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. Morgan Pressel Shoots 64 to Equal Record

 

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Morgan Pressel shoots 64 to equal the course record and to share the lead in the Kia Classic at the half-way point at Aviara Golf Club in California.

Kia Classic

Morgan Pressel / Getty Images

Morgan carded a second round -8 under par 64 to top the leaderboard at -10 under par with Mirim Lee at the Kia Classic.

Morgan spoke of her stress free round, hitting it in close and putting very well;

“It was definitely stress free, I hit almost every fairway, and I think 16 or 17 greens. And I had a chance of birdie on almost every hole”

“I think there was one hole I had a par putt of two feet, so that was nice. I just hit it where I wanted to hit it today.”

“It’s been a while since I’ve kind of been confident knowing where the golf ball would go, and so it was nice to swing freely out there today and have the result that I did.”

“I mean the greens are difficult and tough to read, and they are bumpy, especially later in the day. So that kind of puts it all in perspective as how difficult the greens are out here.”

“But early on I made a couple of really long putts, you kind of feel like your stealing them when they go in, so that was nice.”

“I was hitting it close too, so I gave myself a lot of opportunities, and certainly some of them went in, and I had one that was a kick in, that was nice too.” 

Alison Lee and Christie Kerr are tied in third place, just one shot behind at -9 under par, while  Maria Hernandez, Sakura Yokomine, Hyo Joo Kim and Brittany Lang are together in 5th position at -8 under par.

Stacy Lewis and Lydia Ko are currently at -7 under par for the tournament, Stacy with -3  69 today and Lydia -2 under 70. They are tied in 9th place with Alison Walshe.

Lydia has now recorded 26 consecutive rounds of golf under par, and  she is just three rounds away from tying the LPGA record of 29, held by Annika Sorenstam.

It’s not something that Lydia spends too much time thinking about;

“You know, you don’t know because at the end of the day it’s just you’re talking about that round and that tournament and how well you finished.”

“But I guess it’s been pretty good and I’ve been playing pretty solid the last couple of weeks, especially when we went down under, Australian, New Zealand to Singapore.”

” So yeah, you know, it’s a  pretty cool streak, but you just never know, and I’m not going to be counting.”

 

LPGA. Founders Cup. Mirim Lee Leads

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Rookie Mirim Lee is at the top of the leaderboard in the JTBC Founders Cup tournament at the Wildfire Golf Club in Phoenix Arizona.

Mirim Lee

Mirim Lee / Getty

Mirim shot a first round -8 under par 64 to lead the Founders Cup in Arizona. Mirim said is was a good day, not too many long putts;

” Everything was good.  So today putting was a little bit not good.  Everything was good, yeah.  Good day, just two, three long putts.  So today no, not difficult today.  Easy today. Practice round and today morning I hit really good. It was good.  So everything is just good.”

Just one shot back after an opening round of -7 under par 65 is Morgan Pressel, this round could so easily have been a 59. She found trouble off the 3rd tee, playing the course backwards.  Morgan went through  the turn at -7 under par after shooting a 29 on her front nine, thanks to five birdies and an Eagle. She followed that with birdies on the first and second holes but then came that errant tee shot;

“I hit a very poor tee shot and ended up kind of on the side of this little bush, and I could have hit it left handed and there were a couple of burrowing animal holes around. I brought them over to ask, but I didn’t honestly think that I was going to get relief, and I don’t think that I deserved it.”

“I don’t know if I was necessarily thinking 59, but I probably just got a little bit excited, because I had never been that many under par in that short of a span of time. I just got a little bit quick, and came back to earth.”

There are eight players tied in third place at -6 under par, including Inbee Park and defending champion Stacy Lewis.

Inbee Park said the putts would just not drop;

” I was hitting the ball good all day today, but just on the front the putts didn’t seem like they wanted to go in.  I read a couple of putts wrong, and on the back nine I had shots a lot closer than the front nine, and obviously I holed some putts on the back nine. On the back nine I had shots a lot closer than the front nine, and obviously I holed some putts on the back nine.”

 ” We hit a lot of short irons on this golf course.  You have to shoot low scores for four rounds on this golf course, and obviously there’s a lot of opportunities here and you have to hole your putts.  And obviously on this back nine I hit a lot of good iron shots, and only mistake today was the three putt on number three, or 4, and yeah, that was my only mistake today.”

