Mission Hills Country Club
Dinah Shore Tournament Course, Rancho Mirage, California
Friday Notes and Interviews
April 4, 2014
Lexi Thompson, Rolex Rankings No. 9, -7
Se Ri Pak, Rolex Rankings No. 29, -7
Michelle Wie, Rolex Rankings No. 38, -6
Shanshan Feng, Rolex Rankings No. 7, -5
Cristie Kerr, Rolex Rankings No. 12, -5
Morgan Pressel, Rolex Rankings No. 32, -4
Mo Martin, Rolex Rankings No. 85, -3
Gerina Piller, Rolex Rankings No. 28, -2
Azahara Munoz, Rolex Rankings No. 19, -2
Stacy Lewis, Rolex Rankings No. 3, -1
Lexi Thompson and Se Ri Pak share the lead at seven-under-par 137 following the second round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship. Thompson shot the low round of the day, firing a second-round 64 (-8), a new Championship record for the low score in the second round, while Pak was steady in backing up an opening 67 (-5) with a day two 70 (-2).
Thompson shoots lowest second round in Kraft Nabisco Championship history
Lexi Thompson fired a second-round 64, the lowest second-round in Kraft Nabisco Championship history, to sit in a tie for first heading into the weekend.
The 19 year-old used a hot flat stick, needing a mere 25 putts on her round, to jump 28 spots on the leaderboard from a tie for 29th into the lead.
“I was just trying to stay in the moment and focus on each shot, not really think about what I was shooting,” Thompson explained. “I had the same confidence over every shot, just committing to my line and just being confident over every shot or every putt, and I just tried to do that the whole way throughout, even at the beginning of the round.”
After starting her round by making five-straight pars, a birdie at the par-4 15th began a stretch where the Coral Springs, Fla., native made birdies on six of her next eight holes to climb up the leaderboard.
When it was all said and done, Thompson had fired her lowest round in a major and credited her success on the round, and over the past few weeks, to a positive approach to the game of golf.
“I just went into last week and just tried to have fun out there, laugh in between shots, get my mind off the game, and same thing with this week. Just go out there and relax.,” Thompson admitted. “Even though it’s a major, it’s just a golf tournament, so just going out there and having fun.”
Thompson will enter the weekend with the lead for the third time in her career. Thompson has closed out two of those leads into trips to the winners circle.
Working for the weekend
With the cutline at 149 (+5), 73 players will be around for the weekend. The Saturday and Sunday field will feature six amateurs - Minjee Lee (-1), Brooke Hendersen (+1), Lilia Vu (+2), Angel Yin (+3), Su-Hyun Oh (+4) and Alison Lee (+5) - a new tournament record.
Notable names who missed the cut include Lizette Salas (+6), Yani Tseng (+7), Brittany Lang (+12) and past champions Amy Alcott (+18) and Pat Hurst (+8).
With a two-day total of 146 (+2), Paula Creamer was easily inside the cutline to make her 37th consecutive cut in a major, tying Tiger Woods for most as a pro, according to Golf Channel’s Kelly Tilghman. Creamer has never missed a cut in a major in her career.
Enjoying the ride
Se Ri Pak is a five-time major champion but the Kraft Nabisco Championship has always eluded the Hall of Famer. Pak is looking to change that this week and is in prime position after a second round 70 has her tied for the lead. When asked about her play and what a win this week would mean to her Pak was very reflective.
“Right now it’s meaning more than earlier,” Pak said. “I have such a great career earlier at such a young age, but right now this moment is probably the best moment I’ve ever had. It’s just more enjoyable, I learn to understand more golf. I find my game, I find my life. Everything is just all together, and it’s probably the best time.
It’s just great to be out here.”
Wie stays in contention with a 71
At the halfway point of the Kraft Nabisco Championship, Michelle Wie is in prime position to take a run at her first career major championship.
With an up-and-down round of 71 on Friday, Wie was able to keep herself in contention despite not being able to get much momentum going.
“Yeah, it felt good to start off with a birdie. Just after that really just couldn’t get anything going,” Wie admitted. “But I held on in the middle and the front nine, and the back nine was just a whole lot of pars. But it felt good. Par is a good score out here. Just couldn’t get anything going today, but at the same time I’m happy with the 71 today. Hopefully I can get things going again this weekend.”
Playing with a heavy heart
Mo Martin put in one of the best rounds on the day with a four-under 68 to climb onto the first page of the leaderboard in a tie for ninth at -3. Martin did all of this with a heavy heart due to the recent passing of her grandfather.
“You know, I mean, I feel at peace because in the last 10 years I have given 100 percent to him. He’s been a priority. It’s pretty much been my golf and my grandpa,” Martin said. “I knew he wanted me to keep playing. There’s no doubt. He would just want me to go get back on the course, enjoy it, live my life.”
