Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic Second-Round Notes and Interviews

Lake Merced Golf Club
Daly City, California
Round 2 - Friday, April 25, 2014

Rolex Rankings No. 3 Stacy Lewis (-6)
Rolex Rankings No. 30 Karine Icher (-5)
Rolex Rankings No. 4 Lydia Ko (-5)
Rolex Rankings No. 34 Mika Miyazato (-3)
Rolex Rankings No. 1 Inbee Park (-3)

Stacy Lewis (-6) fired her second 69 (-3) in as many days to take a one shot lead into the weekend at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic. Lydia Ko and Karine Icher sit a shot behind Lewis at -5 after rounds of 71 and 73 respectively.  

Inbee Park and P.K. Kongkraphan had the low rounds of the day with four-under 68s to sit at -3 and -2 on their weeks.

Golfers battled thorugh tough conditions as only 15 percent (21/139) of the field broke par in a round that saw an hour and 20 minute rain delay which started at 12:26 p.m. local time. 

Lewis goes low
Stacy Lewis put together one of the best rounds of the day with her second-consecutive, three-under, 69 to sit in the lead at -6 entering the weekend.  

“We knew it was going to be a long day. That’s the way I took it. One shot at a time, and tried to get the ball in the hole,” Lewis said. “That’s what I tried to do. Get it in the hole as fast as I could. Fortunately I was able to do that and make a couple putts. I think anything under par today is a good score.”

Lewis, who is looking for his first win of 2014 despite finishing in the top-10 in six of seven events this year, has converted four of her eight second round leads into victories during her career. 

Ko continues to grow
One day after her 17th birthday, Lydia Ko was happy to be a year older. 

“I feel like I’ve been 16 for the last 16 years,” Ko said. “Yeah, and especially people knowing me as like a 16 year old.  ‘You’re 16.  You’re 16. 16 you’re doing this.’  So I am going to probably say I’m 16 years old in a couple days once people ask me.“

“It’s good to be I guess different, 17,” Ko continued.  “I think a lot of things have happened the last couple years and much quicker than I would have planned. I think it’s going in a really good direction. I’m just going to try to enjoy the moment.”

Ko hopes to kick off her 17th year in style with a victory as she sits a mere shot behind Stacy Lewis at five-under for the tournament thanks to a second round 71 (-1). 

Different ways to spend a delay 
Stacy Lewis and Lydia Ko, who were paired together for the first two rounds, were similar in a lot of facets of their games during the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic but one of the ways they were different was the way they approached their down time during the rain delay.

“You know, I think you try to stay patient during the delay more than anything, and try to stay loose,” Lewis explained. “I didn’t sit down too much.  Tried to stay up.  So it definitely felt nice to finish those last holes, because you never now out of a delay exactly how your body is gonna react.”

“I was just exact opposite,” Ko admitted. “I sat down, had some chicken soup, played some cards.  I was totally relaxed.”

To which Lewis jokingly replied; “She’s 17 and I’m 29.”  

Inbee battles a Bug to shoot low round of the day
Inbee Park admitted that she has been under the weather the past few days but the Rolex Rankings No. 1 player didn’t let that bother her en route to the low round of the day, a four-under, 68.

“I was feeling bad the last couple days and thought I wasn’t going to be able to play this week,” Park said. “I feel like I had food poison for last two, three days. I haven’t really ate anything for last couple days or anything like that, so I just don’t have much energy. It was a surprising day for me. Just glad I finished the round.” 

Once again, Park will be in the hunt entering the weekend. Park has five top-10 finishes but is still looking for her first victory of 2014. 

Family along for the ride with icher
Karine Icher’s life on the LPGA Tour is a family affair as her husband Fred serves as her caddy and the couple travels with their two-year-old daughter Lola.

“It’s hard. We found a playground, so we go there when we have a little bit of time. Today I think it’s going to be hard to go there,” Icher said. “So just spend time together and be parents. Other than that, she’s at the day care with the two nannies we have on tour. She get used to it, too. “

This week at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic, Icher has put together some of her best rounds of golf with an opening round 66 followed by a second day 73 to sit in T-2 place at -5 for the tournament. Icher hopes to ride a hot flatstick into her best performance of the 2014 season. 

