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Kim poised for first win since 2005
November 15, 2014

Interviews:
Rolex Rankings No. 76 Christina Kim (-14)
Rolex Rankings No. 5 Shanshan Feng (-9)
Rolex Rankings No. 15 Azahara Munoz (-8)
Former LPGA Player Lorena Ochoa

Three rounds are in the books at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational and Christina Kim is in position to do something she hasn’t done since 2005 - win an LPGA event. Kim enters the final round tomorrow with a five stroke lead over Shanshan Feng (-9) and is looking for her first win since The Mitchell Company Tournament of Champions in 2005.

At the end of each round this week, Kim has found herself atop the leaderboard and she would become the second wire-to-wire winner in the last three LPGA events. Inbee Park led the whole way on her way to winning the Fubon LPGA Taiwan Championship on November 2, 2014.

The advantage for Kim over the other players this week has been her putting. She is pretty confident she has the greens figured out and has been channeling her inner Lorena to play event better this week.

“I’ve got the greens charted out pretty well. I’ve been using the aim point express off and on throughout the round, and it’s been really helpful.” Kim described. “But more than anything it’s I’m okay with the ball dying in the hole as opposed to hitting in the back of the cup. I know that’s something I always really admired about Lorena. She had such great pace with her putts that it’s just something I’ve been trying to emulate.”

On her plan for Sunday - it’s to have a good time with no pressure.

“I’m just here to enjoy myself and really just go out and try and play some good golf and try to give the people of Mexico something to enjoy while we’re out here.” Kim said.

A special birthday: Today is Lorena Ochoa’s 33rd birthday and she spent the day walking around and enjoy the successful 7th edition of the Lorena Ochoa Invitational. Life has changed much since she retired back in 2010, but she is able to sit back and watch her hard work and influence pay off this week.

“I’m really happy and excited.” Ochoa said. “This has been a special week for me because the LPGA choose this date. Luckily that has been during my birthday. I think it’s just fun to be around my friends, you know, the professionals, the fans, my sponsors, so it’s like a celebration for everybody. It’s been great. Been a lot of fun.”

Ochoa provides the players an opportunity to compete in her home country, even years after her retirement.

“I think we all love the game and we always believe the LPGA is like a family to us.” Ochoa said. “At least what I can do is to continue promoting the game, helping others. I always say that this tournament is like an award, like a prize, like a good surprise for all the fans here in Mexico because they support me for so long. And now they can see themselves with it being in a live event, especially with the top players. It’s something for my country, you know?”

Last chance to qualify for CME: The Lorena Ochoa Invitational marks the final week for players to qualify for the CME Group Tour Championship. It also marks the final week for players to jump into the top-9 or top-3 spots in the Race to the CME Globe for a chance at $1 million. Only the top-9 players have a chance to win the $1 million prize, while the top-3 control their own destiny with a win at CME.

Azahara Munoz is one of the players who is fighting to get her way in the top-9 for a chance at the $1 million. She heads into Sunday’s final round at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational T-3 and if she remains in the same position, she is projected to be ranked 8th in the Race to the CME. That would drop Karrie Webb out of the top-9.

“It would be amazing. It still be really hard to win the million dollar because Inbee and Stacy, they’re never going to play that bad in the tournament anyway, so a lot of different things have to happen.” Munoz said today. “But at least it’s nice that the first time they have that million dollar going, which is super special for us. It’ll be nice to have a chance, you know, to go to the tournament, and you never know what could happen. At least give myself that chance.”

Visit www.lpga.com/race-to-cme-globe for more information on how the Race to the CME Globe works and the points breakdown.

Top 3 Scenarios:
• Stacy Lewis and Inbee Park will go into the CME Group Tour Championship No. 1 and No. 2 in the Race to the CME Globe when the points are reset.
• Michelle Wie must win this week, and Lydia Ko must finish 5th-or-worse for Wie to have a chance of taking her place inside the top-3.

