Wegmans LPGA Championship Third Round Notes and Interviews

Brittany Lincicome
Photo Credit: Hunter Martin/Getty Images

Brittany Lincicome hits her tee shot on the fourth hole during the third round of the Wegmans LPGA Championship at Monroe Golf Club on August 16, 2014 in Pittsford, New York.

Wegmans LPGA Championship
Monroe Golf Club
Pittsford, NY
Third Round Notes and Interviews
August 16, 2014

Brittany Lincicome, Rolex Rankings No. 61, -10
Inbee Park, Rolex Rankings No. 3, -9
Suzann Pettersen, Rolex Rankings No. 4, -9
Lydia Ko, Rolex Rankings No. 2, -6
Gerina Piller, Rolex Rankings No. 31, -6

Lexi Thompson, Rolex Rankings No. 6, -4

After claiming she felt totally comfortable with her three-shot lead after the second round, Brittany Lincicome was surprised when she felt a rush of nerves hit her before the third round on Saturday at the
Wegmans LPGA Championship. The five-time LPGA Tour winner said she lost her appetite at lunch, eating only two bananas during her round but it was clear that Lincicome is hungry for another major
championship win.

“Nervous was probably an understatement,” said Lincicome. I was fine all morning.  I got my 10 hours of sleep…then when it came time to kind of eat lunch, it just wasn’t happening.”

She fought off the anxious energy and finished with a round of 71 on Saturday and leads world No. 3 and defending champ Inbee Park (69) and No. 4 Suzann Pettersen (67) by one shot.

Lincicome had four birdies and three bogeys on the day and has only held the 54-hole lead at a major once before and first time in eight years. She led at the 2006 U.S. Women’s Open but faltered on Sunday with a 78 and dropped into a seventh place finish.

“I think because I haven’t been in this position in a while, it just kind of all caught up with me,” said Lincicome. “Just tried to take multiple deep breaths out there.  I don’t think I calmed down until really the back nine probably.  Hopefully going into tomorrow it’s kind of out of my system, I kind of know what it feels like to kind of be in this position and I will kind of dominate again.”

Lincicome started the day with a three-shot lead but saw it shrink to just one shot after missing her three-foot par putt on the par 4 5th hole. But birdies on the 7th and 9th holes put her back in control with a two-shot lead at the turn.

Pettersen, who was playing three groups in front of the final pairing, made a back nine charge with four
birdies, shooting 32 on her final nine holes. Her round of 67 tied Spain’s Carlota Ciganda for low round of the day. The 14-time winner missed her long eagle putt on No. 14 by two feet but got within one shot of Lincicome with a birdie at 8-under par.

“I made the turn a bit frustrated that I three putted nine,” said Pettersen. “I actually got to the green and three putted, which felt like I was giving away a shot. But I managed to kind of make a move, and the game responded pretty good.  Then I actually thought I could have had a couple more out there.  Had a couple of great looks.  So it’s nice to make a charge and kind of be where I’m at right now.”

A great up and down from the greenside rough on No. 12 pushed Lincicome back to 10-under par but saw a two-shot swing after a bogey on No. 13. Pettersen gained a share of the lead with a birdie of her own on the 15th hole.

But Lincicome responded with a two-putt birdie, her final of the day, on No. 14 to take back the lead at 10-under par.

Everyone knew not to count out four-time major winner and defending champion Inbee Park from the weekend action. Park had two late birdies in her final three holes to get to 9-under and in a tie for second with Pettersen heading into the final round.

“I hit a couple of bad shots and kind of scrambled around today,” said Park.  “I mean I still feel like I definitely left a couple out there today, but number 17 and 18, you know, dropping those putts really helped me for tomorrow. Three back is quite a bit different.  So I’m happy where I am right now, and yeah, we’ll see tomorrow.”

Lincicome pared her final four holes that included a tricky seven-foot par putt on the par 3 16th hole.

“I kind of knew at 16 that if I bogeyed it, it was going to be okay,” said Lincicome. “I had already kind of had that in my mind.  But it’s not an easy hole, and I’m in between clubs and there’s nothing I can do about it.  It was nice to make the par, though.”

Last week’s winner at the Meijer LPGA Classic Presented by Kraft Mirim Lee (69) sits in solo fourth at 7-under par. Rolex Rankings No. 2 Lydia Ko (71), Gerina Piller (69) and Meena Lee (71) are tied for fifth and four shots back at 6-under par.

HIGH FIVES
Brittany Lincicome’s played 12 par-5s thus far this week. She’s 11-under-par on those holes. That’s a 4.08 scoring average on the par-5s this week. Saturday was the first time she wasn’t 4-under on the par-5s this week after making par on the par-5 third hole. But she birdied the last three par-5s, which helped her to head into Sunday with a one-shot lead.

“I hate talking about it because I feel like I’m going to jinx myself,” Lincicome said. “But yeah, today, you know, I had a 5-iron into one of them, I think I had a 7-iron into one of them, I actually close to reaching No. 9 today, which hasn’t been possible. I hit 3-wood to two inches off the front of the green.”