“When you start to putt well, you gain confidence,” Icher said. “That’s how you make a score. So yesterday I made really good putts, and today I made some good putt for pars, too.  I think this is the key, yes. When you’re putting get stronger and improve, you can shoot low.“

Mika Miyazato making a move
Mika Miyazato was one of the few players who was able to get 18 in before the rain delay and she took full advantage shooting a second round 69 to sit at three-under for the tournament.

Asked what the keys would be to a good weekend Miyazato confidently replied; “It’s the same. One step at a time always.”


Working for the weekend

With the cutline at 149 (+5), 82 players will be around for the weekend. 

Paula Creamer was able to keep her remarkable streak of 75 consecutive made cuts in tack thanks to birdies on two of her final three holes to finish one clear of the number at +4. 

Notable names who missed the cut include Charley Hull (+6), Yani Tseng (+6), Jessica Kora (+6) and Brittany Lincicome (+10). 

Quote of the Day
“I tried to follow Stacy’s lead.  Following Stacy you’re going the right direction for sure.”–Lydia Ko describing what was working for her today. 

The social scene
Tonight was LPGA Golf Night at the Ballpark when the San Francisco Giants took on the Cleveland Indians.

Several players including Juli Inkster, Paula Creamer, Christina Kim, Michelle Wie and Brittany Lincicome took part in a variety of activities including a ceremonial first chip, pre-game chats, social media interaction with fans in the Giants’ @ Cafe and ticket giveaways, which were captured by the Giants official Twitter account. 

“The first four people who come to the @CafeSFG and say @LPGA Swinging Skirts wins 2 passes to the tourney”- (@SFGiants)

STACY LEWIS and LYDIA KO

THE MODERATOR:  We are joined in the media center by Lydia Ko and Stacy Lewis. Lydia, you're at 5‑under, 71; Stacy, you're at 6‑under after a 69 today.
Can you guys just talk me through your rounds today. The conditions today obviously weren't ideal.  Kind of say what was working for you and what you took out of your rounds.

STACY LEWIS:  For me, I think we all went in to the day knowing that it was going to play really hard and be a test of patience and there were going to be some delays.

We knew it was going to be a long day. That's the way I took it. One shot at a time, and tried to get the ball in the hole. That's what I tried to do. Get it in the hole as fast as I could.

Fortunately I was able to do that and make a couple putts. I think anything under par today is a good score.

LYDIA KO:  Yeah, I tried to follow Stacy's lead. Following Stacy you're going the right direction for sure. 

Yeah, I was pretty happy with my 71. You know, sometimes I didn't hit it in the most ideal positions and it's not nice being like way right like on No. 2 and you've got trees everywhere.

Yeah, I think I gave myself a lot of good birdie putts, so I'm really happy about that. I wasn't really confident with my putter coming into this week, but after yesterday and today I'm pretty happy about it. 

THE MODERATOR:  You mentioned the delay. Was there a moment when you just knew, We're not getting 18 in today? Was there one moment where it just hit you that you were going to have to take a break? 

STACY LEWIS:  I honestly thought we were going to get done. We were on 6 and I thought, Wow, only three holes to go. We could probably get this in. We got on 7 green and it just poured.

Lydia was about to hit her putt and we kind of called her off her putt and said, Don't hit it.  Because it started to hail a couple seconds later.

Once we got on 7 green and it started o flood, we knew it was going to be a long day.

LYDIA KO:  Yeah, as a rookie, I was like, Okay, let's just get this done. Luckily I was pulled back and then I made the putt when we returned. 

But, yeah, I was kind of crazy and out of my mind to actually think about putting that in the hail. I thought we would finish like going down 6, and even in the 7 tee box.

Then it started getting darker and I was like, Oh, it's going to rain hard.

MODERATOR:  What's your mindset during a delay and then coming back out of it? You were both putting together pretty good rounds, and then obviously the momentum stops when you go out.  What do you do to pick yourself right back up and finish the round on a high note? 

STACY LEWIS:  You know, I think you try to stay patient during the delay more than anything, and try to stay loose. I didn't sit down too much. Tried to stay up. We were fortunate we were finishing on 8 and 9. We only had shots to hit on 8 and 9, two of the probably easier holes on this course.

