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Second round interviews from the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open
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Mariajo Uribe

Reflections on the second round at Royal Canberra Golf Club from Mariajo Uribe, (-15, Rolex Rankings No. 125), Jiyai Shin, (-14, Rolex Rankings No. 8), Lydia Ko, (-14, Rolex Rankings No. 30) and Kristie Smith, (-10, Rolex Rankings No. 240).

MARIAJO URIBE, Rolex Rankings No. 125

 

MODERATOR:  Not a bogey in sight, not for two days.  Is that true?

MARIAJO URIBE:   Yeah.  It’s been great.  I mean I’m putting, I’m not hitting the ball that well but I’m putting great, so it really helps out when you have to get an up and down and make birdies.

 

Q.  Shooting a 9 under yesterday, you must have thought:  How good is this, I’ll get a bit of attention but I guess the 15 year old took that away from you yesterday?

MARIAJO URIBE:   Yeah, I mean I went out just wanting to get in the competition more after two months without playing, so it was a fun round.  I was never kind of in the 9 under or anything.  I made good putts, took advantage of the opportunities and the same thing I did today.  So I feel pretty good. 

 

Lydia did a great job yesterday too but I mean, just playing my game and staying patient, don’t really look at leaderboards and played my game.

 

Q.  Are you surprised that you’re playing so well or scoring so well, because it’s your first tournament of the year.  You must be a bit rusty?

MARIAJO URIBE:   Yeah, I mean it’s funny because the tournaments I play better are the ones that I’m rusty or that I’m not hitting the ball that well.  I think I come in with low expectations and things kind of happen.  So, I’m kind of surprised by watching the course with the par 5s, you really can take advantage of that, so that’s helped me a lot this week to score well.

 

Q.  Your only win in 2011 was in Brazil?

MARIAJO URIBE:   Yes, it’s unofficial event and it was a two day event.  So it was fun too.  I mean, I think I shot 11 under total.  It was a great opportunity and I think it gave me a lot of confidence, so when I’m in that position I am today, I’m really confident that I can finish the job.

 

Q.  Did that help you today, all the attention yesterday was on Lydia and you came in with minus 9 with no real pressure or attention on you.  Did that help you today?

MARIAJO URIBE:   Yes, I’m a pretty relaxed player, I feel like I never feel a lot of nervous or pressure, but yeah, I just went out and did the same thing I did yesterday.  My round was low, like I was only one under through 9 holes, I really wasn’t hitting the ball that well, just making up and down, so things started going well and here I am.

 

Q.  Have you had the halfway lead in a big tournament before?

MARIAJO URIBE:   No, but I won Brazil, that was a two day event, so it’s kind of similar.  I have had the lead on the first day before twice, so I mean it’s a work in progress but I don’t really think too much of it or put a lot of things in my head; just keep playing the same way I would play if I was 40th or 20th.

 

Q.  When was the last time you hit a bogey, given the last two days?

MARIAJO URIBE:   I think this is for sure - I mean, I did something like this back when I was like 17 and I was an amateur, like at home in Columbia.  The first day I shot 6 under, the second day 10 under with no bogeys.  So that was probably the last time.  That was in 2007.  So it’s been a long time without having bogeys, especially in a course like this where the rough is tougher.  I mean, I’ve just been putting awesome.

 

Q.  How strong is golf in Columbia and have you had anything to do Camillo Villegas?

MARIAJO URIBE:   Camillo is a little bit older than me so I didn’t really play that much amateur golf with him, but I did grow up seeing him be like the hero back home.  So I played more golf with Manny, his brother but Camillo has helped a lot golf.  Now there’s more public golf courses, I think we have two or three, before we had none.  So it’s a really close thing in Columbia but the couple of players we have are pretty good.  Now we have three LGPA players from Columbia, so we’re getting there.

 

Q.  Did you realise you had the lead standing on the last tee?

MARIAJO URIBE:   Yeah, I mean I figured Lydia was probably making a birdie too because I seen her putt yesterday and she makes a lot of birdies.  So I wasn’t really thinking of that, but I had a good opportunity on 17, it lipped out and then on 8 or 9, so I wasn’t really thinking about it but I did see the leaderboard.

 

Q.  So on 9 your drive, did you realise how--

MARIAJO URIBE:   Close (laughs).

