Lotte Championship. Kim & Kim Share Half-Way Lead.

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Sei Young Kim and I.K. Kim share the lead at the half-way stage of the  Lotte Championship in Hawaii.

Lotte Championship

I.K Kim / Getty Images

Sei Young  recorded another -5 under par 67 to post her -10 under par Lotte Championship total, while I.K. carded -3 under par 69 second round to go with her first round -7 under par 65, to reach the same total.

Sei Young took a three-shot advantage into the final round of the first Major last week, and shot a final round 75 to miss out on a win. But what she remembers is the win at Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic;

 “My win will certainly help me, but I think what will motivate me better was the fact that I didn’t win. That’s really motivating me this week and that is going to get me to play better.”

I.K. has been spending time on the putting greens, practicing hard;

“After ANA, I spent a lot of time on the putting green.”

“I felt like I was hitting the ball really well, having a lot of opportunities, but putting was letting me down a little bit.”

“I also went to Las Vegas, so putting and a little bit of fun and then here, I think that was kind of a good balance.”

Inbee Park is in third place, three shots off the pace at -7 under par for the tournament, and South Korea dominated the top of the leaderboard, holding the top four spots.

That domination became even more impressive with Chella Choi, Mirim Lee and Jenny Shin sharing fourth place with the lonely American Paula Creamer, all at -6 under par for the two rounds.

Paula may be the only American in the frame at the moment, but she just loves these golf courses, so the others had better take note;

“I love playing on these types of golf courses.”

“Just the wind, the conditions. Your misses are exaggerated so much when you play in this kind of weather.”

“Being a good ball-striker is incredibly important and that’s something that I’ve always felt was one of my strengths. For me, I like this. The windier it gets the better.”

The defending champion Michelle Wie was tied for sixth spot, in her home event, at -5 under par after a second round -3 under par 69, that included an eagle from 117 yards out on the par-4 15th hole, followed by what she called a “nerdy” dance.

“I kind of saw it roll over the hill and I was like, ‘Oh, OK, it’s disappearing.”

 “Then everyone went crazy. It was pretty fun.”

 

New Zealand Stroke Play Championships. 18 Year-Old Julianne Alvarez Wins

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Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club.

Julianne Alvarez has won the women’s section of the New Zealand Stroke Play Championships played at Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club.

New Zealand Stroke Play Championships

Julianne Alvarez

 

Julianne won the women’s New Zealand Stroke Play Championships title, shooting a final round course record of -7 under par 67 on the World famous Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club course.

She reported that she was very proud of her achievement;

” I’m very proud of myself, I went out thinking I have to play solidly, and I did that all week. I enjoy the difficulty and challenge of this course, and links golf.”

“I shot seven under in the last round of the Lawnmaster, but this feels like a lot better round. So I guess you could say this is my best round ever.”

“On a course like Paraparaumu Beach you have to keep yourself in play, and in the right position, and I did that today.”

Julianne is coached at Paraparaumu Beach by professional Kevin Smith, he has been guiding her to success since she was seven years-old, he had this so say of his pupil:

“She’s won the New Zealand Amateur in 2013, ans she’s won a couple of Bob Charles events, but definitely the New Zealand Stroke Play is one of the pinnacle events for New Zealand golf.”

” For me personally, because with professional golf it’s all about stroke play. So I would tend to favor winning the New Zealand Stroke Play, especially at a great golf course like Paraparaumu.”

The men’s section was won by another 18 year-old, Toshiki Ishitoku, from Japan. His win came by way of a play-off against Nick Coxon from New Zealand after they both completed the tournament at -10 under par.

Toshiki was playing on a links course for the very first time, and rated this victory;

“Biggest of my career.” 

We wish Julianne all the best for a successful Professional career.

 

 

 

 

ANA Inspiration. Brittany Lincicome Wins.

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Brittany Lincicome wins the first LPGA Tour Major of the year, the ANA Inspiration tournament at Mission Hills in California.

