International Crown Day 2 Notes & Interviews

Ai Miyazato
Photo Credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images

Ai Miyazato of Japan follows her tee shot on the 2nd hole during round two of the International Crown in Owings Mills, Maryland.

International Crown 
Day 2 Notes & Interviews
Friday, July 25 
Caves Valley Golf Club, Owings Mills, Maryland


Interviews with:

USA: Stacy Lewis, Paula Creamer, Lexi Thompson, Cristie Kerr
Spain: Azahara Munoz, Carlota Ciganda
Republic of Korea: I.K. Kim, Na Yeon Choi
Sweden: Anna Nordqvist, Caroline Hedwall
Australia: Katherine Kirk, Lindsey Wright
Japan: Ai Miyazato, Mika Miyazato, Sakura Yokomine, Mamiko Higa
Chinese Taipei: Yani Tseng
Thailand: Pornanong Phatlum, Ariya Jutanugarn, Moriya Jutanugarn, Onnarin Sattayabanphot

The drama continued in Owings Mills, Md. at the inaugural International Crown with upsets, comebacks and dramatic finishes filling the second day of play at Caves Valley Golf Cloub outside of Baltimore. After being shut out on Day 1, the Americans turned the tables going 2-0-0 in their matches on Friday against Spain and are now tied for second with Chinese Taipei in Pool A with 4 total points. After winning both of their matches against Chinese Taipei on Friday, Thailand took the lead in Pool A with 5 total points.

The match of the day belonged to Ai Miyazato and Sakura Yokomine of Japan who made a dramatic comeback on the back nine to halve the match after being 6-down with seven holes to play. Yokomine birdied two of the final six holes and while Miyazato birdied the par 4 16th hole putting them 1-down heading to the 18th hole. The Australian duo of Katherine Kirk and Lindsey Wright crumbled, both recording bogeys on Nos. 13 and 18 and double bogeys on the par 4 14th hole.

With their teammates Mamiko Higa and Mika Miyazato defeating Karrie Webb and Minjee Lee 3&2, Japan takes the lead in Pool B with 6 points overall. The Republic of Korea went 1-1-0 on Friday and are second with 4 total points. Sweden (1-1-0 on Friday) and Australia (0-1-1) are tied for third in Pool B with 3 total points.


NOTHING TO LOSE

The United States team gathered their caddies and their team liaison for the week and went to dinner Thursday night after getting swept in the first round – the only team in the field not to earn a point in day one. But the topic of conversation at dinner never turned to golf.

They saved that for the driving range Friday, where world No. 1 Stacy Lewis gathered them together right before going to the first tee and issued a simple message.

“Just said, you know, no matter what we’re going to do, win or lose, we’re going to fight and we’re going to grind and we’re going to have fun doing it and be positive,” Creamer said of Lewis’ message.

That they did, winning both their matches Friday to claw right back into the standings and take over No. 2 in points in the pool.

The United States team switched their pairings for Friday’s matches, and Lexi Thompson and Cristie Kerr put the first points on the board for the United States, beating Belen Mozo and Beatriz Recari 3 & 2. Thompson was particularly special on Friday with four birdies and an eagle over 16 holes.

“I thought Lexi and I had a lot of chemistry out there together. We played with a lot of heart for each other,” Kerr said. “When she needed to make those big clutch par putts she did. And when I needed to get something going for the team, I did. That’s what really best ball is all about.”

Lewis and Creamer were looking to rekindle the mojo they had together in a 2013 Solheim Cup match when they beat Azahara Munoz and Karine Icher 1-up. Munoz partner – Carlota Ciganda - differed this time, but again, the Lewis and Creamer pairing earned a 1-up win. That match was quite similar to Friday’s – the United States got up early and then went backwards but rebounded. Friday, after owning a 3-up lead, Creamer and Lewis lost the 15th and 17th holes and Lewis missed a match-ending 10-footer on No. 16.

But on No. 18, the duo again got it done and held the charging Spaniards off for a full two points.

“We walked off of 17, and I said, ‘There’s still an American flag up there.’ We said, ‘Two balls in the fairway, two balls on the green,’ and we did that,” Lewis said. “That put a lot of pressure on them.”
The United States will face Thailand – the pool leader – Saturday with the chance to become one of five teams that advance to Sunday’s final matches.


ASSIST TO PHELPS

Michael Phelps may have again helped the United States to a victory in a team competition – this time on the golf course as a spectator. Coming off the 8th green with a 1-up lead, Stacy Lewis and Paula Creamer saw Phelps, a Baltimore resident, and got to shake his hand. They went on to win two of the next three holes.

“But I haven’t washed my hand yet,” Creamer said, with a laugh. “Michael Phelps, I almost fell over.”

With Phelps out watching them play, Creamer couldn’t help but talk about it for the next two holes. Usually, she’d try to stay in the moment and avoid distractions, but it was Michael Phelps and she still won the 9th hole.

“I know I was so excited. I said, ‘I’m going to swim my way up there now,’” Creamer said with a laugh. “It was awesome. That’s all I got to say. Derek, sorry, but I got to say, it was pretty awesome.”


IT’S NOT OVER UNTIL IT’S OVER

Things didn’t look good for Ai Miyazato and Sakura Yokomine after 11 holes as they were six down to Australia’s Katherine Kirk and Lindsey Wright but the duo refused to back down and were able to work a halve to keep team Japan undefeated.

“Oh my God, it feels amazing right now,” Miyazato admitted after the match. “Until 12 holes, I and Sakura was like today is just the Australian's day, you know.  They played really solid and they kept making birdies and we just couldn't take a chance. We said that every hole is just an extra bonus. So it just happened, it was just amazing.“

The duo were able to take advantage of some sloppy play down the stretch from the Aussies and capitalize on some key birdie opportunities including a clutch 15 footer from Yokomine on the par-3 17th to keep the match alive.

“She obviously had a really good stroke,” Miyazato said. “It went in right in the middle. I was just really excited about her, more than her, probably.”  


THE SWEEP

Onnarin Sattayabanphot did the same thing Friday to Yani Tseng and her Chinese Taipei team that Tseng had done to the United States team on Thursday, burying a dagger on 18 for the win.

