HSBC Women’s Champions
Sentosa Golf Club – The Serapong Course
First Round Notes
March 5, 2015
Rolex Rankings No. 2 Inbee Park (-6)
Rolex Rankings No. 67 Yani Tseng (-6)
Rolex Rankings No. 24 Angela Stanford (-5)
Rolex Rankings No. 9 Karrie Webb (-4)
Rolex Rankings No. 1 Lydia Ko (-4)
Rolex Rankings No. 11 Lexi Thompson (-3)
Inbee Park and Yani Tseng each shot a 6-under 66 in the first round of the HSBC Women’s Champions and sit, tied atop the leaderboard, one stroke ahead of Angela Stanford (-5). World No. 2 Park was one of the first players off and was even through eight but birdied the ninth and caught fire on the back nine with five more birdies.
“The front nine is a tougher nine on the Serapong Golf Course,” Park noted. “I didn’t play too aggressively on the front nine, but the back nine I had a lot of shots. I hit a lot of shots close and I was able to hole a lot of putts on the back nine, which we have to take advantage of. Yeah, it was a good round, bogey free round, a very solid round, and I putted very good today, so I’m very happy with that.”
Tseng, coming off a T2 finish last week at the Honda LPGA Thailand birdied four of her last seven holes to build momentum heading into the second round. At the start of the 2013 season, Tseng was the World No. 1, by the end of the year she had fallen to No. 34 and by the end of 2014 she had bottomed out at No. 83.
She’s thinking positively again and the results on the course are showing that.
“This year, I guess I change new trainer, new coach and I start working on mental more and more, and I feel like awareness myself, how I’m positioned right now, it actually helps me a lot, too.” Tseng said. “And self talk is one of the biggest things out there, because like I say, I tried to be patient and if I don’t tell myself to be patient, it’s hard to be patient. I’m very, very happy. I’m happy that I’m playing the golf again. It’s not thinking or I’m working out there. “
|5 Players tied||68||-4|
ACE FOR LEXI
Thanks to an ace on the par-3 14th hole today in the first round of the HSBC Women’s Championship, Lexi Thompsonshot a 3-under 69 and is T9. It was her fifth career hole-in-one and her second on the LPGA with the other coming in the final round of the 2013 Marathon Classic.
“I hit a low controlled 7-iron from 150,” Thompson described. “It was looking good the whole way, so I was just waiting for it to drop. I let go of my club. I don’t even know what I did honestly.”
What she did was high-five her equally excited competitors, Lydia Ko and Michelle Wie and you couldn’t wipe the smile off her face.
“I mean, there’s no feeling like that,” Thompson said. “Just spur of the moment, drop the club, do whatever, yell, who knows.”
The LPGA Tour is in Singapore this week for the HSBC Women’s Champions, highlighted by a field that includes 19 out of the top-20 in the Rolex Rankings. At last year’s HSBC Women’s Champions, Paula Creamer sank what may have been the putt of her career to clinch her 10th career LPGA victory. Creamer drained a 75-foot eagle putt on the second sudden-death playoff hole to defeat Spain’s Azahara Munoz. “The putt heard round the world” was one of the most exciting finishes in golf last year and we will certainly see the finish on highlight reels for years to come.
|WHO HAS WON the HSBC Women’s Champions (*Won in a playoff)|
Lydia Ko will remain the No. 1 player in the world regardless of the outcome of the HSBC Women’s Champions.