Top 9 Scenarios:
• There are only 14 players left in contention for the top 9 positions. Na Yeon Choi and Jessica Korda were eliminated after not winning at the Mizuno Classic.
• Karrie Webb has jumped into the top-9, which forces Azahara Munoz to finish at least 4th in the Lorena Ochoa Invitational to have a chance of falling inside the top-9.
• Lexi Thompson, Cristie Kerr, and Suzann Pettersen each must win to have a chance of getting inside the top-9.

Top 72 Scenarios:
• Juli Inkster could earn her way into the CME Group Tour Championship field with a top-3 finish this week.
• Alejanda Llaneza could jump into the CME Group Tour Championship field with a 1st or 2nd place finish this week.
• Natalie Gulbis could jump into the CME Group Tour Championship field with a 1st place finish this week.

Of Note: If Azahara Munoz finishes in the top-4, Karrie Webb is automatically dropped out. It wouldn’t guarantee Azahara a spot if one of the other three player’s wins. Azahara would have to finish 3rd-or-better to guarantee herself a spot because a third-or-better would push Chella Choi and Karrie Webb below her.

Numbers to know:
2 - Number of career wins for Christina Kim
3 - The number of players who control their own destiny in the Race to the CME Globe and its $1million prize
5 - Number of stoke lead Christina Kim has over Shanshan Feng
7 - Number of years that Lorena Ochoa has hosted the Lorena Ochoa Invitational
8 - Azahara Munoz projected Race to the CME Globe ranking after Rd. 3 of the Lorena Ochoa Invitational
13 - Number of players still in contention for the top 9 positions in the Race to the CME Globe with one week to go
40 - Number of consecutive events Lydia Ko has played without missing a cut
76 - Rolex Ranking for Christina Kim
2005 - Year of Christina Kim’s last win on the LPGA Tour

3 wins or bust: After her first win of 2014, at the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, Shanshan Feng revealed that her goal this year was to win three times on Tour. She has one with two tournaments to play. She sits five strokes back of leader Christina Kim heading into the final round of the Lorena Ochoa Invitational and will enter the CME Group Tour Championship as the defending champion.

Can she do it? She’s trying not to think about it.

“Well, I don’t think anything different, just like what I did today and yesterday, because I never - even though I know maybe I’m kind of up there, I never put in mind.” Feng said of her approach tomorrow. “I would try my best if I have a chance on every shot. But I’m not going to say I have to win this because that’s just going to give myself extra pressure, and I don’t like it.”

Quotes of the day: “I’m just here to enjoy myself and really just go out and try and play some good golf and try to give the people of Mexico something to enjoy while we’re out here. It’s hard to say, I’ve just been really thoroughly enjoying myself. This is honestly one of my favorite countries on Earth. Between the tequila and the tacos and the guacamole, and just the wonderful mindset that the people have - they have such a lovely lifestyle. It’s just something that I really embrace.”

- Christina Kim talking about how much she enjoys coming here and playing in front of the fans of Mexico

“I was surprised I hit the ball really good. I felt really comfortable. My dad, he had a great time. He misses following me on the course. We were just walking together and having a good time. I may thinking about the practical liberties here. Hopefully I can play next year just to see how it is to play in a tournament again.”

- Lorena Ochoa talking about playing in the Pro-Am this week

Eagles for a cause: “Wounded Warrior Project® Weekends” is a season-long charity program that will be tied into the Race to the CME Globe. Each Saturday and Sunday at LPGA tournaments, CME Group will donate $1,000 to Wounded Warrior Project® for each eagle that is recorded. This amount will increase to $5,000 for each eagle during the weekend of the CME Group Tour Championship and a formal check will be presented to the Wounded Warrior Project® during the trophy ceremony at the CME Group Tour Championship.

Today, three total eagles were recorded by Karine Icher, Gaby Lopez and Suzann Pettersen, which brings the total money raised this year to $278,000. Through the first 30 tournaments prior to the Reignwood LPGA Classic, $275,000 had been raised.