Piller turns it around on day two
Gerina Piller admittedly didn’t have her best stuff during the opening round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship but a second round 65 (-7) has the American back in the hunt at two-under for the championship.
“It’s anyone’s game. Anything can happen,” Piller said after her round. “It’s a great course. It’s in awesome shape, and you get the birdies rolling and you can go low out here. I’m just happy to be here playing for the weekend. It wasn’t looking like that yesterday. Just want to stay patient especially and not put so much pressure on my tee shots.”
When asked what was working for her on the day Piller was not shy in admitting it was one of those special days on the course where everything seemed to click.
“Just everything. I started off kind of rough, had to make a couple long putts for par, and that kind of just got my round kick started. After that just tried to focus on hitting fairways and greens, and tried to hit it closer, and that always helps.”
Pressel in the hunt after second-straight 70
2007 Kraft Nabisco Champion Morgan Pressel put herself into the hunt heading into moving day thanks to a second-straight 70 (-2). Pressel sits in a tie for sixth place, three strokes back of the lead.
“I hit a lot of greens today and gave myself a lot of chances,” Pressel said. “I definitely left some out there, and I kind of got hosed on one hole out there and a little unlucky, but that’s part of it. I was kind of proud of the way that I bounced back and got it back to 2 under on the day.”
Quote of the Day
“It’s a great feeling to have. Obviously this is one of my main goals, to win a major this year, especially the Kraft Nabisco would be a huge honor.”
–Lexi Thompson on seeing her name at the top of the leaderboard at a major championship
The social scene
After her impressive round of 64, Lexi Thompson (@lexi) posted a video to her Instagram of her caddy, Benji Thompson, doing 50 push-ups in the clubhouse after losing a bet to the co-leader.
“My caddy Benji lost a bet today he had to do 50 push ups in the clubhouse”
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. We would like to welcome in our current co‑leader Lexi Thompson, shot a fantastic 8‑under par 64, the lowest second‑round score ever shot here at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, very nice round. Just take me through the day. It looked like you were just on fire out there. What was really working well in your game today?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, well, I had a little bit of a slow start. I parred my first five holes. But I struggled a bit yesterday on the greens, just struggled to get my putts to the hole, but I figured out some things after my round yesterday with my putting and some of my iron shots. So I would say mainly just committing to my iron shots, hitting some good ones in there and draining some nice putts on the back nine especially.
THE MODERATOR: You've been playing some great golf. We watched you play really well at the Kia Classic last week. Your play was what secured the No. 1 spot for the U.S. in the International Crown by moving up in the rankings. What has been the biggest key for you, the biggest difference in your play of late and how much confidence did that bring into this week?
LEXI THOMPSON: Well, I would say especially last week, I just went into last week and just tried to have fun out there, laugh in between shots, get my mind off the game, and same thing with this week. Just go out there and relax. Even though it's a major, it's just a golf tournament, so just going out there and having fun. But I worked extremely hard in the off‑season on my short game and just trying to get my game a lot more consistent. I think that's showing in the last few weeks, so hopefully it'll show even more.
Q. Can you get a little technical with us about your putting and what you've worked on in the last six months?
LEXI THOMPSON: In the last six months I went through quite a dramatic change. I had moved really close to the ball to get my eye line more over it to see my line. It's not something I've been used to. Even as a little kid I stood far away from the ball and took the putter inside. So I just went right back to that, just go where I'm most comfortable and feel I can make the putt. I really think putting is pretty much all confidence. So I moved farther away and just take one look at the hole and just knock it in. Hopefully.
Q. How long did it take to get comfortable with that?
LEXI THOMPSON: With moving back far away? It probably took me a good month or so because I putted the other way a few months, so I had gotten quite used to that putting stance. But when I moved back, it was definitely where I was more comfortable. It took me about a month or so to get back used to it.
Q. You've played this tournament four times. You played it once as an amateur. Do you feel comfortable on the golf course now? Do you feel like you've learned enough about it? Obviously 64 is pretty good.
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, I feel really comfortable on this golf course. I always say this is my favorite tournament of the year, just coming here it's so beautiful, like really nice weather, and the fans are amazing. I really enjoyed this week out of the year probably the most out of them all. But yeah, I'm really comfortable with the golf course. I get to hit a lot of drivers, so I just aim up the right side and hit my little draw. I really enjoy it out here.
Q. Was there any point during the round today where you said to yourself something special is going on out here, the hole looks like a bucket?
LEXI THOMPSON: I wouldn't say I saw there was something special going on, I was just trying to stay in the moment and focus on each shot, not really think about what I was shooting. But yeah, I had the same confidence over every shot, just committing to my line and just being confident over every shot or every putt, and I just tried to do that the whole way throughout, even at the beginning of the round.
