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Lee battles Hedwall, Lewis & the weather to win Reignwood Classic
October 05, 2014

Interviews:
Rolex Rankings No. 29  Mirim Lee (-15)
Rolex Rankings No. 52  Caroline Hedwall (-13)

At the end of a six+ hour round, Mirim Lee edged out both Caroline Hedwall and Stacy Lewis for her second career win, both coming in the last two and a half months. Lee was able to battle windy conditions and nerves to claim a surprising victory and add to an already incredibly successful rookie season.

“I really didn't think I would get my second win this quickly.” Lee said. “I was a lot more nervous this time than first time around. I think I made a few mistakes towards the end, especially on the 18th. I'm really happy I won the tournament, and it was good.”

Stacy Lewis either led or was tied for the lead after the first three rounds but the No. 1 ranked player struggled especially on the back nine, finishing the day with a 75 and 11-under for the tournament. Although she may have not played as well as she liked, she managed to influence the young Lee during the round.

“Usually when I play my rounds I don't watch the other players.” Lee said of playing with Lewis. “Today I really observed how Stacy played, and she was such a phenomenal player. It shows why she is the No. 1 player in the world.”

Lee claims to have been nervous but she shot a dagger in the heart of both Hedwall and Lewis with her up and down on 17 off a rock before sinking a 12-foot putt. 

“The ball was actually on the rock.” Lee said. “It went to the direction I wanted it to go, but it wasn't the momentum that I wanted. So I was telling it to sit down and sit, but I think the result was pretty good. I was happy with the outcome. 

Hedwall was aware that victory may not be hers at that point.

“Of course you're always a little disappointed that you couldn't pull it off and win.” Hedwall said of her finish. “At the same time, the up and down she made on 17 was just incredible.”

A confidence boost: Caroline Hedwall didn't pick up her first career LPGA victory this week, but her second place finish gave the Swede confidence heading into the remaining tournaments this year. 

“I struggled this season, so it's nice to get a good finish.” Hedwall said. “It gives me a lot of confidence for the rest of the Asian swing.”

Hedwall (E) recognized the fact that the windy conditions provided a significant challenge for the field.

“It was tougher out there today.” Hedwall said. “Mirim shot a really good score today. I think most girls out there were struggling a little bit with the wind, because it's a tough golf course in the wind. I think even par is a decent score today.  Could've made a couple of birdies, but it just didn't happen. 

With a win today, Hedwall would have claimed the final LPGA spot into the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia held for the winner of the Reignwood LPGA Classic. As a result of her runner-up finish, she is now the first alternate on the list.

The race for $1 milion: The Race for the CME Globe and its $1 million prize is heating up. Players now have six weeks remaining to improve their position in the season-long points competition before the point reset. With her win this week, Stacy Lewis added to her already substantial lead.

After the reset, the players in the top-3 positions on the Race to the CME Globe Points Standings will be able to win the Race to the CME Globe with a win at the Tour Championship; and the players in the top-9 positions will have a mathematical chance to win the race.

“There's not much you can do.”  Suzann Pettersen responded when asked if being in the top 9 is something that will weigh on her mind over the final part of the season. 

“It's out of your control.” Pettersen added. “Usually when I go to Asia I've been very successful here in the past.  So just make the most of the trip.  Playing the next three, so I'm ready to go. I'm rested and I look forward to this final part of the season.“

After the Lorena Ochoa Invitational Presented by Banamex in Mexico, LPGA Members who meet the entry criteria for the CME Group Tour Championship will be seeded based on their position on the Race to the CME Globe Points Standings. Points for each Member will then be reset for the CME Group Tour Championship based on the points reset table listed on www.lpga.com/golf/news/cme-group-tour-championship-eligibility.

The reset will ensure that the race will be won at the season-ending tournament. For more information on point distribution, the reset or entry criteria, please visit www.lpga.com.

