Kia ClassicAviara Golf ClubCarlsbad, Calif.Final-round notes and interviewsMarch 24, 2013
Rolex Rankings No. 45 Beatriz Recari (@BeatrizRecari) has been known as the “Iron Woman” of late for her consistency and on Sunday, she used a gritty performance to hold off I.K. Kim in a two-hole playoff to win her second-career LPGA victory at the Kia Classic (@LPGAKiaClassic).
Recari, who was bogey-free for the first three rounds in Carlsbad, turned in three bogeys and one birdie in regulation including a bogey on the 18th where she missed a four-foot par putt to win. After her win, Recari admitted to that her nerves were not nearly as calm as they were during her first win back in 2010.
“I don’t think I’m any close to calm right now,” said Recari. “It’s the opposite. Every victory is different and this is just amazing and I can’t believe it. It’s been really hard work and it’s definitely paid off and I’m really happy.”
Recari and Kim both bogeyed the first playoff hole on No. 18 but Recari didn’t let her blunders on the green get in her head.
“Well, I said I still have another chance and I was still in it, and I had a good memory from my only playoff as a professional and I won, so Andreas told me, ‘You’ve done this before and you know that green,’” said Recari. “I don’t know if it’s because of the shade, it was definitely quicker than I thought in first two attempts that I had and fortunately I read it correctly the last one and I’m just very happy.”
Iron Woman: When asked about where her strong sense of determination comes from and how she’s become such a gritty player on the course, Recari credits her upbringing in Spain.
“It just comes I think comes from my family. I was raised by my grandma who, she was tough, and my mom, too. In Spain when women marry, they don’t lose their name so I had actually my father’s name and my mom’s name, and she always told me, you’re Eransus, you’re not Recari, you’re Eransus, you’re tough. So I just told myself, you know, I’m not a hundred percent, I’m not feeling very bad but definitely not hundred percent so I just have to grind it out and just do it and just do my best.”
Looking forward: After bogeying No. 18 in regulation to move to 9-under par, I.K. Kim thought she was done for the day. The South Korean and three-time LPGA Tour winner said she didn’t have much regret the way she played the final hole twice over again in the playoff.
“Well, I never thought I could play that hole again and again, but I did that,” said Kim. “Hit good shots. The second shot is pretty tricky and the last one I had a great chance, too. It was the right club, but we didn’t get that wind kind of, it was kind of gusting on off and we didn’t catch that, so it came out a little short and it had a good chance but she made a good putt.”
Kim, who lives 15 minutes away from Aviara Golf Club says it would’ve been special to win in the San Diego area but feels that her game is coming together.
“Yeah, it would have been great if I had won, you know, but I played well this week and even last week I played well, so I think I’m going in the right direction and I just think I’m working on the right things,” said Kim. You know, it’s getting better, so I’m very excited about this season.”
The next event on the Tour’s schedule is the first major of the season at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, where Kim missed a 1-foot putt to win her first major championship a year ago. She said she’s hoping to take her best game to Rancho Mirage and hopefully use the support of well-wishers to help her win her first major.
“Yeah, you know a lot of people are rooting for me, so I just want to go out there and play my game and nothing else, just have fun,” said Kim. “It’s great to have opportunity to win a championship.”
Oh so close…Rolex Rankings No. 1 Stacy Lewis’ bid for a third straight victory fell just a bit short on Sunday.
Lewis found trouble with the water hazards during her final round. After moving into a tie for the lead with a birdie on the 10th, Lewis found the water on the par-3 11th and wound up with a double-bogey. It was then trouble with the water on the 18th that officially eliminated any hopes she had of capturing another victory.