That’s a place few in the field can reach. That length – 273.7 yards per drive – is clearly working as an advantage on the par-5s and the only one hitting it further than her in the field this week is Suzann Pettersen, whose 279.2 yard average will be on display in the final pairing with Lincicome on Sunday.

MAJOR CONSISTENCY
Suzann Pettersen may only have two major championship titles currently on her resumé but based on her recent performance in these events, she is surely to add more soon. Pettersen has made the cut in five of the last seven majors that she played in prior to this week and has finished no worse than T4 the five times she made the cut.

“I got to the point now where I don’t really try and make such a huge deal out of it,” Pettersen said of playing in majors. “I literally try and win every week, and I know I’m good enough to be in contention to win on any course.  So I guess that’s also a confidence kind of booster right there.”

Pettersen’s recent record in the Majors:

2013 Kraft Nabisco Championship T3
2013 Wegmans LPGA Championship T3
2013 U.S. Women's Open CUT
2013 RICOH Women's British Open T4
2013 Evian Championship 1
2014 U.S. Women's Open CUT
2014 RICOH Women's British Open T2
     

A LITTLE LENGTH ENVY
All week long the talk has been that Monroe Golf Club is suited well for the long hitters on Tour and Inbee Park admitted after Saturday’s round that Monroe Golf Club is not a course that’s ideally suited to her game. Park joked that on Saturday she got to see another way to play the course from her playing partner, Brittany Lincicome.

“She was probably 50 yards ahead of me on the par 5s, and she was hitting, I don’t know what she was hitting, but probably like 7 iron or 6 iron when I was hitting like 3 woods,”

Park said with a laugh. “I think it’s best to not have to attack holes from like 220 than 160.  So yeah, I haven’t really played that well on the par 5s this week.  I mean those are the holes that you really need to make a birdie on this golf course, but I only made one today, made none on first day.

“I think that’s really been the big difference, and if I made like couple every day, I think I could have been leader by three or four. So yeah, feels like a little bit of a disadvantage, but you’ve gotta overcome that obviously.”

Park has done a good job of overcoming that so far this week as she sits tied for second with Suzann Pettersen and is just one shot behind third-round leader and her Saturday playing partner, Lincicome. After shooting a 3-under 69 in the third round, Park will have yet another week where she’s in contention. Something that has been common place for both her and Pettersen of late, as both were on the verge of winning recently at both the RICOH Women’s British Open and last week’s Meijer LPGA Classic presented by Kraft.

“I think it’s kind of obvious for golfers to play good for like a month or two in a row, because when they’re striking well and when they’re putting well,” Park said. “So I think Suzann and I are kind of in that zone where we’re playing really good golf.”

NO RISKY BUSINESS
At the season’s first major the Kraft Nabisco Championship, Suzann Pettersen wasn’t in contention. She was in bed with an injured back and couldn’t even fathom playing.

“Golf was so far away from me at the time. Just thinking about putting I felt my back was going to break just thinking about it,” she said. “That’s how bad it was.”

And it was the end of June – nearly two months after she returned to competition – before she felt like herself again. Part of being back has been limiting her working out. She was notorious for being one of the most avid lifters on Tour before the back injury. She’s been in the gym, just not with the weights.

“Your priority is to play golf, not to risk anything, trying to be sore, do anything stupid in the gym. I do tons of cardio, and I can still run. It doesn’t bother me,” she said. “But other than that, trying to live off old work and just see how long that can last me.”

The gym’s long been a place she could vent her frustration from the golf course. Although she doesn’t have that anymore, she’s hitting the ball further since she got back and stopped lifting. Whether it’s less is more or what, Pettersen’s a full club longer with her irons and 20 yards longer with her driver.

POWER COUPLE
73 players teed it up on Saturday. Exactly one of those went bogey free: Gerina Piller.

She nearly had a bogey on the last when she left a 30-foot birdie putt about eight-feet short but knocked it in for a blemish-free 3-under 69 and finish at 6-under.

“Made a lot of par saves,” Piller said. “Just my putter was really good today and gave myself lots of opportunities, hit fairways, hit greens, and just grinded it out out there.”

Piller’s looking at the Sunday of her dreams. She’s in contention at a major, and her husband, Martin, sits at the top of the leaderboard on the Web.Com Tour’s News Sentinel Open in Knoxville, Tenn., with a one-shot lead heading into Sunday.

She wasn’t aware of where her husband had finished until a media official informed her after she signed her scorecard.

“It’s pretty awesome. I’m excited for him, more so for him,” she said. “He’s been playing great golf, and what great news to be done and come to the scoring tent and someone say he’s leading. So just really excited that we’re in this situation and just hope for the best tomorrow.”

The routine will stay the same for both. They’ll talk when they wake up and send each other a text as they both head to the tee.

