|Post-round comments from the leading players: Shanshan Feng, Felicity Johnson, Gwladys Nocera, Caroline Masson, Joanna Klatten, Lexi Thompson, Carlota Ciganda and Michelle Wie.|
Post-round comments from the leading players: Shanshan Feng, Felicity Johnson, Gwladys Nocera, Caroline Masson, Joanna Klatten, Lexi Thompson, Carlota Ciganda and Michelle Wie.
Q. You said you were feeling a little bit of pressure yesterday but it didn't look like that was the case today?
SHANSHAN FENG: Actually, I did. I have pressure the first maybe few holes, but then I started with a par and then really easy birdie, like a two‑feet putt for birdie and then I made another putt on the third hole and then after that, I was fine.
My putting was really good today. I think I learned something maybe from Inbee Park who is our money queen on the LPGA this year. I played with her many times, and I just never, you know, knew how she could put that well. And then today, I was talking with my caddie, I said, oh, I learned something.
Q. And that was the key for you today, was it once you got a few birdies on the card, you relaxed and that helped you move on?
SHANSHAN FENG: Yeah, sure. Especially after I holed a couple of putts, and I think I just kept it going and it was great.
Q. In terms of your game, how good was that round of golf? How much better can you get this week?
SHANSHAN FENG: Actually, my low score this year, it was only 6‑under. I've had 5‑ , 6‑under many times. But yesterday I was trying really hard to break that 6‑under but I was right on. Today, I broke my low round for the year, and I hope I just keep that playing.
Q. And I'm assuming you're feeling very confident for the next two days, getting your hands on the trophy?
SHANSHAN FENG: Well, I'm still on the same page as the start. My goal was just Top‑5, no more pressure.
I think I did really well. I did feel a little pressure in the beginning, but then after those two birdies on the second and third, the pressure was off, and my putting was real good today. I think I'm a player that when my putting is on, then it's really good, but when it's not there, it's kind of a struggle. I struggle a little bit.
Q. You had told me yesterday how pleased you are with your form, 24 hours ago, still the case I guess?
FELICITY JOHNSON: Yeah, exactly. It was a very kind of straightforward round. I hit the ball great again. Hit a lot of greens and had good opportunities, so very happy with my work so far this week.
Q. A very strong finish, that could be significant that birdie on the last.
FELICITY JOHNSON: Yeah, it's always nice to finish with a birdie. I missed a really good opportunity for birdie on 17, which is disappointing. But hit a good shot into 18 and just kind of snuck it in the left edge for about ten foot. Yeah, it's always a nice way to finish the day.
Q. Is there anything you can improve on tomorrow or are you totally happy at the moment?
FELICITY JOHNSON: Oh, there's always things you can improve on. Nothing's ever perfect.
So yeah, I missed a few fairways today, so if I can hit the driver a bit more accurate, just keep hitting the greens the way I am and hopefully hole a few more putts, yeah, there's always ways to improve.
Q. You'll be obviously in the final group with just edging into second there, how significant is that? Is it on your mind when you're playing those closing holes, and how much do you look forward to that?
FELICITY JOHNSON: Yeah, it's always fun to be in the last few groups, and I knew if I birdied the last ‑‑ I knew when I was standing there if it went in, I would be in the last group, so gave me a little bit more to focus on. Yeah, luckily it snuck in the edge and I'm looking forward to playing with Shanshan tomorrow.
Q. Somebody told me that you had been really focused recently, practicing a lot ‑‑
FELICITY JOHNSON: Who told you that?
Q. Can't say. What have you been doing in the preparation for Q‑School and here?
FELICITY JOHNSON: Getting ready for Q‑School, but yeah, the last kind of four, five months, I've worked hard, on my short game and especially on my putting really. I've hit the ball pretty good all year but haven't converted as many chances as I'd like.
Yeah, the last two‑month stretch, I went to the States early, worked on my putting, and I think I'm rolling the ball really well. We're going to a good place with it hopefully, and I'm happy with it at the moment.
Q. Have you done anything particularly special on the putting?
FELICITY JOHNSON: Nothing particularly. I was just aiming too far left. So it's not ideal when you're a couple feet away and you're not aiming at the hole. Got the alignment sorted and a couple of basic things in the setup, and it's all feeling good at the moment.
Q. Can you give us an assessment of how you played yesterday and how that changed today? Did it get better today?
JOANNA KLATTEN: Yes, it did. Actually yesterday I was probably striking it better. I made really well and I didn't make many putts, and I finished with a double on my last hole, which was No. 9, just hit in the water and came back in the water.
