Rolex Rankings No. 4 Inbee Park took her three shot lead into the final round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship (@KNCGolf) and never looked back. The South Korean continued her putting prowess she exhibited all week at the Dinah Shore Tournament Course at Mission Hills Country Club and carded a 3-under 69 on Sunday en route to the four-stroke victory and her second-career major title. The win marks the third-straight South Korean to win an LPGA Tour major championship and fifth of the last seven.
The five-time LPGA Tour winner came out of the gates hot on Sunday, carding back-to-back birdies on Nos. 1 and 2 while Lizette Salas, who trailed Park by three shots to start, double bogeyed the first for a three-shot swing.
“Well, that made my day much easier, that’s for sure,” said Park. “I holed a long one on the first hole, and a birdie start is always a good thing, and I never really shot over par starting with the birdie, so that gave me a lot of confidence.”
No one came within four shots of Park throughout the day until fellow South Korean and close friend, Rolex Rankings No. 9 So Yeon Ryu (@1soyeonryu), birdied her final hole on No. 18 to post the low round of the week, a 7-under 65, to finish 11-under par for the tournament and runner-up honors.
On a run: With her win, Park is projected to take over the No. 2 spot in the Rolex Rankings on Monday, a spot that the South Korean has been eyeing for some time. It will be the highest ranking for the six-year tour member in her career. She’s has two wins in five starts already in 2013 and will be carrying a ton of momentum in the chase for No. 1.
“That’s the place that I’ve always wanted to go, and I only have one more spot to go,” said Park. “That brings a lot of momentum, keeps momentum going for me, especially after this week. I feel a lot of confidence with my swing and with my putting. Everything has been going the right way this season, and it feels good.
“Well, I haven’t really thought that far forward,” said Park. “Yeah, I’ve played five tournaments on the LPGA Tour, and I’ve won two of them, which is a very good start. It’s pressure off me for the rest of the season. I’m just going to go out there and enjoy the season.”
Putting for dough. There’s no question Inbee Park’s putter was on fire this week as she sunk 20 birdie putts through four rounds en route to claiming the Kraft Nabisco Championship title. Practice partner So Yeon Ryu says Park’s impeccable putting derives from winning occasional wagers during practice rounds.
“Actually first of all, she really likes to gamble, so when I practice with her she always calls me to gamble like 10 bucks a hole, whatever,” said Ryu. “But she always makes the hardest par putts, like eight‑foot par putts, 16‑foot par putts. I can’t win like 10 bucks. She always wins like 50 bucks. She always takes my money, so she always buys me dinner, lunch, whatever.
“Anyway, the important thing is she looks so easy, and putting is so easy. Sometimes my putting was really great when I was playing with her, but not enough.”
So, what’s her trick? Ryu says she Park gave her a simple tip that has helped her putting stroke as well.
“I think her tempo is really great,” said Ryu says of Park’s putting stroke. “Her tempo is always consistent. And what else? Oh, and she taught me that when she was putting, the weight is a bit on the left side. She looks like 70 and 30, and she says, before her weight was like 50/50, but now she changed it, and her weight has moved a bit more to the left side. She said that’s really helped her putting.”
Trust yourself: Rolex Rankings No. 9 So Yeon Ryu started the final round eight shots off the lead and figured with how consistently solid her friend, Inbee Park, had been playing, her best goal for the day was to finish in the top 5.
“Well, it’s hard to say, but I really wanted to finish strong, so I was just expecting to finish top 5,” said Ryu. “I couldn’t expect winning because I know how Inbee is playing really consistently and I know how her putting was great, so I couldn’t expect winning, but I really wanted to finish top 5, but I finished second, so I made it.”
Ryu had the low round of the week, a bogey-free 7-under 65, but needed some extra encouragement from her swing coach leading into the season’s first major. The little boost of confidence seemed to make all of the difference.
