CME Group Titleholders Final Round Notes and Interviews

Shanshan Feng

Shanshan Feng of China poses with the trophy after winning the CME Group Titleholders at Tiburon Golf club on November 24, 2013 in Naples, Florida.

CME Group Titleholders
Tiburón Golf Club
Naples, Florida
Final-Round Notes and Interviews
November 24, 2013

Shanshan Feng -15, Rolex Rankings No. 7
Gerina Piller -14, Rolex Rankings No. 53
Inbee Park -11, Rolex Rankings No. 1
Stacy Lewis -10, Rolex Rankings No. 3
Lydia Ko -4, Rolex Rankings No. 5

China’s Shanshan Feng outdueled a star-studded leaderboard at the season-ending CME Group Titleholders in Naples, Fla. for her third-career victory. Feng shot one of the low rounds of the day on Sunday with a bogey-free 6-under 66 to finish at 15-under 273, one shot ahead of American and third-round co-leader Gerina Piller. Feng takes home the Tour’s largest winner’s check this season with $700,000 and crossed the $4 million mark in career earnings ($4,057,656.50).

The win marks Feng’s second victory in her last four starts, and she finished the 2013 season on a string of solid performances. Her final four events included a win at the Reignwood LPGA Classic, runner-up at the Sime Darby Malaysia, a tie for eighth at the Mizuno Classic and a win this week in Naples.

“I think it was a magic when I won in China, I had a little luck on the second shot on 18th hole and I made the eagle,” said Feng. “I think it started from that win again I got confidence back, and I did really well in Malaysia, too. I was like ‘Oh, no, I only have two more tournaments this season, so I hope I still have 10 more so I can keep up the good game, but I'm still really happy.”

Feng started the final round two shots off the lead and picked up four of her six birdies on her first six holes.

“Even though I didn't set my goal as winning in the beginning but I started the round really strong, I was 4‑under through 6 and I knew I was up there and the pressure was starting to get in my mind,” said Feng. “As you could see, I didn't make many putts.  Even though my iron game was really, really accurate, I think that's why I won.”

Feng made the turn at 13-under-par and had Piller, Pornanong Phatlum and Sandra Gal trailing on her heels on the back nine. She held a two-shot lead through 12 holes until Gal and Piller both birdied the par-4 14th hole and Phatlum cut to within one with a birdie of her own on 15.

After an eight-hole birdie drought, Feng picked up her final two birdies on Nos. 15 and 17 to give her a one-shot lead heading to the 18th hole. Piller, who was playing one group behind Feng in the final pairing, hit a phenomenal second shot on the par-4 18th leaving her with a 10-foot birdie putt to force a playoff.

“The second shot, it was kind of on an upslope so I figured if I just get it up in the wind the more it will carry, and the higher I hit it the softer it's going to land,” said Piller. “I had some juices going so I just took a 7 iron and that's what you practice for.  So I just stood over it and said just trust yourself and I hit it pretty good and it ended up really good. The putt, I thought it was going right, I didn't know it was going to break that much, and just I was happy with the way I hit the putt, I just didn't read enough break.”

Feng clinched her second win of the season, a goal she set at the beginning of 2013 and finally achieved at the very last event on the schedule. It was the first time in her seven-year career the China native notched two wins in one season.

“I had a goal early this year with winning two tournaments on the LPGA and I got one in China,” said Feng. “I actually didn't think I was going to achieve my goal, but I made it at the last minute at the last tournament in Florida, so I'm really, really happy.”

Breakout season… It’s been quite the year for three-year LPGA Tour member Gerina Piller. With a runner-up finish at this week’s CME Group Titleholders, Piller finished the 2013 season with eight top-10 finishes, her best season yet. Though she was close to capturing her first breakthrough win in Naples, Fla. this week, Piller says being in the lead heading into Sunday’s final round was great experience. 

“Absolutely.  I've never led an LPGA event and I did, I guess, LPGA Championship for one hole and I didn't know I was leading so that doesn't count,” said Piller. “So to come out and grind like I did and give myself an opportunity to force a playoff, I'm pretty excited about that.  I'm excited that I'm done for the year.”
Piller, who was a captain’s pick for this year’s U.S. Solheim Cup Team, says the experience kick-started her stellar play this year and helped her deal with the pressure of in the lead position.