Social scene: There are many great fans all over the Club de Golf Mexico this week but Anna Nordqvist ran into a special one. Her fan Cristina had a personalized cellphone case that she presented Nordqvist with today.

“Thank you so much to my fan Cristina @cpanamag for giving me my second personalized cellphone case...Best gift ever, absolutely love them!!! Nice to finally meet you! #grateful #happy”

- Anna Nordqvist on Instagram (@a_nordqvist)

INTERVIEWS

Rolex Rankings No. 76 Christina Kim (-14)

Q: Christina, this is a course that has fooled so many players. What has been your recipe for success so far this week?
CHRISTINA KIM: It's a combination of things I've been really working hard on the game. My caddy, TJ Jones, and I have been kind of using the mindset every day is Sunday because the previous 6 weeks in Asia, I've been putting up really good scores on Sunday. So I kind of forget about the Thursday thru Saturday bit, and more than anything, I've kind of been gaining inspiration from just being here in Mexico. It's been a long time since I've been back at this tournament. I've just been trying to channel my inner Lorena.

Q: I like that. We had her in the booth today and she was speaking of you in glowing terms. One thing you've done better than anyone else this week, outside of hitting some great shots, is putting. You seem to have these greens figured out. What is the secret there? Or is it just confidence?
CHRISTINA KIM: I don't know about that. There's no secret. It's just knowing that, I mean, the ball's going to go in the hole at some stage. It's just a matter of when. I've grown up on greens like this over in Northern California. I've kind of meandered my way around. I've got the greens charted out pretty well. I've been using the aim point express off and on throughout the round, and it's been really helpful. But more than anything it's I'm okay with the ball dying in the hole as opposed to hitting in the back of the cup. I know that's something I always really admired about Lorena. She had such great pace with her putts that it's just something I've been trying to emulate.

Q: You mentioned it's been a while since you've been in this position again. First time since 2005 that you've gone to round 4, the final round, in the lead. What's your approach tomorrow?
CHRISTINA KIM: Well I don't think I was even in the lead the final round. Both of my victories I came from behind. I was in the second-to-last and third-to-last groups. Not that I have an eidetic memory. I'm just here to enjoy myself and really just go out and try and play some good golf and try to give the people of Mexico something to enjoy while we're out here. It's hard to say, I've just been really thoroughly enjoying myself. This is honestly one of my favorite countries on Earth. Between the tequila and the tacos and the guacamole, and just the wonderful mindset that the people have - they have such a lovely lifestyle. It's just something that I really embrace.

Moderator: They seem to love you here, don't they?
CHRISTINA KIM: I don't know. I've always been a big fan of this country. One of my first amateur events as a Mexican women's amateur. I was 15. It was the first time I ever laid eyes on Lorena. I like to think we've had a really good friendship ever since.

Q: How have the last few years - your mindset, some challenges - changed the way that you approach the game now?
CHRISTINA KIM: I've come to realize that it's just a game. And that golf is what I do, not who I am. I just turned 30 in March - I know it was like 8 months ago, but I still say I just turned 30, but life has just begun. So for me, it's just - this is like my second act. And I really feel excited for what's in store for me and being able to see the future of the game and the kids that outside of the rope. Not to mention the kids that are inside the ropes, like Lydia Ko. It's just something that I would love to be a part of for the rest of my life.

Q: Final question. How did your pre-shot routine develop?
CHRISTINA KIM: I don't know. It was a bunch of stuff that was happening. The British Open, I had an incident with some bees that had me back off my shots, and that actually gave me sort of like a back-in-the-day Sergio kind of Dufnery waggle. It's something that's been really frustrating to me because I used to be such a fast player. And now I've found, which is sort of in between the two, I guess. It's lobbed off a lot of time, but still not quite what I'm working towards because I would love to just step up to the ball and hit. But it's also something I've been trying to work on. Just making sure that I don't turn my hands over too quickly and just making sure I get the grip and the butt of the club going ahead of the club head. So it's kind of like a two-for-one.