“I probably freak out more than he does, so he’s probably going to be cool as a cucumber and I’m probably going to be stressing out all day tomorrow,” she said.

Gerina will finish later than Martin, and although she won’t have the phone checking score updates during her round, she’s hoping to break out in a big smile at some point.

“I’m hoping that if I tee off maybe later than him, then they’ll give me some good news tomorrow on the course,” she said.

QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I mean I feel like I’ve been working really hard and doing a lot of the right things, and for it to finally come together this week, obviously the week of a major, but more importantly, just for the people in the Rochester area, it was so great to come out, the fans are so supportive, and they’re all out there.”
-Third-round leader Brittany Lincicome on what it would mean to win in the final year in Rochester
 

 

 

Brittany Lincicome, Rolex Rankings No. 61, -10

KELLY THESIER:  Good afternoon, everyone.  We'd like to welcome in our current leader, Brittany Lincicome.  Brittany, 1‑under par 71 today, leading by one shot entering the final round.  Were you nervous at all today?  I heard there might have been only a banana I think you ate?
BRITTANY LINCICOME:
  Yeah.  Nervous was probably an understatement.  I was fine all morning.  I got my 10 hours of sleep.  I watched "Puss In Boots" was on TV.  I watched kids' movies, was doing fine, and then when it came time to kind of eat lunch, it just wasn't happening, and then on the course like I took some stuff to calm my belly.  I did have a banana, a few bananas actually.
           
And yeah, I think because I haven't been in this position in a while, it just kind of all caught up with me.  Just tried to take multiple deep breaths out there.  I don't think I calmed down until really the Back 9 probably.  Hopefully going into tomorrow it's kind of out of my system, I kind of know what it feels like to kind of be in this position and I will kind of dominate again.
           
KELLY THESIER:  You talked about on the Back 9, we saw some impressive shots, especially I guess 16 really when you look at the up‑and‑down you were able to make.  How kind of were you able to calm those nerves and be able to go out there and produce those types of shots?
BRITTANY LINCICOME:
  That's a good question.  It's actually two days in a row I've done that.  I've made a long putt on that hole to save par.  It's not an easy.  It's right in between clubs, 5‑iron doesn't get to the green and it rolls back four yards or 4‑iron flies the green.  So it's kind of you pick your poison, and then I just missed it altogether and I ended up in the bunker.
           
But those last three holes, especially 16, are very tough.  You don't want to be down to make birdies.  You've definitely gotta skin on the field because they're really tough.
           
I kind of knew at 16 that if I bogeyed it, it was going to be okay.  I had already kind of had that in my mind.  But it's not an easy hole, and I'm in between clubs and there's nothing I can do about it.  It was nice to make the par, though.
           
KELLY THESIER:  We just had Inbee Park in here and she was talking about watching you on the par‑5s and how much of an advantage you have.  But you've been able to take advantage of that.  You are now 11‑under on the par‑5s this week, birdieing three of the four today.  How much of a mentality is that for you every time you step on the par‑5 knowing that they're birdieable holes for you?
BRITTANY LINCICOME:
  I hate talking about it because I feel like I'm going to jinx myself.  But yeah, today, you know, I had a 5‑iron into one of them, I think I had a 7‑iron into one of them, I actually close to reaching 9 today, which hasn't been possible.  I hit 3‑wood to two inches off the front of the green.  So I still feel like today was not as good as yesterday considering I don't feel like I hit the greens as many times, especially with ‑‑ I hit the green with the 7‑iron, but the 5‑iron I missed way right and got it up‑and‑down.
           
Definitely if I can hit it in the fairway and obviously hit it on the green and two‑putt or one‑putt even to be able to be stress free kind of helps your round obviously if you can two‑putt and make birdie and go to the next hole.
           
KELLY THESIER:  We'll open it up for questions.

Q.  You were cracking me up today because you reminded of me out there on the golf course.  It looked like five, six, seven times you hit a shot and you were just pissed, but it ended up being solid followthrough and you hooked through this and the ball would end up 20 feet from the pin.  Is that just the way you follow through?  It looked like you were unhappy, what, about five, six, seven shots and they all ended up pretty good.
BRITTANY LINCICOME:
  Really?  I'm going to have to work on that tomorrow.
           
No, I'm not really sure what my face was doing.  I know a lot of clubs today we were in between, so maybe I felt like they should have been further or maybe I hit it too far and needed to come back, especially like the second hole, I hit whatever club I hit in there it went way past and I was obviously frustrated with ‑‑ you know, obviously hitting the green is good, but you still don't want 20, 30‑footers trying to two‑putt and save your par.
           
So overall I felt like I drove it really well, and second shots were okay.  Didn't really have too many opportunities for birdies unless it was a par‑5.