“Well, I'm ecstatic just to be where I am and just to make the Solheim Cup has always been a dream of mine,” said Piller. “I didn't think it was going to happen so soon and hopefully it's just the first of many for me to play.  I'm really excited for my year.  Just felt like my game is very consistent this year and this tournament was huge, it kind of gives me momentum going into next year.”

Finishing on a high note: Rolex Rankings No. 1 Inbee Park capped off her historic year of 2013 with just another solid performance at the season-finale CME Group Titleholders and continued her theme of playing filled with happiness. She finished fifth  after shooting a 4-under 68. Feng said one of the highlights of her year was delivering her Rolex Player of the Year speech on Friday night at the Rolex Awards Celebration.

“I was just really happy,” said Park. “You can tell by my scores I played really good on the weekend.  I was a lot more relieved and felt a lot more relaxed.  I really enjoyed my time being up there and having a speech and sharing the moment that I had this year with a lot of people and I think it was a very special moment and I can do that every year if I get a chance to.”

Park hopes to continue her stellar play throughout the offseason and into her seventh season on Tour in 2014. She said she’ll cherish every week she gets to see her name with the No. 1 next to it in the world rankings.

“It's just going to be a continuous of this year I think,” said Park. “Nothing really changes.  I think I'll probably remain in the No. 1 spot, so that's good for another few months.  I'm just going to enjoy my time being up there.  Doesn't matter how long I'm going to be staying up there but just try to enjoy myself when I'm up there.”

The debut is done: Lydia Ko was relieved to finally get her first professional event under her belt this week in Naples and the New Zealand was critical of her T21 finish. She recorded rounds of 71-71-72-70 to finish 4-under 284.

“I had so many chances to play much better, so I'm a bit disappointed in that,” said Ko. “I think my goal was to not make any doubles and I made three, which made that bad, too.  I didn't have a really good front nine apart from today, so I think that kind of ‑‑ like that didn't make a good start to the day.  But I know I finished strong on the back nine score wise.  I've learned a lot of things this week, and yeah, I'm pretty happy that my first week is gone.  It's not a week that comes again, so yeah, I'm glad that it's over and then I can start a whole new career.”

Ko said she didn’t feel nervous all week and is looking forward to a bit of a break before starting her rookie season in 2014. Ko plans on starting at the season-opening Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic in the Bahamas. She earned $16,063 in her professional debut this week with her T21 finish and knows there will be much more money to be made in her upcoming years on Tour.

“No, I didn't think about money at all this week, which is great,” said Ko. “I hope to continue to maintain that for the rest of my career.  No, I'm not playing for money.  Obviously I am, but I'm playing because I love the sport and I love just being out here.” 

Tweet of the Day: “’@Golfweek_Baldry: “The holidays start now.” -@themichellewie walking of the 18th #amen’ Woohoo!” -@themichellewie

 

INBEE PARK, Rolex Rankings No. 1

INBEE PARK:  Might not play Bahamas and start from Asia.

Q.  How relieved were you after that speech was over with?
INBEE PARK:  I was just, yeah, I was just really happy.  You can tell by my scores I played really good on the weekend.  Yeah, I was a lot more relieved and felt a lot more relaxed.  I really enjoyed my time being up there and having a speech and sharing the moment that I had this year with a lot of people and I think it was a very special moment and I can do that every year if I get a chance to.

Q.  What do you make of that next year for holding onto the No. 1 spot?
INBEE PARK:  Yeah, it's just going to be a continuous of this year I think.  Yeah, nothing really changes.  I think I'll probably remain in the No. 1 spot, so that's good for another few months.  I'm just going to enjoy my time being up there.  Doesn't matter how long I'm going to be staying up there but just try to enjoy myself when I'm up there.

Q.  Who do you see as your biggest competitors next season?
INBEE PARK:  Looking at this year, there is a lot more players that might be very competitive next year, but I think Suzann and Stacy are going to be very competitive next year, too.  That's one, two, three right there so I think that's going to be starting like that.