Moderator: Okay, so we can blame the bees, though. They swarmed you?
CHRISTINA KIM: Yeah, no, it's a long story. I took the club back and there was a swarm of bees that flew right overhead and just freaked me out. I had to step out of the shot. It's just - it's been a long battle. I know it's only been like 4 months, but it's excruciating. It's mortifying knowing how much time I took. Especially at the beginning of the Asia swing. Like my dad was like, "I don't care if you shoot 90. Just pull the trigger."

Rolex Rankings No. 5 Shanshan Feng (-9)

MODERATOR: Here with Shanshan. Shanshan, how are you feeling out there today?
SHANSHAN FENG: I think I did pretty well. I played pretty well in the front 9. And then I think I was 4 under 3 through 11. My putting was good. After that, the greens were a little hard to read, so I missed a couple of birdie chances.

QUESTION: Were there any greens that were particularly the hardest?
SHANSHAN FENG: I would say last hole.

QUESTION: Eighteen?
SHANSHAN FENG: Well, last hole is all about the second shot. Because like yesterday, it's the same club, pitching wedge, but yesterday, it released, it took a 15-yard bounce. But today it only released like 3 yards, so it's kind of hard. We're just like guessing, hoping that luck is on our side. And that you choose the right club. But it's fair to everybody, and I think it's a challenging course.

QUESTION: And you've played bogey-free the last two days, correct?
SHANSHAN FENG: I think so.

QUESTION: Yeah, how do you avoid mistakes out here?
SHANSHAN FENG: I think the speed. I think, how do you say, I think my putting, the speed, and controlling it pretty well. So if I'm not making the birdie putt, it's usually inside of 4 or 5 feet. For those that are just pretty straight lines. I think that's why.

QUESTION: You mentioned three wins this year as your goal. You're putting yourself again in a good position. What's your mindset heading into tomorrow, the final day of the tournament?
SHANSHAN FENG: Well, I don't think anything different, just like what I did today and yesterday, because I never - even though I know maybe I'm kind of up there, I never put in mind. I would try my best if I have a chance on every shot. But I'm not going to say I have to win this because that's just going to give myself extra pressure, and I don't like it.

QUESTION: Now you're one of the funniest players out here, one of the best personalities.
SHANSHAN FENG: Silliest!

QUESTION: Silliest. One of the silliest personalities. Are you having a really good time this year playing?
SHANSHAN FENG: Yes. You know why I said I was the silliest? Because I always lose my player badge, and I think I've gone to Ali like, maybe 4 or 5 times this year, because I forgot to bring either the money clip or the badge. So I had nothing with me, so I couldn't get in the clubhouse.

QUESTION: This week?
SHANSHAN FENG: Yeah, this week, it was even worse. I forgot to bring it. I asked Ali for one and she gave me in the dining, and then I forgot it. It was on the table. I had to go to Ali again and say sorry, I forgot it again! I'm kind of silly. I think I always have very good time on the tour because of many good friends here. And I say after, you know, this is my 7th year already, already, so I'm really used to the tour life, and I feel really comfortable being on the tour, travelling.

Rolex Rankings No. 15 Azahara Munoz (-8)

MODERATOR: I was just talking to Arthur and we were just discussing a few things here. Obviously quite a frustrating round of golf for you today out there, particularly the putting - no short putts. What was going on with them? Was it the trickiness of the holes or was something going on with your stroke?
AZAHARA MUNOZ: To be honest, I think something was going on with my stroke because everything was messing up. Couple I probably misread a little bit, but a couple of them, I missed them. It's been frustrating because I gave myself so many chances, especially on the back 9. I could have been really close, but it's one more day. I'm gonna go to the putting green. Hopefully I can fix it. You know, one more day.