 

Q.  -- much you cleared that bunker by?

MARIAJO URIBE:   Yeah, I mean, I hit it and I knew it was pretty close and then I saw a good bounce and that’s the way it’s been all week.  I believe in things that are meant to be and I feel it’s meant to be for me to play good this week, because a lot of bad shots have gave me a good break, like on number 9, so hopefully it stays like that for the weekend.

 

Q.  What’s the best you could hope for tomorrow?

MARIAJO URIBE:   I mean, I think good weather and just a good time.  I don’t think too much of it.  Just stay patient, keep doing the same thing, hopefully no bogeys, that really helps out for scoring and just keep doing birdies on the par 5s.  I think that’s the key on this course.

 

Q.  Will you be nervous?

MARIAJO URIBE:   As I said, I’m not really that type of player that gets nervous.  I love pressure, so that’s when I play better usually, when I have pressure.   I’m just going to be relaxed and if I have to play with Lydia, I’m sure I’m going to be relaxed because she’s so chilled on the golf course.

 

Q.  Your caddy this week, is he your regular caddy?

MARIAJO URIBE:   We’ve been together for a year, so we started last year at the Gold Coast here in Australia.  So it’s been great having him.  His name is Andrew Techmeier and finally I found somebody that gets along with me and knows my game well.  I’m really happy working with him.

 

Q.  How do you spell his surname?

MARIAJO URIBE:   Techmeier T-E-C-H-M-E-I-E-R.  (laughs)  I feel like a spelling bee contest.

 

Jiyai Shin

JIYAI SHIN, Rolex Rankings No. 8

 

MODERATOR:  Thank you for coming in.  We just had Kristie Smith in here and she thought that somewhere 20 or 22 under par, it will take that to win this tournament.  Do you agree?

JIYAI SHIN:   I think so because I already hit 14 under the par after two rounds, so I think pretty heavy have a chance to make the birdie the next couple of days too.  So I think I needed more focus on the golf course.

 

MODERATOR: Karrie at the beginning of the week thought that as the golf course dries out - although we had rain last night - you’d get much more run and the greens would get much faster.  Did you see any of that today?

JIYAI SHIN:   Well actually the fairway was a little bit softer than yesterday.  Yesterday I played in the afternoon and today I played in the morning, so that’s why I hit it a little bit shorter than yesterday with my drivers.  So I hit a lot of shots from the fairway with my hybrid and fairway wood, but I hit it quite good.  So I still make a lot of birdies.

 

Q.  Jiyai, congratulations on a very good round today.  It must be a little bit disappointing to finish with a bogey though?

JIYAI SHIN:   Yeah, I made a couple of bogeys today but I made more birdies.  I made the more birdies.   Well, I hit it okay last but just wrong read, so I still have a good feeling at the moment and with my good tempo, so I just keep doing next couple of days too.

 

Q.  Do you feel as though you’re well placed obviously heading into the third round, this is where you expected to be?

JIYAI SHIN:   Actually, I feel really comfortable.  I don't know why.  I can feel I hit an 8 on there and 6 under par.  I just hit it very conscious yesterday and today, and then this course had a five par 5, so we have a lot of chance to make the birdies.  So I’m really good feeling at the moment.  I can’t wait for next couple of days how I’m going to play.

 

Q.  In many ways this golf course is probably a little bit around your game because it’s important to hit fairways on this golf course.  I know it would be more important if it was drier, but when you arrived here did you feel that this was a golf course that you could do well on?

JIYAI SHIN:   Yes, because my strength is straight hit with my driver, so when I first time came up to here, when I see the narrow fairway I really liked that and then lots of trees around here and lots of kangaroos too.  So really I enjoy to play and also the green is pretty soft at the moment so I hit a lot of my low iron and hybrid but easy to make the green with my long club too.  So it really make the good course for me.

 

Q.  If you were able to draw a comparison of where you’re at now with your game compared to say two to three years ago when you were the world no. 1, can you draw a comparison?  Is it getting back to that point again now?

JIYAI SHIN:   Actually I think so.  I played a lot - when I play on the course I have more experience last few years, so it feels like my skill and my tempo is better than a couple of years ago, so I feel really comfortable and then when I was world no. 1 I had a lot of pressure.   So when I play on the course my swing tempo is getting faster and faster, faster.  I risked a lot of shots but now I move up to being no. 1, so I just be challenging myself.  It’s a really confidence and comfortable right now.

