Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Presented by P&G Partial Second Round Notes and Interviews

Michelle Wie
Photo Credit: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Michelle Wie smiles after a shot on the nineth hole during the second round of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Presented by P&G at Pinnacle Country Club on June 28, 2014 in Rogers, Arkansas.

Michelle Wie, Rolex Rankings No. 7, -10
So Yeon Ryu, Rolex Rankings No. 9, -8
Suzann Pettersen, Rolex Rankings No. 4, -7
Stacy Lewis, Rolex Rankings No. 1, -6

It has been no major championship hangover for Michelle Wie this week in Arkansas. The Rolex Rankings No. 7 player now holds a two-shot lead at 10-under at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Presented by P&G. The second round was suspended at 4:30 p.m. local time and called for the day at 5:30 p.m. due to dangerous weather in the area. Seventy-two players still need to finish the second round and round two will continue at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday with the final round starting at approximately 11:00 a.m.

Wie shot back-to-back 66’s in the first two rounds and has had only one bogey in her first 36 holes of the tournament. The newest major champion leads last year’s runner-up So Yeon Ryu who posted rounds of 67-67 and had five birdies and one bogey in Friday’s second round.

Wie will try to record back-to-back wins for the first time in her career tomorrow and has already recorded two victories in a single season for the first time with her win at Pinehurst No. 2. Wie showed no signs of fatigue on Saturday and recorded four of her six birdies in her final seven holes.

The 24-year-old said she chatted with friend and mentor Meg Mallon on Saturday night and said she told her that following a U.S. Women’s Open with a win is not impossible. Mallon achieved the feat in 2004 when she followed up her second U.S. Women’s Open title with a win at the CN Canadian Women’s Open.

“I’m definitely tired, definitely trying to get through the week,” said Wie. “But at the same time I want to win back to back. I kind of talked to Meg on the phone yesterday and she’s like, yeah, I played after the U.S. Open I won. But it’s a long way till then, but I definitely want to play the best I can…I’m not the type of person, I don’t like to plan too far in the future. There’s definitely stuff I need to do tomorrow before that happens. If I can get it done, hopefully it will happen.”

University of Arkansas alum and local favorite Stacy Lewis turned in a 66, bouncing back from an opening round 70 on Friday. She sits four shots behind Wie in a tie for sixth. The world No. 1 player said she took out some frustration on the range at Pinnacle Country Club on Friday and it seemed to payoff. She said she has proactively throughout her career trained herself to forget about a bad round and move on.

“That’s what I do best,” said Lewis. “I don’t like playing two bad rounds in a row. If I play a bad round it’s okay, but you just can’t let it happen again. So that’s why last night I spent some time out there. It was a long night, but I felt a lot more confident coming into today.”

Ten players are currently within four shots of Wie including Suzann Pettersen (-7), Chella Choi (-7) and Gerina Piller (-6). Wie said she’ll be taking an aggressive approach on Sunday especially with the soft conditions due to rainfall in Rogers throughout the week.

“I can’t predict the score, but I’m just going to go out there and try to do the same thing I did today, just attack the holes that I can attack and try to make some putts and try to make a lot of birdies,” said Wie.

OH HAIL NO!
Play was suspended for the day at 5:30 p.m. (CT) due to significant weather conditions...72 players were out on the course at the time play was halted...Round 2 of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship will resume at 7:30 a.m. tomorrow, Sunday June 29...Round 3 starting times will be 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. (CT), off of #1 and #10 tees in groups of three.

SUNDAY DRAMA
Two of the LPGA Tour’s biggest stars will be in the hunt once again on Sunday and may just be the new friendly rivalry the fans of women’s golf love to see. Local favorite Stacy Lewis sits four shots behind second-round leader Michelle Wie heading into the final round and loves having a challenge on Sundays. Lewis was six shots behind Wie at the start of the final round last week in Pinehurst and put the pressure on the eventual after closing with a 66.

“Well, Michelle’s obviously playing some really good golf,” said Lewis. “I’m going to have to shoot a good number
tomorrow. This golf course always leads to a little bit of a shootout. At least I put a good number up today and we’ll see what happens tomorrow.”
Wie, who has become friends with Lewis off the course since moving to Jupiter, Fla., said a final round with the duo in the hunt is perfect drama. Wie says she has seen the 10-time LPGA Tour winner put up some low numbers on Sundays and knows a lead is never safe with Lewis in the hunt.

“Yeah, I mean, it’s always fun to play against Stacy,” said Wie. “We play against each other a lot during the off weeks. We play a lot together, we work out together. She’s a great competitor. I love when she’s kind of in the mix because I know she’s going to do something crazy, post a low score. And she definitely inspires me, motivates me. So it’s just great to see her kind of come back to Arkansas, see so many fans, see a lot of “I Love Stacy” shirts out there. It’s great.”