Q. You've been playing in majors since you were 12 years old. What have you learned that's maybe helping you now?
LEXI THOMPSON: I would say the biggest thing I've learned over the years is just staying patient. Majors, they don't shoot crazy low in majors usually, so even if you're just parring, missing a few birdie putts, you just have to stay patient with it and know you can take advantage of a few holes and get the birdies there, and that's what I'm kind of realizing here. You have plenty of birdie holes out there, so even if you miss a few birdie putts, you've just got to keep on plugging away and get those looks with the birdies.
Q. Did you have to learn how to stay patient? Was that a hard process?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, I think that's definitely a huge learning process I've gone through because sometimes I'll have a good amount of birdie chances and miss a few and get a little impatient. As long as you're hitting it well and you get those looks, you just have to tell yourself that they'll fall eventually and just go out with a confident attitude.
Q. Can you just give us a couple of your highlights today, your favorite putts that dropped or something that we might have missed?
LEXI THOMPSON: I would say probably my favorite putt I dropped today was on No. 1, my 10th hole. It was quite a bit breaker, so it was pretty cool to watch it go in hole.
Q. How long was that putt?
LEXI THOMPSON: It was probably almost 30 feet.
Q. How much break did it have?
LEXI THOMPSON: I played it a good at least five feet out, so it was pretty cool to watch. And then the 18th hole, I went for it in two today and hit a hybrid to about 20 feet. I made birdie, but I love playing that hole. It's so scenic, and embracing all the fans walking up to the greens is always a great feeling.
Q. Can you take us through your last hole?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, I went for it in two, I had 235 front, got in a greenside bunker, hit my bunker shot up to about 10 feet and made it.
Q. Yesterday you had 35 putts, today 25. Did you make any adjustments overnight or they just went in today?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, well, I putted a little bit after my round yesterday. I just had a little bit of speed issues yesterday. I didn't really commit to my lines, and I came up short a lot yesterday. I just went out today and picked my line and sped up my tempo a little bit with my putting and just went up to it and said I'm going to knock it in.
Q. You've won LPGA events, but to see your name at the top of the leaderboard at a major tournament going into the weekend, what kind of feeling is that like, and what do you do now kind of looking forward to the next two rounds?
LEXI THOMPSON: It's a great feeling to have. Obviously this is one of my main goals, to win a major this year, especially the Kraft Nabisco would be a huge honor. But no different attitude going into the weekend. I'm still going to go out there, have fun, stay patient with each shot, pick my line and just commit to every golf shot and just have fun out there.
Q. Just in case you do end up paired with Se Ri, I'm trying to think back, you might have been too young when she was in her prime. Do you remember her coming up and what do you know about Se Ri?
LEXI THOMPSON: Well, I've played with Se Ri quite a bit. I don't know too much about her accomplishments, but I obviously show she's an amazing player and great role model. But yeah, I mean, it would be great to be paired up with her. She's an amazing player. But I'm just going to go out there and play my own game. This tournament has so much history behind it, so it would be a huge honor to win it obviously, but just going into the weekend with the same attitude.
Q. You were a little young in 1998 when she won the U.S. Women's Open.
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, I was only three.
Q. Sort of playing off that theme, Se Ri was just in here and talking about some of the things she's learned over the years and how her attitude just sort of changed. You're 19; can you even see what that would be like to be like a 17‑year veteran at some point and facing that evolution of your game and your life, or is it still kind of too far out there?
LEXI THOMPSON: It's pretty far away. I haven't looked too much into the future. I'm just trying to take one tournament at a time. This is what I've always wanted to do, play out on the LPGA. To be like a Se Ri Pak and be a veteran out here and winning that many times would be a great honor. Like I said, this has been my dream since I was a little girl to play out here. Seems like I've been out here a while just only being 19. But I look forward to the years to come to play out on the LPGA.
THE MODERATOR: We would like to welcome our current leader Se Ri Pak into the interview room, a very solid 2‑under par‑70 today, bogey‑free, two birdies and a nice one I think to cap it off on 18. Take me through your day. What really worked well for you?
SE RI PAK: It's the same as yesterday. I got really solid. Everything has just been really solid. I kept it fairways, greens, always the goal every hole, and I kept it really nicely, and from the fairway, on the greens, which was the right place to be. You miss, and ‑‑ I had a lot of opportunities today, but putting is not as good as yesterday, but still, really just really smooth, solid round today, so I'm really happy about the way I finished.
THE MODERATOR: Did you get to a point in the round, you birdied early on, birdied the second hole, and then it was a string of pars all the way until 18. Were you trying to do anything different? Were you starting to get to a point where it's like, can I make another birdie? Can I get something going?
SE RI PAK: It doesn't look like I worked really hard to make birdie, but I am. After the second hole of course I'm happy for the birdie, and of course it gave me a lot of confidence heading to the rest of the round, and same thing, I hit it really well and have a great opportunity, have some short putts there that I mis‑hit, but it just happens to be one of those days, but it kind of bothers me a lot that I missed so many short putts. However, this week, today, it just doesn't really matter for me. I got really relaxed out there. Just the way I'm playing, I'm so happy about the way it is, so I guess that makes it ‑‑ my mind is more clear to be ready for the next shot every hole.
