Guadalajara Country Club
Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico
Second-round notes and interviews
Nov. 12, 2010
Paula Creamer fired a second-round, 6-under 66 to finish 10-under and lead the $1.1 million Lorena Ochoa Invitational Presented by Banamex and Corona Light at Guadalajara Country Club in Mexico. She leads by one over Suzann Pettersen (65) and by two over Stacy Lewis (69). Creamer opened by birdying two, three, four and six before carding bogeys at eight and 10. She rebounded with back-to-back birdies at 11 and 12 and added birdies at 16 and 18, where she took the outright lead.
“I'm pleased with the way I'm hitting the ball, and I'm putting very well,” Creamer said. “Consistently I'm rolling the putts the way that I want to, and that's all I can ask for is to give myself as many opportunities as I can.”
Second to none: Creamer finished second here last year, two shots back of winner Michelle Wie, something that will help fuel her pursuit this weekend. “I really like coming here,” she said. “I enjoy the golf course. It sets up very well for my game. It's not the longest golf course that we play all year, but you have to hit a lot of fairways and you have to be very precise with your irons and that kind of suits my game. But coming in second last year, I definitely wanted to come back and give myself a good chance to win.”
El Pantera Rosa: Next to Mexican sweetheart Lorena Ochoa, “El Pantera Rosa” is one of the biggest draws this week. “I'm very lucky that I have a very good fan base here,” she said. “Not only the little kids, but everybody is very, very supportive of my golf. It's very nice when you come to another country – no one's ever going to be as big as Lorena – but if you're the next best, that's definitely something that's very nice. And it helps.”
¿Habla Español? Creamer, who’s expressed a desire to polish her Spanish, greeted the media room in Spanish. Her delighted audience asked her what else she knew. “I do know a lot,” she said. “I can understand – like I understood that question. But I get very nervous speaking it, so I can't say it as much. But the verbs are very hard for me to conjugate. But you put me on the spot – what do you want me to say? I don't know – lo siento, con permiso. I know good golf words. I know happy birthday, Feliz Compleaños. I know that song. I used to know the pledge of allegiance in Spanish, but I've forgot now. I know colors. I know that kind of stuff. Next year I'll be able to answer more in Spanish. Chiquita; I know that one.”
Sprint to the finish: Suzann Pettersen’s 7-under 65 earned her second alone at 9-under and tied for the day’s best score. Out in 1-under 35, Pettersen then birdied 10, 11, 13, 14, 15 and 18 for an inward 6-under 30. “I gave myself some really good chances and made some good putts,” she said about the birdie barrage. “Finally I'm getting the ball in the hole. So obviously that's going to help the scorecard.”
A time to win: Though winless in 2010, Pettersen has a staggering 10 top-five finishes. “It's been a great year for me,” she said. “I've been very consistent, which is what I'm looking for. Obviously I would like to have some top finishes, but at the same time, being there week in, week out, it shows you that your game is really good. It's just a matter of time before I can eventually get it all together and wrap it up.”
Underdog! Two shots back, Stacy Lewis is less popular than her Saturday playing partners – Pettersen and Creamer – which is the way she likes it. “I like being the underdog,” she said. “I like not having the spotlight on me because people don't expect me to win. I like that position and I'll ride it all the way to the end.”
Error-free: Lewis’ bogey on the 18th Friday ended a 2010-best bogey-free streak of 78 holes.
Improvement: Tournament hostess Lorena Ochoa rebounded from her opening 74 with a 1-under 71 Saturday to sit at 1-over. She made four birdies to three bogeys. “A better day from the tee to the green,” she said. “I didn't miss many shots, but I feel a little bit frustrated because I felt like I was going really low today, but it just seems like I couldn't get a rhythm and I couldn't get a momentum, but the good thing is we have two more days.”
