LPGA Championship - Second-round notes and interviews

LPGA Championship Presented by Wegmans

Locust Hill Country Club
Pittsford, N.Y.
June 25, 2010
Second-Round Notes and Interviews

Rolex Rankings No. 5 and 13-time LPGA winner Cristie Kerr cranked out a 6-under 66 in the second round of the LPGA Championship Presented by Wegmans.
Her bogey-free round included six birdies and a back nine 32. She holds a five shot lead heading into the weekend. Kerr won the State Farm LPGA Classic two weeks ago and is the highest ranked American in the world. She looks to add another major to her resume here at Locust Hill Country Club. She won the 2007 U.S. Women’s Open.
Seventy-three players made the 36-hole cut at 4-over-par 148.

Kerr keeps the race for No. 1 in the world at the top of her mind. “I take it (becoming No. 1) very seriously. That's really the only way I can put it. I obviously want to try to become the No. 1 player in the world. I feel like I'm poised to do it.”

Despite only hitting five fairways, Kerr still managed to shoot the low round of the tournament today.
She attributes her success to a strong mental game and her love of the movie A Beautiful Mind. “…when I have a bad thought, and it happens, or when I feel unconfident, I just go back to that Beautiful Mind movie. And I feel like, if I just keep that in my mind, those thoughts, those bad thoughts where I'm going to hit it right, or I'm going to hit it left, or I'm not going to hit the fairway here, not make a putt, or whatever, it won't have as much power over me.”

Inbee Park fired a 2-under par 70 to stand in a tie for 2nd after two rounds. Park has made nine of nine cuts this year with a season’s best second-place finish at the KIA Classic Presented by JGolf and a third at last week’s ShopRite LPGA Classic. While Kerr has a five-shot lead, Park does not feel that it is insurmountable. “I think it's still two days of golf left out there. Anything could happen on this golf course. You could shoot really high score or you could go really low out there.”

Mika Miyazato’s two-round tally of 5-under-par 139 puts her five shots off the pace set by Cristie Kerr.
Miyazato tied her career-best finish last year at Locust Hill in the Wegmans LPGA when she tied for fourth. Her best finish this season was a tie for 19th at the HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore.

2009 Kraft Nabisco Championship winner Brittany Lincicome doesn’t need to hit fairways to score at Locust Hill. Nicknamed “Bam Bam” for her length off the tee, the 25-year-old has hit just 10 of 28 fairways en route to a 4-under-par 140 through two rounds.

Amy Yang’s career-best finish at a major came at last year’s McDonald’s LPGA Championship Presented by Coca-Cola, where she tied for ninth. She is looking to better that this week at Locust Hill with the help of her new caddie, Greg Johnston, who previously worked for Lorena Ochoa before her retirement in May. Six shots off Cristie Kerr’s lead, the 21-year-old is within striking distance entering the weekend.

Today’s lucky number was 67. Amy Yang, Jimin Kang, Michele Redman and Na On Min all carded 67’s in the second round. The record-low second round score at the LPGA Championship is 64, carded by four players (Ayako Okamoto, 1991, Cristie Kerr, 1999, Karrie Webb, 2001, Annika Sorenstam, 2003).

The Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year race could get very interesting this week if Azahara Munoz continues at her current pace. The 23-year-old Spaniard currently trails Amanda Blumenherst 227-213 in the race to become the top LPGA rookie of 2010. Rookies of the Year points are doubled at LPGA majors, but that is news to Munoz, “I didn’t know it was double points, I never know anything (laughing). I’m not thinking about it on the course. I just want to play and see what happens.”

Of note... Defending Champion Anna Nordqvist shot even-par in the second round to stand at 1-over through two rounds… Juli Inkster backed up her 1-under 50th Birthday round with a second-round 74… Rolex Rankings No. 1 Ai Miyazato bounced back from a first-round 75 with a second-round 71…Stacy Lewis and Seon Hwa Lee, who held a share of the first-round lead, both shot 2-over par 74 in the second round. They stand in a tie for 10th, eight strokes behind Kerr.