Q.  As great a year as you had this year, does that change anything in terms of what your ‑‑ you're going to be going in as defending champion of three majors.  Does that change your expectations or do you not think of next year any different?
INBEE PARK:  I mean, I thought I probably wasn't be able to play as well as last year coming into this year.  I played better this year.  There is definitely room to improve for next year and I probably have a little more pressure on me next year, but I think I have a lot of pressure this year anyways, so I think a little bit more doesn't really make a difference for me.  I think by the time goes I think I'm going to be a little bit more used to it and a little bit more mature.

Q.  Is there a favorite shot, favorite moment of the year?
INBEE PARK:  Favorite shot, I think there is a lot of good shots and good putts this year, especially a lot of good putts.  I can't really think of one, but all the major championships I won this year I won probably more than three shots except for the Wegmans.  Actually the Wegmans, the playoff part really gives me a good memory.

Q.  You say you're going back to Korea this week?
INBEE PARK:  Yes.

Q.  You'll go to Taiwan and then you'll be home?
INBEE PARK:  Yes, that's correct.

Q.  When you're at home, do you get to really relax?  I know sometimes when you go home it's sometimes more hectic than being here.
INBEE PARK:  Since I have a lot more time, it probably is going to be ‑‑ I'm going to be really busy for half of the time I'm there and half of the time I can take some time off probably.  I think I'm actually looking more forward to actually going to Australia and I think that's going to be more relaxing for me.  At home I know a lot of people going to keep me busy.

Q.  When you said you're going to Australia, what is that for?

INBEE PARK:  That's for the winter training because Korea is very cold.

Q.  Did you do that last year, too?

INBEE PARK:  No, I usually went to L.A. for practice, but this year I just wanted to make a little bit of a change and go warmer.

Q.  Where in Australia do you go?
INBEE PARK:  I go to Gold Coast.

Q.  How relieved are you that you managed to keep Suzann behind you the last couple weeks?
INBEE PARK:  Yeah, I mean, it is actually very tough to play better than her.  I mean, she proves that she can play every week out here this last few events and I thought it was almost impossible to beat her, but I managed myself out there very well and I played really good for past two weeks.  There's moments that there's putts that I really wanted to drop for last couple weeks, but it wasn't, you know, it wasn't the win but I think it was enough to finish off the year.

 

STACY LEWIS, Rolex Rankings No. 3

KELLY THESIER:  I know this was a goal of yours to win this award.  What was it like down the stretch to really compete with Suzann for this?
STACY LEWIS:  It's been stressful.  Suzann's played some amazing golf the last couple months and she definitely made me work hard and stay on my toes and got me watching scores when I probably shouldn't have been.  But the round yesterday, the 63, it was just nice to have a round like that and kind of get things out of the way so I could enjoy today a little bit more.  It's just an honor to be a part of history. 

KELLY THESIER:  First American to win this award since Beth Danielle in 1994.  For the second year in a row you had Beth out there presenting a big honor on the LPGA to you. 
What does it mean to be able to accomplish that and become the first American Player of the Year last year and Vare Trophy this year since 1994?
STACY LEWIS:  It's awesome.  I think as Americans we hear about that all the time, you know, it's been 18 years or it's been 20 years or whatever it is.  I'm just glad to kind of have that checked off the list and just ‑‑ I mean, we've got to get American golf on the map, so that's kind of been the goal and just fortunate I've been playing some good golf. 

KELLY THESIER:  Scoring average 69.484, the eighth lowest in LPGA history.  What does it mean to see such a low number to put yourself up there among the best in the game?
STACY LEWIS:  Well, I know I've been making a lot of birdies this year, so I kind of didn't realize what it was at for most of the year, but the last few months I watched it and kept noticing low numbers.  And to just be a part of history is so cool.  My name's included now with the greats of this game and it's just an honor. 

KELLY THESIER:  Another amazing year for you, three victories, 18 total Top 10 finishes.  Congratulations ‑‑ 19 now, forget about this last tournament.  Congratulations on a fabulous year and we can't way to see what's to come for you in 2014.

 

LYDIA KO, Rolex Rankings No. 5

Q.  First professional event is now complete.  How would you kind of rate the week overall?
LYDIA KO:  I had so many chances to play much better, so I'm a bit disappointed in that.  But yeah, I think my goal was to not make any doubles and I made three, which made that bad, too.  But yeah, I didn't have a really good front nine apart from today, so I think that kind of ‑‑ like that didn't make a good start to the day.  But I know I finished strong on the back nine score wise.  I've learned a lot of things this week, and yeah, I'm pretty happy that my first week is gone.  It's not a week that comes again, so yeah, I'm glad that it's over and then I can start a whole new career.