ANA Inspiration

Brittany Lincicome / Getty Images

Brittany holding the ANA Inspiration trophy, after taking a plunge into Poppies Pond. A final round -2 under par 70 gave her a -9 under par total, she Eagled the final hole to pull level with Stacy Lewis. Stacy also finished on that score after her last round -2 under par 70.

Brittany was overcome with emotion at her win;

“Super emotional, I’m standing here, physically shaking like a leaf still. It’s over and I’m still shaking.”

“The first time it felt fairly easy because I thought I was so far out of the tournament that I never had a chance, I wasn’t nervous at all.”

Stacy was obviously very disappointed, especially with the errant wind;

“The initial reaction is disappointed, obviously, but I played great and I hit some really good putts there, especially at the end.”

” I just played solid all day, so I have to remind myself of that and not get too frustrated. It just wasn’t quite meant to be today.”

“Once we got back in that corner around 13, 14, the wind just kind of went crazy on us.”

“Couldn’t figure out which direction it was going. It was changing directions. It changed when we were on 10. It changed when we were on 16. It changed when we were on 18, multiple times during the playoff.”

“The wind was all over the place. I think that was the biggest challenge.”

Morgan Pressel finished in third position at -8 under par while Sei Young Kim, who had a three stroke lead starting the final round fell to a +3 over par 75, to tie for fourth place at -7 under with Carlota Ciganda and Anna Nordqvist.

ANA Inspiration

Brittany Taking The Plunge / Getty Images

ANA Inspiration. Rookie Sei Young Kim in Control.

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Rookie Sei Young Kim has taken control of the ANA Inspiration tournament at Mission Hills in California, and will take a three shot lead into the final round tomorrow.

ANA Inspiration

Sei Young Kim / Getty Images

Sei Young posted a third round -3 under par 69 to lead the All Nippon Airways Inspiration tournament with total of -10 under par at Mission Hills Country Club.

Through an interpreter she spoke of her excitement, and her dream of winning on the LPGA Tour, not to mention jumping in the pond;

“If I were to win it tomorrow, it would be the biggest dream ever to come true for me.”

“You know, just because, I’ve watched this tournament since I was young.”

“That’s why I feel I want it so much more, and I think the opportunity is there in front of me, and if I can, I definitely want to get my hand on it, and for sure it won’t be bad jumping into that pond tomorrow.”

“I feel a bit pressured right now, back in Korea when I was playing on the Korean Tour, I was known for coming from behind and winning tournaments.”

“But to be in the lead going into the final round on the LPGA is fairly new for me. So yeah, I feel some pressure there.”

Chasing her all the way will be Stacy Lewis, who sits alone in second place at -7 under par after her -4 under 68 today. Stacy knows that Sei Young will be a tough competitor;

“Coming in there, I didn’t make some of the best swings ever.”

 “Definitely didn’t deserve bogey on 15, so I was pretty happy making bogey there truthfully.”

“Seventeen, just kind of misjudged the wind and hit a wrong club there, and then the green is really bumpy down there by the hole.”

“But all in all, it was a good, solid day. Didn’t really have to work too hard, which is good.”

“I threw everything I had at her in Phoenix and she kept responding by making putts and hitting shots.”

 “They’re not scared, not scared at all.”

“You can tell they’ve got a lot of experience from playing in Korea, and they know how to win.”

“They know how to putt, which is most important, and I mean, they’re impressive.”

Three ladies are tied in third position at -6 under par, Morgan Pressel, Brittany Lincicome and Ariya Jutanugarn.

Ariya carded the low round of the day, -6 under par 66, which catapulted her up the leaderboard.

World number one Lydia Ko carded another over par round today, +2 over 74, and fell back to T48, one consolation was the fact that she has recorded at least one birdie in 191 rounds, and thanked the press for bringing it to her attention;

” Thanks guys, it’s always some statistic that’s going to get in my tail. But yeah, I didn’t know that.”