“That’s a really big key,” said Ryu. “But last week I worked with my coach like three days, four days, and he really highly recommended your game is really perfect, your swing is perfect, your stroke is perfect, just the problem is you didn’t trust yourself. So this week I really tried to just trust myself, and I just believed what I practiced and how I dedicated about the golf. So I think that’s really important key. So I just want to keep trusting myself, just keep enjoying this wonderful Tour.”
I’m feeling 32! Suzann Pettersen’s goal on Sunday was to celebrate her birthday by shooting double her age (32+32 = 64). Pettersen didn’t reach her exact goal but still managed to finish off her day in celebratory fashion by shooting a 3-under 69 to finish in a tie for third at 9-under-par at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
The Oslo, Norway native was serenaded by the crowd with the singing of “Happy Birthday” as she walked up the bridge to the 18th green. It was a nice way to cap off her birthday.
“It was a good day,” Pettersen said. “ It’s hard to go out of the box and really not push too much and almost make mistakes and try and be patient but still aggressive. I felt like I got off to a good start, gave myself some nice looks, made a birdie on 5, made a few good par putts today actually and one bogey ‑‑ two bogeys on two of the par‑3s, one poor shot on 14. But overall my game is very solid. It was fantastic to walk along the course on each hole and people wishing me a happy birthday and singing songs. I can’t really thank them enough. I wish I could have given them something more to cheer for.”
For Pettersen, it was her fifth top-5 finish at the Kraft Nabisco Championship. She finished runner-up in 2007, 2008 and 2010 while finishing tied for fifth at the event in 2009.
Cheering perspective: Rolex Rankings No. 40 Lizette Salas (@LizetteSalas5) didn’t close out her week the way she wanted to but easily had the most visible and supportive cheering contingent this week in Rancho Mirage which kept her attitude in-check. The Southern California native started the final round three shots off the lead but double bogeyed No. 1 to dig herself into a hole early on.
“It was one of those days where it could have gone from bad to worse, and starting off with a double wasn’t in the game plan,” said Salas. “But everyone is going to have those days where they’re just not going to be able to score, and bad luck, it was the last day of a major championship for me.”
Salas finished with a 7-over 79 to drop down to a tie for 25th but said it was the outpour of cheers from her personal gallery that helped keep things in perspective.
“No, it was great,” said Salas. “You know, if it wasn’t for them, it probably would have gone way worse today. But knowing that they came to watch me play, I just tried to keep smiling for them, and even though I was very angry inside and very frustrated, I tried not to let it show because they came here to support me, and I just couldn’t ask for better fans. That’s why I’m here on the LPGA is to bring more fans and bring smiles to kids’ faces.”
Lots more ahead: Stacy Lewis may not have had the performance she wanted as the No. 1 golfer in the season’s first major, but she not letting a 1-under finish to take a tie for 32nd get her down about her new position on Tour. She still has a lot to gloat about.
“Just a lot of events to play still,” said Lewis of what she’s looking forward to in 2013. “I’ve won twice already and just kind of gotten off to a really good start, so I’m excited. We still have four majors left, and Solheim is probably even a higher importance than those majors. We’ve got a lot of good stuff coming this year.”
With the added attention and media opportunities, Lewis won’t have a lot of downtime during the off-week. She heads to the Masters this week to get recognition as the 2012 Player of the Year from the Golf Writers Association of America, and making a pit stop in Atlanta to appear on CNN’s Sanjay Gupta, M.D. show. She says it’s been quite the adjustment handling all the attention.
“It’s been crazy,” said Lewis. “I expected to get the attention at the tournaments and at the course, but I’ve been surprised at things off the course, just going into a Walgreen’s or a CVS and getting recognized, it’s kind of surprising, so it’s definitely been a little bit of an adjustment.”
Top am: Lydia Ko came into the week of the first major of the year with high expectations attached to her name and while the New Zealander was not in contention for her first major championship on Sunday, she earned yet earned another honor in a professional event. Following rounds of 72-74-71-69, the fifteen-year old finished as top amateur and in a tie for 25th overall.