Came back out and made a nice putt on 8. So it definitely felt nice to finish those last holes, because you never now out of a delay exactly how your body is gonna react.

LYDIA KO:  I was just exact opposite. I sat down, had some chicken soup, played some cards.  I was totally relaxed.

STACY LEWIS:  She's 17 and I'm 29.  (Laughter.) 

LYDIA KO:  I was just trying to avoid hot chocolate. I had a cup of hot chocolate before during a delay and next hole I hit it out of bounds. My mom brought me a cup and I was like, Oh, that better not be hot chocolate.

Like Stacy said, 8 and 9 are not one of the harder holes, and especially with the nice pin position on 8. 

So, yeah, I just want it kind of get my birdie going, and then just finish quickly before the rain washed us out again. 

THE MODERATOR:  Two different routines, two similar results. Let's open it up for questions. 

Q.  Lydia, was it 7 you missed the little short one and then missed the short one coming back, then you had the break and came back and sunk the birdie putt right off the bat.  Was the delay a good thing to get you out of a negative mindset maybe?

LYDIA KO:  Yeah, I was putting really well. I think I was getting too confident with the first putt so I hit it way past.  I kind of under‑read the next one and it went down.

I nearly had the same putt as, y first putt for my third. I said it would be the most disappointing double if I miss this ‑  especially coming off two really good birdies.

But, yeah, I think the delay definitely helps with confidence. Luckily it wasn't like a severe break on my 7th hole. So, yeah. 

Q.  How do you expect the course to play the next two days given this rain?  You expect it to be different I assume the next couple days. 

STACY LEWIS: You know, it really depends on how much rain we get the rest of the day. So far the golf course is very playable. We just had to stop because we got so much rain so quick.

Playing the last few hole it didn't feel too wet. Felt okay. As long as we don't get too much rain, I expect it to firm out. It's been firm all week. It was kind of nice today we could actually control some wedge shots a little bit, so it was actually kind of nice.

I think the golf course will bounce back just fine. 

Q.  Lydia, I understand you had a special day yesterday and a lot of celebrating going on around you.  Characterize your experience up to this point with that kind of excitement around you and then playing well. 

LYDIA KO:  Yeah, you know, like I said, I feel like I've been 16 for the last 16 years.  Yeah, and especially people knowing me as like a 16 year old. You're 16. You're 16. 16 you're doing this.  So I am going to probably say I'm 16 years old in a couple days once people ask me.

It's good to be I guess different, 17. I think a lot of things have happened the last couple years ‑ and much quicker than I would have planned. 

No, I think it's going in a really good direction. Yeah, I'm just going to try to enjoy the moment.

THE MODERATOR:  On top of that, Lydia, you were also named as one of Time Magazine's 100 most influential people. Talk about that and what it means to you. 
LYDIA KO:  It means a lot.  It's ‑‑ I want to say it's not even once in a lifetime opportunity. It's less than a once. I guess to be the first golfer to be announced and select for that, that's a huge honor.

I've only been doing what I love to do:  playing some fun golf out here on the tour.  When I saw that, I was pretty surprised.

Q.  Any of the other 99 people that you would really like to meet?

LYDIA KO:  I would love to meet 99 of those people.  All of them. They're big names, apart from me, I think. I would probably go out there with a sketch book and ask for an autograph from all of them.

Q.  Lydia, curious, what is working better this week than the last few tournaments?  You have something with this course from the United States girls juniors two years ago.  Has that helped at all today? 

LYDIA KO:  Actually putts over six feet are going in the hole. Last couple weeks it's been really hard. I hit the ball really well in Hawaii and gave myself opportunities and really couldn't get the job done.

I think putting is the most important part of the game. Today and yesterday I've been holing reasonable length putts that kind of bring birdies. You can't hit it next to the pin on every shot.  That's in the realistic. 

So to have a couple medium‑length putts going in, that definitely helped with my confidence.  Even with the 3‑putt on the sixth hole, I still feel really confident with my putter. 