Stacy was making all her putts today;

” I hit some good shots, but had to make ; my speed was kind of off on the greens, had to make some five and six footers, but actually made them, so it kind of helped get the confidence going.”
            
” Then the back nine for me, it just sets up a lot better.  I feel like you can kind of free wheel it a little bit and still be more open and  made a few longer putts, but all day I hit the ball pretty well.”

Lydia Ko is in a seven way tie for 7th place, shooting a  -5 under par 67 for her first round, she had an excuse for fading late on in her round;

“I normally eat more than I did today, and I normally eat a lot, so that’s saying something. I forgot to bring my food and my protein bars. That’s my excuse.”

ISPS Handa Womens Australian Open, Chella & Minjee Lead.

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Chella Choi and Minjee Lee lead the ISPS Handa Womens Australian Open at the end of day 3 at Victoria Golf Club.

17 year-old Aussie amateur Minjee Lee / Getty

It was a -4 under par 68 Minjee described as a mission, and it has booked her spot in the final group for the second consecutive week, and says playing with a smile on her face is the game-plan;

“Well obviously to make as many birdies as possible but just keep it in play and just keep hitting good shots and getting it close so I can hole the putt, because they weren’t really going in.  I’m happy with 4-under, I’m stoked with 4-under really.  I just play, I think it kind of lightens it up a little bit because I’m smiling all the time.  I have a good chat with my caddie. I think the game plan is always the same.  It’s been working so far, so why change it.”

Chella also enjoys playing, and tries to stay focused, it worked today as she fired a -10 under par 62 which included two Eagles, this was the first time she had accomplished two of them in one round;

Choi is chasing her first victory since turning professional in 2008

Chella Choi / Getty

“I try to enjoy playing and just focus on one shot and one shot and just keep putting.  I think if I just always hit the green, I have a lot of birdie chances.  So I focused on just my shot, before the shot and then shot. I don’t know why I played ten under today, it’s just amazing. I made two eagles today, so first time.”

The leaders are at -13 under par for the tournament, and will tee off together tomorrow morning.

Lydia Ko  is in third place at -11 under par following her -3 under par third round 69.

Suzann Pettersen is next at -10 under par, she stumbled through round three carding an even par 72. There are then eight players who are tied in fifth place at -9 under par. The list includes overnight leader, Caroline Hedwall, Morgan Pressel, Amelia Lewis, Holly Clyburn, Karine Icher and Marianne Skarpnord.

Karrie Webb recorded a -4 under par 68 to move to -8 under par, a full five strokes behind the leaders.

Ricoh Womens British Open. Stacy Lewis Wins

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Stacy Lewis won the Ricoh British Womens Open at St Andrews Old Course in Scotland.

Stacy Lewis / Getty

Stacy carded a 69 in the delayed third round and then shot a last round of even par 72, to win the Ricoh British Womens Open by two shots with a tournament total of -8 under par. This is Stacy’s second Major triumph, she said she had felt comfortable out on the course;

“I felt so comfortable out there, I almost felt like it was meant to be,”

Tied in second place were Hee Young Park and Na Yeon Choi, both at -6 under par. Hee Young with her 70, 73 finish and Na Yeon 75, 73.

Morgan Pressel had led at the conclusion of the delayed third round, with her -1 under par effort, she holed a 20-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to take a one-shot lead into the final round. But then unfortunately fell away in the final round scoring a +4 over par 76, which put her down to tie in fourth place with Suzann Petterson.

The last round was so difficult that only Christie Kerr -3 under par 69, and Natalie Gulbis -2 under par 70 were the only players to completed the final round in under par.

Inbee Park, in her history making quest for a fourth straight Major win just fell away with a final round of +6 over par, to finish the tournament on that score, tied in 42nd place. She said it was still amazing what she had achieved;

“I’ve done something amazing this season, I won three straight majors. I don’t know if I can do that again. When you’re so far behind, it’s hard to get the motivation, I tried to push myself to play as good as I can. I’m glad this tournament is over, I’ve gone through four rounds under pressure, and that’s something I’ve never experienced.”

Ladies World Amateur #1 Lydia Ko keeps her record of making the cut in every professional tournament she has competed in, but finished in a tie for 42nd place. Lydia and Georgia Hall tied for 42nd place on six-over-par to shared the Smyth Salver as the leading amateurs.

Ricoh Womens British Open. Na Yeon Takes Command at Half Way Stage.

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Na Yeon Choi takes command of the Ricoh Womens British Open at St Andrews at the half way stage of the competition.

