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Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic

Round 4 - Ko clinches title defense in playoff

April 26, 2015

Rolex Rankings No. 1 Lydia Ko (-8)
Rolex Rankings No. 33 Morgan Pressel (-8)
Rolex Rankings No. 207 Brooke Henderson (-7)

Two days after her 18th birthday, world No. 1 Lydia Ko celebrated with her seventh LPGA Tour title by closing out Morgan Pressel on the second playoff hole with a birdie at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic. Ko’s second win of 2015 comes at the same tournament she got her first win as an LPGA Tour member a year ago, becoming the first player since Inbee Park at the 2014 Wegman’s LPGA Championship to defend her title.

“I just tried to go with my game plan. I knew that whoever was going to win in the playoff was going to make a birdie,” Ko said. “You know, there is not that many places where you’re going to get a chance for a bogey or something. We’re both hitting the ball good, so I knew that at the end it was somebody that was going to make a good putt and come off with a birdie.”

Ko climbed into the playoff with Pressel with an equally clutch birdie at the 18th to get to eight-under-par for the tournament. Pressel, a group behind Ko, made costly bogeys on Nos. 15 and 16 to allow Ko to climb back into it and wasn’t able to capitalize at the 18th with the door cracked, missing a 15 foot birdie at the last that would have ended it after 72 holes while Ko waited on the practice putting green. Back down the fairway they went and the championship again appeared to be Pressel’s for the taking when Ko left her birdie try short, and Pressel had a 10 footer for the win. It narrowly missed high on the right edge of the cup, opening the door for Ko after they both tapped in for pars.

“I don’t know if any one has more pressure,” Pressel said. “They were all chances to win the tournament; certainly the first two. I don’t know. I just tried to put good strokes on it. First one I was disappointed to leave short. You don’t want to leave a chance to win the tournament short. The second putt I really thought that I hit a good putt, and then it was a complete misread on the third one, so...”

On the second playoff hole, Ko hit first and plopped it six feet short right of the hole. It took her two holes longer and one more birdie on the 18th than a year ago, but Ko again was able to close the books on this championship with a birdie at the last.

“Here last year I knew I needed to make that putt because I knew Stacy [Lewis] would make it,” Ko said. “Like even this
year I missed my birdie on 17. I said, If I want to put some pressure, I need to make a birdie or better on 18. Ended up being good for that. But, yeah, this tournament always makes my heart clench. You know, I got so nervous. It’s a good thing that they’re going in the hole, yeah.”

Five of Ko’s seven LPGA Tour victories have now come when she’s trailed entering the final round and she is now 2-0 in playoffs after winning a three-way, four-hole playoff at the CME Group Tour Championship a year ago.

As for the nerves that Ko promises are there but never seems to show, well, you’ll just have to believe her.

“Why wouldn’t you? I’m an 18 year old and I’m very nice,” Ko joked when asked. “No, yeah, I do get nervous. You have to take my word on that. My 17th hole shot at Ocala definitely proves it, doesn’t it? That was a pretty bad shot. Yeah, you know, I think everybody has nerves. Some people show it; some people don’t. But to me, even just playing a round of golf with club members gets me nervous. I know I’ve got the nerves. If some people think I don’t look like I am nervous, then it’s a good thing.”

Numbers to know:
7 – Seven wins for Lydia Ko
5 – Five of Ko’s seven wins have been come from behind victories
20% - Lydia Ko has now won five of her last 25 starts
3 – With her win, Lydia Ko now leads all three of the LPGA’s major categories - Money List, Rolex Player of the Year and Race to CME Globe

Ko rallies after slow start:
Lydia Ko trailed by three shots entering the final round and it looked like her bid to defend was shot. But Ko calmed herself at the par-3 third and dropped her approach in five feet from the hole and drained the birdie. That proved to be a jumping off point.

“I said, ‘Man, this is an awful start,’” Ko joked when asked what she said to herself. “Just hitting that good shot on 3 kind of gave it I guess a little bit of a turnaround. Last year after four holes I was one over, then two, but I was able to bring it back with some good birdies.”

Ko admitted at points Sunday she just wondered if it just wasn’t her day. She made a birdie on the 13th but followed with a disappointing par on the par-5 14th. She then drained a 40-foot bomb for birdie on the 15th but followed it up with a bogey at 16. Then she hit a brilliant second into the 17th to eight foot that would have pushed her into a tie for the lead but narrowly missed it low.

“On 17 I thought it was a hint that, You know what? It’s not your week. That putt on 18 kind of proved me wrong,” Ko said.

It still almost wasn’t. Ko had to head to the practice putting green after signing her card and wait for the gallery groan to know that Pressel had missed her 15 footer at the last and she’d have another hole to try and defend. She then had to watch hopelessly again after leaving her birdie putt on the first playoff hole one roll short – a putt that was dead center – as Pressel lined up a makeable 10 footer.

“After I had already played the hole it’s just really out of my hands,” Ko said. “I know how great of a putter Morgan is, so I kind of thought she was going to make it. I was like, I tried my best and that was kind of it. I think it was probably the first playoff hole that would be a little bit more disappointing because I had the perfect line and then it just lipped it like the ball was short. You never really want to leave it short in that case.”

Pressel comes up just shy of win number 3:
Morgan Pressel gave herself chances but wasn’t quite able to capitalize and take home her first win since 2008 falling to Lydia Ko on the second playoff hole.

“I had plenty of chances out there today, so I can’t be too disappointed. I gave it my all,” Pressel said. “Definitely was a little bit sloppier today in general. I did not have my so called A game, but got into the playoff. Hit one good putt and hit one not so good putt.”

Pressel had an up-and-down day on Sunday with four bogeys, two birdies and a 50 foot bomb for eagle on the par-5 sixth to post a 72 and sat tied with Ko following four rounds. Pressel had looks for the win on both the 18th and her first playoff hole but narrowly missed both. On the second playoff hole, Pressel missed a 25-footer while Ko calmly drained a six footer to claim her seventh LPGA victory.

“I hit a couple good wedges but just couldn’t convert the putt,” Pressel said. “That’s all it really come down to is putting at the end of the day. If you look back at the way we played the 18th hole, she birdied it twice and I didn’t. It was a very strange day. Missed a 4 footer for birdie and make a 50 footer for eagle on the next hole and then 3 putt. It was kind of all over the place. But I gave myself a chance, and that’s what I came here to do.”

Learning experience for Henderson:
Brooke Henderson wasn’t able to convert her 54-hole lead into the first LPGA victory, falling a mere shot out of the playoff between Lydia Ko and Morgan Pressel, but the Canadian was able to gain a lot of experience that she hopes to take moving forward in her career.

“I learned a lot from today,” Henderson admitted. “Just the whole atmosphere of being in the final group on Sunday was amazing. I didn’t play my best, but it was fun just to be there and be in contention most of the day.”

Henderson had a rough start to her day with bogeys on the first and third holes but was able to rebound and stay in the hunt for the remained of the round and set her up with a chance to make the playoff.

“On the 18th hole, had a putt to tie and get into the playoff, which would’ve been really nice, but a third finish here is definitely a confidence booster moving forward,” Henderson said. “You know, even down the stretch I never gave up and was still going, because I knew it’s never over till it’s over.”