After Tseng missed her 20-foot birdie on 18, Sattayabanphot stepped up to a 17-footer and dropped it in the back of the hole to ensure Thailand emerged from the second round of play with four points towards their group standing with a 1-up victory over Tseng and Phoebe Yao.

“It was a quick putt from left-to-right. Actually, I have to credit my second shot. It was a really good shot, but I didn’t really aim at the pin though,” Sattayabanphot said. “That putt, that gave me goose bumps. It was all I had today. I’m really glad it went in.”

Thailand’s sister duo Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn rolled to a 3 & 2 victory over Candie Kung and Teresa Lu to get Thailand on the board initially. The sisters poured in birdies on five different holes but most importantly, didn’t make any bogeys as a team. Moriya carried her sister in the first round for a half point and was again excellent in round two, but Ariya contributed more against Chinese Taipei with two birdies of her own.

“I feel like yesterday I played more solid than today, but today she helped me more than yesterday,” Moriya said.

Even though they’re teammates this week, the competitive sibling rivalry hasn’t been toned down this week. They’ve used their competitiveness with each other to beat opponents.

“Before I tee off, ‘I say I’m going to make birdie,’” Ariya said. “And she says, ‘No, I’m going to make birdie, too.”


JAPAN REMAINS UNDEFEATED

Team Japan remained atop the standings as the only team with no losses thanks to a 3&2 victory by Mamiko Higa and Mika Miyazato and an epic come-from-behind halve from Ai Miyazato and Sakura Yokomine.

“Obviously the results are really good, but we're just having fun all week,” Ai Miyazato said. “We all just really appreciate that we're taking this opportunity.”

“To represent my country is just amazing, and at the same time, it's a lot of pressure,” Ai continued. “But we love to play under the pressure.  We know we can do it.  So hopefully we can keep it going and see what's going to happen.”


GIANT SLAYERS

After halving their first match on Thursday with Japan’s Mika Miyazato and Momiko Higa, Anna Nordqvist and Caroline Hedwall wanted to make a statement for Sweden on Day 2. The duo that dominated at last year’s Solheim Cup knew coming into their match-up with Inbee Park and So Yeon Ryu that some great golf would need to be played to give themselves a chance. And they did just that.

“We got off to a really good start with birdie, birdie.  And then Inbee holed out 3 for eagle and Caroline hit her drive to about three or four feet for eagle on 4.  So it was a lot of birdies made out there,” said Nordqvist. “Inbee being Inbee, she's going to make a lot of putts.  So Yeon played really well.  Caroline did, too.  We don't play this format a lot and it's obviously great to play against your friends.”

Team Sweden jumped out to a 1-up start on No. 1 and never gave up the lead all day. It was a heated duel with Sweden never gaining a lead more than 2-up. Hedwall had a stellar day with three birdies and two eagles and always attributes her aggressive play to being such a good match play player.

“I think I'm just aggressive player and when I play match play, I can really play aggressive because I can only lose a hole, you know,” said Hedwall. “While when I play stroke play, maybe I just get a little insecure and just can't play the same aggressive style that I do in match play.”

The Swedes showed no insecurities on Friday and knew how big of a deal it would be to get 2 points for their team. With their victory and Mikaela Parmlid and Pernilla Lindberg’s loss, Sweden is tied for third with Australia with 3 points each heading into Saturday.

“Well, obviously it's our goal to make it to Sunday, so we're going to be really pumped up coming into tomorrow,” said Hedwall. “And even though the group behind us, they lost their match, they still played really good golf.  So I think we have a good shot tomorrow.  But it's all about just trying to win every hole and then we'll see what it takes.”


DOWN TO THE WIRE

Ten of the 16 matches over the first two days of play went to the 18th hole. Only one match did not make it to the 16th hole when Candie Kung and Teresa Lu (TPE) beat Lexi Thompson and Cristie Kerr (USA) 4&3 on Day 1.


MATCH OF THE DAY – Pool B

I.K. Kim and Na Yeon Choi of Korea and Pernilla Lindberg and Mikaela Parmlid of Sweden were part of one of the most exciting bouts of the day as both groups went low shooting 61 and 62 respectively. The Korean squad won the opening hole and never trailed but needed every one of their 10 birdies to capture the 1 up victory.

“Well, it was impressive, just playing in it and also watching the other team making that many birdies and eagles,” Kim said of the match. “I'm glad that I have a teammate like Na Yeon.  She was making a couple like three birdies on the front nine. You just got to go out and just play your best and see what happens. So it is such a great experience for me and I think for both of us.”

While the match between the two squads was tight throughout the two teams were still able to have fun with each other.

“Today, we talked a lot with them and then we shared food,” Choi said. “They asked me if there was any poison in there, like they asked me for like they were kidding.  But we were having fun out there.  So I think that was the key.  That's why we both teams, both countries play well.”

 

QUOTES OF THE DAY

“Bonding is bonding, no matter what.  I think it's really neat when you do have four very different personalities.  But we all have one very common thing, we hate to lose and we are all grinders sitting at this table and it's never over until it's over.” Paula Creamer on having a team dinners with players and caddies on Thursday night

“We just tried to accept the results. We tried to accept the results and tried to move on.  We said that every hole is just an extra bonus. So it just happened. It was amazing.” Japan’s Ai Miyazato on her team’s comeback on Friday

“That's a secret.  We can't be saying that. (Laughter.) That can't be repeated.” Lexi Thompson on what teammate Cristie Kerr said to her to get pumped up on Friday

 

TEAM USA
STACY LEWIS
PAULA CREAMER
LEXI THOMPSON
CRISTIE KERR

KELLY THESIER:  Good afternoon, everyone.  We would like to welcome Team USA to the interview room here at the International Crown media center.
Ladies, congratulations on winning both your matches today.  I know it was tough to sit in here yesterday after not earning a single point, but you came back today and won both matches earning four point and moving yourself back into second spot in Pool A.

Stacy, what was the mentality like yesterday after the matches and how did you guys kind of rally together to come back and put together the performance that you did today?

STACY LEWIS:
  Well, obviously we were disappointed, but we knew with the format of this event and that we weren't out of it.  I think switching up the pairings helped.  It got some different momentum going out there.

