SWINGING SKIRTS LPGA CLASSIC. Lydia Wins Play-Off

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Defending Champion Lydia Ko wins the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic in a play-off against Morgan Pressel at Lake Merced Golf Club in San Francisco.

Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic

Lydia Ko / Getty Images

Lydia and Morgan had both completed the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic with -8 under par totals, leading to the sudden death play-off. Play-off hole was the par five 18th, which both ladies parred the first time around, Lydia then won at the second attempt with a birdie.

Lydia had carded a -2 under par 70 final round, while Morgan could only manage a last round of even par 72.

Lydia was very happy with her Birthday week win;

“At the start of the day, I didn’t know how it was going to go, it’s been a great birthday week again.”

Morgan bemoaned a poor putting performance;

“I just couldn’t convert the putts, it all comes down to putting. She birdied it twice and I didn’t.”

Brooke Henderson, who started the day with a one shot advantage finished in third place at -7 under par. A +2 over par 74 being her undoing, missing the play-off by one shot. She spoke about the missed putt that would have changed everything;

“It was one of the least nervous putts I had all day. I could see it going in, in my mind, but it didn’t happen in real life.”

 

SWINGING SKIRTS LPGA CLASSIC. Brooke Has Advantage.

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Brooke Henderson has an advantage going into the final round of the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic at Lake Merced Golf Club in San Francisco.

Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic

Brooke Henderson / Getty Images

Brooke shot an even round of 72 in the third round of the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic at Lake Merced Golf Club, but remained at the top of the leaderboard with her -9 under par total and a one shot lead going into the final round tomorrow. There was a fierce Northern California wind blowing which got the attention of all the ladies;

“It was a great day out there. It was really tough conditions, and I was able to play really well.”

“Couple times my short game needed to bail me out, and it was able to do that, especially the first 16 holes.”

“If someone told me at the beginning of the week I would be leading going into the final round, I would’ve taken it.”

“They know they can do it. They step up to that tee and there is no fear. I mean, look at how strong Brooke played yesterday and today.”

“Not to say that a few develop, but as you play out here more and more, I think sometimes the younger you are the more naïve you are to all the pressure and everything else that goes with it.”

“I mean look at how strong Brooke played yesterday and today.”

 

Morgan Pressel and Min Seo Kwak are tied in second place at -8 under par for the competition, Morgan with a wonderful -5 under par 67 and Min with-3 under 69. They were the only two players in the field to shoot below 70 on Saturday.

Morgan knows the chasing ladies have the ability to put up a challenge;

“They know they can do it. They step up to that tee and there is no fear. I mean, look at how strong Brooke played yesterday and today.”

“Not to say that a few develop, but as you play out here more and more, I think sometimes the younger you are the more naïve you are to all the pressure and everything else that goes with it.”

“I mean look at how strong Brooke played yesterday and today.”

Min has her own fan club, they chant Kwak, Kwak, Kwak, and she is hoping to hear that chant all day tomorrow;

“Yes, yes a lot, because I know how to win like in Symetra Tour.  So I’ll try to do same thing here.”

World number one Lydia Ko, -1 under par 71 today is alone in fourth place at -6 under par, and if the conditions are just as tough tomorrow, at three shots back, she must have a decent chance;

“I just got to play the holes that are birdieable, give myself a good chance, and then try and put some pressure, but it’s not easy because of the wind. Every hole is playing so tough.”

“Now I’m not the 17-year-old that they’re talking about right now, we’re similar in age and played some tournaments together as amateurs. We’re all really friends out here.”

“I’m feeling the pressure. I feel the nerves when it’s there, but, I mean, people say when you’re younger, you’re not afraid. You’re kind of fearless. Maybe I’m not the case.”

 

Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic, Brooke Henderson with Half-Way Lead

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Brooke Henderson leads the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic at the half-way point at Lake Merced Golf Club in San Francisco, California.

Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic

Brooke Henderson / Getty Images

Brooke tore the Lake Merced golf course apart, shooting -7 under par 65 in the second round, to top the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic leaderboard at -9 under par for the tournament.

In interview she mentioned another teenager on the circuit world number one Lydia Ko;

“I think I’m ready, yeah, 17 is young. As you’ve seen with Lydia Ko and Lexi Thompson and even Jessica Korda, there are a lot of great names that have been able to do it. I’m hoping that I’m one of them.”