Below are the current top-10 standings in the Race to the CME Globe after the Reignwood LPGA Classic:

Place
Name
Points
Top-10s
Wins
1
Stacy Lewis
4468
16
3
2
Inbee Park
3222
14
2
3
Lydia Ko
2906
10
2
4
Michelle Wie
2588
10
2
5
Anna Nordqvist
2325
8
2
6
So Yeon Ryu
2181
11
1
7
Karrie Webb
2106
5
2
8
Lexi Thompson
1949
8
1
9
Azahara Munoz
1922
8
0
10
Cristie Kerr
1834
11
0

Red Bull Challenge: The final five holes at the Pine Valley Golf Resort carried more weight than normal this week with $50,000 USD on the line. The Red Bull 5-Hole Challenge awards the player with the lowest cumulative score in relation to par for tournament holes 14-18 throughout the week. 

Mirim Lee edged out Yanhong Pan from the CLPGA on a tie breaker for the win. Lee claimed her trophy and the $50,000 check, along with her $315,000 winner's check in a post-tournament ceremony on the 18th green.

Quote of the day: “Honestly, I've always wanted to play with Stacy.  I played with Inbee before, and I always thought, Wow, that's what it takes to be one of the best players in the world.” -Mirim Lee describing what it was like to play with Stacy Lewis for the first time.

Republic of Korea dominating: Players from the Republic of Korea have dominated LPGA events lately, winning six of the last seven tournaments. Mirim Lee has bookended the wins, having won at the Meijer LPGA Classic presented by Kraft in August and again this week. Austin Ernst (Portland Classic presented by Cambia Health Solutions) is the one player not from the Republic of Korea to win in that span.

The winners between Mirim Lee are as follows. Inbee Park (Wegmans LPGA Championship), So Yeon Ryu (Canadian Pacific Women's Open), Hyo Joo Kim (The Evian Championship), M.J. Hur (Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic).

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. 

This weekend, three total eagles were recorded by M.J. Hur, Chella Choi and Jenny Shin which brings the total money raised this year to $256,000. Through the first 23 tournaments prior to the Reignwood LPGA Classic, $253,000 had been raised.

Click here for full scores & prize money.

INTERVIEWS

Rolex Rankings No. 29 Mirim Lee (-15)
(Through translation.)

Q. Holy smokes, congratulations.  Big win for you.  You played so well.  Tell me how you feel right now.
MIRIM LEE:  I really didn't think I would get my second win this quickly.  I was a lot more nervous this time than first time around.  I think I made a few mistakes towards the end, especially on the 18th.
I'm really happy I won the tournament, and it was good.

Q.  The other day you said your second win would make your rookie year good.  How do you feel about that now?  Is this a good rookie year?
MIRIM LEE:  It is now.  But as you know, we've got seven more tournaments to go.  So I don't want say it's over yet.  It's ongoing.

Q.  Caroline said something to the effect of she couldn't beat you today because you played so well.  Does that make you proud?
MIRIM LEE:  That's a very nice comment and I'm very thank you thankful that Caroline said that.

She also played very well, but I think I had a little more luck on my side today.

Q.  Finally, what was it like playing with Stacy?  What did you take away from playing with the world No. 1?
MIRIM LEE:   Honestly, I've always wanted to play with Stacy.  I played with Inbee before, and I always thought, Wow, that's what it takes to be one of the best players in the world.

Usually when I play my rounds I don't watch the other players.  Today I really observed how Stacy played, and she was such a phenomenal player.  It shows why she is the No. 1 player in the world.

Q.  This was the first time you played with Stacy?
MIRIM LEE:  Yeah.         

MODERATOR:   Mirim, congratulations.  Please take us back to the last three holes.  There were several breathe-holding moments when you were trying to save the ball from the rock.  What was on your mind?
MIRIM LEE:  Because of the wind it (indiscernible), and when I found out where my ball was I thought it was impossible for me to par, to save par.  I put it my mind saying I need to par.  I was able to putt it in.

