Airbus LPGA Classic Presented by JTBC - Final Round Notes and Interviews

Jessica Korda
Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Jessica Korda kisses the trophy on the 18th green after winning the Airbus LPGA Classic presented by JTBC at the Crossings Course at the Robert Trent Jones Trail at Magnolia Grove on May 25, 2014 in Mobile, Alabama.

The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail - Crossing Course at Magnolia Grove
Mobile, Alabama
Sunday Final Round Notes
May 25, 2014

Rolex Rankings No. 26 Jessica Korda (-20)
Rolex Rankings No. 12 Michelle Wie (-18)
Rolex Rankings No. 6 Lexi Thompson (-16)

Jessica Korda (-20) became the third two-time winner on the LPGA Tour this year when she won the 2014 Airbus LPGA Classic today by a stroke over Anna Nordqvist (-19). It was once again a stacked leaderboard at an LPGA event this year with an exciting fight to the finish, with eight players within four shots of Korda at the end.

Korda joins Nordqvist and Webb with two wins and said this win was a sweet one because she felt she hasn’t been playing up to her standards after Bahamas.

“I have not been playing well since I basically won in the Bahamas, and still trying to work on the same swing thoughts that Grant and I have been working on, so for it to finally pay off here is really nice,” Korda said.

In 2013, Korda came up one stroke short of eventual champion Jennifer Johnson (-21) but this year, the 20-under was enough for a victory.

“My confidence just was rising every single day.” Korda said. I just love it here. I love Alabama, I love this golf course, and hopefully we’ll have this tournament for a very, very long time.”

Her putts started dropping on the back nine with six birdies after she made the turn. It was just enough to hold off Nordqvist and Michelle Wie, Charley Hull and Catriona Matthew, all at 18-under, after what she deemed was a frustrating day yesterday.

"Yesterday was a little frustrating because I was always around the hole." Korda said. “Same thing actually on the front nine, watching Michelle make putt after putt after putt and mine were just kind of missing. I was like, okay, it’s time to drop now. Then they started dropping on the back nine (inaudible.) We had a great time out there."

GO LOW OR GO HOME

Lexi Thompson had a number in mind that she had to shoot in order to win the Airbus LPGA Classicand she ended up coming up short in the long run despite shooting a 6-under, including four birdies on the back nine.

“Coming into the day I knew I had to make tons of birdies and just fire at all the pins.” Thompson said. “I knew I pretty much had to shoot about 10 under coming into today. It’s definitely doable but, you know, it was a fun day. I played really solid and just had a lot more fun out there today.”

Thompson has many supporters across Alabama, a fact that was not lost on her. She fed off their energy and felt the love as she and her group played today.

“My group had pretty good crowds the whole week, so it was very nice to see.” Thompson said. “I love my fans here.”

HAPPY FOR KORDA

Michelle Wie kept the fire going as she picked up play Sunday for her final round in the Airbus LPGA Classic Presented by JTBC. As she worked her way up the leaderboard to get herself into contention, Wie was tied for second coming down the 18th hole. After missing a birdie that could have tied her for first with Jessica Korda, Wie ended up finishing the tournament 18-under and tied for third.

“I got hot starting on and just didn’t quite get it together on the back nine,” Wie said. “But still I shot 5‑under today and there’s really nothing I can do. I’m just really happy for Korda.”

EAGLES FOR A CAUSE

“Wounded Warrior Project® Weekends” is a season-long charity program that will be tied into the Race to the CME Globe. Each Saturday and Sunday at LPGA tournaments, CME Group will donate $1,000 to Wounded Warrior Project® for each eagle that is recorded. This amount will increase to $5,000 for each eagle during the weekend of the CME Group Tour Championship and a formal check will be presented to the Wounded Warrior Project® during the trophy ceremony at the CME Group Tour Championship.

Today, seven eagles were recorded to go along with the two yesterday. It brings the total money raised this year to $116,000. Through the first 11 tournaments prior to the Airbus LPGA Classic Presented by JTBC, $107,000 had been raised.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“Finally on U.S. soil. I’m somewhat close to Florida, but I definitely wish that I could have at least shared it with my parents, but I know that they’re watching. My brother’s playing a tennis tournament right now and my sister’s trying for a U.S. Open qualifier, so we’re kind of scattered all over the place, but I can’t wait to go home and share this with them.”