NUMBERS TO KNOW
5 - Number of career holes-in-one for Lexi Thompson - she has two in competition
7 - Number of different winners at the HSBC Women’s Champions
8 - This is the eighth edition of the HSBC Women’s Champions, which began in 2008
10 -Number of professional wins for Lydia Ko
18- There are 18 players from South Korea in the field this week
20- There are 20 players from the U.S. in the field this week, the most of any of the 20 different countries represented
33- Number of official events in 2015, up from 23 in 2011
48- Rolex Player of the Year points for Amy Yang, who leads Lydia Ko by two points
62 million (USD)- The total purse money in 2015, up from $41.4M in 2011
69.75 - Lydia Ko’s scoring average this year, which leads the Tour
275 - Driving Distance Average for Yani Tseng today in the first round
410- Number of live televised hours in 2015, the most in LPGA history
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Oh, it’s fun. It’s so much fun. Like I tell my friends, my parents on the website, they don’t have to scroll down to see my name. They can just see right on top the first page.” - Yani Tseng joking to the media about how it feels to be atop the leaderboard again
Q. Very solid opening round here in Singapore, where you really started to find some good form.
INBEE PARK: Yeah, I had a really good round last week, the last day in Thailand. I felt like my putter was coming back a little bit better.
Today was a really good day. I had a bogey-free round, especially on this golf course, this golf course is a very challenging golf course and I was able to manage myself with a bogey-free round which I'm really proud of. Yeah, I feel very good, a lot more comfortable over the putter.
Q. You played a very strategic game because the front nine is harder, and the back nine, you really kicked into gear on the back nine.
INBEE PARK: I started on the front nine, and the front nine, it was the tougher nine to play. I didn't play too aggressively on the front nine. I made a couple birdies on the par 5s but I didn't -- I wasn't able to do what I wanted to do. But I was able to make a birdie on No. 9 and that kind of got me started on doing things.
The back nine was a great nine. I holed a lot of putts on the back nine, hit great shots. Yeah, if I can play the back nine like that, it's going to be a good week.
Q. The greens here are very big and hole locations are 35 paces on. You really have to trust your yardage and your caddie.
INBEE PARK: Yeah, I think you have to trust your caddie. These are big greens and you have to pace yourself really well on the greens. Yeah, it's a tough green to read, as well. It's very grainy greens, and I hit a lot of shots close today. I think today's pins are one of the easiest pins we're going to get all week, so it's good that I took advantage of that.
Q. You shot 6-under today, a very consistent round of golf; even through eight, you birdied the ninth and then just kicked into gear after that.
INBEE PARK: Yeah, the front nine is a tougher nine on the Serapong Golf Course. I didn't play too aggressively on the front nine, but the back nine I had a lot of shots. I hit a lot of shots close and I was able to hole a lot of putts on the back nine, which we have to take advantage of. Yeah, it was a good round, bogey-free round, a very solid round, and I putted very good today, so I'm very happy with that.
Q. The last time I spoke to you, you said that was something you were working on. Is it where you want it to be at the moment?
INBEE PARK: If I can put like today every day, yeah, that's definitely where I wanted to be. I've always been up-and-down and I had a couple of good days of putting and a couple of bad days of putting, so if I can even that out a little bit, it's going to be good putting. Yeah, I feel like it's coming back slowly.
Q. Tell us about the conditions out there, very, very hot and humid; does it bother you?
INBEE PARK: We played in hot weather last week. This week, today, I teed off in the second group off, very early, so I think it wasn't as hot as now, so I took a little advantage of that, as well. It's hot but everybody expects to be hot in Singapore and we play hot.
Q. Well, you showed us what was happening last week when you tied for second, but we're going to get that smile off your face after today?
YANI TSENG: Yeah, I'm very happy about my round today. I played very confident out there. But I think it really takes time because some of the holes are really tough out there and it's good to finish with par.
I feel like there's a couple decisions I back out and make a change, and I feel it was great. I really started trusting myself and enjoy to play golf again and enjoy it again.
Q. How does it feel to be sitting atop a leaderboard again?
YANI TSENG: Oh, it's fun. It's so much fun. Like I tell my friends, my parents on the website, they don't have to scroll down to see my name. They can just see right on top the first page (laughter).
I was very happy the way I change, and like you said, back to smile again and really play golf out there.
Q. Watching you over the last three weeks, you're back to the Yani where you're getting on with it and not thinking all the time and overthinking and nervous. You're just out there and you're ready to go and you're back to what you were?
