Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic - Second-round Interviews

Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic Presented by Kroger

Highland Meadows Golf Club
Sylvania, Ohio
Second-round notes and interviews
July 2, 2010


Big-Time Play from The Big Apple on Day Two: For the second-straight day, Na Yeon Choi – or The Big Apple, given her NYC initials – leads alone at The Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic Presented by Kroger at Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania, Ohio. Her bogey-free, 4-under 67 got her to 11-under total, two shots clear of Christina Kim (67), Alena Sharp (68) and Inbee Park (66). Six players sit five back at 6-under.

Perfect Pair: The subject of perfection in golf is debatable, but for Choi, she feels like she found it Friday. “The weather was good today,” she said. “I had confidence out there with my friend Inbee Park. We enjoyed it. No bogeys today, so I feel perfect out there.”

Park says the feeling is mutual between herself, 22, and fellow Korean Choi, 23. “She’s a really good friend of mine, and we were feeling really comfortable out there the last two days,” said Park, who combined with her friend and playing competitor to go 20-under total the last two days, 9-under Friday. They’ll play together again in the final group Saturday.

Birdies in Bunches: With four birdies Friday and eight Thursday, Choi has now made 148 in 2010, good for second-place on Tour. She’s just two behind Song-Hee Kim, whose five today kept her at the top of the stat sheet.

MC? What MC? Choi has now officially put the missed cut from last week’s LPGA Championship Presented by Wegmans behind her. It was her first missed cut as an LPGA member – she had been 62-for-62 in official events up to that point. “After last week, I had a hard time,” she said. “I think I put too much pressure on myself. But after yesterday, I got a lot of confidence, so now, it’s OK.”

The eagle has landed, and then bounced in the hole: For most of the day, Inbee Park was plodding along in the shadow of her playing competitor and the tournament leader, but a bunker shot on 17 changed all that. After hitting her second shot from 220 yards on the 513-yard par-5 in the greenside bunker, she holed out from 60 feet for eagle and jumped up to 9-under. It took one bounce and hopped in. “I made a bogey the hole before,” she said. “I three-putted that hole, and I was a little disappointed, but that eagle just washed that away. It just gave me a lot of confidence going into the weekend, and I’m that much closer to the leader.”

Be firm: After a wet week last week, the dry, warm conditions here outside Toledo have made the Highland Meadows Golf Club a different animal, its teeth being its firmness this week. “As the weekend goes on, it’s supposed to be warmer, so it’s going to dry out even more,” Sharp said. “The greens are a little firmer, so you’ll have to play 3-4 yards of runout with short to mid-irons, and then a little bit more for longer irons. But the golf course is in good shape. They can tuck some pins, and it’ll be harder to get to those if the greens stay firm, which they will. It’s important to be in the right part of the fairway when you’re going into some of these pins that are on the sides.”

Flat stick, unstuck:
With three missed cuts and a best finish of T24 this year, Kim’s not shy about the fact that this year hasn’t quite been up to snuff. However, a couple of changes on the green, including going back to her old Odyssey Sabertooth putter from last year, and enlisting the help of putting guru Ron Stockton, have revitalized her. “I think it has really, really helped me with my putting,” said the two-time winner on her session with Stockton Monday. “Since it helped me with my putting, it really, really helped me with the rest of my game. I’m very, very happy with the way I’m putting right now. The last two days, I’ve had less than 30 putts, and that’s unprecedented for me.

“It wasn’t so much my technique,” Kim expanded on what they changed. “A lot of it was just keeping the putter moving through the putt, as well as just the way I do my routine, the way that I perceive, the way that I read the greens, the things I focus on when I’m hitting my putts – as opposed to focusing on the ball or focusing on where the hole is, picking out a spot and striking it through that spot. It’s completely transformed the way I feel about my putts.”

“Swinging from My Heels,” Kim’s no-holds-barred account of her 2009 season and chronicle of her opinions on a variety of issues, has vaulted her higher into public consciousness. But how have her fellow players responded? “It’s been nothing but positive. I’ve got about 30, 35 players that have read it so far that I’ve given copies to that have really enjoyed the book.”

