CN Canadian Women's Open Final-Round Notes and Interviews

Lydia Ko
Photo Credit: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Lydia Ko of New Zealand poses with her trophy following her five stroke victory during the final round of the CN Canadian Women's Open at Royal Mayfair Golf Club on August 25, 2013 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

CN Canadian Women’s Open
Royal Mayfair Golf Club
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Final-round Notes and Interviews
August 25, 2013

LYDIA KO, Rolex Rankings No. 19
KARINE ICHER, Rolex Rankings No. 24
CAROLINE HEDWALL, Rolex Rankings No. 29
BRITTANY LINCICOME, Rolex Rankings No. 37

One year after becoming the youngest player ever to win an LPGA Tour event, Lydia Ko once again made history at the CN Canadian Women’s Open on Sunday. The 16-year-old amateur from New Zealand became the first amateur to win two LPGA events and the first amateur to successfully defend her title after shooting a final-round 65 to capture a five-shot victory at Royal Mayfair Golf Club in Edmonton.

“I'm pretty surprised, but I played some really good golf out there, so I was really happy about that,” said Ko. “My goal today was to shoot 5‑under and just play my own game.  If somebody else shot better, then I can't do anything about it.”

Sitting one shot back of third-round leader Caroline Hedwall entering Sunday’s final round, Ko got off to a hot start and never looked back.  She birdied five of her first eight holes of the day and stormed out to a big lead.

The first blip in Ko’s scorecard came on the par-4 13th when she missed her par putt and settled for her only bogey of the day. She capped off the round with a 15-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole and gave a shocked reaction once she received a raucous cheer from the Canadian crowd.

“I didn't have it coming,” said Ko of her final putt. “That's why I was like oh, my God.  I was pretty worried it would just go straight down because I knew it was a slippery putt.  No, I just hit a little bit, and it trickled down in the hole.”

Ko’s 64 was three shots better than the next best round of the day, which was shot by runner-up Karine Icher. The France native finished second, but thanks to Ko’s amateur status, Icher took home the $300,000 first-place prize check.

“Yeah, no, not too bad for me, obviously,” said Icher. “But I would love to win one one day, but it's nice for her.  She deserves it.  I'm sure she's a hard worker, and especially in Canada for her it's special.”

In addition to Icher, there were a number of other players chasing Ko who had taken part in last week’s Solheim Cup. Fellow European Solheim Cup Team members Suzann Pettersen and Caroline Hedwall were paired in the final group with the 16-year-old Ko. Pettersen was making a push early before faltering late, picking up two bogeys and a double bogey in her last five holes. The Norwegian finished in a tie for seventh at 7-under-par.

Hedwall followed up her historic performance at the Solheim Cup last week with a tie for third finish. She became the first player to go 5-0 in Solheim Cup competition and tied her career-best LPGA finish this week (2013 Kraft Nabisco Championship).

“This is one of my better finishes on the LPGA, so I'm very happy this week,” said Hedwall. “I'm still waiting for my first win, but hopefully it will come soon. I slept okay, to be honest.  I was just excited to come out and play today.  I had a lot of fun out there.  It's just that Lydia was way too good today.”

Ko has played in a total of 14 LPGA events over the past two seasons and has yet to miss a cut.  Her worst finish over that stretch was a tie for 42nd at the RICOH Women’s British Open this month. The New Zealand resident has now recorded two wins, four additional top-10’s and four additional top 20’s.

The victory marks Ko’s fourth professional win. Along with her title at the 2012 CN Canadian Women’s Open, Ko also won the 2012 Women’s New South Wales Open on the ALPG and the 2013 ISPS Handa Women’s New Zealand Open on the Ladies European Tour.

Ko became the first player to defend a title on the LPGA Tour since Yani Tseng who won back-to-back RICOH Women’s British Opens in 2010 and 2011.

“When I saw that record, I thought wow, that is amazing,” said Ko. “Who can do that?  And to have done that myself, that's pretty special.  Last year was a three‑shot lead through ‑‑ or two, two shot lead, so I was pretty happy about that.  Now having five shots, it makes it even better.”

Ko was 15 years, 4 months and 2 days when she won the 2012 CN Canadian Women’s Open at Vancouver Golf Club. And the youngster now also sits second on the list of youngest winners in LPGA Tour history.