We knew we were still in it.  That was the big thing.  We just had to go out there and fight today and fight for every shot and every putt.  We knew that the matches were going to be hard.  Just from playing those girls in Solheim Cup, we knew it was going to be tough.  So we hung in there all day and feel pretty fortunate to come out on top.

KELLY THESIER:  Paula I saw a photo you posted of a team dinner, all of you guys together.  Where was that dinner?  What did you guys talk about?  Kind of what did that do, do you think for this team today?
PAULA CREAMER:  You know, like what Stacy said, we knew we still aren't too far out of this.  It was just one day.  I think that it kind of woke us up in a sense, too, that we needed to get out there and win some holes, get up on the board, and definitely just be positive with each other.

I had a blast.  I think everybody had a fun time last night.  Maybe two sentences were spoke about golf the whole night maybe.  And that's kind of what we needed, just to hang out with each other with our caddies and our liaison Becky and just have a normal night.  Came out today and we had a mission that we wanted to accomplish and we all did a good job.

Q.  Where did you go?
PAULA CREAMER:  I can't tell you that because we might want to go back.
(Laughter.)

KELLY THESIER:  Some things are team secrets.  They don't want to give away their dinner spot.  I don't blame her.

You guys were the only team to switch up your pairings after day one.  We saw that it was successful.  So what do you think about these pairings today that worked?  Not to say that it wasn't the same yesterday, but what was it about these pairings today that worked well together?

PAULA CREAMER:  Well, we can play with anybody on our team.  We could switch tomorrow.  You never know what we're going to do, because we have that ability.  Emotionally, relationship wise, communication with each other, we can do it.  Obviously, we needed a little bit of a change yesterday to get that momentum, to get that going.

Who knows what we would have done.  But obviously we made the right decision today and we felt comfortable.  In best ball, you just got to go take care of your own business and get the job done and we did that.

KELLY THESIER:
  Open it up to questions.

Q.  Two days in, are you guys enjoying this format as much as I'm enjoying this format?
LEXI THOMPSON:  Yeah, I would say yeah.  I really enjoy best ball.  We all get to play our own ball out and we get to feed off each other.  If one is making par, then the other can go for birdie.  So we can definitely feed off each other during the whole round.

But team events in general, we get to bond so much more than just being an individual sport.  And with Cristie and I out there today, she was there to pump me up on every tee shot.  So that meant a lot to me.  I don't get that ever playing individual sports.  So it was nice.

CRISTIE KERR:  Hopefully I didn't bug you too much.
(Laughter.)

It's pretty interesting format, concept for a tournament.  I think it's refreshing to have a different kind of event.  It's just not a normal golf tournament.  It's something different.

I think that it allows for comebacks like this.  And I told these girls last night, there are going to be teams that shut out tomorrow and obviously we won four points today.

So you can't take anything for granted in this kind of format.  I mean you need two shots into every hole because the course is playing so long, too.  So we just got to keep doing our job and play well together as a team.

Q.  No need to remind you, Team USA, the only team without a point on day one.  Did you feel additional pressure leading on the first group off for your team today?
LEXI THOMPSON:  No, I didn't feel any additional pressure at all.  I think that put more fire into all of us coming into today.

We all came out here with a lot of heart and played our own games and tried to make birdies and we did that.

Q.  For each team, what was the best fit about the pairing today for both of the teams?
STACY LEWIS:  Like what was the best pairing fit?  I think Paula and I, we just feed off of each other and we're really good about picking the other person up.  We talked about that we just kind of ham-and-egged it pretty good.  When I needed to make a putt, I did.  I think early on I made a putt on 5, and that really kept the momentum going for us.  Then Paula kind of kept things going a little bit on the back nine.

We just play similar, we hit it similar.  We were able to hit on par-3s and say, How did you hit that?  Club off of each other.  So we just play a lot of golf together and that's what was the best part.

CRISTIE KERR: 
I thought Lexi and I had a lot of chemistry out there together.  We played with a lot of heart for each other.  When she needed to make those big clutch par putts she did.  And when I needed to get something going for the team, I did.  And that's what really best ball is all about.  So I thought the chemistry for our team was great.

Q.  Stacy and Paula, can you talk about 18, and after seeing them make a couple putts to cut it to one, were the tee shots bigger than the second shots or the approach shots or which shot is harder in a situation like that?  Also, how did you feel when they put both shots in the bunker?
STACY LEWIS:  I think the second shot is harder.

PAULA CREAMER:  For sure.

STACY LEWIS:
  The tee ball, it's so long, the bunker is not really in play, so you can just bust it up there.

But we walked off of 17, and I said, There's still an American flag up there.  We said, Two balls in the fairway, two balls in the green, and we did that.  And that put a lot of pressure on them.
I think hitting first helped us a lot, because it put a lot of pressure on them.

I would say it was a little bit of a relief when they hit in the bunker, but until they hit the bunker shots, I don't think we were relaxed at all.

PAULA CREAMER:  No.

Q.  For any of you, I forget who said that you're familiar with the players from Spain, so you knew their games.  With Thailand, I guess there's less familiarity.  Does that change?  I mean, is it easier to play people you know because you know their games?
PAULA CREAMER:  Once again, it's match play.  Yesterday you would have thought that it would be a pretty close match and their match came down to the wire.  But Thailand team is strong.  The two sisters are a good team and the other two aren't messing around either.

So no matter who you play, you have to get two balls on the greens and keep putting that pressure on them.  But we do have a lot of history playing, obviously, with the Spanish girls.  So we know how they play.  We know that they're going to fight to the end for sure, no matter what.  They have been in those kind of situations, whereas the other players haven't.  But just different formats from when they played over in Asia against the countries.

Q.  Two questions, first for Lexi, curious what Kerr says to you to pump you up.
LEXI THOMPSON:  That's a secret.  We can't be saying that.
(Laughter.)

That can't be repeated.

Q.  Cristie, what do you say?
CRISTIE KERR:  I just try to keep positive for her.  She is so good and she hits it so far, I think that when she has good tempo, I mean you won't even believe how far the ball goes.  So just try to stay positive and keep her focused on the task at hand, really.