Q.  So when the nerves are cranking, is there a certain part of your game where you really feel it?
BRITTANY LINCICOME:
  Probably putting.  Putting I feel like I take a few more deep breaths and kind of let all the oxygen out and just kind of try to make a nice, smooth tempo.  It could happen with driver, too, but I feel like my tempo the last couple days has been really, really good.  And that's kind of my swing thought when I step into it, my caddie even says swing 70 percent and it's going pretty good.

Q.  So were there any putts today where you felt like nerves got the better of you?
BRITTANY LINCICOME:
  Oh, yeah.  Like probably all of them on the Front 9.  They were all not hit in the middle of the club face.  Distance control was not very good.  I left most things short.
           
My caddie and I kind of talked about that tomorrow, she's like, it's not life or death.  You're going to still be breathing after the round.  We're going to be more aggressive.  You know, we were doing a lot of good things off the tee and hitting the approach shots into the green being really smart, and just the putting I was leaving everything short.  I was not aggressive, and it was kind of a wimpy kind of stroke I guess.

Q.  And then there are a couple of girls behind you who have been in this position a lot.  Are you going to be paying attention to the leaderboard at all tomorrow or how are you going to approach your chasers?
BRITTANY LINCICOME:
  No.  I will hopefully not look at a leaderboard all day, which is good ‑‑ I feel like for me that's how I've always played.  I've never looked at a leaderboard.  I feel more comfortable that way.  Obviously I know I need to birdie as many holes are out there.  I know which holes I can birdie and which holes are par holes, so kind of stick to the same game plan I've had all week, but Nancy Lopez told me like two years ago in Phoenix that I need to look at the leaderboard.  She's like, you need to know where you are, which from a Hall of Fame member I should probably listen to her, but it hasn't quite caught on yet.

Q.  I think she told Lizette the same thing.  I also noticed on the first tee, first of all, you looked very calm on the first tee, but you also had your headphones on right until literally 30 seconds before you put the tee in the ground.  Is that normal and just a way for you to stay calm?
BRITTANY LINCICOME:
  Yeah.  Very normal.  Normally I'm either texting somebody or listening to one of my favorite songs before I go so it's in my head for the whole round.

Q.  So it is music being played?
BRITTANY LINCICOME:
  Music, yeah.  Country or whatever I'm feeling at the time.  I think it was country.
KELLY THESIER:  Do you remember what the song was today?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: 
What's the song that you just downloaded?  (Inaudible).  I couldn't sing it for you.  But my caddie likes to sing, though, so whatever she's singing we kind of sing it together.

Q.  Brittany, what does this mean to you to put yourself back in this position to give yourself this chance?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: 
Yeah, I mean I feel like I've been working really hard and doing a lot of the right things, and for it to finally come together this week, obviously the week of a major, but more importantly, just for the people in the Rochester area, it was so great to come out, the fans are so supportive, and they're all out there.
           
I can hear them cheering for me, and it's just great to be back in this area.  And obviously we're going to miss it, and hopefully we can come back here soon, but I think it's just great to ‑‑ I think it's just the vibe, the golf course sets up great for my game, and the fans and spectators and everybody out there are really welcoming, and it just means a lot actually.  It's great.  To have my boyfriend and dad here, too, it's nice.

Q.  Could you just bore us and give us the details with the birdies, just the clubs?
KELLY THESIER:  She warned me that she might not be able to remember all of them.
Q.  Whatever you can do.

BRITTANY LINCICOME:  7.  Oh, yeah.  I hit a sand wedge, maybe a lob wedge.  Sand wedge or lob wedge to like a foot and a half, two feet.  And then 9 I hit 3‑wood just like two inches short of the green and putted it up to three feet and made it.
           
12 is a par‑5.  12 I hit right in the middle of the fairway, had 5‑iron into the green and hit it right and then chipped it up to six or so feet.  Is 14 another par‑5?  Knocked it on the green with a 7‑iron and two‑putted.  That wasn't too bad.
           
KELLY THESIER:  You remembered that pretty well.  Any other questions for Brittany.

Q.  Brittany, I know yesterday you mentioned you'd rather almost be a shot behind coming into today?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: 
Yep.

Q.  Safe to say you're comfortable with signing up for having a shot lead going into the final round?
BRITTANY LINCICOME:
  Yeah, maybe it's a different mentality now that I'm getting older and more mature, maybe one ahead is where I need to be.
           
You know, I'm still just going to play it the same way I've been playing it, just fairways and greens and take the birdies when I can and hopefully nobody shoots 65 tomorrow, which I'm sure somebody will.  Hopefully it's me though.


Inbee Park, Rolex Rankings No. 3, -9

KELLY THESIER:  We'd like to welcome Inbee Park into the interview room.  Congratulations, a great 3‑under par round today, 69.  Now sitting at tied for second, 9‑under par.  You've been playing some pretty consistent golf of late.  What's been the biggest key for you to keep that going?
INBEE PARK:
  It's been just, you know, everything coming together kind of.  Obviously I putted a little bit better the last few weeks, and my ball striking has been very consistent.
           
