Portland Classic Presented by
Cambia Health Solutions
Columbia Edgewater Country Club
Third-Round Notes & Interviews
August 30, 2014
Rolex Rankings No. 4 Suzann Pettersen (-11)
Rolex Rankings No. 226 Mi Jung Hur (-11)
Rolex Rankings No. 62 Carlota Ciganda (-11)
Rolex Rankings No. 5 So Yeon Ryu (-10)
Rolex Rankings No. 25 I.K. Kim (-10)
Rolex Rankings No. 4 Suzann Pettersen, Mi Jung Hur of Korea and Spain’s Carlota Ciganda are tied at 11-under par after the third round of the Portland Classic Presented by Cambia Health Solutions. Breezy and wet conditions produced higher scores than the first two rounds at Columbia Edgewater on Saturday.
“I think the course conditions for today was a little difficult than yesterday, more windier, and rainy; kind of up-and-down weather,” said Hur. “That’s why the leaders are 11-under par right now.”
The trio leads a packed leaderboard that has eight players within two shots of the lead heading into Sunday’s final round. Rolex Rankings No. 5 So Yeon Ryu, South Korea’s I.K. Kim and Tour rookie Xi Yu Lin are in a tie for fourth and one shot back.
Pettersen (2011 & 2013) and Hur (2009) are both past champions of the event while Ciganda is playing for her first LPGA Tour title. Pettersen jumped up the leaderboard on moving day with her second-consecutive round of 5-under 67. She birdied the 16th and 17th holes to get to 11-under par. She has a chance at becoming only the second three-time winner of the event in its 43-year history, joining Nancy Lopez.
“My game is getting better and better,” said Pettersen. “Today I had a lot of chances on the back nine. Just couldn’t quite drop the putts. Birdied 16, 17 and got a good par out of 18 after being in trouble. But it was a good solid round.”
Hur, whose only LPGA win came here in Portland during her rookie season in 2009, will take a nothing-to-lose attitude into Sunday’s final round and wants to make sure she has no regrets at shooting for her second career win.
“I really want to play aggressive tomorrow, because I got a chance, four years ago, another chance here, so I don’t want to lose anything for tomorrow,” said Hur. “So I’m just going to play.”
A bogey on the 18th hole kept Carlota Ciganda from claiming the outright lead at 12-under par but the Spaniard has said her confidence is at an all-time high.
“The first two days the ball striking was really good, and obviously my putter yesterday, it was -- it was really hot, and today I didn’t start playing that well,” said Ciganda. “I didn’t put the ball that close from the hole. But my putting was good. I made really good saves for par and made a few good birdies out there. So I’m just excited for tomorrow and let’s see what happens.”
BREAKTHROUGH FOR PETTERSEN?
Suzann Pettersen’s the only player on Tour with top-10 finishes in each of her last five starts. With that said, is this week the breakthrough? Will her first win of the year come on the same 18th green she won at a year prior?
Based off Saturday, that answer just may be yes. After birdieing five of the last seven holes on Friday to climb to 6-under for the tournament, Pettersen fired a 5-under-par 67 on Saturday to climb into a share of the lead heading into Sunday at 11-under.
“I still feel like the low one is out there. Gotta go out tomorrow and just try and birdie as many holes as you can,” Pettersen said. “Doesn’t look like the top players have gotten anywhere, so I did my job and kind of managed to close the gap a little bit, and tomorrow just gotta step on the pedal.”
That’s scary news for the field. And she’ll have a number in mind that she needs to shoot on Sunday.
“Yeah. Probably. But I’m not going to tell you,” Pettersen said when asked.
16 times Pettersen’s held the lead or co-lead after the third round. Eight of those she’s finished with the win, including the last five times.
But despite nine top-10s in 2014, she’s yet to hold a share heading into the final round on a Sunday in 2014. She was one back and in the final group at the Wegmans LPGA Championship but shot an uncharacteristic 75 on Sunday.