 

Q.  If everything works out the way it is at the moment you might be playing with Lydia Ko tomorrow, the Korean girl originally.  Are you excited about that?

JIYAI SHIN:   Actually I played at Canada last year when she won, we playing out of the last group so I know how she good play and then she - I was very surprised when I played with her in Canada because she hit it so straight and her putting is really good and then still good work this week too.  I’m really happy to play with her.  I know she’s so young.  When I asked Lydia how old are you? She’s nine years younger than me.  It make it a little sad for me, because I feel like I’m still young but when I play with her, not anymore.

 

But I’m really happy to play with Lydia, yes.

 

Q.  Did you see some comparisons between your game and her game?  Obviously she hits it straight.  Her game is partly built around the centre as well at this stage of her career.  Do you see parallels between her game and your game?

JIYAI SHIN:   Well, when I played with her, I just played very similar because she hit a lot of time with her hybrid and she had good control with her hybrid.  Then she hit a little bit longer than me but when I played with her she hit it straight with the long game too.  So it was like very similar, her game and my game.

 

Q.  She was at the Canadian Open.  What did she do?  She’s obviously proven she can deal with the pressure of going around in big groups.  What did she do well that last round?

JIYAI SHIN:   Well, when she won the Canadian Open she was just 15 years old and then Canadian Open also pretty big event on the LPGA but she never nervous.  She really enjoyed playing and she really enjoyed the crowd too.  So I’m very impressed about that.  

 

Q.  Can you explain the extent of your hand injury that you had?

JIYAI SHIN:   Yes, I had hand operation last end of May and then take the break for a couple of months.  Well, now it’s not anymore problem and I feel really good.  Actually after the surgery I lost a lot of muscle on my left arm and shoulder, so I worked very hard with my left side muscles.  It’s really good at the moment, good balance and I’ve got a lot of muscle.  So I gain the more distance before the surgery.

 

Then when I break for a couple of months, I found my passion for the golf, because before surgery I play like - I was very busy.  I played on the LPGA and also I played in JLPGA Tour, so obviously I was so tired.  But when I take the break in my house and I’m when I’m watching the other players playing on the tournament I just like, I really want to go back to the play and finally I found a good passion for the golf in my life.  So it was good experience for me.

 

Q.  Was the injury sustained playing golf?

JIYAI SHIN:   Yes it was.  Actually, I had a cut right here and then actually then the small bones break, so I just take it out.  The doctor said too much practice (laughs).

 

Q.  We asked you this question at Royal Pines but if I could just get an answer from you again.  You’re now no. 8 in the world.

JIYAI SHIN:   Yes.

 

Q.  You mentioned that you were quite comfortable being away from the no. 1 position.  Are you still driven to get back there?

JIYAI SHIN:   Oh, absolutely.  I think even like 20, 30, they all look up to be no. 1, absolutely and so I did a lot of training and practice last winter time.  So I feel really ready to get there.

 

Lydia Ko

LYDIA KO, Rolex Rankings No. 30

 

MODERATOR:  Another great day at the office, but after yesterday, do you feel a little bit deflated with your play today?

LYDIA KO:  I think 4 under is a pretty good score out there.  I mean, it’s not an easy golf course.  I’m pretty sure it is a pretty good score for me.  Yeah, I mean at some points, because my putting was so good yesterday when it didn’t go in I was a little disappointed but you know, I think I putted well out there and played well.

 

Q.  Lydia, your front 9 was fantastic.  Were the weather conditions on the back 9 getting a bit worse?

LYDIA KO:  No, I didn’t feel that but I personally thought the back 9 was a much harder 9.  I mean, I shot 6 under yesterday but my putter was pretty crazy.  Yeah, I mean, I thought the back 9 was non-worrying, good pars, a pretty good score; but yeah.

 

Q.  You made a mistake on, was it 14 you went through the back?

LYDIA KO:  Yeah, 14.

 

Q. What happened there?

LYDIA KO:  I just thought 6 iron would be the club and I hit it well, but it just took a big bounce and it went straight over the green.

 

Q.  You’re only one shot off the pace still, so what’s the plan for tomorrow - to recapture that lead?

LYDIA KO:  Yeah, I hope so but I mean, I just want to play as good as I did the last two days.  I’ve been playing pretty good and it’s pretty hard to play good every single round.  So yeah, hopefully I’ll be able to put the standards as like I did the last two days.

