Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic Final Round Notes & Interviews
Lake Merced Golf Club
Daly City, California
Final Round - Sunday, April 27, 2014
Lydia Ko capped off a memorable week in perhaps the only way that seemed fitting – with a win. Ko birdied the 18th hole to shoot a 3-under 69 in Sunday’s final round and defeat Rolex Rankings No. 3 Stacy Lewis by a stroke at the inaugural Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic. It marked Ko’s third LPGA victory and her first as a member of the Tour. It also came in the same week that the New Zealander turned 17 and was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World.
One day after delivering an impressive show on the back nine at Lake Merced Golf Club, Lewis and Ko once again provided a duel to the finish. Ko made back-to-back birdies on 13 and 14 to move to 11-under and take a two-shot lead over Lewis, but the top-ranked American bounced back with a birdie on the 16th to cut that lead to one. Lewis had a chance to birdie 17 and tie Ko but missed the putt and then it all came down to the final hole with their playing partner, Jenny Shin, also in the mix. All three players hit their approach shots close on the par-5 with Shin and Lewis needing their birdie putts to tie Ko. But the newly turned 17-year-old didn’t leave the door open, sinking her own birdie putt to capture the win.
Loves Swinging Skirts
Lydia Ko’s first professional win was at the 2013Swinging Skirts World Ladies Masters and this week she won her first LPGA event as a member of the Tour at the Swining Skirts LPGA Classic.
“Yeah, definitely something is going on.” Ko said. “No, I been getting a lot of support from the Swinging Skirts team, Chairman Wong and Miss Chu. That’s why I kind of wanted to play better, to make them happy. They have been supporting me and invited me to their tournament in Taiwan. I won over there and I was so happy to do that and have my first win over there at their tournament. To kind of have my first LPGA win since I turned pro here again I think is great. I think they’re a great group of people, and I think it was a great golf course to win it.”
A Win and a Loss
Despite not finding herself in the winner’s circle today, Stacy Lewis now takes the lead in the Race to the CME Globe (see note below). This was the third time this year that Lewis has found herself in second place with the others coming at the Pure Silk Bahamas Classic (Jessica Korda) and a T-2 at the JTBC Founders Cup (Karrie Webb).
Lewis has finished in the top-10 in 14 out of her last 15 events on the LPGA Tour. The consistency has certainly been impressive but Lewis is a born competitor and she has acknowledged that recording only one win during that stretch hasn’t sat well with her. Still with the type of golf she’s been playing, Lewis believes she’s close to breaking through again.
“I’ve had a couple good finishes here these last couple tournaments I’ve played in,” Lewis said. “The golf is there. Just got to keep putting myself [in contention] and giving myself chances.”
Jenny Shin hasn’t been in contention for an LPGA title very often in her career so the experience that she gained Sunday playing in the final group at the inaugural Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic with Stacy Lewis and Lydia Ko was invaluable for the 21-year-old.
Shin was up to the test too, shooting a 4-under 68 for the third time this week and putting herself in position to possibly force a playoff on the 18th. It inevitably wasn’t meant to be as Shin missed her birdie putt on 18 and Ko made hers to capture the victory.
“It was nerve wracking,” Shin said of the experience. “I almost shanked my third shot [on 18]. I was actually surprised it went on the green. I was fortunate to have a birdie putt. I just misread it. Again. But I feel great shooting 68 again.”
So what did Shin learn from Ko and Lewis?
“They were fearless,” Shin said. “They just went for it. No matter where the pin was, they just went for it. If not, two-putt, par. Stacy didn’t putt as well as she usually does today, but it was really great watching them play. They were very calm and like they do this every day, you know, being in the final group every day. So I learned a lot.”
A $100k Ace
Players knew all week long that acing 12 would bring them a big paycheck. Dewi Claire Schreefel picked the perfect hole to ace, picking up $100,000 thanks to Chinatrust Bank on the 157-yard 12th hole at Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic.
“Perfect hole to do it.” Schreefel said. “ I was walking up 18 and I’m like, ‘Oh, my God it’s worth more than a car.’ So it’s great. It’s only my second one, so awesome.”
This was her first ace on the LPGA tour and second in her lifetime, the other coming on a Future’s Tour event in Albany, which was uphill so she couldn’t see it.
