Aviara Golf Club
March 24, 2015
Rolex Rankings No. 8 Michelle Wie
Rolex Rankings No. 12 Anna Nordqvist
NICE TO BE RETURNING
Anna Nordqvist was happy this year to finally get to return to the same site as a defending champion. In her first two career wins at the 2009 McDonald’s LPGA Championship and the LPGA Tour Championship both venues moved to different locations the next year. She then won the unofficial Mojo 6 in Jamaica in 2010 but the event didn’t make it back onto the schedule the next year. This year she’s made two returns as defending champ, in Thailand and this week in Carlsbad.
“It seems like in the past like a lot of the courses I’ve won on, we moved away, and like Bulle Rock, we moved away; the tour championship, we moved away,” said Nordqvist.
“I won Jamaica. We didn’t have any more. Thailand, yeah, I did come back to the same place. So I think it just brings back a lot of good memories, you know, the atmosphere is obviously great. And you know, you start to remember things from last year.”
Nordqvist says she feels somewhat at home in Carlsbad with so many friends and business partners in the area. She didn’t get in a practice round until Tuesday afternoon because she was catching up with sponsors. The Swede spent time at TaylorMade on Monday and messed around in the putting lab, had dinner with a contingent with Adidas and stopped by the offices at JLab, a headphone and speaker company she signed on with this year.
“But Carlsbad is just such a fun place, because I have a lot of friends from Adidas and from previous sponsors,” said Nordqvist. “It’s just such a golf community, so I have a lot of friends here, so you know, it’s just fun week.”
This time last year, Anna Nordqvist was getting ready for her second win in four starts and although she hasn’t broken into the winner’s circle yet in 2015, the seven-year LPGA Tour member feels like her game is in a good place.
She’s coming off back-to-back top-10’s at the JTBC Founders Cup (T8) and the HSBC Women’s Champions (T6).
“I feel like my game’s been pretty solid, haven’t really putted very well,” said Nordqvist. “I mean I hit the ball great in Thailand, just couldn’t make any putts, and Singapore was the same thing, it felt like. And then last week early on, you know, I hit the ball pretty good, just couldn’t make any putts and then Sunday a couple of them started to drop and all of a sudden I shot a low score. So no, I feel my game is pretty solid. I feel like I’m working good things and have great people around me, so it’s just a matter of staying patient and letting it happen.”
Nordqvist ranks 5th on Tour in greens in regulation (78.33%) and 5th in putts per greens in regulation (1.73) and says her irons have been the part of her game she has consistently relied on.
“I’ve always been a good iron player, and I feel like that’s where my strength is, my ball striking.”
Michelle Wie has played in every Kia Classic since the event started in 2010 and has had quite the history with the Korean auto company. Kia has sponsored Wie since 2010 when they also announced their title partnership of the official LPGA event. The 8th-ranked player in the world said playing in the event this week is sort of like a family affair.
“Kia has been such a great sponsor to me. They’re kind of like family,” said Wie. “They’ve just been so supportive, and it’s great to come to a tournament with my sponsor, get to see everyone tonight at the pro am party, and you know, just a great event.”
Out of the perks and activations Wie has been able to experience, she claims shooting their commercials and courtside NBA seats as the best.
“You know, the commercials are really cool,” said Wie. “You know, it’s just I’m a big fan of the NBA, so it’s awesome that they’re a big sponsor of the NBA, so it makes it easier to go to games. And they hooked me up with court-side seats at Madison Square Garden. So that was pretty awesome.”
Kia makes Wie four bags per year, each with a unique theme and design. She’ll debut a Hawaiian-themed bag this week in Carlsbad.
“Oh, yeah, I got a new one this week,” said Wie. “It looks pretty awesome.”
THOMPSON BACK IN ACTION
Rolex Rankings No. 11 Lexi Thompson is back in action this week in Carlsbad after a two-week break since her last start at the HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore. Thompson, who will defend her first major championship next week at the ANA Inspiration, got a hot streak started last year at the Kia Classic.
Thompson shot a final-round 68 to jump up the leaderboard into a solo third finish at Aviara Golf Club and took that momentum to Rancho Mirage where she became the second-youngest major champion in LPGA history. In her following two starts after her win at the ANA Inspiration, Thompson finished in a tie for sixth in Texas and was a runner-up at the Kingsmill Championship.
“Last year I was just trying to enjoy myself. I was hanging out with everyone and having dinners, and you know, it always seems like a pretty busy week because you try to see everyone. And then you know, coming Sunday I had a chance to do it last year, and shot a good Sunday and all of a sudden on Sunday I’m winning, and I was just trying to enjoy myself and have a good time with everyone.”– Anna Nordqvist on her win last season in Carlsbad
“I mean I think the simpler the better. I mean golf is complicated enough, and I think sometimes I do a bad job of not keeping things simple, and you know, all in all it’s a pretty simple game, if you keep it simple, but it can get very complicated very Wie in a Kia Soul with her LOTTE Championship trophy in Hawaii fast. So I think that’s just what I’m trying to do is keep my thoughts on focus.” – Michelle Wie on her current mindset of simplifying things on the course
KEY NUMBERS TO KNOW
4- Career victories for Anna Nordqvist, her last came here at Aviara Golf Club last year
47- Consecutive made cuts by Lydia Ko which has been every start she has made on the LPGA dating back to the 2012 ISPS Australian Women’s Open when she was competing as an amateur
5- Number of years Kia Motors has sponsored Michelle Wie. The Korean-based auto company signed the Hawaii native in February 2010 when they also announced their title partnership of the Kia Class
3- This marks the third year the Kia Classic will be held at Aviara Golf Club in Carlsbad. The event was played at La
Costa Resort and Spa in 2010 and 2012 and Industry Hills Golf Club in 2011
3- The largest margin of victory this season by an LPGA player. Hyo Joo Kim outlasted runner up Stacy Lewis at last week’s JTBC Founders Cup
42- Of the top-50 players in the Rolex Rankings, 42 are in the field at the Kia Classic. All 10 players in the top-10 will be in action and 18 of the top-20
- RACE TO CME GLOBE