WD. Brandi Burton, Hye Yung Choi, Liselotte Neumann, Grace Park.

CRISTIE KERR, -10

MODERATOR: Great round today, Cristie. You currently have a 5 shot lead in the tournament. It has to be a good feeling, a lot of cheers there on the 18th hole. Can you run us through your scorecard?

CRISTIE KERR: Sure. I played awesome today. First hole, I hit 6 iron in the green, and I made about a 25 footer, 28 footer for birdie right in the middle. And then I parred the second hole through the 9th. Kind of some tough pins on the front, tricky.

I had a pitching wedge into the green on 10 and hit it to about four feet and made that for birdie.

The 14th hole I hit 6 iron to about nine feet behind the hole and made that.

I hit 9 iron on 15 to about ten feet, made that.

17, I hit sand wedge behind the hole, hit it too hard downwind, ended up making the putt from about 23 feet, probably.

18, I hit 6 iron to about eight inches. That was a great way to finish.

Q: Cristie, as impressive as that round was, how relieved or impressed with yourself were you to get out of trouble those two times on 11 where you just nearly barely carried that little creek and then when you hit in the trees on 16, I think, it was?

CRISTIE KERR: Yes, I had very good recovery shots today. I think I did very good with sometimes you just get up there, oh, I'm in the trees and you pick a club and hit it. But I did very good with analyzing the lie and how it was going to come out, to kind of dictate what I needed to do with the shot and the club. I did really well with those recovery shots today. I think when I was in the rough I got it on the green and 2 putted for par and that keeps your momentum going, even if you are not hitting the fairways.

I made a couple of long putts today. I don't think anybody expected anybody to be in double digits after two days. But, you know what, keep my head down and keep going hopefully.

Q: That shot where you just barely carried the creek on 11, how worried were you? It just seemed to squirt out?
CRISTIE KERR: It was probably the worse lie I had all day. I don't think I hit one fairway on the par 5s today. It was just a little bit off right, or a little bit off left, and I will work with my coach later on that. That all happened so fast so I didn't have time to be worried about getting over the water because it was already over the water by the time I looked up.

Q: Cristie, I hear enough about the foreign players have won so often on this Tour. There has only been you and Michelle in the last 25 events that have won. Whatever it is, how serious do you take your standing of the 5th ranked player in the world, with the No. 1 American player in the world. How much do you dwell on that, or think about it, or try to push yourself to get to that No. 1 ranking. Do you spend much time on it at all?

CRISTIE KERR: I take it very seriously. That's really the only way I can put it. I obviously want to try to become the No. 1 player in the world. I feel like I'm poised to do it, but at the same time I'm a couple of wins behind in the points ranking where that would have to fall.

So I just have to keep doing what I'm doing, and winning golf tournaments is hard. You have to do what I did the first two days here. You have to try and do your routine. You have to try to execute and you have to try to make more putts than everybody else, and I have done that.

Q: It stands to reason when you come to a Major championship you know that's where you are going to make your hay. If you want to climb that list, you've got to win these kind of tournaments?
CRISTIE KERR: Yes, and I have won one Major and 12 other tournaments. I've won a lot of regular tournaments. It's really time. What Tiger did so well for so long was he really focused on the Majors and put all of his energy into those weeks, and I feel like I'm doing that now.

Q: Just to follow his question with the whole American thing, how much is that in your mind? Obviously every talks about the foreign influence and how important is it for an American to win on an American soil in an American major?
CRISTIE KERR: I think it's very important. I can feel it in the crowds cheering us on. I can feel they want an American winner, just in the way they are cheering for me. Our Tour is very deep with The International contingent. They all can play. We have to just keep doing what we are doing with the LPGA Girls Golf programs, and I know I keep hammering that home. We need to get more girls playing golf in the United States. And have them, you know, hopefully watching these kind of tournaments, seeing Americans win.