The last player to win three straight on the LPGA Tour was Lorena Ochoa, who actually won four straight in 2008 (Safeway International Presented by Coca-Cola, March 27-30; Kraft Nabisco Championship, April 3-6; Corona Championship, April 10-13; Ginn OPEN, April 17-20)
Golden ticket winners: I.K. Kim, Pornanong Phatlum and Mo Martin 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: “Yeah, well for me it’s just a matter of building a good team and I’m very fortunate to have him because I think he’s very good at what he does. It has nothing to do with he’s my boyfriend or not. He’s really good at what he does and he deserves to get the credit. I know that he’s always going to do his best regardless.” –On what it’s like to win with her boyfriend, Andreas Thorp, caddying for her
BEATRIZ RECARI, Rolex Rankings No. 45
MODERATOR: All right. We’d like to welcome the 2013 Kia Classic winner, Beatriz Recari, into the interview room. Congratulations, your second career LPGA Tour victory and I know this one was very emotional and very sweet for you. Just take me through what it means to have another victory under your belt and the emotions you were going through out there after your win. BEATRIZ RECARI: Yeah, it was very emotional. You know, I guess each time is different and today I had a 2-shot lead and I wasn’t getting any putts dropping and I was making sure that I positioned the ball well. But I don’t know, maybe the pins were a little more protected or I just wasn’t leaving them close enough and I missed a chance on 5, dropped a shot on 6, and then I guess I didn’t have as good momentum as the first three rounds, and I made a good save on 12 and 13, and then after that I saw I was tied for the lead and I just tried to keep myself calm and focused in on doing just one shot at a time, which sometimes is really hard. And I made a good birdie on 16 and then, you know, unfortunately I 3-putted 18 for a playoff. It was a little bit more rough than the first three days for sure, so I’m very happy that I could finish it the way I did.
MODERATOR: Both you and I.K. had trouble on 18 in regulation and both bogeyed to send it to a playoff. What kind of was your emotions like right after that moment of knowing that you had a par putt to win, then have to get yourself back into the mode for the playoff? How were you able to get yourself back in that moment and not be too upset about that? BEATRIZ RECARI: Well, I said I still have another chance and I was still in it, and I had a good memory from my only playoff as a professional and I won, so Andreas told me, You’ve done this before and you know that green. I don’t know if it’s because of the shade, it was definitely quicker than I thought in first two attempts that I had and fortunately I read it correctly the last one and I’m just very happy.
MODERATOR: I know you’ve earned the nickname the Iron Woman out here on Tour just for your consistency and your ability to play in every event, but I know you’ve been battling a little bit of illness this week or whatever. What is it about you that you just seem to grit it out and be able to come up with a victory even on a week where you were definitely not feeling your best? BEATRIZ RECARI: It just comes I think comes from my family. I was raised by my grandma who, she was tough, and my mom, too. In Spain when women marry, they don’t lose their name so I had actually my father’s name and my mom’s name, and she always told me, you’re Eransus, you’re not Recari, you’re Eransus, you’re tough. So I just told myself, you know, I’m not a hundred percent, I’m not feeling very bad but definitely not hundred percent so I just have to grind it out and just do it and just do my best.
Q. I’m wondering, 2-over par and you win a tournament. How does that come into play as far as the emotions of getting this thing done today? BEATRIZ RECARI: They were the only three bogeys that I made all week. I mean, I was playing very solid and I was managing to do very good up-and-downs and make those putts and that was the difference today. I just told myself, not be hard on myself. I dropped shots, it’s okay, everybody does, I’m human, just kind of continue and have a positive attitude. All I care is that I’m holding this one now.
Q. What you have been sick with this week? BEATRIZ RECARI: Oh, last week I was not feeling a hundred percent and I don’t know if it’s a mix of allergies. I saw a doctor and he told me I had a little sinus infection, so I’ve been taking antibiotics until Thursday and tomorrow I’m just going to go to the doctor to check that I’m fully recovered, but it’s not a major issue. I guess it’s just traveling.
Q. Going back to 18, obviously a really difficult hole out here, you had played it well previous to today. After the bogey the first time, was there any change in mindset as far as what you want to do the second time? And then the third time you really challenged obviously the pin and that right side. Were there different mindsets the different times you played it? BEATRIZ RECARI: No, on my 18th hole I hit 3-wood off the tee because we felt — my caddie and I felt that it wasn’t hurting as much as the other days and I played driver the other days and I hit 3-wood and I had, I don’t remember, like 160. But when I hit it, it didn’t feel like it was hurting that much, it was just off the left or barely anything. So I hit 6-iron like into any other green. And then I hit a good putt, the first putt, it was all the way uphill and it just went by faster than I thought.