Henderson’s effort was noticed by her playing partners:

“Brooke is a grinder,” said Pressel. “She reminds me a lot of me when I was that age. I knew that she was going to stay tough. We both made some sloppy mistakes that I know neither she nor I would’ve liked to make.”

Henderson will catch a flight this evening and head on to Dallas for the Monday qualifier for the Volunteers of America North Texas Shootout where she will look to improve upon her third place finish.

“I definitely won on a lot of experience,” Henderson said. “I can gain a lot from that moving forward. Hopefully I’ll be in the position that I was in earlier this morning many times in the future and I’ll be able to take everything that happened today and be able to learn from it.”

Quote of the day:
“I don’t know that she needs any advice from me. I think she’s doing okay.” -Morgan Pressel on advice she’d have for Lydia Ko

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Round 3 - Henderson takes slim lead into final day

April 25, 2015

17-year-old Canadian Brooke Henderson eschewed a fierce Northern California wind on Saturday for an even-par 72 to take a one-shot lead after the first three rounds at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic. Henderson could become only the third player ever to win on the LPGA Tour before her 18th birthday. She also could become the first Canadian to win on the LPGA Tour since Lorie Kane won the 2001 LPGA Takefuji; Henderson would have been three years old at the time.

“It was a great day out there. It was really tough conditions, and I was able to play really well,” Henderson said. “Couple times my short game needed to bail me out, and it was able to do that, especially the first 16 holes.”

Henderson’s lead could have been even larger if it weren’t for back-to-back bogeys on the last two.

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

Trailing Henderson by just one shot at 8-under are Morgan Pressel (5-under 67) and Min Seo Kwak (3-under 69), who were the only two players in the field to shoot below 70 on Saturrday. Both will join Henderson in the final group on Sunday.

Ironically, Pressel herself knows a bit about the position Henderson finds herself in after Pressel won a major championship at the age of 18. And 18-year-old Lydia Ko, a six-time winner on the LPGA Tour and world No. 1, will be in the group ahead of Henderson, just three shots back of the lead.

“They know they can do it. They step up to that tee and there is no fear,” Pressel said. “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 than 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.”

Ko, the defending champ here, sits in solo fourth, three shots back of the lead, and looking for her seventh career LPGA victory two days after she turned 18. Four of Ko’s six LPGA Tour victories have been come-from-behind victories on Sunday – the largest being a three-shot deficit at the 2014 Marathon Classic Presented by Owens Corning.

Stacy Lewis, the runner-up here last year, and Shanshan Feng are both four shots back at 5-under-par.

Numbers to know:
2 – Only two players shot in the 60s during the third round, Morgan Pressel (67) and Min Seo Kwak (69).
3 – The biggest lead Lydia Ko’s ever overcome on Sunday in a win.
4 – Lydia Ko’s come from behind on Sunday for four of her Six LPGA Tour wins.
2 – Number of players who have won on the LPGA Tour before their 18th birthday - Lydia Ko and Lexi Thompson.
7 – Number of tournaments won by a player under the age of 18 – Six by Lydia Ko and one by Lexi Thompson.
2001 – Last time a Canadian won on the LPGA Tour – Lorie Kane at the 2001 Takefuji LPGA.

Pressel goes low to get into final pairing:
On a day when Lake Merced was playing almost two and a half strokes over par (74.555) Morgan Pressel was able to put together an impressive 5-under round of 67 to jump from a tie for 13th into a tie for second. Pressel’s fellow players certainly took notice.

“That was really impressive,” said Stacy Lewis. “That score today is playing some golf.”

The 67 was the lowest round of the day by two strokes and was one of only two rounds in the 60s.

“I wouldn’t say it was the absolute very best I could’ve played, but I certainly kept control of the golf ball in the wind,” Pressel admitted. “It was a different golf course, but I think that Rock and I handled it well kind of adjusting our game plan when we needed to. I was very, very solid with the putter today as well.”

The round is another example of how Pressel’s game appears to be moving in the right direction after a swing change.

“I’ve really, really worked hard,” Pressel admitted. “I’ve been very diligent on the range. A lot of it has to do with my tempo so I can get into the right place. I’ve put in a lot of time to try to hit it where I would like it to be. I video my swing almost every day and just kind of keep tabs on it. I know in regresses a little bit on the golf course, but that’s natural where your tendencies kind of come out under pressure. I also can self correct. When I hit a shot, I know what I need to do to fix it on the next one.”

Lewis has noticed how the changes have been working for Pressel.

“I think the main thing is her golf swing. I think she’s got more control of it. Club is in a better place to the top. You can definitely see that. She’s picked up distance over the last couple years, so you can finally just kind of see her getting comfortable with the swing changes.”

“I wouldn’t say it’s textbook ever,” Lewis continued. “But you could definitely tell that the club was not in the right place at the top where she could get it back to impact exact. I think what you’re seeing now is the club is in a better place to the top and she’s not relying so much on timing, which you’re seeing better golf week in and week out.”

With the game coming around and the new swing working Pressel will be looking to get back in the winner’s circle for the first time since the 2008 Kapalua LPGA Classic.

“It would mean the world to win for sure,” Pressel said of what a win would mean for her. “All I’ve been trying to do is put myself in position. I know I’m capable of it, and I certainly will need a good round tomorrow. But whether it’s this week, next week, within the next month, I just feel really good about where my game is headed.”

Pressel and Henderson share a bond:
Brooke Henderson’s first made cut in an LPGA event – the 2013 U.S. Women’s Open as a 15-year-old – came with Morgan Pressel in her pairing. Her first win on the LPGA Tour could come Sunday with Pressel in her group as well. It was a dream then, and Sunday could become the realization of an even bigger dream as Henderson will tee off in the 1:05 PM final group with Pressel alongside her.

“Playing with her in the U.S. Women’s Open was an amazing experience,” Henderson said. “Ever since then she’s been very kind to me. I’ve still always been a little nervous around her because I’ve looked up to her my whole life, but I’m really looking to forward to tomorrow.”

Although Henderson first took notice of Pressel long ago, Pressel’s been a fan of hers, too, since they played together four years ago at the Canadian Women’s Open.

“I’ve been watching her for a long time, since the first time I played with her at the Canadian Open,” Pressel said. “I watched her then and it was incredibly impressive. I knew she would be something special out on our Tour as well.”

Henderson’s been watching her for far longer.

“Growing up she was my biggest role model other than my sister,” Henderson said. “I always looked up to her. I met her when I was around eight years ago. That was so cool. She spent a little extra time with me than the other girls, which I thought was really cool.”

Kwak, Kwak, Kwak:
“Kwak, Kwak, Kwak...” that was the chant that Min Seo Kwak heard from fans and her fellow players last year when she walked to the 18th green during her two victories on the Symetra Tour - Road to LPGA. Kwak will be hoping to hear those chants on the LPGA level tomorrow at Lake Merced as she enter the final round a shot back of the lead.

“Yes, yes a lot because I know how to win like in Symetra Tour. So I’ll try to do same thing here,” said Kwak when asked if having those Symetra Tour wins will give her confidence going into tomorrow.