“Low am was one of my goals coming in so I’m very happy and excited to get low am,” said Ko. “I think I played really well out there but thought I struggled with my putting but when I look back to it, I only missed one or two within nine feet. So it was just the birdie putts I was struggling with. I finished well and that is the biggest thing for me.”
Golden ticket winners: Caroline Hedwall, Suzann Pettersen and Haeji Kang punched their “Ticket to CME Group Titleholders” at the Kia Classic, each earning a spot in the season-ending CME Group Titleholders event, which will be held Nov. 21-24, 2012 in Naples, Fla. The third-annual CME Group Titleholders is a season finale with a field made up of three qualifiers from every LPGA Tour tournament.
Quotable: “It was great. That’s the pond I’ve always wanted to jump in, and I finally jumped in. It was a little bit chilly, though.” —Inbee Park on her leap into Poppie’s Pond
Tweet of the day: “Are you an LPGA player looking to settle in Stillwater, Oklahoma? I know of a house that regularly produces top 5 finishers at @KNCGolf” – @karin_sjodin, Roommates Karin Sjodin and Carolina Hedwall have both placed in the top-5 at Kraft Nabisco Championship. Sjodin finished T4 in 2012, Hedwall T3 this week.
Kraft Nabisco Championship
Mission Hills Country Club
Rancho Mirage, Calif.
April 7, 2013
Inbee Park -15, Rolex Rankings No. 4
So Yeon Ryu -11, Rolex Rankings No. 9
Suzann Pettersen -9, Rolex Rankings No. 8
Lizette Salas -2, Rolex Rankings No. 40
Lydia Ko -2, Rolex Rankings No. 25
Stacy Lewis -1, Rolex Rankings No. 1
Inbee Park, Rolex Rankings No. 4
QUICK POST-ROUND QUOTES
Q. Your second major championship. How good does it feel?
INBEE PARK: It feels very good. It has been a while since I won a major, and this is my second major of my career, and it feels very special. This week I played very solid. Today and all week I played very good. Just happy that I have another major under my belt, and just looking forward to it.
Q. Talk about the first hole, you birdied, she doubled. A three‑shot swing. Did that change your mindset?
INBEE PARK: Well, that made my day much easier, that’s for sure. I holed a long one on the first hole, and a birdie start is always a good thing, and I never really shot over par starting with the birdie, so that gave me a lot of confidence.
Q. Just talk about overall you’re having a great year, it’s your second win. Does this help you this year? You’ve moved to No. 2 in the Rolex rankings now. Does this help you with your confidence moving forward?
INBEE PARK: Well, I haven’t really thought that far forward. Yeah, I’ve played five tournaments on the LPGA Tour, and I’ve won two of them, which is a very good start. It’s pressure off me for the rest of the season. I’m just going to go out there and enjoy the season.
COMPLETE POST-ROUND PRESS CONFERENCE
THE MODERATOR: What a great performance over four days, just an incredible putting display. I have to ask, how was the jump for you?
INBEE PARK: It was great. That’s the pond I’ve always wanted to jump in, and I finally jumped in. It was a little bit chilly, though.
Q. Can you tell us who went in with you? I know Brad your caddie, your fiancé?
INBEE PARK: And my swing coach, and a couple of my friends, my trainer. Yeah.
Q. Anybody else? There were a lot of people.
INBEE PARK: There was like three of my friends and my trainer.
Q. With your win today you’re projected to go to No. 2 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings when they’re announced tomorrow, very close to No. 1 Stacy Lewis. How does that feel?
INBEE PARK: That’s the place that I’ve always wanted to go, and I only have one more spot to go. That brings a lot of momentum, keeps momentum going for me, especially after this week. I feel a lot of confidence with my swing and with my putting. Everything has been going the right way this season, and it feels good.
Q. Do you have a wedding date yet?
INBEE PARK: I don’t have a wedding date yet.