Q.  If I remember correctly, you once participated in a tournament in China where you even won a Hyundai car.  Here you have won your very first LPGA title.  Do you find China a place of love for you?
MIRIM LEE:  Obviously China is very close to my home.  I won this tournament, so I think China and myself are a pretty good fit, pretty good match.

Q.  Not sure if you have noticed, but there is a 12-year-old girl from Beijing who followed you very closely because you look pretty much like each other.  Are you aware of that?
MIRIM LEE:  I didn't know that.  I was so focused today I couldn't even really find my family.  Today was tough for me to find anybody.

I was just really focused on the tournament.

Q.  Well-played, Mirim.  Can I take you back to the 17th?  Can you explain, was your ball actually lying on the rock?  Were you able to ground your club?  When you hit your shot, did it go where you were aiming it to go?
MIRIM LEE:   The ball was actually on the rock.  It went to the direction I wanted it to go, but it wasn't the momentum that I wanted.

So I was telling it to sit down and sit, but I think the result was pretty good.  I was happy with the outcome.

Q.  Could she ground her cub or was it in the hazard?
MIRIM LEE:  It was in the hazard.

Q.  So she couldn't ground the club?
MIRIM LEE:  Correct.

Q.  How long was the birdie putt on 17?
MIRIM LEE:  12 feet with her feet, so about 12 steps.

Q.  Shanshan from China had a dramatic win on the 18th in the final round and she won.  People associated her name with a kind of luck kind of because of her family name and also Shanshan is a double syllable name.  And also, do you kind of believe that your name, Mirim, in Chinese (indiscernible) is related with trees or forest.  You have the planting of champions tree here.
MIRIM LEE:  I really don't know how to answer that question.  It's really kind of a tough question to answer.

To your point, yes, I do think I have a pretty name.  I like my name.  Perhaps it does bring me luck.

I think there is an old saying in Korea that how you name a baby means a lot.  It really decides how things and fate happens in the future.  So I do think I have a great name and it's bringing me luck.

MODERATOR:  Very last question.

Q.  (Question not recorded.)
MIRIM LEE:  I really had no idea what it was $190,000 i until you mentioned it.

I think I tend to focus more on where I finish in terms of where I am on the tournament rather than where I am on the Money List or how much money I made.

With that said, $315,000 is a lot of money.  I'm very happy.  I don't actually manage my own money, so it's never really something that's in my mind much.

But it's a lot of money and I like it.

Rolex Rankings No. 52 Caroline Hedwall (-13)

Q. Caroline, great tournament despite the outcome.  How are you feeling right now?
CAROLINE HEDWALL :  Of course you're always a little disappointed that you couldn't pull it off and win.

At the same time, the up and down she made 0n 17 was just incredible.

So, I mean, I'm still happy with the second place.  I struggled this season, so it's nice to get a good finish.  It gives me a lot of confidence for the rest of the Asian swing.

Q.  How about course conditions, especially the wind?  What kind of factor was that?
CAROLINE HEDWALL:   It was tougher out there today.  Mirim shot a really good score today.  I think most girls out there were struggling a little bit with the wind, because it's a tough golf course in the wind.
I think even par is a decent score today.  Could've made a couple of birdies, but it just didn't happen.

Q.  How about pace of play?  Long day out there.  Was it grueling?
CAROLINE HEDWALL:  A little bit too long.  We turned at three hours.  I think took six hours to play.  That's kind of what happens when the wind picks up.  It gets confusing and gets hard to commit to the shots and make decisions.  I didn't think about it that much, but it was slow, yeah.

Q.  So you're going to leave here with overall good impressions of the Reignwood LPGA Classic?
CAROLINE HEDWALL:  For sure.  Like I said, just gives me a lot of confidence having a good finish like this.  No, I'm definitely happy.

Q.  Good.  Well, congratulations.
CAROLINE HEDWALL:   Thank you.

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