But you know, today was ‑‑ you know, I hit a couple of bad shots and kind of scrambled around today.  Yeah, I mean I still feel like I definitely left a couple out there today, but number 17 and 18, you know, dropping those putts really helped me for tomorrow.
           
And you know, three back is quite a bit different.  So I'm happy where I am right now, and yeah, we'll see tomorrow.
           
KELLY THESIER:  We were just talking when Suzann was in here.  The two of you have actually been in the hunt at British and then last week at Meijer and now you're both up there again.  Is there something about the two of you, like how you've been playing and that motivation of keep moving up in that spot to getting that win that you're close to having a win that you just want it even more the next week when you don't get it?
INBEE PARK: 
Yeah.  I think you kind of learn from the last week.  I think it's kind of obvious for golfers to play good for like a month or two in a row, because when they're striking well and when they're putting well, it usually goes for about a month or two.  So I think Suzann and I are kind of in that zone where we're playing really good golf.  And it's good that we get an opportunity every week, and yeah, it's really exciting to play in the final round.
           
KELLY THESIER:  I know you've been talking a lot about feeling like a missed opportunity at the women's British, that you had it right there.  What would it mean to you to walk away with a major championship so soon after kind of missing out?
INBEE PARK:
  Yeah, you know, I've been really waiting for another major win in a while.  It feels like in a while.  It's not really that while.
           
But yeah, I think it'll be good to actually recover from my mistakes that I made in the British Open and play well this week and kind of play well in the final round.  I think that's going to be great key going into the last half of the season.
           
KELLY THESIER:  Questions for Inbee.

Q.  I know the bombers on tour really loved this course as soon as they saw it and they're obviously on top of the leaderboard as well.  What about you?  Did you feel like it set up for you as well even though you're not among the longest on tour?
INBEE PARK: 
This course is not exactly for the average hitters, the short hitters.  This golf course definitely ‑‑ long hitters definitely has advantage on this kind of golf course.
           
For example, I played with Brittany today, and she was probably 50 yards ahead of me on the par‑5s, and she was hitting, I don't know what she was hitting, but probably like 7‑iron or 6‑iron when I was hitting like 3‑woods.
           
So yeah, I think it's best to kind of []attack from like 220 than 160.  So yeah, I haven't really played that well on the par‑5s this week.  I mean those are the holes that you really need to make a birdie on this golf course, but I only made one today, made none on first day.  I think that's really been the big difference, and if I made like couple every day, I think I could have been leader by three or four.
           
So yeah, feels like a little bit of a disadvantage, but you've gotta overcome that obviously.

Q.  Does it mess with your head ever when you've got 3‑wood in?
INBEE PARK:
  I don't know.  This year's been ‑‑ major tournaments been very long and wide, and hasn't been exactly my type of a golf course, but you know, if I play consistently, and yeah, I really ‑‑ I think I kind of have to putt really well to win.  So yeah, I will see how many I can hole tomorrow.
           
KELLY THESIER:  As you said, you got to watch Brittany firsthand.  We haven't seen her up at the top of the leaderboard very much recently.  She's kind of been working on some things.  What impressed you about her as you watched it firsthand today?
INBEE PARK:
  She definitely played well on the par‑5s here.  You know, it's really easy birdie for her.  You know, she's so aggressive player and she goes and just hits it, and she just hits short irons that things so easy to me.
           
Yeah, she made good putts today, especially on a couple of really tough par putts.  So yeah, I think she'll be very excited to be there and she's going to give it all she's got tomorrow.

Q.  Inbee, Rochester has only had two people repeat as champions, Nancy Lopez and Patty Sheehan.  What would it mean for you to be able to win back to back here especially considering that we're going away for a while?
INBEE PARK:
  Yeah.  I mean I think that's probably a very long time.  Yeah, like I said, playing this week has been always an honor and being part of the history is always a great thing to do, and especially last year here in Rochester.  And you know, having a great memory, we had great memories here.  Hopefully we are coming back here again for another tournament.
           
Yeah, I think it would be very special to do it twice here in Rochester.  So yeah, I think it'll be fun tomorrow.


Suzann Pettersen, Rolex Rankings No. 4, -9

KELLY THESIER:  Good evening, everyone.  We'd like to welcome Suzann Pettersen into the interview room.  Congratulations, a great round of 67 today, now sitting at 9‑under par, one shot currently off the lead.  Great Back 9.  It seems that you really like that stretch of holes at the start of the Back 9.  What is it about that stretch of holes that seems to work for you and what was it today that got you going.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: 
Well, I made the turn a bit frustrated that I three‑putted nine.  I actually got to the green and three‑putted, which felt like I was giving away a shot.
           
But I managed to kind of make a move, and the game responded pretty good.  Then I actually thought I could have had a couple more out there.  Had a couple of great looks.
           
So it's nice to make a charge and kind of be where I'm at right now.
           