Q.  What are some things you learned from this week?
LYDIA KO:  I don't know.  Actually playing with Michelle, you know, sometimes she was in some trouble places but the way she was calm and the way she just hit it out.  And then like 17 yesterday, she was under the tree like I was but she finished with a birdie on that hole and I finished with a bogey.  Those are the kind of things I learned.  I think with experience, she obviously knows being mad about where you are is not a good thing to do.

Q.  What's next for you?  Are you going to hang in the U.S. a little bit?
LYDIA KO:  I'm going to Orlando tomorrow and then I'm playing Swinging Skirts in two weeks.

Q.  Will you take a little time off?
LYDIA KO:  After Swinging Skirts?

Q.  Um‑hmm.
LYDIA KO:  Yeah, I'll go home.  I think I'll just go home, do some practice and hang out with some friends.  Next year's going to be a long year so I don't want to overdue it.

Q.  Do you know right now what your first LPGA event is?
LYDIA KO:  It's Bahamas because the rookie session is on that Monday.

Q.  Would you say overall it's more a relief that this kind of the first week is over?
LYDIA KO:  Yeah, you know, I didn't feel that nervous this week.  I don't know if that's a good thing or not.  Yeah, like I said, I left a few out there but that means I have a bigger opportunity next year if I get to play.  Yeah, I'm just excited that it's over and really excited for next year to kind of begin.

Q.  Lydia, you'll be in the Bahamas.  Will you be able to defend the New Zealand title you won?
LYDIA KO:  The New Zealand Open is the week after.  I didn't know how my petition would go and my schedule would go, and I already said I was playing in the New Zealand Open and then I noticed I got accepted and there's a mandatory rookie session that week, so I have no choice but to play both.

Q.  Do you have any kind of time frame where you want to make some of those decisions as far as contracts and agents and things like that, when you want to get it finished up?
LYDIA KO:  It's kind of hard being away from the States or being away from home.  It's what my mum does, but it is quite hard to talk to people just through emails.  It's more comfortable when you can call and stuff and that's not something that we can do a lot right now.

Q.  By the first of the year would you like to know what you're doing?
LYDIA KO:  It would be great to like get some things sorted by Bahamas.  Obviously I don't have a sponsor right now and I don't know if that's a good thing or not.  Yeah, you know, even if I did have a sponsor it would have pretty much started from the 2014 season anyway.

Q.  Have you thought about that first check?
LYDIA KO:  No, I didn't think about money at all this week, which is great.  I hope to continue to maintain that for the rest of my career.  No, I'm not playing for money.  Obviously I am, but I'm playing because I love the sport and I love just being out here. 

Q.  I just mean actually you're going to get a check now at some point here, just the fact that that's going to be the first time you're going to have something for playing, not that you're thinking about it when you're playing.
LYDIA KO:  No, I don't know.  Yeah, I'm not directly going to get it.

Q.  Are you a saver or do you like to splurge and spend some money?
LYDIA KO:  Like I save like a little bit and then when I check my balance there's none, so I kind of use a lot when I get something.  I'm not that kind of shopper where I go, oh, I like this, I like this.  I only buy what I want.

Q.  So nothing in mind for that first purchase?
LYDIA KO:  I was going to get a camera, yeah, a Canon, and hopefully I'll be able to get one in a Taiwan when we're there.  I think better results, the better equipment and cameras I can get, right?

Q.  Document that whole rookie year, right?
LYDIA KO:  Yes.  

 

SHANSHAN FENG, Rolex Rankings No. 7

GREENSIDE QUOTES

Q.  Final round 66 proves to be enough for Shanshan Feng to win by 1 here at the CME Group Titleholders.  How were you able to put together such a masterful final round?
SHANSHAN FENG:  Well, before the round I didn't think I was going to win.  Even though I knew I was only 2 behind but I wasn't going to give myself too much pressure.  I think Top 5 is a good result, like a good ending, but I ended up with winning by 1, so it's more happy.

