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Hur heads off Lewis to win in Alabama
September 21, 2014

Rolex Rankings No. 94 Mi Jung Hur (-21)
Rolex Rankings No. 1 Stacy Lewis (-17)
Rolex Rankings No. 316 Paula Reto (-14)

Mi Jung Hur walked off the 7th green with a bogey Sunday – her only of the day - just as Stacy Lewis exited the 8th green just ahead with a birdie. The four-shot lead, which Hur shared at the start of the day with Paula Reto, had been quickly dwindled down to one, and the world No. 1 was on a roll at 4-under through eight holes. But from there, Hur reeled off her best golf in a week unlike any other in her career, pouring in birdies on five of the final 11 holes.

She saw Lewis was charging and began her response with a birdie on No. 9. Then, when Lewis again cut the lead to one shot on No. 10, Hur poured in a 35-foot putt on No. 11 to regain control. She followed with birdies on Nos. 13, 14 and 16 to hold off Lewis and her final-round 66 with a 66 of her own for a four-shot win and her second career victory at 21-under-par.

“I think after that putt I felt so much more comfortable,” Hur said.

Hur knew the Sunday push from Lewis was inevitable but wasn’t looking ahead or behind her.

“It made me a little nervous but I just focused on my ball and played my own game,” Hur said. “It brought me a good result.”

Hur’s wanted this so bad for three years. She first won in 2009 and finished 31st on the money list in 2010. But the three years that followed were trying – a frustrating swing change that never seemed to click. Sunday was the fruits of all that labor, and the tears flowed before she had even left the 18th tee box.
Tears of joy or tears of relief?

“Three year relief,” Hur answered.

For those three years Hur had worked to get rid of the fade she’d hit and relied on forever. It wasn’t consistent enough and she wanted to hit a draw. That process all started to click at the beginning of the season.
“I felt so much comfortable with my swing and my shapes are hitting straight,” Hur said. “Then after that I figure out my putting wasn’t that good like it was before.”

That came back too. No one putted it better this week – 107 putts for the week – and no one’s putting it better on Tour than Hur (28.94 putts per round). It showed on Sunday, too, draining birdies on the first two holes to get comfortable, which stayed with her all day.

There was a comfort, too, that only a father can provide. She had it every time she looked over to her bag to pull a club. She had it every time she needed help reading a green. He was her first swing coach and he was there on the bag all four days of the win she’s waited on for five years.

“If I had a missed shot or missed putt, he can pick right away what’s wrong, what’s going on in my swing,” Hur said, “so I can have a right feel right away after a missed shot, so it was really helpful for the week.”

Just behind Hur was Lewis in second at 17-under-par. Paula Reto finished in third at 14-under-par. Kris Tamulis posted the best finish of her career with a four-place finish, and Jody Ewart Shadoff and Moriya Jutanugarn tied for fifth.

Missing out on a historic charge: When Stacy Lewis looks back at the 2014 Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic, where the tournament slipped her grasp was there on the back nine on Sunday. The 2-under 34 she shot back there was solid, but leaving she couldn’t help but think what could have been.

What could have been a battle on the final holes turned into Hur’s victory stroll. Leaving the scorer’s tent, Lewis felt like she left out there potentially one of her best days ever considering a 6-under-par 66 was really about as high as the world No. 1 could have shot based on the way she hit it. When she birdied the 10th hole to push to 5-under for the day, Lewis continued to hit it as well as she has at any point this season, hitting every approach within 10 feet on the back nine except No. 18 where she had a 20 footer. But only one of those birdies putts dropped.

“Unlike the last two days I got off to a great start and really kept things going,” Lewis said. “I gave myself a ton of chances there on the back nine, I just couldn’t get any putts to fall.”

After Golf Channel reporter Phil Parkin said it wouldn’t have surprised him if Lewis had shot 59, 60 or 61 based off of the way she hit it, and the world No. 1 couldn’t disagree with him after.

“Probably pretty easy, yes,” Lewis said. “It was definitely a little frustrating, but M.J. played some great golf and I would have liked to have maybe just gotten one or two more to put a little pressure on, but I don’t know if anybody was catching her today.”

Lewis thought coming into the day that it might take 18 or 19-under-par to catch the coleaders – Hur and Reto – and was surprised that Hur played as well as she did dealing with the pressure of the final round. Although she wanted to put more pressure on Hur coming down the stretch, she left encouraged with her best finish since her win at the end of June.