Q. Did it take a lot of pressure off to birdie the first hole today?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, of course, not just because I had a birdie but I had a birdie on the first hole, and I holed quite a long one on the first hole. I’ve never really had that.
Q. Did you take a water bottle into the lake with you?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, I did. That was for my dad. My mental coach yesterday, he actually bought a ticket to come yesterday, and he was on his way to the airport. Believe it or not, he was on the way, and packed his bags. I really stopped him because if he came, I would want to win so bad, but that might be on my mind playing today.
Q. Going into the round what was your approach with such a big lead over really one competitor?
INBEE PARK: I never really played conservative all day until the last hole. The last hole I played conservative because I wanted to finish with a par, and that’s what I did. All day I really tried to play aggressive, and So Yeon, she was playing very good today, and who knows how many birdies she was going to make, so I had to do my best.
Q. So Yeon told us that she has a lot of practice games and bets with you. Does that actually help you and how is your friendship between Korean players?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, it is always good to play with somebody that always plays good. So Yeon is a very consistent player and a very good friend. We probably have at least once or twice dinner together every week, and our friendship is very strong. So Yeon told me this morning that I want to see you jumping into the water and I want you to win, and she was the one chasing me, so that felt very good. I told So Yeon after we played, I told her, you’re playing good today.
Q. How long have you known your fiancé, and how were you able to talk your family into letting you get married at such a young age? Most of the fathers out here don’t want their children to be thinking about anything but golf in their 20s.
INBEE PARK: Well, they are really supportive of me, and they are really ‑‑ they really respect what I’m thinking, and I told them that I want to travel with him, and he was a very good coach, and he was very helpful with my swing. My parents just were really supportive.
Q. Having him as your coach, does that ever present problems where you don’t want him to be your coach, you want him to be your fiancé?
INBEE PARK: Well, he’s actually doing a good job on the coach side, so we’ve never really had problems with that.
Q. Do you consider yourself a good swimmer? Do you like water?
INBEE PARK: I like water. I’m a good swimmer.
Q. In between your victory at the 2008 U.S. Women’s Open and last year’s Evian Masters you played 72 tournaments between your first and second win. In your last 16 starts you’ve won four times. How do you explain that?
INBEE PARK: I didn’t know that, but I mean, that’s a very good story and very good result. That tells me that my game has improved a lot over the years, especially at this stage. I think every tournament that I play in I feel like I learn something and try to take that lesson to the next game. That’s been very helpful.
Q. How does your putting in this tournament compare to some of the best putting in your career?
INBEE PARK: Well, at the Evian Masters last year I putted I think very similar to this week. Whenever I’ve won I believe I’ve putted very well, like this week. I rarely go over 30 putts per round for the regular tournaments. So over 30 putts for me is a lot for me.
Q. At any point this week did you think about how you might jump into Poppies Pond if you won?
INBEE PARK: Well, I didn’t really think about it because whenever I try to think too far forward, that makes me want it so bad, and that brings a lot of different things, and I just try not to think about the win.
Q. What were the thoughts going through your head as you teed off on 18?
INBEE PARK: Well, I was just thinking how am I going to enjoy this moment. I really enjoyed it.
Q. Just for clarification, the bottle of water for your dad, is that a keepsake or is it doused over his head?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, when I see him next week in Hawai’i I’m going to pour it over him. Yeah, that’s what he wanted.
Q. Is it true that you were concerned coming here because you’re a low ball hitter and you didn’t know how good your chances were going to be?
INBEE PARK: Well, because I’m really never afraid of the wind because my ball flight is low. I knew around this golf course it always gets windy in the afternoon, so I was just very confident coming this week, especially with my swing.
Q. You were really young when you won the U.S. Women’s Open. Can you talk about how this victory feels compared to that one? And what will you do with the robe?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, the first win in 2008, I was very young. I didn’t really ‑‑ I don’t think I even feel that much pressure on the final round because I didn’t know what I was doing. It just came to me as a present. But this week I really felt nervous, and I knew what I was playing for. I really handled myself good under pressure, so that’s something I’m very proud of.
