Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club – East Course
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Second-round notes and interviews
October 23, 2010
Blame it on the putter. Hjorth blames her recent missed cuts on a putter change. This week she switched back to to a much longer version. “I just putted really bad before, so I decided this week to go back to my old putter again, and it's been working really well.”
Mother knows best. Jee Young Lee admitted that she will be nervous during tomorrow’s final round. Cue Mom. “I just try to call my mom and talking about tomorrow and just relax and shower,” she said.
It’s electric! Second-round play was suspended at 2:31 p.m. due to lightning in the area and resumed at 4:59 p.m. following a two hour and 28 minute delay. Friday’s first-round play was also suspended for three hours and 10 minutes due to lightning.
South Korean Song-Hee Kim is looking to become a Rolex First-Time Winner tomorrow. Currently the top-ranked player without an LPGA victory, Kim is one shot back heading into the final round at Kuala Lumpur Country Club. Asked what she will do tomorrow, Kim said, “I’m just going to play my own game and have more confidence in my shot and trust my caddie.”
LPGA and World Golf Hall of Fame member Juli Inkster is in the hunt. A win tomorrow would make Inkster the oldest winner in LPGA Tour history. The 50-year-old is locked in a tie for fourth place, two shots back of co-leaders Lee and Hjorth.
Natalie Gulbis has a shot at her second-career LPGA victory after a 3-under-par 68 on Saturday. Her goal tomorrow? “To play aggressive,” she said. “My goal always for every tournament is with nine holes to play to have a chance.
Top-five in the world struggling this week. Jiyai Shin is the lone member of the Rolex Rankings top-five players currently in the top-10 of the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia. Shin sits three shots off the lead in a tie for eighth with four other players.
Jean Chua is the leading Malaysian after two rounds of play. The 23-year-old Wake Forest graduate is 2-under-par for the week entering tomorrow’s final round. Playing in her first-ever LPGA sanctioned event, Chua holed out for eagle on the 13th hole Saturday with a wedge from 84 yards. “It was great because right after it was right after a bogey, actually, on a par 5, which you're not supposed to do, but it happens,” she said. “So it was a great booster.”
MARIA HJORTH, -6
THE MODERATOR: All right, Maria, thanks for coming in. Nice playing out there. Currently tied for the lead at 6 under par through two rounds. Wasn't sure if we were going to get that full round in there today. How was the delay for you?
MARIA HJORTH: Yeah. It's always hard when it's such a long delay as well, especially when the temperature is so warm outside and you kind of sit inside and you get cool, and it's easy to get a little bit stiff and tired when you're sitting in there. So you really have to make sure that when you start again to really be clear and be focused when you get out there.
THE MODERATOR: Can you just talk a little bit about the state of your game right now, how you've been playing, how you're feeling?
MARIA HJORTH: Actually I'm very happy with my game right now. I've obviously missed the last five or six cuts or whatever it is, but I've actually I changed to a short putter.
I don't really know why I did, but this week I played really well. I just putted really bad before, so I decided this week to go back to my old putter again, and it's been working really well. So overall I've actually been playing well. I just haven't been scoring good because of my putting.
Q. Maria, can you just tell us a little bit about your round today?
MARIA HJORTH: Yeah. I mean obviously front nine was really good. I had a lot of birdies and a great eagle on No. 6, so that obviously helped. And then I had three bogeys there in a row, which was obviously not very good, but you know, overall I'm very happy with the round.
I actually thought someone would kind of shoot away a little bit in the scoring, but I'm happy that they didn't. You know, I'm happy. I'm hitting the ball well and obviously making some really good putts. So I'm looking forward to tomorrow.
Q. Is the course getting harder by the day?
MARIA HJORTH: I think it's it's been playing pretty much the same the last two days. The greens are a bit firm, which I like. We've played a lot of soft greens, so to come here and play firmer greens, I really, really enjoy. Obviously some tee shots can be a little bit tight, a little bit intimidating.
But I think the course is playing well. I think it sets up good for us. You have some great par 5s, some risk reward to go for it in two or if you take on the bunkers, try to carry it or if you kind of lay up short of it. So I think the course is playing really well.
THE MODERATOR: Can you tell us about your husband is a caddy on the PGA TOUR in the States. You have a daughter. How's family life for you been?
MARIA HJORTH: Yeah. It's been really good, actually. Obviously it's the first year this year that he's been out on the PGA TOUR. He's been caddying on the LPGA for 10 years before that. And last year he just traveled with me and my daughter, and this year he had an opportunity to go to the PGA TOUR.
So it's obviously been a bit of a change for us not seeing as other as much as we've been used to. But it's worked out really good. He has a great time out there, and he works for a great guy, Bryce Molder, and he really enjoys it.