  • Lydia Ko, 2012 CN Canadian Women’s Open (72-hole event) at 15 years, 4 months, 2 days *
  • Lydia Ko, 2013 CN Canadian Women’s Open (72-hole event) at 16 years, 4 months, 1 day  * 
  • Lexi Thompson, 2011 Navistar LPGA Classic (72-hole event) at 16 years, 7 months, 8 days
  • Marlene Hagge, 1952 Sarasota Open (18-hole event) at 18 years, 14 days
  • Marlene Hagge, 1952 Bakersfield Open (18-hole event) at 18 years, 2 months, 15 days

* not a member of the LPGA

Local help- For the second-consecutive year, Lydia Ko has thanked her Canadian help after she used two local caddies in her first two LPGA Tour wins. This week, she picked up Bruce MacMillan, a 20+ year member at Royal Mayfair Golf Club who got choked up after Ko’s historic win in Edmonton. He said he was in awe of the teenager.

“You know, Lydia on her birth certificate, she's 16.  That is the only difference,” said MacMillan.

When asked what most impressed him of her play on the course, MacMillan said her repetitiveness in her tempo of her swing was something he’s never come across in his life.

“In golf so many times you hear that every swing should look the same,” said MacMillan. “In my life I've never seen anything better.”

Golden Ticket Winners: Lydia Ko, Stacy Prammanasudh and Caroline Masson punched their "Ticket to CME Group Titleholders" at the CN Canadian Women’s Open, 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.

Of Note…Rolex Rankings No. 1 Inbee Park shot an even-par 70 in the final round to finish in a tie for 13th at 4-under-par…

Quotables: “I don't care.  I don't care.  I can say that a couple times more, if you want.” –Lydia Ko laughing in response to whether she cares if she hasn’t pocketed the $600,000 from her two wins in Canada

“I don't know why, but especially when there are a lot of people, I kind of forget how to walk.  Because you walk without thinking, but today I was like, oh, my gosh, right before I wasn't feeling like myself.  So I was like, oh, my God, am I walking weird?
           
But it's quite a different feeling to what I had yesterday ‑‑ not yesterday.  Goodness, last year, last year I was eating cherry tomatoes down the last hole, and today I'm actually quite starving.  I was thinking about my walking rather than anything else.” –Lydia Ko on how she felt walking up No. 18 knowing she had her second LPGA Tour win in the bag

Tweets of the Day: “Last time this course hosted CN Open was 2007....I was in my rookie year...Lydia Ko was at 4th grade recess... #Phenom” --@Paige_Mackenzie

“How about Karine Icher, a week after draining putts all over Colorado, collecting a $300,000 winner’s check for finishing second? #goodgig” -@JayCoffinGC

 

LYDIA KO, Rolex Rankings No. 19

Greenside Quotes
Q.  You're defending champion, the first person to do that since 1987.  Lydia shot 64 today.  Nobody else was better than 67.  Is this the best golf you've played?
LYDIA KO:  I shot 10‑under at the Australian Open this year, and that was round one.  That was great, but today I was in a little bit more of a pressure position, so I was really happy with my 64.  I got off to a really good start, so that kind of helped my day.

Q.  The question everybody in the golf world wants to know about you is you've been so successful at age 16.  You're still an amateur.  Will that change?  Will you decide to go forward?
LYDIA KO:  You know, I've always said I'm thinking about it.  That is the same answer right here.  Nothing has changed within the last 72 hours.  So, yeah, I'm happy at the moment.  I think this win will make us think a little better and think what is a good option.

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR:  It's my pleasure to welcome in our 2013 CN Canadian Women's Open champ, Lydia Ko.  Lydia, another day in history in Canada.  Congratulations.
LYDIA KO:  Thank you.

THE MODERATOR:  Now that it's a little settled in, are you still surprised, shocked, are you just happy?  Tell us what your emotions are right now.
LYDIA KO:  I'm pretty surprised, but I played some really good golf out there, so I was really happy about that.  My goal today was to shoot 5‑under and just play my own game.  If somebody else shot better, then I can't do anything about it.

THE MODERATOR:  Looking at the scoreboard, you're 6‑under with three shots better than the next score.  There weren't a lot of low scores today.  You pretty much blew everyone out of the water today.  What was the difference?  Was the track a little harder?  Were conditions harder?  What did you see out there that maybe the others didn't?
LYDIA KO:  You know, I'm not really sure.  I think it was pretty similar.  Maybe there was a bit more breeze, but it's not like gaming, like St. Andrews, so, yeah.  I hit a really good drive on 1 and kept it to the fairway.  That kind of got my momentum going.