I don't have any great up‑and‑downs, either. Everything has been so smooth the way I want it, so overall, like I said, happy to be bogey‑free. Yes, under par, have a great chance, but really happy about the way it is.
Q. Entering the weekend in the lead, how does it feel different now at this age as opposed to say as a 20‑year old?
SE RI PAK: Well, I mean, always really good to be on top, atop the leaderboard. I'm down here many times, but it's backed off a little bit the last couple years. But it doesn't really make any differences. Heading to the weekend, of course, I need to just focus on my own game and play as best as I can and just make some ‑‑ of course I'm going to probably ‑‑ during the tournament it's got to be some unusual mistakes here and there, but you have to move on. Golf is a really silly game and fun and a hard game. I know I learned a lot the last 17 years, been so many great up‑and‑downs, good day, bad day, okay day, all those things can happen in playing 18 holes.
Just the weekend, probably the same thing, just go out and do our best and focus as much as I could.
Q. But as a veteran player and as an older veteran player, are you still nervous, or do you feel that your experience level makes you a little less nervous entering the weekend?
SE RI PAK: I think all the great experiences helped my game be more relaxed, instead of having pressure on it, because as I said, if I don't have any of these moments before, probably I am. But I have so many times been up top, so that makes me a lot of good experience. I know what I'm doing, and I know what to do. So that probably helps a lot.
Q. And is there any one particular aspect of your game where you say, hey, I remember this feeling; this is actually pretty good?
SE RI PAK: Like right now, I just feel so calm. I don't know why, just excited. But normally I give myself a lot of pressure, just trying to do so hard the golf course. I've been here so many times I know what exactly I need to do. That gives me a lot more pressure, and having a lot of hard time myself. But this week this is probably the best moment ‑‑ like it just feels good. Just feels really calm, go out there, just everything seems to feel comfortable. It just makes me so easy. I don't know why just making everything throughout the round has been so perfect, so that's a perfect feel for me.
Q. Do you feel as though you have a lot more perspective about what this tournament means, much more of a historical view of things now as opposed to earlier in your career?
SE RI PAK: It is, it is. Just being week to week, tournaments, tournaments, like 17 years. So many things going through, but this week, I don't know, it's just such a hard time to get totally focused at this event to not have a great time and have an easy week, but this is the one I'm always looking forward to and have always been ‑‑ as I said, just one of those dreams to make my own. This week is a most important time for me, but as I said, just trying to take it a little back and trying to think about just the week of the tournament and own my own best, and hopefully on Sunday giving a great big smile to myself.
Q. This would be your sixth major title if you can hold on through the weekend.
SE RI PAK: Right.
Q. What does it mean now winning a major compared to what it meant early in your career? What would a sixth major title mean?
SE RI PAK: I think earlier, at that moment actually I was ‑‑ I can't remember too much things about it. I don't know my game is good, I don't know what I'm doing, it's just week to week I just play as a rookie, winning, move on. But now all the great experience I have, I now understand the game of golf. I learned a lot from golf, being myself, my game, my life. Right now it's meaning more than earlier. I have such a great career earlier at such a young age, but right now this moment is probably the best moment I've ever had. It's just more enjoyable, I learn to understand more golf. I find my game, I find my life. Everything is just all together, and it's probably the best time. It's just great to be out here.
Q. What other aspects of your life have you found to be most comfortable now?
SE RI PAK: As a golfer and as a normal life. Everything I'm used to put, all about golf. I don't have my life, I don't have my own social life at all. Always been put everything into golf. It just makes me ‑‑ I guess that's why I have so much of a different way of going backwards instead of move on. So then one moment all of a sudden I just hate golf. I'm here still at the golf course, I don't know why I'm here, I don't want to be here but I'm still here. I don't understand why I keep doing this.
About half a year, year off timing, and then I find out everything besides golf I was ‑‑ I'm a lucky person. I have such great friends around. My life has been perfect. I never realized how good I am.
That's why I'm trying to find better balance, which is the best way to find balance, which is pretty hard, though, because I always spend so much on the golf. I don't know which is good balance, which is bad balance, which one is in between, but now I just thinking myself more than game, and now looks like getting easy to be my life and my game, which is get all together and then make sure everything all comes together. This probably takes 16 years of learning, so just about starting.
Q. Being the trailblazer in Korean golf, did that add any extra pressure, and is that more relaxed now than it was?
SE RI PAK: Actually they give more energy for me. If I can't see them, it just ‑‑ they remind me I was that young age. The first time I came to U.S., I'm trying to find my game, trying to be the very best golfer, and then when I look at them, it just ‑‑ everything is such great pictures. I know how they feel, I know what ‑‑ it's just everything comes to me. That's why I'm keeping still in Tour because seeing them just makes me ‑‑ it's just great mental game, like totally mentally it's a great game, but I see them help my whole game.