So I'm happy that he enjoys his life, and we make sure that obviously we see each other as much as we can and time our schedules together so that we can all have great family time, too.
Q. What's the game plan for tomorrow?
MARIA HJORTH: You know, you probably have to go if I can shoot another three or four under tomorrow and see where that will take me. If it's to the top, then that will be great. If not, then I've done what I can do and see how far it will take me.
But you know, I really just have to stay focused on myself. It's so hard to start looking ahead and looking to the next hole and then the front nine or the back nine. But I'm working really hard on trying to stay within myself and play against myself and no one else. So that's really my goal for tomorrow.
JEE YOUNG LEE, -6
THE MODERATOR: All right, Jee Young. Thank you very much for coming in. You're at 6 under par, and you're co leader again.
JEE YOUNG LEE: Yeah.
THE MODERATOR: Just like yesterday. Just tell us how you played today.
JEE YOUNG LEE: I played good today. My shot was really good, but I missed a lot of putts. So I just make 1 under. You know, I just misread it just one, one time.
Tomorrow hopefully it'll work.
THE MODERATOR: How did you enjoy today's delay?
JEE YOUNG LEE: Oh, you know, yeah. That's okay. You know, I was hungry, so I just eat a lot, and I was talking to my friends.
THE MODERATOR: What did you eat?
JEE YOUNG LEE: Wing.
THE MODERATOR: Chicken wing?
JEE YOUNG LEE: Yeah.
Q. Just one birdie and you find yourself joined together. How do you feel?
JEE YOUNG LEE: You know, this morning I feel a little bit, you know, like my body a little tight. So I just trying to like try to smooth swing, and you know, still just trying to smooth it. Yeah.
Q. How is the course playing after the rain?
JEE YOUNG LEE: The course?
Q. Yeah. How is the course playing after the rain?
JEE YOUNG LEE: You know, the air is heavy, so I just one club more, and then tried to easy shot and the best worked.
Q. Is it added pressure for you to start tomorrow as the leader? Yes?
THE MODERATOR: More pressure being in the lead?
Q. Will you sleep tonight?
JEE YOUNG LEE: I just try to call my mom and talking about tomorrow and just relax and shower.
Q. Is this the first time that you are going to go into the third round as a leader or co leader?
JEE YOUNG LEE: Yeah, a couple times. But I hit really bad, so I didn't make it.
SONG-HEE KIM, -5
SONG-HEE KIM: I played pretty solid today. I had some great up-and-downs on two, three and four on the front nine. I had a bogey on number seven, but I came back on eight and nine with birdies. I had a lot of confidence in my shot and two more birdies.
Q. How was the delay?
SONG-HEE KIM: It wasn’t bad. I just think it made it more cool. Too hot out there. Not too bad.
Q. One shot back of the leaders, what’s your gameplan for tomorrow?
SONG-HEE KIM: I’m just going to play my own game and have more confidence in my shot and trust my caddie.
NATALIE GULBIS, -4
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon. We have Natalie Gulbis here after a great round. She's in the final leaderboard in the Top 10 for today and looking forward to obviously a good day tomorrow. Natalie, tell us a little bit about your round and overall your feeling and how you're playing right now.
NATALIE GULBIS: I played much better today. First I was happy to finish because it looks like it's grumbling pretty good out there.
But I love this golf course, actually. This is a golf course that suits my eye real well. I'm an aggressive putter, so these greens suit my game well, and depending on what the leaderboard looks like at the end of the day, it will be fun to go out there and play aggressive and see what happens.
THE MODERATOR: You were talking a little bit about last night's dinner and overall about your experience here in Malaysia.
NATALIE GULBIS: My experience has superseded my expectations. I had just done some cultural research about Malaysia, but what really has made the difference this week is how we've been treated. They had so many fun events, whether it was at the first dinner they went to, and we got to paint and participate in some of the culture activities.
One of my favorite things about traveling and playing on tour is being able to travel to different countries and also learn about different cultures, and they've really done a great job this week at introducing us to different cultures.
And then that dinner last night was phenomenal. Even after a long day, it's tough to go to those dinners, but they made it worth its while with the different music and just the whole ambiance of the whole thing.
THE MODERATOR: Well, obviously last night was about raising money for breast cancer, and you're wearing the colors today. Perhaps tell us a little bit about your commitment to the cause.
NATALIE GULBIS: Well, when we first came off the plane, Cristie Kerr, Michelle and I Michelle Wie and I all went over to the hospital, and we got to learn about the different research centers that they have here and what they're doing to raise awareness.
And it's been great to learn so much about what they're doing here in Malaysia. Breast cancer awareness is very high. We have a whole month dedicated to it in the United States, but it's nice to see that they're following suit here with raising awareness.