“I think the ball striking was probably one of the best rounds I’ve had in a long time. It’s good, it’s what we’ve been working on. It’s good leading into Asia and everything we have got the rest of the year with the CME, so I’m excited to get over to China and play.”

Learning from the champ: Rookie Paula Reto entered the tournament this week with a few goals in mind, but being in contention for a win was not her main concern. Reto was more focused on securing her Tour card for next year.

“I’m most excited that I secured my card for next year,” Reto said. “I’m happy about that and that was one of the goals. I didn’t put pressure on myself, so I’m happy.”

To her surprise, not only was she able to keep her card, Reto found herself tied for the lead heading into Sunday’s final round. But going low for the fourth day of play proved to be a little bit of a challenge for Reto.

“I felt like a couple things were off- putting didn’t work as well” Reto said.

Reto shot a 1-over par Sunday to fall down into third place with a tournament total of 14-under par. Other players in contention, M.J. Hur and Stacy Lewis, both shot a stellar 6-under par for the final round, creating some pressure for Reto. Hur began putting distance between her the other players to win Sunday by four shots. Hur’s last win was in 2009, but her composure during the final round Sunday is what Reto will take away.

“M.J. was just so patient,” Reto said. “She was just really good, and I learned a lot from her…next time if I’m in that same situation I would feel better.”

Reto for her effort earned $87,750 this week, more than she had earned the entire season previously.

Soaring confidence: Local favorite and Auburn University alum, Cydney Clanton, took away a lot of positives from her perfor­mance this past week at the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic.

Clanton had a few of her best rounds in Prattville, shooting a first round 66 and final round 67 to finish tied for seventh.

“I’ve been real patient all week and I’ve hit the ball really well,” Clanton said. “It was nice to see the putter get hot and to see some putts go in…this year as I just didn’t see many putts going in, so to finally see some putts going in is great.”

Before this week, Clanton was unsure about her status for next year and knew that she needed to perform this week.

“My dad told me something I needed to be in the top five this week,” Clanton said. “It could potentially help me, but I don’t know. I don’t know how everybody will finish, how it will end up being,”

A solid finish is exactly what Clanton did, staying high on the leaderboard throughout the week and finishing tied for seventh. Clanton’s strong finish Sunday will move her up a full category on the priority list headed into next year.

Quote of the day: “I can’t tell - both are super,”
- M.J. Hur on if her two wins feel different.

$250K for wounded warriors: Three eagles were recorded during the final round Sunday. Combined with the four eagles from Saturday, there has been seven eagles recorded this weekend. The CME Group’s donation to the Wounded Warrior Project for weekend eagles has now reached $253,000.

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. To get involved and learn more, visit


Rolex Rankings No. 94 Mi Jung Hur (-21)

MODERATOR: All right, everyone, I would like to welcome the 2014 Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic champion, M.J. Hur, into the media room.

M.J., great round out there. You talked about the relief. I saw you get a little emotional on the green there. Were those tears of joy? Run me through that.

MI JUNG HUR: Yeah, it's definitely exciting week for me and I starting two birdies on first and second holes and it made me so much comfortable rest of the round. But Stacy played so well and I definitely think about her, she will play low score on final. But I didn't think about anything group behind me, I just played my own game. After nine holes I made a few birdies on back nine, so on No. 16, the par 3, the short birdie putt, after I made I definitely think about winning. Last two holes I really enjoyed golf. The whole 18, I enjoyed two holes.

MODERATOR: You seemed to play better after Stacy got within one of you. Did you know she was there, did you feel the charge she was making?

MI JUNG HUR: I saw her like 16-under par after No. 12. It made me a little nervous but I just focus on my ball and play my own game. It bring me good result.

MODERATOR: I would like to open it up for questions.

Q. M.J., I've enjoyed watching you and photographing you. I used to be able to see you from three or four fairways away and I think you know why, because you had the white floppy hat that was very distinctive. I'm wondering where your hat went?

MI JUNG HUR: Oh, you mean the big one?

Q. Your big one.

MI JUNG HUR: Yeah, I wear them during the practice round because I really don't want to put the sunscreen on my neck. It's only for the practice round.

