LPGA LOTTE Championship Presented by J Golf Final Round Notes and Interviews
LPGA LOTTE Championship Presented by J Golf
Ko Olina Golf Club
Kapolei, Oahu, Hawaii
Final-Round Notes and Interviews
April 19, 2014
After nearly a four-year winless streak, Michelle Wie wrote her own fairytale finish to a magical week in her home state of Hawaii by clinching the LPGA LOTTE Championship Presented by J Golf. The Honolulu native said she could not have dreamed up a better ending to the tournament she calls her hometown event.
“I think the highlight really was just to come back home and ‑‑ there really wasn't just one moment,” said Wie. “From the first tee shot that I hit until the last putt that I made, the support that I felt from everyone was unbelievable. I really think a lot of times they willed the ball in. I give a lot of credit to them this week.”
Wie shot a 5-under 67 in Saturday’s final round to secure her third-career victory and first since the 2010 CN Canadian Women’s Open. The 24-year old started the day four shots behind third-round leader Angela Stanford and used six birdies and a bogey on the par 4 18th hole to snap a 79 event winless drought. It marks her first LPGA Tour win on American soil.
Wie got off to a blazing start, picking up three birdies in her first six holes and cut the lead to one shot on the par 4 6th hole with a 15-foot birdie putt. After the two-shot swing on No. 6, Stanford had her second bogey of the day on the 8th hole to drop into a tie with Wie and 18-year old sponsor exemption Hyo Joo Kim at 12-under par.
“I wasn't hitting it great today,” said Stanford. “Kind of had some in‑between numbers, so just kind of a little bit of everything. That's the way it goes. Just misclubed a couple of times. Just didn't make good decisions.”
Wie made her back-nine surge with a 12-foot birdie putt on No. 12 and a 15-footer on the 13th to extend her lead to two shots. She unsurprisingly had the majority of cheers from the galleries all week and said she thought the extra praise helped some of her putts drop.
“I definitely feel like they willed a lot of shots in today,” said Wie. “It was so much fun. It was fun to get them excited when I made putts. I didn't want to disappoint them and wanted to make them proud.”
Stanford cut the lead to one shot with a birdie on the par 5 14th hole but Wie responded with another 15-foot birdie putt to extend back to two. Stanford missed the green on the 17th hole and failed to get up and down, giving Wie a three-shot leading heading to the final hole.
“She's been playing great,” Stanford said of Wie. “She's having a great year, so it was bound to happen. I just happened to be the one that caught the buzzsaw. You knew it was going to happen eventually. She's been playing great.”
Wie hit her second shot on the par 4 18th hole to the back fringe and pushed her first putt down a slippery ridge 10 feet past the hole. She came up two feet short on her par putt but already knew she sealed the deal.
“I was kind of thinking what I was doing to do after I made the putt,” said Wie. “Was I going to jump up and down. I made the putt and I just froze. I completely just froze. I couldn't move my body. I was about to cry and ‑‑ my friends out here are just amazing. I feel so much support from them. I think we support each other through hard times and good times. It's amazing they came. It's so awesome.”
Michelle Wie said a pre-round pep talk with former LPGA players Meg Mallon and Beth Daniel two weeks ago at the Kraft Nabisco Championship helped put her nervous energy in perspective this week. Wie said she felt nervous this week similar to the major championship stage at Mission Hills but learned how to channel them into a positive influence.
“I'm just having fun out there,” said Wie. “I was out there, I nervous, but I had a really good talk with Meg and Beth before I went out my last round at Kraft. I told them, "I'm so nervous", and they are like, "That's awesome." Every time you feel nervous, just enjoy it. I think I really felt that today. Every time I felt nervous out there, I was looking around and I was like there was really no other place I would rather be. So I just had a blast out there today.”
Eagles for a cause
“Wounded Warrior Project® Weekends” is a season-long charity program that will be tied into the Race to the CME Globe. Each Saturday and Sunday at LPGA tournaments, CME Group will donate $1,000 to Wounded Warrior Project® for each eagle that is recorded. This amount will increase to $5,000 for each eagle during the weekend of the CME Group Tour Championship and a formal check will be presented to the Wounded Warrior Project® during the trophy ceremony at the CME Group Tour Championship.
Shanshan Feng and Mi Hyang Lee both recorded eagle in the final round, Feng’s on the 5th hole and Lee’s on the 13th. Their eagles brings the total money raised this year to $84,000. Through the first seven tournaments prior to LPGA LOTTE Championship, $81,000 had been raised.
THE MODERATOR: I don't think I have been so excited to welcome a champion in in a long time, just feeling that environment out there. Our 2014 LPGA Lotte Championship winner, Michelle Wie, congratulations, what an amazing victory. Now that it's obviously sunk in, could you have dreamed up a better week than this week so far?
MICHELLE WIE: I really couldn't have. There's so many people I want to think. Obviously, Chairman Shin and (indiscernible) for hosting the event here, just having Lotte, supporting the LPGA just means so much to us. Obviously all my sponsors, just want to give a quick shout out to Nike, Kia and Omega. They have been just through it with me, ups and downs, we've all been patient. David Ledbetter, IMG, just my team has been so supportive even through the hard times that it just makes so much better right now.
All week we also wore the black ribbon. I want to take a minute to really send out good thoughts and prayers and to all the family in Korea right now. It's very unfortunate.
I'm so thankful for everyone here coming this week. The fans were amazing. I could not have asked for a better week.