KELLY THESIER:  You talked last week when we were discussing at Meijer about how you felt your game has really been coming together ever since the U.S. Women's Open.  What in specific, we were watching, your iron game today looked terrific, but what specifically have you felt like has really been kind of propelling you to some great starts.
SUZANN PETTERSEN:
  Just a little hard work.  I mean I can finally put in the hours.  I know what I'm trying to achieve.  It's right there.  So it's more a question of just sticking to the game plan, not bailing.  I still bailed on a couple of shots out there.  I know the fix is quite easy to kind of adjust it while you're on the golf course.  And I know that good is good, so that's what I'm going for.
           
KELLY THESIER:  I know a lot of players always gear up for majors and as I was looking back at your record, your consistency in the majors has been pretty unbelievable.  Made the cut in five of your last seven and all five of those you finished tied for fourth if not better.  What is it about majors that bring out the best in your game.
SUZANN PETTERSEN:
  I don't know.  I got to the point now where I don't really try and make such a huge deal out of it.  I literally try and week every week, and I know I'm good enough to be in contention to win on any course.  So I guess that's also a confidence kind of booster right there.
           
It takes the best to win out here, so I think it's cool to see all the players who's playing so well right now, and you just want to be a part of that.
           
KELLY THESIER:  Questions for Suzann?

Q.  Suzann, you were unable to play the Kraft, the first major of the year.  You were right in the thick of it at the British Open.  Does that all make you a little more hungry for your next major?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:
  Well, at Kraft I was flat out on the bed.  Wasn't even ‑‑ golf was so far away from me at the time.  Just thinking about putting I felt my back was going to break just thinking about it.  So that's how bad it was.
           
U.S. Open, I felt like I hadn't played ‑‑ I got kind of four tournaments in a row there leading up to U.S. Open, and then during my off week prior to, it went out again and I was on the couch for five straight days, questionable if I was going to play.  So I teed it up at the U.S. Open, didn't really feel like I was on top of my game, and definitely not the course where you try to get your game in shape while you play.
           
So two very disappointing majors kind of slipped out of my hands, one I couldn't do much about and the second I don't know if I should have played or not.  But ever since the U.S. Open my back and my body has been great.
           
Arkansas was probably the first tournament back where I felt like that was the real me back in contention, back where my game should be, and ever since it's been good.  It's been solid.

Q.  Suzann, obviously you've had some pretty good tournaments in Rochester.  You've come close, not quite getting over the hump here.  Did it take a move from Locust Hill, to get away from that place maybe?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: 
Yeah, maybe.  I didn't have my luck with me at Locust Hill.  I would love to get a win in Rochester, fantastic golfing venue for us, the LPGA; it's been a great partner of ladies golf for 38 years.
           
I'm quite sad we're not coming back here anytime soon, but hopefully some day in the future we'll have some new tournaments in this area because it's fantastic golf courses, great crowd, great support.  We really get to see we are part of the local communities.  Yeah, it's great.

Q.  With Locust Hill were there times where you felt like you were fighting that golf course?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:
  Yeah.  All the time.
Q.  I mean you played a lot of good rounds there, but it felt like you were fighting it; right?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: 
No, that was a beast.  Yeah.  That was always a battle.  You're correct.  Never felt comfortable, but knew I could kind of tweak it around, and I'm so glad I don't ever have to hit that tee shot on No. 18 ever again.  There were a couple of tee shots you just don't want to hit around that place.
KELLY THESIER:  Suzann, as I look up at the leaderboard you and Inbee right now are tied.  The last few weeks it seems like you and Inbee have been right up there at the top of the leaderboard and you're both kind of fighting for her to get back to that No. 1 spot, for you to get back to that No. 1 spot.  What is it about the two of you lately that are putting your games right up there.
SUZANN PETTERSEN:
  I don't know.  I mean you see everyone up there is quite long hitters, I would say, and this course definitely favors the bombers.  You can afford to be a bit more aggressive, give it some extra speed and still afford to miss the fairway and you still have a shot at the greens.  So don't be surprised to see a low one tomorrow because the par‑5s are reachable.  I heard the weather is supposed to be nice.
           
You gotta go out there tomorrow with the intention of go out and win this outright.

Q.  What are you trying to accomplish when you drop your left arm away from your body right before you bring it back up to your putting stroke?  It looks like you dip your left shoulder down.  And is it working, helping out?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:
  Well, I played the CVS this year, CVS Classic Charity with Jonas Blixt.  Up until then my putting was so so.  Had a couple of great conversations with Jonas himself who's a great putter.  In fact, there was a couple of other guys there.  We were standing there talking about it.  I was asking questions, trying to find something.  We were just fooling around, asking what everyone was working on.  And what I found with a lot of the guys their putter is so low to the ground at all times.
           
And with Jonas, obviously he's putting left hand low, but his shoulders are so level, and it seems so easy to kind of keep the putter lower to the ground all the way through the stroke.
           
So for me I kind of adjusted and I felt like the ball came out much better, 10 times better roll and more consistent.
           