-Jessica Korda after her win wishing her busy parents and family were on hand for her moment.

THE SOCIAL SCENE >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Memorial Day weekend was celebrated at the Airbus LPGA Classic with members of the Marines volunteering their time. Many of the players were able to take pictures with them and thank them for their service, including Lexi Thompson.

“Thank you to all service men this week at the @airbuslpga ! But in general thank you to all the men and women in the military for fighting for our country.”

- Lexi Thompson on Instagram (@lexi)

JESSICA KORDA

MODERATOR:  All right.  I'd like to welcome Airbus LPGA Champion Jessica Korda into the media center.  Jessica, congratulations.  How does it feel to be a two‑time winner this year and champion of the Airbus LPGA Classic?

JESSICA KORDA:  Thank you.  It feels amazing.  I have not been playing well since I basically won in the Bahamas, and still trying to work on the same swing thoughts that Grant and I have been working on, so for it to finally pay off here is really nice. 

MODERATOR:  You said you feel like you hadn't been playing well.  What was the difference in this tournament?

JESSICA KORDA:  You know, I've been working really hard on my short game.  I've actually been working with Paul Azinger a lot at home because he's also from Bradenton, Florida.  With his input and Grant's input, it just takes a while for it to click and put my old driver back into play, and I just felt really comfortable.  I love coming back here.  This feels very comfortable, I feel very much at home here, and so I wouldn't say I was expecting to win but I was definitely expecting to play well.

Q.  And 20‑under last year came up a little bit short, 20‑under this year you finally did it.  Are you more proud of it now knowing that that score didn't quite do it last year?

JESSICA KORDA:  Well, I think this year the golf course is much softer, you know.  As much rain as Alabama's actually had in the last couple of months, it's amazing the way the golf course was set up.  It was so nice.  The greens were perfect and it was a little bit softer so it did play longer.  I did not think 20‑under was going to win.  After the first two days I saw how low the scores were, I said, well, maybe 20‑under will win.  But yeah, it definitely does feel very special, especially hitting the green on 17, I was very happy with that.

MODERATOR:  Now you had six birdies on the back nine, three in a row at one point.  After those three, did you start to think I might win this?

JESSICA KORDA:  No.  You know, I might have birdied three holes but Charley was birdieing, Michelle was birdieing, the group behind us was birdieing.  Actually the first time I looked at the leaderboard was on 16, I kind of glanced over and that's when I started to get a little shaky because I was like, oh, wow, these girls are also playing very well.  So you've got to keep making birdies.  But like I said, all week I was around the hole, around the hole, and I was hitting really good putts, they just weren't falling in.  My caddie just telling me to stay calm and they will fall in.  I had a great group today, what can I tell you.  Michelle and Charley and I had a blast out there.

MODERATOR:  Did you feel like you fed off the play of both of them?

JESSICA KORDA:  Absolutely.  Michelle was out there early making birdies, and I was getting a little frustrated because nothing was falling.  I was hitting it close.  And then Charley started making birdies and I was like okay, let's start doing something here.  After that you'd hit it closer, and I didn't have to hit it close and I would make it, and then Michelle would make it and then Charley would make it.  And then we would get on the next tee and everybody would be down the center of the fairway.  It was very nice to be playing with those two girls.

MODERATOR:  And then finally, what was your mindset coming into today and especially as you approached the green on 18 and lined up that putt?

JESSICA KORDA:  Mindset today was obviously I knew that you had to shoot a low score to be able to contend in the tournament.  I knew that already coming into this week, but that last putt, I just wanted to nestle it somewhat close.  It was breaking really hard left to right downhill and I just wanted to get close so I could just tap it in and move on.  If there was a playoff, great, but the ball went in the hole.  It was amazing.

MODERATOR:  Well, let's open it up for some questions here.

Q.  How far was the last putt here on 18 and what did you see break‑wise?

JESSICA KORDA:  I think it was about 15 feet and it broke really hard.  I was playing it almost completely out, like almost like a yard and a half out for it to come back.  I was really on the edge there.