Kwak sits at 8-under for the tournament following a third round 69, one of only two rounds in the 60s on the day.

“I think I hit it straight and putting was really good this week,” Kwak explained. “Last week I missed many short putts, but this week I tried to make all the short putt. With my caddie I practice a lot this week, so it was good putting.”

The round was highlighted by a hole out eagle from 88 yards on the par-5 ninth.

“It was 88 yard with the slope, then I hit 52 degree, like quarter swing. Then bounced and then it went in and I celebrate like this,” Kwak said throwing her hands in the air with a smile.

Kwak feels at home on the difficult track at Lake Merced and feels like it fits her game.

“I don’t hit far or, yeah, so I think narrow fairway, hard green should be better for me to score better,” Kwak explained.

When asked about her approach to the final round Kwak wants to keep it simple.

“Fairway, green, and make putt.”

Ko looks to repeat 2014 Swinging Skirts comeback:
Lydia Ko entered the final round one shot back a year ago when she won here, but she’ll have to do more work to come from behind on Sunday this year as she’ll enter the final round three shots back of 17-year-old Brooke Henderson.

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

Even more interesting is this is the first time in Ko’s LPGA Tour career that she’s ever chased a Sunday leader younger than she is, and the newly minted 18-year-old was asked if she feels old now seeing Henderson in the lead.

“Yeah, now I’m not the 17 year old that they’re talking about right now,” Ko said with a laugh. “We’re similar in age and played some tournaments together as amateurs. We’re all really friends out here.”

Ko says that although at their age they seem immune to pressure, they’re not. They’re not naive to it either.

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

Ko said that to handle the nerves she likes to take deep breaths on the course and she’s seemed immune to pressure in her six LPGA Tour wins before she turned 18 Friday. And after seeing the way Henderson was able to carve out an even-par 72 on Saturday while holding the lead throughout on a course where the wind was howling, Ko’s not expecting the 17-year-old to fold under the weight of the moment.

“Brooke is playing pretty consistent and playing consistently well,” Ko said. “I saw the leaderboard, and every time it’s there, even though we play a couple tough holes, she wasn’t losing shots. She was gaining shots and making birdies. To play so consistent on a course like this with the conditions like today, it’s tough. Shows how strong she is in her mental game, too.”

Stacy Lewis thinks that watching what Lydia’s done over the last couple years has to only fuel Henderson’s belief that she can, too.

“It’s amazing but it’s kind of becoming a norm now,” Lewis said. “Just shows that, I mean, everybody plays their best golf at different ages. For these girls it’s younger than most. For me, I was never even close to playing that level of golf at 17. Everybody is different, you know, but definitely these kids see Lydia doing that, and they played with her in amateur and junior golf, and I think it does open their dreams and horizons.”

Lewis lurking:
Four shots back of Brooke Henderson isn’t the ideal place for Stacy Lewis to be, but on this golf course, it’s hardly an insurmountable deficit. Lewis trailed by seven at the 2012 Mizuno Classic and shot a 63 on Sunday to win. So four isn’t out of reach for the No. 3 ranked player in the world.

“I think this golf course, five, six shots is really not that much,” Lewis said. “You go out and post a number like Morgan did today – I mean, I think we’re still going to get some wind tomorrow so it’s still going to play hard.”

Lewis said that before Henderson made bogey on the last two holes. So she’s got to be licking her chops heading to her room tonight. She’s finished runner-up three times this year already and badly wants that first taste of the winner’s circle for 2015.

“You go out there and post five, six under, I think you got a chance at the end of the day tomorrow,” Lewis said. “This golf course is too hard for someone to just kind of run away with it.”

If anyone’s prepared for the wind, too, it’s Lewis. She grew up in Texas, where the wind howls, and she plays her golf these days out of Jupiter, Fla., where the South Florida breeze rips in off of the ocean.

“I like the wind. I like when it plays hard and you got to kind of fight it out a little bit,” Lewis said. “Florida and Texas; Everywhere I’ve been, there seems to be wind.”

The key she says with the wind is just trying not to do too much with it. At Lake Merced, it’s too easy to short side yourself and make a bogey with a quickness, she said.

It’s happened to her too often this week, she said, and resulted in too many bogeys to be at the top of the leaderboard. But there’s 18 more holes to play and Lewis might fight harder than anyone on Tour.

“I’m still hanging around,” Lewis said. “I’m in a position where a good round tomorrow has a chance.”

Round 2 - Henderson takes lead from Ko

April 24, 2015

As the world No. 1 Lydia Ko turned 18 Friday, Canadian Brooke Henderson officially laid her claim to being the best 17-year-old in the world, blistering Lake Merced Golf Club for a 7-under 65 to climb into a two-shot lead heading into the weekend at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic Presented by CTBC. The former top-ranked amateur turned professional in December and is playing only the second LPGA Tour event of her professional career, but she looked like a seasoned vet on a day that saw her fire a bogey-free back-nine 31. Henderson’s 65 is the lowest score in the two-year history of this event, and she’s not afraid of the bullseye that comes with sleeping on a lead heading into the weekend.

“I think I’m ready,” Henderson said. “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.”

Henderson needed only 25 putts in a second round that has her at 9-under for the tournament, two shots clear of Na Yeon Choi while Yueer Cindy Feng (-6) and Sakura Yokomine (-6) are three shots back of Henderson.

Ko, the defending champion here, opened the day with the overnight lead after a 5-under 67 Thursday but couldn’t step on the throttle on her birthday, posting a one birdie, one bogey even par round Friday.

“I really didn’t get anything going,” Ko said. “When that happens it’s really hard. You know, I would say the par-5s, 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.”

That’s atypical from Ko, though. At only four shots back of Henderson, she sits in prime position to potentially defend here come Sunday. Of Ko’s six wins on the LPGA Tour, she trailed heading into the weekend in four of them, including overcoming a five-shot deficit entering the weekend at 2014 CME Group Tour Championship.

But to do so here this weekend, Ko knows the challenge that lies ahead.

“I think last year I was making a lot of up and downs and I think those were really crucial,” Ko said. “Sometimes you’re going to hit a loose shot here and there or get some funky lies. TO make up and down, save those pars and get advantage of those par-5s, that’s really important. That’s what I did yesterday and that’s what I did last year.”

It may not prove to be a leaderboard for the taking for Ko, but it’s an inexperienced group compared to the norm.

Among the top eight on the leaderboard, only Ko, Na Yeon Choi and Julieta Granada have ever won on the LPGA Tour.

Numbers to know:
2 – The position both Brooke Henderson and her sister, Brittany Henderson, finished Florida’s Natural Charity Classic a month ago on the Symetra Tour – Road to the LPGA
3 – Only three players in the top eight on the leaderboard have ever won on the LPGA Tour.
4 – Four of Lydia Ko’s six LPGA Tour wins have been after she trailed heading into the weekend.
17 – The age of leader Brooke Henderson.
25 – The amount of putts needed by Brooke Henderson Friday.
54 – Combined age of Brooke Henderson (17), Cindy Feng (19) and Lydia Ko (18) who sit at 1, T3 and T5 on the leaderboard respectively
79 – The number of players who made the cut at +5 on Friday.