I mean I like to kind of ‑‑ I don't like to play around, but I like to get advices and kind of support from great players, and I did get that that week.  So it was good for something.

Q.  Curious what your workout schedule is now, if you're doing a little bit more, with your back?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:
  No.
Q.  Nothing?  And yet I think you said you were hitting it further.  So can you tell us what you've learned then maybe, or what's different?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:
  Did you not see my quote yesterday?  It probably should not be repeated.
KELLY THESIER:  We'll leave that one out of this.
Q.  Is that one that wasn't clean?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: 
No.  Well, after coming back from being out with a back, you're just dying to play golf.  So your priority is to play golf, not to risk anything, trying to be sore, do anything stupid in the gym.
           
I do tons of cardio, and I can still run.  It doesn't bother me.  But other than that, trying to live off old work and just see how long that can last me.

Q.  So how much longer are you?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: 
I am a club longer with my irons, which is a lot.  And the driver, a long way.  I want to say 20 yards further.  I mean I played with Lex ‑‑ no, I played with ‑‑ who did I play with.  Jessica Korda.  She was like 20 yards behind me, and she's usually quite long.

Q.  Do you miss it, you know, your normal work out?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: 
Being short?  Do I miss being short?

Q.  No, your normal work out routine and the adrenaline of being in the gym?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: 
At times I miss it because for me it's also a place I can burst out all the frustration I have from the golf course.  That has almost been one of the toughest things like coming back and trying to play more and not being able to kind of blast the music and just get it all out of the body.  Just had to find someone else, or someone else to beat up or like take the load, because you gotta off load it somewhere, and for me it was always the gym.  So I found my other places.
           
KELLY THESIER:  Can you share any of those?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:
  No.
KELLY THESIER:  Nothing worth sharing.
SUZANN PETTERSEN:
  Not to go to the public.

Q.  Suzann, how close are you to where your ball striking was and your confidence was when you won Evian?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:
  It's much better than it was a year ago almost.  I've been working now pretty solid and consistently of where I've tried to get this to be for almost a year and a half now.
           
Evian was a touch of it.  Like a taste of what the good could really be.  The good now, I'm never ‑‑ my good now has never been this good, which is fun.  So even at the age of 33 I feel like I have a lot in the tank, and that's nice to know.
           
KELLY THESIER:  Any more questions for Suzann?  I'm going to end with one, and it is you won your first major at the LPGA Championship.  This is the last year it's here in Rochester and the last year it holds that same name.  What would it mean for you to walk away with that trophy tomorrow.
SUZANN PETTERSEN:
  I will make a huge effort to try and win a golf tournament here in Rochester, and I'll have a chance tomorrow.


Lydia Ko, Rolex Rankings No. 2, -6

Q.  Take us through your round a little bit.
LYDIA KO:
  I mean it was ‑‑ I didn't start off very well.  I made a bogey on the second hole, and then I came back with a good birdie on 3, but then made a bogey on 8 and I was suddenly at one over par for the Front 9.  Bogeyed 10.
           
But I kind of grinded it out, made two birdies in a row and then made another bogey, then made another birdie.  So it was kind of a birdie‑bogey day, but I'm pretty happy that I finished 1‑under.

Q.  The shot on 17, what did you hit into there?
LYDIA KO:
  I hit an 8‑iron.

Q.  About 140?
LYDIA KO: 
Yeah, 143.

Q.  Do you get the sense that people are getting to know you now with each tournament, each day that you play?
LYDIA KO: 
Yeah, definitely.  You know, some people out there today, one of the guys were wearing a "go Lydia" shirt, and I would have never expected that, so I'm so thankful for all the people that have come out here.  I mean, you know, we've been getting great support this week.

Q.  How cool is it for you personally when you see stuff like that?  Last year a lot of people didn't know you.
LYDIA KO: 
Yeah.  I guess kind of people know me more and more as I play more tournaments, and I guess the better I play, they'll know me more.
           
This is really cool that a lot of people recognize me and clap for me.  And I think getting the support has been tremendous.

Q.  Do you think you can win this tournament?  Can you get low enough do you think tomorrow?
LYDIA KO:
  It all depends tomorrow.  I mean the leaders and the girls that are out there are still playing well, and definitely the girls that are four or five shots, you never know.  A lot of the par‑5s you can kind of get on for two and someone might make an eagle and that's a two stroke right there.

Q.  What do you think it'll take for you to get there?  Is it going to be 65, 66?
LYDIA KO:
  It's definitely going to be a low one.  I'm already four or five shots behind right now.  I just need to play my own game.  If I play well and somebody plays better, I can't do much about it.

Q.  How is the wrist?
LYDIA KO:
  My wrist is feeling better.  I can still feel it, but I mean as long as it doesn't get worse, you know, I gotta just kind of ice it.


