Siam Country Club, Pattaya Old Course
Second-Round Notes and Interviews
February 21, 2014
Anna Nordqvist -6, Rolex Rankings No. 27
Sandra Gal -5, Rolex Rankings No. 44
Julieta Granada -5, Rolex Rankings No. 105
Stacy Lewis -4, Rolex Rankings No. 3
Anna Nordqvist shot even-par 72 in the second round to maintain her one-shot lead at the Honda LPGA Thailand. The 26-year old sits atop the leaderboard at 6-under par and leads a trio of players including Azahara Munoz, Sandra Gal and Julieta Granada.
Nordqvist said tricky hole locations on Friday kept things interesting on the greens. The Swede was pleased overall with her round which included three birdies and three bogeys.
“There were some tough pins out there,” said Nordqvist. “A lot of them were on ridges, and I felt like I hit a lot of good shots and kept spinning off the ridges. Not much you can do. Felt like I hit it solid. A little disappointed to finish with a bogey on the last. Overall been hitting it great this week. Today I felt like all things were good. Just couldn't get any putts to drop.”
Nordqvist is looking for her first win since the 2009 LPGA Tour Championship. The Arizona State product says she feels comfortable with the lead heading into the weekend and loves to see her off-season training pay off.
“This is a position I been practicing to be in,” said Nordqvist. “Halfway through and there are 36 more holes, but I'm happy with the way I'm playing. Hopefully can make a couple more putts over the weekend and that should take care of it.”
Many players have been happy to get a break from the normal severe heat they get in Thailand. The Tour is used to facing temperatures in the 90s with high humidity and little overcast. Clouds and temperatures in the 70s in the first two rounds
“I think we all expected it to be warmer,” said Nordqvist. “Today with a little bit of rain and overcast it felt like I still had a lot of the energy leaving the 18th green.”
Light showers in the morning left the greens even softer than usual and kept any extra roll off the fairways. Rolex Rankings No. 3 Stacy Lewis (71-69) shot 2-under on Friday and sits in a tie for third at 4-under par with fellow American Michelle Wie (67-73). Lewis said the soft course conditions have made the course play differently than years past.
“Just had the rain to start and just changed the way the golf course played,” said Lewis. “Kind of took me a couple holes to adjust to that. Once I did I hit some good shots. You just had to be a lot more aggressive, fly back to holes we normally can't do that. Just played completely different than it ever has.
“Yeah, very soft,” Lewis added. “There were a lot of back pins today, so it was hard to get the ball to stay up on those back shelves and get yourself to fly them all the way back there.”
Munoz and Granada shot the low rounds of the day on Friday, both finishing with 4-under 68s. All three players who are in a tie for second are playing for their second LPGA Tour titles. Munoz (2012 Sybase Championship), Gal (2011 Kia Classic) and Granada (2006 LPGA Playoffs at The ADT) all have one win each and have put themselves in good position to become members of the mutli-win club this week in Pattaya.
Rolex Rankings No. 1 Inbee Park shot her second-consecutive 71 on Friday and sits in a tie for 11th. No. 2 Suzann Pettersen (69-73) and No. 4 Lydia Ko (72-70) are alongside Park at 2-under par and four shots off the lead.
STACY LEWIS, Rolex Rankings No. 3
Q. A little up and down. Weather was obviously a little bit of an issue in the morning.
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, just had the rain to start and just changed the way the golf course played. Kind of took me a couple holes to adjust to that.
Once I did I hit some good shots. You just had to be a lot more aggressive, fly back to holes we normally can't do that. Just played completely different than it ever has.
Q. Greens everyone is saying are super soft.
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, very soft. There were a lot of back pins today, so it was hard to get the ball to stay up on those back shelves and get yourself to fly them all the way back there.
Q. Fairways obviously not giving you too many extra yards. Changing yardages at all?
STACY LEWIS: We haven't been getting a lot of roll all week, so it didn't play too much longer off the tee. Just a lot of the back pins and having to carry it so much that made to feel like it played longer.
Q. Anything stick out good or bad?
STACY LEWIS: Just making all our birdies, which is always good news. If I can just clean up a few shots here and there, I will be fine.
Q. What were the mistakes you thought mostly?
STACY LEWIS: It was just kind of only random things: Couple three putts and then a bad drive got me in trouble. Wasn't one specific thing. Just a couple random shots.
Q. Nothing to be too worried about?
STACY LEWIS: No. I made some more putts today which I didn't do yesterday, so I am definitely pleased with that.
Hit the ball a lot better. Just need to make a few more putts.