“Lucky thing that I birdied the 18th. It happened to me last year, too. I hadn’t birdied all day and then made a birdie on 18 to kind of get that going. It’s good that I’m at least counting a couple strokes off the scorecard today.”

 

 

ANA Inspiration. Sei Young Kim Leads.

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Sei Young Kim shot a second round -7 under par 65 to take the lead in the 1st LPGA Major tournament this year, the ANA Inspiration, in California.

ANA Inspiration

Sei Young Kim / Getty Images

Sei Young shot tot the top of the ANA Inspiration leaderboard with an amazing second round -7 under par 65. at Mission Hills in California, and was happy she had played so well;

“I feel really great because I was 7-under today.”

“I really hit the ball good and putting really good, everything really good. I’m very happy.”

Morgan Pressel is in second place at -5 under par for the competition, an even par 72 today halting any forward momentum;

“It was a little sloppy all around.”

“My swing wasn’t quite as sharp as it was yesterday, and I kind of made some sloppy bogeys and some really good pars, so it was kind of backwards.”

“I’ll be close to the lead, I give myself a chance for the weekend, and that’s all these two days really that I can do.”

There are three ladies tied in third place, at -4 under par, Brittany Lincicome, Jenny Shin and Catriona Mathew.

Brittany has been waiting for a golf course that suits her game;

“Some of the golf courses that we’ve had so far just don’t really fit my game, unfortunately, so it’s kind of like Missy and I were waiting and waiting for the next couple events to come.”

“Just kind of getting the practice and momentum and just trying to keep it together out there and not fall apart and keeping the nerves under control, just kind of getting ready for a golf course like this one that kind of fits my game a little bit better.”

“It’s unfortunate that I have to wait so long into the year for something that kind of fit my game, but yeah, it’s nice to be here, and obviously playing well, it’s really fun.”

 Stacy Lewis kept her head down to card a -3 under par 69 to move up the leaderboard to T6 on that score;

“I wasn’t really looking at leaderboards all day, so I didn’t honestly have any idea where I stood.”

“But I knew the course was playing hard, and I just had to keep hanging in there, and really just happy with the finish.”

“This golf course seems to play differently every year, the last two years you’ve had to make birdies, and then this year it’s playing hard again.”

“I would rather have it like this where it’s grinding out pars, making sure you’re hitting it on the right side of the hole, just playing smart golf. I’d rather have it that way, just because I think it forces you to think a little bit more.”

Sadly Lydia Ko failed in her attempt to break Annika Sorenstam’s under par consecutive rounds, crashing to a +1 over par 73 today, leaving her at even par for the competition. In a way she was glad that it was all over, and equaling it was OK;

“I mean, it was pretty awesome that I was near Annika’s record last week and even yesterday, and then I tied it.”

“It was so cool that I’m tying with someone amazing and as great as her. I was like, man, I would love to reach 30 in a way.”

“But as I said before, I’m relieved that this question is not going to be asked, but I think 29, I wasn’t counting, and 29 under-par rounds is pretty good in my book.”

ANA Inspiration

Lydia /AP

Annika was full of praise for Lydia’s effort;

“I applaud Lydia and her play over the last few months.”

“I am impressed with the composure she shows at such a young age and I think we’ll be hearing a lot about her in the years to come.”

ANA Inspiration. Morgan Pressel Leads

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Morgan Pressel leads the ANA Inspiration tournament at Mission Hills Country Club, Dinah Shore Tournament Course, the first Major of the LPGA season.

ANA Inspiration

Morgan Pressel / Getty Images

Morgan shot a first round -5 under par 67 to lead the ANA Inspiration tournament at Mission Hills Country Club in California.

Morgan is looking forward to jumping back into Poppy’s Pond again, as traditionally the winners here do;

“I think every player dreams of having their name up on that wall, and the fact that mine is up there, it’s very, very special.

“I have so many great memories here, but I’d love to put it up there again.”

“I was just kind of lost after Singapore this year. I knew where I wanted my swing to get but I was having trouble getting it there.”

“I have a lot less movement on my golf ball which has been helpful.”