 

Q.  Jiyai is from Korea as well, is she someone you looked up to in the past?

LYDIA KO:  Yeah of course, I mean I played with her at the Canadian Open and I learnt a few things along the way.  Yeah, I think she’s a really good player and you can see by the last two scores that she is shooting some low scores.

 

Q.  Jiyai was in before and she said she thought 22 or maybe 24 under might be needed to win.  What do you think?

LYDIA KO:  You really don't know, it might be windy and hailing tomorrow, then we can’t really expect to shoot 6 under, 5 under like people are doing today.  So yeah, I guess it depends on the weather.

 

Q.  I hate to ask, I read overnight that your caddy said you weren’t looking at turning professional until next year.  Are you able to confirm that?

LYDIA KO:  It’s not really - yeah, we haven’t really made decisions yet, so yeah I can’t really say right now.

 

MODERATOR:  Mariajo says she hopes she’s paired with you because she said you’re so cool on the golf course.  Is that really how you feel all the time?

LYDIA KO:  I mean, obviously I get mad when things don’t go right, but yeah, I’m not the kind of one where I actually show my expectations, just kind of boiling inside; yeah.  But yeah, I mean I’ve had a few chats before with her and she seemed like a really nice person, so yeah, I’m pretty excited if I get to go with her.

 

Q.  Sort of a culinary question.  Someone said they saw you eating a meat pie after the game yesterday.  How did that compare to the New Zealand pies?

LYDIA KO:  I had a hot dog.  I don't know if that’s an American saying but yeah, I had a hot dog and yeah, I don't know, I was pretty hungry.  Everything’s delicious when you’re hungry, yeah.

 

 

KRISTIE SMITH, Rolex Rankings No. 240

 

MODERATOR:  A great round on a golf course that you absolutely love?

KRISTIE SMITH: Yeah, it was fantastic today, another solid round.  Yesterday, I probably hit the ball a lot better yesterday.  I sort of scrapped it around today a little bit, didn’t hit it as solid but I putted fantastically and that’s what got me my 5 under today and in the hunt going into the weekend.

 

MODERATOR: You’ve been playing well, you said you’ve been swinging it well.  Was it just the putting that made all the difference today?

KRISTIE SMITH: Yeah, a little bit.  I’m definitely putting better this week than I have the past few weeks.  I knew it was coming.  I’ve been swinging it good.  Having my team here this week’s been nice.  I saw it coming and I’m on a golf course I love and it suits my eye.  Yeah, it’s nice to be playing well this week.

 

Q.   You’ve got the defending champion caddying on the bag which is obviously working quite nicely.  How is that relationship going?

KRISTIE SMITH: Yeah, he’s fantastic.  He’s the best caddy I’ve ever had.  I shouldn’t really say that because Dad will probably be a little bit offended but he’s fantastic.  He’s caddied for me a couple of times before, more sort of amateur/junior sort of days, but I’ve always wanted him on my bag and he’s hard to get, that’s for sure.  He just seems to be able to keep me quite sort of level headed out there and have a little bit of a laugh as we go around; which is nice.

 

Q.  Kristie, where’s your golf at overall do you think?  I saw that you were saying recently you’re not sure where you’re going to play this year.

KRISTIE SMITH: Yeah, I’m still a little bit tossing up where I’m going to go.  I’m probably leaning towards going back to the States and playing the Symetra Tour and maybe doing some Monday qualifying for LPGA.  So that’s where I’m leaning towards right now.

 

Q.  Have you been able to pinpoint - obviously you’re an incredible talent, given your amateur career - what’s held you back getting to that next level?  I know you’ve won a couple of professional tournaments but I guess your expectations have been higher than your achievements to date; is that right?

KRISTIE SMITH: Yeah, I’d say putting too much pressure on myself.  I seem to have a win every year, which is always nice, but I just don’t seem to get to that next level.  I’ve struggled at Q School every year, I think I put way too much pressure on myself.  I haven’t really been able to pinpoint exactly why I don’t get through there.  So I’ve been trying to take the long road each year and commit to the Symetra Tour and try and get there that way.

 

But yes, I think I just put too much pressure on myself and I think I’ve really learnt the last couple of years, working with Sean Lynch, my mind coach, he’s really helped me to sort of, I guess not put as much pressure on myself and just go out and have fun again like I did as a junior, and that’s what I’m trying to do.

