|Ye Na Chung, who opened with a career-low 64 at Yalong Bay GC
Comments from Nikki Campbell, Ye Na Chung, Anne-Lise Caudal, Charley Hull, Lee-Anne Pace, Xi Yu Lin and Yu Ting Shi, who all made strong starts to the 2013 Sanya Ladies Open at Yalong Bay Golf Club.
Nikki Campbell (Australia) 63 (-9)
A terrific round of nine under with seven birdies on the back nine: talk us through it.
I hit a lot of good iron shots. I had a lot of one or two metre birdie putts and fortunately they all went in. My short iron play was really good so I just had a lot of opportunities.
Did you think you would shoot such a low score when you walked out this morning?
Not at all. This year I haven’t played that good golf but I went home with my coach and worked on a few things. Even on the range this morning I was like, ‘It feels okay, but I’m not sure how it will go.’ I felt comfortable out there and hit a lot of shots close.
Fair to say you’re at home on this golf course?
Today I was at home but tomorrow’s another story. I like the golf course and I like the greens so hopefully I can put another two good rounds together and finish off the week.
Is another score like that out there?
If the conditions are the same: definitely. If the wind gets up then a few holes will play differently, but early in the morning you have to think there won’t be much wind.
Happy to be here in Hainan after a three week break?
I was lucky to get into this event. I was given a sponsor’s invitation so I was very grateful to be coming to China and to be playing.
Is this your best ever score?
Yes! Eight-under is my best ever score. I’ve had 29 once before though.
Were you surprised by the benign conditions?
Yes. I couldn’t believe that there was no breeze. In the practice rounds, it got up in the afternoon so it was surprising that it stayed so calm. I thought the scoring would be quite good because the greens are rolling nicely and if it’s not windy there are a lot of holes where you have short irons in. If it’s windy it plays a lot longer.
Who is your coach back in Sydney?
Gary Barter. I live in Canberra so I’ve got to drive for three hours, get a lesson and then drive home. I hadn’t had a lesson since before Morocco so it was nice to refresh what I was trying to do with my swing and have better direction with it. If I’m home I have a lesson once a month but I’ve been in Europe since March so this year I haven’t seen him. It’s something I might look to change next year and go home more frequently because I’m not very good at monitoring it myself.
Have you been in this position before, in the first round lead?
I shared the first round lead in Slovakia. I won twice in Japan but they weren’t from leading. I’ve led a few times after the first round but not that many so it was a nice surprise.
This is the last tournament my boyfriend is caddying for me, so he said I have to play well to show that I like him caddying. Maybe today is a good start. Caddie Damon Welsford. He’s caddied for me for two years but we’re going to do something different.
I’m not playing next week and I have to do well this week to play next week so if I do well and can play next week then he’ll caddie one more. He’s going to maybe play himself in Australia. He’s a pro. If things go well he’ll try European Tour.
You’re 33 and this is your rookie year on the LET after 10 years on the Japanese Tour. Do you feel like a rookie?
New places but the tour runs similar to the Japanese Tour. It’s much easier because there are Aussies out here and people speak English so it’s easier to find help.
I like Asia. I find the people really friendly and the golf courses are always good.
Can you talk us through your score card?
On hole-3 I hit a 6-iron straight over the pin to about four metres and on hole 7 I hit pitching wedge to about 5 metres. On 10 I hit a really bad drive and had to hit 5-wood in and hit it to about four metres. On 11 I hit it to a metre with a nine iron and on 13, the par 5, I hit a wedge that hit the pin and finished about a metre and a half away. On 14 I hit a 9-iron to about a metre. On 15 I hit 7-iron to 4 metres. On 16 I hit a 6-iron to 2 metres. On 18 I hit 7-iron to 5 metres.
Was it an easy 9-under?
Not easy. I hit a lot of good iron shots so I wasn’t holing 30, 40 foot putts. I had a lot of short birdie putts. I felt relaxed and the girls I played with were really good company. I didn’t even know until the end what score I was on.
Ye Na Chung (South Korea) 64 (-8)
Quick quote on the day: My putting was really good and I had confidence so I’ll take it. This course, I’m here for the first time so I’m not thinking, only thinking about hitting the ball straight. I really like it here. My shots from inside 100 metres were particularly good.
Anne-Lise Caudal (France) 67 (-5)
What was the best part of your game?
I think it was my putting. I had strong putting today and was very confident from the first hole so I was happy with that.
What has made the difference over the last couple of months?
I made some changes in my swing so it was difficult to get confidence and everything was quite difficult: my game, my putting and my confidence. Now I feel more free when I’m on the golf course and much happier also. I’m just enjoying it.
