You just said on TV that you have been here before. Have to been to Melbourne before?
In Melbourne, yes, 10 years ago.
It was a bogey-free round today. You must have been happy with that.
I must be, otherwise there would be something wrong with me.
What did you do well today?
I played very solid, I putted very well and I thought very good. My thinking…I was really awake. I was on top of it. You don’t need to hit a great shot and just bomb it on the fairway. You have to place the ball.
What was the event in Melbourne 10 years ago?
It is the same (as this tournament) at Royal Melbourne.
Are you sure it wasn’t Yarra Yarra?
Yes, that’s it. Yarra. I had an air shot on my first hole. It was terrifying. I was under a tree.
This course isn’t terrifying for you?
It is. If you take things too easily it is going to eat you up.
You speak about karma on your web site. If you treat the course nicely, it will treat you nicely.
You saw my cartoon? Thank you.
You must have given the course a big cuddle today.
I try to establish a relationship with the golf course. We try to talk to each other. If you listen well and you don’t get caught up in your emotion, then the golf course really talks to you. On a difficult golf course like this one, you will have to pay attention to what it is saying at that moment. I love that. It keeps me in the game much more.
What was the course saying to you today?
It is the same thing every day. Every hole has a strategy. I can go over every hole and tell you where to play it. It does not really change day after day. It is pretty much the same. You might hit it wrong, so then we change.
Why were you doing handstands out there today?
It is a long, long story. To cut it short, it helps my back. It really pops when I do it. When I do it properly and I focus on how I do it, it helps my back tremendously. I have been doing it quite a lot lately.
Where did the idea come from?
My trainer. I have two really good trainers back in California. They introduced me to this great way of stretching.
The caddie holds your legs?
I have to learn how to do it by myself.
You just do a normal handstand he holds your legs? Does he stretch you out?
No, I stretch myself. I do push-ups and straighten my feet all the way up.
It is like traction?
Yes, exactly. It is a resistance kind of thing.
What is your caddie’s name?
What do your playing partners think about it?
I try to hide. They probably laugh. That is good. I felt embarrassed in the beginning but then I noticed that people laughed. I’m okay with it.
How many times do you have to do it?
As many as I can. When I wake up in the morning I do four or five for a few minutes.
Do you have a chronic back condition?
Who doesn’t? Who doesn’t have a bad back? I just want to find a good way to make it better. Who doesn’t have a bad posture or a shorter leg?
You will probably lead at the half-way point. Have you been in this situation before?
I was in the lead after two days of the British Open last year and then I finished 11th.
What did you learn from that experience that might help you here?
I remember the night before my third round I tried to relax too much. I went out with friends and had two or three glasses of wine. When I told that to my coach he was like, NO! You can’t do that. I said I was trying to relax, you know.
No wine tonight?
You have shot 70 and 69. Do you think you have to do that again on the weekend to win?
I’ve got to play under par. I don’t know how much.
You had a lovely round today, one under.
Yes, I played nicely. It was a very safe round. My ball striking wasn’t exactly where I needed it but I help up and my putting was very accurate.
You played well last week.
Yes. I had a few nice rounds last week. I found myself comfortable with my game. It was a good week. I enjoyed it a lot.
Have you been to Australia before?
Yes, it is my third time. I know a little bit about Australia and I enjoy it here as well. It is nice to come back.
Have you played these Sand Belt courses before?
I have. Not this one but them other two in the last two years and I found them quite challenging. I have learned to get on a little bit better and to trust my game, you know, and play shot by shot and do whatever I can. We’ll see how it goes.
How tall are you?
I am 170.
What do you weigh?
I think about 55 kilos. I won’t tell you my bra size.
I’ve already guessed that. How did your round come together today?
Pretty nicely. It was very steady. Just a few bogeys. Everything was quite steady and my putter was the best part of it.
What is the difference between your play today and over the last two years here?
I think I have developed my game over the last two years. Everything has got a little bit better. When everything gets better, all of a sudden the scores change by two shots. It don’t know that it is something special. Everything has changed a little bit.
How have your results changed in the last year or so?
In the last few tournaments I have played very steadily. I was struggling in the first half of the season last year. I did not quite feel in the tournament mode after the off-season. You just do not know what to expect when you go out there. This time I felt I have prepared myself a little better going into tournaments and I practised more seriously on the course before I came here. That helped me.
What were your best results in 2009?
Last year I finished 13th at the Italian Open in October.
Do you have any status apart from the LET?
No, I am just playing on the LET. I have not tried yet to qualify for the LPGA. I might as well get ready first and be sure I know I can trust my game. As soon as I am ready I am going to try.
How is your trust?
Well, it is good right now but it needs to be good at Q-school.
What in particular have you figured out about playing these courses?
Usually the greens are really firm and very slopey and you have traps all around. You really need to know where to put your ball on the green. Also, you have to hit the shot and get it there. I feel I have to be precise if I want to make a lot of birdies.
Do you feel your game is improving? Do you feel confident the way you are playing at the moment?
Yes, definitely. In New Zealand I played very well except for the last day. I had a really good week and my game was very good. I feel I have improved and I feel comfortable right now. I will do a little work this afternoon and see how I go. You never know what you are to going to get the next day.
Does it worry you when you see your name on the leader board with Laura Davies and Karrie Webb? Do you feel content and happy about it?
I try to not look around a lot. I try to focus on my game. Whenever I feel uncomfortable I tell myself, Just one shot at a time. It does not matter who you are playing with, it doesn’t matter where you are at, it doesn’t matter which hole it is, you just play one stroke at a time, as good as you can.
How far do you hit your driver?
About 240-250 yards with the roll.
Yesterday was a scrappy day. You shot even par and got through. Today was a much better day?
I’d say so. I had better feel out there. My swing felt more instinctive that it did yesterday. It was a very solid round. I put myself in with a chance on the weekend.
How to you pull yourself together when you were plus three after half a dozen holes yesterday? Is it a mental thing or does your swing fail?
My swing was off and my body does not like the cold as much as it likes the heat. I was a little sluggish yesterday morning. I was not getting my yardages right which made it really hard to pick clubs…I put my head down and decided to try to get back to even. The way I was playing I did not really think that was possible. I woke up a bit on the back nine and fortunately got it back to even.
Do you think you played better than 70 today?
Yes and no. I gave myself a lot of chances today and hit a lot of good putts. Late in the afternoon the greens get a little bumpy. I threw one away there on 13 which is very disappointing. But it’s Friday. If it happened on Sunday you would be kicking yourself.
Was it a bumpy green or a bad putt?
The first one was a bad putt and then the second one was just lazy. There was a pitch mark in front of me and I did not take the time to fix it. It hit that and then the left edge of the hole.
You seem to be making a lot more putts.
Yes, the putter feels really good in my hands at the moment. I feel like I have a good chance of making them, which is a nice feeling.
Do you feel confident about the weekend?
Yes. At the moment I think I am, three back. I’m not sure how windy it is going to be this weekend. I thought it would be windy here this afternoon. Three shots is not that much to make up over the weekend.
Would it worry you if it got windy?
No. It’ll make it tougher and make everyone think about things more.