“Where I can now aim pretty much right down the center of the fairways. Really, honestly, I had no idea where the golf ball was going early this year, so it’s a big change.”

“I think for a long hitter out here who can take advantage of some of the par fives, which is helpful, there are places no matter how hard you hit it, you’re behind a tree in a tough spot in a bunker.”

“So I’ve always looked at this golf course as consistency as the tee. Yeah, Lexi hits it a long way, but if you watched her last year, she hit every fairway.”

“So I think the big key out here is just keeping the ball in play. And knowing sometimes on some holes which side of the fairway you need to be on so you can hit and have a good angle through your approach shot.”

In second place at -4 under par is Ai Miyazato, from Japan, who said she is not a long hitter, but it is where you place the ball that counts;

“I’m not a long hitter, not just this golf course, I think it’s a really good set-up, and it doesn’t matter the distance.”

 “It’s all about position and where you are, wherever you hit, you are.”

Four ladies are tied in third position at -3 under par, they include last weeks winner Gwladys Nocera, with So Yeon Ryu, Juli Inkster and Alison Walshe.

Juli thinks she is lucky to be able to play at this level, with all the talented youngsters around;

“I enjoy the game and I enjoy working at it.”

“I like the process of it. But these girls are our future. You know, I’m just lucky I can still come out here and compete a little bit.”

World Number one Lydia Ko is T10 with a -1 under par round today, which equals Annika Sorenstam’s 29 consecutive rounds record under par. One more round tomorrow will give her the record, but she admitted she did struggle today. Hopefully tomorrow she will achieve that milestone and then be able to concentrate on winning this tournament;

“Today I was so busy trying to make up-and-downs, or trying to make a good two-putt or make some birdies, because I really wasn’t hitting my driver well, and here the rough can get pretty thick.”

“When you’re in that position a record was the last thing I was thinking about. But, yeah, Lexi and I made two really good birdies on 8, and I got back to under par.”

“I think probably on my 1st hole, which was the 10th, I read a little note that David Leadbetter gave me prior to my round.”

“And I just went back. Just put myself back another step and just said this is a whole new nine. There are some birdie opportunities there, so I just try to keep it simple. But it wasn’t as simple as I would have liked.”

“The record wasn’t really in my head. I guess, post round, now that you guys are asking. Here it is.”

“But, no, not when I was playing. But I think because I was spraying it a little bit, it made me think less about the records and the after results.”

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Kia Classic. Cristie Kerr Wins.

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Cristie Kerr wins the Kia Classic at Aviara Golf Club in California, becoming the first American to win this event in it’s six year history, and also the first American winner on the LPGA Tour in 2015.

Kia Classic

Cristie Kerr / Getty Images

Cristie had a magnificent final round -7 under par 65 to win the Kia Classic with a -20 under par total, a new tournament record, and a two shot victory;

“I love to win.”

“Golf has always been great to me, always given me special moments like this.”

“I’ve been working with a new coach, and I definitely found something this week.”

“He said I was going to have a hot round, and he was right. I just found something. I’m just real happy right now.”

“I feel obviously very confident. I am so happy that my caddie and I got a win early on the board together.”

“Just felt like it was meant to be, our first win together, even our first Top 10 together really.”

“I mean we just fell in stride and the team that we are is pretty amazing in such a short period of time.”

In second place came Mirim Lee, her last round -2 under par 70, for -18 under par total not enough to deny Cristie the win

World number one Lydia Ko was third, at -17 under par, and kept her consecutive under par rounds total going. It now stands at 28, just one short of equaling the record of 29 set by Annika Sorenstam.

Lydia said her ball striking was not so good;

“Today, I just said, like even at the Coates, I wasn’t hitting the ball very well.”

 “I was just holing a lot of good putts, and that was kind of what was going on today. Obviously I stuck a couple close, and that was good.”

“I think some parts of I just gotta be confident in my game still because I know that I’m playing good enough, that I can trust my putter even though my ball striking is a little off or vice versa.”