GOTTA GET AGGRESSIVE
You would think Rolex Rankings No. 4 Suzann Pettersen would be fighting for a bounce-back after missing the cut last week at the U.S. Women’s Open Championship but the 33-year-old said she didn’t take much from the week in Pinehurst. After rounds of 78-74 in the first two rounds, Pettersen traveled up to Rhode Island to take part in the CVS Caremark Charity Classic and event she has played in the past three years.

“I teamed with Jonas Blixt…I really enjoyed playing with the guys,” said Pettersen. “I take a lot from it and, like I said, I took more from that week than I did from the U.S. Open.”

Pettersen said she didn’t feel like she played poorly last week and turned to her time in Rhode Island to channel her focus to being aggressive. Last week’s missed cut marked the first time the Norwegian has missed a cut in 21 starts, dating back to last year’s U.S. Women’s Open at Sebonack Golf Club.

“I really didn’t play that bad,” said Pettersen. “I putted not my best and my ball striking was maybe not my very, very best, but it was just a brutal week if you weren’t spot on. I didn’t take too much off it…The guys play so aggressive. I mean, they go for everything and they’re fairly aggressive on the greens, so that’s probably what I take a lot from it.”

Pettersen had just 29 putts in her second-round of 67 in comparison to 32 putts yesterday when she posted a 68 in the first round. She said the biggest frustration that comes to her is leaving it short on the greens.

“Yeah, the lag, you don’t see the guys come up short very often,” said Pettersen. “Every time I leave a putt short now I get so frustrated.”

Pettersen has posted rounds of 68-67 this week and is three shots off the lead with 18 holes to play. She’s still looking for her first victory of the 2014 season with her last win coming at the Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship last
October.

REBOUND FROM LAST YEAR
With back-to-back 67s and sitting at 8-under for the tournament, So Yeon Ryu headed to the clubhouse two shots off the lead at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G. Last year, Ryu (66-66-69) lost in a one hole sudden death playoff to eventual champion Inbee Park (69-65-67).

The loss, although disapponting, is not something that sticks out in her mind and she’s ready and excited for tomorrow’s final round because of how well she’s been playing.

“I just lost in the playoff, but still finish second is nice memory, a good memory.” Ryu said. “I remember two years ago also I finished tied 10 or something. So it feels like this golf course pretty suited for me, so I’m ready to go low tomorrow.”

Ryu battled the wind earlier in the day and was able to conclude her round before the weather rolled into Rogers, Ark.

“Today, actually the morning the wind was pretty strong so it was really hard to make a judge when we hit the shot.” Ryu said. “But this day my swing feels really great and my shot was really great is I think that’s why I could make a lot of birdies and I could make a lot of birdie chance. But unfortunately my putting wasn’t that much great so I miss a lot of short putts. So I am little bit disappointed about that, but I’m pretty sure I still can make a lot of birdies tomorrow.”

QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I always love to be here because so many great crowds and they’re yelling to us, they support us really well. So I feel like I’m a rock star, you know? When I walk through that hole, I really want to make a birdie and I want to just kind of pay back to them. I just want to make them be more exciting so I love to be here.”

-So Yeon Ryu explaining what it’s like as a player walking down the 17th hole, the Loudest Hole on Tour, at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G

WIE ON ICE
Michelle Wie was called out by friend Matthew Broome to complete the “Ice Bucket Challenge” - a challenge that has taken off on social media recently. When you are called out, you either have to participate or donate $100 to a charity of that person’s choice. Michelle paid it forward by challenging LPGA players Stacy Lewis and Jessica Korda.

“Got called out by “mbroome009 to do the ice bucket challenge. I now call out @stacylewis and @thejessicakorda to participate or donate to my charity.”
- @themichellewie via Instagram video

SEE VIDEO

 

Michelle Wie, Rolex Rankings No. 7, -10

Q.  How much confidence does that give you as far as playing well on this golf course?

MICHELLE WIE:  Well, it feels good, just the fact it's tough out there with the wind.  There's a couple of good holes out there and it felt good to birdie some of those tough holes I thought par would be a great number on.  But yeah, just I think tomorrow, same thing I did today, just take it shot by shot and see what I can do.

Q.  You mentioned back to back.  Is that a motivation right now?  Is that driving you?

MICHELLE WIE:  You know, I definitely am tired, I just want to kind of get through tomorrow.  But at the same time, you know, it is definitely in the back of my mind.  But I'm not the type of person, I don't like to plan too far in the future.  There's definitely stuff I need to do tomorrow before that happens.  If I can get it done, hopefully it will happen.