Sister act:
Four weeks ago Brooke Henderson waited just off the 18th green at the Symetra Tour’s Florida’s Natural Charity Classic to comfort her older sister, Brittany, who had held the lead entering the final round but wasn’t able to hold on.

“She walked off the 18th green and was like, How did you do?’ And I’m like, We tied.” Brooke said.

Nearly seven years separate the two but not a place separated them on the scoreboard. Two Henderson’s hanging on the scoreboard. Both with a two beside them under position as the co runner-ups.

“It was awesome. It’s sort of funny. 144 players and we both finished second,” Brooke said. “It was a great week. She led almost the entire way and I was nowhere to be found until the last day and made a few putts down the stretch.”

Currently, the sister duo lives together, practice together and frequently travel together to events. They even used to caddie for each other before both players turned professional. Brittany caddied for Brooke at the U.S. Women’s Open last year, where she finished in 10th as an amateur, and Brooke returned the favor at the LPGA’s Qualifying School this fall. This week, though, they are thousands of miles apart on opposite coasts. Brooke got in the field this week in San Francisco through a sponsor’s exemption and is currently in the lead by two entering the weekend. Brittany sits in a tie for sixth at the Guardian Retirement Championship at Sara Bay on the Symetra Tour – Road to the LPGA after a first-round 2-under 70.

“I love when she’s on my bag,” Brooke said. “She’s one of my best friends and she knows my game just as well as I do. Same goes for when I caddie for her. Her opinion means a lot to me. Just being able to lean on someone I think is very important.”

Throughout her five-month professional career - one Brooke left Canada and moved to Florida to start with her sister - Brooke’s leaned on her sister without a tinge of regret.

“For me I’m not on a steady tour, sort of a mixture of mini tour, Symetra and LPGA. So when I get the chance to come out here and play, I’m really happy to do that,” Brooke said. “It’s a great opportunity for me, so I really got to be able to capitalize when I do get those opportunities. Turning professional, I’m really glad I did. I think it’s the right move for me at this time.

“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.”

Like waking up on a Saturday morning with the lead.

“In my amateur career I loved when I had the lead,” Brooke said, “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.”

It's your birthday, It's your birthday:
Prior to and following her round defending Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic champion Lydia Ko was serenaded with “Happy Birthday” from fans and the tournament staff.

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

Ko shot an even par round of 72 to sit four back of tournament leader Brooke Henderson.

“You know, I really didn’t get anything going. When that happens it’s really hard,” Ko admitted. “You know, I would say the par 5s, 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.”

The six time LPGA Tour winner will shake off the round and enjoy her 18th birthday with friends and family.

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

Third teen, Cindy Feng, also in the hunt:
While Lydia Ko and Brittany Henderson may be generating most of the headlines another teenager, 19-year-old Cindy Feng also finds herself in the hunt at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic Presented by CTBC after a second round 68 leaves her at 6-under heading into the weekend.

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

Feng started playing golf at the age of four and half in China and moved to Orlando at the age of nine. Like most players who grew up in the 90s and 2000s, Feng was influenced by Tiger Woods. Unlike most players, Feng was able to walk the fairways with Tiger for a few holes.

“Yeah, so he made his first trip to China in 2001. I was almost six at the time, and somehow I got play with him for two holes,” Feng said. “ I got to walk with him. I mean, I was still young. I had his pictures all up on the wall at the time. It was one of those things like he was my idol. To see him in person and then to have all those people follow him, it was crazy.”

Ha Na Jang hangs around:
Despite not having her best stuff, Ha Na Jang was able to salvage a day two 71 to sit in a tie for fifth at 5-under for the week.

“Think today is just a little miss the fairway,” Jang said. “I think yesterday 100% my fairway, but today is maybe ten fairway. So I think it’s bit trouble with my tee shot today.”

Jang is coming off her worst two performances of the year at the ANA Inspiration and LOTTE Championships and decided to make a change in her bag.

“Change my irons, new irons Wednesday,” Jang said about the change. “I think a little bit more confidence and it’s really good.”

When asked if it is easy for her to get new clubs on Wednesday and put them into play the next day Jang replied with a big smile and nod of the head.

“No problem.”

$10 million club awaits NYC:
With a first or second place finish here Sunday, Na Yeon Choi would become only the 10th player in LPGA history to cross $10 million in career money on the LPGA Tour.

Choi pushed closer to that milestone Friday with a 4-under 68 on Friday to move into second at 7-under-par. Her coach flew in from China two days ago and she’s seen the results so far.

“I had a great round yesterday, and especially today I started very well even very cold weather,” Choi said. “I just adjusted the distance because it was going very short distance wise.”

Choi called her coach in because she’d been up-and-down since the season opener when she won the Coates Golf Championship. The win alleviated all the pressure that had developed over a two-year winless drought for the eight-time career LPGA winner, but she hadn’t seen the results on the course. She missed the cut in two of her next eight starts and only finished inside the top-10 one time in that span. Not the results the 2010 Vare Trophy winner expected to follow the thrill of victory.

“Just right after the tournament I had a missed cut, so I didn’t have much time to keep feeling the win,” Choi said. “But I think I have less pressure than last year. I have confidence in my game. When I’m in contention I can trust myself.”

Among the top eight on the leaderboard entering the third round, Choi – at only 27 years old – is the second oldest competitor. World No. 1 Lydia Ko is just 18 now, and the leader, Brooke Henderson, is just 17.

“I feel like I’m really old,” Choi said with a laugh. “They’re so young and they got really talented. I have to keep working hard and maybe more than them. Then I can maybe play with them.”

Ko’s talked previously about how she hopes to retire at the age of 30, but Choi – a former prodigy herself at joining the KLPGA at just 16 – isn’t so sure that Ko will truly want to hang it up as the years pass by.

“30? I was thinking like retire 30 when I was a teenager,” Choi said. “So right now I’m thinking I’m going to play more than 30. I think it’s just changes a little bit in age.”

Even if the up-and-down nature of the game drives her to brink of questioning her sanity at points.

“Every day is different,” Choi said. “Sometimes this is a great job; I want to play as a long as I can. Sometimes too much stress and I just want to quit. Every day is just different.”

With a win now behind her, Choi’s hoping for a stress-free weekend in contention

Working for the weekend:
79 players made the cut at 149 (+5). Notable players to miss the cut include Yani Tseng (+6), Christina Kim (+7) and Paula Creamer (+16).

Gulbis and Pressel to join Fox Sports team for USGA event converage:
On Tuesday, FOX Sports announced the final additions to its USGA on-air team and a pair of familiar names for LPGA fans were on it, Natalie Gulbis and Morgan Pressel.

“I’m very excited to be working with FOX,” Pressel said. “It will be my first attempt at commentary and working on the television side of things so I think it will be really neat.”

“I can’t wait to broadcast for FOX,” Gulbis said. “I’m excited about what FOX is going to bring to golf and I’m just excited that they wanted me to be part of the FOX family.”