Q.  The last month or so you have a win, a 2nd place finish.  What seemed to click for you down the stretch?
SHANSHAN FENG:  Well, I think it was a magic when I won in China, I had a little luck on the second shot on 18th hole and I made the eagle.  I think started from that win again I got confidence back, and I did really well in Malaysia, too, and I think I'm happy.  Oh, no, I only have two more tournaments this season, so I hope I still have 10 more so I can keep up the good game, but I'm still really happy.

Q.  And the win gave you $700,000.  Was it hard not to dream about that or think about that going into the final round?
SHANSHAN FENG:  Well, even though I didn't set my goal as winning in the beginning but I started the round really strong, I was 4‑under through 6 and I knew I was up there and the pressure was starting to get in my mind.  As you could see, I didn't make many putts.  Even though my iron game was really, really accurate, I think that's why I won.

Q.  Shanshan Feng able to calm the nerves and hang on for a 1‑stroke victory at the CME Group Titleholders.  Thanks for your time.

Q.  You became a first‑time winner last year.  What were your goals for this year and what does it mean to have two wins this season?
SHANSHAN FENG:  Well, last year I won my first victory on the LPGA but that was the only one in five years so far.  I've won a few times in Japan and also in Europe, so this year I said I want to win more in the States on the LPGA, so I set a goal to win twice and I didn't win any before China, but in the last four, I won two, so that was amazing.

 

PRESS CONFERENCE

MODERATOR:  Good evening, everyone.  We would like to welcome the 2013 CME Group Titleholders winner, Shanshan Feng, into the interview room.  Congratulations.  It's got to feel pretty good to have your name said as a winner again especially at the season‑ending event.

SHANSHAN FENG:  Of course.  I had a goal early this year with winning two tournaments on the LPGA and I got one in China.  I actually didn't think I was going to achieve my goal, but I made it at the last minute at the last tournament in Florida, so I'm really, really happy.

MODERATOR:  You talked about winning in China, two wins in your last four events, seemed to really get your game going at the end of this season.  What was the difference for you in these last few events?
SHANSHAN FENG:  I think the fans, the support of the fans back in China was really, really important because I didn't think I was that popular in China, but this time we were having an LPGA in Beijing and last day we had more than 10,000 people watching and they were so excited.  So I do think that I'm not alone.  I do get support like here and back home, so I think that gave me a lot of confidence and then I just nailed it.

MODERATOR:  This week, first place prize check, $700,000, the largest on the LPGA Tour this year.  Have you already started to think about what you might do with that huge paycheck?
SHANSHAN FENG:  Not yet.  I think maybe I'll put it in the bank first and then think about what to get for myself and for my friends for Christmas.

MODERATOR:  Do you ever take those checks when you win a tournament, do you buy something for yourself or do you want to put something away or do you get something for each victory?
SHANSHAN FENG:  I will buy myself like a small present, but I'm not a person that likes to spend a lot of money.  So I'll save it in a bank first and then hopefully I have enough money after I retire I can open my own academy and have my own business.

MODERATOR:  Look at you, already thinking about plans post golf.  That's pretty impressive.
SHANSHAN FENG:  Of course.

Q.  How did the pressure today compare to the pressure in the final round in Beijing?
SHANSHAN FENG:  When I was in Beijing I was actually leading after three days, but the first hole on the final round Stacy made a birdie, so we were even.  Then like maybe after four holes she was already like 1 up and then I never caught her until the last hole.  So I was, you know, always behind.  I was always like 1 shot or 2 shots, so I really, really, really wanted to catch up.  But then that was why I missed some putts.  Then at the last hole I just got a little lucky as I didn't expect myself to hit the second shot to hit the (indiscernible), had like a three‑foot putt left for winning the tournament.  I was really, really nervous on that last putt.  I felt like I could miss it because my legs started to shake.  You know, it's a little different playing at hometown in front of all the people at home and playing in the States.  Of course I didn't get too many fans, you know, rooting for me this week, but I really like this course and I didn't think I was going to win before I started the final round today, so I didn't have much pressure until I was 4‑under through 6.  So I knew I was up there, I had a chance, and then I started to maybe think too much, so I couldn't make putts like in the middle of the round.  I missed so many birdie chances.  And then until ‑‑ I mean, finally on the 15th hole I made a birdie putt, so I think that was when I actually got the pressure off.  Then I made one more birdie on the 17th and that was it.

