Guadalajara Country Club
Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico
Final-round notes and interviews
Nov. 14, 2010
In-Kyung Kim fired an 8-under 64 Sunday to win the $1.1 million Lorena Ochoa Invitational Presented by Banamex and Corona Light at Guadalajara Country Club in Mexico by three shots. Kim outlasted second-round leader Suzann Pettersen, who closed with a 68 to finish 16-under, and Karine Icher, who holed out for eagle from the fairway on the last hole to finish 15-under. With this win, the third of Kim's career, she'll become the ninth player this year to cross the $1 million mark, making it her second $1 million season in four years on Tour.
"I don't know how to really take this all in," she said. "But it's been a great week. I mean, on the golf course, I played very good golf all week. The putts pretty much kept dropping today…. Yesterday it was missing this way and that way, and today, it started going in, the next started going in, and another one, and I'm like, wow."
Kim seized the lead when Pettersen made double bogey on the fourth hole, and she never let go. She made four straight birdies on holes six-nine to stretch the lead to four. She atoned for a minor hiccup on 17, where she made bogey to drop her lead back to two, with a birdie on 18.
Kim is donating her entire $220,000 winner's check to charity, half going to the Lorena Ochoa Foundation and half to an American charity to be named later. "Before I came to the U.S., I wanted to come to the U.S., but I know it's tough and my parents are working really hard at the time when I was 16," she said. "And we weren't really rich, but it takes a lot of money to send me to the U.S. and go to school and all that. But there is one person who helped my parents, and if he didn't help my parents, or if he didn't help me coming to the U.S., I wouldn't really be here. Everyone needs help. I think that's why I'm all about that."
Mexican idol: This win is especially meaningful for Kim, as Lorena Ochoa is one of her few idols. "She's just down‑to‑earth," she said. "She is always there. She is not just a great golfer. She has great warm heart. So that's why she's my idol. I don't have many idols; I want you to know that."
Corea del Sur: Kim said she's truly enjoyed her time in Mexico, so much so that she'd like to learn Spanish, but she may not have always felt such adoration for Lorena Ochoa's home country, partly due to what they call futbol here. "Before when I was little, I was a really big fan of soccer and I remember in the World Cup, México beat Korea, and I cried that day," she laughed.
Final-round princess: Although countrywomen and Rolex Rankings No. 1 Jiyai Shin is known as the "Final-Round Queen," Kim is making a statement of her own. Her last two wins - this one and the 2009 State Farm LPGA Classic - have featured closing rounds of 64 and 65, respectively.
Smashing: Kim's total of 19-under 269 smashes the tournament record of 13-under 275, shot by both Angela Stanford in 2008 and Michelle Wie in 2009.
Sixth second: Pettersen looked like she was going to charge with back-to-back birdies on 13 and 14. However, four closing pars sealed her fate. This is Pettersen's sixth second-place finish this year, and she's yet to win. "I hit one bad shot and that cost me two shots," she said, talking about her double bogey on the fourth hole. "It felt like I gave her a gap. But other than that, I'm making some great putts coming down the stretch."
Lor-e-na! Lor-e-na! Lor-e-na! Tournament hostess Lorena Ochoa struggled on Sunday, posting a 2-over 74 to finish Even and in a tie for 25th. Opening with four bogeys in her first five holes, she clawed back with three birdies, including one on the closing hole in front of her hometown fans. The gracious hostess offered some post-week thoughts on her third invitational. "For sure I wanted to play better, but I think it was important for the week for me to try to enjoy it as much as I could, and that's what I did," she said. "It was the first time to have my husband on the course, and I think we both had a good time. And I want to say thank you to the players for being here and making this tournament so special."
Two halves make a whole: Ochoa's looper this week was her husband Andres Conesa, who offered his retrospective on his four days inside the ropes with his wife. "It was a great experience, something that you don't change," he said. "Obviously she would like to have a better round today, but she leaves very happy and it was a great experience for both of us."
Blue skies over greens: When asked whether his day job as CEO of Aeromexico or as caddie to his superstar wife is harder, he replied without pause, "This, for sure."
Going low: Four days after Cristie Kerr set a new mark of 64 (-8) at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational Presented by Banamex and Corona Light, 2008 champion Angela Stanford broke it with a 9-under 63 to finish 12-under and in a tie for seventh. Stanford made birdies on holes two and four, then went birdie-birdie-birdie-eagle on holes seven-10 to go 5-under in that four-hole stretch. She made two more birdies on the way in on 15 and 18. "It was a great day," she said. "I love this golf course. It's a great setup for me, and I think if you place the ball in the correct spots, you can go low. I hit a lot of great putts today."