Q.  Now you're the first player on the LPGA ‑‑ obviously, you're not a member, ‑but since Yani Tseng, to defend a title on the LPGA.  She did it in 2010 and 2011 at the Women's British Open.  No easy task.  I know you said coming in this week you had some expectations and you wanted to play well, but did you see a 5‑stroke victory coming at all?  Is this kind of a dream come true?
LYDIA KO:  Yeah, it definitely is.  Yani is a great player.  When I saw that red coat, I thought wow, that is amazing.  Who can do that?  And to have done that myself, that's pretty special.  Yeah, last year was a three‑shot lead through ‑‑ or two, two shot lead, so I was pretty happy about that.  Now having five shots, it makes it even better.

Q.  Now let's talk about your strong start.  You're 5‑under through 8.  Talk about the streak of birdies that you got off to such a strong start.  Do you think that was really important for you to get in the zone and get in the swing of things?
LYDIA KO:  Yeah, definitely.  I didn't hit the best shot, but ended up really great on number 2.  3, I was a little short and then putted in.  4, was a pretty tap‑in birdie.  5, to me is one of the harder holes, and I went off making like a six‑foot putt for par.  Then the next hole birdie, and especially on 6, I one‑putted on that hole every single day.  So I thought I might as well finish with a one‑putt there.
           
So some other holes, I wish I could have done better, and I kind of made the situation better today.  So I was really happy with the way I played.

Q.  How badly did you want to finish off on 18 with a birdie?  I know the crowd appreciated it.
LYDIA KO:  I didn't have it coming.  That's why I was like oh, my God.  I was pretty worried it would just go straight down because I knew it was a slippery putt.  No, I just hit a little bit, and it trickled down in the hole.

Q.  Can you just describe the feeling what it's like to walk up 18 knowing that it's in the bag?
LYDIA KO:  I don't know why, but especially when there are a lot of people, I kind of forget how to walk.  Because you walk without thinking, but today I was like, oh, my gosh, right before I wasn't feeling like myself.  So I was like, oh, my God, am I walking weird?
           
But it's quite a different feeling to what I had yesterday ‑‑ not yesterday.  Goodness, last year, last year I was eating cherry tomatoes down the last hole, and today I'm actually quite starving.  I was thinking about my walking rather than anything else.

Q.  I know you've been asked this many times, but where are you and what will the process be that you will go through to make a decision about whether or not and when to turn pro?
LYDIA KO:  I've got some people above me like my mom and dad, they're the boss.  They're going to help me to make the right decision and to turn pro at what time.  I think as I'm only 16 still, it's quite hard to make huge decisions.  When I turn pro it's like a job.  Money is all about it and everything like that, every shot counts.
           
Yeah, I think my parents and New Zealand golf they're all going to have a say, and hopefully we'll make a really good decision on when I will turn pro.

Q.  Could you talk about the golf course?  Obviously, you liked it and it liked you.
LYDIA KO:  Yeah, I definitely liked it, hopefully it liked me.  You know, like I said in my speech, the course was in amazing conditions.  The rough were growing out a little bit which made it a little challenging for us.  But it can't be that easy, and it wasn't set up for us to shoot 30, 20, some crazy scores.  So, yeah, I think the superintendent spent a lot of time.
           
I saw yesterday when I was putting, even after we got off the course, they were cutting the greens and spraying them with water.  They put a lot of time into the course, and definitely I could see it was really worth it.

Q.  Can you talk about your relationship with your caddie, Bruce, and how that sort of evolved over the week?  Can you compare that to working with Brian last year in Vancouver?
LYDIA KO:  The similar thing was because they're both local caddies, but like last year, I think Brian knew my distances, but this year Bruce didn't.  There wasn't that much going on apart from the green reading.
           
But, yeah, they were both really shy, very quiet at the start.  Then as the days went on, especially Bruce, he kind of opened up more.  Then he gave me his thoughts as well, which was great, and Brian did that as well.
           
It was really great to have such a good caddie, a good man on my bag.

Q.  You mentioned earlier in the week you were going to try to do your own club selection.  Does that make this win so much sweeter knowing that you kind of did it more so on your own rather than getting help from a caddie or coach or somebody else?  Knowing that you're going in the right direction, was it much sweeter for you that way?
LYDIA KO:  Yeah, definitely.  I think the distances here are quite different to the other areas.  I think we're a bit above.  So I could see like I was hitting a 7‑iron when I normally hit a 6‑iron, and I've never done that before.  So I think the practice rounds, it was actually more different because it was pretty much raining every single night.  But for the last couple of days, the weather has been pretty perfect and everything's been drying up.  So I kind of worked my way through it.