Q.  I understand there's a story behind the secret to your win, is that true?
SHANSHAN FENG:  Well, yeah, everybody has secrets.  This one I want to share with you, it happened, I don't know if it's a secret or it's just ‑‑ it just happened.

I had dinner with Inbee and So Yeon Ryu Thursday night of the week in China.  We went out to the city of Beijing.  We had Beijing duck.  We had really, really good foot.  Then after that I shot two days 9‑under in a row and I finally won a tournament.  And this week I went to So Yeon's house for barbecue and Inbee was there, too.  I think we went maybe on Tuesday or Wednesday and I won this tournament.  So maybe now it's a secret, I shouldn't tell anybody.  But I don't know, I think from now on every week I'm going to call them and say, hey, can we have dinner together?

MODERATOR:  Do you think they're going to let you have dinner with them anymore if you keep running away with tournaments?
SHANSHAN FENG:  I don't know.  But Inbee's won six this year and I've only won two, so maybe it's okay.

MODERATOR:  Shanshan, out there you were able to start a new tradition that they're starting here at the CME Group Titleholders, you got to fire off the cannon.  What was that experience like?
SHANSHAN FENG:  I was really nervous and I didn't know what to do before I did it, and until that lady set everything up and she gave me that thing, she told me to keep it flat and I don't know, I don't know how I did it.  Once it touched the thing and then it just went out like in half a second, and I was shocked it released so fast and it was gone already.  I was really excited.

Q.  What was more difficult, the chip behind the 17th green or lighting the cannon?
SHANSHAN FENG:  Well, I think lighting the cannon because it's not my world.

Q.  What club did you hit on the 15th?
SHANSHAN FENG:  15, it was 7 iron.

MODERATOR:  Shanshan, as I was listening to you talk about having all the fans cheer for you in China and what that reaction was like, I remember after you won Wegmans last year for your first LPGA victory you talked about you weren't sure what the effects would be of your win on Chinese golf. 

To see the amount of fans that were there supporting you in China, to see the reaction that the LPGA got, do you feel pretty proud of the fact that you've been able to kind of help draw some attention to golf in China?
SHANSHAN FENG:  Well, of course, yes.  That was out of my expectation.  There were more people than I thought and almost all of them were coming for me, so I was really, you know, really happy, really excited.  So that was the drive that I wanted to play well.  I do think that as the highest ranked golfer from China, I do have the, what is that, I do have abilities and like to actually help Chinese golf to grow.  And I do think that, you know, it's just my job and I want to do it and I want to promote golf in China, and hopefully after my victory this year, next year when we go back to Beijing we'll have even more people and more time on TV.

Q.  How many times, Shanshan, have you flown across the ocean between United States and Japan and why are you not more tired?
SHANSHAN FENG:  Well, I am really tired.  A lot of the girls are off after this week, but I still have two more tournaments.  I'm playing Dubai and China Open after this.  I haven't counted how many times I have been flying between, but I'm sure it's at least six, seven times in the year, at least.  And I do think that travel is the tough part and the reason why I went to Japanese Tour was because we lost so many tournaments.  But now like next year we have 32 tournaments, so we're having more and more tournaments in the States, so I'm thinking playing mainly, like still playing mainly in the States and I'll play very a few in Japan or even give up. 

Q.  If you start playing more in Japan (inaudible)?
SHANSHAN FENG:  No, I didn't, but I played like 11 tournaments in Japan last year and the year before and this year I only did seven.  Next year may be fewer.

Q.  You said your goal was to win twice this year.  Why do you think you were so successful at the end of the year?  What was going on at the end of the year that wasn't happening in the beginning?
SHANSHAN FENG:  Well, my putting has been ‑‑ I've been really struggling with my putting before China.  Then I told my coach, Gary Gilchrist, I asked him if he could go to China with me because that was a very important week for me.  I wanted to play well there and I wanted him to be there with me.  So he went there and I had a lesson with him, he fixed my putting like in 10 minutes.  Then I started to make putts.  That was why I won in China. 

Also this week, before this week my putting was, you know, not good again because I over‑changed it and Gary was here, he helps me on Tuesday or Wednesday also like 10 minutes, 15 minutes, and then he fixed it again and then my putting was better, although today I missed a lot of putts but I think that was because the wrong read.  But I think Gary helped me a lot, and of course victory in China gave me confidence, too.

