Hazel Kavanagh (Ireland) 68 (-4)
Congratulations on a great round today. What was the key?
The weather today was really nice, especially after last week when the weather was horrendous. I just wasn’t expecting anything and played well.
Definitely keeping it on the fairway was important and my putting was excellent.
The bicycling looked like fun preparation?
I’ve been doing a bit of sight-seeing on a bicycle with Beth Allen and it’s been brilliant. We played an early practise round every day and then in the afternoon we went off because the people we are staying with have bicycles so we took them out for a tour.
You’ve been on tour for nine years but last year had a transformation. Why?
With my putter I feel like I can hole anything and last year I wasn’t hitting as many fairways. Now I’m hitting more fairways and my driver has improved and my irons are always good. I’ve been trying to free myself up a bit off the tee because I tend to steer it.
I’m enjoying it a lot more, enjoying the travel, just trying to play and seeing what happens at the end rather than analysing and taking stats and working on things that I didn’t need to work on. I’m basically trying to have as many birdies as I can in a round.
How can you describe Golfclub Broekpolder?
I think it’s a stunning golf course. It’s quite tight, you’ve to use right to left shots and left to right shots, you have to place the ball on the fairway. It’s a really good design. I love it.
How will you approach the next two rounds?
I’m off early tomorrow morning so it’s a nice time to start. I’ve just got to see what happens and enjoy it.
Laura Davies (England) 69 (-3)
We’re here with Laura Davies, the clubhouse leader on the first day at the ABN AMRO Ladies Open, with a round of three under 69. Laura, you must be very pleased with your start to the week?
Yes, very steady. I made five birdies and two bogeys so you’re going to make bogeys out here because the course is pretty tough. You have some easy holes and then some hard holes so it’s a very good mixture and it’s in great shape. I think three under is a pretty decent start looking at the rest of the scores.
How do you rate the start to the round on 10, 11, 12.
It’s hard. It’s just what you don’t want. 8.40 in the morning and you’ve got to face those three holes. Luckily it wasn’t windy because when I played them in the Pro Am it was windy and they were a lot harder but even so I didn’t hit… just off the edge of 10 and a good two putt; just off the edge of 11 and a good two putt. Then finally on 12, just off the edge and I three-putted. I think if you play those holes, first three out the bat, one over par is not good but it’s not the end of the world.
As you said it’s not an easy course and there are a lot of trees out there. Can you talk about that?
What you’ve got to do: you’ve got to find the fairways. If you find the fairways the course is easy because the greens are nice and receptive so you can hit some nice irons into them. As soon as you, like on number eight, I just went through the fairway and I had such a difficult shot. I only had, like 150, 145 yards to the pin and there was another bogey so if you’re playing really well, you could really have a good score around here. I don’t think anyone is really going to go low all week because there are too many difficult holes.
There was quite a good gallery following you.
We were with the local favourite so they were all here to see Christel. Unfortunately she didn’t have a good day which was a shame because they’ve come out to see her and she’s obviously been playing pretty decent the last 18 months or so. It’s just a shame that it didn’t go her way today but I’m sure they’ll be back to see her tomorrow.
What can you remember of the last time you came to Holland?
It was a long time ago. I’m not 100 per cent sure. I think my mum might have even caddied for me, it was that long ago. It was on a really flat course, believe it or not. I can’t remember but you’re talking 12 or 13 years ago. I really can’t remember; it was that long ago.
You’ve never won in Holland before, have you?
No, never have. I think I finished second that week to Valerie Michaud I think. I’ve a good memory for some things. That’s the last time I played. I think Tania Green was even over playing, one of the good American players.
How important is it to add another country to your victory list?
It’s just another tournament, really. You want to win another tournament. The fact that it may be in a different country would be a bonus really. I tried last week in Slovakia to add one and didn’t quite do it. You don’t need to add any more pressure than there’s already on so you think about those things afterwards, not before.
How do you compare your play 20 years back? Do you think you were better, or?
The five years I was at number one, I’m probably playing at just below that level but only because of consistency. I say that, not in Europe so far, but in America. Wherever I was over those five years I seemed to do well. If I can go to America next week and have a really good run in America, then maybe I would say I’m playing as well as I was doing in those five years, which was sort of, 1994 through to ’98.
Is it a long hitter’s course?
I think it helps. There are a couple of long holes out there where you’ve got to hit an iron because you’ve got to have position and number two, for instance, you can’t hit driver because of the water. Seven and eight, downwind, hard fairways, I’ve hit three-iron and two-iron there, but on the other holes, the par fives, definitely a drive, because I hit driver, seven-iron into number six, because I could get on the down slope. On 18, of course, you’ve got a big drive down 18.
Will it be a little discouraging to the others to see you at the top of the leader board?
I hope so. There are names you see and hopefully mine is one of the names you don’t want to see on the leader board if you’re one of the other players. I know sometimes I see a few players and think, ‘I’d rather they weren’t there.’ I don’t think people worry too much on a Friday. Maybe Saturday afternoon if it’s still up there then they might take more notice but at the moment everyone’s just jostling for position, trying to get in with a chance on Sunday.
Can you tell us something about Christel… do you think she had some extra pressure?
I think so. Yeah, you know, she got off to a bad start and the pressure builds up then. She hit a poor tee shot on number 12 having just made two decent bogeys on the first two and you could just see a bit of pressure there. It’s like for me at the British Open: I try too hard. It’s just one of those things. You’re at home, you’ve got some friends and family that don’t normally get to see you play and you don’t want to impress them, but you want to play well in front of them and sometimes it doesn’t help.