But today, I just produced my best round of putting all year. I don't know, funny thing is, the hole just looked like a big bucket to me today, I don't know why. I just made everything. I had 23 putts, and it's just the best I think I've ever produced in a round of golf. So it felt really good. It's just so much more fun when you can actually make putts.
Q. Is there a reason for that, or it's just one of those days?
JOANNA KLATTEN: Well, I just went to do ‑‑ obviously putting was my weakness this year. And a few weeks ago, I went to some putt lab, just something where you find out about your stroke and everything, and we found a lot of interesting stuff.
And I changed putter, I went to Wentworth to see TaylorMade, and they changed my putter and I have just been working pretty hard on it, and I'm rolling the ball much better, because I used to basically put spin on my ball which was terrible. So ever since, my confidence is growing, and today it showed.
Q. Caroline, general assessment of your round today. Was it an improvement on yesterday?
CAROLINE MASSON: Well, the same score as yesterday. I think I played well again. I hit many greens and just made one bogey where I just didn't have a shot after my tee shot.
But overall, it was a good round. Could have dropped a few more putts to go really low, but all in all, I'm quite happy with that.
Q. Do you start feeling more comfortable as the week goes on; practice; one round under your belt, and then you start settling down, particularly in a big week like this?
CAROLINE MASSON: Yeah, I am. I just came in from Q‑School a few days ago. So still stuff to get up in the mornings.
It's just nice that I feel comfortable out there. I didn't really expect that because sometimes you just feel a little weird on the course. But I'm playing well and I'm hitting it well, and yeah, I'm enjoying it here. The weather is great and the course is great, so it shouldn't be a problem for me.
Q. It's been a busy couple of weeks as you've said, is that much of a factor this week in terms of tiredness or mental fatigue?
CAROLINE MASSON: No, not at all. I think it's such a nice tournament, and you know, it's quite important, for Carlota and myself. I think I might get tired after this week, but right now, it's not a problem, and it's not an excuse for anything. So just enjoying it and not feeling bad out there at all.
Q. Been talking to Carlota about Order of Merit race and how she's trying to block it out and deal with it round by round; is that the same approach you take?
CAROLINE MASSON: Yeah, definitely. It's four rounds, it's still two to go. So a lot of golf to be played.
I just want to keep playing well, make some birdies, and just try to win the tournament and if she plays really well, I can't do anything about it. So just go out, have fun, play well and I did that today and I'm going to do that on the weekend, as well.
Q. Just lastly, just a word about your year in general, it's been a really significant 12 months for you. Can you just describe how your game has moved on and how significant it has been in terms of your career?
CAROLINE MASSON: Well, it's been a great year. I had my first win. I just got my card from the LPGA, and you know, I think I'm just getting better and better; what I did better this year is finish like up there quite a few times. I finished second four times actually.
So I learned that if I'm in contention, I'll doing pretty well on the last day, I think that was the biggest improvement. I kept calm, it was a busy year and I'm really happy about that LPGA card. It's the next big step and I'm really looking forward to next year.
Q. Can you just give us an assessment of your golf yesterday, first of all, and how that changed today?
GWLADYS NOCERA: Yesterday I played pretty good. I missed two greens, but I was like really close to the green so I putted anyway. So I played really solid yesterday. It was obviously good putting.
Today I struggled a little bit with the ball‑striking. It wasn't as good as yesterday but I managed to miss on the good side and to make some good putts to come back for pars. So I'm really happy. I mean, the course is so amazing, the greens are so pure, that it's just a pleasure to play on this.
Obviously you want to putt well because it's so good when you see the ball roll in the hole.
Q. It's a strong field this week. Were you expecting to be quite so high up the leaderboard when you arrived in Dubai?
GWLADYS NOCERA: I didn't have any expectations, but last week, I played pretty good, so I mean, I'm feeling good in my game and I'm feeling good physically, so I don't want to expect too much. It's the last tournament of the season. I had a so‑so season, so I don't want to think about it. I want to play my best, and see how I end up on Sunday.
Q. First of all, how are the conditions out there today? It feels a little breezier, was it tougher?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, it was definitely a little bit more windy, probably the most wind I've played in Dubai. But it was good conditions overall. Just a little windier.
Q. And the game itself, how did that compare to yesterday? Were there improvements out there for you?
LEXI THOMPSON: Well, I hit it a lot better I would think. Still didn't make as many putts as I wanted to, but I putted a lot better on my second nine. So gave me a lot more confidence going into tomorrow.