Q.  What did he do with your putter?  What did he change in China?
SHANSHAN FENG:  Yeah, well, I was standing too far away from the ball and my putter head was tilted this way like toe is up, and so I wasn't catching the ball really solid.  Then he changed it and then I over‑changed it.  Actually I found out this Wednesday and he said I over‑changed it.  I was too close to the ball and with the heel up.

Q.  You look like you're just kind of cruising around out there like you never seem to get upset or you just have a jovial personality.  Is there any time that you really do get upset or frustrated and what is that?  You just seem to be just enjoying life.
SHANSHAN FENG:  Yeah, because I do think that tour life is not only about tour, it's also life.  So I do think that I need to enjoy my tour life and I'm always a happy person, so it doesn't really matter how I'm doing, I still want to be happy.  Usually like if I set goals for the tournaments, I would set like a goal that I feel comfortable with it.  A lot of people set a goal that, you know, they want like, how to say, they set a goal as winning or Top 3, but I like to set a goal maybe like Top 5.  Like this week I was actually thinking Top 10, so I felt comfortable with my goal and even ‑‑ obviously if I can get better than my goal I would go for it.  But 10th place is not bad for me, so there is no reason that I would get upset.

Q.  You spent time with Inbee obviously going to dinner and she kind of has a similar philosophy of trying to enjoy and be happy.  Have you guys talked about that at all?
SHANSHAN FENG:  Not really about this, but I can tell that ‑‑ oh, I don't think she's ever mad.  For myself, I think I have a couple times that I was a little upset, but Inbee, I've never seen her face like this.

Q.  The commissioner announced earlier in the week there will be two events in China next year.  Can you just talk about that was probably pretty exciting to you that you're going to be able to play twice in your home country next year.
SHANSHAN FENG:  Well, of course, but I know those two tournaments are not like right next to the others.  I don't really know, you know, who the sponsor is or which club we're really playing at.  I just feel really happy to go back to China and be able to see all my fans, to see them, you know, cheering for me.  I think ‑‑ I do think that if we have more LPGA tournaments in China, it will help Chinese to know more about golf, especially the ladies golf.  I think it was really successful in China this year and having two events in China also means China is a big market for the LPGA, too.  As the only Chinese on the Tour right now, I wish I can help even a little bit.

Q.  Where were you at when Gerina was coming on 18?  Did you see her second shot and how were you able to follow everything when you were signing your card and all that?  I don't know where she was when you were doing that.
SHANSHAN FENG:  Before this round started I didn't set a goal as winning, but I did set a goal like for score.  I wanted myself to get to 15‑under.  So it doesn't matter if I win or not, if I get to 15‑under I'm happy, and I did it.

So it didn't really matter how Gerina was doing on the last hole, I still thought I played well today.  While I was signing the scorecard I saw her second shot on TV, which was amazing because she was ‑‑ I saw she was 162 yards away from the pin and she was right behind those long stuff and she got it to like 10 feet.  So I thought she was going to make a birdie. 

Well, I tried to actually get close to the 18th green to watch her putting, but there were too many people, I didn't even get in.  So I was okay, I'll listen.  If the crowd go like after "Ahhhhhh," I'll know she made it.  But the crowd was really silent, so I knew oh, maybe I won.

Q.  (inaudible)
SHANSHAN FENG:  Yes, I did.  That was cold, but I still need to say thanks to Inbee and So Yeon, maybe they brought me good luck.

MODERATOR:  All right.  Well, Shanshan, last year you captured your first ever victory on the LPGA Tour.  This year you set the goal of winning two tournaments.  What are the goals for 2014?
SHANSHAN FENG:  Well, I haven't really thought about it, but there were some people like already asking the same question, so I will say maybe winning three tournaments on the LPGA.  If I go one last year, two this year, three next year, by the time we get to 2015 it might be five in a year, so I'm happy with that.

MODERATOR:  Well, we'll have 32 events on the LPGA Tour next year, plenty of opportunities.

Q.  You were born in the year of the dragon.  Does that mean anything to you, does that give you anything ‑‑ 

SHANSHAN FENG:  No, snake.