YANI TSENG: Actually I was pretty nervous out there. I turned and it was a good motivation. I feel like I missed the excitement and I'm hitting longer -- it's just so much more fun, golf.
And like you said, I'm not thinking about anything out there, or I'm thinking it's very positive. I kind of avoid myself to what pulls me off, so it's easier for me to self-talk and stay positive.
Q. This must really, really excite you for this season. You must be really looking forward to going into it now?
YANI TSENG: Yeah, it's a marathon. It's not a sprint. So I want to play one shot at a time, like today, I finished with 6-under. I don't know how many birdies I made, so that's how I need to feel out there. And today and tomorrow is another new day and very exciting out there and try to not think too much on Sunday.
Q. Tell us about your round, eight birdies, one bogey. Do you feel like you could have done better?
YANI TSENG: Actually there was seven birdies out there and I missed one hole. But I played with really confidence out there. There's some shots that really takes time to think about because the wind is kind of swirling a little bit. Actually I'm very happy to not rush and focus on one shot at a time and play confidence golf and play not scary golf. I really enjoy out there, really enjoy.
Q. Last week I asked you what was the one thing you needed to do out there in order to play good golf, and you said, patience, that word, patience, has come up again today.
YANI TSENG: Yeah, it is. I had lots of birdie chance out there and I tried to stay patient and there's some shots that there's tough holes out there and I just tried to save par and I don't worry about play smart out there and be patient. If I make birdie I'm happy. If not, I go to the next hole and still focus on my one shot at a time.
Q. Confidence has played a big part in the great start you've had to the season. Compared to this time last year, where would you rate confidence at the moment?
YANI TSENG: I don't remember. I don't think it was high. This year, I guess I change new trainer, new coach and I start working on mental more and more, and I feel like awareness myself, how I'm positioned right now, it actually helps me a lot, too.
And self-talk is one of the biggest things out there, because like I say, I tried to be patient and if I don't tell myself to be patient, it's hard to be patient. I'm very, very happy. I'm happy that I'm playing the golf again. It's not thinking or I'm working out there.
Q. That was really good stuff out there.
ANGELA STANFORD: Thank you. It was a fun day. It was a fun group, playing with Webby and Stacy, it was a good group.
Q. You're a former champion here, so you do know what it takes to get around this event more than anything. I know we're playing a different course this time but it's a big occasion, this tournament.
ANGELA STANFORD: Yeah, it's one of my favourites. I love coming to Singapore. I've always said that. HSBC has been very good to us, and it's just a great week. They take good care of us, and it's just a great event on our schedule.
Q. Now last year, you were going to tone down your playing schedule just a little bit. That sort of semi-retirement didn't seem to last too long, and why would it.
ANGELA STANFORD: Well, I'm being more careful about how many times I go overseas. I think just traveling across big bodies of water starts to wear on your body a little bit. I've cut back in that respect, and it's helped a little about it, so I feel more refreshed.
I didn't play Australia. Just keeping it to two this time instead of three. So I feel a lot more refreshed this week than I have in the past.
Q. The heat can be pretty oppressive and it's very humid out there. How do you find playing in these conditions?
ANGELA STANFORD: Finding the older I get, the more I like it. The body doesn't tighten up. Our first event it was cold in Florida, so I'm finding, especially being from Texas, I'm okay with the heat.
Q. Bogey-free today. That must really thrill you.
ANGELA STANFORD: I struggled last week, just trying to putt some things together and had a good last day, and it was nice to see some of the results this week or this first day. So it was fun. But I know we have three more days.
Q. Solid today, just one bogey.
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah, it was really solid. Probably my most solid round of the year from start to finish. I played really nicely all around, and had good momentum. You know, made a few putts, which was nice.
Q. I spoke to you in Australia a few weeks ago, you said you think you're being patient, but you want things to happen really early in your season. Seems like this year is kicking off to a pretty good one.
