ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open
The Victoria Golf Club
Second-Round Notes and Interviews
February 14, 2014
Caroline Hedwall -11, Rolex Rankings No. 21
Suzann Pettersen -10, Rolex Rankings No. 2
Minjee Lee -9, Rolex Rankings No. 214
Anna Nordqvist -8, Rolex Rankings No. 27
Paula Creamer -7, Rolex Rankings No. 12
Caroline Hedwall lists Australia as her favorite country to travel to and on Friday, the Swede fired a 7-under 65 to take the lead at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open. The two-time European Solheim Cup Team member carded two eagles including a hole-in-one during Friday’s second-round to take a 1-stroke lead over Suzann Pettersen.
“You guys have great golf courses down here and the people are so relaxed and so welcoming, nice weather,” said Hedwall. “I think everything is great down here. It is absolutely one of my favorite stops.”
Starting the day on the back-nine, the charge up the leaderboard began for Hedwall after a birdie at the par-4 15th moved her to 1-under for the day.
Playing 160-yards, Hedwall took dead aim at the par-3 16th with a soft 7-iron. While she observed the ball hitting the pin, the lull from the crowd left her unaware she had just recorded her fourth hole-in-one.
“Yeah, number 16, yesterday I hit a full 7-iron over the green and it was basically the same yardage today, so I hit a soft one and it covered the pin all the way and then I just saw it bounce once and hit the pin,” said Hedwall. “But I didn't see it go in. I think the crowd up there, they didn't want to yell because Lorie (Kane) or someone was hitting off number 17, so we walked up there and they were like, it went in. I was like, oh, nice LAUG. It wasn't really the feeling when you see it go in, but it's always nice.”
The solid play during Friday’s second round showed no signs of slowing down with back-to-back birdies at the par-5 18th and par-4 first before dropping a shot with a bogey at the par-4 third. Hedwall picked-up her second bogey of the day at the par-4 sixth to drop to 3-under for the day before a birdie at the par-3 seventh returned her to 4-under-par.
Hedwall went on to claim her third eagle of the tournament and second of the day at the par-5 eighth after hitting her second-shot to within 4-feet. Momentum continued to swing Hedwall’s way as she closed out her round in style with a birdie at the par-5 ninth.
While Hedwall’s impressive round moved her into the lead she has Rolex Rankings No. 2 Suzann Pettersen nipping on her heels. In search of her 15th career LPGA Tour victory, Pettersen carded five birdies and one bogey en route to a second-round 4-under 68.
“Today was not the best day, but when I had a good chance I kind of executed,” said Pettersen.”Just not a great day but sticking to the theme, coming down, finishing and coming back to my good feel – it’s very, very close. I’ve got to trust my feels and what I have to do.”
Scenarios for Rolex Rankings No. 1… Suzann Pettersen currently stands at 10-under-par and in solo second following the second-round of the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open. For the first-time in 44 weeks, Inbee Park could be dethroned from the No. 1 position in the Rolex Rankings if Suzann Pettersen finishes in one of the scenarios below…
- If Pettersen wins: will go to No. 1
- If Pettersen finishes solo 2nd: will go to No. 1
- If Pettersen finishes in a tie for second with one other player: will go to No. 1
- If Pettersen finishes in a tie for second with two or more players: will stay at No. 2
Dynamic duo… Caroline Hedwall has made quite the name for herself ripping through the collegiate and professional golf ranks but the two-time European Solheim Cup Team member isn’t the only one in her family who knows her way around the links.
Caroline’s twin sister, Jacqueline Hedwall, played collegiate golf at Louisiana State University (LSU) and has played on the Ladies European Tour. The Hedwall sisters were introduced to the game by their parents but while their mom and dad quickly grew tired of the game, the twins decided to stick with it.
“My parents also play golf,” said Caroline. “We grew up playing a lot of different sports. She really loved soccer when she was younger and then had to pick and she picked golf. She went to college in the US as I did. Well, we're definitely a golfing family, even though my parents are not that great golfers. I guess they got tired of golf courses, driving me and my sister around Sweden playing golf everywhere LAUG.”
While the pair have impressive golf resumes, they turned to hockey during their younger days. In fact, Caroline admitted in this year’s Player Guide that the duo got in trouble as a child for putting black marks on the wall while using the door as a goal when playing hockey.
Under the weather… Anna Nordqvist hasn’t felt under the weather since last year’s Solheim Cup but on Friday morning, the Sweede wasn’t feeling like her normal self. Playing while sick at the 2013 Solheim Cup, Nordqvist helped lead her team to the victory over the United States.