That's how I got involved in golf, and that's why I am sitting here, because I watched Juli Inkster and Nancy Lopez and Pat Bradley and Patty Sheehan winning those tournaments. I would sit and watch my TV when I was in high school or junior high watching, going, I want to do that. If the Americans don't step up and do it and show the other Americans that we can do it, it's going to be hard for us to emerge but it can be done.

Q: Cristie, yesterday you made mention of the fact, you said your mental game was there. You may have alluded to that when you talked about the lies you had today and how you went about analyzing them. But can you expand about upon what exactly you mean by that? What does that mean to you that your mental game was there?
CRISTIE KERR: It just means that I'm free of interference. It means I'm focusing more on how I want to hit the shot than how it's going to turn out. It means that I'm free of worrying, well, if I'm over it, going what if it goes right or what if it goes left. When I'm doing it well, I think I do it almost better than anybody, my mental stuff. I think I need to do a little better on the tee shots on that. I did well with the irons today.

Q: One other thing if I can follow up. Yesterday you made mention of tasting blood in the water, so to speak, I assume you are talking about the opportunity that you had put yourself in going into today. So do you taste it a little more?
CRISTIE KERR: For this week, not necessarily so much today. There is so much golf to be played. That's really all you can do is have a chance to be in contention. You know, if I end up being a person that ends up running away with it, then more power to me. But I'm not going to expect that.

I have to go out and take care of my own job. You can't control what anybody else does. Somebody could shoot a 63 in the afternoon today, and I could be behind by one. It's true, you can't control what anybody else does and when I am there, present, you know, I do my planning and then I separate it and then I just go and execute.

It's when I have the interference is when I make shots that are out of my what we call dispersion pattern.
So even if I don't execute perfectly, the ball will end up somewhere where it's okay. It's proven. It's tried and true, and I just need to stick to it.

Q: Cristie, do you notice, is it noticeably different the way the course is set up, the changes they've made to it to make it harder. The second part is, is it not playing as hard as everyone thought it might play?

CRISTIE KERR: I think it is noticeably harder than when we were here for the regular tournament. They brought the fairways in and made them much more narrow. I think the rain has made the greens probably a little bit more receptive. They made the course longer. I think that it's playing 2 to 3 shots harder than it would have in the regular tournament. I have had two really good days.

Q: Cristie, can you talk a little bit specifically about the rough. You hit 5 fairways today and you still shots 6 under and it's Major championship rough. How is that possible?

CRISTIE KERR: Weightlifting. (Laugh) I ended up getting some pretty good lies, some not so good lies, but I managed. When you are in the rough, don't try to be a hero, just try to get it short of the green, or try to get it on the green, whatever, or in a place that you can get up and down. That has a lot to do with the way you are thinking out there. That has a lot to do with how you are working with your caddy. I did that very well today. I missed probably 5 fairways by three feet today. So that tells you how much they brought in the rough and how well I did in managing to get out of it.

Q: Cristie, we talked to your caddy afterward, you split up with him in 2007, he wanted us to ask you why?

CRISTIE KERR: We were both very immature and butting heads.

Q: I'm teasing. Seriously why did you and what made you come back to him?
CRISTIE KERR: Well, I think we had a lot of success early in our career together and it was just kind of like, we got on each other's nerves, I think. That's the best way to put it. It was never his performance as a caddy, or me as a player playing. It was just sort of like a personality kind of thing and we split up. I probably maybe fired him a little hastily, but I have matured a lot in the last couple of years, and so has he, and it was just time for us to get back together

Q: Cristie, you spoke on the golf network something about, I'm so confident I don't need to fear, be fearful anymore, something to that effect. Can you expand on that? What did you mean by that, that level of confidence?
CRISTIE KERR: Well, you know, I worked hard enough. I've won enough golf tournaments. You know what, there is always a little bit of that in there. I equate that to, if you've seen the movie A Beautiful Mind, where there are things in his mind that are there, but that are real to him but aren't actually real.
Like if you put them in your hand, you can't touch them, and you can't feel them.

And I think when I have a bad thought, and it happens, or when I feel unconfident, I just go back to that Beautiful Mind movie. That's one my favorite movies because he chose not to acknowledge. He had difficulty in the beginning but he chose not to acknowledge and have the thoughts be harmful to him, and he was able to go on and lead his life.