Down but not out: Ochoa, whose goal coming into the week was to win, said that goal is still attainable. “I'm not going to say that I don't have chances anymore,” she said. “But I guess right now, it's out of my hands what the other players do. I'm going to try to get here tomorrow, probably going to play early again and shoot a low round. It would be nice to just even if I had a chance to win, or just to post a low round for me and especially for the fans.”
Of note: Meena Lee shot the other Friday-best 65. The bogey-free round included seven birdies… First-round leader Cristie Kerr made two back-nine doubley-bogeys to shoot a 4-over 76 and drop to 4-under.
PAULA CREAMER, Rolex Rankings No. 10
THE MODERATOR: Eight birdies, three bogeys, great round, leading by one. Just talk about it.
PAULA CREAMER: I started off very strong, 4 under through six holes, and kind of had a minor hiccup in the middle of the round. But I finished very strong. I'm pleased with the way I'm hitting the ball, and I'm putting very well. Consistently I'm rolling the putts the way that I want to, and that's all I can ask for is to give myself as many opportunities as I can.
THE MODERATOR: You finished second here last year, what about this golf course and this tournament suits you?
PAULA CREAMER: I really like coming here. I enjoy the golf course. It sets up very well for my game. It's not the longest golf course that we play all year, but you have to hit a lot of fairways and you have to be very precise with your irons and that kind of suits my game. But coming in second last year, I definitely wanted to come back and give myself a good chance to win.
Q. The last couple of tournaments you've played in Asia, you weren't playing so strong the first two rounds; you were having issues, especially with your putter. What did you do to make it better this week?
PAULA CREAMER: I've really been working on my short game a lot, actually, since I can remember at the beginning of this year, and it takes time, it really does. You build the confidence over time. But my first rounds lately have not been the best start and I really wanted to come out strong this tournament instead of fighting my way back all the time. But I have a new putting routine, and I'm just trying to stick with it and we'll see what happens at the end of the year.
Q. You've played really well in Guadalajara the last few years, and you're kind of one of sweethearts of the fans here. How do the fans help you? Would you talk more about that?
PAULA CREAMER: The fans are great. It's really nice coming out here to play, and it's very nice that the field is small; so you get to interact more with them. But it is; it's a very nice feeling and you want to play well for them and you want to come out and you want to make as many birdies as you can. Like I said, it's always very nice to come to Mexico, especially Guadalajara.
Q. Your new putting routine, how much does it have to do with the fact that you're injured?
PAULA CREAMER: Well, my actual routine has changed; Blackhawk, at the CVS tournament was when I changed it. So it's been a couple weeks now, a month or so, where I've actually gotten used to it. But I just needed to do something different. It was kind of getting stale. But I think the biggest thing is I had surgery, and that's all I could do is putt; putt, putt, putt. I couldn't hit as much. I think I put way too much emphasis on that, and I expected to make everything and I kind of lost my confidence. So now it's kind of back to where it should be.
Q. You've played well in Guadalajara, probably after Lorena Ochoa, you're probably the fan favorite here after her. Do you feel that way?
PAULA CREAMER: I do feel I'm very lucky that I have a very good fan base here. Not only the little kids, but everybody, is very, very supportive of my golf. You know, like I said, it's very nice when you come to another country and no one's ever going to be as big as Lorena, but if you're the next best, that's definitely something that's very nice. And it helps. It does help to play better with that.
Q. What words do you speak in Spanish?
PAULA CREAMER: I do know a lot. I can understand like I understood that question. But I get very nervous speaking it, so I can't say it as much. But the verbs are very hard for me to conjugate. But you put me on the spot what do you want me to say? I don't know lo siento, con permiso. You know. I know good golf words I don't know.
Q. How would you say congratulations?
PAULA CREAMER: Well, you would say like I know happy birthday, Feliz Compleaños. I know that song. I used to know the pledge of allegiance in Spanish, but I've forgot now. I don't know I know colors. I know that kind of stuff. Next year I'll be able to answer more in Spanish. (Laughter) Chiquita; I know that one. (Laughter).