Pressel will serve as U.S. Open 360 analysts for the men’s U.S. Open at Chambers Bay while Gulbis will cover the Women’s Amateur Four-Ball and the U.S. Women’s Amateur as an on-course reporter and will contribute to FOX Sports digital coverage of the U.S. Open, the U.S. Senior Open and the U.S. Women’s Open.

Round 1 - Ko leading Jang and Inkster

April 23, 2015

Rolex Rankings No. 1 Lydia Ko (-5)
Rolex Rankings No. 160 Juli Inkster (-4)
Rolex Rankings No. 21 Ha Na Jang (-4)
Rolex Rankings No. 258 P.K. Kongkraphan (-4)
Rolex Rankings No. 33 Morgan Pressel (-3)
Rolex Rankings No. 3 Stacy Lewis (-3)
Rolex Rankings No. 207 Brooke Henderson (-2)

A couple holes into the back nine, Stacy Lewis could only laugh when she shot a glance at the top of the leaderboard. There was Lydia Ko… again! The world No. 1 Ko, who beat Stacy here a year ago by a shot in her win, leads by one shot after the first round of the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic as the 17-year-old vies for her seventh career LPGA victory.

“I mean, it’s not surprising,” Lewis said. “You kind of have to laugh, but then you kind of don’t because you expect her to be there.”

Ko, who will turn 18 on Friday, is seemingly always up there on the leaderboard with seven top-10s in her first eight starts of 2015. She was pleased with the six birdie, one bogey effort Thursday but was more thrilled at the fact that she has a morning tee time on Friday and will be able to have a birthday dinner with friends.

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

It was a case of young and old Thursday. Juli Inkster, who at 54 years old is three times the age of Ko, is tied with P.K. Kongkraphan and Ha Na Jang at 4-under 68.

“I just think it’s really cool. We should take a picture and do a hashtag of a Throwback Thursday with her name out there on that leaderboard up there,” Lewis said of Inkster. “Just shows how good of a player she is. She gets what it takes to win out here and what it takes to play well.”

Lewis herself lit up the crowd on Thursday as well with a 3-under 69 that included a spectacular hole-out from the fairway on the 11th hole. She’s been working on ensuring that her hips don’t slide in the downswing but instead clear, and she felt like she finally got the move she was looking for on that shot.

“I just finally made a really good golf swing there,” Lewis said. “That’s the part I was most excited about is I made a really good swing and hit the shot I was trying to hit. Kind of just got some confidence going after that with that swing.”

Numbers to know:
1 – Three players this week have a shot at ending the week ranked the No. 1 player in the world – Lydia Ko, Inbee Park and Stacy Lewis.
7 – Number of amateurs in the field is the most of any event this year.
12 – In her win a year ago, Lydia Ko finished at 12 under for the tournament after an opening-round 4-under 68.
14 – Ha Na Jang hit every fairway
17 – 17 Taiwanese players are in the field this week at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic
24 – Number of putts P.K. Kongkraphan needed in her first round 68.
68 – Inkster’s best round since the first round at the 2014 Portland Classic Presented by Cambia Health Solutions
82 – Highest round in Paula Creamer’s LPGA career
2011 – Last time Juli Inkster held at least a share of the lead after round one was the 2011 Lorena Ochoa Invitational, where she shot a 67 and finished the tournament in a tie for 4th.

Host with the most:
Juli Inkster is one of the most popular players on the LPGA Tour and that popularity only rises when she returns to the Bay Area.

“I’ve got a lot, which is nice,” Inkster said of friends and family in attendance. “Good friends come up and support me. So free ticket, everybody wants a free ticket. Yeah, so it’s good.“

Inkster’s galleries figure to continue to grow if she keeps up the play that saw her shoot an opening round 68 to sit in a tie for second.

“It would be amazing,” Inkster said of what her first victory since 2006 would mean to her. “I mean, that would be the feat of the year. But it would be great. Who knows? 54 holes is a lot of golf, especially out here.”

Inkster has been extending the California love to fellow Tour players this week as Kristy McPherson, Kendall Dye, Dori Carter, Gerina Piller, and her husband, Martin, have been staying at Inkster’s house in Los Altos.

“I got a house full of girls staying with me this week. We been having fun and cooking in, and so it’s been very relaxed, very laid back.”

Ko again:
Defending Swinging Skirts champions Lydia Ko once again finds herself at the top of the leaderboard following an opening round 67. The six time LPGA Tour winner will look to add a seventh victory at one of her favorite courses, Lake Merced.

“This is a very tough golf course,” Ko said. “You need to position yourself well, and even if you’re on the fairway sometimes it’s really hard to hold it on the green. It’s really tough in pretty much all aspects. I hit the ball pretty good where I wasn’t in too much trouble. If I did miss it a little bit I kind of got away with it, too.”

Tomorrow is a big day for Ko as it’s her 18th birthday but don’t expect anything to change for the World No. 1.

“I won’t change it just because I’m one year older,” Ko said of her approach. “Really I’m only one day older tomorrow.”

Another youngster making noise:
Lydia Ko isn’t the only teenager at the top of the leaderboard. 17-year-old Canadian Brooke Henderson, who turned professional to start 2015, fired a 2-under-par 70 to open the first round. Henderson proved her game was professional level a year ago with a 10th place finish at the U.S. Women’s Open as an amateur and has proven Ko’s not the only one with serious game beyond her years.

Henderson, the pride of Canadian women’s golf, has now made the cut in her last seven starts on the LPGA Tour but admits it’s cool to find herself in contention after the first round.

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

Henderson’s early pro career has been spent bouncing back and forth between LPGA Monday qualifiers, a Symetra Tour – Road to the LPGA event where she finished runner-up, and the Florida mini tours since turning professional but looks at home back on the LPGA Tour this week after getting a sponsor’s exemption into this event. She said the runner-up finish at the Symetra Tour’s Florida’s Natural Charity Classic provided confidence that she made the right decision in turning professional. It made it even better who she tied with – her sister, Brittany Henderson, a recent graduate of Coastal Carolina who has just started pursuing her own professional career.

“It was fun and sort of funny, too. 144 players and we both finish second,” Brooke said.

They travel and live together, but Brittany is in Sarasota at the Symetra Tour event. Both pursuing the same dream in different ways, and Brooke is enjoying the professional life thus far.

“It’s a lot of fun. It’s always been my dream to turn professional and one day to play full time on the LPGA Tour,” Brooke said. “I am working my way towards that by playing a mixture of tours, some mini-tour stuff, Symetra and LPGA. So it’s been a mixture of things, but it’s been fun.”

And her goal is simple – the Olympics and avoiding as many stages of LPGA Qualifying School as possible.

“Trying to make as much money out here and move up my world golf ranking so that I either give myself a good chance going into Q School or I can skip Q School altogether,” Brooke said. “That would be awesome!

Little bit of everything helping Pressel:
Morgan Pressel’s string of solid golf continued today when she posted a 3-under round of 69 to sit in a tie for fifth at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic Presented by CTBC.

“I mean, everything is really solid, but my driver putting me in play has eased the rest of the game,” Pressel said.

After a slow start to her season, Pressel has been playing some great golf in the past few weeks with three-consecutive top-20 finishes including a solo third at the ANA Inspiration.