“This one I could see.” Schreefel said. “I hit a perfect shot and I was like, ‘Oh, be good.’ I think Suzann (Pettersen) yelled, ‘Get in,’ and then it was in. It was awesome.”
Coming into this tournament, Schreefel had made $45,605 in 2014.
Race to the CME Globe Update
With her second place finish today, Stacy Lewis (1479) now moves into first place in the Race to the CME Globe despite not actually winning an event this year. Lydia Ko moves into third place in the Race to the CME Globe after her win at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic.
All tournaments will have the same point values in the Race to the CME Globe except for the five major championships, which will carry 25 percent more value. The winner of all official LPGA events leading up to the CME Group Tour Championship will earn 500 points and the winner of each major championship will earn 625 points. For all LPGA events with a cut, points will be awarded to LPGA members who make the cut. Only LPGA Tour members are eligible to earn points in the Race.
The field at the $2 million CME Group Tour Championship will consist of the following: the top 72 players on the Race to the CME Globe Points Standings at the conclusion of the Lorena Ochoa Invitational Presented by Banamex, any LPGA member – not otherwise qualified – with at least one official LPGA win during the season and any non-member with at least one official LPGA win during the year.
Another Top Ten for Wie
Michelle Wie (-2) had her fifth top ten finish of the year at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic. Wie had just four top-ten finishes in 2013 and the five this year are her most since she had seven in 2011.
Quote of the Day
“Every time Lydia needed to hit a shot, she did. I mean, she made some pretty tough shots there, especially the last three holes. Really looked pretty easy. She definitely earned it out there today.” –Stacy Lewis on going shot for shot with Swinging Skirts LPGA Champion Lydia Ko.
The social scene
Many of the LPGA players took advantage of having a tournament in such a great city this week by getting out and taking in the beautiful scenery.
Tweet Of the Day
“A month to remember. If you don’t like the finishes the LPGA is staging in April, you aren’t giving the women a chance.” - Randall Mell, Golf Channel (@RandallMellGC)
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.
Today, six total eagles were recorded which brings the total money raised this year to $96,000. Through the first 8 tournaments prior to Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic, $84,000 had been raised.
MODERATOR: Good evening, everyone. We would like to welcome the 2014 Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic champion, Lydia Ko into the interview room. Congratulations. Great performance today.
It was a lot of fun to watch, and it came right down to the 18th hole. Great third shot with a little bit of pressure with what the other two had hit.
Take me through the 18th hole first and what the nerves were like. One-shot lead after Stacy hit her shot in pretty close.
LYDIA KO: Yeah, when I was playing the Canadian Open, both times I had more than one-shot lead. So I had a little room, even though I wouldn't want to finish with a bogey or whatever.
But here was definitely different. Two great players. They're putting great. They're playing great. They stuck it close by the crowd's reaction.
Me, coming out of rough, I knew I had to putt just slightly shorter and then kind of hopefully for it to run up there.
It did, so I was very happy about that. Luckily I didn't have a severe breaking putt. I had to just trust it, and that's all you can do at that point.
MODERATOR: Your first professional win came last fall at the Swinging Skirts in Taiwan. Now your first win as an LPGA member comes here at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic.
Is there something a little special about this tournament that seems to work well for your game?
LYDIA KO: Yeah, definitely something is going on. No, I been getting a lot of support from the Swinging Skirts team, Chairman Wong, Miss Chu. That's why I kind of wanted to play better, to make them happy. They have been supporting me and invited me to their tournament in Taiwan.
I won over there and I was so happy to do that and have my first win over there at their tournament. To kind of have my first LPGA win since I turned pro here again I think is great.
I think they're a great group of people, and I think it was a great golf course to win it.
MODERATOR: I saw they gave you a beautiful bracelet earlier this week. You turned 17. What a week for you. You turned 17 years old; you're named one of Time's 100 most influential people in the world; and now get your first LPGA Tour victory as an LPGA Tour member. Have you ever had a week this good?
LYDIA KO: Normally they would a Sweet 16, but I would say it's Sweet 17. No, it was great. I don't think I would have any better birthday week.
I won here. I finally turned 17. I been 16 for a long time. Yeah, you know, top 100 most influential people, I don't know what I've done to get there, but, yeah, it's a very -- it's just a really special week for me.