Like I said, I don’t know if it’s because of the grandstands that put a lot of shade on the green that it was faster, but definitely it got me by surprise. And I hit a good putt coming by. I guess playing late and it’s a little bit more bumpy after all the players have played and I hit the putt and kind of just missed the hole. First playoff hole, the same thing, I hit 3-wood and because of distance I hit a 5-hybrid. Definitely because the pin was on the right, I want to make sure, if anything, I miss left and I did that, and that putt again was all the way uphill and same thing, like went by a little bit more, and coming back and just missed.
Again, 3-wood and I hit a 6-iron and yeah, I was a little bit more aggressive. I think my caddie treat me a little bit, I think he put me more toward the right, more toward the pin because we agreed that we were going to the big Kia and that started at the pin, so I think he led me a little more to the right. I hit okay shot and I just missed the green and I made the putt. It’s golf.
Q. The read on the putt, (inaudible)? BEATRIZ RECARI: It was a lot going on. Yeah, I had a good feeling, but like the same as the other putts that didn’t go in, you know, the other ones went by, missed the hole and this one went in. Like I say is that I had the same process in every shot, nothing different, and, you know, I’m always trying to do my best and I’m just happy that it dropped in.
MODERATOR: You just talked about your caddie. You guys have a unique relationship that’s not always the case with most players and caddies in the fact that he’s not just your caddie, he’s also your boyfriend. What has he meant to you in having him there through this victory? I know he’s been on your bag for quite some time now.
BEATRIZ RECARI: Yeah, well for me it’s just a matter of building a good team and I’m very fortunate to have him because I think he’s very good at what he does. It has nothing to do with he’s my boyfriend or not. He’s really good at what he does and he deserves to get the credit. I know that he’s always going to do his best regardless. And it’s a person obviously that I know and that is close to me, so on the course I just feel relaxed and I like it because he definitely knows me very well and he knows when I want to talk and when I don’t and we have a very good teamwork.
MODERATOR: So far this year I know there’s been a lot of — you’ve been playing well and finally to get this victory, but to be playing this well leading into the first major of the year, how big is that for you? BEATRIZ RECARI: It is, it means a lot. I mean, to get that second win, it’s great because you win once and it’s fantastic and then you start thinking oh, my God, it’s like am I going to win again. But ever since it’s been a big process of just developing and getting better and that’s been really it. I think I got a lot of good positive feedback from last year. I thought my goal this year was to work on my short game, my putting. I didn’t think my short game was at the level that I wanted it to be and that’s what we did and kind of keep on working on the same things and it definitely worked. I started off with a very hot start with a tied for 4th in Australia and tied for 3rd in Thailand, and I’m very happy to get this win. It is a lot to have a week off now to kind of relax and prepare for the major and it feels great to kind of continue with this performance.
Q. Did you hear the people in the stands saying ole ole ole? And also lots of emotions afterwards. Can you kind of take us through why so emotional at the end there? BEATRIZ RECARI: I heard a little noise but probably I was kind of like deaf at the same time. I was like in the state of like, I don’t know, disbelief but just very, very happy. And always a playoff is extra stress and you know, I was very emotional. The first thing I thought is all those people that have been there with me no matter what, and I’m very fortunate to have them in my life because there are a lot of people in the right times and they just get close to you and they’ve been through the good and the bad. And I’ve had a lot of people to encourage me and they’ve always been on my side and I’m just so happy. People that really care for me, that’s the most important thing and that’s what I just kind of came in my mind. And at the same time I was just couldn’t believe that the ball was in the hole and like it was over and that I won. It was a lot. Part of it I still don’t remember. Just a lot of emotions. It’s a different win, it’s my first in a playoff. It’s a lot of different things, different situation. I’m definitely more emotional than my first and I don’t know what my third will bring.
Q. Half of my question you just answered right there, which was were you surprised to see the ball in the hole after you hit it after what had happened on the previous two occasions? BEATRIZ RECARI: I mean, when I say surprised, it’s more like I can’t believe it went in, like — and I won. It was just a reaction of like it is over and it went to me like I won. I.K. is such a good player and I’m just kind of sorry for her that it had to be that way, you know, but I’m happy for myself. But she’s played so well this week and she deserves a little credit and I’m sure that she’ll win this year.
