Maria Hjorth (Sweden) 67 (-5)
That was a great start, especially considering you have just come across from the States this week. Were you expecting that kind of performance today?
“It’s been fine actually. It’s been good because I’ve had late tee times every day, the pro-am, first day today, so it’s been fine. And I’ve been lucky that my daughter’s been sleeping really good through the night, which helps because I don’t have to get up and think about it too much. So that’s been really good. But I’ve been feeling that my form has been coming around, I’ve been starting to play a lot better. So it’s nice when I finally get a good score out there.”
Who’s caddying for you this week?
Mark Britton, he’s my full time caddy now. My husband is just a daddy now, so he just travels with us and looks after Emily.
What was the best part of your game today then? What did you do well?
“I had a lot of good shots and my putting was really good today, of course that’s where everything comes down. I made some really good birdie puts. So that’s really what I felt was very good today. But I had a lot of close shots as well, which helps. And the par fives are playing pretty short, so they’re reachable so you have to take advantage of making birdies there.
And you played with one of the twins, Lisa? What did you think of her performance?
“She played really solid all day. She just made a few little mistakes coming in at the last few holes, but she’s got a great swing and she’s only fourteen years old, so she’s got a lot of potential.
Who’s looking after Emily this week?
Her Grandma and Grandpa are here, and my nephew as well, so they’re all looking after her this week.
Julie Greciet (France) 67 (-5)
Julie, top of the leader board. How good does that feel?
“Yeah, I’m very happy. Last year, I made the cut and I’m very happy.”
What was the secret today, what was good about your game?
“I had a good putt. I don’t know. I had a very, very good putt. I’m lucky.”
Tell me about links golf; do you like playing this kind of golf?”
“Yeah, it’s very nice. And a little wind is very good.”
Now, it’s not been a very good season for you so far, it must be very pleasing to play well today.
“Yeah, I’m very happy. I haven’t played many tournaments and the season was very, very restricting and very difficult.”
Melissa Reid (England) 68 (-4)
Melissa, normally I would have thought a sixty-eight would be a good start but you’re not entirely happy with that, are you?
“My ball-striking today wasn’t good. You know, I feel that I didn’t really hit the ball well at all today, so I managed to start striking a few in the home stretch. But sixty-eight, I can’t really complain, without really playing that great. So, I’m pretty happy with how I was putting and that’s a pretty good score.”
What’s your assessment of the golf course?
“The golf course is good; it’s a lot firmer than what it was last year. But its good test golf. And I was saying to my caddy earlier that someone who’s going to play well all three days is going to win this tournament. You can’t really get away with bad shots and it’s just a really, really good course.”
At the same time, you must be pleased, even though you feel you could play better, a sixty-eight is always a good sign, to get good numbers, even if you think you could play better.
“Yeah, I mean, I think if you shoot three rounds in the sixties you’re going to be pretty much up there. But, you know, we’re here to win and sixty-eight’s a pretty good start to the day.”
You’ve been so close so often now; does it interest you at all now, getting that first win?
“I have, yeah. I mean, yeah it is. I feel like I could have won about six times so, it’s difficult to deal with but you know, you’ve got to learn from each one. If you walk away without learning anything, it really is a waste of time. So I have learned from all the seconds that I have had and thirds and stuff so, you know, hopefully it’s just going to make me a stronger player in the long run.”
Gwladys Nocera (France) 68 (-4)
How pleased were you with your score today, sixty-eight?
“Yeah, good. I’ve been playing really well. I’ve had problems with my putting lately, so my putting is getting better and it’s nice to be back on top.”
So that was a nice way to finish as well.
“Yes. I got my ball in two divots into the fairway today and, you know, I was getting mad because you hit good shots when on the tee and it’s not very fair. And on this one, I made a putt from the outside of the green.”
Do you enjoy links golf?
“Yeah, I love it. I really love it and I hope it’s going to blow really hard now. Not today, but I mean tomorrow and Sunday. It will be fun.”
So you’ve just been struggling with your putter, but now you’re putting is good?
“Well everything is never sure it’s never sure that it’s good but I’ve been working on it and I’m still working on it and I’m trying to enjoy myself more and it worked today at least.”
Did you enjoy playing in your group? I know you usually have good groups.
“Yeah, Melissa is playing really well. She’s doing pretty much everything good now, so she’s in good shape and it was fun, Karen’s fun, so it was nice.”
Vikki Laing (Scotland) 68 (-4)
Congratulations for your hole-in-one. What club was it?
Did you see it go in the hole?
Yes. It landed ten feet short and then rolled up and disappeared.
Was it your first one?
No, it was my sixth. It was the best one in a while though.
Was it your first as a pro?
No, I had one at LPGA Q-School. My caddie, Ernie Brown, was with me then too so I think he’s good luck.
How pleased were you overall with your score?
I’m delighted. I’ve been playing pretty well and holed a few putts. I hit the ball pretty well off the tee which put me in play and helped a lot.
Martina Gillen (Ireland) 69 (-3)
“I birdied the sixth. I pulled my second shot into the brook, got up and down out of the hay there for a birdie and then, I birdied ten. I hit a good second shot into both … and I birdied that.”
