Final round interviews from the ANZ Ladies Masters
Royal Pines Resort, the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.
Sunday 10th February 2008
Lisa Hall (champion) 68-69-66=203 (-13)
Q. I’d like to welcome the 2008 ANZ Ladies Masters champion to the interview room. Congratulations. Were you surprised at the manner in which you won?
I think it was always going to be a day where it was going to go down to the end. It was going to take a low score so in that respect I wasn’t surprised.
Q. What did you actually say to Mardi which we tried to lip read on the television after Shin missed her putt?
I apologise for that. It was shocking. It wasn’t shocking in that she didn’t make it because in golf anything can happen but at that point it was the realisation that I had won. As you are playing you don’t think about that. You play the shots. I kept an eye on the scoreboard the whole time. I had chances that I didn’t make but I didn’t panic. I just plodded along and took the chances when I had them.
Q. Did you think you’d be heading back to play the 18th for a second time?
I certainly thought I’d be in a play-off. In golf all sorts of things can happen so I was on the lucky end of it today I think.
Q. What were you thinking about Shin’s second putt on the 18th hole?
I wouldn’t wish badly on her but I was quite relieved that it didn’t go in. I think at that point I’d had time to mark my score card and so seeing her miss was like, “I’ve won!”
Q. You weren’t exactly plodding along shooting 66, were you?
No but it was a methodical round. I wasn’t overly excited. I was just playing my game and so to me it just felt steady. There was no great excitement in the fact that I didn’t do anything outstanding. The whole round in itself perhaps was pretty outstanding.
Q. I guess you’ll have a party tonight with Mardi?
Well you obviously know Mardi. She has been such a big part of the success I’ve had. I won twice in Europe last year. If you just take this week as far as knowing the golf course and just the friendship that we have, the knowledge that she has. It’s a privilege to be playing and it’s a pleasure to be in contention, to have a chance to win. At this stage, at my age, it’s a question of soaking up the opportunity and having the chance to hit shots when they count. And how to make putts when they count. I get a lot of satisfaction and enjoyment out of that. The fact that that resulted in a win does make it extra special as well.
Q. You nearly gave the game away at one point. Could you explain what happened?
It’s kind of a long story. I had success early on and then struggled with my game. In 2004 I had played 16 events on the LPGA and missed every cut. At that point, that was me finished as far as that was concerned. I felt it was time to say, “Okay, I’ve had some success but it’s time to find something else to do.” It was done in a forced way in that I still had that bug and fortunately for me the way that things turned out as far as having a job interview and not getting the job. It was a teaching job and I took computer classes. At the end of 2004 I had done playing. In 2005 I didn’t play at all. One thing was not getting a job and the other thing was getting an invite to play in Switzerland in 2006. That really set me off playing again. Looking back, the experiences that I’ve had both good and bad have put me in a position to be able to play the round that I have had today. Appreciating the playing and having enjoyment in hitting the shots. This isn’t really a second time around for me it’s almost like a third time around for me. You kind of grab the moment when you can.
Q. I understand that you had some problems with water and hitting over hazards. This is obviously a course that has that. Does that mean anything extra?
The water situation was just the fact that I got to the situation where I couldn’t get the ball in the air. Literally. I’d have a nine-iron in the middle of the fairway and would like to make contact with it. Playing in LPGA events, if there was a hazard between me and the hole then I tried to bounce through it which wasn’t very successful. That was what the water situation was. The length of the course, I mean sure, you look at it and it’s pretty wide open. People hit it a long way but I think my game is based on accuracy off the tee but also hitting short irons close and making some putts. That is where I can compete with Laura hitting a par five in two. I need to be able to get up and down with a wedge for the birdie.
I’m a pretty good wind player. I like playing low shots, half shots. I hit a lot of really good shots like that today, into the wind and down wind. I think that’s really what won me the tournament.
Q. What got your game back together?
It was a very slow process. That was actually after my first downward. I actually came out of that to get my card back and felt like okay I’m back. I can play the game again. That is when I got my card back in 2004, that didn’t work. It wasn’t just one down and up; there have been a lot of ups and downs.
Q. Is there any one person in particular that kept encouraging you to play when you wanted to bail out?
My husband, for sure. Martin Hall. He is English also. He has been my rock: not only my husband but my teacher from the start.
Q. Is he here this week?
No he wasn’t. He was in Florida and I think he was sleeping tonight.
Q. Did you know that now you can play in Singapore?
Yes I did know that. Mardi mentioned that at the start of last week. She said we’ll win one of these and then go off to Singapore.