“You know, I’m really loving where I am right now, and it’s awesome to wake up every day and do something I love.

“In my amateur career I loved when I had the lead, and I just want to continue to build it. This thing is far from over.”

“There are tons of great players out there. The day is not even over yet. I’m excited for the position I’m in and really excited for the next couple days.”

Na Yeon Choi is in second place, at -7 under par, her second round -4 under par 68 lifting her up the leaderboard.

Third position is shared between Sakura Yokomine and Cindy Feng, both at – 6 under par for the competition.

Cindy was happy that she did not do anything silly during her round;

“I played great today, made a lot of birdies, which always helps.  Made some putts. Just didn’t do anything too stupid.”

Overnight leader, defending champion, world number one, and birthday girl, Lydia Ko suffered some 18th birthday blues, returning an even par second round, dropping her to T5, and four shots off the lead, with two rounds to go;

“Yeah, you know, I got two celebrations, the first one on the 10th tee and then coming off 9. Really cool to share that birthday with a lot of people out here.“

“You know, I really didn’t get anything going.  When that happens it’s really hard.”

“You know, I would say the par fives, you kind of need to take advantage of them. I didn’t position myself well in any of them, and that just makes it tough.”

” Kind of feel like you’re already losing shots there.”

“We’re doing a birthday dinner, so have Korean barbecue.  Go to the original roots. Yeah, should be good.”

“Couple of the players are coming, family and friends. But, yeah, I think it’s just great that this year I can have a really good birthday dinner with a lot of close friends and we can have some fun.”

Joining Lydia on that -5 under par score is Ha Na Jang, Min Seo Kwak and Julieta Granada.

Ha Na benefited from using new irons, put in her bag on Wednesday;

“No problem, change my irons, new irons Wednesday, I think a little bit more confidence and it’s really good.”

 

SWINGING SKIRTS LPGA CLASSIC. Birthday Girl Lydia Leads

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Lydia Ko, the world number one, leads the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic  at Lake Merced Golf Club in San Francisco, California. She will be 18 on Friday, Happy Birthday Lydia.

Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic

Lydia Ko / Getty Images

Lydia shot an opening round -5 under par 67 to lead the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic by one shot at the end of day one in California.

Lydia said she had holed some good putts today and tomorrow’s birthday girl said nothing would change just because she is older;

“Holed some good putts and ended up with a 67 today.”

“It’s a really good start, but I know I’ve got three more long days to go. Hopefully I can continue hitting solid shots.”

“This is a very tough golf course. You need to position yourself well, I hit the ball pretty good where I wasn’t in too much trouble. If I did miss it a little bit, I did get away with it, too. It’s a really good start but I know I’ve got three long days to go.”

“The first couple holes were playing down wind, so that made it a lot easier.”

“A lot depends on the wind. It really depends on the conditions of the day and the scores are really good.”

“Juli’s a legend, a Hall of Famer. It’s so cool she still plays well at her age.”

“What she’s done for the tour is pretty amazing.”

“I won’t change it just because I’m one year older. Really I’m only one day older tomorrow.”

Ha Na Jang, Juli Inkster and P.K. Kongkraphan are tied in second place at -4 under par after their first rounds of -4 under par 68.

Juli admitted that her competitors were younger than her daughters, and offered a free ticket to anyone who would come out and support her;

“Yeah, they’re a lot younger than my daughters, they’re 25 and 21.”

“Out here that’s a seasoned veteran. You know what, that’s the beauty about golf. I mean, age matters in a lot of things as far as how your body feels and how far you hit the ball and how much time you can put into it. You can still go out there and compete at 54.”

“Good friends come up and support me.  So free ticket, everybody wants a free ticket. Yeah, so it’s good.“

Stacy Lewis, last year’s runner-up to Lydia at Lake Merced, was two strokes back at -3 under par with her first round 69;

“It was probably one of the craziest rounds of golf I’ve ever played, it was all over the place.”

Bay Area fan favorite, Paula Creamer, was at risk of missing the cut after a +10-over par 82. She had four bogeys and a pair of double bogeys.

Another teenager making her way in the game is Canadian Brook. M. Henderson, she shot an opening round -2 under par 70, and is hoping to improve on that position;

 “I hit a lot of great shots out there and was able to make a few putts on the front nine.”

“My back nine were all pars, which I can’t complain too much with conditions the way they were today.”