What do you think about Sanya?
It’s nice. The weather is perfect and the golf course is really good and the hospitality also. The Chinese people are very nice to us and it’s very comfortable here.
You have two wins. Is it time for a third now?
I hope so. It would be so nice after all the changes I made this year. I would be very happy, but I’m going to see. I’m going to be patient because there are a lot of good players here this week so we’ll see. I’ll try my best.
What is your mentality?
I’m very relaxed. Everything I’m doing is a bonus. If I’m playing under par it’s a bonus. I’m very happy and mentally I’m very relaxed.
Charley Hull (England) 67 (-5)
How do you assess your play?
It was alright. It was pretty simple out there: fairways and greens and I holed a few putts.
How many putts?
I don’t know because I don’t count. I hit it, find it, and hit it again.
How were the greens?
Not too bad. They’ve become better as the week’s gone on and are rolling quite nicely now, so it’s good.
Is this your first time in China?
Yes. It’s pretty and nice views. I like the beach. The golf course is pretty simple and it’s good.
You don’t get many grainy greens in Europe. Did you manage to see the lines?
I seemed to read them fine. There were a few putts that I could have holed but stayed out of the hole. The grain is always different every yard or five yards. I mainly holed the ones that I hit close.
You are a rookie, so what are your expectations for the season?
I just enjoy it out there. I’ll try and pick up a win but if not I’ll try next year. I’ll carry on enjoying it and I’m looking forward to Christmas soon. I’m looking forward to the end of the season now to work on a lot of stuff that I can’t wait to work on. Normally during the amateur season, I’m working all the time and this year I want to get back to working on stuff in my golf game.
You’re 17 so what’s the difference between the amateur and the professional game?
I don’t know. It feels better playing as a pro because you can pick up the money. That’s a good thing! When you’re amateur and you finish well you could have picked up some money! On the amateur circuit you have more weeks off to practice and on the professional side, you haven’t got as many weeks to practice. I enjoy my schedule to be not as many tournaments as other players because I like to still work and base my schedule around the main events.
Did you get any time off and do you feel fresh now?
I went and played in Malaysia so I didn’t really have much time off. I had a week and then flew to Malaysia, came back last week and then came here this week so I’ve got two weeks on the trot. I kind of had one week off in between so it was alright.
Lee-Anne Pace (South Africa) 67 (-5)
A great start to your tournament.
Front nine one-under, back nine four-under, so it was really consistent. I was a bit tired today. I think maybe the 12 hours jet lag finally caught up with me but it was fine, I putted well and hit some good shots.
This was a special place for you having won here in 2010. How do you feel now?
Obviously I was disappointed that I couldn’t play last year because I love it here. It’s such a great place to come back to and so friendly. The whole atmosphere of the place: it feels like I’m on holiday and not playing golf. I just love coming back here.
You made a run at the end?
I was getting a bit tired in the middle and then I ate something and my caddie was talking to me a little bit, saying come on, let’s get some chances. They dropped, so a great result.
A great year for you so far with two wins. Three would be pretty good wouldn’t it?
Three would be awesome and I love China, I feel very comfortable here, so to win here would be quite special for me again and I think I’m playing well enough to do it.
Xi Yu Lin (China) 67 (-5)
You must be pleased with your score.
I’m satisfied with it. Today my irons were a bit inconsistent: all of the birdies were inside two or three yards so I’m happy I can hit that close to the pin six times. Some shots, if I missed it, were terrible, like with a big duff or a big draw or something. But I’m still happy I saved lots of up and downs and only made one bogey today, which is good. Six birdies is good too but I can still improve my putting and irons a bit.
Your parents were watching you. What was that like?
They came on the 12th hole and I made the only bogey. That wasn’t because of them, it was my driving. The ball was on the edge of the bunker so I had to hit it off the bunker first and it was 80 yards to the pin and I hit it on and missed the par putt. It’s funny that they come and watch me and I make only one bogey.
My mum seldom watches me because she works for the government so only has holidays on the weekend. My dad came to Reignwood and watched me, so my dad watched me many times.
Yu Ting Shi (China) 67 (-5)
I’m very happy with my driving and it was an advantage. I played with Anne-Lise and picked up some points for improvement, especially in my putting. I only had 29 putts and one chip-in, on the par-3 5th from 20 yards. Before coming here I was training very hard and when I came here I felt that my shots were going further than expected.
I live in Japan (Kobe) because my parents are working there. I was born in Japan and grew up there until five.
(speaks three languages: Chinese, a little Japanese and English).