What was the second question?
Q. Do you have a special place for this robe?
INBEE PARK: It’ll be in my house in Korea.
Q. I heard that your parents actually went to the airport to cheer you on and come here but you didn’t want them to come because it would be too much pressure and it would probably even make you greedy for the cup. And then with your fiancé I heard that you guys are planning to have a date after you win your major this year, so you accomplished that, so are you guys planning to get married this year?
INBEE PARK: Well, I don’t think I ‑‑ where did you hear that from, because after the major I don’t think ‑‑ we were thinking about either at the end of this year or probably next year, but didn’t really set an exact date. I think when the time comes ‑‑ there’s no rush for the wedding. I’m really happy traveling with him as a fiancé, too.
Yeah, my parents ‑‑ actually my mom was staying all the time, and my dad just on his own, he wanted to come. He packed his bags and booked a ticket and everything, and he was on his way. I called him and like said, just don’t come. He was very mad because he really wanted to come. But really it was tough stopping him, but he actually listened to me, and I’m glad that I won today.
Q. As you reflect on this win and the fact that five of the last eight majors, five have been by Koreans, can you kind of look back a little bit at your roots in the game and Se Ri’s influence on you?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, not just me but a lot of the kids in my age, they were inspired by Se Ri, and she was ‑‑ yeah, and she was the role model for us growing up. She was very big in Korea, and she was actually the first woman that actually played professional golf in the U.S., and she won a lot of tournaments.
INBEE PARK: Yeah, they’re there every week, and it’s always good to have a lot of friends together and competing against each other, improving together.
Q. So Yeon mentioned that you planned to play 32 events this year. Could you talk about playing a heavy schedule and just with all the travel and playing a lot in Japan and moving back and forth?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, I really like playing a lot of tournaments instead of having a lot of weeks off because that way I really get my rhythm going for the tournament. I’m not a big practice player. I try to relax on tournament weeks, too, and I at least take Monday or Monday and Tuesday off.
Q. A common thing that has been said over the past couple days is that Inbee Park does not miss shots. What is your reaction to that?
INBEE PARK: Well, this week I don’t think I missed many shots. That’s very true. But I’m a human, and I miss shots, too. But this week has been very nearly perfect.
Q. You bogeyed No. 10. What was your thought process after that bogey, and did you ever look at the leaderboard at any time?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, I looked at the leaderboard all the time. I mean, I looked at it on No. 9, looked at it on 11, 12. I looked at it everywhere. I knew that So Yeon was playing very good, and after No. 10 bogey, I felt like I had to go out there and make a couple more birdies, and I really tried to push myself.
So Yeon Ryu, Rolex Rankings No. 9
THE MODERATOR: We’d like to welcome So Yeon Ryu to the media center at the Kraft Nabisco Championship. Round of the day, round of the week, best round of your year. How do you feel?
SO YEON RYU: It feels so great because I played this tournament a couple of times as a non‑LPGA member, but I always finished like tied 30‑something, 40‑something. I always played really bad.
But today I finished 65 and bogey‑free round, how good, to have the bogey‑free round at the major tournament, especially with a really hard golf course. It feels really great and looks like I can finish like second, so I’m really proud of myself.
Also I really feel so great to have shot 65 than waiting on Inbee’s trophy or whatever.
Q. Her jump into Poppies Pond, it’s not a done deal yet, but she is at 16‑under par. Did you see 16‑under par, anybody getting to that number, maybe even the number you’re at right now? Did you see double digits under this week?
SO YEON RYU: No, she looks like she played another golf course. This golf course is really hard, and especially before we start the tournament, she really worried about the game because her ball flight is a little low, but this golf course is pretty firm greens, so she said, oh, I think ‑‑ I don’t think I can stop it on the greens because my ball flight is too low. There’s not enough speed on the greens, but she hit it so well. I think she was lying to me.