If Friday’s second round of the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open is any indication Nordqvist might play her best golf while not feeling up to par as she fired an 8-under 64 to move from a tie for 60th into a tie for fourth.
“Yeah, I woke up with no voice this morning, so I didn't really know what to expect,” said Nordqvist. “I haven't been sick since the Solheim Cup, so maybe it's a good mojo.”
Playing in her first event of the 2014 season, the offseason was one of change for Nordqvist. The two-time LPGA Tour winner switched swing coaches and received new equipment after signing with TaylorMade and Adidas.
“Yeah, I mean I have been working with my new coach and we're trying to do a couple of different things with my swing and then I've also got 14 new clubs and a new golf ball, so it's been fun playing around with it this off season.,” said Nordqvist. “Definitely didn't really know what to expect yesterday coming out with the clubs and how they react in competition but I'm very happy. It will probably take a while to get used to them but you know, it's tailor made now and I always look up to the equipment and it seems to be working pretty good LAUG.”
Teenage hobbies… Australian amateur Minjee Lee had a monster week at last week’s Australian Ladies Masters finishing runner-up. After a first-round 4-under 68 followed-by a second-round 5-under 67, the impressive play looks to be continuing this week at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.
“Yeah, I'm in good form,” said Lee following her second round. “Yeah, I'm confident in my game and I'm playing good.”
During the opening two rounds of the event in Victoria, Australia, Lee played alongside fellow Aussies and LPGA Tour veterans, Lindsey Wright and Sarah Kemp. While Lee seems to be the upcoming face of golf for Australian, the teenager admitted to having the same hobbies as her fellow 17-year-olds away from the links.
“Everyone's hobbies, I don't know, going out with your friends,” said Lee. “I like reading when I'm on the road and little things like that.”
Tweet of the Day… Look how cute my mom is. Thank you from @ANordqvist and I for all our goodies – Brittany Lincicome (@Brittany1golf)
THE MODERATOR: An absolutely fantastic round of golf, you must be pretty pleased?
CAROLINE HEDWALL: Oh yeah, of course I am, I mean 7-under is always a good score. I'm very pleased and I had a good finish to my round yesterday. Now it's up to 11-under and that's pretty good after 36 holes.
THE MODERATOR: Your whole game must have been great but your driving in particular?
CAROLINE HEDWALL: Yeah, I mean I'm driving it far. I missed a couple of drives both yesterday and today but managed to save a couple of bogeys and still making a lot of birdies and also eagles.
THE MODERATOR: 2013 was a wonderful year and 2014 is starting rather well I may suggest.
CAROLINE HEDWALL: Yeah, I mean I had a good start to the season last week and then a good start here. I hope I can just continue to play well.
Q. I read somewhere where you said Australia is one of your favourite places to visit. You've had a bit of success down here, what is it about Australia do you think?
CAROLINE HEDWALL: You guys have great golf courses down here and the people are so relaxed and so welcoming, nice weather. I think everything is great down here. It is absolutely one of my favorite stops.
Q. Tell us about the ace?
CAROLINE HEDWALL: The?
Q. You had a hole in one?
CAROLINE HEDWALL: Yeah, number 16, yesterday I hit a full 7-iron over the green and it was basically the same yardage today, so I hit a soft one and it covered the pin all the way and then I just saw it bounce once and hit the pin. But I didn't see it go in.
I think the crowd up there, they didn't want to yell because Laura or someone was hitting off number 17, so we walked up there and they were like, it went in. I was like, oh, nice LAUG. It wasn't really the feeling when you see it go in, but it's always nice.
Q. How many is that as a pro or over all?
CAROLINE HEDWALL: My fourth.
Q. Obviously a nice way to finish, on a birdie, eagle, birdie. You said that you finished your round well again yesterday, do you build it into your round?
CAROLINE HEDWALL: Well I started off really well yesterday and then made three bogeys on the back nine and finished off with an eagle; so that kind of saved that round. I was playing really well and three putted on two greens. That was quite annoying, so it was really nice to just finish off with an eagle from like five feet.
Q. I was going to ask you about that, I watched you three putt on 14 yesterday.
CAROLINE HEDWALL: Yeah.
Q. You looked like you were about to be headless. It was a really good effort to come back. How do you do that?
CAROLINE HEDWALL: Right there, I was quite annoyed with the flies actually, there are a lot of them out there and I probably needed a little bit of sugar too to just get my energy level up. My caddy is really good at just telling me to focus on the moment and forget about the past; so he did a great job yesterday and just trying to help me with that.