And I feel like, if I just keep that in my mind, those thoughts, those bad thoughts where I'm going to hit it right, or I'm going to hit it left, or I'm not going to hit the fairway here, not make a putt, or whatever, it won't have as much power over me and I think you are seeing the results of that. I don't have a Nobel Peace Prize though.

Q: Cristie, going into this weekend were there any particular facets of the game where you felt you needed to improve upon from State Farm?
CRISTIE KERR: That was a pretty good performance at State Farm. I mean, just trying to hit a little straighter. The fairways are very narrow here. You are going to hit good tee shots like I did today, and they are going to go in the rough. Try not to stress over it. Just make sure your short game and your putting is there. You are going to get opportunities to get it on the green and make long putts. I just got to keep doing what I'm doing.

Q: Cristie, you put a new putter into play for the State Farm. Can you talk about how you select a putter and why this one felt so good?
CRISTIE KERR: Well, I just felt like I couldn't hit putts consistently the same speed over and over, and when you do that it's hard to make putts. If your speed is off, then green reading becomes more difficult. I just tried about 15 putters the off week before State Farm and, just, you know, I had throughout the weeks picked up a Ping putter here and there, whatever. I even tried some Scotty Cameron's the week off and was just looking for the feel.

I don't know how to describe that, but it's a feel where your head becomes more steady, the pace of the stroke becomes more even. You hit the same putt over and over again. The ball starts on line better, and I picked up this putter at Liberty National, the course I practice at in New Jersey, and it was like, ooh, it just kind of felt right. It's the way I picked up the putter when I was in Korea and ended up buying that one and winning The Open with it.

I had Lance, the Callaway rep send me a couple of putters. I had him send me a 2 ball that had a line on it as well. It felt like speed and alignment were just a little bit off, and I just picked that one, and I had my husband come out and watch me, and he said I haven't seen you hit putts consistently the same speed and your body and everything looks more still. It just felt more balanced than what I have been putting with.

I just obviously needed a change. I've been searching for a while. I've always been a good putter, but when I found a putter that feels right, I can make almost anything I look at. So I found it.

You know, hitting putts the right speed, long putts where you have tap ins for par, it's a lot less stressful. That's what you strive for. It's also hard work. But I just felt right with this putter.

Q: What exactly is this putter?

CRISTIE KERR: It's an Odyssey Marksman. I called Lance before State Farm and I said I found my heat seeking missile.

Q: How long is it?
CRISTIE KERR: The length of it?

Q: Yes.

CRISTIE KERR: I think it's 33 and a half inches.

Q: What were you playing with before?

CRISTIE KERR: My 2 ball putter. I felt I need something with a line. You get old. You can't lineup the putter anymore. You need a line on it. Older, I'm 33 and a veteran out here now, 32.

INBEE PARK, -5

MODERATOR: We are here with Inbee Park who shot 2 under par today. She is currently minus 5, standing in a tie for second. Can you talk a little bit about your round today?

INBEE PARK: Today I play really good, solid on the front 9. But I was a little bit disappointed on the back 9, but I made good saves and only one birdie on the back 9 which came to be just a 2 putt birdie on No. 17.
But today overall I only made two bogeys out there. I mean it's playing very tough out there. Only two bogeys. I think I can take that every day. A lot less bogeys today than yesterday so I was really happy with that and just go out there tomorrow and Sunday and just make as many birdies as you can and just see what happens.

Q: Inbee, as happy as you might be with this round, how impressed are you that you look at the leaderboard and see you are five shots back, and Cristie is, I'm not sure she is running away with it, I'm not sure how you describe it, but when you look at a course like that...
INBEE PARK: She shot 6 under today, right? That's a pretty good score around this golf course. I know she hit some good iron shots out there. I played with her three days in Springfield and I saw how she played. I think it could happen out there. This afternoon with the weather was almost impossible to shoot that number. But, I guess, this morning it was a little bit better conditions, I guess. She is a great player and she can make some putts out there. It's possible. But 10 under around this golf course is just amazing.