Q.  Stacy, just wanted you to maybe comment about how composed she's.  Maybe 16 forever, but at the same time, the compusure and the things she does on the course, sitting here very maturely chitchatting with the media.  What's her take on her? 

STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I mean, first time we played together was in Canada a couple years ago when Lydia won. She's been this way for a couple years, so she hasn't really had to grow up, I guess.

She's a great kid. She gets it. You can tell by how humble she is. She doesn't really know how good she is and she's not done yet.

It's great to have her out here and playing some good golf. I think the Time Magazine thing, I mean, it's very much true of how influential she is right now with her age. What she's doing at such a very young age is very impressive.

We were talking about today about what were doing at ‑ Michelle and I ‑ what we were doing at 17. I was in high school and not thinking about doing professional golf. Just very impressive what she's doing.

Q.  Another question about the American players.  Obviously you're playing well; Michelle is coming off a win; Paula is having a good year.  Good for the game in general to have the American players out there doing it?

STACY LEWIS: I think it's great for the women's game. Over the last probably year I have been going in to media centers every week, and people been asking me, What's the deal with American golf. Every week I say, It's fine. We're in a great place. We're in a great place. 

Finally we have the wins to show it.

It's great to see Michelle coming into her own. I work out with her in the off‑season. We work with the same trainer. I knew coming into this year she was going to play well. She's excited and she's having fun playing golf again. That's what you want to see. 

Same with Lexi. Lexi is coming into her own, too. It's great for American golf. We need to keep it going for next year's Solheim Cup, too. 

Q.  I think you were No. 1 for about a month last year.  How important is it to you to get back to that spot? 

STACY LEWIS: You know, I think more than anything I would like to get there just to be able to enjoy it. Kind of turned into a media circus and I was pulled in a lot of directions for that month and didn't really get to enjoy it.

More than anything I want to get back there so I can enjoy it. At the same time, winning tournaments, finishing Top 10s, at the end of day, that's what gets you there. 

Q.  Follow up on that:  What does that mean?  How would you articulate the privilege of being No. 1?  You've been in the top 5 for quite a while. 

STACY LEWIS: Right, right. I mean, I would rather win major championships than be No. 1 in the world, if that kind of makes sense.

Being No. 1 is great. That means you're the most consistent and you're playing the best in the best fields. 

But what I'm out here to do, I'm out here to win golf tournaments.

I would take two majors over No. 1 in the world any day. 


KARINE ICHER


THE MODERATOR:  I'd like to welcome Karine Icher into the interview room. Karine, obviously weather played a big factor in play today.

Take us through what your strategy was knowing that the rain was coming ahead of time.

KARINE ICHER:  Well, everybody knew that today was going to be rainy and wet, so basically there is no really strategy.
It's like staying dry as much as you can, and then try to hit the fairway and then the green and then putt in the hole.

It's a tough golf course. You can be quick in trouble, or if you're playing well, like yesterday I did think it goes pretty well ‑‑ but today with the wind and the rain it's definitely a tough day.

But the green are softer, so it's a little bit easier to stop the ball, especially when you chip.

THE MODERATOR:  Yesterday you were saying the strategy was to stay short of the hole.  Was that what you used today as well? 
KARINE ICHER:  As well, yes.  A little bit less, because with the soft greens you can be a little bit more aggressive. But stay short of the hole, it's definitely the key on this course. Yeah.

MODERATOR:  So when the horn sounded, what do you do during the delay? 
KARINE ICHER:  Eat a little bit and then try to dry the clothes, and that's it. Rain delay is never fun, but happens a lot of times when LPGA is in town. It's amazing. It's rainy or cold or windy.
So we're used to it.  We have to play with it. 

THE MODERATOR
:  Is it correct you had two more holes to play when you came back on? 
KARINE ICHER:  I was on the 17 green, so I had one and a quarter.  (Laughter.)

Q.  Just wondering how this start factors into some of the other starts you've had at other tournament?  Is this one of the better starts you've had in a while?
KARINE ICHER:  Yeah, yeah. I can't remember exactly, but being within the top 5 to start the tournament, it's pretty good. It's better than to be 20 or 30. 

So far this year was my best start, yes. 