“My game is getting better and better. Today I had a lot of chances on the back nine. Just couldn’t quite drop the putts. Birdied 16, 17 and got a good par out of 18 after being in trouble, but it was a good solid round.”
VOICE OF REASON
Carlota Ciganda could barely contain her excitement when talking about heading into the final round with a shot at her first LPGA Tour win. Ciganda has been riding on a wave of confidence since winning the International Crown for Team Spain and recorded her season-best finish at the Wegmans LPGA Championship.
“It would be unbelievable. I mean I think after the International Crown that was very nice tournament. My confidence was, I mean went back, and winning that tournament, playing against the best players, it was great,” said Ciganda. “So after that I felt more confident, and I’m just trying to, yeah, to play my game, don’t think about too much, like about other’s game, just my golf and have fun outside the golf course, and I think that’s the key.”
Ciganda has been on an emotional rollercoaster ride the past few weeks after losing her coach of twenty years, Rogelio Echeverria to stomach cancer and said she still hears him on the course all the time. What would a win mean to her this week? She shakes her head and know how proud he would be of her.
“It would be unbelievable. I know he’s watching up there, and I would love to win for him. Yeah, everything I do from now on, it’s going to be for him,” said Ciganda. “I can hear him, like when I’m hitting balls and when I hit one bad shot on the right or to the left, like I knew what he would be telling me. So I have him very present in my mind. We spend 20 years together, so that’s a lot of time.”
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, four eagles were recorded which brings the total money raised this year to $229,000. Through the first 21 tournaments prior to the Portland Classic Presented by Cambia Health Solutions, $225,000 had been raised.
Ilhee Lee 5
Suzann Pettersen 5
Danielle Kang 7
Jennifer Song 7
After turning in a 7-under 65 on moving day, Hee Young Park stopped by the world famous Portland food carts onsite this week at Columbia Edgewater. She lent a helping hand to Slick’s Big Time BBQ.
“After finished golf I did extra work in the food truck lol #funlife @portlandclassic”
Q. Gotta feel pretty good about where you are heading into tomorrow?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Yeah. My game is getting better and better.
Today I had a lot of chances on the Back 9. Just couldn't quite drop the putts. Birdied 16, 17 and got a good par out of 18 after being in trouble. But it was a good solid round. Yeah.
Q. What was going on in the trees?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Had a line of sight on the scoreboard.
Q. 5-under yesterday on the Back 9, 5-under today. Gotta feel pretty good about where your game's at?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Yeah, and I still feel like the low one is still out there. So gotta go out tomorrow and just try and birdie as many holes as you can.
Doesn't look like the top players have kind of gotten anywhere, so I did my job and kind of managed to close the gap a little bit, and tomorrow just gotta step on the pedal.
Q. You were saying maybe you were a little bit tired from playing four weeks. Have you found a way to get over that?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Yeah, no. I'm starting to have a little bit low days around Wednesday and Thursday. Now I'm starting to feel a little bit better. Yeah. The adrenaline helps.
Q. Will you have a number in mind tomorrow that you want to reach?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Yeah. Probably. I'm not going to tell you.
Q. 20-under maybe?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Possible.
Q. You have to feel very good. For her really good round. How do you feel after that round?
MI JUNG HUR: Yeah, I had a good round, but my minor didn't working as much yesterday, but my short game was really great.
But around the green, hit a lot of chip shots because I missed a lot of greens. I think I hit only 10 greens today, but my putting and chipping --
Q. Was good.
MI JUNG HUR: Yeah. It saved me --
Q. Big time?
MI JUNG HUR: -- for the day.
Q. Has to be reassuring, just knowing that you made some mistakes, but could save it. Is that a reassuring feeling going into tomorrow, knowing your short game's on?
MI JUNG HUR: Yeah. I feel good. I want to keep this momentum till tomorrow. I also, like I said yesterday, I'm just going to focus on each shot. It will help me a lot.
Q. Yeah. You said that yesterday. How was that today? You thought it was just as good or did you get ahead of yourself a little bit?
MI JUNG HUR: It was good, but not as much good as yesterday, yes.