I'm so honored to have all those titles.
MODERATOR: One other special thing is your dad was here to see this victory. I know he wasn't there for the first two. What does it mean to have him here to be able to witness this?
LYDIA KO: I'm going to cry now. All the tears are gone. Yeah, it's very special to have him here. It's his second LPGA tournament he's watched. Last week was a tough week for me. I couldn't really get my putts rolling even if I hit it good.
This week, even if I hit it far away I holed some medium-, long-length putts, which kind feels better than having a tap-in birdie. I think it's really special him being here. My mom is always going to be with me. She said she would have flown over on Saturday, but luckily she came over earlier to spend the whole week with us.
MODERATOR: Okay. We'll open it up for questions for Lydia.
Q. How difficult was the lie on the third shot on 18? Did you think you could get it that close to the hole?
LYDIA KO: Luckily it wasn't totally buried. I was kind of in the short/medium length grass. I was really fortunate about that. I think somebody walked through there before my ball was there so the ball was kind of heading towards the green, which was also another lucky part about that.
Yeah, I knew I had to pitch it short on the green and for it to roll up, because it was no way going to spin out of there. I was just hoping it would I guess bump and run up there.
Q. That shot and then the chip on 17, which was really quick going downhill, sort of the speaks to your chipping ability. Just curious the roots of that. Have you always been good at that part of the game? Why do you think that part of the game works so well for you?
LYDIA KO: Actually some lies here can get really tough. I also got a pretty good lie on the 17th as well. It wasn't sitting down too much, so I was able to hit my 54-wedge and kind of roll it down there.
My short game has been pretty good the last couple weeks. It has helped me in some areas. I think my chipping has definitely improved compared to six months ago.
MODERATOR: It wasn't just an easy victory for you. You pulled ahead a little bit for a while. You had like a two-shot lead over Stacy, and she kept making birdies. Seemed like again we were seeing the same duel you put on yesterday.
What's that like when you're playing with a top player like that and you're trying to make sure you're staying up? What are the last few holes like for you mentally?
LYDIA KO: Tough for me because I started with some bogeys. When you make a bogey you're suddenly over par. You were one shot behind, but now you're two shots.
I needed to make a birdie, and then after a birdie I would make another bogey. So it was kind of like me, I needed to kind of grind it out and actually make some birdies out there. I knew both Jenny and Stacy would make birdies.
Yeah, I knew they're going to make birdies, so my goal is to make as many birdies as possible, and when I'm in a tough position, how to actually make a par.
MODERATOR: This week also makes you become a Rolex first-time winner because it's your first win as a member of the LPGA tour. Is it different winning now that you're a rookie and a member of the tour? Is it different than winning as an amateur out here?
LYDIA KO: I don't think it's that different. I'm so honored to win. I don't feel that different. I think the most difference was I think having my dad here. Tears nearly run down my face after I made the putt and also during the speech.
I think just having your parents here. You may lose friends, but you're never going to lose your parents. They're always with you. I think that's why it actually made me feel a little bit more emotional.
I try and make myself not cry of happiness, but it was coming to that point.
Q. The last few holes, from like 14, I think Stacy made three birdies in here last five holes. What were your emotions like? Everyone talked about your poise and how calm you seem. Were you calm? How did you stay calm down the stretch?
LYDIA KO: Yeah, you know, 18 is a great birdie opportunity hole if you're on the fairway and you got a nice wedge. But pin position like today, it is quite tough.
I think all of them, the key was you needed to hit the fairway and give yourself the opportunity to hit that wedge or to hit that close iron.
I didn't hit the fairway on 17; my third shot I wasn't hitting out of the fairway on 18; I didn't hit the fairway on 16.
So normally I'm really confident with my driver, but I was overly confident with that. No, I was more concentrating on my game rather than thinking about Stacy's. I can't control what the other player is doing. If they make an eagle and I make a par, it's really out of my hands.
So I tried to kind of calm myself and do as much as I could, you know.
Q. (No microphone.)
LYDIA KO: Yeah, I think so. You know, I hit it left on 16, then I kind of pushed it right on 17, and then hit it left again. So it's going left, right, left in a good pattern right there.