Q.  Comment on this course and where it ranks in terms of courses you play all year on Tour.
LEXI THOMPSON:  Well, the course is playing long.  It's playing like Major Championship long.  About 6600, I believe.

STACY LEWIS
:  If Lexi says it's long, it's long.
(Laughter.)

LEXI THOMPSON: 
Yeah, it's long.  I mean, I have a good amount of mid irons into these par-4s.  With these tucked pin locations, it's tough.

But it's in great shape.  The fairways are pure.  The greens are rolling really fast in certain directions, especially.  But like I said, the course is in great shape and I think we're all pretty honored to be playing here this week.

STACY LEWIS:  I think that the toughness is up there with the Major Championships, I think especially with some of the hole locations they have had over the last couple days.  They have been pretty tricky.  A couple have been pretty goofy.  18 was really tough.

PAULA CREAMER:  Three off the right you're hitting a 5-iron in.  I mean, it's not like you're hitting a 9-iron in.

CRISTIE KERR:  What did you hit into 9 today?  I hit 5-wood.

STACY LEWIS:  Yeah, it's major.  It's a Major Championship course.  The greens have a ton of slope in them.  You get on the wrong side of the holes, you're just tapping it and hopefully it stops.  But it's good, it's a really good, fair test.

Q.  To any of you, how important are the team building events that you do, like going to dinner last night with the caddies and the team liaison?  How important is it, even in this kind of a format where you are playing your own ball and there are only four of you?

PAULA CREAMER:  Bonding is bonding, no matter what.  I think it's really neat when you do have four very different personalities.  But we all have one very common thing, we hate to lose and we are all grinders sitting at this table and it's never over until it's over.

But we have fun.  I think that obviously the past Solheims, we have got to understand we can let our guard down a little bit and show just a little bit more personality of who we are as people.  I think that that respect has gone a long way amongst each other and our other Americans that we have played with.

I have to say, though, that the highlight of the day was Michael Phelps, shaking Michael Phelps' hand, and after her putt she made.  But I haven't washed my hand yet.

Yeah, Michael Phelps, I almost fell over, but, you know, you missed it.  How could you miss him.

CRISTIE KERR:  I hung out with him a bit in New York and he's such a nice guy.

PAULA CREAMER: 
Here, you can touch my hand.  It's okay.

CRISTIE KERR:  He's golf crazy now.

PAULA CREAMER:  We talked about that for two holes, you know.  I mean, when are we ever going to do that again?

CRISTIE KERR:  Did you win those two holes?

PAULA CREAMER:  Yeah, we did.  Yeah.  So things like that, you know, normally we probably wouldn't be talking about that, but in this situation, our bond and what we do at dinners, it isn't about golf.  It's about just life and representing our country and then going forward with that.

Q.  Which hole was that?
PAULA CREAMER:  8 green.

STACY LEWIS:  After 8, she won 9.  She won 9.  She was so excited she won 9.

PAULA CREAMER: 
Yeah, I know I was so excited.  I said, I'm going to swim my way up there now.
(Laughter.)

It was awesome.  That's all I got to say.  Derek, sorry, but I got to say, it was pretty awesome.
(Laughter.)

Q.  Two part question.  Paula, is the secret restaurant now like a good luck charm?  Do you guys have to go back there again?
PAULA CREAMER:  We might go back.  Maybe switch it up a little bit.  We are creatures of habit, but we're not going to get too -- we have our own little idiosyncrasies and things like that, but the secret restaurant's going to remain anonymous until the tournament's over.

CRISTIE KERR:  I don't know about the restaurant, but we make our caddies wear those shorts again.

STACY LEWIS:  That was it.  The caddie shorts.  That was it.  The shorts.
CRISTIE KERR:  The shorts.

Q.  Also in like four-day events, a lot of times we hear Saturday is moving day.  But after what happened yesterday, how much did all of you feel you had to make some sort of a move today to get back in this thing?
PAULA CREAMER:  We just needed a positive.  We needed to come in, walk in here with our heads in the right direction.  Stacy brought us together on the driving range this morning, right before they had to go to the first tee, and just said, you know, No matter what we're going to do, win or lose, we're going to fight and we're going to grind and we're going to have fun doing it and be positive.

Yesterday, obviously when you saw us in here, it wasn't the same four girls.  But that is golf and we are the same people.  It's just we kind of, like I said, we needed that little bit of a wake-up call.

We're still going to have to keep going ahead.  It's the second day.  We still have a lot of golf left.  We finally got to be up in matches.  It took us a while to even get USA is 1-up on the board.  When we did that, we never let go.

CRISTIE KERR:  I think it's important what happened yesterday, we learned from that.  We're not going to take anything for granted for going forward in the rest of the tournament.

Q.  I think this is for Stacy.  You're the only one of the four that has a sister, is that right?
CRISTIE KERR:  I have a sister.

Q.  Okay.  Maybe both of you can answer this.  I'm going to screw up their names.  You know who I'm talking about, the sisters playing together for Thailand, playing on a team.  They were in here a little earlier and they were joking around about how they almost like to have a competition between each other when they're playing on the team.  I wonder if you guys could talk about what you think it would be like to play professional golf with your sister.

STACY LEWIS: 
I don't know if I could play golf with my sister in general.
(Laughter.)

Gosh.

CRISTIE KERR:
  Me neither.

STACY LEWIS: 
Our personalities are so different.  I don't know if that would ever work.

But I think that they're close.  They're very close.  They're pretty close in age and they're very close.  They have a good time together, and obviously they played a ton of golf together.  So that was definitely going to be an advantage to them.

But who knows.  I mean, gosh, I don't know about you, Cristie, but I could never play with my sister.  They don't play golf at all.

CRISTIE KERR:  I'm not close with mine, even let alone playing golf.  I have one.  I have a sister.

Q.  Stacy and Paula, in your pairing at the Solheim Cup, was there anything kind of forged between you two that helps you even now?

STACY LEWIS: 
Yeah, I would think so.  I think that we played alternate shot there though.  But I can remember at one point, we were up pretty big in that match and we kind of were going backwards.  I got a little angry and kind of left a green early and Paula kind of got mad at me and yelled at me.

PAULA CREAMER:  I did.  I really did.