Gerina Piller, Rolex Rankings No. 31, -6

Q.  It's raining.  It's blowing, and you go bogey free.  How did you do it?
GERINA PILLER: 
Made a lot of par saves.  Just my putter was really good today and gave myself lots of opportunities, hit fairways, hit greens, and just grinded it out out there.

Q.  Martin is leading after Round 3.  You're in contention here on Sunday.  That's gotta be kind of a dream scenario?
GERINA PILLER:
  Yeah, it's pretty awesome.  I'm excited for him, more so for him.  He's been playing great golf, and what great news to be done and come to the scoring tent and someone say he's leading.  So just really excited that we're in this situation and just hope for the best tomorrow.

Q.  Will you talk in the morning or how tomorrow's layout do you think?
GERINA PILLER:
  Will we talk?  I think so.

Q.  Like what time or kind of the ‑‑
GERINA PILLER:
  Nothing will be different.  I usually talk to him in the morning when we wake up, and he sends me a text when he heads to the tee and vice versa.  He's actually really good about it.  I probably freak out more than he does, so he's probably going to be cool as a cucumber and I'm probably going to be stressing out all day tomorrow.

Q.  Over yourself or him or both?
GERINA PILLER:
  Over him.

Q.  Will you follow his round during your round or will you wait till the end?
GERINA PILLER:
  I'm hoping that if I tee off maybe later than him, then they'll give me some good news tomorrow on the course.

Q.  Talk about finishing up strong there and just putting yourself in a good position for starting tomorrow.
GERINA PILLER:
  Yeah, it's been kind of a tough week for me this week.  Started out my swing has not felt really good at all, and I had a little panic session with my coach.  And just kind of ‑‑ just wanted to go out there and have fun, and when I have fun on the golf course and I enjoy being out there, that's when I play my best golf.  So that's just kind of what I've been doing, and God has a plan, and that's all I can do is hit the shots and everything else is going to play out.

Q.  One of the longest hitters on tour, though.  It's gotta fit your game pretty well here; right?
GERINA PILLER: 
Yeah, definitely.  18's a tough hole.  There are a couple of par‑3s that are pretty long, so being able to hit the ball high and far is definitely an advantage.

Q.  Little tester on 18 there to finish the round?
GERINA PILLER: 
Yeah.  That's not the only one of the round.  I had quite a few of those today.  It's just sometimes it's hard to get yourself to hit the putts when they're uphill and slow because you don't want that one coming back past the pin.
           
You just gotta make those putts and just pretend like they're for birdie and hopefully they go in.

Q.  How ‑‑ I mean when you ‑‑ how much is the major thing and just that victory thing?  Does that enter the mind, and you know, do you worry that it'll maybe become a focus or consume you going into tomorrow or not?
GERINA PILLER:
  Actually had has up until this point, and now I'm just, you know, if I'm meant to win one, I'll win one.  And all I can do is control what I do and hit good shots.
           
Other than that, that's what I'm going to worry about tomorrow is hit good shots and putting good strokes on it.

Q.  Is that a different approach?
GERINA PILLER:
  No.  I've always kind of had that approach to my golf game.  But lately I've gotten to where I've kind of pressed a little, and as we all know, if you push golf, it pushes back harder.  So just kind of taking that approach and just want to have fun with it.

Q.  Will you leaderboard watch at all tomorrow?
GERINA PILLER:
  Probably not.  I mean if I'm making birdies, I think that'll take care of itself.  So I'll just go out there and do what I've been doing.

 

Lexi Thompson, Rolex Rankings No. 6, -4

Q.  What happened out there this afternoon?
LEXI THOMPSON:
  Yeah, it was just an overall struggle the whole day.  Didn't really get anything going, struggled a bit with my irons again and didn't start off putting well.  But you know, today is another today.  So going into it with a positive attitude.

Q.  Can you take us through one and kind of what happened there with that putt?
LEXI THOMPSON:
  I just ‑‑ I missed a 3‑footer for par.

Q.  Did it rally throughout or just got it out of your head after that?
LEXI THOMPSON:
  No.  I mean I got over it as quick as I could.  You're going to miss putts.  That's golf.

Q.  Is it encouraging at all to know that no one else has really made a lot of ground today.  Everyone just kind of stayed where they were yesterday?
LEXI THOMPSON:
  Yeah, it definitely does.  I needed to shoot a few under today to be in good position for tomorrow.  Unfortunately I'm six back now.
           
But you know, I'm just going to try to shoot as low as I can tomorrow.  I've got nothing to lose, so we'll see how it goes.

Q.  Knowing you can hit it further than most, do you feel like you still have a good shot at this?
LEXI THOMPSON:
  Yeah, I mean I'm six back, but that's nothing with golf.  You never know what can happen.  But I'm just going to go out there tomorrow with a positive attitude and try to do my best and try to shoot a low one like I did Thursday.

 

 

 

 

Topics: Notes and Interviews, Lincicome, Brittany, Park, Inbee, Pettersen, Suzann, Piller, Gerina, Wegmans LPGA Championship [+]