ANNA NORDQVIST, Rolex Rankings No. 27
Q. Started off with a birdie on 9. How long was that putt?
ANNA NORDQVIST: I mean, it was probably 20 feet, and breaking probably 15 feet.
Q. Yeah. Was that your first break of the day on the front nine?
ANNA NORDQVIST: Yeah, I hit it really good front nine. I think I missed one shot. Just went back up the ridge on 8. Other than that, kept hitting it really good.
Couldn't get any momentum or find the green or the line of the putts. But I hit a decent shot in there, but it I don't know how it stayed up where it did. So that was great.
Then almost chipped in or eagle on 10. Made a good birdie there.
Then lost my focus on the drive on 11, so made bogey there.
There were some tough pins out there. A lot of them were on ridges, and I felt like I hit a lot of good shots and kept spinning off the ridges. Not much you can do.
Pretty decent shot on 18, couple feet from the hole and spun all the way of the green. Same with 15. It was just hard to get it close to the pin. Some pins you couldn't even go at.
Felt like I hit it solid. A little disappointed to finish with a bogey on the last. Overall been hitting it great this week. Today I felt like all things were good. Just couldn't get any putts to drop.
Q. What about this morning coming off having the lead after the first round? Feel like it gave you a little more pep?
ANNA NORDQVIST: No, it I felt great. I hit it really good all last week, so I knew it's in there. I hit it good yesterday and kept hitting it really good first nine today.
Then there were some tougher pins in the back, but I just tried to be aggressive and give myself chances for birdie. Felt like I did, but just couldn't make 'em.
Q. What about the rain in the morning? Change things up? Made the greens softer.
ANNA NORDQVIST: Yeah, the greens were definitely softer. Just made it tougher to get the ball to stop on 18 on the back ridge, and same thing with 15. Where my ball stopped on 9 shouldn't even be possible to stop there.
It's definitely playing a little bit longer with the rain and stuff like that. Overall I think it was good. Still in the lead. Looking forward to the next two days.
Q. What do you think about the next two days? You think people will go low?
ANNA NORDQVIST: Yeah, I felt like they had a lot of the tougher pins today, especially up on plateaus. They were a little harder to get to on softer greens. I don't know if there is any rain in the forecast.
Yeah, I shot 6 under yesterday and played pretty solid. It's definitely out there.
Q. Happy with the weather? Everyone seems to be a little lethargic?
ANNA NORDQVIST: I think we all expected it to be warmer. Today with a little bit of rain and overcast it felt like I still had a lot of the energy leaving the 18th green.
Q. So going into the weekend in position. Feel good? Anticipate anything?
ANNA NORDQVIST: Yeah, I'm excited. This is a position I been practicing to be in. Halfway through and there are 36 more holes, but I'm happy with the way I'm playing.
Hopefully can make a couple more putts over the weekend and that should take care of it.
SANDRA GAL, Rolex Rankings No. 44
MODERATOR: I would like to welcome in Sandra Gal. Just shot 2 under today; currently 5 under after the second round here in Thailand; couple shots off the lead; tied for second.
Talk about your round today on a day there weren't very many low scores.
SANDRA GAL: Yeah, I think I had a pretty smooth front nine. I think I shot 3 under I think on the front. The back nine I thought it was going to keep going, but it played a little bit tougher and I missed a couple greens. I made a lot of really good up and downs, which was the key to my round today.
No, I'm pretty pleased with the day.
MODERATOR: Now, somewhat everybody says the greens have been more a little receptive, soft. Had a little bit of rain early on in the day. Talk about conditions and how that changed your game plan at all.
SANDRA GAL: I didn't change my game plan, but it was just playing longer. So I think some of the pins were quite tough today tucked in corners where you usually you just would go for the middle of the green, and then on top of that you would have maybe one or two putts more because you just don't get any roll.
So was that the challenge today.
MODERATOR: You played on this course a couple times. How much does it suit your game? How much did you look forward to playing this course this week?
SANDRA GAL: I was actually really looking forward to playing here because I think the experience over the years has helped me. Also, I'm a little bit longer with my driver now than I have been in the past few years, so I feel like I can carry a lot of bunkers that I previously couldn't.
That makes the course a lot easier.
Q. A lot of par 5s, people said going for it in two. Do you think that creates more excitement? Do you think that will bring a lot more exciting golf coming up for the weekend?
SANDRA GAL: Yeah, definitely. You can always hear the roars from the spectators when someone has made a birdie or eagle somewhere.
I think the par 5s are where you go low.