Q. It looks like Lexi is on her way to shooting 8‑under today. How good is that score out there?
SE RI PAK: Really, really good. It's not really hard, but today I have such a great, solid round, it's pretty hard to make birdie hole to hole. But I saw her score is already 7‑under through 17. It's amazing. I mean, how solid probably her putting is really hot, too. But her game looks like it's so solid the last couple weeks, so it's really good for her.
Q. As a veteran observer, could you just comment on her being 19 years old, how quickly she has seemed to mature out here?
SE RI PAK: Well, she probably, I think, kind of a little early to have a lot of pressure but still a long way to play golf.
But week to week when I see her, she's pretty well to handle herself out there, like pressure, as a game, as a focus everybody on it. But I think she's working it really go. She's doing it exactly the same as she's doing it, and she's going to be a really great player.
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. We would like to welcome Michelle Wie into the interview room, a solid 1‑under par round today, sitting one shot out of the lead. Just take me through the day out there and how pleased are you with your performance today.
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, it felt good to start off with a birdie. Just after that really just couldn't get anything going. But I held on in the middle and the front nine, and the back nine was just a whole lot of pars. But it felt good. Par is a good score out here. Just couldn't get anything going today, but at the same time I'm happy with the 71 today. Hopefully I can get things going again this weekend.
THE MODERATOR: When you come off such a great round as yesterday and to be up near the top of the leaderboard, how does that change your approach when you come into round 2? Is it really just try to maintain? Do you think about going low? What was your mental approach today?
MICHELLE WIE: You know, I just went out there and I just really took it hole by hole. I know the holes that are birdieable, so I went out there and tried to attack those. I knew the holes that par is a good score. So I really just attacked it hole by hole. It doesn't really matter what I shot yesterday. I really just kind of focused on that particular hole.
THE MODERATOR: When you're in a major now heading into the weekend, to see yourself up near the top of the leaderboard, do you let yourself get excited, or are you pretty much focused on what you have to do tomorrow?
MICHELLE WIE: I'm really excited. It's fun being on or near the top of the leaderboard. But try not to look forward too much. It's a long way 'til Sunday; two days is a long way to go. But at the same time I am very excited.
Q. That stinger fairway wood shot off the tee has really become your go‑to shot to keep the ball in play. Is that something you're totally comfortable with now?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, it's kind of always been my shot in my bag. I've been kind of bringing it out a little bit more. But yeah, it's definitely good.
Q. You were in the final Sunday pairing in Thailand; what was it like to be back in that situation, and what did you learn from that that will help you this week?
MICHELLE WIE: It was a lot of fun. I was really excited. I was nervous. And I think I learned a lot from it. I think I was in contention for a little while, like really close to Anna. I caught up to her. Obviously she played really well coming down the stretch, but definitely learned a lot from it. I can definitely use that experience this weekend.
Q. Can you talk about maybe how you've gotten less technical over the years? Is that a true statement?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, you know, I've tried ‑‑ it's always a battle for me just because I'm such a perfectionist when I'm out there. I try to do everything perfectly. I just really just am trying not to look at my swing, just really feel it and just try not to be perfect, just kind of get it in the ballpark and just feel it and kind of just hit some shots rather than trying to make a perfect swing every time.
Q. When did you start trying to make a conscious effort to do that?
MICHELLE WIE: Well, I've always kind of made a conscious effort of it, but I really told myself this last October not to really look at my swing, maybe looked at my swing maybe twice since then. So I really haven't looked at any of my swings.
Q. It looked like yesterday and today you made some pretty tough par saves at various times during the round. Is that a sign that you're just comfortable with your overall game as much as hitting that stinger or making a few putts?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, I think that's the beauty of majors. You kind of have to do that. It's not like ‑‑ we have tournaments where you're going to have birdie chances every hole. There are some tough holes out there. I was really proud of myself for making those par saves today, and hopefully on the weekend it won't have to be that difficult. Hopefully make it a little bit easier on myself, but I was proud of myself today.
Q. You were talking about getting less technical. How difficult is that when you get yourself to a point, and I know it's easy to look at your golf swing and keep looking at it. How difficult was it when you made that decision not to look at it?
MICHELLE WIE: It was hard. I almost felt like a little bit of an addict. I was like, I really want to look at it, am I doing it right. But once I stopped looking at it, I like don't even want to look at my swing anymore just because I don't want to start relying on my eyes again. I just really am starting to rely on my body and how it feels, and I think I've really gotten into tune with how I'm moving.
Q. Does that take you back to when you first started playing? Do you feel like you did maybe early on in your career?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, I think so. I think definitely when I was younger, way younger, I just tried to hit the ball hard. I really just wanted to hit it far, so I definitely think I'm kind of going back towards that.