Q. Do you think it was any because you're up at the top of the leaderboard you got a little distracted or do you think it was just --
MI JUNG HUR: No. Like today if you had a second shot, the green speeds are really inconsistent. So if you hit a same iron, some greens are release like over 20 yards. Some greens are stop right away, so it's really hard to pick the yardage, correct yardage for me. But without that one, I played good today.
Q. Who is your caddie? Is he your regular caddie?
MI JUNG HUR: I met him here. Local caddie.
Q. What is your last name?
JOSH KOEPKE: Josh Koepke.
Q. It's been going pretty well?
MI JUNG HUR: Yeah. We had fun on the course.
Q. Are you a member here?
JOSH KOEPKE: No. I actually live on the Oregon coast. Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, I'm a caddie there.
Q. Very cool. Awesome. Okay. What about going into tomorrow? How do you feel? What's the mentality? Any game plan you have going forward?
MI JUNG HUR: I really want to play aggressive tomorrow, because I got a chance, four years ago, another chance here, so I don't want to lose anything for tomorrow. So I'm just going to play --
Q. Do you feel like you have nothing to lose?
MI JUNG HUR: Yeah. Nothing to lose.
Q. Heading into today are you surprised the lead is only at 11?
MI JUNG HUR: Oh, you mean 11-under par?
Q. Yeah. Are you surprised that has a share of the lead heading into Sunday?
MI JUNG HUR: Not really because I think the course conditions for today was a little difficult than yesterday, more windier, and rainy; kind of up-and-down weather. That's why the leaders are 11-under par right now.
Q. How tough is it playing with Suzann who's won here before and who's obviously Top 10 every week the last five weeks? How tough will she be to beat tomorrow?
MI JUNG HUR: I don't want to think about any other player during my play. I just want to focus on my game and focus each shot will be healthy.
Q. Playing with I.K., are you guys close? Have you guys played a lot of golf together?
MI JUNG HUR: I.K.? Yeah. I knew her when I was like 11.
Q. Really? Since 11?
MI JUNG HUR: Yeah. We had a lot of fun today, but her putting didn't work today.
Q. On and off?
b She will be fine tomorrow.
Q. Another very solid day. You seem very relaxed.
CARLOTA CIGANDA: Yeah. Yeah. I'm very -- I'm happy, and I'm just enjoying the time out here. I like the course. I'm having good talks with my caddie. He's telling me -- like we're just talking a lot, and I just feel like I'm playing at home. Just a normal day, and I'm playing good, hitting the shots. So can't wait for tomorrow.
Q. What has been the strongest part of your game do you think this whole week?
CARLOTA CIGANDA: The first two days the ball striking was really good, and obviously my putter yesterday, it was -- it was really hot, and today I didn't start playing that well, I didn't put the ball that close from the hole. But my putting was good. I made really good saves for par and made a few good birdies out there. So I'm just excited for tomorrow and let's see what happens.
Q. Last time you were co leader going into the final round was Dallas. What did you learn from that a year ago?
CARLOTA CIGANDA: Have to be very patient out there. I mean the golf is long. Tomorrow it's 18 holes. So I don't really care if I start with two doubles or two birdies. You have to stay in the present all the time and play until the last hole, the last putt.
I don't want to think too much about the result. Just keep having fun, keep trying to hit good shots and don't think too much.
Q. You've been playing really well, some consistently. Some not. What would it mean to get a win here, trying to close out the season and get some momentum going into the Evian and Asia?
CARLOTA CIGANDA: It would be unbelievable. I mean I think after the International Crown that was very nice tournament. My confidence was, I mean went back, and winning that tournament, playing against the best players, it was great. So after that I felt more confident, and I'm just trying to, yeah, to play my game, don't think about too much, like about other's game, just my golf and have fun outside the golf course, and I think that's the key.
Q. Bummed to make bogey on the last hole?
CARLOTA CIGANDA: Yeah. Not the best, but I mean that's a tough hole. I hit it into the bunker and it wasn't an easy shot, and I didn't make the putt. It's just remember no. 18 holes, I missed one hole.