Q.  A lot of the scoring this week, people really started making moves on the back side.  Were they set up differently or was it just maybe more aggressiveness on the back side because people were going so low?

JESSICA KORDA:  Me personally, I had a hard time reading the greens on the front nine.  I don't know why or, you know, why ‑‑ they're both the same greens you've been playing all day, just for some reason it just clicks on the back nine.  Front nine I'm always around the edges, and I wouldn't say front nine plays any harder or any easier or vice versa.  I don't know, I think it's just go time.  It's the back nine of the tournament, that's when the tournament starts.

Q.  You get through the birdies and 14 and 15, that's when you kind of jumped.  It was a big logjam.  I think six were tied for the lead there?

JESSICA KORDA:  I didn't even look at the leaderboard.

Q.  14 and 15 I think is when you kind of jumped ahead of everybody (inaudible).  Par 3 over the water.

JESSICA KORDA:  Yeah, you know, I actually thought I had not enough club there and I didn't hit it that great, but I made again a really good putt, downhill right to left.  Again, I wasn't really thinking about making it, I just needed to put a good stroke on it and make sure it gets somewhat close to the hole.  These greens are getting faster in the afternoon, and as they kind of start to firm up a little bit, they just kind of bring a little bit of speed up.  I don't really think that I was attempting to try to birdie, I was just trying to hit good putts and hit good shots and if it was meant to be, it was meant to be. 

MODERATOR:  Now you've held some trophies before, but how sweet is this one today?

JESSICA KORDA:  It's very sweet.  Finally on U.S. soil.  I'm somewhat close to Florida, but I definitely wish that I could have at least shared it with my parents, but I know that they're watching.  My brother's playing a tennis tournament right now and my sister's trying for a U.S. Open qualifier, so we're kind of scattered all over the place, but I can't wait to go home and share this with them.

MODERATOR:  And you got to talk to them shortly after leaving the green, didn't you?

JESSICA KORDA:  I did, I did.  I got to talk to my mom and my dad and they're both very happy and proud, and my dad said, Finally you won on U.S. soil.

MODERATOR:  Well, that's great.  Congratulations, Jessica.  You join Karrie Webb and Anna Nordqvist as two‑time winners on Tour out here this year.  We look forward to many more.

JESSICA KORDA:  Thank you.

MICHELLE WIE 

Q.  Great round again, had a great finish out there.  Just with the battle going on between everybody going into this final round, do you feel pressure going into this final day on Sunday?

MICHELLE WIE:  I knew I needed a low score.  I got hot starting on and just didn't quite get it together on the back nine, but still I shot 5‑under today and there's really nothing I can do.  I'm just really happy for Korda.  I had a lot of fun playing with her and I knew I needed a low number and I just didn't hit it low enough.

Q.  Yeah, everybody was scoring low this tournament.  You did have a great group in the final.  Did you kind of feed off each other kind of going down the back nine here?

MICHELLE WIE:  Yeah, I love playing with Korda.  It's also really great playing with Charley as well, too.  You feel old but it was a lot of fun.

Q.  Awesome job.

MICHELLE WIE:  Thank you.

LEXI THOMPSON                           

Q.  Lexi, on a day like today when there's just one or two shots separating everyone, is that pressure for you or is that fun?

LEXI THOMPSON:  Coming into the day I knew I had to make tons of birdies and just fire at all the pins.  I knew I pretty much had to shoot about 10‑under coming into today.  It's definitely doable but, you know, it was a fun day.  I played really solid and just had a lot more fun out there today.

Q.  And as an Alabama favorite, do you feel the support out here?

LEXI THOMPSON:  Yeah, definitely.  My group had pretty good crowds the whole week, so it was very nice to see.  I love my fans here.

Q.  Do you feed off some of the other players' performance out there, too?

LEXI THOMPSON:  Yeah, well, it definitely helps seeing birdies.  Yesterday when I played with Anna, she birdied five out of the first six holes.  So you're always trying to feed off each other and make birdies, but it's obviously good to be in a good group with good scores going.

 

Topics: Airbus LPGA Classic, Notes and Interviews, Korda, Jessica, Wie, Michelle, Thompson, Lexi [+]