Sophie Sandolo (Italy) 69 (-3)
Were you expecting a good round today?
I was feeling good because I have been playing well for a few events. The course, I think, is difficult, especially the second nine. You need to be very precise and; long also because I don’t think it’s very short. I think it’s a challenging golf course. My long game was straight and I missed a few irons but it was okay. I played well and hit most greens in regulation. When I missed the green I was close to it. It wasn’t as good as other weeks but it’s okay.
You’re having a good season.
I don’t have any card because last year I was injured for one year because of the back and a double problem with the shoulders. I didn’t think I was going to play golf again. All this is really good to me. Right now I don’t have a card but I might get it back because I need six events and then I’ll come back on the ranking. I’m pretty happy about everything that is happening right now.
Do you have an injury exemption?
No, I didn’t ask for an exemption because it was already in September and I didn’t even ask. It was really bad and I didn’t think I was going to play again. It was that bad. I’m feeling well and I’m working out a lot so my body is good.
What were the problems?
I had a problem with a disc in my lower back and double tendonitis to the shoulders. I had a lot of physiotherapy to take the pain away and I had to work out to strengthen my muscles because I was quite weak actually. I gained seven kilos.
You’re in contention now?
It’s the first day but I’m playing every day as a new day so maybe today I’m in contention, tomorrow I’ll try my best and it’s one day at a time.
Is this a course that suits you?
I like it. The weather is exceptional. We didn’t have much wind today so the course, we can say, is probably a bit easier than the other two days when we played with the wind. We had a two club wind on the two practise rounds and so today it was perfect golf condition day. I think there will be some good scores out there.
Minus three won’t be leading?
Minus three is not a lot considering that we played in the morning without any wind. I don’t know about the afternoon but we’ll see. It’s a tough course. That’s why I’m saying this. We don’t see any 66s but maybe we will. I don’t know.
I understand you are writing a book?
Yes, everything is prepared. My book is finished and I’m translating my piece into English so it will be in English and Italian. It’s a first introduction and there will be many pictures in it, many, because I became a fan of photography. It’s going to be a piece of art. It’s going to be so beautiful that you can put it on the table.
A coffee table book?
Yes, really nice and you can just read through it and enjoy the book and nice to look at. It will be English and Italian combined.
Is it similar to your calendars?
This is totally different. You will still have some nice pictures in, probably.
When will it be launched?
Did you write the text?
Yes, I wrote everything myself. It is a book for people who don’t play golf, to approach them in an ironic way and to challenge them to start the game and to start playing golf. All the people who say, ‘this is not my game; it’s a game of rich people,’ this is the first part. Then I’m going through my life, my injury, my life on tour and how I came out from this.
It’s a biography?
It’s a little bit of everything.
I think this is a moment representative of golf in Italy, where it’s pretty strong at the moment.
The Molinaris and Manassero. Of course, the three of them and I’m sure some others will come out because there are many behind them. The Italian group is very, very strong.
Do you see them a lot?
Sometimes when we go with the Italian Federation. I saw them a few months ago at the PGA Championship in Italy. We see each other quite often.
Is it something the national federation does?
The national federation helps us always, since we are amateur until we are professional. They are sponsoring us. There is a team, I’m 33 now so too old, but the young ones, the federation is helping them a lot with the coach and mental and they can have everything they want and everything is paid. We have a great coach, that’s my coach too, as they federation (Adriano Moli). He is travelling some times and coming to Losone. I got an invite to Losone so I’m very happy. I’m playing only on invites.
There are six invites and then I can get back on the ranking. I really thank all the promoters for giving me this chance because it’s great and I’m so lucky. I have to play well but I’m so lucky so thanks to all the promoters.
Trish Johnson (England) 70 (-2)
A round of two under par is a very good score and what was the key to it?
I putted very well. I drove the ball very well and did a lot of putting practise yesterday for a while and it got a bit better. Flic actually helped me with my putting yesterday afternoon and made an observation about my right shoulder and it made a massive difference. I’ve been struggling for a long, long time, not knowing why. Its early days but I rolled the ball really well today and holed some nice putts.
You’ve been injured haven’t you? What happened?
I’ve had tendonitis in both my elbows and it just flared up in early January to the extent that the right one I just couldn’t move at all for about eight weeks. It just wouldn’t bend at all. Basically, I had a lot of rest and some strange form of treatment called shock wave therapy. The idea is, it’s like a hammer thing that puts thousands of shock waves into you so it’s very painful. The idea being that it stems the flow of the blood. When you’ve got tendonitis it tends to seize up. I had four of those treatments and didn’t do anything, forget playing, until just before Germany. The week before Germany I had cortisone injection because I wouldn’t have been able to play and picked up a club four days before Germany. It was a long time without playing at all, hitting balls or anything, but in the long term it might have done me some good.
Is that the longest break you’ve ever had?
By far. I was lucky because at the beginning of January I was playing really well instead of just searching for my game. Those four months I had off, I wasn’t really worried. I thought, ‘If I was playing great then why shouldn’t I be when I come back.’ Obviously it’s not quite the same and it takes a bit of time but I’ve been looking forward to it and my short game, if my putting’s good then I tend to score quite well.
Do you feel that everything’s back to normal?
I don’t know. They’re not hurting at the moment, so that’s good. I don’t know how long they are going to last, to be honest. I just keep my fingers crossed; not grip the club so tight, not do stupid things lifting things and hope for the best really. They don’t hurt much. They ache a bit but I don’t expect them to flare up like they did. I won’t practise as much as I have done and hope for the best.