Q. The championship is wide open, is it more pressure for you or just try to enjoy?
PAULA CREAMER: No, I like where I'm at. Of course, this is great for me. Going into the weekend, there's lots of golf left and I just hope that I can keep on doing what I've been doing. And hopefully I can make some birdies early on like I did today, and we'll see what happens. But my biggest thing is on Sunday on the back nine; if I have a chance to win, then I'm content with that and hopefully I can pull it out.
Q. One of the hardest things in golf is consistency, what are you going to do to keep up that consistency for tomorrow?
PAULA CREAMER: Well, I'll going to go to the range. I need to hit a couple of balls; kind of in the middle of the round I went to the left side of the golf course. So going to go try to fix that. A lot of it is confidence and just believing in yourself and just doing what I've been working on, and we'll see.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks.
PAULA CREAMER: Hasta mañana. (Laughter)
SUZANN PETTERSEN, Rolex Rankings No. 5
THE MODERATOR: Welcome. 1 under on the way out, then you kind of went crazy on the back there. What happened?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I don't know. I gave myself some really good chances and made some good putts. Finally I'm getting the ball in the hole. So obviously that's going to help the scorecard. But this is a course I've always liked to play, it's a course you really fancy shooting well if you get it going, and you've got to be patient. Even though there's some tough finishing holes, just try and give yourself a putt.
Q. You have ten Top 5 finishes. You have been so close to winning this year several times, how do you deal with this pressure? Do you feel any pressure at all? How do you deal with this? Do you keep it going?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Well, I can't get worse than top 35 this week. That takes all the pressure off. It's been a great year for me. I've been very consistent, which is what I'm looking for. Obviously I would like to have some top finishes, but at the same time, being there week in, week out, it shows you that your game is really good. I mean, it's just a matter of time before I can eventually get it all together and wrap it up. But yesterday I thought I was a few shots too many, too far back, and today I felt like I kind of put myself in a good position again. So two more days, and I'm going to give it a go.
Q. It promises to be very close with Paula Creamer and Cristie Kerr. Can you talk a little bit more about that?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Yeah, it's hard to tell how the finish is going to come, it's two days ahead of us. But how it looks, it's going to be a tight race. You have to keep your head still and just keep plugging along with your own game. There's not much you can do about them. It's going to be a close race and hopefully I can be a part of it.
Q. You are all within three shots of each other; is that harder or easier or would you prefer to have a bigger lead going into the weekend?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: There's a lot of good players here, and it seems like a lot of players are playing well. Like I said, there's a lot of birdies out there. If I would prefer a bigger lead, yes, of course. Do I feel good about being in the mix? Yes. There's two more days and I'm just about to wrap this day up and get it over with and then get started on a new day tomorrow.
Q. Specifically what are you going to work on for your game tomorrow? Being that you putted so well today, is there anything you're going to try to do different tomorrow?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: No, I'm going to go out and try to make some more putts. It's really hard to get comfortable with the speed on the greens. It seems like it's been very good for the last two days, and just keep doing the same thing and go and hit a few wedges just to kind of calm down and then put on my sneakers and relax.
STACY LEWIS, Rolex Rankings No. 34
THE MODERATOR: Stacy, welcome back. Talk a little about the day.
STACY LEWIS: It was really good. Played solid all day, a little frustrating the way I finished, but I hit 15 greens and gave myself a lot of chances and I can't be too upset.
Q. Playing in the leader's group is always a pressure filled situation, how did you handle the pressure?
STACY LEWIS: I thought I handled it really well today. I think a goal for all of us is to be in the last group since we have put ourselves in position, and I think the more I can get there, the more comfortable I'll be. But I felt really good with it today.
Q. This is probably a golf course that's designed in a way in which you're probably not used to. What do you do to be able to face this course?