Q. Your father is on the bag?


Q. Tell me about having your dad on the bag, what it meant to you, how you felt having him there and what kind of a caddie is he?

MI JUNG HUR: He was the caddie for this week but before the caddie he's my dad, so it really helpful. When I was young he teach me all the swing. I mean, he was my swing coach, too. So if I had a missed shot or missed putt, he can pick right away what's wrong, what's going on on my swing so I can have a right feel right away after missed shot, so it really helpful for the week.

Q. You talked about the swing change you made over the last three years. What was that swing change?

MI JUNG HUR: I used to play a little fade shot but it wasn't that consistent, I cut a lot or I pulled it. So I just want to make my swing very consistent so I changed to a little draw shape. But now pretty much I hit it straight, which is really good. I think it worked really good for the week.

Q. You're number one on the tour in putting, but you said for three years there you were working on your swing so much you didn't get to work on your putting?


Q. At what point did you feel comfortable enough with your swing to start really working on your putting again?

MI JUNG HUR: I think it was beginning of this season I felt so much comfortable with my swing and my pull shapes are hitting straight. Then after that I figure out my putting wasn't that good like before, so I work on my putting again, also the shots. But I think the putting is more important than long game. Putting and short game is way more important to save pars or making birdies.

Q. Does this win feel better or your one in '09 in Portland?

MI JUNG HUR: I can't tell, both are super.

Q. You mentioned earlier in the week that you struggled through 2012 and '13 but these last few tournaments you've been really on your A game with your swing as well as you mentioned your mental game. Stress clearly did not affect you today, it was a breeze for you. How do you plan to take that momentum into the Asia swing that you're going to start off in Beijing next week?

MI JUNG HUR: This point I really want to take a rest after three weeks because I had a good tournament three weeks in a row so my body feels tired, but definitely practice on Wednesday. It will be a great tournament again in Asia swing.

Q. You had long putts on 1 and 11, I was trying to get an estimate of how long they were and how much confidence it is when you can kind of sink those 20-footers wherever they were?

MI JUNG HUR: No. 11?

Q. Yes. You had a another long one on No. 1?

MI JUNG HUR: I think after that putt I feel so much comfortable because how many strokes -- how many strokes behind is Stacy after 11? I think it's like three. It made me, yeah, it was easy to play for rest of the hole.

Q. How long was that on 11?

MI JUNG HUR: I don't know the feet but it was 12 yards.

Q. So you had three really good tournaments in a row. What does it mean for you to get this victory knowing that you're definitely in all the Asia events pretty much now and you have your card? How does it feel at this point to be able to know all those things?

MI JUNG HUR: I'm sad. I mean, so happy. I think I cry after tee off No. 18, I was crying before second shot. So I can tell like this.

Q. What did you learn about your game, if anything, in this tournament?

MI JUNG HUR: In this tournament? The most important thing is how much you focus on your ball every shot. It makes your result, like if you focus on your ball like 50 percent or hundred percent, it's definitely big difference, I can tell and I can feel it. So I think I'm going to practice more how much you can focus on every shot. Even when cameras or the galleries are moving, no matter what's going on around you, you have to focus on your ball. I learned that from this tournament.

Rolex Rankings No. 1 Stacy Lewis (-17)

Q. You knew you had to get off to a fast start. You couldn't have asked for more from yourself (inaudible.)

STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I did, unlike the last two days I got off to a great start and really kept things going. I gave myself a ton of chances there on the back nine, I just couldn't get any putts to fall.

Q. It's not often someone can say I shot 6-under par, and I'm prone to exaggeration, but shot 6-under par but I think (inaudible.)

STACY LEWIS: Probably pretty easy, yes. It was definitely a little frustrating, but M.J. played some great golf and I would have liked to have maybe just gotten one or two more to put a little pressure on, but I don't know if anybody was catching her today.

Q. You know you're the No. 1 player in the world, so we have seen some great golf, but the way you played today, that's got to be close to (inaudible).

STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I think the ball striking was probably one of the best rounds I've had in a long time. It's good, it's what we've been working on. It's good leading into Asia and everything we have got the rest of the year with the CME, so I'm excited to get over to China and play.

Q. I'll bet you are, to extend your lead as the No. 1 position in the world?

STACY LEWIS: Exactly, that's the goal.