Good vibrations: Stanford won the inaugural event here in 2008, so it's safe to say she likes Guadalajara Country Club. "I love it," she said. "I wish we had, you know, a gajillion of those on our tour, because it's just wonderful golf course; traditional, classic."
Rolex Player of the Year update: The top-five players in the Rolex Player of the Year race are still mathematically eligible to win the award following the Lorena Ochoa Invitational Presented by Banamex and Corona Light. Entering the season-ending LPGA Tour Championship, where a win is worth 30 points, the standings are:
1. Yani Tseng, 188 points
2. Ai Miyazato, 179 points
3. Na Yeon Choi, 174 points
4. Cristie Kerr, 173 points
5. Jiyai Shin, 170 points
Rolex Rankings projection: Jiyai Shin is projected to maintain the No. 1 spot on the Rolex Rankings despite not playing this week. With her second-place finish today, Suzann Pettersen is projected to move up three spots to No. 2, while Cristie Kerr will remain No. 3. Yani Tseng (No. 4), Na Yeon Choi (No. 5) and Ai Miyazato (No. 6) round out the projections for those who have been actively chasing the No. 1 spot this season.
LPGA Official Money List update: Na Yeon Choi and Jiyai Shin are Nos. 1 and 2 on the LPGA Official Money List and are the only players who can mathematically win the season-ending title following the LPGA Tour Championship.
Of note: First-round leader Cristie Kerr, who fired a then-record 64 to lead by three, rebounded from her second-round 76 with rounds of 68 and 66 on the weekend to finish 14-under 274 (T4).
IN-KYUNG KIM, Rolex Rankings No. 9
THE MODERATOR: Welcome, congratulations. Just give us your thoughts, your feelings right now, tournament champion.
IN‑KYUNG KIM: Well, I don't know how to really take this all in. But it's been a great week. I mean, on the golf course, I played very good golf all week. The putts pretty much kept dropping today, which I didn't really make all of them the last couple of days, except it was great. I don't know what to say. It's just great that I ‑‑ I mean, I have caddie, Terry, he's wonderful. He helps me a lot calming down on the golf course and he's just telling me it's just us two, and that's how I've been through this weekend, and it's great.
Q. After the bogey on 17, what did you do to kind of calm yourself down to bounce back and make the birdie, seal the deal?
IN‑KYUNG KIM: Well, I didn't like to make bogey on that hole. But it's one of the toughest holes on this golf course, and I hit a really good tee shot and 3‑putted. You know, after that, I just said, golf never can be perfect, so all I can do is have good - final holes. Well, it didn't really affect me a lot on 17.
Q. What happened on the 5th hole when you were talking to your caddie and Suzann's caddie?
IN‑KYUNG KIM: What had happened was I had a birdie putt and I was putting it, and when I putted, I just felt like the ball was kind of juggled, you know, on the backswing, coming down, and I was looking at it and the ball kind of juggled and I was like, what is that. But I had no time, you know, I was hitting it, you know. And I asked for a ruling to try to help, so I could have advice, if it was a penalty or not a penalty. And she said that if the ball is not moving to another place, it's not a penalty. And also, I mean, I was in the middle of the shot. I wasn't addressing it, you know. So I guess you know, that's what we were talking and she said it has no penalty, so I was kind of relieved. It's only the fifth hole; I don't need any more.
Q. We saw you very excited during the ceremony; what does it mean for you to win in Guadalajara?
IN‑KYUNG KIM: Well, it's Lorena's championship, and she's such a great player and is someone that I always looked up to. I'm just very ‑‑ she's retired, but it's always good to come back and see her here. Winning this tournament means a lot to me because I've been playing really good golf all season, and I haven't won yet and I really wanted to win a tournament. But this week meant more ‑‑ like, I mean, I had a lot of fun during the tournament. So that's what really counts. And also, that you know, good to see that Lorena gives back and it really inspires me and I also wanted to share this great feeling. It means a lot to me this week.
Q. You said during the trophy ceremony during your speech and right now Lorena is your idol. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?