MODERATOR: And you've been so close all year. You've been right there - you were second to Paula early on in the year, but you're kind of a bit of known as a match play specialist. What do you feel you have to do to make that leap into stroke play now?
AZAHARA MUNOZ: I don't know what it is about match play. It's almost like my mentality changes - you either win or lose. I guess I kind of have to take that tomorrow, for example, just so close. Just go out there and give it a run, and hopefully it's enough.

MODERATOR: And looking forward to next week now with the CME. Do you know how you stand in term of points and what you have to do and where you have to be?
AZAHARA MUNOZ: I know I'm 10th right now, and I don't know if I have to be top 4 or something to be in the top 9 or something like that. I'm not really sure. I need a good round tomorrow, and hopefully I can make it and have a chance for it. It's super exciting that we are running for that.

MODERATOR: Well thank you very much for that and good luck tomorrow.
AZAHARA MUNOZ: Thank you.

QUESTION: So with the race, the CME, top 3 guarantees you're in the top 9, no matter what anyone does. 4th - it just depends on if Suzann wins it, Cristie Kerr, etc. What would it mean to you to be in the top 9 coming into that week?
AZAHARA MUNOZ: It would be amazing. It still be really hard to win the million dollar because Inbee and Stacy, they're never going to play that bad in the tournament anyway, so a lot of different things have to happen. But at least it's nice that the first time they have that million dollar going, which is super special for us. It'll be nice to have a chance, you know, to go to the tournament, and you never know what could happen. At least give myself that chance.

QUESTION: So getting in the top 9, does that make it feel like you had a really good year? Will you be satisfied with that?
AZAHARA MUNOZ: Even if I don't make it, I'll have a really good year. I think probably the worst I can do is be 10th. If I'm 9th, I had a great year. And if I'm 10th, I haven't, no. It's still a really good year, but if I make it, meaning tomorrow is a pretty good day, you know, that'll make things better for me.

QUESTION: Now what are you going to go work on on the putting green?
AZAHARA MUNOZ: You know, I'm just going to use the Dave Pelz and just try to start the ball on line. I've had a few, the ones I've missed, they've been left to righters, and I kind of left the face open, I guess. I just have to focus more on the target.

Former LPGA Player Lorena Ochoa

Q. Here with Lorena Ochoa - happy birthday! You're 33 now. How successful do you think this tournament has been so far?
LORENA OCHOA: Well thank you for my birthday. I'm really happy and excited. This has been a special week for me because the LPGA choose this date. Luckily that has been during my birthday. I think it's just fun to be around my friends, you know, the professionals, the fans, my sponsors, so it's like a celebration for everybody. It's been great. Been a lot of fun.

Q: Many of the players throughout the week have said very good things about you, how much they look up to you, how much they admire the work you've done now that you've left golf. What does that mean to you to know how much respect they have for you?
LORENA OCHOA: That's very nice, thank you. I think we all love the game and we always believe the LPGA is like a family to us. At least what I can do is to continue promoting the game, helping others. I always say that this tournament is like an award, like a prize, like a good surprise for all the fans here in Mexico because they support me for so long. And now they can see themselves what is being in a live event, especially with the top players. It's something for my country, you know?

Q: Finally, how was it playing in the Pro-am? Didn't get a chance to talk to you after, but did you have a good time?
LORENA OCHOA: I played good. I was surprised I hit the ball really good. I felt really comfortable. My dad, he had a great time. He misses following me on the course. We were just walking together and having a good time. I may thinking about the practical liberties here. Hopefully I can play next year just to see how it is to play in a tournament again.

Q: Did your kids watch you play at all?
LORENA OCHOA: All the time, yes. Pedro, the oldest, he hits the ball and a little bit with me. He talks about, "Ma, let's go in the golf cart. I want to go with you." And he watches me play. I enjoyed that a lot. Just getting the kids in the golf cart and driving on the court a little bit and hitting some balls. Yes, I mean, golf is our life and we live right by the golf course, so it's something that we always do.

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