As for sales, “I haven’t asked about numbers,” she said. “As far as I know, it’s selling well. My publishers aren’t calling and saying, ‘This is the biggest mistake of our lives,’ so that’s a positive.”

The round of the day belonged to Kyeong Bae and Mikaela Parmlid, with 6-under 65s. Parmlid’s 65 was 12 shots better than her 77 Thursday and got her to the weekend on the number. Bae moved from a tie for 108th at the beginning of the day to a tie for 32nd.

With their performance the first two days, Jean Reynolds (69-68—137), Lisa Meldrum (70-68—138) and Marisa Baena (66-72—138) all qualified for the RICOH Women’s British Open. Allison Hanna (70-69—139), Libby Smith (72-67—139), Misun Cho (69-70—139) and Marianne Skarpnord (72-67—139) will play off for the final two spots. Low two rounds Saturday get in.

Rolex Rankings No. 3 Jiyai Shin, the highest-ranked player in the field, followed up her 67 Thursday with a 1-under 70 to finish at 5-under and in a tie for 11th.

Beatriz Recari, currently fifth in the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year race, made five birdies Friday on her way to a 4-under 67. As low rookie, she’s 6-under total and in a six-way tie for 5th.

Of note… Eighty-three players made the cut at Even par…. Jill McGill rebounded nicely Friday. She improved 10 strokes, from a 76 Thursday to a 66 Friday to Even par, making the cut on the number…. Defending champion Eunjung Yi shot a 3-under 68 Friday to sit at 3-under overall, tied for 32nd…. 2008 champion and course-record holder Paula Creamer missed the cut after struggling to a 2-over finish…. Morgan Pressel, runner-up two of the last three years here, made a clutch birdie on her last hole of the day, the 9th, to make the cut on the number.

WDs: Brandie Burton and Silvia Cavalleri withdrew after the first round.

QUICK QUOTES WITH NA YEON CHOI, ROLEX RANKING: 11

“I tried the same thing yesterday. The weather was good today. I had confidence out there with my friend Inbee Park. We enjoyed it. No bogeys today, so I feel perfect out there.”

“I feel good about my swing and putter, so I had a lot of confidence. I just played one shot at a time.”

“We have a lot of good young Korean players. I don’t know why we play well. We practice hard, and we can motivate each other.”

“I like playing with the lead.”

“I didn’t try anything different today. I just kept everything the same.”

“After last week, I had a hard time. I think I put too much pressure on myself. But after yesterday, I got a lot of confidence, so now, it’s OK.”

QUICK QUOTES WITH
CHRISTINA KIM, ROLEX RANKING: 73

Birdie on 11, I was 143 yards from the flag. I hit a little 8-iron to about 4 feet or so. It’s one of the tougher holes on the golf course, and I managed to birdie it the last two days, so I feel like I snuck away with about three shots.
Birdie on 17, I was 43 yards to the flag with my third shot, and I hit it to about a foot and a half with my 60-degree wedge.
Birdie on 18, I was 94 yards to the flag on the 18th hole, hit a 56-degree wedge to about 5 or 6 feet or so, made the putt.
Birdie on 6, I was 148 to the flag, hit a 7-iron to about 7 or 8 feet.
Bogey on 7, I was 66 yards to the flag, flubbed my lob wedge just short of the green. I hit my first putt from just off the green to about 12 feet past, then lipped out my par putt.
Closing birdie on 9, I was 104 yards to the flag. I hit a 52-degree probably about 35 feet left of the flag. It’s one of those greens you can’t really attack the flag when it’s tucked on the right. Just rolled the putt in. My caddie Brian did a wonderful job helping me read the greens today.

“The last two weeks have been pretty interesting. Last week, on Wednesday, the day before the first round of the LPGA Championship Presented by Wegmans, I switched putters back to the one that I was using for the most part of last year, which is an Odyssey Sabertooth. I had to order it in because nobody – I called about five or six golf shops last week, and I was ready to buy one. No one had the proper neck that I wanted, so Callaway was gracious enough to send me one with the single-bend neck. So that helped me a bit last week. I finished tied for 25th, which is still not very good, but it’s an improvement.