Q. My photographer down there, who fancies himself as a bit of a golf guru, reckons you swing it as hard as any woman he's ever seen and harder than a lot of blokes. He's got some great photos of clubs bowing at the back of your follow through.
CAROLINE HEDWALL: LAUG.
Q. Is that par for the course for you?
CAROLINE HEDWALL: Well I mean, I've always been swinging it hard. I grew up with a twin sister and we were competing against each other hitting it the furthest on the driving range, so I guess it comes from that and I've always been very explosive, which I see as a great talent. I try to use that and I do hit it really hard.
Q. Does your twin sister still play?
CAROLINE HEDWALL: Yes she does. She decided this year though to take a little break because she's just putting way too much pressure. She's a great golfer but it's a mental game so she needed to take a little break and she's going to be out on tour caddying a little bit more this year and playing a little bit too.
Q. You mentioned how explosive you are as a player, there's a lot of colour on the card today - two bogeys and 65. Would you ever like to be more steady or are you happy to be a person who can go really low when you play well?
CAROLINE HEDWALL: I'd definitely rather be a person that can shoot really low and make a lot of birdies, I mean, that's what's fun LAUG. I don't mind making a bogey here and there if I make lots of birdies.
Q. I was watching you at the Solheim Cup last year when you played so well and it just struck me that you really love the contest and playing against the absolute top players. Is that what brings the best out in you and where do you think you can get to?
CAROLINE HEDWALL: Well, it's just so great with the crowds and everything and that's what I love, I love being under pressure. It's so much easier for me to stay in the moment rather than when we play 72 hole events, because I mean, you start on Thursday and it's such a long way to Sunday, so when we play the Solheim it's that hole that counts. You need to have your focus turned on all the time.
Well here, that's what's I try coming into this season, to just get started and be on my toes from the beginning so that I'm not after coming into the week.
Q. What's your highest ranking? I think you're about 23 now or something.
CAROLINE HEDWALL: Yeah, I'm probably around 20.
Q. What's your highest?
CAROLINE HEDWALL: I think that's my highest, I think.
Q. Are you a confidence player would you say?
CAROLINE HEDWALL: Sorry?
Q. Are you a confidence player? Do your scores get noticeably much better when you're feeling confident on a course?
CAROLINE HEDWALL: Yeah, I think all of us are like that. I think you really need confidence when you're out there and you need to trust yourself and commit to your shots. I mean, confidence is key when you play golf.
Q. Do you feel like that at the moment with your game?
CAROLINE HEDWALL: Yeah, I mean I'm very happy with how I'm striking the ball and my putting is getting better and better, so I definitely feel like I have a lot of confidence.
Q. Would that be the lowest key, lowest profile hole in one that you would have had?
CAROLINE HEDWALL: Yes LAUG.
Q. So you literally didn't know, you just turned up on the green…
CAROLINE HEDWALL: Yeah, I walked up there and they're going this. Oh, okay, it went in LAUG, because we weren't sure, because I couldn't see it. I told my caddy, there's no way; that went over right? He's like no; it's probably in LAUG.
Q. What's your twin sister's name and is golf a family thing?
CAROLINE HEDWALL: Her name is Jacqueline. My parents also to play golf. We grew up playing a lot of different sports. She really loved soccer when she was younger and then had to pick and she picked golf. She went to College in the US as I did. Well, we're definitely a golfing family, even though my parents are not that great golfers. I guess they got tired of golf courses, driving me and my sister around Sweden playing golf everywhere LAUG.
THE MODERATOR: I was just going to say to you, your other three holes in one, did you ever get anything for them?
CAROLINE HEDWALL: No.
THE MODERATOR: No cars?
CAROLINE HEDWALL: No, nothing LAUG.
Q. Let's just assume Suzann goes well here today. Sweden and Norway have got a pretty good rivalry going?
CAROLINE HEDWALL: Yeah, especially now when the Olympics are on, yeah. We're great competitors. It's fun though; we force each other to play better in all sports.
Q. Who drives it further?
CAROLINE HEDWALL: I don't know to be honest. It's a long time ago I played with Suzann. I think basically we're the same.
Q: 4 under today, what was going on out there?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Today was not the best day, but when I had a good chance I kind of executed. Just not a great day but sticking to the theme, coming down, finishing and coming back to my good feel – it’s very, very close. I’ve got to trust my feels and what I have to do.