Q. After you missed the short putt on 18 and walked away with par there, then on that next par‑5 did you hit it in the trees and it came out and you ended up with a birdie?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, it was a pretty lucky shot there. I thought it was for sure OB. But hit the tree luckily, bounced back into the middle of the fairway, and it was a good birdie. I was really happy about that.
Q. Sometimes you just need a little luck, right?
MICHELLE WIE: Exactly.
Q. We've talked a lot about confidence and how it's coming back for you in spades. Not to be a downer or anything, but at what point did you feel the least amount of confidence? Is there a point in your career that you can point to?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, for sure. I think there was a couple of points. I don't think it was just one moment. I just really struggled with injuries. I really struggled with my health, as well. I was just not healthy. I was not feeling well. And you just go out there and you're grinding and you're grinding and you don't see any improvement, and I think that's when you get most frustrated, the most like ‑‑ that's the least confidence. I think it was beginning of last year, end of two years ago, when I really struggled with my putting. I think that's when I just wasn't comfortable at all. But I'm just really grateful that I went through that just because I know how I came over it, and if I ever get not confident and get back into that, I know how to get past it now.
Q. Can you talk about your round today, kind of up and down?
SHANSHAN FENG: Well, I think I played in the afternoon today, and the wind kind of picked up today, so it was actually tougher playing compared to yesterday, and I think I actually did pretty well. Of course I did make two bogeys coming in, but I was still concentrating, and it just happens. Sometimes you make good strokes and they don't fall on this course. I'm still positive, so that's good.
Q. You mentioned the wind picking up on already a difficult course. What kind of adjustments do you have to make when the conditions play into an already tough golf course?
SHANSHAN FENG: Well, I would say most of the girls have been here for a few years at least, so we know this course is playing really tough when it's windy, so we just need to be patient because sometimes the wind actually can affect your putting, also, so I think that's very tough.
Q. You were talking earlier about how you felt you were making good strokes, they just weren't going in. It seems like you still have a lot of confidence that you can make a run at this thing going into the weekend. Can you kind of talk about that?
SHANSHAN FENG: Well, I think, yeah, I'm actually struggling with my 56‑degree a little bit, but that's an easy fix, and I think my putting has been pretty consistent this week. Even today I made some long putts. Yeah, I think it's in good shape.
Q. You played with Amy Alcott the first two days, three‑time champion. I know you were talking about her giving you some secrets yesterday. Talk about what it means to play with a three‑time champion and what kind of message she gave to you about heading into the weekend.
SHANSHAN FENG: Well, she taught me to drink a lot of water, make sure I drink a lot of water. That was what I did last night, and she was telling me, like every time maybe I'd make a bogey or I'd miss a putt, and she'd say, okay, let's make one back. She encourages me. It was kind of funny because yesterday I think Clinton, Carter wanted to play a round with her, but she said no because she was going to be in the tournament. It was kind of funny, and it made me feel like, ooh, ooh, like so proud of myself, proud of the tournament.
Q. We're here with Cristie Kerr after round 2. The wind kind of picked up here in the afternoon. How did that factor into play?
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, it definitely made the approach shots more tricky, and you just had to stay more patient because you're not quite hitting it as close to the hole. It kind of died down towards the end of the round and we got some more opportunities. I played really well today, felt great, felt a little more rested, and I'm ready to go for the weekend.
Q. What is your approach going into tonight, headed into tomorrow? What changes?
CRISTIE KERR: Nothing changes. I think I'm going to just try to play each shot just a little bit better than these first two days, just mentally being there, just to be ready to hit each shot and not let anything bother me. If I do that for the weekend, if I take care of my job, everything will work out.
Q. You had a great reaction on 15. Can you take us through that hole? What was your thought process?
CRISTIE KERR: Oh, it was just a good 9‑iron and I had to get all of it to get it to the hole, and Mark and I were like, nothing extra, just a good swing, and I hit it great, and it was just on a really good line, and when it hit the green and released a little bit, we couldn't tell whether it was short or long, and then you could just see it hit a ton of the hole. We holed that last week, and I don't know, I'll look forward to more opportunities, I guess, on the weekend.
Q. Morgan, very solid 70 today. Kind of talk us through your round.
MORGAN PRESSEL: Yeah, thank you. I hit a lot of greens today and gave myself a lot of chances. I definitely left some out there, and I kind of got hosed on one hole out there and a little unlucky, but that's part of it. I was kind of proud of the way that I bounced back and got it back to 2‑under on the day.
Q. 4‑under for the tournament going into the weekend. What kind of momentum do you have?
MORGAN PRESSEL: Well, I feel like I'm playing well, so I need to do more of the same. I'm hitting my new Callaway X2 Hot driver really well, and it's kind of a tight golf course, so it's putting me in position to hit a lot of greens, and I just need to roll a few more putts in.