“Would’ve liked to capitalize on a few more birdies. I am hoping I will get the chance the next couple days.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic. Karine Icher has First Round Lead

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Karine Icher has the first round lead at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic in San Francisco. A two-hour delay due to fog in the Bay Area, means there are still seven groups still to complete their opening rounds.

Karine Icher / Getty

 

Karine had a bogey free first round -6 under par 66, at Lake Merced Golf Club giving her a two shot lead in the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic. She said it was just a good day, and stuck to her strategy, including staying warm;

” It was just a good day, I’m happy about that.  I stayed confident all through the round. I think the strategy on this golf course is to stay short of the hole. It’s a tough golf course, especially with the wind and temperature.  Gets so cold.  You try to get to stay warm and try to catch the right wind and you go with it and make some putts.”

 

       Lake Merced Golf Club.

There are five ladies in the following pack, all at -4 under par for the opening round. Lydia Ko is one of that group, making a great start here, although she carded a couple of bogey’s.

With Lydia are, Ilhee Lee, Jenny Shin, Maria McBride and Dewi Clair Schreefel, with good first round scores of 68.

Earlier in the day on Thursday Lydia Ko was named as one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People, along with the likes of Pope Francis and Barack Obama. She mentioned what an honor is was to be singled out;

” You know, I just do what I love to do, play good golf.  That’s where my confidence builds up.  Kind of be named in that top 100 of the most influential people in the world is huge. Top 100 in the country is big, but in the whole world, you know, it’s a huge honor, especially amongst the big names there.”

 “ I played good today, so hopefully good memories and positive thinking for tomorrow.”

It was also Lydia’s 17th birthday and she was presented with a birthday cake following the end of her round, accompanied by everyone singing Happy Birthday;

” Kind of embarrassing, but then so happy that a lot of people knew about my birthday.  I was happy and thanked all the people there who were singing.”

Dewi Clair was still in bed when the delay was announced, so she decided to stay there. Her round was good, due mainly to a hot putter;

” Well, I was luckily in bed when one of the other players text me there was a delay. So I just had a pleasant morning where I’m staying.  I relaxed and kept to my routine and didn’t come out here earlier.”

 “Putter was really, really nice day.  I mean, when you make birdies you’re rolling the putter well. All in all I played really well from tee to green.”

 

Lake Merced Golf Club

14-year-old from China gets into US Open

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                         Andy Zhang Photos by Matt Ginella

Paul Casey has withdrawn from the U.S. Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, this opens the door for Andy Zhang, a 14-year-old from China to be what officials believe to be the youngest player in championship history.

Andy Zhang lost in a playoff at a sectional qualifier in Florida. He was the second alternate when the week began at Olympic Club. Brandt Snedeker also withdrew Monday, and Paul Casey pulled out because of a recurring shoulder injury, a legacy from his silly snowboarding incident.

Tadd Fujikawa, an American Japanese born in Honolulu Hawaii, had been the youngest in the modern era. He was 15 when he qualified for the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot.

Andy has booked a practice round tee time with Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson for seven Tuesday morning, and was already thinking of what was to come, and just  minutes after attaching his official player badge to the brim of his cap, Andy said;

“I do get nervous, actually. I will be with all these players I watch on TV, walking right next to them. It will be great. I will just try to enjoy it as much as possible. I want to play well, but just to play on a major championship course is great.”

What’s Westy Up to Now ?

Lee Westwood: won in Memphis just two years ago

Lee Westwood, the world number three has decided to play in the Nordea Masters in Sweden ahead of the this year’s second major in San Francisco. Lee has admitted he has no idea what is his best way to prepare for next week’s US Open,  he will be making his 57th attempt to win a major at the Olympic Club and is still searching for the secret to success in terms of how best to prepare.

“It’s difficult to prepare for a west coast major because nowhere is near. If you play Memphis it’s still a four to five-hour flight to California, so it’s a tussle whether you play in all that heat or you go to Sweden, where there will be steady conditions and it finishes on Saturday.”

I have travelled to the States many times since my first trip in 1978 to Los Angeles, took the kids to Disneyworld. The jet lag does strange things to people, and the best way to combat the worst of the conditions is to give yourself a day or two to recover and get your body clock into a new rhythm. This is especially so after a twelve hour flight, Sweden is a long way from San Francisco.