Q. Keep it going. Well played.


Q. (Inaudible)

STACY LEWIS: Well, I mean, part of that's golf. You get events where people kind of run away with tournaments. I've done it before. It's just golf. But I really played well today, gave myself a ton of opportunities for birdies, which that was the goal coming into the day. Like I said, I would have just liked to have made a couple more just to give her something to think about they're coming up those last few.

Q. I think you said you thought it would be around 20-under, so it didn't surprise you that that number's up there, right?

STACY LEWIS: No. I was pretty surprised actually she got as far under today just playing with the pressure in the final round, but the golf course being a little softer this year, there was I think some more just lower numbers than normal.

Q. Going home with a second place finish, your thoughts on that?

STACY LEWIS: It was a good week. Anytime you've got a chance on Sunday on the back nine, it's a good week. Just taking the confidence of just how I played, how I hit the ball, it was just nice being back in the mix. It's been a few weeks since I've been in the mix so it was just nice being there again.

Q. How many birdies do you think you left out there on the back nine?

STACY LEWIS: You look at there's probably every hole other than 18 I was within 10 feet, 10 to 15 feet, it's hard, but at the same time I hit some of the putts exactly where I wanted to. There's not a whole lot I would go back and do different. It's not like I pulled the wrong club somewhere or something like that, they just didn't go in.

Q. I was going to say, how difficult is it that you're thinking I need to take a chance here or chance there to catch her. That would get you off your game I guess a little bit.

STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I did well. I thought I stayed in what I could do and I hit some great golf shots, I really did. I gave myself so much chances. I really didn't know where I stood until 16. Once you make the turn there's not many leaderboards out there so you don't really know, but I know I didn't make enough of them. Just the hole locations were kind of set up for some birdies back there.

Rolex Rankings No. 316 Paula Reto (-14)

Q So not as strong a finish as you probably would have liked, but you can't be upset with that tournament. How does it feel coming off, finishing so well?

PAULA RETO: Well, I'm proud of myself. I know what I had to do this tournament, but I didn't put pressure on myself. I'm just happy that I finished in the Top 10 which secures my card for next year. So I have another shot next year to do what I need to do and have fun, so I'm just really happy. And I kept myself really patient out there today. I felt like a couple things were off, putting didn't work as well, but I tried to stay focused and not let anything bother me.

Q You kind of came off the radar out of nowhere for most of the players out here, but coming into the final day you were matched up in the lead group with MJ and Stacy was kind of coming right behind you. What was the mindset coming in when you teed off this morning?

PAULA RETO: Well, you know what, I know that the girls are going to do well and I know that you had to shoot a couple under to play well, to win the tournament. And MJ was just so patient. She was just really good, I learned a lot from her and so I think next time if I'm in that same situation I would feel better. And my mindset was just to play my own game.

Q Of course, which you played great this week, or this weekend. Kind of going into it, I know you've said this was a very important tournament for you. How are you going to take your momentum from this weekend?

PAULA RETO: Well, I don't know what I am going to play next so I'm going to have to figure out if I can get into some events here or maybe in Asia or something. Yeah, just keep doing that and just take all the experience I got this week from just playing in the lead groups and just build off of that and work on a couple things, of course. And, yeah, I'm just happy I got that experience.

Q What was it like just trying to chase MJ and you're watching her play a spectacular round as well?

PAULA RETO: Well, you know what, she played really well and just kept making birdies. You know, it's her day. So I just tried to play the best I could and I didn't try to chase her because I know I would make a couple mistakes. I did actually make a couple mistakes, so I didn't try to push to make birdies. Just let it happen.

Q What did you learn about your game, what did you learn about you as a golfer?

PAULA RETO: A lot, I mean there's so much things. Like first two days I felt a lot different. Like yesterday and today I felt a little more pressure, you know, a little more anxious, not calm enough and stuff. So I learned to -- last couple holes came a lot quicker or easier to me. So just being in the situation more has helped me in the lead group. So I just -- yeah, and maybe the way I handled myself, I learned a lot.

Q And you did well enough to finish third. What does that mean for your career? It's a young career, but what does that mean for your career?

PAULA RETO: Yeah, I finished strong from the beginning of the year to now, so I'm just happy about that and I'm most excited that I secured my card for next year. So I'm happy about that and that was one of the goals. I didn't put pressure on myself, so I'm happy.

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