“Then this week, I met up with Ron Stockton, who’s worked with Annika Sorenstam, Michelle Wie, Morgan Pressel. I’ve been talking to him for a few weeks, and I said, ‘If you ever get a chance and you can pencil me in, I’d love to work with you. I’d love to see what’s wrong with me.’ So we worked together for like an hour on Monday, which I think has really, really helped me with my putting. Since it helped me with my putting, it really, really helped me with the rest of my game. I’m very, very happy with the way I’m putting right now. The last two days, I’ve had less than 30 putts, and that’s unprecedented for me.”

On what they changed:
“It wasn’t so much my technique. A lot of it was just keeping the putter moving through the putt, as well as just the way I do my routine, the way that I perceive, the way that I read the greens, the things I focus on when I’m hitting my putts – as opposed to focusing on the ball or focusing on where the hole is, picking out a spot and striking it through that spot. It’s completely transformed the way I feel about my putts.”

“There’s no one key component, because everything’s connected, but I’m putting a lot better than I have been, which has been my bane of existence. So putting has been a huge factor, but there’s no one part that’s more important than any other.”

On the reaction to her book, “Swinging from My Heels”: “It’s been nothing but positive. I’ve got about 30, 35 players that have read it so far that I’ve given copies to that have really enjoyed the book. I haven’t heard anything negative from the public yet. I know I’m going to find somebody with something to gripe about, but such is life; you can’t please everybody. But it’s been really thrilling.”

“I haven’t asked about (sales) numbers. As far as I know, it’s selling well. My publishers aren’t calling and saying, ‘This is the biggest mistake of our lives,’ so that’s a positive.”

QUICK QUOTES WITH ALENA SHARP, ROLEX RANKING: 122

On No. 3, I hit a good drive, I had 137 to the pin into the wind. I hit a grip 8-iron. It was all over the flag, and I had 20 feet, rolled the putt in.
I hit a great drive on 4, hit it to 20 feet with my gap wedge from 112, and made another long putt.
On No. 8, we had 120, I hit a pitching wedge to about 3 feet.
(Bogey on 15): It was tough to judge the wind on the back nine, it was switching back and forth. I had a good number, just came up on the green, just a little to the right of the pin. I had a tough first putt, missed a 4-footer for par. That was probably the worst putt I hit all week.
On 17, I made a 12-footer for birdie from 80 yards.

On her stretch of holes from 9-16, which she played 1-over: “When you get a tweener number, I had to grip something, or if I tried to hit something hard when the wind was into. I was a little off on yardage today on the back nine, but I hit a lot of greens today, so I was happy with the way I finished.”

“As the weekend goes on, it’s supposed to be warmer, so it’s going to dry out even more. The greens are a little firmer, so you’ll have to play 3-4 yards of runout with short to mid-irons, and then a little bit more for longer irons. But the golf course is in good shape. They can tuck some pins, and it’ll be harder to get to those if the greens stay firm, which they will. It’s important to be in the right part of the fairway when you’re going into some of these pins that are on the sides.”

“I was a little nervous today. I just wanted to get out and get started. Then I got into the way I felt yesterday, just really relaxed. I’m happy with the way my game is going into the weekend. I like my position. I know I’m going to have to play every day the way I did the last two days, just gotta keep making birdies.”

“(Choi)’s a great player. She hits it long. She’s a great putter. She’s one of our top players on Tour.”

QUICK QUOTES WITH
INBEE PARK, ROLEX RANKING: 14

On her holeout eagle on 17 that got her to 9-under: “On the second shot, I had 220 yards, and the bunker shot was about 20 yards. It was one bounce, and it went in…. I made a bogey the hole before. I three-putted that hole, and I was a little disappointed, but that eagle just washed that away. It just gave me a lot of confidence going into the weekend, and I’m that much closer to the leader.”

On playing with her friend Na Yeon Choi the last two days: “She’s a really good friend of mine, and we were feeling really comfortable out there the last two days. It was very fun playing with Paula (Creamer) also. I enjoyed it.”

“I played pretty good the last two days, just keep the work that I’ve done the last two days, just keep playing my game, just focus on my game, and hopefully putts will drop.”

Topics: Notes and Interviews, Marathon Classic

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