Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic - Third-round Interviews

Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic Presented by Kroger

Highland Meadows Golf Club
Sylvania, Ohio
Third-round notes and interviews
July 3, 2010


Helped by a slam-dunk ace on the eighth hole, Na Yeon Choi shot a 3-under 68 Saturday to lead for the third straight day at the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic Presented by Kroger at Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania, Ohio. Despite leading by five shots at one point during the round, she bogeyed the 14th and 15th while Christina Kim made two birdies over her last four holes to finish at 13-under, ultimately good enough to stay just one back. Katherine Hull (65), Kristy McPherson (67) and Inbee Park (70) are all four back at 10-under.

The ace (9-iron, 134 yards), the first of her LPGA career, gave the 23-year-old Choi some momentary breathing room as the leaderboard grew increasingly more crowded behind her. “I didn’t know it was going to go in,” she said. “I just thought it was a good impact, that it would just be close to the pin. I was really happy.”

Wire-to-wire: The leader alone all three days now, the win is obviously the ultimate prize, but doing it in wire-to-wire fashion would mean something extra to Choi. “I really want to do the wire-to-wire win,” she said. “I’m hitting the ball well, and I don’t want to lose that chance.” Choi has two career wins, the Samsung World Championship and the Hana Bank – KOLON Championship, both in 2009.

Bling! With her initials “NYC” inscribed flashily on her belt buckle, Choi – sometimes called “The Big Apple” because of those initials – was asked if she’d ever been to New York. “I have been just one time,” she smiled, “a couple months ago. It’s like Seoul.”

At the turn, it looked like Choi was going to run away with the tournament, but Kim said she didn’t notice; she just played her own game. “I’d been watching the scores a bit, but my main concern is getting that ball into that stupid little cup,” she said in her inimitable style. “I still feel like I struggled quite a bit all day today, but I managed to squeak out with 4-under, so I’m pretty excited about that. Someone said at 13, I was like five strokes back, but I really didn’t even notice. I was too busy trying to keep my ball in the fairway.”

Sitting one shot back may actually be a good thing for Kim, a two-time winner. She said she’d rather come from behind. “You have your eyes on the prize,” she said. “You know what’s in front of you. It’s like dogs on a dog track, they see the rabbit, they want to chase the rabbit. Where as when you’re leading, in the past, I’ve been looking behind me, who’s coming up as opposed to focusing on the here and now or what’s in front of me.”

Rising ‘Stock’: Kim credits a lot of her success this week to a one-hour session with Ron Stockton Monday, the duo’s first. She’s had 28, 28 and 29 putts the first three days; anything lower than 30 for her is good, she said. “It’s amazing the difference that one hour’s made,” she said. “It’s amazing when you have a new set of eyes looking at you and helping you with your game what can blossom.”

No more leaky Hull: Katherine Hull had the round of the day, a 6-under 65 that got her into the pack tied for third at 10-under. Her round included six birdies and no bogeys. Her steady play was a refreshing change of pace after making three bogeys over her last seven holes Friday. “I felt pretty good when I birdied 10 and 11, but the last couple of days, I’ve struggled to finish well, so it was nice to stay patient out there the last few holes and shoot the number I did,” she said.

Lew Crew: Stacy Lewis, a native of Toledo before she moved away at the age of 2, had a 1-under 71 that put her 6-under and in a tie for 15th. Lewis has been followed all week by the sizable “Lew Crew,” made up of friends and extended family who still live in the area.

Misun Cho (70), Alison Hanna (72) and Libby Smith (72) all qualified for the RICOH Women’s British Open Saturday. They were among a four-person playoff Saturday for three spots. The odd women out was Marianne Skarpnord, with a 73. The third spot opened up because Marisa Baena, who had qualified with her play through two rounds here, said she wouldn’t play.

Rolex Rankings No. 3 Jiyai Shin, the highest-ranked player in the field, shot a second-straight 1-under 70 to finish at 6-under and in a tie for 15th.

Azahara Munoz, currently leading the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year race, shot a 5-under 66 to vault up to a tie for sixth and lead all rookies in the field. She went bogey-free Saturday, pairing that with five birdies. She’s made just two bogeys all week.

Of note… Morgan Pressel, runner-up two of the last three years here, shot a bogey-free, 5-under 66 to shoot her way from making the cut on the number up to a tie for 23rd…. Defending champion Eunjung Yi shot a 2-under 69 that also put her at 5-under and T23.

QUICK QUOTES WITH NA YEON CHOI, ROLEX RANKING: 11

On her slam-dunk hole-in-one on the 8th hole (9-iron, 134): “That was my first hole-in-one on the LPGA. I didn’t know it was going to go in. I just thought it was a good impact, that it would just be close to the pin. I was really happy.”

“It didn’t bounce, just went in.”

Through translator: “I didn’t know that I had a five-shot lead during the round. I just focused on my game. I just made a couple bogeys on the way in, a couple bad holes, that was about it. I just have to keep concentrating on my game and play better tomorrow, but I still had a good round.”

Through translator: “The first bogey I made, I was OK with it because it was the first one of the round. The second bogey, I didn’t strike the ball well, so I was a little bit frustrated with my swing, and I lost a little bit of confidence, but there’s a lot of golf left to play.”

Through translator: “The Samsung World Championship was the first win for me. It was really tough for me to pull out that first win. From that, I gained a lot of confidence going into other tournaments.

“I have been just one time, a couple months ago. It’s like Seoul.”

Through translator: “I don’t have many emotions in my mind the last three days. I’ve been very calm the last three days. I really want to do the wire-to-wire win. I’m hitting the ball well, and I don’t want to lose that chance.”

QUICK QUOTES WITH CHRISTINA KIM, ROLEX RANKING: 73

“I’d been watching the scores a bit, but my main concern is getting that ball into that stupid little cup. I still feel like I struggled quite a bit all day today, but I managed to squeak out with 4-under, so I’m pretty excited about that. Someone said at 13, I was like five strokes back, but I really didn’t even notice. I was too busy trying to keep my ball in the fairway.”

On playing from behind: “You have your eyes on the prize. You know what’s in front of you. It’s like dogs on a dog track, they see the rabbit, they want to chase the rabbit. Where as when you’re leading, in the past, I’ve been looking behind me, who’s coming up as opposed to focusing on the here and now or what’s in front of me.”

On her one-hour session Monday with new putting instructor Ron Stockton: “It’s amazing the difference that one hour’s made. I joked with him that he probably must have felt like it was a junior clinic that he was hosting instead of an actual lesson with a professional (laughs). It’s amazing when you have a new set of eyes looking at you and helping you with your game what can blossom.

“Between that and the incredible crowds that we get here every year, being 4th of July weekend, a very, very special week for all of us. Obviously, Judd Silverman and his staff have been so good to us over the years, the least we can do is try and play some good golf for them (laughs).”

QUICK QUOTES WITH KATHERINE HULL, ROLEX RANKING: 26

“I felt pretty good when I birdied 10 and 11, but the last couple of days, I’ve struggled to finish well, so it was nice to stay patient out there the last few holes and shoot the number I did.”

On running down Choi Sunday: “Anything’s possible in golf. But she’s playing great right now, so she’s gonna be hard to beat. If she’s put three solid rounds together, then more than likely, she’s going to put another one together tomorrow, so it’s going to take a super-low round from someone else.”

“The hole locations today were probably the toughest of the three. We had pins that were two or three yards from the fringes, which we don’t see very often. I don’t think the wind was as big an issue as the hole locations, so you just had to play smart golf today.”


Topics: Marathon Classic, Notes and Interviews

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