Beatriz Recari (Spain) 65 (-6)
Congratulations on a terrific round. Maybe a feeling of déjà vu as leader of the Finnair Masters?
Yes. I love this tournament. I had two weeks off before this tournament and I was visualising it and really looking forward to coming here again; remembering good memories.
I wrote in my blog that I was looking forward to this week. It was just, not magical but it was such an enjoyable round. I was enjoying every shot, every hole, it was great.
Every shot until the very last hole, that putt at the last.
It was probably lack of concentration with the driver. Overall I think I did a great job mental wise on every single shot. I’m not going to punish myself for a bogey on the last because six-under is quite good and I have a good feeling for tomorrow.
Is that your best round?
No, seven under. But the feeling is as if it was my best round because it was playing very short when I shot seven-under. It was pretty much three out of four par fives were reachable so it’s a better feeling here. It’s Finland so it’s going to be the best round for me.
To be leading after round one, you were in this position last year but just missed out. I suppose the aim now is to get your first win?
Yes exactly. It’s been very close and I’ve seen myself very close but making stupid mistakes. I think I’ve learned my lesson and that’s my aim now. I want to keep my first position.
I understand you’re from Pamplona. Have you avoided running with the bulls?
My father says that it is for cowards. I’ve seen it many times but just from the balcony.
They don’t look like cowards to me.
That’s just for foreigners and a few men. I just stay behind the ropes.
How do you feel about the condition of the course?
The whole course is fantastic. It’s much better than last year. I think last year we had preferred lies as well, but not this year. It shows how good the fairways are and the greens are magnificent, except 13 but it gets a little shade so it’s understandable. I think it really suits my game because I’m a very good putter and they roll very well so you get a really good feel for what the putt is going to do. I think it suits me very well. I love this course.
At the start, how did you feel?
I had a very good feeling this morning; I was feeling confident. I started with a birdie. I was just enjoying it. Since I came here I had a good feeling and felt it was going to be a very good tournament for me. I was here before and I have learned from my mistakes. I wasn’t trying anymore. I was just focusing on staying calm. One shot at a time, sounds very easy but it’s very difficult to do.
Has the mental game improved?
I learned from my inexperience in being at the top. I was looking too much at the leader board. As I said, I was very good at holding back. I have worked mentally since I was 11 so I have some experience there and know what to do when in an uncomfortable situation or under pressure. I think I did it today and the result is there.
How has your season been so far?
It’s been very good. I have played consistently good. It has been progressively better. When I was in Australia at the beginning of the year I had a wrist injury and it has been a pain until June. I had to skip Spain and I got some treatment and I’m much better now. I don’t feel anything. Considering that and the level of my game I think I’ve made huge progress in comparison to last year.
You made seven birdies. What were the main causes?
My putting. I was very confident with my putting but I was leaving it close. I holed two long putts but seven and five, were birdie chances. I was very confident and the greens are great. I was making what I was seeing. I had 27 putts and hit 15 greens.
What would you call a birdie chance?
I would say three metres and under. That’s a reasonable birdie chance.
On which courses have you grown up playing golf?
North, in Cuasti. That’s my home course but I am sponsored by Arcos Gardens where I spent my weeks off during the year practising. That is where I have worked a lot on my game this year.
Do you have some kind of love affair with this golf course?
A great love affair. My boyfriend understands. As I said I am very confident here.
Are you normally a great putter?
Well I think you have to have both. You have to have a good second shot to the green and putting because you can’t make many birdie putts from 20 metres. The greens here are not very big or they have shapes so I think it suits me well because I am very good with my irons and second shots and as I said I was playing great today.
Becky Brewerton (Wales) 67 (-4)
Q. How pleased are you with the first round?
I’m very happy. I played pretty good. I felt really relaxed and calm and it was nice after the furore of last week.
Q. How much practise did you get in?
I used the pro am as my practise round as I wasn’t going to do too much this week. Literally that’s all I’ve done. I know the course well anyway as we’ve played here quite a few times. I didn’t need to know much more. It was nice to play one round before we started.