Obviously it's not ideal to hit out of a fairway bunker or out of a rough when the pins are in tough positions.
MODERATOR: Any more questions for Lydia?
Q. Lydia, they said on TV you're going to change your travel plans a little bit and stay here and sightsee. Is that right? What's your list of things you need to do?
LYDIA KO: The mayor said there is cable car downtown, so I think I'm going to do that. My dad is flying out to New Zealand tomorrow and I'm going back to Orlando. We decided to get a later flight so we can stay with him and enjoy beautiful San Francisco.
Cable cars, there is a little fair down the road down there. I really don't know. I might sleep in until like 12:00. I might knock myself out and I won't have much time. Hopefully we'll go around and see the city.
MODERATOR: I was going to say, have you gotten to see much of it at all or is this going to be the first time you'll see it? And is it a little sweeter with a victory behind you?
LYDIA KO: I've seen my hotel room and the golf courses pretty much everywhere. I've seen the Korean restaurant next door. I have not seen much of it.
The family that my dad's staying with, he took us downtown to this really delicious sushi places last night, so I got to see all the houses and buildings.
MODERATOR: Any more questions for Lydia? All right. Congratulations. Great performance that you put on this week. Thank you for treating us to such tremendous golf. What a week for you. I'm sure this is a pretty special time.
So congratulations. We look forward to many more of these wonderful victories from you going forward.
LYDIA KO Interview with Golf Channel
Q. Her first win of 2014, third win overall on the LPGA tour. She is with Jerry. She doesn't know exactly what she shot today, which is interesting. How intense was it out there today, Lydia?
LYDIA KO: It was just intense the whole way. I made a couple bogeys on the front nine and then I tried to kind of recover with some birdies.
I still finished my front nine 1-under par, which I was surprised about that. At one point I had a two-shot lead, but then Stacey made a birdie, Jenny made a birdie.
I knew how loud the claps were, so I knew I needed to hit it close and give myself a birdie putt.
Q. You played with Stacy when you won as a 15 year old your first LPGA win in Canada, and played with her again all four days this week. What is it about her that brings out your best?
LYDIA KO: You know, when I just see her play, makes me feel like I need to play good to I guess kind of keep up with her. She's such a great player and I admire her all the way. She's just a great player.
Someday I want to become a great player just like her.
Q. Your father who rarely gets to see you play in competition was here this week. How much more special does that make your victory?
LYDIA KO: It makes it really special. Last year at the Swinging Skirts my sister was there with my mom, and now it's my dad and my mom. Hopefully one day the whole family will be there. No, it's really special to have them here.
Also him caddying last week, he kind of knew how tough it is to play good, I guess. Yeah, I hope he's proud of it.
Q. Pretty special belated birthday present. Congratulations.
LYDIA KO: Thank you.
MODERATOR: All right, we're here with Stacy Lewis, the runner-up at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic today.
Stacy, you made it exciting out there. All of you guys. This was an exciting event to watch, especially coming down 18.
Just take us through the back nine, and especially your feelings as all three of you were making shots on 18.
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I mean, coming into the day I felt great. The front nine I did everything I wanted to do; the putts just didn't go in.
I hit a lot good putts, hit a lot of good shots, and then go the to the back nine and struggled a little bit early.
But then, I don't know, I just got back to the basics and just got back to hitting shots. I knew I wasn't out of it. I think I was two back at one point.
So I just had to keep grinding away and hitting shots. Every time Lydia needed to hit a shot, she did. I mean, she made some pretty tough shots there, especially the last three holes. Really looked pretty easy.
She definitely earned it out there today.
MODERATOR: You have two bogeys all day. Can you take you us through those. One was on 10 and the other was on...
STACY LEWIS: 13.
Yea, 10, that tee shot just doesn't fit my eye. Didn't hit a good tee shot again. Really I had a pretty simple bunker shot, just didn't hit a good bunker shot.
13, again, didn't hit a good tee shot. Hit a great shot out of the fairway bunker. I thought I was going to get up on the green, and then the chip just kind rolled out further than I thought.
MODERATOR: Going back to Lydia, she showed tremendous poise today. What you do take way from her play that you hadn't noticed before?
STACY LEWIS: I expected her to do exactly what she did today. She was a little erratic on the front and made some bogeys and birdies. Her best quality is that whenever she needs to make a shot or needs to make a putt she does.