IN‑KYUNG KIM: Well, first year that I came to the LPGA Tour in my rookie year, I played with her at the Wegman's tournament, and she beat me in the playoff, which was ‑‑ I was leading three shots. And then here today I was leading three shots, right, and then Suzann, it was the final hole, the par 5, right. And you never know. Suzann can make eagle and you never know what can happen, because Lorena gave me the thought that you never know until the end. That's what I've learned on my rookie year. So I had a really good lesson, but in a tough way, but thanks to Lorena. But also that she won the British Open on the same year at St. Andrews, and it was amazing. It was my first year and my goal was to play the British Open on that year because it was at St. Andrews. And I've seen all of the great things that she's done and you know, you can't dislike her. Everybody loves her. She's just down‑to‑earth. It's easy ‑‑ some players, it's hard to talk to, but she is always there. She is not just a great golfer. She has great ‑‑ what do you say, one heart, she has great heart. So that's why she's my idol. I don't have many idols; I want you to know that.
Q. You donated all of your winnings today to Lorena's foundation, starting this week, did you feel ‑‑ did you know that that was what you wanted to do?
IN‑KYUNG KIM: Well, I've been thinking about this for a long time, all this year if I won a tournament, I really wanted to help the people who need help. And I came to this tournament, I went to Lorena's party and I saw the kids, how she is helping kids with her foundation, and I decided that even though ‑‑ well, yes, if I win, I will be giving all the money to the people who need help. I had in my mind that I wanted to help American charities that I've been looking for, so I wanted to share this prize money, half to Lorena's foundation and half to an American charity that I was deciding on. So I hope ‑‑ I feel so grateful that even in here, playing against all of these great players, and I just wanted to share this feeling to other people and I've got a lot of help to becoming this good at golf. I'm fortunate, but people who need help, I hope this money can help a lot ‑‑ not a lot, but you know, it could help.
Q. Can you talk about the stretch of birdies you had from No. 6 to No. 9, because you were ‑‑ there was a marshal, you had to come on No. 5 and then you had four or five birdies. Can you talk about what happened, what changed?
IN‑KYUNG KIM: Well, I made birdie on 1 and 3, but I had a bad 4. I feel like I've been playing really good all week, and I didn't feel like my putting was, you know, as it could be. But today it was just dropping. Yesterday it was missing this way and that way, and today, I was making it ‑‑ it started going in, the next started going in, and another one, and I'm like, wow. (Laughter) Wow, that's possible here. But I feel like all of the ‑‑ Suzann and I and other players, we were really packed up on the leaderboard and it pushed us really hard till the end. I think that's what really made me play better I would think. So I like that, birdie, birdie.
Q. Congratulations on your victory today, you are now written into the history of the tournament and now into the history of all of the children in the foundation. How does that make you feel?
IN‑KYUNG KIM: Well, thank you. I just hope, you know, Lorena has helped the kids for over the years, many years, but this is kind of a start for me. I would love to have my own foundation one day, but I just ‑‑ not just this week, I want to keep doing good things to the people that need help, not only kids, but also, you know, in the world there are ‑‑ what's going on in Haiti and all over the world. So it means a lot to me, because now, winning this tournament, I have been able to help other people. I think that's what I like about golf, and you know, it's great that what I can do to other people.
Q. You have won, and what will you tell people about México? So much of what we here about México is the violence and other things, and this year, you were able to talk and speak with over a thousand people. So when you go back to your country, you will say I went to México, and ‑‑ what will you say about México?
IN‑KYUNG KIM: I think we should invite all of those people here. I mean, it's so safe around here. I mean, I met a lot of great people this week. I haven't tried the tequila yet. So I can't really tell ‑‑ should I? Well, I'm old enough now, you know. And, well, I just feel, you know, all of the people, they are such loving people. They are really passionate about golf and I'm sure Lorena brought all of these golf fans to México, but I just feel like Mexican people are really passionate about golf and I don't think it's ‑‑ maybe every country, some places are violent. But I wouldn't say this place is violent, and I went to Mexico City, and I went to ‑‑ we play three México tournaments in a year and nothing happened. Before when I was little, I was a really big fan of soccer and I remember in the World Cup, México beat Korea, and I cried that day. I remember that. (Laughter).
Q. As an athlete, what made you get into golf, why maybe not running or tennis or something else; what is it that drives you to be a golfer?
IN‑KYUNG KIM: What can I do? (Laughter) I think I picked the right one. (Laughter).