Q. (On grandfather's skin cancer)
MO MARTIN: It was successfully treated, and he went into remission, but it came back. So for the last I would say probably six years, he's been on various drugs treating it, and he's been doing really well. But recently it kind of spiked back up, and then we found a melanoma on his face, so he kind of started fighting two cancers, and he just kind of started getting a little bit more and more weak.
I called Sunday at Phoenix. He was supposed to be in Phoenix, but he was there before and he told me he just didn't have the energy. He was really low in strength, wasn't eating too much, and I called on Sunday and my aunt said that when he tried to get out of bed he couldn't support his weight anymore, and I knew at that point that it was going to be very quick because he's a very independent person.
So I just drove straight from Phoenix to the ranch. It was nine hours. I got there at 3:00 in the morning. He was waiting for me. He asked to be shaved. He said is Mo there. I said, I'm here.
Q. He asked to be shaved because you were coming?
MO MARTIN: He was always so well dressed. He had one outfit, but it was on at 6:30 in the morning every single day.
Q. Did it mean a lot to you to be there?
MO MARTIN: Oh, I mean, to think if I were in Asia or somewhere, it would have been extremely difficult for me. I mean, like I said, for something I never, ever wanted to happen, it was perfect. I mean, he was in no pain. He went in his sleep. I mean, my mom was there, my aunt was there, my uncle was there.
Q. How long after you arrived did he pass?
MO MARTIN: About a day and a half.
Q. You stayed there the whole time?
MO MARTIN: Oh, yeah. I would have still been there.
Q. What kind of things did you guys talk about?
MO MARTIN: In the last day and a half? Not much. He wasn't conversing much. He was in bed. I mean, it was definitely the end stages. I just told him about Phoenix, told him I played well the last day, and he said, oh, good. I told him next week was Kia and then Kraft and just told him I loved him, and I said I loved him, too.
Q. He was 102?
MO MARTIN: 102.
Q. Amazing. What's your favorite grandpa memory? I know that's tough.
MO MARTIN: Well, this was pretty cool. Last year we were here, and you get the standing ovation coming up Saturday, Sunday. Well, we got it today, too. But whoever I was playing with, we came onto the green, it got quiet, and then I heard it again, and I thought, who's coming, and I turn around and grandpa had his cart and he was coming back the grandstand and they gave him a standing ovation. For me that was really special.
Q. You made the trip from Phoenix to where?
MO MARTIN: Porterville, California.
Q. Where is that?
MO MARTIN: It's in the Valley. It was a nine‑hour trip.
Q. And that's where he called home?
MO MARTIN: Yeah, I mean, I call that home.
Q. And you drove to him from Phoenix?
MO MARTIN: Yeah, nine hours.
Q. So today you're in a good place on the leaderboard.
MO MARTIN: Yeah, what about that?
Q. Was it hard to focus at all or did you just feel at peace?
MO MARTIN: You know, I mean, I feel at peace because in the last 10 years I have given 100 percent to him. He's been a priority. It's pretty much been my golf and my grandpa. Off weeks I flew to him. He came to me at tournaments. I called him every day. Every day.
So I'm at peace with that. I could have done nothing more, and I know that. He knows that. And it's been ‑‑ it's changed my life significantly, just being around him and knowing him. When he passed away, I had no doubt what I was going to do. He did not want a funeral. He was just as thoughtful as ever because then somebody else would have to arrange it and go out of their way, and it would just be another ordeal, and he didn't want that.
And so we are going to hike his ashes up to the Sierra mountains to be there. After he passed I stayed there for a good chunk of the day, but then I left. There was nothing more for me to do. He'd always tell me ‑‑ he actually made up this little song. He'd say, this is like five years ago, he would sing to me. He'd say, "oh, Melissa, oh, Melissa," my name, "when my time has come, when you hear my call, just keep hitting that little white ball." So I knew he wanted me to keep playing. There's no doubt. He would just want me to go get back on the course, enjoy it, live my life.
Q. How often did he say that to you, that song?
MO MARTIN: You know, it's funny, it was probably about five ‑‑ maybe seven years ago, I remember I think for his 95th birthday he sang it to me.
Q. So your play this week, you've been playing some good golf. Can you talk about just your game and feeling good about it?
MO MARTIN: Yeah, it's in a good place now. Same stuff. I mean, I can't tell you anything is significantly different. I'm working with Ian Triggs. I started that at the beginning of last year, so that's absolutely helped me. Kyle Morrison, my caddie, he's as steady as it gets with me, which again, I can't appreciate more. Even with grandpa passing, he's got the art between being sympathetic and consistent down perfectly. I mean, he's really good to have around. And he helps me on the course. He's always really well prepared.
I don't know, it's just one shot at a time, one day at a time.
Q. How did you get hooked up with Ian?
MO MARTIN: On the range ‑‑ I missed the cut at the Australian Open, and I was just kind of frustrated on the range, and I just saw him, and I was like ‑‑ I kind of wanted to approach him but I was kind of nervous about it, and Kyle said, well, you're not going to regret it. I mean, what's the worse he can say, get lost? So I was like, hi, I'm Mo Martin, and he took off his hat and he was extremely polite, and I said do you have five minutes, and he said, if you're here at the end of the day I'll come back. So I stayed on the range, he came back, and that was it. He's a great guy, really great instructor.