Q. It took a while to get the birdies coming. Why?
It was pretty sort of boring almost, the front nine. I would either hit the green or just miss on the edge and leave myself fairly easy shots. I didn’t really get going I suppose. Then on the back nine I got on a good run. Those par fives on the back nine always give you a chance as well so it kick starts your round and gets you going.
Q. You holed a few long putts. How important were they?
I putted very, very well but could maybe have made a few more on the front nine. I was pretty happy that I had 27 putts. That’s always pretty good.
Q. Do you think four-under is good enough to lead at the end of the day?
I was actually surprised that I was this high up. I thought that there would be quite a few low scores and there could well still be because it’s absolutely perfect. There’s no wind and the course is there for the taking I think.
Q. Did you enjoy playing with Minnie (Blomqvist)?
Yes. It’s nice. She won last year and I didn’t get to play with her last year but as I was reminded in the press conference this week, we came on tour the same year. She is obviously playing in the States but it’s nice to see her back here and she’s a great player.
Q. What are your plans for next year?
On TV you said you planned to stay in Europe.
Yes, I will. Firstly, because I wanted to try to win the money list this year. Obviously that meant playing in as many events as possible. Secondly; I actually think that Europe in my opinion is looking just as strong, if not stronger, than the States is at the moment. I’m not sure how many tournaments they’ve got next season but it doesn’t seem to be as many as normal. We’ve got quite a few and Alex has done great work. I think it’s more than convincing enough to want to stay here.
Q. It was pars all the way but then the birdies started to flow today?
It took a while to get going. I made some good pars on the front nine. There were possibly a couple where I could have made birdie but the back nine got me going and those extra par fives on the back nine I think gave me a bit more incentive to make some birdies.
Q. Four under par gives you a solid platform for the next two rounds?
I’m very happy with that to be honest. It was pretty steady and then it was just one long putt really that got me going. I could have possibly birdied every hole coming in after that. It doesn’t take much to get your round going. I definitely would have taken that at the start of the day.
Q. How are you feeling physically after coming back from America?
Today is probably the first day I’ve felt normal again. The rest of the week so far I’ve been in a bit of a daze but I’ve had an unbelievably long sleep last night and felt really good this morning. I’ve probably timed it perfectly to be playing well today.
Q. So not much practise I take it?
I played the pro am before the tournament and that’s it. I haven’t done anything else which is not my normal preparation for a tournament but it just goes to show that when you’re confident and you feel good it doesn’t seem to make much difference. It definitely wouldn’t be my normal routine at the start of a tournament.
Q. You must have been confident before The Solheim Cup and you performed really well there. Do you feel there’s a spring in your step at the moment?
Definitely. Last week was really disappointing. We all felt that we should have won really. We were in a good position and everyone played pretty well. I think we felt that we could have got a little more out of ourselves considering how well we were playing. I take confidence from the fact that I still played well during the week. It would have been even better had we managed to win but it’s back to the business now and you’ve got to try and forget about it; although it has been in my mind quite a bit.
Q. I hear the goal now is to finish number one on the Henderson Money List.
Yes, definitely. At the start of the season my main goals were to get into The Solheim team and to get another win under my belt, which I’ve done already. Looking at the position that I’m in now on the money list, I really think I’ve got a great opportunity, playing in the rest of the events this season. If I can keep playing the way I have been, to have a chance to win the money list, that’s such a prestigious thing to be able to do so that would be a massive aim.
Q. The best start would be to get a win here in Finland, wouldn’t it?
That would be the perfect start, yes.
Johanna Westerberg (Sweden) 67 (-4)
Q. You must be very pleased, tied for the lead with two rounds to play.
Definitely. I played really solid all day; hit most of the fairways and hit all the greens so that makes it a lot easier. I just realised that when I did the statistics sheet.
Q. The break must have done you good. What have you been doing for the last two weeks?
For a whole week I did absolutely nothing. I watched the athletics on the TV then the second week I was practising a little bit. I played a few rounds and was taking it easy. I’ve been to the gym a few times just to get the body going again. I just relaxed mentally.