Na Yeon Choi / Getty

At a fairly breezy St Andrews Na Yeon shot her second consecutive -5 under par round of 67, to lead the tournament at -10 under par. 

Na Yeon said she was pleased with her two rounds, especially the one today in the windier conditions;

“I’m very satisfied the last two rounds.  You know, especially today, the weather wasn’t good, it was very hard.  But my focus was very good and my caddie helped me a lot, and you know, I had a daily goal every day so I just tried to stick with the goal.  It could be like par is 74 or 75 today, but I didn’t care, like every hole, par 3, par 4, par 5, doesn’t matter for me.  I just try to play one shot at a time and I think that’s why I had great results.”

Mikki Saki is in second place following her magical second round of  -6 under par, 66, which included two two’s. A hole out for Eagle on two of the par fours on the front nine of the Old Course at St. Andrews, holes 4 and 7. Both shots came from over 100 yards as she holed one with an eight iron and the other with a wedge. She was asked if she had ever done that in a tournament before;

“First time, because it is a major and we are here at the Old Course and surrounded by so much history then it must rate as my best ever round.”

Morgan Pressel is in third place at -8 under par, she had a more modest second round, -2 under par, 70. Morgan used not to like links golf, a bit like Phil Mickelson, there could be a link there; he also wants to be on the Solheim Cup Team;

” Everything happens for a reason, and I think that my past struggles here at St. Andrews as well as links golf in general my first two years on Tour taught me a lot. At this point, you know, I’ve played well for two days, and I’m more focused on this tournament”

Treble chasing Inbee Park struggled as the winds picked up on Friday afternoon on the Old Course at St. Andrews, carding a +1 over par 73 to put her at -2 under-par for the championship, a long way back;

“When you experience something big like this, some kind of big pressure like this, you’re just really not afraid of any kind of pressure. How can it get bigger than this?  If you experience something like this, you’re just ready to go and ready to experience something, anything’s going to be less than this.”

Good Luck Inbee.

 

The British Womens Open. Morgan & Camille Shate 1st Round Lead

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Morgan Pressel and Camilla Lennarth shared the 1st round lead at The British Womens Open on the St Andrews Old Course in Scotland.

Camilla Lennarth / Getty

Camilla and Morgan shared rounds of -6 under par 66 to lead the British Womens Open by just one shot from a chasing pack of seven players.

Camilla was playing for the first time at St Andrews, and likes the way she is putting;

“This is my first time at St. Andrews and first time at the British Open, I’m very satisfied. I hit all the fairways and all the greens and it went pretty smooth out there. When I made birdie on the first hole, I thought, okay, I’m at least going to make one birdie at this tournament! I’ve been very excited. Ever since I qualified on Monday I’ve been looking forward to this, since I grew up. I’m very happy that I made it here and that was the thought. No matter what happens out here, I’m just going to enjoy every moment and take it all in. Of course I’m surprised that I’m tied for the lead but I know that I can hit good golf shots. It’s just a matter of putting them all together at once, and I did today and I’m satisfied. Last week in London, I started to putt well again.  So I just kind of carried that on to this week. And putting well usually just kind of takes on a little pressure off the shots hitting into the green, because you feel like, okay, well, I’m rolling it well, and that makes you, you know, just kind of take your shoulders down a little bit and take a breather and you know you’re going to have a shot at the hole at least.”

Morgan Pressel / Getty

Morgan said she had felt good out there today;

” I felt good out there today, The last time I played here I was pretty down on links golf and wasn’t really looking forward to coming back to the British Open.  But since then I have gotten better at managing my game and hitting shots. At a British Open you can’t just hit a stock draw. That just doesn’t work. You have to hit high shots and low shots. You have to bump it and sometimes putt from 40-yards off the green. You’ve got to do whatever it takes and as a creative person that’s something I enjoy.”

The chasing pack of seven, at -5 under par, are: Stacy Lewis, Na Yeon Choi, Mi Jeong, Jean, Nicole Castrale, Ryann O’Toole, Sydnee Michaels and Eun Hee Ji.

Stacy is another player who is happy with her putter;

” I got more comfortable with my putter, made a couple of good putts for par. To come away, shooting 5‑under on the back nine on this golf course, I don’t care if it’s calm or if it’s windy, it’s a good score, so I’m very happy with the day.”

Inbee Park, who is trying for her third straight Major is  back at -3 under-par for the day.