“I mean, it’s a little bit of everything,” Pressel said of what’s made the difference this season. “I mean, I’ve kind of definitely noticed a difference since I put the new Chrome Soft Ball in play. I mean, my swing, like I said, I’m swinging more confidently at it, so that combination of a little bit more speed and a different golf ball I think has helped. Just over the last couple years, dog a lot of yoga has helped my strength. Those three things combined have all helped.”

Ha Na Jang back in contention:
Ha Na Jang’s not been particularly pleased with her recent form - a tie for 41st and a tie for 46th at the ANA Inspiration and Lotte Championship – but as a whole, her rookie year has been about as smooth of sailing as one could hope for as a rookie with three top-10s. She’s currently 12th in the Race to the CME Globe, 13th in scoring average (70.82), and 14th on the money list.

“I think really worst scores are the last week, Hawaii, and then the other tournament,” Jang said. “But no miss cuts, but scores really bad. So I am practice, practice, focus my iron. So really good this week. I’m changing irons right now, so really good.”

The practice showed on Thursday as Jang fired a first-round 4-under-par 68 that was more reminiscent of the form she showed early in the season when she finished in the top-10 in three of her first five LPGA starts as a rookie.

“It’s pretty good. Better than last week,” Jang said with a laugh.

It’s Jang’s jovial nature that stands out about her even more than her game so far. Everything Jang does, she does with a smile. Although she hasn’t had an English tutor with her, she’s learned the language through Disney movies and YouTube videos. Her caddie, Dave Stone, teaches her English phrases and she teaches him Korean. Four months in Stone jokes that her English is even better than his now.

“I think it’s really, really everything I enjoy,” Jang said. “New world, new tournament, new golf course. Everything is new.”

“She’s funny as hell,” LPGA veteran Christina Kim said, who has gotten to know her through the Rookie Pod System.

“She’s fearless, not just with the way she plays golf but with the way she takes on and tackles life. She’ll go out and do things that are potentially scary. When you go to a new country you don’t speak the language, but she’ll go out around town and immerse herself in the culture, which is something that I really admire.”

On the course, Kim said Jang’s demeanor remains her of Lydia Ko’s the way she never shows whether she’s five over or five under. And although many players on Tour would kill for the form Jang’s shown thus far, she knows it’ll take more to accomplish her ultimate goal – to represent Korea in the 2016 Olympics.

With a Rolex Women’s World Golf Ranking of 21, Jang would be a shoe in in every country except Korea and the United States. But Jang’s from a country that’s currently has eight players in the top 20. And although Korea was comfortable and she was a star on the KLPGA, Jang knew to achieve her goal she’d need to come compete against the world’s best on a weekly basis to have a chance of climbing into the Korean contingent for the Summer Games.

“It’s my big target,” Jang said. “I think in Korea every player is thinking about the Olympics.”

It’s also Sei Young Kim, Hyo Joo Kim, and Q Baek’s target – three other rookies on the LPGA Tour that all rank in the top 20 in the world. Sei Young and Hyo Joo have already won this year on the LPGA Tour, and Sei Young currently leads the Rolex Player of the Year and Rolex Rookie of the Year standings on the LPGA Tour. But she made it clear in her Wednesday press conference that she could care less about those standings.

“You know, I really haven’t thought much about both categories,” Sei Young said through a translator. “My main objective in coming to the LPGA in the States sis to be top in the world rankings. That would get me into playing in the Olympics in 2016.”

Jang’s known Sei Young for years, and the two were rivals on the course in Korea but the best of friends off of it. That’s why Jang knows she’s got her work cut out for her and needs to return to the form she showed by finishing in the top 10 in three of her first five LPGA starts. Although every win by her friends puts her further from her dream, she was still thrilled last Sunday watching as Sei Young issued the most thrilling finish golf’s seen to date in 2015, chipping in for par at the last and holing her eagle from the fairway at the first playoff hole.

“Last week was really awesome. I’m watching TV, so first 18, No. 18, Oh my god!” Jang said. “Really nice chipping. And then really nice eagle, right? Sei Young and I practice round together Monday and I said ‘You really that shot, that playoff?’”

If Jang keeps up this form, she could have her own seminal moment on Sunday.

Quote of the day:
”Juli is a legend, a Hall of Famer. It’s so cool that she still plays well at her age. That’s why I think golf is a great sport. It doesn’t matter if you’re 10 or 20 or if you’re 60, everybody can play.” - Lydia Ko on Juli Inkster