Q: Is she catchable. It's five shots with two days to go. You don't feel it's out of reach, do you?
INBEE PARK: No, not at all. I think it's still two days of golf left out there. Anything could happen on this golf course. You could shoot really high score or you could go really low out there.

Q: Was the wind picking up this afternoon that made conditions particularly tough?

INBEE PARK: It was swirling a lot out there. It was a little bit tougher to make decisions on the clubs. So I will say, especially on the front 9 for us, it was windy. During the round it got a little bit better. But I think it was definitely almost as much as yesterday for us.

Q: What else, you said the conditions were particularly tough. What else contributed to the difficulty of the course today?
INBEE PARK: Definitely longer rough and narrow fairways and longer course. I think everything. I mean with the rain, the greens give a little bit forgiveness, but just overall, everything they just made it really tough. If they make this green really firm I think there should be no under pars out there.

Q: You said you played with her (Kerr) three days in Springfield. What specifically did you see? She just started with a new putter. Was she putting that much better than she is now?

INBEE PARK: Well, the week that I played with her she won that week. She was hitting irons really solid. She was sticking everything. But that course was really scoreable, I know that. But her iron shots were just unbelievable.

Q: You have made 9 of 9 cuts this year, you had a second and third, is your game ready to win again?

INBEE PARK: Yes, I think so. I hope I'm ready every time. I've won once this year in Japan, so I think a win in America would be good.

MIKA MIYAZATO, -5

MODERATOR: Welcome. We are here with Mika Miyazato, stands at 5 under par for the tournament.
Can you talk about your round, please?

MIKA MIYAZATO: (via Interpreter) Today was all about keeping my patience and keeping my game steady. In the beginning there were a few ups and downs but I am very happy that I am able to keep making a lot of birdies and keeping it under par.

Q: How did the golf course play today compared to yesterday?

MIKA MIYAZATO: (via Interpreter) Compared to yesterday the fairways were a little bit more wet. But I was able to have solid shots, so I am very confident about that.

Q: This week being a Major, are you more focused, more nervous?

MIKA MIYAZATO: A little bit nervous. (via Interpreter) I am a little bit more nervous because it is a Major but I am able to concentrate on each shot so I am very confident about that.

BRITTANY LINCICOME, -4

On an American winning a major…

LINCICOME: It is important to win majors and for Americans to win majors. We want to see our fellow Americans win. Hopefully Cristie Kerr is not running away with it so I have a chance.

On her play today…
LINCICOME: I missed some three footers, so I had a chance to light it up on the front. Hopefully I can keep hitting shots like I hit today and drive it a little better. I have been trying to keep it more consistent. I have been trying to do it all year, each round and each tournament.

On Locust Hill Country Club…

LINCICOME: I like this golf course. It’s one of my favorite stops. I’ve been coming here since 2005. The course is tighter than normal. The rough, luckily, has been very good to me. I only hit 4 or 5 fairways yesterday. I hit 7 today. Fortunately, the greens are not very big and you can fire at ever pin. Attack when you can and when a pin is tucked three paces behind a bunker, place safe. There is a time to attack and a time to lay-up.

AZAHARA MUNOZ, -3

Q. You’re the low rookie in the field right now at the LPGA Championship. Talk about how you’ve been playing.
AZAHARA MUNOZ: Today, it’s been weird. Through 11 holes, I made one par. Four bogies and six birdies, or something like that. I was hitting my driver pretty bad, but putting really well. I improved that a lot. I felt uncomfortable with the putter in my last tournaments, but now I feel good over the ball. My irons feel good, but hopefully tomorrow I’ll hit it straighter.

Q. It’s early still, but are you thinking about the Rookie of the Year race? There are double points available this week.
AZAHARA MUNOZ: I didn’t know it was double points, I never know anything (laughing). I’m not thinking about it on the course. I just want to play and see what happens.

Topics: Notes and Interviews, KPMG Women's PGA Championship

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