Q.  The course hasn't been kind to you the past couple years.  What's been different this week?

MICHELLE WIE:  You know, I've played really well one of the first years I played here.  And just didn't play (inaudible) the other years.  Just a tough golf course and you have to hit the right shots, you have to hit the right putts and it's a good golf course.

Q.  Back‑to‑back 66s with that hectic week, could it have been even better for you?

MICHELLE WIE:  Yeah, you know, like I said, I didn't know if I was going to tee it up, but I felt good and definitely another one tomorrow will be great.

Q.  Stacy is one of the people obviously close behind you.  After last week's win, kind of fun to carry on that little back‑and‑forth this week, I guess?

MICHELLE WIE:  Yeah, I mean, it's always fun to play against Stacy.  We play against each other a lot during the off weeks.  We play a lot together, we work out together.  She's a great competitor.  I love when she's kind of in the mix because I know she's going to do something crazy, post a low score.  And she definitely inspires me, motivates me.  So it's just great to see her kind of come back to Arkansas, see so many fans, see a lot of "I Love Stacy" shirts out there.  It's great.

Q.  How good do you feel with your putter right now?

MICHELLE WIE:  Definitely feeling a lot more confident.  That's something I've been working on, just feeling more and more comfortable with the speed and everything.  So yeah, it's always a work in progress.

Q.  You say you're tired, but also seems like you're in a zone at the same time, just playing really lights out the last couple of weeks.  Did you feel something coming on the last month or so or has it been pretty steady for you?

MICHELLE WIE:  You know, it's kind of my goal for the entire year to be consistent.  That's my main goal, to be consistent for the entire year and just try and get better every week.  I feel like I've been achieving it so far and I just want to keep improving.

Q.  And goals for tomorrow, what do you think it might take score‑wise tomorrow to go ahead and win this one, too?

MICHELLE WIE:  You know, I can't predict the score, but I'm just going to go out there and try to do the same thing I did today, just attack the holes that I can attack and try to make some putts and try to make a lot of birdies.

Q.  What's kind of come first this season, playing well or just feeling more comfortable?  You look more confident this year, more comfortable.  Did that come first or has it come because of winning?

MICHELLE WIE:  I think it comes hand in hand.  I played really well towards the end of the year last year, had a couple of top 5 finishes, a couple of Top 10s and just felt good.  Took a lot of time off, took about a month and a half.  So yeah, I just felt really refreshed and I think it comes hand in hand.

* * * * *

Q.  I'm now joined by Michelle Wie, the second round leader here at the Northwest Arkansas Championship.  Michelle, second round of 66, talk about the round.  A little bit slow to start, but that back nine you caught fire.  I think you're being a little dramatic about being tired.

MICHELLE WIE:  I definitely feel very tired.  I barely made it to 8:00 last night.  Definitely going to sleep really early tonight as well.  But yeah, it was tough out there with the wind and everything, just had a couple good shots. 

Q.  Talk about the back nine, kind of caught fire.  Where were the birdies and how did that momentum kind of spark you and then the birdie here on nine?

MICHELLE WIE:  Yeah, you know, I just made a good couple of long putts coming in, took advantage of a couple wedge holes.  But yeah, overall I felt pretty good.

Q.  Do you have an overall goal to just to get through this week, or was it, hey, I'm going to show up and be in contention?  Do you even think about that and now going into the final round with the lead?

MICHELLE WIE:  Yeah, you know, I'm definitely tired, definitely trying to get through the week.  But at the same time I want to win back to back.  I kind of talked to Meg on the phone yesterday and she's like, yeah, I played after the U.S. Open I won.  But it's a long way till then, but I definitely want to play the best I can.



So Yeon Ryu, Rolex Rankings No. 9, -8

Q.  I'm joined by So Yeon Ryu.  So Yeon, great round two today.  Can you take me through your round?  How were you feeling out there?

SO YEON RYU:  Today, actually the morning the wind was pretty strong so it was really hard to make a judge when we hit the shot.  But this day my swing feels really great and my shot was really great is I think that's why I could make a lot of birdies and I could make a lot of birdie chance.  But unfortunately my putting wasn't that much great so I miss a lot of short putts.  So I am little bit disappointed about that, but I'm pretty sure I still can make a lot of birdies tomorrow.

Q.  And you were paired with Michelle Wie out there.  Were you two feeding off each other as you came down the stretch?

SO YEON RYU:  Oh, yeah, you know, the thing these days Michelle's on fire.  She just won the U.S. Women's Open.  I played with her today and yesterday and her putting was awesome.  I think that's why she could won major tournament.  So it was really feels good to be with someone's on fire, so it feels good.