Q. What about you right now, you’re top 10 in the world, seemingly moving up each and every year. This is a big week for you obviously and could be a real good springboard to a terrific season. Where are you with your game?
SO YEON RYU: Actually the last couple of tournaments I struggled a bit with my game because I couldn’t trust myself. That’s a really big key. But last week I worked with my coach like three days, four days, and he really highly recommended your game is really perfect, your swing is perfect, your stroke is perfect, just the problem is you didn’t trust yourself. So this week I really tried to just trust myself, and I just believed what I practiced and how I dedicated about the golf. So I think that’s really important key. So I just want to keep trusting myself, just keep enjoying this wonderful Tour.
Q. How good a putter is Inbee? We’re watching her make everything the last couple of days. Is that how she usually is?
SO YEON RYU: Actually first of all, she really likes to gamble, so when I practice with her she always calls me to gamble like 10 bucks a hole, whatever. But she always makes the hardest par putts, like eight‑foot par putts, 16‑foot par putts. I can’t win like 10 bucks. She always wins like 50 bucks. She always takes my money, so she always buys me dinner, lunch, whatever.
Anyway, the important thing is she looks so easy, and putting is so easy. Sometimes my putting was really great when I was playing with her, but not enough.
Q. Does she ever get nervous? She looks so calm all the time. I’m assuming inside she’s nervous but she doesn’t show it out there.
SO YEON RYU: Well, one thing I’m pretty sure, she is not really smiling on the course, but she’s really funny person. She’s really ‑‑ yeah, she has a really great energy and she really loves playing golf.
Q. Does she ever get nervous?
SO YEON RYU: Yeah, 100 percent she’s nervous. Also now maybe ‑‑ she looks like 100 percent okay, but maybe she’s really nervous. But the thing is now these days she really enjoys playing golf. She’s traveling with her fiancé and everything is so great, even her fiancé supporting her so well. So that’s why she’s playing well. Also she has a lot of talent.
Q. Was there ever any outside thought that you might be able to do something to win this tournament today?
SO YEON RYU: You mean what I did?
Q. At the start of the day did you think to yourself, well, maybe I could win?
SO YEON RYU: Well, it’s hard to say, but I really wanted to finish strong, so I was just expecting to finish top 5. I couldn’t expect winning because I know how Inbee is playing really consistently and I know how her putting was great, so I couldn’t expect winning, but I really wanted to finish top 5, but I finished second, so I made it.
Q. Yani Tseng was No. 1 for so long, Stacy Lewis has grabbed the mantle, but this battle for the top spot, and you’re in it certainly, as well, if you continue to play the way you’re playing. Inbee is projected to move to second on that list and we have a real battle with Na Yeon Choi and Yani and Stacy and Inbee now, as well. How good a race is this?
SO YEON RYU: I think that’s really good. Might be all the golf fans think like Annika or Lorena is like queen of the golf, but these guys there’s a lot of great players on the Tour, a lot of people battling at the tournaments. I think that’s a really good thing. But also yesterday I saw that Stacy’s autograph, she changed autographs. She signed it then put No. 1 under the autograph, so I was jealous.
So I’m trying to copy her. The first thing I have to play well, but anyway, I think that battle is a really great thing.
Q. These money games that you have with Inbee, are they on the practice putting greens?
SO YEON RYU: No, at the golf courses. We played at Aviara and we played at this golf course, so the last week I played with Inbee, Inbee and Eun‑Hee and J.J. and we didn’t get a money game but we got like a dinner battle, but absolutely she won. She finished first, I finished second and J.J. finished fourth and she bought me the dinner.
Q. So is it in the practice round early in the week that you all play?
SO YEON RYU: Yes.
Q. During the week of a tournament?
SO YEON RYU: Yes, and earlier this year I practiced with Inbee at the wintertime, we played golf a couple of times, and we always had the money battle.
Q. Just as a follow‑up, you’ve seen her putt so much. What is it about her stroke or attitude that makes her so good as a putter?
