We're all in the same boat.
Q. How long was your putt on 18? Do you know?
GWLADYS NOCERA: It was like around six meters.
MICHELE REDMAN, Rolex Rankings No. 101
MICHELE REDMAN: I know. I know. I had so many putts on the back nine that could have gone in the hole. It was ridiculous. Starting on No. 12, I mean I played great. So really didn't feel like I had a birdie putt on 16 and 14. That's it. I mean I hit it great.
Q. The greens were pretty fast the first three days and then when the weather hits like that, how hard an adjustment is that when you've been playing three days on very fast and then
MICHELE REDMAN: You know, I didn't really have any trouble with the speed, I don't think, to me. I had a couple putts the pins were just a little different and they were just a little tougher for me to read. Like I said, I had a ton of good putts on the back nine, so I can't be upset, because I hit a lot of great putts.
Q. How did the conditions affect play today?
MICHELE REDMAN: It was definitely tougher. You know, you're hitting a little bit more club into the greens. I mean you're having to hit more club because it's colder out for sure.
Q. Did you guys know that Gwladys had birdied 18?
MICHELE REDMAN: Hunh uh, because I didn't look at the board at all. I'm not a watcher.
Q. At that point she was only one shot behind.
MICHELE REDMAN: Yeah.
Q. The one shot that I was following you on was No. 10. You pushed the tee shot over and then the little chunk out of the...
MICHELE REDMAN: Yeah. I didn't really chunk it. I think I just went up underneath it a little bit. I probably opened the face more than I should have. I mean the plan was to hit it past and let it come back.
Q. That was a tough one. You didn't have much landing there.
MICHELE REDMAN: Still a good shot. Yeah, I know.
Q. What do you think of Beatriz, not so much her game, but her poise?
MICHELE REDMAN: Yeah. She did great.
Q. She's not in this situation a lot.
MICHELE REDMAN: Yeah. No, I think she did a really good job. It was tough out there today. She played it smart, and she got some good breaks and she hit a lot of really good putts.
Q. Is it going to be tough to hang it up for a few weeks or a while after that?
MICHELE REDMAN: It is, but it's nice to get back to my game. You know, like I said at the beginning of the week, I'm glad I'm playing how I want to play now and I feel like I'm back to where I need to be.
Q. What does this say about the international state of the game here to have a 23 year old from Spain who hasn't really a rookie and hasn't done much on the Tour, to win like this?
MICHELE REDMAN: Yeah. No, I think it's great. Like I said yesterday, I mean that's good for us. You know, the players coming up, I think that's really good for us, because they're fun to watch. I'm sure it was fun to watch on TV today. It was close.
CRISTIE KERR, Rolex Rankings No. 2
Q. Cristie, with so much on the line today and with an opportunity to win the event and also pick up that world No. 1 spot, what were your thoughts heading into today's final round?
CRISTIE KERR: Well, I figured if I could have another low round, I could manage to do it, but the weather conditions were a lot tougher today, and I didn't quite hit it good enough to get it done. I had a strong finish, though, which Top 5, hitting it the way I did this week is, I think, a victory.
Q. Did you happen to know what you needed to do to pick up that No. 1 spot?
CRISTIE KERR: No. I'm usually pretty oblivious. I'm usually the last to know anything like that, but why don't you tell me.
Q. Well, let's just say you need a couple bogeys from these final groups and then you'll get it, but it really depends on other people right now. Let's talk about this round. It really seemed like you didn't pick up some momentum until those final holes.
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, I hit it really bad. You know, I'll tell you, I just worked so hard on my game this week, and sometimes you just don't quite have the swing. I hit it not so great on the second round, shot 4 under. Yesterday was my best day of ball striking; I shot 6 under. And today was like the first day, so shoot 2 under hitting it the way I did, you know, I shot over par the first day, so I get to be in some warmer weather next week and work on my game.
Q. How much does it matter?
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, it definitely matters to me. I mean you play golf at the level that I play, you want to reach the pinnacle of your sport. But I'm going to play golf for a long time, so whether I get it back for the third time this week or not, I have a lot of golf for the rest of the year.
Q. That's what I was going to ask you, how many tournaments do you have left?
CRISTIE KERR: Malaysia, Korea, Lorena's. I have four tournaments left.
Q. Is that sort of the bigger deal to be No. 1 at the end of the year?
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, I mean, yeah, but you want to get there and stay there. I mean I've been there twice this year already, and the first time I lost the No. 1 ranking not playing a tournament, and then not playing a tournament I got it back. So it's weird how the averages work out.
Q. How much did the weather mess you up today?
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, I just struggled with my swing kind of all week, and then the cold weather didn't help things much. You're supposed to have nice weather in Blackhawk here.
Q. This is very unusual for October.
CRISTIE KERR: Is it?
Q. Very unusual.
CRISTIE KERR: Really? Because it's usually like hot.
Q. It's usually like Thursday and Friday.
CRISTIE KERR: I mean it was not above 60 degrees today, and the ball was going nowhere. And not hitting it solid on top of that, I really had an amazing finish birdieing 16 and 18. Made a good par save on 17.
Q. Was the course very wet?
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah. Really wet. It took me eight minutes to get the mud off my shoes walking down the hill on 17, you know. Ilhee hit it in the hazard, and you know, that'll unfortunately for her she made a great 5, but I was able to get the mud off my shoes when she went back there to off the tee again.
Q. (Indiscernible) the greens when everything is rolling slow.
CRISTIE KERR: A lot slower. Yeah. You have to adjust, the conditions, and I left putts short out there, but I managed coming in and had a great finish.
Q. Do you know anything about Beatriz? Have you played with her at all?
CRISTIE KERR: I have played with her. She's not a very long hitter, but she's got a lot of will, a lot of spirit. And it seems like she's going to go on to win this tournament, so good for her.
Topics: Notes and Interviews