STACY LEWIS:  She really did.  But it was awake up call for me that I needed to be there for her and I was kind of caught up in myself and what I was doing.  I needed to be there for her.  I really feel like that's when it all started.  We had to grind that match out.

We won that one on 18, too, and I don't know.  We just both like playing together.  Even when we're playing regular events, we like playing together.  It's just our games mesh really well.

Q.  Follow-up to that is, what did you say, Paula, when you yelled at her?
PAULA CREAMER:  It was on that --

STACY LEWIS:  It was about whether a putt was going to be conceded or not.

PAULA CREAMER:  Yeah.

STACY LEWIS:  It was more --

PAULA CREAMER:  I looked for her and she wasn't there, and I said, You can't leave me.  Don't leave me hanging.
I said, This isn't over yet.

I mean, I maybe said it with a little bit more authority in my voice, but...

I was not happy.  I was not a happy girl and I let her know.  I believe she birdied the next hole right after on the par-5.  But that's things that we never played in a match together and it was tough.  I think we were like 5-up, and we kept 4-up, 3-up, 2-up.  And then we finally got another birdie and it was going downhill.  At that moment, like Stacy said, especially in alternate shot, you got to be there for your partner the whole time, no matter what.

And that was just a learning experience for both of us.  Ever since then I think that we truly enjoy playing as a team together.

Q.  Not to be a downer, but it crossed my mind, so I'm wondering if it crossed any of your minds, what this event would be like if Team USA wasn't playing on Sunday?  Did you think about that at all going into today?
STACY LEWIS:  No, I didn't.

CRISTIE KERR:
  No.

LEXI THOMPSON: 
No.

PAULA CREAMER:  No.

KELLY THESIER:  Well, thank you very much, ladies.  Great playing today and best of luck tomorrow.

TEAM SPAIN
AZAHARA MUNOZ

CARLOTA CIGANDA

Q.         Overall impressions with the match.
AZAHARA MUNOZ:  We played pretty solid from tee to green, but not until the end did we start making putts.  But at the beginning, we made a stupid bogey, both of us being with the 3-putt and I didn't make up-and-down.  And that kind of got us 1-down.  I don't know.  We never really recovered from that.  We just didn't make putts today.  In match play, you have to.

Q.  You started off strong today, the first, what, five holes or so.  Is that when the momentum started to switch at that point or did that come later on in the match?
AZAHARA MUNOZ:  I think it did when we lost, I think it was 7.  On 7, we lost.

CARLOTA CIGANDA:  We had a putt to win the hole there and 3-putted there.  And it's really important to make putts in match play.  I think we played very similar to them, maybe a bit better, but you need to make putts and putt good.

So today it didn't happen.  So hopefully tomorrow the putts will go in.

Q.  Heading into tomorrow, do you feel like you'll change things up?  Have you discussed it yet?  Or stay the same?
AZAHARA MUNOZ:  We're going to stay the same.  We just didn't make putts today.  But obviously, I mean, we enjoy each other's company a lot out there, so we don't want to change that up.
So again, as long as we make putts tomorrow, we should be fine.

TEAM KOREA
I.K. KIM

NA YEON CHOI

KELLY THESIER:  Good afternoon, everyone.  We would like to welcome I.K. Kim and Na Yeon Choi to the interview room here at the International Crown.

Ladies, you won your match 1-up.  You guys, that might have been one of the most impressive displays of golf that we have seen in quite awhile.  You guys shot 61 to win and the other team shot 62.  So pretty impressive back and forth.

I.K., can you take me through that match, what was that like?  It seemed like every time we looked, there was another birdie being made on a hole.

I.K. KIM:  Well, it was impressive, just playing in it and also watching the other team making that many birdies and eagles.

So I'm glad that I have a teammate like Na Yeon.  She was making a couple like three birdies on the front nine.  It's only the second day, but I feel like I don't know what to expect every day.  It's just another day.  You just got to go out and just play your best and see what happens.

So it is such a great experience for me and I think for both of us.

KELLY THESIER:  Na Yeon, you guys are in second right now in your pool with five points.  How have you felt overall about the performance of this team?  You guys seem like such a group together.  You're doing so much together.  I like the little face paint.  It seems like you guys are really embracing this whole team concept.
NA YEON CHOI:  I think we are all on the same page every day, every single time.  Even yesterday, we had dinner together with everyone, even staff.  We said like, Hey, let's go put some stickers on the face.  And no one complain.  Oh, let's do it, you know.  I think we are so close to each other and trust each other.

Also, So Yeon and Inbee, they played so well, even today and yesterday.  Unfortunately, they lost today, but I heard that they had like eight birdies out there.  So we had a really good teamwork today, both teams, and hopefully we play well even the next two days.

KELLY THESIER: 
You guys kept the same pairings from day one to day two.  Have you guys discussed strategy yet for tomorrow?  Any changes expected?
NA YEON CHOI:  Actually, yeah, we just decided that we are not going to change anything.  Actually, we thought still we are top two in the pool, so it's going well.  So we're not going to change anything.  The same strategy for tomorrow, too.

KELLY THESIER:  Questions?

Q.  The team competition you have with Japan, what is that called and how serious is that?
NA YEON CHOI:  Yeah, I think I played team match with Korea and Japan like four or five times in the past like 10 years.  If I'm right, I remember most of the time Korea wins.  A lot of Korean fans and media have high expectations to win from the Japan team.  But it's very weird, because we are so close even Japanese players.  Ai Miyazato when we were like in middle school and we grew up together even.  She was the Japan national junior team and I was on the Korean national junior team.  We played so many tournaments when we were young.  Until now, we play each other one the LPGA Tour.

I think it's going to mean a lot if we win tomorrow, but for me, it's not easy to change like inside the ropes we have to compete with each other.  And then off the ropes, we have to be friends for a long time.  I think that we're going to have a fun day tomorrow.

Q.  Is this competition ongoing?  Is it every other year?
NA YEON CHOI:  It's every two years.

Q.  What's it called?
NA YEON CHOI:  Depends on title sponsor.

KELLY THESIER:  Considering that you guys have that competition and that both countries are kind of used to going back and forth, is it no surprise to you guys that when we look at the top of you guys both being in Pool B, that it's Japan and you guys that are up there near the top?  You've seen a lot of each other play.  Were you not surprised to kind of see both teams come together and perform well in this event here?