Q. You finished second here in 2007. What is it about this golf course that suits your game?
I think the layout suits my game really. I really like this golf course. I think its fun to play. I think it’s a challenging golf course. You have to put yourself in the right places. If you’re on the wrong side of the fairway or the wrong side of the pin you’re into trouble. We’ve been playing really smart today. I was putting well as well. When we’ve had the tricky putts I’ve managed to put them close enough to hole the second one. It’s been really solid today.
Q. Would you say an important thing on this course is to be in the right place on the green?
Definitely. You can have so many extremely quick downhill putts if you’re not careful. I would say it’s much better to have a longer putt uphill than a short putt uphill a lot of the time. We managed to do that most of the time so it was good.
Q. Was there a key moment in your round?
I three-putted nine unfortunately. I missed a short one. I had a little spike mark and I think it touched my ball a little bit. I missed a short one from about a metre. But then I managed to hole a pretty decent putt on the 10th for birdie so I got it back straight away, which felt nice. Then I had a really good tee shot on the 11th so I made a birdie there. That just felt good. I got the dropped shot back and was playing really well.
Q. How long was the putt on the 10th?
It was seven or eight metres: a good putt to hole. It was easy today!
Q. So you just spoke about your pregnancy. Congratulations. How far along are you?
Five months now.
Q. When is the baby due?
In the beginning of next year.
Q. How is it going?
It’s going great. I’ve been feeling good pretty much all the way through. I’ve just been a little tired from time to time but no sickness or anything. I’ve been able to play as much as I want to and practise. I don’t practise as much, I must admit.
Q. Quality rather than quantity?
Yes. It’s going well. I think it probably helps because you have something that’s more important in your life. It helps you to relax a bit on the course. I will play for as long as I can this year and get back when the season starts next year.
Q. When do you think you will play up until?
I don’t know if I’m going to play Italy or not. I haven’t decided. I’m just going to wait until the deadline for that one. I’ll be seven months and that will be pushing it since I’ll need a certificate to fly. We’ll see. Madrid might be the last one. I’ll see how I feel.
Q. Are you planning to play next year?
Yes I am. We’ll see how everything goes and how I feel. Hopefully I’ll be back for the start of the season. I see we have Morocco in March already so that might be a bit early. If I feel good I might go and play for fun and be ready for May. I’ve spoken to a few of the girls, Mimi and Paula and they said as long as you feel fine you’re okay and you can start playing.
Q. Look what happened to Catriona Matthew!
I know. We will see how everything goes. I am definitely planning on playing on tour.
Q. Will you bring the baby on tour?
Most of the time at least. We will work something out.
Q. Do you know if it will be a boy or a girl?
We’ll see when it pops out. You never know until it pops out. It will be the beginning of next year. It’s really exciting.
Bettina Hauert (Germany) 68 (-3)
Q. How pleased are you with the start?
I’m very pleased with the start of this tournament, especially with the wind two years ago. I’m glad that my game is coming back together and I’m constantly improving over the season. I can see that the effort I’ve put in over the last month is paying off.
Q. What can you tell me about the effort you have been putting in?
I’ve been doing physical training, mental training, I have a new sports psychologist which is really helpful, Eva Pfaff, a former tennis player.
Q. What have you been working on?
I’ve done a lot of work on my short game because that has always been the weakest part of my game. I’ve done some good saves today. It makes me happy that I see what I’m doing on the practise round comes to the course.
Q. What have you been doing wrong?
Coming from 2007 being a really good season, I practised too much to recover. Then I didn’t do enough to keep playing well. I should have had a bigger break to be fresh and strong for the next season. I lost a bit of the fun and didn’t feel good but kept on playing and that was one of the biggest mistakes I’ve made. If I feel that golf is not giving me pleasure anymore I will take a break. At the moment I’m enjoying it again and I’m even having fun practising which I usually don’t have that much, as anyone could tell you.
Q. Why are you enjoying it?
My friends and coaches, especially my physio, gave me the fun back. All the physical training is giving me pleasure. First of all it was fun during practise and now it’s coming to the course. It’s all coming together.
Q. How did you change your physical routine?
Well I really started doing something about it. I got back into it.