Q. Was this the result that you imagined?
I think I’ve got to the stage where I don’t think that far ahead. I played well last week I just had a quadruple bogey and a triple bogey in the first nine holes last week. I ended up finishing 17th. I tell you the truth actually. We went to the casino earlier this week on Tuesday and 11 is my number. We walked in and went to the roulette table and 11 was the first one in. I said to Mard: “We’re going to win the tournament.” We knew the result before the week started. I don’t know if I should say that but we did have that joke going on all week.
Q. How much did you win?
It wasn’t a great deal but it was the fact that 11 hit on the first spin. It set us up for the rest of the week.
It was the sign that it was going to be my week. As we played today I said a couple of times to Mard, “Well we know how it’s going to work out so no worries.”
Q. How does this rate in your career?
To shoot six under in the last round and beat Karrie Webb in Australia, it’s got to be high up there. I had two wins last year, both in play-offs and both very different. One was an eight-hole play-off and one was just one hole. I think with how I played the whole day and how the end result happened I don’t think it could get much better than that.
Q. Can I ask your age?
Q. Where are you based now?
I live in West Palm Beach, Florida and home, from Stoke-on-Trent, in England.
Q. You only had two bogeys all tournament. Is that the way you usually play?
It is perhaps normal on a good week. Perhaps that is why I am sitting here, because there weren’t that many mistakes. I didn’t miss a lot of greens. I think I missed maybe one today and one yesterday. I hit a lot of greens and hadn’t really been in any trouble at all actually. Eliminating the mistakes and making birdies helps with the score card.
Q. Do you have designs on playing the LPGA again?
No I haven’t. I’m 40 years old and I’m enjoying the golf I’m playing. To be honest it’s nice to win here in Australia but to play the golf I’m playing, I’m enjoying that. It doesn’t have to be the LPGA for me to enjoy that and enjoy a win. I enjoy playing in Europe. The LPGA is not something I need.
Q. Did you think Karrie would be up there?
Well I’m sure everybody did. We saw she made a couple early on and then we didn’t really see her on the board. We saw Shin on the board. Webb has won this tournament so many times that you would expect her to be there.
Q. Will you be in the casino tonight?
Thank you and well done.
Felicity Johnson 69-71-65=205 (-11)
Q. I’d like to welcome Felicity Johnson, who finished at 11 under for the tournament. Felicity, a great round today. Are you happy with the way you played?
Yeah. I didn’t make any bogeys which was key today. It was a lot more windy this afternoon than it was yesterday. It was playing a bit tougher. I was trying to keep the ball in play, hit the right spots on the greens and just try and avoid three putts really which are quite easily done out there.
Q. Felicity, can you just give us a bit about your background please?
I turned pro in October 2006, went to European Qualifying School that year and gained a full card. 2007 was my first year in Europe. I retained my Tour card finishing 59th on the order of merit. I played for England amateur before that.
Q. Curtis Cup?
No, not that one. Sore spot.
Q. Was it a pretty good amateur career though?
I won the English amateur in 2005.
Q. Stroke play or match play?
That was matchplay. There were two qualifying rounds and then five rounds of matchplay. I won that. That year I also played in the Vagliano Trophy, which was Great Britain and Ireland against the rest of Europe in like a Curtis Cup version. I represented England at all levels, U 18s, 21s and ladies.
Q. Why a sore spot about the Curtis Cup?
There were a few of us that thought we could have got into it but didn’t. That’s gone now though.
Q. Did that affect your decision to turn pro?
No, I had already decided to turn pro. I left school at 16 to and plated three or four years on the amateur circuit. By that time I was ready to turn pro. I signed up to do the PGA course as well as I’m training to be a club professional back home. I’m doing that course.
Q. Where are you from?
Q. Do you play at the Belfry at all?
Yes, that’s about half an hour away from me. I use the practise facilities there. That’s the main local club to me.
Q. How did you go last week?
I finished tied for 40th. I thought I played really well but I had three bad holes which cost me. I was eight over for three holes and I finished at plus eight for the tournament so if you took those three holes out of it I played really well. That was a bit frustrating.
Q. Which style of course do you prefer?
I think last week’s course suited me better. I hit it quite a long way and I’m pretty straight off the tee. That suits me better – the links style. Here I would say it is more target golf which isn’t really my forte but I’ve changed things round a bit this week which is good.
Q. Was it taking the media spot in the pro am the other day?
Oh yes. I must thank you for that. I played 11 holes in the pro am on Wednesday.
Q. Why do you think the younger players are better competitors now?
I think there are so many good youngsters that it’s only a matter of time before we start producing better results.
Q. How old are you?
I’m 20. I’ll be 21 at the end of this month.