I.K. KIM:  Yeah, I mean, Japan, they're so like a team.  Like from the start, they were practicing together and I think they're good friends as well.  I think that helps.

We have a lot of similarities, I think, between Korea and Japan.  So it's going to be a close match.  You don't really know what to expect.  But it's going to be a lot of good golf tomorrow.

KELLY THESIER: 
Na Yeon, it's strange to go compete, have it be person against person a little bit more than you guys do on Tour.  You kind look at you're playing against the field rather than directly competing against another person.  Is it going to be even stranger when you face up against people who are good friends of yours?
NA YEON CHOI:  I think so.  Even today, we played with Sweden, and actually she has a really good friend with them.  And then before we go out, she said, Oh, like, they are a good friend with me.  And, Hey, we can still win nicely, you know.

(Laughter.)

So, the results, I think if we do our best and if we play well, the results always just follow.  We can't control that.  So we can still be nice and talk a lot on the course.  Like today, we talked a lot with them and then we shared food.  They asked me if there was any poison in there, like they asked me for like they were kidding.  But we were having fun out there.  So I think that was the key.  That's why we both teams, both countries play well.

KELLY THESIER
:  It was a lot of fun to watch and I know it is a friendly rivalry.  It's fun to see the little fist bumps and everybody getting into it and having a lot of fun.
Well, best of luck.  Keep up the great play, and we'll see you guys tomorrow.

 

TEAM SWEDEN
ANNA NORDQVIST
CAROLINE HEDWALL

KELLY THESIER: Good afternoon, everyone.  We would like to welcome Anna Nordqvist and Caroline Hedwall from Team Sweden to the interview room here at the International Crown.  They won their match today 1-up versus Inbee Park and So Yeon Ryu.

Ladies, it's not always easy when you take on a former No. 1 in the world, and it seemed like Team Korea had a lot of momentum coming into today.  Take us through the match, Anna, what really kind of was the key moment putt do you think in your match today?

ANNA NORDQVIST: We got off to a really good start with birdie, birdie.  And then Inbee holed out 3 for eagle and Caroline hit her drive to about three or four feet for eagle on 4.  So it was a lot of birdies made out there.

Inbee being Inbee, she's going to make a lot of putts.  So Yeon played really well.  Caroline did, too.  We don't play this format a lot and it's obviously great to play against your friends.

KELLY THESIER:  You guys are now sitting in a tie for third with Australia and you're playing against them tomorrow.  How much motivation is there?  We know top two teams in the pool get to move on, third place team, whoever is in that spot, has a playoff.  How much motivation do you guys have to go out there and make sure that you make it to the final day of play?
CAROLINE HEDWALL:  Well, obviously it's our goal to make it to Sunday, so we're going to be really pumped up coming into tomorrow.  And even though the group behind us, they lost their match, they still played really good golf.  So I think we have a good shot tomorrow.  But it's all about just trying to win every hole and then we'll see what it takes.

KELLY THESIER:  Both of you have been through Solheim Cups before and experienced this.  But what has it been like hearing everybody saying that you're playing for Team Sweden, to keep looking down and seeing that Swedish flag on your sleeve and hat?  How different has that been over the last two days?
ANNA NORDQVIST:  I feel very honored to be able to represent Sweden in a team event on a professional level.  There's a lot of pride involved and I just try to fight for myself and for my teammates.

KELLY THESIER:  Questions?

Q.  Caroline, have you ever lost a match?
CAROLINE HEDWALL:  I have, yeah.
(Laughter.)

Q.  What is it about this format that brings out the best in you?
CAROLINE HEDWALL:  I think I'm just aggressive player and when I play match play, I can really play aggressive because I can only lose a hole, you know.  While when I play stroke play, maybe I just get a little insecure and just can't play the same aggressive style that I do in match play.

Q.  Can you give us the details of your two eagles, and then have you ever made two eagles in one round?
CAROLINE HEDWALL:  Yeah, I'm thinking I have made two eagles, but I can't remember.
(Laughter.)

But I just hit a great drive on number 4.  I never made the putt, they gave me the putt, so it was just a great drive.  And then on 12, they had moved that tee up a little bit, too, so I just hit a 5-iron into there and made quite a long putt for eagle.

Q.  The putt they gave you, how long was it?
CAROLINE HEDWALL:  On 12?  30, 35 feet.

KELLY THESIER:  The putt that they gave you.
CAROLINE HEDWALL:  Oh, that one.  Yeah, four feet.  Four or five feet.  They missed their birdie putts though, so they just gave me that one.

Q.  I'm curious what you two think about what Mikaela is doing out there.  I get winded walking out there and she's five months pregnant, and it's a very hilly golf course, and she played really well today, even though they [loss|lost], as you mentioned.  Can you talk about what she's doing.

CAROLINE HEDWALL: 
Yeah, we don't really know what she's doing, to be honest, because we have been playing in front of them.  But I heard she was playing some great golf today and I'm just happy to hear it.  It gives us a good chance tomorrow.

ANNA NORDQVIST: 
I know Mikaela is taking it very serious about this tournament, and she's obviously pregnant, but she says she's been walking at home.  She found out it's a hilly course, so she really came prepared and she really has a great mindset this week.  Even though they lost yesterday, she came up to me and said, You know, isn't it fun to play this format, this match play.  She's just in great spirits and she's been a really good teammate this week.

KELLY THESIER:  All right.  Thank you very much, ladies.  Best of luck tomorrow.

 

TEAM AUSTRALIA
KATHERINE KIRK
LINDSEY WRIGHT

Q.         (No Microphone.)
KATHERINE KIRK:  We got to focus on winning four points tomorrow.  So it hurts, obviously, but we can't change what's happened, but we can learn from it and certainly go out there tomorrow and try and make amends.

Q.  Your partner Lindsey is not with you right now, she has an infection on her neck.  How is she doing with that?
KATHERINE KIRK:  I think she's doing all right.  She's a trooper and a fighter.  So I'm sure she will be all right, and, yeah, we can hopefully come out tomorrow and fire on all cylinders.

