|Post-round comments from Jaclyn Sweeney, Hee-Young Park, Sarah-Jane Smith, Jessica Korda, Karrie Webb and Lydia Ko.|
Q. Alright, five under?
JACLYN SWEENEY: Yes, no bogeys, that's always a positive. I played well. I only missed, I'm going to say, one or two greens and left myself a lot of birdie opportunities and then I just kind of capitalised on it when I was inside of 10 feet. My goal was not to look at score boards, but I looked at the score board because we were waiting on 8 tee, which was the 17th hole, I was like score board there, score board to my left and I just couldn't not look.
I looked at it on 9 and I was like, well you don't need to make this because it's not the last day but I'd really like to make putt. I made a birdie on 9, which was nice and hit a really great wedge shot from about 50 yards. It just was easy.
Q. What are your thoughts on the golf course?
JACLYN SWEENEY: The golf course is great. The first time I saw it I thought it was a great course to golf on, really precise with your irons and really precise off the tee. You can get in some bad spots out here if you don't hit the fairway and there are a lot of slopes off the green, so you have to kind of be careful where they put the pins, that you could just slope and go 40 yards into a bunker [LAUGHS].
Q. Yeah, I think it was well documented last year that you were not only playing golf, you were going to school. How nice is it to be able to play golf and this be kind of your only worry?
JACLYN SWEENEY: It's really nice. I graduated in December. When I walked across the stage, I knew I'd passed everything but I hadn't had my final grades, so to get my diploma and mid junior was a big accomplishment for me. I didn't realise how much it meant to me until I walked across the stage and was like every other normal college kid of having a degree now. You know, it's a huge accomplishment for me just in life, besides golf and it's always good to have something outside of golf to kind of pre-occupy your mind and now I'm learning what my Dad does for a living, so that's my next little goal [LAUGHS].
Q. How difficult was that last year to play and go to school? I know it was quite a juggle?
JACLYN SWEENEY: It was unique, to say the least. I think I played my best towards the end of the semesters, which was kind of hard because you really can plan your tournaments around the end of the semester because I knew all my work was done, so I could go out and play. It was just one of those things, it was hard to take an exam right after coming off the golf course and be stressed about that. There's enough stress on the golf course, to be stressed that I'm going to fail a class that I'm paying for, there's a little bit more pressure.
So it's really, really nice not to have books with me at all, that I can bring a nice book just to read on the plane, I can listen to music, I can just relax; which is a huge, huge thing for me.
Q. Yeah, you've been out here before, you know what it takes. Do you think that helps this year coming into it?
JACLYN SWEENEY: I think so, you know, I'm not kind of blinded by the oh it's easy, it's a big step up, even from Symetra Tour but having that experience of being out there for a few years definitely helped me. You get to a point where things don't really bother you as much and certain things are more important than golf. You kind of just realise that. It's easier to go out and play, it's not the end of the world. Having a college degree, it is what it is; this is the job that I've chosen to do. It's not like it got pushed onto me, so I have to enjoy it.
HEE YOUNG PARK
Q. Wonderful round of five under par today, you must be really thrilled?
HEE YOUNG PARK: Yeah, I had fun but it was pretty tough conclusion for the first round.
Q. The first round being back pins, that makes it really difficult, because the ball does not stop well around here?
HEE YOUNG PARK: I mean greens pretty like bumpy and like tough, harder, so back pin position is over the green, then there's no way to go. There are a lot of corner back pins around there. So I was expect the first round will be like easy, middle of the green pin position and get some score, but it wasn't; so pretty tough.
Q. Does it make you worry about what's to come?
HEE YOUNG PARK: No, I try to not think about result first, so I try to do like above the pin, like short of the pin and then try to uphill putt more, I think that's a lot of help to it.
Q. What was the strong part of your game today, was it the driving or the irons?
HEE YOUNG PARK: I can tell my driver, I can hit it more straighter than my putter [LAUGHS] and I've been working out pretty like every day, like off season, so my distance got a little more farther and my irons are pretty good and solid. So I think my irons are more accurate.
Q. Hee Young, it's always fun to have you in the mix and good luck for the rest.
HEE YOUNG PARK: Thank you so much.
KATHIE SHEARER: Sarah, great round four under I believe?
SARAH JANE SMITH: Yes, thank you very much.
KATHIE SHEARER: No bogeys.
SARAH JANE SMITH: Yeah, no bogeys, which is nice, stress free, sort of [LAUGHS].
KATHIE SHEARER: You played well. I think you finished 10th in New Zealand and 12th last week?
SARAH JANE SMITH: I think sixth in New Zealand and 13th I think last week.
KATHIE SHEARER: So your game's in great shape, all ready for Victoria?
SARAH JANE SMITH: Absolutely, I love coming down and playing in Melbourne. I've been really looking forward to this week. I've planned my start of the season around this week.
KATHIE SHEARER: What was your strength out there today?
SARAH JANE SMITH: I hit my irons well and then the last few holes I putted pretty well. I put myself in not the best positions coming in and holed a couple of really nice five footers for par, so that was good.
KATHIE SHEARER: What have you been looking forward to in coming to Victoria, do you just love the sandbelt courses?
SARAH JANE SMITH: Yeah I do, I really love it here. I was actually born in Geelong, my family moved to Queensland, so I don't know, it kind of feels a little bit like home, even though it's not really anymore, but it does feel like it.
Q. It's obviously mid-February but it must feel like almost your mid-season form?
SARAH JANE SMITH: Yeah, it's been a crazy start to the year. We came home for Christmas and then my husband's sister got married in Fiji, so we went to Fiji, straight to the Bahamas and then New Zealand, Gold Coast, here; so we're a few in at the moment. But I like to play a lot, so it sort of suits me.