Q.  What does that mean?
SHANSHAN FENG:  It doesn't mean anything.  It just means that I was born that year.  Like people would say that people are born, you know, with the same animal, they will have similar personalities, but I don't really know about it.

Q.  It doesn't say anything like it's going to help you win golf tournaments?
SHANSHAN FENG:  No, I'm afraid of snakes, I mean real snakes.  I don't know.

MODERATOR:  Well, another great season in the books.  Congratulations, two victories in 2013.  I know you've got two more tournaments yet to play this year, but we're looking forward to seeing you at the beginning of the 2014 season out here on the LPGA Tour.  Congratulations once again.

SHANSHAN FENG:  Thank you. 

 

GERINA PILLER, Rolex Rankings No. 53

Q.  I know it's pretty disappointing.  Do you feel happy to play as well as you did this week?
GERINA PILLER:  Absolutely.  I've never led an LPGA event and I did, I guess, LPGA Championship for one hole and I didn't know I was leading so that doesn't count.  So to come out and grind like I did and give myself an opportunity to force a playoff, I'm pretty excited about that.  I'm excited that I'm done for the year.

Q.  Talk about the putt and the second shot.
GERINA PILLER:  Well, the second shot, it was kind of on an upslope so I figured if I just get it up in the wind the more it will carry, and the higher I hit it the softer it's going to land.  I had some juices going so I just took a 7 iron and that's what you practice for.  So I just stood over it and said just trust yourself and I hit it pretty good and it ended up really good.

The putt, I thought it was going right, I didn't know it was going to break that much, and just I was happy with the way I hit the putt, I just didn't read enough break.

Q.  Did the ball go through (inaudible)?
GERINA PILLER:  I have no idea but it was probably close.  The bush was pretty close to me.

Q.  It looked like the bush moved so I couldn't tell if your follow through hit it.
GERINA PILLER:  It might have been the ball.  I don't know if I could hit it with my club, it was kind of far in front of me but the ball maybe hit it.

Q.  Were you concerned (inaudible)?
GERINA PILLER:  No, because that bush is kind of like, there's a lot of air in it (inaudible).  I was on the upslope so that got the ball up pretty high.

Q.  First couple holes you were punching it out of the junk and trying to keep it together.  Can you talk about how you got your head in the right place?
GERINA PILLER:  Yeah, I've been hitting my driver really good all week and I'm sure with nerves I was starting to hook it and got me in trouble the first couple holes.  But I just knew that I hit it good all week and anything can happen out here.  Some holes are really tough and you've got to take advantage of the ones you can.  If I can get my driver working, I know I can hit it down there pretty far and that gives me a shorter club and I think that's a huge advantage, especially with these greens being so firm.

Q.  What do you think of Shanshan and her game and comment on the kind of player she is.
GERINA PILLER:  I don't remember the last time I played with her, but I know she's super consistent and obviously she's a major champion, so hats off to her.  She played great today and I knew it was going to be tough.

Q.  When you saw her name go to the top early, did you think someone's going to have to play well to catch her?
GERINA PILLER:  I mean, if you're going to win a tournament you've got to play well.  I just think that you just have to take advantage of the holes that give you birdie and (inaudible) the holes that don't, and some of those pins were accessible today and some of them weren't.

Q.  With this year making the Solheim Cup team and having a good finish like this, can you put it in perspective?  Are you going to take a little time off?  How are you going to look back on this season?
GERINA PILLER:  Well, I'm ecstatic just to be where I am and just to make the Solheim Cup has always been a dream of mine.  I didn't think it was going to happen so soon and hopefully it's just the first of many for me to play.  I'm really excited for my year.  Just felt like my game is very consistent this year and this tournament was huge, it kind of gives me momentum going into next year.

Q.  What part of your game do you think improved the most this year?
GERINA PILLER:  I would say probably my ball striking as far as not so much like longer or anything, more consistent.  I know I've been hitting more greens and just depends on kind of how I'm putting.  If I'm putting good, I'm usually under par, a couple under par a lot.  This next year definitely I'll work on my putting a lot more.

Q.  Doesn't pay off the mortgage but it goes a little toward it, right?
GERINA PILLER:  Yeah, yeah, it definitely helps, anything helps.

 

 

 

Topics: Notes and Interviews, CME Group Tour Championship, Feng, Shanshan