MODERATOR: Going into the weekend you're in great position. Do you think there are numbers to be had out there? You think people could go low Saturday, Sunday?
SANDRA GAL: Definitely. I think there is definitely one hole where it will be able to drive to the green. I think it's 16. They're going to move it up one day, so I definitely think there is a low round out there.
Depends a little bit on the conditions, but I feel like they got the tough pins out of the way today.
Q. Although the greens were perhaps more receptive today, a lot of players seem to have a difficult time reading the putts. Did you find that?
SANDRA GAL: No, I did not. Sorry. I can't comment on that. I like the greens.
MODERATOR: Everyone said the greens are in very, very good condition.
SANDRA GAL: They are phenomenal. They run really true and they're fast. I love them.
MODERATOR: Coming into this season, any definitive goals, anything you changed in your off season preparation? Talk about your outlook on 2014.
SANDRA GAL: Yeah, I had a really good finish to last season. Kind of wanted to take the momentum over to this season.
It really helped that it was a short off season. Took three weeks off and practiced for three weeks and we started with the Bahamas. That was good for me.
I didn't do any changes or anything. Just worked really hard on wedges and short game.
So goals for the season, I think just doing what I'm doing this week: Being in good position for the weekend. That's all I can ask for.
JULIETA GRANADA, Rolex Rankings No. 105
Q. Solid day for you: 4 birdies, no bogeys. Talk about the round over all. Weather was a little bit different than it is usually here.
JULIETA GRANADA: Yeah, it was interesting. Had a whole lot of rain on the front nine, so had to keep our cool and keep being concentrated.
But I holed out twice two lob shots today, so that was nice. It was very welcome.
Q. Where were those?
JULIETA GRANADA: On 4 and 16.
Q. How far for both of those?
JULIETA GRANADA: Just lob shots, maybe 10 yards.
JULIETA GRANADA: Yeah, like chips.
Q. This is your third event this year so far?
JULIETA GRANADA: Yeah.
Q. How was the off season? Make any changes? Hadn't gone too low the first two events.
JULIETA GRANADA: Yeah, I actually played really well in Bahamas. I thought it was really solid.
Australia was solid as well the first two days. Just couldn't get anything going on the weekend. Nothing changed in the off season, it was mainly about getting healthy.
Last year was sort of an injury year, so it was mainly working out and getting healthy and getting the body strong. So that was pretty much what I did.
Q. Yeah. What did you have last year?
JULIETA GRANADA: I had a hip and a shoulder injury. Okay. Both left, so that was not fun.
Q. Were they at the same time or different times?
JULIETA GRANADA: They came back to back. So first it was the hip, around May March, April, May and after that it was the shoulder.
Q. So one right after the other.
JULIETA GRANADA: Yeah, it was tough. It wasn't hurting enough for me to leave the year and kind of...
Q. ... take off completely.
JULIETA GRANADA: Yeah.
Q. Have you ever had injuries like that where you're contemplating taking time off?
JULIETA GRANADA: No. At the beginning it was like, Oh, you might need surgery, and that kind of scared me a little bit. Thank God everything was good. I just had to like rehab it a lot.
You know when you get that far injured, the process is so slow to come back. So it was just like a drag. You had to do all the exercises like a million times.
Q. What did they say you had?
JULIETA GRANADA: On the shoulder I have a cyst that's still there. Doing rehab and treatment to get it healthy.
On the hip it was like a little bit of a tear on the hip.
JULIETA GRANADA: Yeah, but not enough to have surgery.
Q. Like just enough you almost wish it was?
JULIETA GRANADA: Yeah.
Q. Coming into this year, any definitive goals you thought about?
JULIETA GRANADA: Be more consistent. But I think if I just stay healthy the whole year that would help. It was really tough last year trying to concentrate with everything.
This year I want to stay healthy and committed to all the stuff I have to do outside of golf and then just play golf.
Q. How many times have you played here?
JULIETA GRANADA: Maybe four times.
Q. Everyone says the greens are much more receptive and a lot softer than usual.
JULIETA GRANADA: Yeah, especially today after the rain, right? Like they got really soft. Yesterday which got a little bit of roll, which was the nice.
Overall I like the golf course. You have to play well and hit good shots. I did that today.
Q. What about the round today that you really want to carry on into the weekend?
JULIETA GRANADA: Yeah, I just stayed really present today. That was nice. Just like one shot at a time. It's very cliche, but those kinds of things work.
Q. Mom helping out?
JULIETA GRANADA: Yes, it's been great. She's the best.