Q. You said that it was significant knowing your grandpa. Can you tell me what you meant by that? How did you rub off on you or what was the significance?
MO MARTIN: He was the most peaceful person I've ever met, and in the last 10 years and also in talking to his children, none of us have ever heard him say a bad word about anybody. So to be that grateful and that simple and that smart and that kind, I mean, I can't think of a better influence in my life.
When I say significant, that's an understatement from me.
Q. 7‑under round, great playing today. What was working for you?
GERINA PILLER: Just everything. I started off kind of rough, had to make a couple long putts for par, and that kind of just got my round kick‑started. After that just tried to focus on hitting fairways and greens, and tried to hit it closer, and that always helps.
Q. This course really requires fairways and greens for a good round. Can you talk about how you put it all together today?
GERINA PILLER: Yeah, the good thing about this year is the rough isn't as thick, so that kind of gives you leeway and not so much pressure to hit the fairways. If you miss the fairway you still have a chance to get it on and even get it close, so that was huge for this week. Just really trusting yourself and not trying to play perfect golf. That's what I did yesterday, and you can see that did not work out as well.
Q. You mentioned multiple times your great round today. How do you carry that momentum and carry that into the weekend?
GERINA PILLER: Yeah, I mean, it's anyone's game. Anything can happen. It's a great course. It's in awesome shape, and you get the birdies rolling and you can go low out here. I'm just happy to be here playing for the weekend. It wasn't looking like that yesterday. Just want to stay patient especially and not put so much pressure on my tee shots.
Q. We're here with Azahara Munoz after the second round today. Can you take us through your round a little bit, explain especially what happened out there on the back nine?
AZAHARA MUNOZ: Yeah, I played really well all day. I hit lots of fairways and hit it pretty close, made a couple nice putts. I got to be 4‑under and then made a couple silly mistakes, but overall I'm 2‑under and really excited for the weekend.
Q. I know you mentioned silly mistakes. Can you go into specifics on those?
AZAHARA MUNOZ: Yeah, well, on 16, my 16, which was 7, I was kind of in between clubs and I went for the 8 instead of a little 7 and the wind was kind of hurting a little bit. I actually hit a really good shot, but it didn't quite get there. Probably three more feet it would have been perfect, but it just came back in the bunker.
And then on 8, I just hit a bad iron and then overread the putt, and same thing on here, I hit a really good putt, I just overread it a little bit.
Q. Weather conditions today, any factor, or do you expect wind when you come out here?
AZAHARA MUNOZ: You kind of get both things, but obviously today was so perfect. Both days actually, yesterday afternoon was a little windy but nothing really. So far it's been perfect for us.
Q. What's a successful day for you tomorrow?
AZAHARA MUNOZ: I don't know, I don't want to give myself a number, I just want to keep giving myself chances and hopefully make a few more putts.
Q. You were struggling with the driver going right yesterday, and today it looked a little better and then you got the 3‑wood out and ‑‑
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, we worked like three hours yesterday afternoon and then came out this morning and worked another hour before I did my warm‑up, and it was ‑‑ I just can't get comfortable with my driver. I hit some okay, but I kind of flared one out on 7 and another one on 9, and it just got to the back nine where 3‑wood was plenty of club, so I just started hitting 3‑wood and hit a few good ones and actually hit a couple good drivers coming in.
Q. What were you working on?
STACY LEWIS: A lot of it was ball position, and then just getting out in front of it. I'd get out there on the court and want to hit it hard, and the body is just going really fast right now, so I was just trying to get my arms moving a little bit quicker.
Q. That last shot ‑‑
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, the irons have been so solid. I hit the ball really ‑‑ once I got off the tee, I hit the ball great, even yesterday. You know, if I can just kind of iron the driver out a little bit, I could make some birdies.
Q. What did you hit on 17?
STACY LEWIS: 17 was just a little 5‑iron.
Q. Can you kind of talk about how up and down round but you closed it strong, kind of the momentum that gives you going into the weekend?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, you know, I didn't play my best, but I managed it really well, didn't have to work too hard, which was nice, and it's always great to birdie the last. I hit a great shot in there and finally got rewarded for one, but I'm only six back right now, and with two rounds at a major you're never out of it.
Q. Especially for a major champion. Can you talk about how the experience of being there before knowing that six shots in a major championship is something that can be overcome, can you talk about how that plays into your mindset?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I remember playing here with Morgan when she won, and we were quite a ways back going into the day, and she just grinded and grinded and grinded. We finished a good 45 minutes before the other groups, but we still ‑‑ she still ended up winning. You're always in it in a major. You're never out of it until that last putt falls.