 

Q.  Have you been working with Sean for a couple of years, have you?

KRISTIE SMITH: For about a year now.  He started with me at the Aussie stuff last year, yeah.

 

Q.  When you put too much pressure on yourself, how does it manifest itself on the course?

KRISTIE SMITH: Yeah, well you just implode, don’t you, a little bit I guess.  I went through a little bit of anxiety for the last sort of 18 months and that did not help at all obviously.  I struggled to even sort of tee it up on the golf course.  I didn’t want to get out of bed and play golf.  I sort of tossed and turned each night if this is what I wanted to do, but when you’re in the spotlight again it sort of just urges you on to just keep going.  I went back and I got a job, I did the whole normal life for about four or five months and it made me realise a few things.  I’ve got the best job in the world and I’m just trying to enjoy it as much as I can.

 

Q.  Is it a fear of failure that you’ve had?

KRISTIE SMITH: Yeah, more a fear of out of control.  I just felt out of control with my mind, which obviously led onto my golf swing and my putting.  Yeah, I guess it was a little bit fear of failure as well.

 

Q.  What was the job?  I presume you’re talking about back in Perth?

KRISTIE SMITH: Yeah, I just worked at Wimberley Golf Shop, just a public golf range and just worked behind the counter and served people for a few months.

 

Q.  Did they recognise you?

KRISTIE SMITH: They did and that’s sort of what kind of made me realise a few things, and Dad said you’re just so naive to how many people actually recognise you in the golf world in WA.  People were coming in and would be like:  What are you doing working behind a counter?

 

Q.  Was your time in Europe beneficial to you?  Did you feel that your game developed playing in those situations on the courses?

KRISTIE SMITH: Yeah, definitely.  Obviously I learnt how to win, I guess not really in Europe but I learn how to win, winning the New Zealand Open.  I had some good finishes in Slovakia and Switzerland.  I enjoyed it out there.  I definitely miss my Australian mates out there when I’m over in the States, so that’s probably the one thing.  It’s a bit more of a fun party tour in Europe and I sort of miss that a fair bit when I’m in the States but it’s not where I want to be long term.  I think I just need to commit and trust my ability and just go to the States.  That’s where I want to be.

 

Q.  In the early days you stayed with “Finchy” over there, will you still keep that up?

KRISTIE SMITH: Yeah, I’m still roughing it at the Baker-Finch household.  Yeah, they’ve been fantastic for me over there; that’s my base in Jupiter Florida.  I couldn’t really do it without them, so yeah, thanks to them.

 

Q.  Do you go out and have a hit with him?

KRISTIE SMITH: Yeah, when he’s home; when he’s not commentating.  I probably catch up with him four or five times a year.  We go out and play all the nice golf courses around that area.

 

Q. Do you knock him over and win?

KRISTIE SMITH:  (Laughs) He hates it when I out-drive him (laughs) but he’s a short game wizard.

 

Q.  What score do you think you might need out here this week?

KRISTIE SMITH: Yeah, I think it’s going to be pretty low.  They tucked a few pins out there today, which still obviously didn’t stop the low scores, but yeah, I don’t know what Jiyai did.  She’s 14, 15 under or whatever she is.  You’ve got to get to 20, 22, 24 I think, if it’s going to stay like this, the conditions like this, yes.

 

Q.  You made the comment the other day, this is probably as generous as you’ve seen the golf course.  Do you still hold by that based on what you’ve seen the last couple of days now?

KRISTIE SMITH: Yeah, definitely.  Yesterday afternoon was a little bit drier and the ball sort of bounced a little bit more on the greens.  Then I noticed towards the end of the round with putting it was a lot firmer, a lot faster.  But yeah, you can definitely still sort of go at the pins.  It’s still holding its ground pretty well.

 

Q.  Obviously you’ve got a nice relationship with the golf course, but when somebody says it fits your eye, why does it fit your eye?  When you stand on tees can you feel the shots?  Can you feel the shape of the shots?

KRISTIE SMITH: Yeah, I guess I don’t have that fear of - it sounds stupid - but the fear of water, fear of out of bounds.  I feel like I can just get up there and just rip it down the middle.  I’m strong enough if I hit it in the rough I can still get it up there on the green.  I guess that’s a little bit - I guess a sort of anxiety I guess when I’m surrounded by water and out of bounds, which is what I’m working on with Sean constantly.  So yeah.

 

 

 

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