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Phatlum in position for first LPGA win tomorrow
October 11, 2014

Interviews:
Rolex Rankings No. 32 Pornanong Phatlum (-14)
Rolex Rankings No. 137 Ayako Uehara (-11)
Rolex Rankings No. 3 Lydia Ko (-10)
Rolex Rankings No. 7 So Yeon Ryu (-10)
Rolex Rankings No. 72 Ariya Jutanugarn (-9)
Rolex Rankings No. 8 Lexi Thompson (E)

A third round 6-under, 65 puts Pornanong Phatlum is in position to win for the first time on the LPGA Tour. She has 10 professional wins but now finds herself atop the leaderboard after three rounds for the first time since the 2013 CME Group Titleholders. With a 29 on the front nine, the 24-year old Thai player made the turn with a two-stroke lead over So Yeon Ryu and never looked back.

“Well, the front nine was amazing. Like I make everything.” Phatlum said. “Back nine I just feel a little bit nervous.”

The nerves showed as Phatlum 3-putt the 12th hole and another bogey on 16, but thankfully she had her brother on the bag with her to calm her down. “He just like tell me keep calm and then be relaxed and just concentrate, and, yeah, make some birdie.” Phatlum said.

Back-to-back 67s to open the tournament didn’t satisfy Phatlum. She was unhappy with her putting and put in the work to try to fix it before today’s round.

“On the first rounds I didn’t putt well.” Phatlum said. “Just keep practice and, yeah, get more confident on my putting. Today just today everything go in.”

So Yeon Ryu began the day with a two stroke lead but after double bogeys on both 17 and 18, the No. 7 player in the world now finds herself four strokes behind leader Phatlum at 10-under for the tournament. Despite the trouble on the two holes, Ryu will take some positives into the final round.

Today pin position was quite tough.” Ryu explained. “Obviously my game wasn’t really bad. Just last two hole wasn’t really strong finish. Really bad finish. Still I have one more round for tomorrow.”

Who will be No.1 tomorrow: The battle for No. 1 is a much watch during the final day of the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia. Lydia Ko has a chance to unseat Stacy Lewis at No. 1. Ko, the No. 3 player in the Rolex Rankings prior to this week, can take the top spot with a win in Kuala Lumpur and Stacy Lewis finishes T12-or-worse. Ko is currently three strokes off the lead, behind Pornanong Phatlum, while Lewis sits T-20 at 5-under for the tournament.

Ko has a strategy tomorrow, but it doesn’t involve thinking about the No. 1 ranking.

“I’m going to be aggressive in places I need to be.” Ko said. “I’ve been hitting the ball pretty well and stroking it well with the putter. All I got to do is give myself a lot of opportunities, and hopefully the balls will drop in the hole.”

No. 2 Inbee Park is not in the field this week due to wedding preparations back in her home country of Korea.

“Just say it. You want to be No. 1 in the world. Say it. Come on. Come on.” Stacy Lewis jokingly putting words in Lydia Ko’s mouth during the press conference after Ko was asked if she was happy with her current world ranking.

Quote of the day: “I like to watch a lot of T.V. That’s probably why my eyesight is so bad.”

-Lydia Ko explaining what she likes to do with her downtime and also makes a joke about her signature glasses.

Who's the new guy: Lydia Ko has someone new on her bag this week. Jason Hamilton, the former caddie for Yani Tseng, is working with Ko this week and the 17-year old Kiwi has been pleased with the chemistry so far.

“I think it’s been good. We worked together at Manulife LPGA Championship, so that was about two months ago.” Ko said. “It was kind of good to get back into that good teamwork. I think we’ve been doing pretty good the last three days. Hopefully it will be a long teamwork for a long time.”

On what was the defining characteristic she was looking for in a caddie Ko said. “I think he’s obviously very good at what he does, but I think we have good chemistry working with each other. I feel very comfortable, even though this is my first week with him.”

Big week for the defending champ: After an admittedly disappointing start to the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, Lexi Thompson finished the third round with a 2-under 69 thanks to an eagle on hole 6.

“I definitely haven’t played up to my standards, but it’s always great to come back here. ” The 2013 Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia winner said. “The course is in amazing shape. The tournament has definitely improved even since last year with all the festivities that they have going on off the golf course.”

One of the events the tournament is putting on is called “Pink Saturday”. Created in 2010 to raise awareness of breast cancer in Malaysia, Pink Saturday offers fun-loving spectators everything from pink nails to pink hair-dos for the day, the chance to get pictured in the CARIF pink booth and a plentiful supply of tournament souvenirs. The charity has benefited to the tune of some RM2 million to date, roughly $615,000 USD.