Q. Finishing with a bogey, I'm sure that wasn't the highlight, but there had to be one highlight out of this entire week, whether it be today or something through this whole trip and journey. What was the highlight for you?
MICHELLE WIE: I think the highlight really was just to come back home and ‑‑ there really wasn't just one moment. From the first tee shot that I hit until the last putt that I made, the support that I felt from everyone was unbelievable. I really think a lot of times they willed the ball in. I give a lot of credit to them this week.
Q. Obviously you had a very, very good week at Kraft a few weeks ago. Everyone thought how would she bounce back. I think you set the record straight. What do you think that says about your resiliency right now and your mental strength of your game? Mentally you are in a good place, but to be able to bounce back from there and be able to come mere here and to win it?
MICHELLE WIE: I'm just having fun out there. I was out there, I nervous, but I had a really good talk with Meg and Beth before I went out my last round at Kraft. I told them, "I'm so nervous", and they are like, "That's awesome." Every time you feel nervous, just enjoy it. I think I really felt that today. Every time I felt nervous out there, I was looking around and I was like there was really no other place I would rather be. So I just had a blast out there today.
Duncan did a really great job, even though I was leading or whatever. Just everything is the same, we talk about other stuff, talk about everything. He kept me not nervous and kind of excited. Just had fun out there. I had a blast.
Q. First come from behind victory. Four shots is no small task. Coming into today what was the mindset? You knew you had to be aggressive?
MICHELLE WIE: Well, my caddie isn't one for pep talks, but he gave me a good one on the green today. He was like just play your game. It's windy out there today. Just play your game. You are playing well. And that's really what I did.
I didn't try to force anything. I just tried to make some birdies. I had a number in my head that I thought I needed to shoot, and fortunately I shot it.
Q. Started off with a birdie. How huge was that? I know people say they like to start off and get that momentum. You kept things going. The putter was just going. Take us through the birdies and how you got that started on the first hole.
MICHELLE WIE: First hole I hit 3‑wood, 3‑wound and then got up to 15 yards from the green, and got it to about three feet.
Q. 5 and 6?
MICHELLE WIE: 5, hit driver and 7‑iron to the front of the green and 2‑putt from off the green.
6, had 3‑wood and then I hit a wedge to about 15 feet, 12 feet.
Q. 12 and 13, those are the long ones?
MICHELLE WIE: 12, I hit a 6‑iron to about 12 feet.
13 was about the same length, 15 feet.
16, about 15 to 12 feet again.
Q. How much fun was it to be out there battling the whole way? Also, that 18th hole, that is a pretty intimidating hole, this being your home course you knew how to play it, right?
MICHELLE WIE: It was fun out there today. Angela played awesome. It was really tight for a long time and it could have gone any other way. It was hard to catch up to her today. It was not easy. She was striking it well, she was making everything. It was just awesome today. I had so much fun.
Q. Let me ask you this. We followed you through the entire fourth round here and when you got to 16, the crowd just absolutely erupted. It was almost like they were carrying you on their shoulders. They said you must win, Michelle, you must win?
MICHELLE WIE: I definitely heard that a couple of times. Like I said, the support ‑‑ I definitely feel like they willed a lot of shots in today. It was so much fun. It was fun to get them excited when I made putts. I didn't want to disappoint them and wanted to make them proud.
Q. Can you talk about the 18th and it looks really difficult, but you have played here a lot and you knew what you were doing?
MICHELLE WIE: Just everyone hits it to the same place. Unfortunately, I had a downhill lie today.
Obviously I could have probably hit a pitching wedge, but I just wanted to play it safe and then just putt from there. It's a difficult hole, a great finishing hole.
Q. We've spoken how many times about your ups and downs, your journey since your last win. Once that putt dropped and your friends came out and celebrated with you, is that the feeling that was pushing you through to win again? I know that's try something you've been trying so hard for. What was that feeling like?
MICHELLE WIE: I was kind of thinking what I was doing to do after I made the putt. Was I going to jump up and down. I made the putt and I just froze. I completely just froze. I couldn't move my body. I was about to cry and ‑‑ my friends out here are just amazing. I feel so much support from them. I think we support each other through hard times and good times. It's amazing they came. It's so awesome.
Q. Now you are going to go play ping pong?
MICHELLE WIE: Oh, yeah. Got to take two trophies in one day. I'm really looking forward to it. I'm excited to see everyone. It's going to be a fun event. Hopefully a couple of you guys show up tonight. I'm ready. I'm pumped. I think I know who my partner is. We're not bad at ping pong, but we'll see. We'll see.
Q. Very, very good week of golf. Things to take away from the week?
ANGELA STANFORD: Yeah, I played really well. Today just didn't make the putts that I've been making. Shot 5‑under, so it's not like I just fell over. I just didn't make the putts I needed to.
Q. Was it reading?
ANGELA STANFORD: I wasn't hitting it great today. Kind of had some in‑between numbers, so just kind of a little bit of everything. That's the way it goes.
Q. Anything else in the round? Anything with the bogeys that stuck out?
ANGELA STANFORD: No. Just misclubed a couple of times. Just didn't make good decisions.
Q. Biggest thing to take away from the week?
ANGELA STANFORD: Overall my putting was really good. So that's good and I hit it fairly decent. Really windy week. Yeah, a lot of good things.
Q. Any consolation that it was someone ‑‑ she played her mind out?
ANGELA STANFORD: She's been playing great. She's having a great year, so it was bound to happen. I just happened to be the one that caught the buzzsaw. You knew it was going to happen eventually. She's been playing great.