Q.  Are you guys going to play together tomorrow then, sounds like you are?
KATHERINE KIRK:  I'm not sure.  We haven't talked about it, actually.  We'll see what Karrie and Minjee want to do, and, I don't know, we might shake things up.

Q.  It seems like you're almost the unofficial captain of the team.  Does that make you Captain Kirk?
KATHERINE KIRK:  Maybe.
(Laughter.)

Q.  Lindsey, when do you feel like momentum really shifted in this match?
LINDSEY WRIGHT:  We got put on the clock, I think, I don't know, 12?  And it just was, just, yeah, we got put on the clock.  We lost our timing and that was pretty much it.
We played all right.  I didn't the last hole, but, yeah, it was really disappointing.

Q.  Do you think it came down to a matter of like putts?
LINDSEY WRIGHT:  No, we just couldn't get our timing back.  We just lost our rhythm and timing.  It was just awful.

 

TEAM JAPAN:
MIKA MIYAZATO

AI MIYAZATO
SAKURA YOKOMINE
MAMIKO HIGA

KELLY THESIER:  Good afternoon, everyone.  We would like to welcome Team Japan into the interview room here at the International Crown.  First off, ladies, congratulations.

Mika Miyazato and Mamiko Higa won their match, and Ai Miyazato and Sakura came back from six down with seven to play to halve their match with Australia.  So they captured three total points today.

First off, Ai, I have to ask you, because we watched that match unfold on the back nine, it looked like it was going to be an early finish for you and yet you found some way to hang in there and take it all the way to 18 and get a point.  How good does that point feel right now?

AI MIYAZATO:  Oh my God, it feels amazing right now.  Until 12 holes, I and Sakura was like today is just the Australian's day, you know.  They played really solid and they kept making birdies and we just couldn't take a chance.

So we thought that just today is just someone's day, but it was really good because me and Sakura was not really intense.  We just tried to accept the results.  We tried to accept the results and tried to move on.  We said that every hole is just an extra bonus.

So it just happened, it was just amazing.

KELLY THESIER:  Mika, you guys were done with your match, you got to pick up a victory over Karrie Webb and Minjee Lee.  Just take us through that match.  To defeat a Hall of Famer and win a point.  How does that feel?
MIKA MIYAZATO:  We played badly, started badly, so it was a pretty good match.  But Karrie played so well.  But Mamiko played so well today, she did a good job.

KELLY THESIER:  When you guys were finished with your match you went and followed this match, did you guys think you would be out there watching for as long?  What were you guys thinking for your teammates when you went out there?  They were down pretty big when you guys went out to watch.
MIKA MIYAZATO:  Yes, of course.
(Laughter.)

KELLY THESIER:
  Didn't think you would be out there that long, right?
Questions for Team Japan?

Q.  What goes through your mind when you're six down with seven to play and suddenly you win one and you win another.  I'm sure there's a temptation to get ahead of yourself.  What's the thought process?
AI MIYAZATO:  Well, it was obviously really lucky, because Sakura made a birdie on 12.  But right after that, we got the time from the official, they timed us and all of a sudden, Katherine and Lindsey, they kept missing the fairways and the greens.  And we had birdie chances and I think that was the break point today.

It was just something clicked, and after 12, we kept the round going.  So it's match play, I thought it's just something that happens and the momentum is going to go the opposite way sometimes.  And I realized that you never know what's going to happen until the end.  And match play is great fun.

KELLY THESIER:  You guys have captured six points in two days and are currently leading your pool.  You guys kept the same pairings today as you had in day one.  Have you guys thought about what you're going to do for day three yet?
AI MIYAZATO:  That's a good question.
(Laughter.)

We haven't made a decision yet.  Probably we should just keep going, you know.  Just, why not?  After two days and we got the six points, I think that's enough reason for keeping it going.

Q.  I wanted to check on it, the feeling that the momentum is going to break, is that one point perhaps going to mean more points building the confidence?  Because both of you had to come back today, yours was early and yours was late.  The inspiration, maybe, for something bigger, maybe even winning the whole thing?
AI MIYAZATO:  Inspiration from the other match?

KELLY THESIER:  Yeah, how much does the one point that you guys won in this match, how much confidence does that give you going in and how big could that be in overall?
AI MIYAZATO:  Oh, better than zero, for sure, you know.  The one point is huge.  These points are going to take over until Sunday, right?  So any points, we'll take.  But I saw Mika and Mamiko could won after 16 and that makes me really pumped up.  They won against Karrie and Minjee and I thought it was going to be a really tough match, but they did a great job.

It was really inspiring, I thought.  So I think that both of them, I mean, the teamwork, both of our teamwork today I think was great.

Q.  Can Sakura walk us through the birdie putt on 17.
SAKURA YOKOMINE:  It was about 15 meters.  I used a 7iron and then I was so happy to sink that ball there.

AI MIYAZATO:  Can I say something about it?
(Laughter.)

I thought that pin position was really tough.  I mean just right next to the water.  And obviously four of us hit it to the left side of the pin.  Her putt was like almost up and goes down a little bit towards the cup.  So it wasn't really easy putt.  And my chipping wasn't like way too far past the cup.  I was like, you know, I messed up a little bit and hopefully she could hit it close to the cup and at least we can make par.

But she obviously had a really good stroke.  It went in right in the middle.  I was just really excited about her, more than her, probably.
(Laughter.)

I felt that way, anyway.

KELLY THESIER:
  Ai, this week is not about individuals, it is about teams.  How much have you guys kind of bonded together throughout the week?  Have you been doing a lot of things off the golf course together?  How do you guys feel about kind of your teamwork?

AI MIYAZATO:  I think it's great.  Obviously the results are really good, but we're just having fun all week.  We all just really appreciate that we're taking this opportunity.
To represent my country is just amazing, and at the same time, it's a lot of pressure.  But we love to play under the pressure.  We know we can do it.  So hopefully we can keep it going and see what's going to happen.

KELLY THESIER:  Well, thank you very much, ladies.  Best of luck tomorrow and keep up the good work.