Breast cancer awareness is a cause near and dear to Thompson’s heart since her mom, Judy Thompson is a breast cancer survivor.

“It means a lot to me. “ Thompson said. “I’ve done a few Breast Cancer Awareness functions with Morgan Pressel’s event, and I’ve donated a little bit to the foundation, and my mom is a five year survivor now. So, yeah, I wear pink every Saturday for that. Dyed my hair pink, well the bottom is pink, for this month. It definitely means a lot to bring awareness to breast cancer, and hopefully it’ll find a cure.“

Thompson also is featured on the cover of Elle Malaysia this week with a photo spread and article as well. Thompson did the photo shoot a few months ago and was surprised at the Charity Gala Dinner on Tuesday night when she was announced as the cover girl.

Social scene: Many players wore pink today and posed with their fans in an effort to support Breast Cancer Awareness and the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia’s “Pink Saturday” initiative to involve spectators in the fight against breast cancer.

“@Simedarbylpga Pink Day at the course. #simedarbylpga #womenwithdrive”

-Natalie Gulbis via Instagram (@ngulbis)

The Race for $1 million: 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. Stacy Lewis has a 1,222 point lead over Inbee Park, who is not in the field this week due to wedding preparations. Lydia Ko has a chance to jump into the number two position in the Race to the CME Globe with a win this week.

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. 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 prior to the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia:

Rank
Player
Points
Top-10s
Wins
1
Stacy Lewis
4333
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
* Not in the field this week

Round of the day: The Round of the day belongs to Ariya Jutanugarn who shot a 7-under 64, including birdies on five of her first eight holes. Jutanugarn, who is a sponsor invite this week at the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, would become the first player from Thailand to win on the LPGA Tour. Ariya is the sister of LPGA Tour member Moriya Jutanugarn and is playing for 2015 LPGA Tour eligbility. With a win tomorrow, Jutanugarn would earn her card and avoid having to go to Final Stage of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament, which will be held at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Fla., from Dec. 3-7.

“You know, if I win would mean a lot it mean because I can get the card and I don’t have to go to final stage. Just do my best tomorrow.” Jutanuragn said.

INTERVIEWS

Rolex Rankings No. 32 Pornanong Phatlum (-14)

MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Pornanong Phatlum into the interview room. Pornanong, great round today.
PORNANONG PHATLUM: Thank you.

MODERATOR: You started off on fire on the front nine; back nine not so strong, but what's your takeaway overall for the day?
PORNANONG PHATLUM: Well, the front nine was amazing. Like I make everything, yeah.

Back nine I just feel a little bit nervous and just keep concentrate on my game and just tell myself just (indiscernible).

Yeah.

MODERATOR: Why did you feel nervous?
PORNANONG PHATLUM: I don't know. Just because get 3-putt on No. 12 and a little bit disappointed.

MODERATOR: Were you thinking ahead to how you were going to finish at that point?
PORNANONG PHATLUM: My brother, he caddie for me. He just like tell me keep calm and then be relaxed and just concentrate, and, yeah, make some birdie.

MODERATOR: 29 on the front nine. Have you ever done that before?
PORNANONG PHATLUM: No. First time.

MODERATOR: What were you thoughts as you made the turn? Were you happy?
PORNANONG PHATLUM: Yeah.

MODERATOR: Feeling confident? What hole did you feel like you started to play really well.
PORNANONG PHATLUM: Because today I didn't make very close to the pin, but I putting very good and just make everything.

So maybe on hole No. 8.

MODERATOR: How long was the putt on 8?
PORNANONG PHATLUM: Well, maybe ten feet.

MODERATOR: So you had back-to-back 67s to start and then a 65 today. You're in a great position. First time since last year's CME that you're in position to win this tournament.
PORNANONG PHATLUM: Yes.

MODERATOR: What would a win here mean to you?
PORNANONG PHATLUM: Well, try hard to get win on the LPGA, because this year my goal is at least one tournament win, LPGA tournament.

MODERATOR: You are looking for your first win.
PORNANONG PHATLUM: Yeah.

MODERATOR: How happy would you be to get it here at the Sime Darby?
PORNANONG PHATLUM: Here is like home and I feel warm welcome to me. I feel like I play at home. Just feel very good to be here.

MODERATOR: Questions.