Scores

Pos. Player Scores Total To Par Prize Money
1 Lydia Ko 67 - 72 - 71 - 70 280 -8 $300,000.00
2 Morgan Pressel 69 - 72 - 67 - 72 280 -8 $182,956.00
3 Brooke M. Henderson 70 - 65 - 72 - 74 281 -7 $132,721.00
4 Min Seo Kwak 72 - 67 - 69 - 74 282 -6 $102,670.00
5 Shanshan Feng 70 - 70 - 71 - 72 283 -5 $82,638.00
6T Ha Na Jang 68 - 71 - 77 - 68 284 -4 $57,930.00
6T Amy Yang 72 - 68 - 75 - 69 284 -4 $57,930.00
6T Stacy Lewis 69 - 71 - 71 - 73 284 -4 $57,930.00
9T Mirim Lee 74 - 68 - 73 - 70 285 -3 $42,571.00
9T Sei Young Kim 74 - 69 - 70 - 72 285 -3 $42,571.00
11T Sakura Yokomine 71 - 67 - 77 - 71 286 -2 $36,310.00
11T Na Yeon Choi 69 - 68 - 78 - 71 286 -2 $36,310.00
13T P.K. Kongkraphan 68 - 76 - 71 - 72 287 -1 $31,853.00
13T Sandra Gal 74 - 67 - 72 - 74 287 -1 $31,853.00
15T Gerina Piller 72 - 73 - 73 - 70 288 E $27,512.00
15T Juli Inkster 68 - 74 - 75 - 71 288 E $27,512.00
15T Moriya Jutanugarn 70 - 72 - 72 - 74 288 E $27,512.00
18T Cristie Kerr 71 - 74 - 75 - 69 289 1 $21,874.00
18T Q Baek 73 - 72 - 74 - 70 289 1 $21,874.00
18T Hyo Joo Kim 71 - 73 - 74 - 71 289 1 $21,874.00
18T Inbee Park 73 - 71 - 73 - 72 289 1 $21,874.00
18T Minjee Lee 71 - 72 - 74 - 72 289 1 $21,874.00
18T Tiffany Joh 70 - 70 - 74 - 75 289 1 $21,874.00
18T Julieta Granada 70 - 69 - 75 - 75 289 1 $21,874.00
18T Yueer Cindy Feng 70 - 68 - 76 - 75 289 1 $21,874.00
26T Michelle Wie 75 - 74 - 72 - 69 290 2 $16,413.00
26T Ai Miyazato 73 - 70 - 77 - 70 290 2 $16,413.00
26T Caroline Hedwall 69 - 72 - 77 - 72 290 2 $16,413.00
26T Kelly Tan 72 - 70 - 74 - 74 290 2 $16,413.00
26T Jenny Shin 72 - 69 - 75 - 74 290 2 $16,413.00
26T Anna Nordqvist 70 - 74 - 70 - 76 290 2 $16,413.00
26T So Yeon Ryu 73 - 68 - 71 - 78 290 2 $16,413.00
33T Ryann O'Toole 76 - 69 - 77 - 69 291 3 $12,588.00
33T Azahara Munoz 72 - 73 - 75 - 71 291 3 $12,588.00
33T Eun-Hee Ji 73 - 70 - 75 - 73 291 3 $12,588.00
33T Pornanong Phatlum 70 - 72 - 76 - 73 291 3 $12,588.00
33T Kim Kaufman 73 - 72 - 72 - 74 291 3 $12,588.00
33T Brittany Lincicome 71 - 72 - 73 - 75 291 3 $12,588.00
39T Jane Park 73 - 73 - 75 - 71 292 4 $9,816.00
39T Alison Lee 74 - 75 - 71 - 72 292 4 $9,816.00
39T Amelia Lewis 74 - 73 - 73 - 72 292 4 $9,816.00
39T Ilhee Lee 74 - 72 - 74 - 72 292 4 $9,816.00
39T Mi Jung Hur 72 - 71 - 74 - 75 292 4 $9,816.00
39T Chella Choi 70 - 73 - 74 - 75 292 4 $9,816.00
45T Mina Harigae 75 - 72 - 78 - 68 293 5 $7,763.00
45T Lee-Anne Pace 71 - 74 - 77 - 71 293 5 $7,763.00
45T Hee Young Park 75 - 72 - 73 - 73 293 5 $7,763.00
45T Sadena Parks 71 - 74 - 75 - 73 293 5 $7,763.00
45T Wei-Ling Hsu 73 - 72 - 74 - 74 293 5 $7,763.00
45T Mika Miyazato 74 - 70 - 75 - 74 293 5 $7,763.00
51T I.K. Kim 73 - 76 - 72 - 73 294 6 $6,812.00
51T Andrea Lee 70 - 74 - 74 - 76 294 6 $0.00
53T Karine Icher 74 - 75 - 75 - 71 295 7 $6,310.00
53T Maria Hernandez 74 - 71 - 78 - 72 295 7 $6,310.00
53T Hee Kyung Seo 76 - 73 - 71 - 75 295 7 $6,310.00
53T Lexi Thompson 75 - 72 - 71 - 77 295 7 $6,310.00
57T Karrie Webb 74 - 74 - 78 - 70 296 8 $5,709.00
57T Dewi Claire Schreefel 74 - 74 - 75 - 73 296 8 $5,709.00
59T Sue Kim 72 - 74 - 77 - 74 297 9 $5,209.00
59T Haeji Kang 75 - 73 - 72 - 77 297 9 $5,209.00
59T Meena Lee 71 - 74 - 74 - 78 297 9 $5,209.00
62T Carlota Ciganda 74 - 75 - 79 - 70 298 10 $4,658.00
62T Christel Boeljon 74 - 73 - 80 - 71 298 10 $4,658.00
62T Laura Davies 72 - 77 - 77 - 72 298 10 $4,658.00
62T Sarah Jane Smith 72 - 77 - 75 - 74 298 10 $4,658.00
62T Kelly Shon 72 - 76 - 75 - 75 298 10 $4,658.00
62T Simin Feng 71 - 78 - 71 - 78 298 10 $4,658.00
68T Jennifer Johnson 74 - 73 - 77 - 75 299 11 $4,257.00
68T Katie Burnett 73 - 74 - 77 - 75 299 11 $4,257.00
70T Katherine Kirk 76 - 73 - 78 - 73 300 12 $4,024.00
70T Danielle Kang 74 - 74 - 77 - 75 300 12 $4,024.00
70T Ashleigh Simon 74 - 74 - 72 - 80 300 12 $4,024.00
73 Yu-Ling Hsieh 74 - 74 - 75 - 78 301 13 $3,906.00
74T Meng Chu Chen 73 - 75 - 78 - 77 303 15 $3,856.00
74T Yu-Sang Hou 72 - 75 - 76 - 80 303 15 $0.00
76T Candie Kung 74 - 75 - 81 - 76 306 18 $3,760.00
76T Ariya Jutanugarn 78 - 70 - 81 - 77 306 18 $3,760.00
76T Caroline Masson 75 - 73 - 81 - 77 306 18 $3,760.00
79 Amy Anderson 73 - 75 - 77 - 83 308 20 $3,666.00
CUT Pernilla Lindberg 78 - 72 150 6 $0.00
CUT Yani Tseng 76 - 74 150 6 $0.00
CUT Mallory Blackwelder 75 - 75 150 6 $0.00
CUT Laura Diaz 74 - 76 150 6 $0.00
CUT Kris Tamulis 74 - 76 150 6 $0.00
CUT Sun Young Yoo 74 - 76 150 6 $0.00
CUT Christina Kim 79 - 72 151 7 $0.00
CUT Austin Ernst 77 - 74 151 7 $0.00
CUT Lisa Ferrero 77 - 74 151 7 $0.00
CUT Su-Hyun Oh 77 - 74 151 7 $0.00
CUT Jennifer Song 77 - 74 151 7 $0.00
CUT Pei-Yun Chien 76 - 75 151 7 $0.00
CUT Sarah Kemp 76 - 75 151 7 $0.00
CUT Mika Liu 76 - 75 151 7 $0.00
CUT Sydnee Michaels 76 - 75 151 7 $0.00
CUT Mi Hyang Lee 75 - 76 151 7 $0.00
CUT Alison Walshe 75 - 76 151 7 $0.00
CUT Nannette Hill 74 - 77 151 7 $0.00
CUT Xi Yu Lin 74 - 77 151 7 $0.00
CUT Catriona Matthew 74 - 77 151 7 $0.00
CUT Jackie Stoelting 74 - 77 151 7 $0.00
CUT Brooke Pancake 72 - 79 151 7 $0.00
CUT Beatriz Recari 72 - 79 151 7 $0.00
CUT Min Lee 77 - 75 152 8 $0.00
CUT Giulia Sergas 77 - 75 152 8 $0.00
CUT Dori Carter 76 - 76 152 8 $0.00
CUT Joanna Klatten 76 - 76 152 8 $0.00
CUT Mo Martin 75 - 77 152 8 $0.00
CUT Danah Bordner 74 - 78 152 8 $0.00
CUT Thidapa Suwannapura 79 - 74 153 9 $0.00
CUT Marina Alex 78 - 75 153 9 $0.00
CUT Kristen Gillman 77 - 76 153 9 $0.00
CUT Brittany Lang 77 - 76 153 9 $0.00
CUT Demi Runas 77 - 76 153 9 $0.00
CUT Pei-Ying Tsai 76 - 77 153 9 $0.00
CUT Paula Reto 75 - 78 153 9 $0.00
CUT Mariajo Uribe 73 - 80 153 9 $0.00
CUT Ayako Uehara 79 - 75 154 10 $0.00
CUT Jaclyn Sweeney 78 - 76 154 10 $0.00
CUT Yen-Ling Pan 77 - 77 154 10 $0.00
CUT Marissa Steen 76 - 78 154 10 $0.00
CUT Kendall Dye 75 - 79 154 10 $0.00
CUT Alena Sharp 78 - 77 155 11 $0.00
CUT Paz Echeverria 76 - 79 155 11 $0.00
CUT Jodi Ewart Shadoff 76 - 79 155 11 $0.00
CUT Ssu-Chia Cheng 79 - 77 156 12 $0.00
CUT Belen Mozo 79 - 77 156 12 $0.00
CUT Se Ri Pak 77 - 79 156 12 $0.00
CUT Szu-Han Chen 76 - 80 156 12 $0.00
CUT Hsin-Ning Yeh 81 - 76 157 13 $0.00
CUT Hsien-Wen Huang 78 - 79 157 13 $0.00
CUT Babe Liu 77 - 80 157 13 $0.00
CUT Haley Moore 80 - 78 158 14 $0.00
CUT Ji Young Oh 79 - 79 158 14 $0.00
CUT Han-Hsuan Yu 79 - 79 158 14 $0.00
CUT Kristy McPherson 77 - 81 158 14 $0.00
CUT Paula Creamer 82 - 78 160 16 $0.00
CUT Natalie Gulbis 80 - 80 160 16 $0.00
CUT Jo-Hua Hung 81 - 80 161 17 $0.00
CUT Jaye Marie Green 78 - 83 161 17 $0.00
CUT Ai-Chen Kuo 82 - 80 162 18 $0.00
CUT Tzu-Chi Lin 79 - 83 162 18 $0.00
CUT Huei-Ju Shih 83 - 80 163 19 $0.00
WDC Haru Nomura 72 72 E $0.00
WDC Jennifer Rosales 80 80 8 $0.00