KARRIE WEBB: I've had a pretty good solid couple of weeks leading into here. Just not had a good first round and sort of puts you on the back of the foot to start the week.
But it's nice to get off to a good start today, and hopefully next three rounds are similar and I have a chance again on Sunday.
Q. You're from northern Queensland; the heat doesn't really brother you, and you live in Florida, as well.
KARRIE WEBB: I don't know if it doesn't bother me. I don't think you ever get used to it. But I prefer sweating than being wrapped up and have plenty of layers of clothes on because it's cold.
Q. Is this a course that really suits you? You played really well here last year, as well.
KARRIE WEBB: I wouldn't have told you that the first year we came here. I don't think I really liked the course. I don't know if I had a game plan that I felt comfortable with.
But last year, I think we stuck to our game plan, and there's just certain holes you've got to hit it where the hole dictates and you've got to hit a good long iron into to the green. There's nothing much you can do about it.
So I think being comfortable with that game plan and then just going ahead and trusting things, I think that made me feel comfortable again coming in here this week.
Q. Talk about starting with a 4-under par 68?
LYDIA KO: Yeah, started off well with a birdie. Whenever I have a birdie on the first hole, I kind of wonder what kind of day it will be. But ended up being pretty good, and I think it's my best score around this course.
Q. How are you feeling at the moment? Some serious golf the last few weeks, you win the Australian Open; go home to New Zealand and win the New Zealand Open, and now you're back up here. Are you tired at all?
LYDIA KO: Yeah, I'm tired. A little bit jet-lagged because of the long flight. But I've been trying to pace myself, go nine holes and do the least amount of practise. I think just this week, the heat is definitely going to get to me, so I'm just going to try and cool down.
Q. How do you cope with that, because it is really, really stinging out there. How do you control the heat yourself?
LYDIA KO: When we are spoiled with such great weather last week, so to come to such heat, it's tough. But with my cool towel, go under the umbrella and try to have icy cold water every hole.
Q. You put yourself in birdie range so often, and you give yourself every opportunity. That's the real strength of your game.
LYDIA KO: Yeah, I tried to give myself as many opportunities. Like even today, I felt good with the putter. It was close if it didn't go in. That's always a position I want to be in.
Q. How does it feel, it's not easy out there, it's tough conditions, and all of a sudden you have a hole-in-one. Does it just put you in a whole different mind-set?
LEXI THOMPSON: It definitely does. It was extremely hot out there, not much wind. The course is in great shape for us this week. But I played pretty steady the whole day. Didn't really get anything going until that hole but it's definitely a big confidence booster. I was just waiting for a few birdies but the hole-in-one helped out a lot.
Q. Did you feel like it was going in? And we're just watching the vision of it now, but pretty exciting. At what stage did you know it had gone in?
LEXI THOMPSON: When it rolled in. I t was going on line the whole way. I hit a low controlled 7-iron from 150. It was looking good the whole way, so I was just waiting for it to drop. I let go of my club. I don't even know what I did honestly.
Q. Now this is not your first hole in one. You've had five, and two in competition.
LEXI THOMPSON: Yes, I've had two in competition. I had my other one in Ohio in the LPGA event. So it was quite the experience. I think I high-fived everybody on that hole. So I mean, there's no feeling like that. Just spur of the moment, drop the club, do whatever, yell, who knows.
Q. It's such a highlight, however, you have had a really good round of 69, so you're well and truly in the mix.
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, like I said before, I played a pretty steady round. Was just waiting for a few putts to drop. Overall played pretty steady. The hole-in-one helped me to get a few under overall.
Q. I don't think there's anything steady about your golf, it's all-or-nothing and it's so exciting. You get that driver really out there and you really don't care, do you.
LEXI THOMPSON: I mean, I definitely want to bomb it a lot on this golf course. Probably on a few holes I shouldn't. But take aggressive lines, and driver is the most comfortable club I have in my bag right now. Just pick the line and commit to it and that's all I'm doing right now.