Q.  Is there something in your game that's taken it to another level?
KARINE ICHER:  Maybe putting this week is a little bit stronger than the past week, and this is the key I think for everybody. When you start to putt well, you gain confident. That's how you make a score.

So yesterday I made really good putts, and today I made some good putt for pars, too. I think this is the key, yes. When you're putting get stronger and improve, you can shoot low. 

THE MODERATOR:  You have your son out here with you, right? Son and husband? 
KARINE ICHER:  Daughter and husband.

THE MODERATOR:  What have you guys been doing this week? 
KARINE ICHER:  It's hard. We found a playground, so we go there when we have a little bit of time. Today I think it's going to be hard to go there. 

So just spend time together and be parents. Other than that, she's at the day care with the two nannies we have on tour. She get used to it, too. 

Q.  I don't know whether you're aware or not, but this winter is one of the worst droughts we've had in history. Couldn't tell it this week. Were you aware we've had no rain all winter?
KARINE ICHER:  Yeah, I think this is the worst weather we had so far.

Q.  Yeah, but locally we have had no rain all winter. 
KARINE ICHER:  Yeah? Really? We should go and play in Africa. To have the LPGA in the middle of Africa Kay, we can bring rain.


INBEE PARK

Q. Okay, we're here with Inbee Park. Inbee, you had the low round for the day. What was working for you out there? 
INBEE PARK:  Today was I think a little bit of everything.  Was very good putting day and I hit a lot of fairways.  That was very important.  It was quite windy today and cold, so the only thing was I got a little bit lucky with the weather.  I only had to play in the rain for four holes, so that was really lucky. 

I was really doubting.  I was feeling bad the last couple days and thought I wasn't going to be able to play this week.  I was food poison for last two, three days.  I haven't really ate anything for last couple days or anything like that, so I just don't have much energy.

It was a surprising day for me.  Just glad I finished the round. 

Q.  With the cold weather could you drink a lot? Were you drinking a lot while you were out there? 
INBEE PARK:  I try to drink a lot, but as soon as I try to eat or drink something it's just still coming out.  It's tough to eat or drink at the time, so I'm trying to eat like a little bit at a time and trying to be healthier.

So try to get a lot of rest today and hopefully I can, yeah, finish the rounds.

Q.  You had birdies 13, 14, 15?
INBEE PARK:  Yeah. 

Q.  Talk a little bit about those three holes. 
INBEE PARK:  Yeah, 15th hole was ‑‑ the par three, I hit 5‑iron that was about five feet from the hole.  Holed that.
No. 14 was 2‑putt birdie from the par‑5.

13 was about 20‑, 25‑footer.

Q.  So the plan for tonight go home, get rest, hydrate, try to eat a little? 
INBEE PARK:  Yeah, I had like very bad fever overnight, so, yeah, hopefully I don't get that so I can sleep some. 


MIKA MIYAZATO


Q. Here with Mika Miyazato after a second round 69.  Just hit it 3‑under for the tournament.  Tell us what was working for you out there today. 
MIKA MIYAZATO:  It's pretty tough condition today because cold and rainy and the windy.

But has so much patient today. Some up and down, too. Pretty good round today.

Q.  You mentioned the conditions.  It's been down pouring, a little mist; rain and wind has been going all sorts of ways.  Tell me how you adjust to that mentally and in your golf game. 
MIKA MIYAZATO:  Well, I knew the weather is rain today so I knew how to play the rain weather. 
Not so difficult.

Q.  This is a tough golf course to begin with.  How do you think these conditions make it even tougher? 
MIKA MIYAZATO:  This golf course was like more challenging. If I miss the fairway, rough is coming.  Is pretty tough rough. 
I need more good course management.

Q.  What would you say is the one thing that was working best for you out there today? 
MIKA MIYAZATO:  Up and down. Chipping, yes. 

Q.  You got in just before a big surge of rain came.  You're probably not going out until later tomorrow after posting 3‑under.  What are you thinking for the rest of the day and leading into tomorrow?
MIKA MIYAZATO:  It's the same. One step at a time always, so more focus in the short game, too. 

Topics: Lewis, Stacy, Park, Inbee, Ko, Lydia, Icher, Karine, Miyazato, Mika, Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic, Notes and Interviews [+]