Q. What motivated you? What made you play golf?
IN‑KYUNG KIM: My dad is a big fan of golf. He follows all the sports. He loves sports. But he played ‑‑ he was playing weekend golf in Korea. He went to the driving range all the time on the weekend whenever he had time. But other weekends, that's the only time I could really have the time with my dad, and he always wanted to go to play golf. So I end up following him all around, you know, at the range or golf course, and I'm following him so much, he was like, leave me alone, so he cut some kind of irons and gave it to me there and I started playing. That's how I got into golf. This was a sport I think for me, but now it's my life on the golf course, and I just want to make the best out of it.
Q. Just to make sure about your winnings today, you're donating part of it to Lorena's charity and part of it to an American charity; and the American charity, what is it, and why did you become interested in that charity?
IN‑KYUNG KIM: Well, first question, I'm going to donate half of my prize to Lorena's foundation and half to the American charity that I was looking for. It's kind of a long story, but Hana Bank, who is sponsoring me, and the CEO has Microbank (Smile Microbank Foundation), which is people that they couldn't ‑‑ able to get a loan from the regular bank because they don't have credit. So the Microbank helps people who are not able to ‑‑ can't loan them money. So the Microbank helps those people and I got into ‑‑ every time I made birdie or eagle, I send 90 or hundred bucks for a birdie, I donate every tournament this year, and that's how I got into like looking for charities. So it's not just about money that I have given to, but also it has a great feeling; if I play good and make a lot of birdies, then I can help more people. That's how it kind of started and in the U.S., I was looking for Microbank and maybe another like who needs help, but I haven't decided yet, so I can't really tell which charity yet I'm going to donate. But when I decide who really needs help, then I'll, you know, tell.
Q. It sounds to me like you're a person who is really into helping others. Is there any particular story in your life or why are you so interested in helping?
IN‑KYUNG KIM: I never really talked about it before. Before I came to the U.S. ‑‑ I wanted to come to the U.S. but I know it's tough and my parents are working really hard at the time when I was 16. And we weren't really rich, but it takes a lot of money to send me to the U.S. and go to school and all that, right. But there is one person who helped my parents kind of sending me to the U.S., and if he didn't help my parents, or, you know, if he didn't help me coming to the U.S., I wouldn't really be here, you know what I mean. I was able to educate ‑‑ learn English ‑‑ I wish I could speak a bit of Spanish, but not there yet. Maybe I should come here often. Anyways, so at the time, you know, it's like it's all about timing, and everyone needs help. I think education is really an important thing, but also, here in life, I'm sure you have met great people. I have such great people around me and I want to be the one person to gather ‑‑ who knows, you know, those kids can be somebody else than what they have. I think that's why I'm all about that. Gracias. Tengo hambre! (Laughter and applause).
SUZANN PETTERSEN, Rolex Rankings No. 5
Q. Post‑round thoughts, post‑tournament thoughts?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Another second‑place finish. It sucks. Hit one bad shot and that cost me two shots. And she made a birdie on the last. It kind of ‑‑ it felt like I gave her a gap. But other than that, I'm making some great putts coming down the stretch.
Q. What happened on 4?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I just ‑‑ terrible swing.
ANGELA STANFORD, Rolex Rankings No. 21
Q. Tournament-record, 63, just talk about it.
ANGELA STANFORD: It was a great day. You know, I love this golf course. It's a great setup for me, and you know, I think if you place the ball in the correct spots, you know, you can go low. But I hit a lot of great putts today.
Q. Obviously you like it here as you won here in '08. What about it suits your game?
ANGELA STANFORD: I just think you have to be ‑‑ you have to be hitting the ball solid. And you have to place it. And then the greens are very fair, and you can make putts, but you have to get it there. So it's a classic golf course. I love it. I wish we had, you know, a gajillion of those on our tour, because it's just wonderful golf course; traditional, classic.
Q. Sum up the week, put the week into words.
LORENA OCHOA: Well, for sure I wanted to play better but I think it was important for the week for me to try to enjoy it as much as I could and that's what I did. It was the first time to have my husband on the course, and I think we both had a good time. And I want to say thank you to the players for being here and making this tournament so special.
Q. So just talk a little about the experience, what was it like to be inside the ropes for four days?
ANDRES CONESA: It was a great experience, something that you don't change. I mean, obviously she would like to have a better round today, but she leaves very happy and it was a great experience for both of us, for me and her.
Q. So what's harder, being Lorena's caddie or CEO?
ANDRES CONESA: This for sure.