Q. How does the wind affect things? How does it make it tougher as a golfer, on this course particularly?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, probably just different lines off tees and you have to think about it a bit more. Just like No. 9 and 18, you have definitely have to think about your lines a lot more.
Q. There's a few players around you kind of starting to make some moves now, how aware of that are you on the course?
LEXI THOMPSON: Well, I saw the leaderboard but that's about it. I don't really like to pay attention to it. I just play my own game and just try to make birdies out there.
Q. And how do you feel generally about where you are at the halfway point?
LEXI THOMPSON: I feel good, 3‑under, 4‑under, so I'm getting better. So hopefully shoot maybe 5‑ or 6‑under on the weekend, so I think that will put me in good position.
Q. And you still feel you're close enough to those guys out in front?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, I do. I think I'll definitely close enough. You can make a lot of birdies out here so hopefully I saved them for the weekend.
Q. What was the difference today?
LEXI THOMPSON: Putting is all about confidence in the end and I missed a lot of putts in my first nine and just started focusing on my tempo of the stroke. So it all comes down to that and just confidence and commit to your line.
Q. And going into the weekend, do you still feel as if you're in a pretty good position?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, I do. I think I'm six back right now, but you know, weekend you can make a big move so hopefully I'll do that.
Q. When do you start thinking about who is ahead of you? Do you put that out of your mind tomorrow, or does it depend where you are at Friday night?
LEXI THOMPSON: I probably won't think about it too much tomorrow. We'll see after tomorrow. You just have to focus on your own game and that's really all you can do, you can't focus on anybody else, you just have to focus on one shot at a time.
Q. Shanshan is playing pretty well; how much of an obstacle is that? What does she represent?
LEXI THOMPSON: Well, she's a great player. I play a lot with her back in the States, so she's very consistent. And I don't know if she's played here before, but amazing player, very consistent, very good ball striker and putter.
Q. Carlota, how did that compare to yesterday, your golf today?
CARLOTA CIGANDA: I played good today. I made no bogeys. I started with a birdie on the 10th hole, which was my first one. And then I made all pars until my 10th hole, and I also birdied the third hole which is the par 5, 12 for me.
So I was 3‑under and then I was just making pars, hitting good shots and good chances for birdie. But the second nine holes, it was more windy. So at the end, I ended up with a birdie on my 17th, but I'm happy with the round.
Q. You said yesterday you are just trying to concentrate on your own golf, not worry about the tournament or the Order of Merit. But you could be just two days away from winning the Order of Merit. Can you still block that out of your mind?
CARLOTA CIGANDA: I think it's a big thing, but I'm just trying to stay in the moment and just to play my own game. When I am on the course, I like to go to my game and just stay in the present and outside just have fun. My family is here; I'm going to go have lunch with them and have some laughs.
I just want to enjoy the time that I'm here, because it's great to be here in Dubai. So I feel very lucky about that and I don't really think about the result or the Order of Merit. We'll see in a few days.
Q. Having said that, do you notice what Caroline is doing around you?
CARLOTA CIGANDA: Yeah, I'm playing with her and we have the scorecard. She's playing great and she's hitting great shots. I'm very happy for her, because she's a great player and a very nice girl. Good luck the next two days and we'll see who is the best.
Q. You seem to have a really good relationship, and you've come through the Tour together this year almost, winning tournaments together and moving up the leaderboard together; is that the case?
CARLOTA CIGANDA: Yeah, we played a lot of amateur golf together, match plays and she played with Germany and I played with Spain. Then she went to college for one year; I was there, as well, so we have been playing a lot. She's one year older than me. And then on Tour this year, we have played a lot and she has always been really nice and always very kind and happy to help. So I really appreciate it, and I wish her always the best.
MICHELLE WIE: I just hung in there all day today, and a shame how it ended. But I have two more days to go, so hopefully I can shoot a lot under par.
Q. You said it's been hard going. Can you describe what's been going on?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, I went to the ER on Monday. I had a bit of a food poisoning I guess. A bit of a rough journey to here. I'm now starting to eat solid food, which is great. I felt a lot better out there today, so hopefully over the weekend, can gain a little more strength.
Q. How difficult does it make playing out here in these conditions as well?
MICHELLE WIE: It makes it very difficult. There was a point yesterday where I didn't think I was going to make it. I felt like I was going to faint every time I stood up.
So it's been a bit rough, but felt a lot better today, still the remnants of it but like I said hopefully over the weekend, I can just get a little bit stronger.