STACY LEWIS: I think this golf course is really hard. I think you have to hit a lot of good golf shots and hit to certain spots on the greens versus firing at the flags the whole time. I've done pretty well with that, but you've got to hit the fairway and you've got to hit a lot of greens to be successful.
Q. The fans here are different how do you handle that, something you are not used to?
STACY LEWIS: I think that they are just more enthusiastic and more vocal about it. And I know I enjoy it. I like it. I like it gets kind of boring on the golf course when it's quiet all the time. It's fun to have all of the kids out yelling and screaming. I enjoy it.
Q. The food here is different, mole, tequila; this is probably your first trip to México, but how do you handle the food part of travelling?
STACY LEWIS: Well, I've been to México a couple of times and it's really no different when we travel other places in the world. It's always different and we are always trying things, but you have to be a little careful of what you do, what you eat, what you drink. I don't know, I like to go out and try different things each place we go.
Q. You have two rounds to go. What's going to be your strategy, two shots behind? Your strategy for the next two rounds.
STACY LEWIS: I guess I'm closer than I was today. Today I was three back; so I'm only two back. But I think you have to go out there and keep making birdies and keep hitting fairways and greens. I think playing with Cristie today, I kind of saw how this golf course can jump up and bite you a little bit. So you have to play a little bit conservative, but also when you get opportunities, go make some birdies.
Q. Speaking a little bit about Lorena, it's unfortunate she has been unable to play as well in her own tournament. Do you think this has to do with having an inexperienced caddie like we saw yesterday, was handing her the wrong clubs? Even today on the course, we saw her asking Sophia's caddie for tips and for advice. How do you think this plays into it? And also, can you talk a little bit about the tournament, because it seems like it's going to be a photo finish on Sunday.
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I think a good caddie can always save you a shot or two here and there. But for the most part, I'm pretty sure Lorena knows how to get a number or a type of club. She wouldn't have gotten as far as she has if she didn't know how to do that. I think it's a special week and she's trying to enjoy it. The golf, the score, is kind of secondary I think. But the tournament, the ending, it's going to be close all week. It's going to be a nail biter and just have to hang in there until Sunday and just see what happens coming down the stretch.
Q. What do you find most difficult of this course today compared to yesterday?
STACY LEWIS: I think the main difference is the wind was a little bit different today. It kind of started to pick up a little bit towards the ends, but in the trees it swirled. It's hard to pick a club and control the distance. I think that was probably the biggest change from yesterday.
Q. Paula and Suzann have a name, have done things, and you're kind of coming in from behind. Do you think that helps with the pressure and maybe you don't feel as much pressure as they would?
STACY LEWIS: I didn't really feel like I was that different today, even until I stepped up on the first tee and announced that I think like the No. 3 and 4 players in the world and they had won seven times this year. So I didn't really until then, I felt okay with it. But I don't know, I like being the underdog. I like not having the spotlight on me because people don't expect me to win. I like that position and I'll ride it all the way to the end.
Q. Do you think Lorena's caddie gave her the wrong club on purpose, or was it an accident?
STACY LEWIS: I'm sure it was not on purpose. Come on. (Laughing).
Q. Just talk about the day today, obviously a little bit better than yesterday?
LORENA OCHOA: Well, for sure, a better day from the tee to the green. I didn't miss many shots, but I feel a little bit frustrated because I felt like I was going really low today, but it just seems like I couldn't get a rhythm and I couldn't get a momentum but the good thing is we have two more days. Hopefully better on the weekend.
Q. Obviously you came in here wanting to win, do you think where you're sitting right now, is that still a realistic goal for you?
LORENA OCHOA: Well, I'm not going to say that I don't have chances anymore. But I guess right now, it's out of my hands what the other players do. I'm going to try to get here tomorrow, probably going to play early again and shoot a low round. It would be nice to just even if I had a chance to win, or just to post a low round for me and especially for the fans.