Q: How promising is it to not have a good day and you’re still up there?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: My bad was still decent. I know where my mistakes come from, so it’s kind of an easy fix – especially when you know what the fault is. It’s a decent day. No complaints – shooting 4 under on not the best day.
Q: So it looks like you’ll be paired with Caroline (Hedwall) tomorrow. You two are probably two of the longest knockers on Tour – what kind of battle will that be?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Well it’s nice to be up with the longest ones again. You know what, I’m just going to try and stay with what I’m doing. I mean it’s….when I’m hitting it good, it’s really good. Like I ripped a good drive on 18 and only have a 5 iron left. It’s nice to see you can find the speed when you need it and not go for old habits.
THE MODERATOR: Just an absolutely fantastic round, you played so well last week and it's just sort of like a follow on?
MINJEE LEE: Yeah, I'm in good form. Yeah, I'm confident in my game and I'm playing good.
THE MODERATOR: One of the press men said that it's almost the most perfect score he's seen and it was just a great round - easy he said. Did you feel that, was it easy for you out there today?
MINJEE LEE: Not when I started, such a slow start. I started with nine pars and I was just patient and it came late in the round.
Q. You said MinJee that it started late, talk us through the first hole where you made eagle and also the birdie at the 5th and then the finish?
MINJEE LEE: The first hole I hit 3-wood down the left side and just kind of faded in. I was about 15, 18 feet away and holed my putt.
Then for the 15th, I hit like a soft 8 into the green and I had like seven feet and then the last two par 5s I made birdie.
Q. How much further are you hitting it now than you have been in previous years?
MINJEE LEE: I don't know, just 10, 20 yards. I've been doing lots of fitness work and stuff over a couple of years, so yep.
Q. You had nine on your last hole; you jumped on that, how far was that? Was that as far as you could hit the ball there?
MINJEE LEE: I hit a solid shot, I'm guessing around there.
Q. But that's regular, say 265 we had it at.
MINJEE LEE: That's a little bit longer when you say that LAUG.
Q. That's what you're working on; you're just trying to extend out to where the physically bigger women on the tour are?
MINJEE LEE: Yeah, well I don't have a massive build, so just trying to get stronger and trying to get that dynamic in your swing so you can hit it longer.
Q. When you watch Suzann Pettersen play, for example, or the girls last week, what does that put in your mind to do? Do you need to become that big or become that long or are you happy with your game where it is?
MINJEE LEE: Obviously there's room for improvement but I don't feel like I'm way behind or anything. I can get longer but that will come over the years.
Q. Today as your score was going down, the crowd was going up. It didn't seem to faze you, is that a fair comment?
MINJEE LEE: Not really, well last week was pretty good, like the crowd, so it was pretty similar.
Q. Do you enjoy the adulation?
MINJEE LEE: Yeah, we had three Aussies in the group, so I don't know, LAUG everyone should have come out and supported us. No, we had a pretty good group, so it was really good.
Q. Sorry, you've probably been asked this before, but what are your plans as far as turning professional?
MINJEE LEE: So this year I'm just playing golf, it's like my gap year basically, so I'm just trying to get as many tour starts as possible and maybe at the end of the year I'll go to Q-School.
Q. Karrie Webb when she was in the other day was talking about girls maybe turning pro a little too early. Obviously you've got the talent and ability and that there, but do you feel pressure with someone like Lydia Ko - who's a bit younger than you, turning pro - to do the same?
MINJEE LEE: Not really, obviously Lydia was feeling ready, so she went. We're pretty good friends, so no, I don't really think of it like that. Just when I feel ready and when I feel like really.
Q. Do you get a sense that Australian golf is crying out for another young Australian to come through and really take on the world? There are obviously some good girls around but there's a big gap between Karrie and the next ranked player?
MINJEE LEE: Not really, I think turning pro is when you feel ready. It's not something that someone should push you to do. I think whenever it comes it'll come.
Q. I know you said a gap year, but in normal student terms, a gap year is about having fun. Are you planning to do anything fun?
MINJEE LEE: When I take my time off I'll do fun things. Even during school I was always playing golf, so yeah.
Q. Are you thinking about winning right now?
MINJEE LEE: No, I'm just going to play how I play and if I can get close then good. But, yeah, just carry on as I'm going.
Q. Given the conditions over the last couple of days, do you think you are where you need to be? Are you happy where you are? How would you sum up your performance over the last couple of days?