SO YEON RYU: I think her tempo is really great. Her tempo is always consistent. And what else? Oh, and she taught me that when she was putting, the weight is a bit on the left side. She looks like 70 and 30, and she says, before her weight was like 50/50, but now she changed it, and her weight has moved a bit more to the left side. She said that’s really helped her putting.
Also it worked for me, so I think that’s really important one for me, for her.
Q. You haven’t had the greatest results here until this year. What’s changed? Do you have any idea?
SO YEON RYU: Trust myself. Battle with Inbee, that’s really great practice. It’s kind of just ‑‑ how can I say, it’s like before you start the tournament we can feel like just trying to exactly same routine at the tournament. I felt like nervous before I made a birdie putt like that. But biggest thing is trust myself. I really trust myself this week.
Q. What was the money bet this week, and just kind of go over what the bet was and who won. Can you tell us something about Inbee Park that we don’t know off the golf course?
SO YEON RYU: Okay. The last week it was not a money battle but it was a dinner one here. So J.J. was fourth and she bought us dinner at the Yard House. This was last week we played.
And off the golf course, oh, she don’t like shopping. But her fiance so much love the shopping. She said that’s the biggest problem for her because she really wants to just rest in the bed, but he always wants to go into shopping, especially last week she wanted to go back home, but her fiancé wanted to go to shopping, and there she said is the most tiring thing.
And what else? She likes food. Me and Inbee always really enjoy food. We are really foodies, so we’re always looking for great restaurants.
Oh, she so much loves the babies. She loves babies. She looks like she’s not really smiling on the golf course, but when she meets a baby and when she’s hanging out with a baby, she looks like happy, like always smiling. So different than on the golf course.
Q. You could make the argument down the stretch she was playing the best golf, she and Stacy were battling for Player of the Year. I’m sure nobody in here would be surprised if Inbee got to No. 1 in the world. How good a player is she in your mind? Is she as talented as anybody, the most talented player out there?
SO YEON RYU: Absolutely. She is really talented golfer. Also she’s really strong, I mean, physically, because she played in Japan and in America. I believe she’s playing like 10 tournaments in Japan, also she played in LPGA tournaments, over 25 tournaments, I believe, and she says she’s going to play 32 tournaments this year.
SO YEON RYU: 32. But she looks like always comfortable. She don’t look like tired and she’s playing well. So most talented thing is physically she’s really strong.
Q. Inbee would be the fifth winner from Korea in the last eight majors. How proud does that make you of Korean golfers?
SO YEON RYU: Well, first of all, a lot of Koreans playing in this Tour, so we feel like really comfortable because we help each other a lot. Then also there’s Se Ri Pak and Inbee Park and Na Yeon Choi and a lot of players playing so great, and Inbee looks like she makes a second major win this year.
So I feel like maybe Inbee can do it, maybe I can do it. So it’s kind of really great goal, and it’s really great model, role model for me.
Suzann Pettersen, Rolex Rankings No. 8
Q. Nice way to spend your birthday with all those fans cheering for you, nice birdie at the last to finish up. Talk about your day.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: It was a good day. It’s hard to go out of the box and really not push too much and almost make mistakes and try and be patient but still aggressive. I felt like I got off to a good start, gave myself some nice looks, made a birdie on 5, made a few good par putts today actually and one bogey ‑‑ two bogeys on two of the par‑3s, one poor shot on 14. But overall my game is very solid. It was fantastic to walk along the course on each hole and people wishing me a happy birthday and singing songs. I can’t really thank them enough. I wish I could have given them something more to cheer for.
Q. Talk about if you were watching the leaderboard, Inbee kept adding birdies on. Was it tough to watch the margin staying about the same?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I haven’t really paid too much attention to what’s been going on. I think I heard somebody say she started birdie‑birdie. The way she’s been playing, I know her, she doesn’t make too many mistakes and she would have to have an awful day in the office and you would have to play out of your shoes on a Sunday in a major. But you never know, and you’ve got to try and mutt some pressure on. She’s been playing good all year. She’s a good winner.