Q. Did you just feel very comfortable with your putting all week, or just today you read the lines correctly?
PORNANONG PHATLUM: On the first rounds I didn't putt well. Just keep practice and, yeah, get more confident on my putting.

Today, yeah, just today everything go in.

Q. You could be first Thai lady to win on the LPGA. What is your thought on that?

MODERATOR: You could be the first Thai woman to win on the LPGA. Does that make you proud?
PORNANONG PHATLUM: Of course. Yeah.

MODERATOR: You were paired with Chella and Shanshan today. They both played well. Do you think they were just trying to keep pace with you?
PORNANONG PHATLUM: Yeah, I think I so.

MODERATOR: Did you three talk about that?
PORNANONG PHATLUM: No, we didn't talk about it, but we had fun today.

MODERATOR: Good. Any other questions?

Q. You will change the way you play tomorrow going into the final round?
PORNANONG PHATLUM: I think I just make more confident on putting. Yeah, because this week feeling hitting very good.

Q. What's your psychological approach going into the final round? What's in your mind tomorrow? Are you relaxed about it? Do you find you're a little bit nervous?
PORNANONG PHATLUM: I think I'm going to little bit nervous tomorrow, but I try to keep calm tomorrow, yeah, and just play on my game and go shot by shot.

MODERATOR: Tonight will you go out to dinner?
PORNANONG PHATLUM: Yeah.

MODERATOR: Just take it easy? Go to bed early? What's your plan?
PORNANONG PHATLUM: My plan is to have bak kut teh with my friend. (Applause). Relaxed night tonight.

MODERATOR: All right. If no other questions, let's send you on your way. Thank you, congratulations.
PORNANONG PHATLUM: Thank you.

Rolex Rankings No. 137 Ayako Uehara (-11)

Q. You have another good round today. Talk to us about the round.
AYAKO UEHARA: Yeah, I did today really hard condition. Very tough pin position and distance.

Yeah, but front nine I have to be patient, and then back nine a little bit like I can use few like (indiscernible.)

So front nine just stay patient, and back nine I made a birdies, maybe three birdies.

So, yeah, but I think today I had a good round.

Q. So look forward to your performance tomorrow?
AYAKO UEHARA: Yeah.

Q. Thank you.
AYAKO UEHARA: Thank you.

Rolex Rankings No. 7 So Yeon Ryu (-10)

SO YEON RYU: Well, today pin position was quite tough. Obviously my game wasn't really bad. Just last two hole wasn't really strong finish. Really bad finish.

17's tee shot was really great shot. Just unlucky in the water. Maybe 18 second shot was not bad.

So it was kind of very unlucky moment. Still I have one more round for tomorrow.

Q. How about tomorrow? Will you change something?
SO YEON RYU: No. Every day is pretty same. You know, golf is golf and me is me, so every round is same. I'm going to be playing same.

Rolex Rankings No. 3 Lydia Ko (-10)
(Recording in progress.)

MODERATOR: (Regarding Yani and Jason.) You two are just starting out. How is it working?
LYDIA KO: I think it's been good. We worked together at Manulife LPGA Championship, so that was about two months ago.

It was kind of good to get back into that good teamwork. I think we've been doing pretty good the last three days. Hopefully it will be a long teamwork for a long time.

MODERATOR: Now, I know there was a number caddies trying out for your bag. What was the defining thing that made you go with Jason?
LYDIA KO: I think he's obviously very good at what he does, but I think we have good chemistry working with each other. I feel very comfortable, even though this is my first week with him.

MODERATOR: You're 17 years of age. A lot of time spent with golf. What do you like to do when you're not playing golf? Let's take it in two parts. When you take a holiday, what type of things do you do?
LYDIA KO: The normal teenager stuff, I guess. Watching TV, talking to your friends. Lucky there are lots of good social media networks that I can connect with my friends even though they not at the same place as me.

Yeah, I like to watch a lot of TV. That's probably why my eyesight is this bad. I like to have some fun, but since we spend so much time outside, I actually like to spend time in the room just chilling out.

MODERATOR: When you're at a tournament like this, so many different cultures, so many fantastic cities. You do spend a lot of time on the golf course, but what do you liked to at days' end after you finish practicing? Because you do go and practice after you finish your round.
LYDIA KO: I'm actually quite interested in food, so I like to taste different foods. Obviously different countries have their own style of cooking and everything.

Because I don't have much time to go out and shop and do tourism stuff, I like it taste different food, like Malaysian food out here. I've been loving it so far.