Q.  Lydia, did you think about the $300,000 that you could have had today and the $600,000 in the last two years?
LYDIA KO:  No, not really.  Inbee played awesome last year.  She chipped in on the last, and Karine played great again this year.  No, I know I'm not going to get the money, so I don't really care.

Q.  You don't care?
LYDIA KO:  I don't care.  I don't care.  I can say that a couple times more, if you want.

Q.  Have you had an effective ‑‑ like Inbee Park and other Korean golfers have had such great success.  Did that inspire you?  How has that affected you at all?  Do you interface with them?  Do you give them advice, do they give you advice?
LYDIA KO:  I definitely don't give advice.  What am I?  I'm only a little 16‑year‑old that's just coming in.  They've done so many greater and bigger things than me.  I'm the one that's learning.  No.  Especially as a Korean, and mostly I think Koreans look up to Se Ri Pak.  She made golf in Korea huge.  She's one of those people that are legends of the country.  So especially when I was young, she had just won the U.S. Open at Blackwolf run, so it was really good.
           
I saw her tapes quite a couple of times especially when I was young.  Yeah, she's such an inspiration and all the other players out here.  They're so ‑‑ how should I say?  They're so ‑‑ I'm lost with words.  I learn a lot from them.
           
Especially in Korea, it's less ‑‑ it's very formal the way you talk.  There is always Miss or Mr. Joe or Mr. Kim and stuff like that.  So to me, it's huge.  What they've done for Korea and what they've done for the Tour is amazing.

Q.  Seeing the group of LPGA players come and douse you with water, I think Jessica Korda was there, Danielle Kang, what did that mean to have a group of players come out and celebrate with you, knowing that you're not a member, but they pretty much treat you almost like a little sister.  How much does that mean to have them stick around and congratulate you?
LYDIA KO:  I most of the time hang around with Danielle Kang.  So we always say a sister from another parent.  She's so fun, and so is Jess.  I think I was quite surprised to see I.K.  there spraying water on me.  She's a great player.  It was really special to get water sprayed.

Q.  How proud are you to make history?
LYDIA KO:  You know, I never really thought about making history and all that.  History is ‑‑ I don't know where it starts.  So, yeah, it's awesome to be a part of history.  There are so many big names among those, so it's such an honor.

 

KARINE ICHER, Rolex Rankings No. 24

KARINE ICHER:  I had more putts get in today, so definitely better than yesterday.

Q.  It's just strange.  The conditions are a bit more challenging than they were the last few days?
KARINE ICHER:  Yeah, pin position, they're always in the corner of the green and you have to make sure you're on the good side on the right side otherwise you get in trouble quickly.

Q.  What do you make of Lydia Ko winning this thing twice?
KARINE ICHER:  It's incredible.  As an amateur and so young, it's great for women's golf, but it's not so great for us.  No, she's amazing.  I mean, 16 years old and to win twice, she has no fear, I guess.  I mean, she's just playing golf and going through everything, the pressure, media, everything, so that's good.

Q.  You're saying not so good for us, but not too bad for you.
KARINE ICHER:  Yeah, no, not too bad for me, obviously.  But I would love to win one one day, but it's nice for her.  She deserves it.  I'm sure she's a hard worker, and especially in Canada for her it's special.

Q.  Is that a good consolation prize if it stands up to get first place money?
KARINE ICHER:  Yeah, of course, Of course.

Q.  Do you feel guilty at all?
KARINE ICHER:  No, no.  I'm sure she's going to have some one day.  She's going to have her turn.

Q.  Everybody kept asking you about Solheim.  People say it can make or break people's career.  Obviously, it's been a boost for you?
KARINE ICHER:  It's been a boost, but I'm very tired and next week I'm not going to play in Portland because it's in two weeks in a row like this it takes a lot of energy and play under pressure.  But definitely to win the Solheim on U.S. soil was fantastic.

Q.  Perhaps your best finish so far?
KARINE ICHER:  Second, I've never won, so maybe one day, yeah.

Q.  Do you feel like you're still kind of going up in terms of improving in the game?
KARINE ICHER:  I've improved a lot my putting.  My putting was good this week, but too short to win the tournament.  So I guess I have to improve again and more putts, more driving on the fairway, and that's it.

 

CAROLINE HEDWALL, Rolex Rankings No. 29

Q.  I just want to ask you about your round today.  How did you feel out there today?
CAROLINE HEDWALL:  Well, I just didn't ‑‑ I felt like I didn't get the right club.  It was just in between yardage, so I couldn't commit to that many shots, and I didn't hit it close enough.  Then Lydia just went off.  I mean, she was unbelievable today.