And you know, this event is going to raise a lot more money for breast cancer, so it's fun to be over here, and it was fun looking on the range this morning because there was a lot of girls in pink, and the LPGA does a great job with that.
Q. Going into the last round do you have a game plan?
NATALIE GULBIS: To play aggressive. My goal always for every tournament is with nine holes to play to have a chance. So based on what the scores will be, yeah, go out there and play aggressive. That's what's fun about tournament golf.
Q. What's the key to doing well on this course?
NATALIE GULBIS: The key to doing well on this golf course is your placement off the tee, especially on the back nine. The club selection that you make off the tee and the position that you are coming into the greens, you know, we get a look at what the pins look like tomorrow when you're out there, and a lot of them are tough, so you're really going to have to pay attention to what side of the fairway you're on so you don't get blocked, and have a shot to play aggressive.
Q. Your putting style with these greens, are the greens slow for you or?
NATALIE GULBIS: Well, the greens have a lot of grain on them, and they're not necessarily slow, but there is a lot of grain. And when you have grainy greens, you can hit really solid, good putts. The grain doesn't affect it as much. If you don't hit them as hard, the grain can take it off line pretty quickly.
Q. Is it unusual?
NATALIE GULBIS: We don't see a lot of grain. We see grain when we play in Florida, which we'll be playing in about a month or so. But often we play I grew up on the West Coast, so I play on bent greens, so I don't play in a lot of Bermuda. I think this might be like a Bermuda mix. I don't know exactly what the type of grass is here. But it is grainy.
Q. Seashore Paspalum.
NATALIE GULBIS: Seashore something. Did you catch that?
Q. But you're used to Bermuda?
NATALIE GULBIS: I played a lot on Bermuda. I love Bermuda greens. So you get to play and play aggressive and take the break, which when you're putting well is fun to do.
Q. You're saying that you're an aggressive putter as well. So that means you are never short today on the hole?
NATALIE GULBIS: No. I wasn't short today. Yesterday I was short a few times after the weather delay, but I'm an aggressive putter in general. So I like being able to be aggressive.
Q. You wanted to make sure today you were always one to two feet past?
NATALIE GULBIS: Yeah. One to two feet. Yeah, I drilled it actually going into the week because I put the tee behind the cup and actually putt right to that, let the cup get in the way.
Q. Do you have an approach shot also? Are you always past the hole?
NATALIE GULBIS: No. I like to be below the hole with an uphill putt.
Q. Natalie, you played with Kelly Tan yesterday. What do you think about her game and do you think she's matured?
NATALIE GULBIS: Yeah. She's got a lot of future. She's got a beautiful swing. She played very well when I played with her, and she looks like she's got really good fundamentals and mechanics. Where I was really surprised was where I did the junior clinic which was a couple of days and got to see a lot of the junior players that were 8 to 14 years old and see their fundamentals and mechanics. It's the best junior players that I've seen. We do a lot of clinics all over the world, and they had unbelievably good golf swings.
JEAN CHUA, -2
THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen Jean Chua leading Malaysian after a round of 68 today.
JEAN CHUA: Yeah. 68.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations. Firstly, tell us about your round today.
JEAN CHUA: Thank you. My round today was pretty solid. I hit it pretty good. I was a little shaky with the putts on the front nine, but on the back nine they started going in.
Had a great eagle on hole, I think 5. It was a par 4, short par 4. Had a wedge in, and it knocked into the pin and went in the hole, so that was great. So it was just a solid round, yeah.
THE MODERATOR: So 68, 3 under. Maybe just tell us about birdies you had as well, as well as that cool eagle.
JEAN CHUA: Yeah. I birdied the first hole to start with. That kind of boosted confidence playing with Laura Davies and Cristie Kerr. And then I had a bogey to drop the shot. And then I eagled, so I went back to 1 under for total. And I stayed pretty even throughout the rest.
And then I birdied 2 on back. Maybe 1. 1 on the back. Sorry. I can't remember. Kind of fuzzy right now, so I birdied one on the back. So it was a pretty solid round. I think I had about two birdies maybe three birdies, an eagle and two bogeys.
THE MODERATOR: So you played with Cristie Kerr, who's I think No. 2 in the world. Laura Davies has won tournaments all over the world. What was that experience like here at home?
JEAN CHUA: It was great. I actually played with Laura Davies before earlier this year in Australia, and that didn't go too well. I couldn't even feel my hands. So I had my first try with Laura Davies, and that was good.
Cristie Kerr, I played with her in the practice round. So that wasn't as bad. I really looked up to her during the practice round. I was really impressed with her game. So it was kind of fun playing with two Laura Davies, Hall of Famer for one, and Cristie Kerr, No. 2 in the world. So it was a great experience for me, and I really learned a lot today.