 

Preview

DATES:  April 23-26
SITE:  Lake Merced Golf Club, Daly City, CA
PRIZE MONEY: $2,000,000
Click here for tournament stats & info

Of the myriad of spectacular shots Lydia Ko’s made in her six LPGA wins, the one that stands out the most is the one she hit here a year ago. Leading by one entering the par-5 18th, Ko yanked her second shot into the heavy rough. But she calmly hit her approach to six feet and nailed the putt to hold off Stacy Lewis for the fi rst win of her rookie year.

“I definitely didn’t hit my second shot well, but it can kind of run out that way on the 18th hole,” Ko said. “I think the third shot, I normally don’t visualize my shots that much, but that time I imagined it landing just short of the green and for it to roll up and have ten feet for birdie. It worked out well. I said, Maybe I should visualize more often. That’s definitely one of the most memorable and important shots.”

The win was particularly special considering the strength of the field. With 19 of the top 20 in the world, Ko said this event “isn’t a major, but it feels like a major.” That’s why Ko said it meant so much to win here last year. Major level golf course, major level field, and major level crowds, and yet she was the one walking off victorious.

And Ko’s hoping that one day she’ll walk off as the winner at a major, too, and she didn’t feel her game was up to her normal standards three weeks ago at the ANA Inspiration, where she finished in a tie for 51st – snapping a stream of 10 consecutive top-10 finishes.

“The majors, they give me butterflies a lot,” Ko said. “You know, majors, I really shouldn’t think of it as a different tournament or different scale, but somehow I just go there and I don’t feel like my game is up to the standard. That kind of happened at ANA, so I’m trying to learn to – I think through experience I’m trying to learn to I think handle myself, calm myself, and take myself back a little bit and say, ‘You know what? This is just another tournament.’ We’ve got a great field here this week. It’s not much of a difference.”

Creamer doesn't budge on her notion of Women's Masters:
Paula Creamer got the attention of the golfing media world last week when she tweeted out that there should be a Women’s Masters. She wasn’t budging on that notion Tuesday in her press conference here in San Francisco.

“I did. Yes, I did make that statement,” Creamer said. “I feel like there is no reason why we shouldn’t be able to. It’s 2015. I think Augusta and the Masters and everybody with that event, they want to grow the game so badly. That’s what it is, about growing the game and giving people opportunities. The Chip and Putt, all of that for the kids to be able to come out there.”

“There is no reason we can’t do that for women’s golf as well. We’re just as much a part of growing the game. I’ve been there, played there, stayed in Butler’s Cabin. I had an awesome time. I think the patrons and everybody would love to have two weeks there, two tournaments. Why wouldn’t you? Hopefully we will see something change and happen.”

Sei Young Kim brings Lydia Ko off her couch:
Lydia Ko wasn’t in the field last week, but that doesn’t mean she wasn’t into the final round of the Lotte Championship.

When Sei Young Kim set the golf world abuzz by chipping in for par at the last to force a playoff and then holing out her second shot approach for an eagle to win, she thrilled Lydia Ko too.

“Two amazing shots at Lotte. I was screaming watching the TV,” Ko said.

Ko herself has never quite had a finish like Kim, but she somewhat knows what Inbee Park felt like last week when Park watched as Kim sunk Park’s fate with the hole-out eagle from the fairway.

“When I was an amateur I played the Astor Trophy and I was playing against a girl and she made a hole-in-one,” Ko said, “And I kind of felt like what maybe Inbee felt. You didn’t do anything, but it’s kind of like already out of your hands.”

The graduate:
One of Michelle Wie’s lifelong dreams was to win the U.S. Women’s Open. She did that last summer.

But it is here in San Francisco where she accomplished a lifelong dream a couple years ago, graduating from Stanford.

It’s that return down memory lane to Stanford that gave Wie solace as she got on the plane Sunday to leave Hawaii, the place where she grew up and always visits in the off season.

“It was definitely really sad to leave home, but the fact that I was coming to San Francisco made it that much easier,” Wie said. “Coming back to the Bay Area, stopped by Stanford yesterday for a quick couple of seconds. Just feels so good to be back. It definitely feels like home, like coming back, landing in the airport, just so many memories. It feels great to be back.”

Wie’s even more thrilled at the strength of the event in the Bay with a track she says is fit for a major and a feel that includes 19 of the top 20 in the world. And the trip home becomes more than just a chance to visit Stanford and see her friends, it also allows them to see what she does.

“Definitely feels different coming back to the Bay Area. Feels like home for me,” Wie said. “It’s great. I’m excited to see all the fans out this week. The sponsors have done such a great job of branding the event, the purple and pink. All the artwork on the golf course is pretty fantasy. So it’s been a fun week so far.”

A birthday to remember:
Lydia Ko’s 17th birthday celebration brought on a louder sing along than she might have expected. As she walked to the 1st tee on Thursday a year ago, the crowd on the fi rst tee serenaded her with a Happy Birthday sing along. That kick started a week to remember as Ko walked off the green to roars on Sunday after sinking a birdie at the last to win a solid present for herself for her 17th birthday.

Ko’s birthday last year came on Thursday of tournament week, but this year will fall on Friday’s second round.

“I’m hoping that I can get a morning tee time,” Ko said. “Last year got teed off late.”

It’d be hard to match Ko’s birthday week last year, though. Not only did she win, but that week she found out Time Magazine had named her one of the world’s 100 Most Influential People.

“It was a really fun week. My birthday, the Time 100, so a lot of things going on,” Ko said.





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