Q. Would a win mean more after what happened losing your coach a couple weeks ago?
CARLOTA CIGANDA: Yeah, it would be unbelievable. I know he's watching up there, and I would love to win for him. Yeah, everything I do from now on, it's going to be for him.
Q. When you're out there, are you thinking about any of his advice from the past or anything?
CARLOTA CIGANDA: Yeah. I can hear him, like when I'm hitting balls and when I hit one bad shot on the right or to the left, like I knew what he would be telling me. So I have him very present in my mind. We spend 20 years together, so that's a lot of time.
Q. One back of the lead heading into tomorrow. Gotta feel pretty good about that, second chance to win in two weeks.
SO YEON RYU: Well, yeah. It's a pretty good chance to me, but if I think about my golf game today, it wasn't like perfect game, but still, I'm in contention, so I feel pretty good about that.
This green is really quick, so it's really hard to judge the speed, so today I was struggled with matching up my speed with the line.
But otherwise like my shot and my chipping and other game looks pretty good. So feels good to go play tomorrow.
Q. What would it mean to win two times in a row to you?
SO YEON RYU: Well, you know, I'm waiting so much time, it means I learned so many things. So if I could make a win two weeks in a row, it makes me learn a lot of things, and how can I say? Spend some good ability from learning things.
Q. Why was it playing so much tougher today? It looked a lot tougher. It looked like Peoples scores weren't quite as good?
SO YEON RYU: Well, it's really tough to read the line. Obviously we're not really used to it with this green speed. So it's really hard to adjust to read the line and other thing is green is not as soft. So it keep releasing.
And other last thing is, you know, if we miss the tee shot, these trees quite really big, so lined every hour of our way. So I think that's why the players struggled with that.
Q. Heading into today, are you surprised that the lead is only 11 at the end of the day?
SO YEON RYU: Yeah. Actually, I thought it was going to be more than that, because today also I had so many chances, but I missed a lot. So it means other players can make a lot of birdies, but it looks like they are also struggling with putting or whatever. So I'm really surprised with the score.
Q. Were you pretty pleased though that you were able to salvage the round after starting 2-over?
SO YEON RYU: Well, yeah, actually, you know what, after I made two bogeys, you know, at the third and fourth, kind of really big disappointed, because I thought I have to make a lot of birdies to catch up the lead.
So I was a bit disappointed, but I was keep like thinking about not like winning thing, but more like let's going to be close. It's the leader. Meaning I still have a chance tomorrow. I think that kind of mindset helped me a lot with the rest of the ground.
Q. Suzann won here last year. She's the leader going into the final round. How tough is she to beat out here?
SO YEON RYU: Suzann is always tough to competing. She's one of the very aggressive players on the tour. And she's long here, and she is always number like Top 5 in the world. So it's really hard to competing with like top player. But you know, always feels great to playing with the top player and if I beat her, it's going to be more great.
Q. Obviously not the best round today, but still feel like you're in it?
I.K. KIM: Yeah.
Q. Take me through your round. What was going on out there? I know you're probably not too pleased with it. What was the struggle?
I.K. KIM: Just didn't make putts. I hit a lot of good tee shots. Nothing different. Just it was hard to adjust to the wind today.
And greens were firm, and a lot of pins were on the front, so I miss-adjusted, and I had a lot of downhill putts, so even though it was close, it was hard to adjust, like you know, I couldn't be aggressive with.
Q. Only one back, though. You'd probably take that headed into the week, wouldn't you?
I.K. KIM: Yeah. I don't really think about -- I mean I guess it was a tough round in the afternoon. So I still have a chance, but I just don't really happy with how I kind of scored today.
Q. Will you watch the leaderboard at all?
I.K. KIM: I have no idea. Definitely, because it's out there.
Q. It's kind of hard to avoid at times. What is the number in mind? Do you have a number in mind of what it might take for tomorrow?
I.K. KIM: No, I don't. I just want to rest. I just feel tired.