It's pretty hard to beat someone when they do that.
MODERATOR: You head home or close to home next week. What do you take away from this tournament, and how excited are you to be heading back to Texas?
STACY LEWIS: I'm very excited to get close to home, closer to the golf I'm used to playing a little bit. And especially to have family there and kind of relax a little bit. I've had a couple good finishes here these last couple tournaments I've played in.
The golf is there. Just got to keep putting myself -- giving myself chances.
Q. Curious not so much the mechanics of the last shot, but after you hit the shot on to the green on 18 and Jenny is already up there, what sort of adrenaline, emotions? Lydia wasn't that far away, but she was in the rough.
STACY LEWIS: Right. Well, I mean, Jenny and I had no clue where our balls were. You can't see anything down there. I could tell by the crowd's reaction that mine was in there pretty close. Honestly I thought I might have a chance at it.
I couldn't see Lydia's ball down in the rough. She was sitting down there pretty good. She hit an unbelievable golf shot. You could drop 10 balls there and not do that again. She hot a great shot and then made the putt on top of it.
Q. To follow up, that shot that she hit there and the chip on 17, which is really quick going down that hill, off the tee you're putting, but seems like her chipping and wedge play is really and distinguishes her.
STACY LEWIS: Yeah. I mean you could go back to 13. She hit every shot she needed to hit from 13 on in. Made the putt on 13; hit the green in two on 14; hit it in there close again on 15; fairway shot on 16 was unbelievable. I mean, the ball was below her feet. Hit a great shot in there.
17, that chip shot was hard, and she just got up there like it was no big deal and hit it to two feet.
And then hit the great shot on 18.
The last six holes she hit every shot she needed to hit. I made three birdies in that stretch and she still got me.
MODERATOR: Any other questions? All right, thank you Stacy.
Q. Good playing today. To put yourself in contention until that final hole, that was that like for you?
JENNY SHIN: It was nerve wracking. I almost shanked my third shot. I was actually surprised it went on the green. I was fortunate not to have a birdie putt. I just misread it. Again.
I feel great shooting 68 again. I really tried hard, but following Lydia Ko and JENNY SHIN, they're three shots ahead of me, so tough.
So I didn't have very good tee shots today, so that held me back from going down a little bit deeper. Overall, it was good.
Q. 4-under par round in the final round to put yourself in contention, I think that's pretty darn good.
JENNY SHIN: Thank you.
Q. Talk about the putt on 18. The nerves and thinking about possibly forcing the playoff, were those the most nerves you've had in a while?
JENNY SHIN: Actually, no. Surprisingly the putting wasn't so nervous; the shots were a little bit more nerve wracking.
I hit a good putt. The ball was rolling end over end right where I aimed. It wasn't as nervous as I thought it would be, so can't complain.
Q. What did you pick up from watching Stacy and Lydia and being in that group today?
JENNY SHIN: They were fearless. They just went for it. No matter where the pin was, they just went for it. If not, two-putt, par.
Stacy didn't putt as well as she usually does today, but it was really great watching them play. They were very calm and like they do this every day, you know, being in the final group every day.
So learned a lot, yeah.
Q. Well congratulations.
Q. Perfect hole to do it on.
DEWI CLAIR SCHREEFEL: I know, perfect hole to do it. I was walking out by 18 and I'm like Oh, my God I've wanted a car. So it's great. It's only my second one, so awesome.
Q. Second one in life or second one out here?
DEWI CLAIR SCHREEFEL: Yeah, second one in life.
Q. Where was the other one?
DEWI CLAIR SCHREEFEL: On the Futures Tour. The event in Albany. It was straight uphill so I never saw it. It was over the green.
This one I could see. I hit a perfect shot and I was like, Oh, be good. I think Suzann yelled, Get in, and then it was in. It was awesome.
Q. Great way to finish up a week?
DEWI CLAIR SCHREEFEL: Definitely. I mean, you just want to play well on Sunday, move up a little bit, and to take that home is great.
Q. What did you hit there?
DEWI CLAIR SCHREEFEL: 7-iron.
Q. And exactly was your distance?
DEWI CLAIR SCHREEFEL: Pete, what was the yardage on 12? 157.