 

TEAM CHINESE TAIPEI
YANI TSENG

Q.  Overall thought of the match today, the drama on 18 here.
YANI TSENG:  I know how the U.S. feels after yesterday, but it's fun today.  We played great out there.  I didn't make as many putts as yesterday, but I did my best and I left some out there, for sure.
But Thailand, they played awesome today.  So there was no doubt of that.  They, both of them, make probably eight birdies out there.  So you got to play great to beat them.

Coming down the last hole, it's tough hole and Mo hit three great shots to make birdie just like me yesterday.  So it's a little opposite than yesterday, but still we have one more day to go and we still can win two matches tomorrow.

Q.  Do you still feel good heading into tomorrow?  You played so well yesterday.
YANI TSENG:  We feel good.  We played well today.  I mean, tomorrow we're against Spain, they're a pretty tough team, too, so it gives us good focus.  Thailand, they're great, they played awesome.  So tomorrow, it's just, I think Spain's tough and we're going to stay tough, too.

 

TEAM THAILAND:
PORNANONG PHATLUM
ARIYA JUTANUGARN
MORIYA JUTANUGARN
ONNARIN SATTAYABANPHOT

KELLY THESIER:  Good afternoon, everyone.  We're pleased to be joined by Team Thailand here at the International Crown.  First off, ladies, congratulations, wins in both matches today to earn a total of four points against Chinese Taipei, the team that had won four points themselves yesterday.  Pretty impressive.  Moriya, you and Ariya started it off today with a victory, 3 & 2.  Just take me through what was that match like?  You guys have been playing together the last two days.  What was it like to get a win together as sisters?
MORIYA JUTANUGARN:  I feel like yesterday I played more solid than today, but today she helped me more than yesterday, yeah.  If you heard some, like she said, I didn't play good, but she is better.  She's helped.

KELLY THESIER:  Onnarin, we just all watched that big putt on 18.  It was quite a tight match with you guys and Yani, and Yani had a chance for her putt to win the match.  Then you were able to make your birdie putt.  First of all, tell me about that putt, how long was the putt, and what was that feeling like to capture a win on 18?
ONNARIN SATTAYABANPHOT:  I'll say it was around 17 feet, downhill a little bit.  It was a quick putt from lefttoright.  Actually, I have to credit my second shot.  It was really good shot, but I didn't really aim at the pin though.

That putt, that gave me goose bumps.  It was all I had today.  I'm really glad it went in.

KELLY THESIER:  You guys decided to keep your same pairings for day two, even though you guys had gotten only one point in day one.  Why did you guys decide to keep the same pairings and how happy are you in how it worked out today?
MORIYA JUTANUGARN:  Well, for us, because yesterday she was telling me like she didn't play very good, so if she played better, she would be better today.  We know each other very well, that's why we keep the same pairing.

ONNARIN SATTAYABANPHOT:  I think the sisters can handle both of them, their games really well.  That's why I let them keep the same group.  Then for us, we tried to get to know each other better.  Last night we went to dinner together to try to figure out how we're going to play today.  So it went really well today.

KELLY THESIER:  Open it up for questions.

Q.  Was last night the first time you guys had gone out to dinner other than the banquet?
ONNARIN SATTAYABANPHOT:  No, it's not the first time.  The first time we went to dinner, we didn't really talk about golf or who we were going to play.  So I think that's what went wrong at the beginning.
(Laughter.)

So yesterday we tried to figure out what we really were going to do, so today it went well.

Q.  Talking about winning 18 again.  It was extremely important to get all four points today, given the one that you had had yesterday.  Were you understanding the position?  Did you know how they had finished prior to walking up on the 18th fairway?
ONNARIN SATTAYABANPHOT:  I definitely know that they won their match.  And then my partner already made par, so all I want to do was try to nail that ball in the hole and make a big score for Thailand.

Q.  Moriya, could you tell me what it's like to play with your sister?  What it's like out there?  Do you joke around?  Do you argue?  What do you talk about?  What's it like?
MORIYA JUTANUGARN:  To me, I feel like yesterday and today, she kind of get like a little bit more like nervous and maybe she was a little bit tired from playing a lot of golf.
I just tried to keep her more calm and we were kind of joking around, just like that, and she kept me calm, too.

Q.  I know you played against each other a lot.  How many times have you paired together in competition prior to this?  And then how is the shoulder?
ARIYA JUTANUGARN:  We played together in match play before, a long time ago.  When we were juniors.

Q.  How old?  Juniors wasn't too long ago.
ARIYA JUTANUGARN:  Yeah, four years ago, but I beat her, so...
(Laughter.)

MORIYA JUTANUGARN:  That's all that she ever says.  But today we were trying to beat each other all the time also.

Q.  Even when you're partners?
MORIYA JUTANUGARN:  Yeah.  Like we just kind of like talk like trying to

ARIYA JUTANUGARN:  Before I tee off, I say, I'm going to make birdie.

And she says, No, I'm going to make birdie, too.

MORIYA JUTANUGARN:  No, I'm going to make birdie.

ARIYA JUTANUGARN:  So my shoulder?  My shoulder is getting better, it's like 90 percent right now.  So I don't have to worry about it.

Q.  I don't know if you have been asked, but playing the Americans tomorrow, here, what are you expecting in terms of the crowd?  What are you expecting in the way you're playing?  Are you confident going into tomorrow's matches?

ONNARIN SATTAYABANPHOT:  We're probably going to try to keep the same confidence like today, and then just go have fun.  Let's see how it goes.

KELLY THESIER:  Have you guys been watching at all the scores in?  The Americans didn't get any points yesterday.  They're leading in both of their matches right now.  How difficult of an opponent is Team USA.  We know they're the No. 1 seed overall.  Do you look at them as a very difficult opponent?

ONNARIN SATTAYABANPHOT:  I think it's going to be a difficult thing for both of our teams.  Team Thailand and the Americans, you never know tomorrow, just come and watch.
(Laughter.)

MORIYA JUTANUGARN:  Right.

KELLY THESIER:  Well, you guys are the final matches that are out tomorrow, so it will be USA and Thailand closing it out.  As you said, it should be a lot of fun to watch.  So hopefully everybody will come out.
Congratulations on your play today and wishing you the best of luck tomorrow.

Topics: Notes and Interviews, International Crown