Sorry what did you hit, what was the second shot?
“Oh, about ten…eight iron. And I bogied the eleventh and then I birdied twelve and thirteen; parred fourteen; bogied fifteen; parred sixteen; played a really long one on seventeen, then parred eighteen.”
What club did you hit?
And you lost about forty foot?
“Easily, yeah. About forty-five foot, yeah. I just held on to the front of the green there, it could easily have come back down and off. But I struggled with that hole in practice, just can’t get the club to hit it. I either land on it and bounce over it or blank on it and come back off it.
It was 161 today. Yeah it was tough getting over the bunker so it was tricky.”
“It’s really hard around the greens. If you hit the greens, they’re really receptive but you have to land it at the right spot and sometimes it releases out and sometimes it doesn’t so, it’s hard to gauge when it’s going to do that. But, like, if you miss the greens and hit the edges it’s going to bounce off the wrong way or whatever direction it wants really. It’s tough for me all right, so … under par even though the conditions are good. It makes it harder because you know you should be scoring well.”
How strong was you’re game then?
“Today, I just hit a lot of fairways and greens really; I think I hit about fifteen greens. That was good.”
Do you think this is a good venue for you, to win?
“To win? I don’t know about the first round, just hope I have a good solid round tomorrow. Take my chances on Sunday and see…at this stage though, to be honest, I wouldn’t be thinking about winning. I’m just trying to get three solid rounds now and I’ll be happy. Just to build on consistency and stuff.
Last year, were you under par?
“No, I think I came fifty-something but I was about one or two over every day. It’s tough like, you could be two or three under and then it can be gone in the blink of an eye, so you just have to be patient around here.”
Tell us how good these Maguire girls are. I mean, you’re up their direction aren’t you?
“Yeah, yeah, I’ve played with them a few times, not recently, no but probably last year and the year before. They’re well able to compete out here. I’d say it’d be a surprise now if they don’t shoot around par today. You know, hopefully, Leona will do ok playing with Laura, I don’t know if she’d know Laura’s record and be intimidated, I really don’t. I’d say they’ll do well, do you know what I mean; they’re just so good. People don’t realise how good they are, you have to see it to believe it really.”
Are they almost like professionals at this stage?
“They are, yeah. I think so. How they, you know, carry themselves and everything. They’re very professional, I mean they’re not out there messing or anything unless they have a match against each other or a bit of craic and stuff, for good fun. But they just have it all at the moment really. They’ve everything going for them.”
Do you feel any additional pressure this week?
“This week? No, not really. It’s not like I’m sleeping in my own bed, you know, I’m still away from home. If I was sleeping in my own bed now I’d probably consider it, playing at home. But It’s nice, people are saying ‘hello’, a lot of them are members are…down at island or volunteering. So that’s nice, seeing faces I know in the crowd. They’re only supporting really, they’re not wishing me any bad harm. But it’s nice to have them though.”
Do you feel that you’ve finished ahead of the two girls, that you’ve done fairly well this week?
“Yeah, probably. … I know there’s no pressure really playing at home and stuff but, they’ll play well, so if I play better I think I’ll do alright. But I think they’re going to do well.”
Laura Davies (England) 73 (+3) and Leona Maguire (Ireland) 74 (+2)
So Laura, do you think that there was a problem today?
“No it was just a carry over of bad play in America. I had it over there and I brought it back over here. I was hoping things were going to change around but didn’t play well. We did chip and putt well so that gives me a chance tomorrow to get out there and shoot a number. But yeah, was just disappointing, I didn’t hit enough fairways and you have to hit them because this is a tough course.”
I have to actually talk about Leona, how impressed were you with her game?
“You can’t not be, you know. Fabulous. Hits it very straight, pretty long off the tee, she’d get longer and longer as well. Good irons, putting looks really solid. There’s not a lot more you can say really.”
Leona, that must sound good coming from one of the all time greats of the game? How pleased are you?
“Well I’m delighted, played really well today. Putting was really good and I didn’t miss very many fairways, so hopefully I can do the same tomorrow.”
Were you a little intimidated, at all, by all the attention, all the crowds, who were obviously supporting you today?
“Yeah well, it’s great to have so much support at home here in Ireland. It was great; I just really enjoyed the day.”
Laura, can I take you back to last night where you were paid a very special tribute: honorary life membership of the Links Golf Society. It was a lovely thing to have. Some great Irish players there and Bing Crosby as well.
“Yeah, I know, and Jack Nicklaus was on there and, obviously, Padraig Harrington. No, I mean its nice company to be in. First lady to get on the team, so to speak. Yeah, it’s a great honour.”
Trying to get a room in the trophy cabinet, you must be now?
“No, no, no. Plenty of room, always room for a trophy.
I noticed last night also, you were serenaded at the table. Does that happen to you often?
“No it doesn’t. I’ve already fired my manager for that one, because there was talk of it and I said absolutely not, she obviously didn’t put the full block on it but it was a bit of fun, wasn’t it? I’m always making a mug of myself on the … so I might as well make a mug of myself in the dining room as well then.”