Q.  Speaking of the U.S. Women's Open, you had a pretty good finish there yourself, tied fifth.  How do you feel overall about your game as a whole?  You've been playing so well.

SO YEON RYU:  One thing I really proud of myself, I finished third last year at the U.S. Women's Open, I finished fifth this year, so feels like I can play really well in really tough condition.  That makes me feels really good because that's one of the really great (indiscernible) I can be No. 1 player some day, so it's really nice.  I just finished fifth last week especially at a really tough golf course, so I think it means a lot to me because, you know, I can feel myself I can make really great (indiscernible.)

Q.  And now walking down the 17th hole, it's the Loudest Hole on Tour, what are your thoughts as you're approaching the green?

SO YEON RYU:  You know, it feels so great.  I always love to be here because so many great crowds and they're yelling to us, they support us really well.  So I feel like I'm a rock star, you know?  So I really want ‑‑ I mean when I walk through that hole, I really want to make a birdie and I want to just kind of pay back to them.  I just want to make them be more exciting so I love to be here.

Q.  Last year a great finish, exciting finish; you lost unfortunately in a playoff.  What's your approach heading into the final round?

SO YEON RYU:  It could be, you know, really sounds like awkward, but you know, finish second is really nice.  I just lost in the playoff, but still finish second is nice memory, a good memory.  I remember two years ago also I finished tied 10 or something.  So it feels like this golf course pretty suited for me, so I'm ready to go low tomorrow.



Suzann Pettersen, Rolex Rankings No. 4, -7

Q.  Very good round.

SUZANN PETTERSEN:  Yeah, tough day with the wind.  It's breezy out there.  But the greens are very receptive so if you get the club right, you can take dead aim.  Playing very good, starting to get my confidence back up.  Getting my confidence back up on the greens, so feel like I gave myself a lot of chances, made my fair share.  Feels like I leave a few out there but I still made quite a few.  A 4‑under day is a good score.  Like I said, I left maybe a couple birdie chances out there.

Q.  But overall good?

SUZANN PETTERSEN:  Yeah, overall good.

Q.  How do you feel coming in obviously off of last week?

SUZANN PETTERSEN:  I really didn't play that bad.  I putted not my best and my ball striking was maybe not my very, very best, but it was just a brutal week if you weren't spot on.  I didn't take too much off it.  I went to Rhode Island to play in the CVS Classic with the guys and I played great, so took more from that than from the U.S. Open to be honest.

Q.  How was that?

SUZANN PETTERSEN:  I teamed with Jonas Blixt.  If I have a sailor's mouth, he's got a hundred times mine, so it was a good team.  I really enjoyed playing with the guys.  I take a lot from it and, like I said, I took more from that week than I did from the U.S. Open.

Q.  Was that the first time you played up in that event?

SUZANN PETTERSEN:  No, that was my fourth.  That's one of my favorite events.  It was very fun to help raise awareness and money and to play with the guys.

Q.  What was the biggest takeaway from the last week, do you think?

SUZANN PETTERSEN:  The guys play so aggressive.  I mean, they go for everything and they're fairly aggressive on the greens, so that's probably what I take a lot from it.

Q.  Do you think that translates here for being so soft?

SUZANN PETTERSEN:  Yeah, the lag, you don't see the guys come up short very often.  Every time I leave a putt short now I get so frustrated.

Q.  Everyone's asking, some low numbers out here in windy conditions.  If the wind dies down, do you think a low number tomorrow?

SUZANN PETTERSEN:  Yeah, it's been ‑‑ hopefully they don't get any rain overnight because it doesn't need much rain.  I don't know what Michelle ended up in the clubhouse, but yeah, you need a good solid round tomorrow.  It's out there.



Stacy Lewis, Rolex Rankings No. 1, -6

Q.  You left some shots out there.  How much did that last birdie help with that?

STACY LEWIS:  Well, I actually felt like I played really good today.  You know, it's not as easy as people think out there.  With the wind, it's really tough.  So I hit a couple good putts that didn't go in, but it feels great obviously birdieing the last hole always helps but it was just a good solid round today.

Q.  Did you see some similarities between this round and last round?

STACY LEWIS:  No, not really, no.  I was a little off yesterday and spent some time on the range last night and kind of got my timing a little bit better.  Hit some better shots today and was just more consistent in general.