Q. Can you tell us about the eagle?
JEAN CHUA: Yeah. It was I think it's hole 5. It's a short par 4. I hit a hybrid on to the fairway, and then I had about 84 yards to the pin and I just had a wedge. I was just going to bump it on the green and just let it slide down because there was a hill in front, but it kind of caught the hill; and it took a high bounce, but it hit the pin. It hit the pin and dropped right in front of the pin, but it had so much spin on it that it just kept on rolling and went in. So that was really good. Yeah.
Q. How big of a confidence booster was it to get the eagle?
JEAN CHUA: Oh, it was great because right after it was right after a bogey, actually, on a par 5, which you're not supposed to do, but it happens. So it was a great booster.
It just kind of got me towards underside, and I know I could get lower from there, so it was good.
Q. Are you in the Top 15?
JEAN CHUA: I think I just saw the online scoring just now. I think I'm tied for 13th. I think, yeah.
Q. (No microphone)?
JEAN CHUA: So that's my target right now. It was before the tournament, but I'm striking it really well, putting it really well, so I think I'm going to target for at least Top 10, Top 8 tomorrow.
Q. What's your game plan for tomorrow?
JEAN CHUA: My game plan is pretty much to stay cool in this weather, especially, but the other thing would be to just stay calm.
Today I didn't really want to get ahead of myself. So tomorrow I'm just going to plan on improving my score and just take it easy. Trust the putt. If it goes in, it goes in.
Cristie Kerr is an incredible player, so she just had a little hard luck today. So I learned a lot from that. If it goes in, it goes in. If it doesn't, I can't get mad and what happens happens. So I'm just going to try and improve the score of today.
Q. You turned pro about a year ago?
JEAN CHUA: Yeah. I turned pro in August 2009, actually at the tournament that I won. So this is a great opportunity for me.
Q. And you're playing an LPGA event. Are you surprised to be in this position right now?
JEAN CHUA: I won't say I'm surprised, but I'm really excited. I'm excited that my game is coming together at the right time and at the best tournament for me. So I am actually more excited than I'm surprised.
Q. So you've been playing a few events coming here in the States?
JEAN CHUA: Yeah. I played a couple event. I played at the LPGA Q School. I didn't have good luck there. I broke my driver actually just before the round. So I had three drivers for four rounds. But it was not too bad. I had a good experience.
Yeah, I played a couple mini tours in the States.
Q. How was the crowd support out there today?
JEAN CHUA: Oh, they were great. It came in kind of waves where we came back to the clubhouse and got more. And when we got out towards the heat I guess it kind of got less. So the crowd was awesome. They just kept cheering "Malaysia Boleh." So it just kept it gave a lot of confidence booster, yeah.
Q. It must be great confidence now when you go back to the States. Are you going to the two Q Schools, the Futures Tour as well as the LPGA Tour?
JEAN CHUA: Yeah. I'm doing both. LPGA is already done actually the first two rounds and I didn't make it. But I'm going right back. I'm headed back on Wednesday straight for Q School.
Q. Q School for...
JEAN CHUA: For Futures Tour, yeah, Duramed FUTURES Tour, yeah.
Q. Which is slightly easier?
JEAN CHUA: It's slightly easier, because they allow more players there's more spots for full exempt to play. I won't say it's a lot easier. I won't be too confident, but this is a great confidence booster out here.
Q. How many rounds before you get into the FUTURES Tour and how many get into the FUTURES Tour?
JEAN CHUA: It's four rounds on three different courses, and I think if I'm not mistaken top 90 gets full exempt, but top 275, yeah, should get to register as a member. So if they don't have enough players, the other players can apply and they might allow you to play.
Q. Your performance here, when you go back to the States, does it give you new confidence that you get everything right and you can get in?
JEAN CHUA: Yeah. If you get everything right, you can get in. It showed me right here if everything is going well, I can be as good as any other player out here. So I just gotta build my confidence and play more and get more learning experience and just be more get used to playing in this kind of situation in tournaments.
Q. I was reading a story just now that your coach didn't want you to go to Q School yet. What did you say to him?
JEAN CHUA: Well, the thing is I've had him for about eight years. Everything he's said that would happen has happened. He got my college scholarship in the States.
So after I've been away for him for four years, and I knew my swing was going a little off. So he wanted to help me rebuild it, get the whole thing going and then go play. So yeah.
Q. Financially does it cost a lot to go to Q School, FUTURES Tour?
JEAN CHUA: Financially, yeah, I'm actually on Mom and Dad's sponsorship right now.
Q. How much does it cost for the Q School?
JEAN CHUA: For LPGA Q School the entrance fee is five grand. That doesn't include lodging or caddy. So everything I would say cost me this past LPGA Q School probably cost me about eight grand U.S. Dollars. The Duramed FUTURES is not as bad, and I'm staying with a friend, so that's not as bad.