MODERATOR: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, you do all that sort of stuff?
LYDIA KO: Yeah, I try to do it. I don't do it all the time. When I post a few photos on Instagram there will be like five straightaway, and then I won't do it for a couple weeks again.

Q. When you go home New Zealand, lifestyle for you and the Ko family?
LYDIA KO: Probably not be spending the entire time with my family. I'll be out with my friends going to the beach, the mall, and being that normal teenager and not having to think about what happens on the golf course.

Yeah, I'm really excited to go back. Not really sure when that's going to be. I am ready to go back home.

MODERATOR: You are still in the mix. Just a few behind. Big day tomorrow. Game plan? Going to go for it?
LYDIA KO: Yeah, I'm going to be aggressive in places I need to be. I've been hitting the ball pretty well and stroking it well with the putter. All I got to do is give myself a lot of opportunities, and hopefully the balls will drop in the hole.

MODERATOR: Well you always blow us away with your maturity beyond your years when you go out and play. So looking forward to seeing you play tomorrow.
Thanks for joining us. Ladies and gentlemen, Lydia Ko.

Rolex Rankings No. 72 Ariya Jutanugarn (-9)

Q. Great round today. How are you feeling overall coming off the course?
ARIYA JUTANUGARN: Pretty good today. I have five birdie and one bogey on No. 9.

Keep playing good except like No. 11. Just like hit one bad shot, tee shot to the left.

Q. So over with all the birdies you're happy. 64, great score.
ARIYA JUTANUGARN: Yeah, sure, today I have my birdie and two bogey. You know, like yesterday was putting was so bad so I work on it like last afternoon, so it's getting letter better.

Q. What did you work on specifically?
ARIYA JUTANUGARN: I think my (indiscernible) was pretty good. Especially like my read the green is not very good, so yesterday I try like to trust my like read green, and it's getting a lot better.

Q. You're trying to play your way onto the tour. Talk about what it would mean for you to get a win here and to get your card?
ARIYA JUTANUGARN: Win? Oh. You know, right now not really close to leader, but, you know, if I win would mean a lot it mean because I can get the cards and I don't have to go to final stage. Just do my best tomorrow.

Rolex Rankings No. 8 Lexi Thompson (E)

LEXI THOMPSON: It's so beautiful here. I mean, just the sights overall on the golf course. It's just a great place. I enjoy coming back. Doesn't matter if I'm golfing or not.

Q. Hotel good?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, I mean, the hotel is great. It's attached to a mall, so it's very convenient for us.

Q. So you spend a lot money as well?
LEXI THOMPSON: Actually not too much of a shopper, but it's nice to be attached to a mall and be able to walk around.

Q. It's great to have you here again.
LEXI THOMPSON: Thanks.

Q. Overall thoughts of the tournament so far. I know you haven't played nearly as well as you want, but the eagle on 6, how big was that?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, it definitely was big. It helps out with the Wounded Warrior program, too, donating to them. That means a lot to me.

I definitely haven't played up to my standards, but it's always great to come back here. The course is in amazing shape. The tournament has definitely improved even since last year with all the festivities that they have going on off the golf course.

Q. And your Elle Magazine shoot, too. It's big here in Malaysia. It's all over the media center. All over as you walk around the tournament. How do you feel about it? When were the pictures taken?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, I mean, I love the pictures, how they came out. I didn't know I was going to be on Elle Malaysia, so it was quite a surprise at the pro-am party when they announced it.

It's very cool to see. Quite honored to be on Elle Malaysia Magazine and GolfPunk. But I did the photo shoot a few months ago and they just came out a few weeks ago.

Q. You have a lot of fans as we walk around here. A lot of people want pictures with you? How does that make you feel to walk around knowing how loved you are?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, it makes me feel really great. I've had some of the same few fans out watching me every day, which means a lot. A lot of little girls, which is very cool that women's golf is growing and impacting little girls.

It means a lot to me. They're always rooting me on even if I'm struggling, so (indiscernible.)

Q. Last question. You're in all pink. Breast Cancer Awareness Day. Tell us a little bit about why you support it.
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, it means a lot to me. I've done a few Breast Cancer Awareness functions with Morgan Pressel's event, and I've donated a little bit to the foundation, and my mom is a five-year survivor now.

So, yeah, I wear pink every Saturday for that. Dyed my hair pink, the bottoms pink, for this month. It definitely means a lot to bring awareness to breast cancer, and hopefully it'll find a cure.

SIME DARBY LPGA MALAYSIA RELATED STORIES










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