Q. You got in a really good groove the last couple of years; you haven't quite done that thing that takes you to the next level yet. Is it there?
SARAH JANE SMITH: Yeah, I think so; it's getting there. It felt like I figured it out - if you can figure it out - at the start of last year I sort of felt really good and felt like I was going the right way and then just lost track a little bit, got a little technical throughout the year and had some pretty poor results. I then kind of figured it out a little bit and had a good solid month before we came home with my coach and got much less technical and a bit more back to feel how I sort of played I guess as an amateur more.
Q. How do you do that, how do you throw technique away?
SARAH JANE SMITH: We're still doing a lot of technical stuff but just much more simple drills, no positions, more simple drills like split hand and more feel stuff, rather than I want it in this position at this angle kind of thing. We sort of stepped away from that and got a bit more into that sort of stuff.
Q. Clearly you've got a job ahead of you, how far can you take it? Can you find that one that will kick you into the next sort of stratosphere?
SARAH JANE SMITH: I hope so. I mean, I've worked really hard on my short game over the last year. My ball striking was pretty ordinary last year, which is something I've never had before, so my short game sort of helped me out a lot. So hopefully now that I've got my ball striking back and put the two together, I think that might be the next step hopefully.
Q. Sarah Jane, the conditions look pretty good for scoring out there. When you started did you have a number in mind? Was 68 pretty pleasing or did you think you could go a bit lower?
SARAH JANE SMITH: I think there's a lower one out there, but I'm happy with that score. I didn't really think too much of the score. I mean obviously you have the two par 5s to finish each nine and then one where you can knock it on, so there's a lot of really good opportunities out there.
Q. All the time that you play the National Open, I imagine that sits pretty high on your list of potential priorities?
SARAH JANE SMITH: Absolutely, I mean, there's nothing better than playing in your home country in the National Championships. It's definitely something that's always been super special for me.
Q. Do you feel comfortable - you said it feels a bit like home - on these courses, because they do challenge your game, unlike so many others around the world that I imagine you play on pretty regularly?
SARAH JANE SMITH: Yeah, I guess I started playing golf in Queensland so I didn't grow up playing these beautiful golf courses but I love chipping and running and all that sort of stuff. So I really enjoy coming here.
Q. Just looking at the rankings Sarah Jane, Karrie is flying the flag now isn't she. Is this something that you guys talk about, sort of getting the next wave of girls up again?
SARAH JANE SMITH: Yeah, I think so. I mean, we don't talk about it too much but absolutely Karrie's been, like you said, flying the flag for Australian girls for a really long time and none of us has really helped her out too much. Obviously Stacy and Rebecca have had wins in Europe over the last couple of years but as far as the States go, Australia hasn't done a hell of a lot, other than Karrie, I mean she's killed it obviously. So I think it's time a couple of us sort of pulled it along a bit I think. [LAUGHS]
KATHIE SHEARER: Sounds great. That's lovely Sarah. Thank you for coming in.
SARAH JANE SMITH: No worries, thank you very much.
Q. Lydia, a really strong start to the Australian Open at four under par. You must be really happy with that?
LYDIA KO: Yeah, it was a really good round. I made a couple of silly mistakes like making a bogey on 8, which was a par 5. Most of the time you make a birdie, then a bogey, so I was a little upset about that but then I kind of finished it well with another birdie and that.
Q. How's the course playing out there, because it is one of our top golf courses in Melbourne and it's not easy?
LYDIA KO: It's definitely not easy. I came here with a goal, maybe three under par and I shot better, so that's great. But you know, seeing Suzann up top and then she had an amazing round, it can get really tough, especially with the wind getting higher.
Q. We've talked about the pressure on you, you've left the amateur ranks and you're now in the professional ranks, playing in Australia, we claim you, even though you're a New Zealander, we claim you as Australian. Is there a little bit of pressure coming to Australia because we're all wanting you to do so well, so quickly?
LYDIA KO: I think it's actually the opposite, you know, I feel so relaxed here. I play such good golf over here and everyone's supporting me, so I feel really relaxed. I think I'm more pressured when I'm home/home in New Zealand but it's always great to come out here and play in Australia.
Q. You finished off the end of last season well in some professional events and it's been a great start again to this year, so we'll just continue to look forward to you going ahead in leaps and bounds and good luck for the weekend.
LYDIA KO: Thank you very much.
Q. How was it out there today?
KARRIE WEBB: It was better. It wasn't as good as I would like but I made twice as many birdies in the one round today as I did in two last week, so…
Q. Ball striking was good?
KARRIE WEBB: It was better. It was still a bit inconsistent. I didn't drive the ball as well as I would like but it really hung tough and made a couple of nice putts on the way in to get into one under.
Q. They just wanted to ask about the first hole, something happened on the tee?
KARRIE WEBB: John Hopkins thought that my ball was ahead of the tee markers, which no one else in my group did, but as long as he did…
Q. So you took it back to accommodate him?
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah, as long as he felt useful; I guess that's a good thing.
Q. So are you going to go and work on anything on the range in particular?
KARRIE WEBB: No, just sort of the same sort of thing. I've just got to get things a bit more consistent. I didn't shape my driver as well as I would have liked today, so I've got to get that going a bit.
Q. How was the course in general?
KARRIE WEBB: It's nice. I don't think it could play much easier, still no breeze, pretty nice morning. I thought there were some tough pins today for the first round. I think playing practice round Pro-Am, I think you didn't realise how easy the pins had been set up those few days until today when they're a bit more tucked. It made you think about things a bit more.