This is probably going to be my one and only opportunity to try and win a major championship on my birthday. I don’t know if that’s going to ever happen again the way it’s kind of mapped out. Overall I’m pretty happy with the performance. Like I said, you don’t really win major championships with three good rounds and one lousy round. But I felt like I kept my composure, my attitude pretty good all week.
Stacy Lewis, Rolex Rankings No. 1
Q. What do you look forward to the most about 2013?
STACY LEWIS: Just a lot of events to play still. I’ve won twice already and just kind of gotten off to a really good start, so I’m excited. We still have four majors left, and Solheim is probably even a higher importance than those majors. We’ve got a lot of good stuff coming this year.
Q. Since you’ve taken the No. 1 ranking, what kind of attention have you received in the golf world or even outside of it?
STACY LEWIS: It’s been crazy. I expected to get the attention at the tournaments and at the course, but I’ve been surprised at things off the course, just going into a Walgreen’s or a CVS and getting recognized, it’s kind of surprising, so it’s definitely been a little bit of an adjustment.
Q. You’ll be making the rounds on some national interviews coming up soon?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah. I’m actually going to the Masters next week for the Golf Writers Awards, and we’re stopping in Atlanta to do something at CNN. We’re going to get some recognition for this Tour, and right now I guess I’m the face of it.
Q. Going to spend some time with Dr. Sanjay Gupta?
STACY LEWIS: That’s right.
Q. What’s your assessment of Inbee’s performance so far?
STACY LEWIS: I’ve seen Inbee do this before. I played with her at Evian last year when she had I think 22 or 23 putts in the final round. When she rolls it, you can’t beat her. She’s the best putter on Tour. The course here is a little softer than normal, so I think that’s to her advantage. She doesn’t hit it quite as high as some other people, but when she’s rolling it you’re not going to beat her.
Lizette Salas, Rolex Rankings No. 40
Q. Probably not the day you were looking for. Just talk about how it went for you.
LIZETTE SALAS: Well, obviously I’m not very pleased with it. Very disappointed in myself. But it was one of those days where it could have gone from bad to worse, and starting off with a double wasn’t in the game plan, but everyone is going to have those days where they’re just not going to be able to score, and bad luck, it was the last day of a major championship for me.
You know, I have to look at the bright side, and learning from Inbee, there’s a reason why she’s No. 4 in the world. It’s just a learning experience for me, and I’m really upset, but I just have to look back and say look how far I’ve come from last year to this year.
There’s lots of positives, and you just have to ‑‑ I just have to dig deeper and figure out what happened today and just the shots weren’t there.
Q. If you would just take us through the first hole. It kind of changed the outlook of the day with Inbee birdieing and you had a double. What happened on the second shot?
LIZETTE SALAS: The second shot, it just came a little too quick. Throughout the day I was just really anxious and hit a lot of pulls today and was ‑‑ it was just not myself today. But I did all the preparation I could. I hit the ball great on the range. It just doesn’t happen. I couldn’t control everything today, and I tried to finish with a birdie, and unfortunately it didn’t happen.
Q. How nice was it to have so many supporters out there who I know have your back?
LIZETTE SALAS: No, it was great. You know, if it wasn’t for them, it probably would have gone way worse today. But knowing that they came to watch me play, I just tried to keep smiling for them, and even though I was very angry inside and very frustrated, I tried not to let it show because they came here to support me, and I just couldn’t ask for better fans. That’s why I’m here on the LPGA is to bring more fans and bring smiles to kids’ faces.
Lydia Ko, Rolex Rankings No. 25
Q. Another great week for you. Talk about your experience and what you’ll hopefully take away from it.
LYDIA KO: Low am was one of my goals coming in so I’m very happy and excited to get low am. I think I played really well out there but thought I struggled with my putting but when I look back to it, I only missed one or two within nine feet. So it was just the birdie putts I was struggling with. I finished well and that is the biggest thing for me.