Q.  How much does that affect you guys playing with her when she's playing so well?  Do you just have to try to concentrate on your game and not worry about what she's doing?
CAROLINE HEDWALL:  Yeah, of course.  I was trying to keep up with her, but at the same tie I couldn't hit it as close and make as many putts.  She was just really impressive today.

Q.  Overall, what were your impressions with the tournament?  Are you happy with the way you played all week?
CAROLINE HEDWALL:  Yeah, this is one of my better finishes on the LPGA, so I'm very happy this week.  I'm still waiting for my first win, but hopefully it will come soon.

Q.  You were saying after being I guess so dominant at the Solheim Cup and then coming in today what were the nerves like last night?
CAROLINE HEDWALL:  Well, I slept okay, to be honest.  I was just excited to come out and play today.  I had a lot of fun out there.  It's just that Lydia was way too good today.

 

BRITTANY LINCICOME, Rolex Rankings No. 37

Q.  First off, sort of what happened just before that putt?
BRITTANY LINCICOME:  Oh, apparently there is a camera in the media center that goes off every five seconds, and I thought it was a fan or something taking photos.  Yeah, that was kind of annoying, but that didn't hinder the putt.  It was straight downhill, and I didn't want to run it by too far and have that knee‑knocker coming back.

Q.  Can you talk about your round?
BRITTANY LINCICOME:  It was okay.  I made a lot of 50‑foot putts, but not the five and ten footers like I did yesterday.  All four days under par.  I mean, I kind of went another day.  1‑under would have been a good score with how windy it was this morning.  It was not good enough to get it done, but top 10s are obviously very good.

Q.  So overall, you're happy?
BRITTANY LINCICOME:  Super happy.  I haven't been playing great the last couple weeks.  So felt like I played good at Solheim, obviously didn't pull it off there either, but felt like I was playing good though.  I kind of wish we had a tournament I was playing.  I'm not playing next week.  I wish I was now because I'm playing so good.

Q.  You're right up there.  It's kind of nice to know.
BRITTANY LINCICOME:  Yeah, especially this event where I've had success in the past.  It's great to come back to Canada.  The fans are always so welcoming, and the tournament, the people that run the tournament do such a fantastic job for us, which I really appreciate it.

Q.  Someone yelled at you too when you got up to the green about thanks for staying.  What is the history there?
BRITTANY LINCICOME:  I think that was my housing lady.  Laura Diaz rented a house this week. Me, Laura Diaz, Marcy Hart, and Kathleen Ekey all shacked up this week.

Q.  What do you make of Lydia?
BRITTANY LINCICOME:  Phenomenal, such a good player.  To be so young, hopefully she doesn't get burned out before she gets the chance to turn pro.  She's so good.

Q.  Looking at that last putt, do you think about this as the putt to win the first place money?
BRITTANY LINCICOME:  No, actually.  I saw Karine got the 10, so I was hoping to make a tie at third, but I actually didn't think that.  I forgot about that.

Q.  Maybe that's a good thing?
BRITTANY LINCICOME:  Yeah.

Q.  You missed on 12 you had a chance to sort of close.  Is that sort of where things maybe slipped a little bit?
BRITTANY LINCICOME:  What was 12?

Q.  I don't know if you lipped the putt.  You looked like you had it?
BRITTANY LINCICOME:  I three‑putted three or four times today.

Q.  No, I think this was for birdie?
BRITTANY LINCICOME:  Oh, for birdie.

Q.  It would have put you at minus 10?
BRITTANY LINCICOME:  Oh, shoot.  I don't eastbound remember that.  Sorry.  I mean, I missed a lot of short putts today, especially for pars.  Three to five‑footers for pars, which those obviously hurt.

Q.  What does this do for you leaving and heading through the rest of the season?  It's got to be really good for the confidence?
BRITTANY LINCICOME:  Yeah, it's great.  A new year for Solheim Cup as well, so getting points.  Which is always good.  Top 10 are great.  I feel like I drove the ball really well this week.  Being a longer hitter, it's nice to kind of know where the golf ball is going sometimes.  I felt like I did really well here.
           
So hopefully stick around for the next couple events.  Only have a couple more.  It would be nice to get a win before the end of the year.

Q.  You seem to handle it all in stride though?
BRITTANY LINCICOME:  Yeah, well, I haven't been playing well all year, so to even come this close, that's pretty good for me right now.

 

Topics: Notes and Interviews, Canadian Pacific Women's Open, Ko, Lydia, Hedwall, Caroline, Icher, Karine, Lincicome, Brittany [+]