Q.  How much of that is comfort level in terms of coming out yesterday, how much more comfortable did you feel?

STACY LEWIS:  Yeah, I mean, it's just knowing where the ball's going obviously is very helpful.  So I felt like I hit some better shots.  And obviously with the wind you're going to hit some bad ones, it's kind of the way it is.  You're going to get some gusts here or there.  So I just tried to stay patient and, you know, just made a few more putts.

Q.  I know you don't pay attention to the you and Michelle thing going on, but it's kind of shaping up that way, it's kind of a carryover from last week.  What's that kind of feel like?

STACY LEWIS:  Well, Michelle's obviously playing some really good golf.  I'm going to have to shoot a good number tomorrow.  This golf course always leads to a little bit of a shootout.  At least I put a good number up today and we'll see what happens tomorrow.

Q.  You talked about how sometimes it's kind of weird being home because it's tough to eat dinner and everything, but on the golf course does it actually help sometimes to have all the people you know are with you?

STACY LEWIS:  Yeah, I mean, when you've got some positive momentum going it's very helpful.  You can feel it with the crowd.  They want me ‑‑ they can feel when a putt's going to go in and stuff like that.  Just the scene here on 9 making that putt was really cool.  I know all the girls on the golf course probably knew who that was.

Q.  Can you talk about maybe playing in the morning rather than the afternoon?  Can you compare the two days?

STACY LEWIS:  I think the wind, obviously starting earlier it's not as windy.  I think the biggest part is in the greens.  You get 140 people walking all over these greens and they get a little bumpy, so it's definitely easier in the mornings to make a few putts.

Q.  You got off to great start, I guess that was the key, but how big was 17?

STACY LEWIS:  Yeah, I mean, that was kind of the middle of the round, but anytime you make birdie there it's really special and really cool.  I wasn't sure how many people would be there that early in the morning, but there's still a ton of people there and making birdie there on any day is really cool.

Q.  The leader now is 9‑under.  Assuming that stays, what do you think is a realistic score tomorrow to win?

STACY LEWIS:  It's going ‑‑ obviously it depends what the weather does, but it's going to have to be something pretty low.  The way Michelle and a lot of those girls play, they're not really going to come back to us.  So you have to go out there and shoot a number, but on this golf course it's out there.  You can make a lot of birdies and you've just got to stay patient and make a few key up‑and‑downs.

Q.  Overall, how do you feel about today?  You mentioned the six birdies and that bogey there on three.

STACY LEWIS:  I feel really good just coming off the way I felt last night.  I was pretty frustrated last night.  Just to come out and hit better shots and see the ball going in the hole is always a good thing.  So I knew ‑‑ I kind of had 5‑, 6‑under in my head.  I felt like if I could do that, I would get myself back in contention and have a chance for tomorrow.

Q.  How tough is it when you go through everything leading up to the tournament to really focus on golf, and does it maybe take a round or two before you really get going?

STACY LEWIS:  I think the hardest part of this week is that we finished on Sunday last week and it seems like forever ago until you start again just having the Friday start and all the events that go on.  So you have to kind of get into that mindset again.  So yeah, I think it does take a little bit of time to kind of get going, but at the same time we do this all the time and you've just got to find a way to get in that mode and get going.

Q.  Any part of your routine or mindset you change going into tomorrow after last year being in a similar position?

STACY LEWIS:  Yeah, I don't think you change anything.  I think you've just got to keep staying patient and just try to hit good golf shots.  That's what I did today, really stayed patient there on the back nine.  I could have kind of forced a few in there, but I didn't and ended up with a good day.

Q.  You seem like you pride yourself on bouncing back after some frustrating rounds, and yesterday you had the face on and you were a little frustrated.

STACY LEWIS:  Yeah.

Q.  How much do you pride yourself on being able to turn it around so quickly?

STACY LEWIS:  Yeah, that's what I do best.  I don't like plan two bad rounds in a row.  If I play a bad round it's okay, but you just can't let it happen again.  So that's why last night I spent some time out there.  It was a long night, but I felt a lot more confident coming into today.

Q.  Is that something you've gotten better at is having the shorter memory?

STACY LEWIS:  Yeah, for sure, especially on this golf course.  I've played so many rounds here, it's easy to ‑‑ we were talking about it, I've almost seen more bad shots than good shots because I've played this golf course so many times.  So you've got to kind of block those things out and move on to the next day.

Q.  Your putting, do you feel like your putting's coming along maybe?

STACY LEWIS:  Yeah, I do.  The greens were so fast last week and then you come to this week, it's hard to go from that speed to slowing them down.  So I felt like I adjusted better today and I like where things are going into tomorrow.

Topics: Notes and Interviews, Walmart NW Arkansas Championship, Wie, Michelle, Lewis, Stacy, Pettersen, Suzann, Ryu, So Yeon [+]