MINJEE LEE: I think I'm in a good position but I know there are going to be good scores this afternoon. Yeah, I think I'm in a good spot to be aggressive. Yeah, pretty much LAUG.
Q. Do you enjoy being on top of the leader board?
MINJEE LEE: Well, I don't really care where I am, I'm happy wherever I am. But yep, good golfing and on top of the leader board, that's what you hope for, so yeah.
Q. Who is your biggest inspiration in the game and why?
MINJEE LEE: Oh LAUG. I'm not really sure, like Tiger and Rory and people like that, just how they carry themselves on the golf course and off - maybe not Tiger, but you know what I mean. Yeah, just we watch them on TV all the time so yeah, they're just amazing.
Q. Anyone in the field in particular that you look up to on inspire to be like?
MINJEE LEE: Suzann Pettersen LAUG, she's so cool.
Q. As a teenage girl, what do you like to do away from golf, what are your hobbies or interests?
MINJEE LEE: Everyone's hobbies, I don't know, going out with your friends. I like reading when I'm on the road and little things like that.
Q. Back to your gap year, what are you doing school-wise?
MINJEE LEE: I haven't really thought about Uni. I don't have any plans LAUG.
Q. Have you completed high school?
MINJEE LEE: Yeah, last year I graduated.
Q. Which school?
MINJEE LEE: Corpus Christi.
Q. In Perth?
MINJEE LEE: Yeah, in Perth.
Q. You're feeling a little under the weather?
ANNA NORDQVIST: Yeah, I woke up with no voice this morning, so I didn't really know what to expect. I haven't been sick since the Solheim Cup, so maybe it's a good mojo.
Q. What was working for you out there, 8-under, it's pretty solid?
ANNA NORDQVIST: Yeah, even yesterday I played pretty good, I had 16 wins yesterday, I think I hit all 18 today, so very steady from tee to green; just a couple of par 5s bad second shots but overall it seems like the putts were rolling in. Yesterday they kind of hit the edges.
Q. With the par 5s kind of reachable out there, do you think you probably could have even gone lower?
ANNA NORDQVIST: Yeah, I had a good yardage on my 3-wood into the last but just kind of hit it a little left and putted down the line and found a left bunker and that's not a spot you want to be at with the green so severe but no, I felt good out there and you know, just keep at it. It's early in the season and I've gone through quite a bit of changes this winter so I'm just trying to stay positive and put my best foot forward every day.
Q. How tough has that been, to implement the swing changes out there?
ANNA NORDQVIST: Yeah, I mean I have been working with my new coach and we're trying to do a couple of different things with my swing and then I've also got 14 new clubs and a new golf ball, so it's been fun playing around with it this off season. Definitely didn't really know what to expect yesterday coming out with the clubs and how they react in competition but I'm very happy. It will probably take a while to get used to them but you know, it's tailor made now and I always look up to the equipment and it seems to be working pretty good LAUG.
Q. Do you think that almost takes the pressure off you, the fact that you really have no expectations coming in on it?
ANNA NORDQVIST: No, I mean I definitely want to play good, it's early in the season and I've always been kind of rusty the first couple of months, so I don't think I've ever had this low a round this early in the season, so it's definitely, you know, I take it all the work I've been putting in this off season has been paying off.
Q. Another good day out there, right up there on the leader board. What worked?
PAULA CREAMER: I didn't really hit it as well as I did yesterday. I gave myself some opportunities for a birdie, I just didn't make any and finished strong, birdied 5 - I birdied 6 and 7 and then 9, just finished strong. Golf courses, it's tough, you've got to make yourself make some big breaking putts and things like that. It's not easy but when you birdie the par 5s, you should be doing pretty good.
Q. You've been up there, you were up there on the leader board, it seemed like all last year, you were up there in the Bahamas, is that promising or is it then kind of a little frustrating that you can't pull it off?
PAULA CREAMER: No, I think it's really good actually. I feel very comfortable. It's been a long time coming, that's for sure but I do, I feel good where my game is going and where it's ultimately going to end up at and just continue to keep on working, being smart and taking opportunities when I can. Today was a good - what's the word - no, but today, just showed I can kind of go through a couple of swings out there, struggled a little bit with some shots but finished strong, so…
Q. You think that's something that will be kind of easy to fix on the driving range?
PAULA CREAMER: Yeah, I'm going to go hit some balls for sure afterwards and make some putts and hopefully have a good weekend.
Q. Yeah, you and Jess (Korda) have played every round this year together so far?