Q. Does a lot of the emotion come from the fact that you’ve worked really hard the last couple years and you didn’t know when you were going to be sitting here again? BEATRIZ RECARI: Yes, yes. You know, it was a good development, I won in my rookie year and after that I felt every year I was getting better and better. But obviously I wasn’t winning so it was just kind of not frustration but kind of like okay, I still have to obviously improve my game and kind of get it to the level where I’m consistently up there and I’m giving myself more chances so I can win more chances and I think that’s what I’ve done ever since 2010. I was feeling really good and I told my agent and I told my coach, this is going to be a good year, I feel really good. I started with a good start and that’s what I wanted, I wanted to put my name in the first page of the leaderboard consistently and give me self more chances and I’m just happy that I kind of ended up and finished up the right way
I.K. Kim, Rolex Rankings No. 21
Q. You obviously had a pretty solid day out on the course, but take me through just the regulation holes. I.K. KIM: I mean, I had a good day, I have to say. Nothing complaining, just on the back nine just made a few mistakes and reading the green was really tricky out there but I had a chance, you know. Everybody’s the same story, but it was just one of those days. Kind of even the last one, I just misread the green and all those kinds of things.
Q. What about the playoff holes, what was your feeling kind of going into it? I.K. KIM: Going into it? Well, I just had another chance because today I was like, you know, a few girls had a chance, you know, and nothing, you know what I mean?
Q. Anything you would do differently coming off the tee? I.K. KIM: Well, I never thought I could play that hole again and again, but I did that. Hit good shots. The second shot is pretty tricky and the last one I had a great chance, too. It was the right club, but we didn’t get that wind kind of, it was kind of gusting on off and we didn’t catch that, so it came out a little short and it had a good chance but she made a good putt.
Q. Was there any thought in your mind you think she had it on 18, the regulation, and did you think it was over when you finished on 18 in regulation? When you kind of came off, did you think you were done or — I.K. KIM: After 18? The regular round?
Q. Yeah, in regulation.
I.K. KIM: Not much thought. I didn’t really look at the leaderboard to see who was playing whatever. Yeah, but I didn’t really expect to, you know, to go back.
Q. Did you look at the leaderboards at all all day? I.K. KIM: Yeah, there was a few. I think there was more than restrooms. I want more restrooms than the scoreboard, but you know it was an interesting day. I was playing well and then kind of made mistake. This golf course is not a given golf course. You’ve just got to keep playing. But overall I had a good day.
Q. Take me through the stretch of the three on the back nine. The three, was it bogey, bogey, three in a row? I.K. KIM: Well, I hit a good shot. I mean, I pulled left, I did that all week on 11, which cost me a little bit, but I hit a good chip there and that one also that broke differently than what I thought.
Q. Right, they have been. I.K. KIM: That was interesting. And 12, I just run past and it was in the shade and I didn’t know it was going to break. And the next one was uphill lie. My weight was right. You know, uphill lie sometimes goes left and I didn’t think about that. I had a good number. I didn’t have good lie the third shot, so I think that was pretty lucky that I got bogey on that hole. And then the next, you’ve just got the right thing, you know, like you practiced and that’s what I did.
Q. Obviously a good week for you, you played solid all week. Going into next week and an off week, what are you kind of hoping to take away from this week that you hope you’ll take into Kraft? I.K. KIM: Yeah, it would have been great if I had won, you know, but I played well this week and even last week I played well, so I think I’m going in the right direction and I just think I’m working on the right things. You know, it’s getting better, so I’m very excited about this season.
Q. Anything for next week you’re going to practice on in particular for Kraft?
I.K. KIM: Have you walked this golf course? It’s exercise. It’s not an enjoyable walk.
Q. So a little bit of rest? I.K. KIM: Yeah, a little bit of rest.
Q. And then what are you looking forward to at Kraft? Obviously a place you had a little bit of history but played well at, too. I.K. KIM: Yeah, you know a lot of people are rooting for me, so I just want to go out there and play my game and nothing else, just have fun. It’s great to have opportunity to win a championship.