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What the players said on day one at the World Ladies Championship

Interview with Suzann Pettersen 67 (-6)

Were you satisfied with your round today?

I played a lot of good golf today and felt like I had a lot of great chances. I feel like you’ve really got to take advantage of the par fives out here. You only have some mid irons into some of them and I had one eagle, should have had two. I missed a very short eagle putt on six, so overall it was a pretty solid start and I can’t complain. I got a little bit more wind around the turn. It was a bit trickier but overall a very playable golf course.

On the other hole, you could nearly have made eagle, right?

It was only like, four feet.

Can you describe how you made the eagle on the second?

I hit driver and a little eight-iron to about ten feet.

Was the wind a major challenge?

No, not really. When we started it was nice and calm and it picked up a little bit gradually as we played. It was a very consistent as it was from one direction so it wasn’t hard to deal with. It was just one other element.

You had a few extra chances.

I felt overall that my game is getting better each day which for me personally is what I’m looking for. I also felt like I might have left a few putts out there but you can’t really complain when you shoot an easy six-under-par. You can look at some holes and say you should have had one more but I told myself yesterday that under normal conditions I should shoot seven-under-par around this course, so it was pretty close.

How have you been spending your time at the resort?

The time is flying. We’ve been doing everything. We had a couple of great dinners and a press conference photo-shoot yesterday at the Movie Town, which was quite neat to see. If I hadn’t have gone over there I wouldn’t have seen anything but the resort, so it’s nice to see something else. It’s always nice to get the tournament started: easier evenings and fewer commitments at night but at the same time, we’re here to play golf and we’re also here to make friends and be open-minded to meeting new people. I loved being here last year and it’s been a fantastic year so far.

You’ve been playing with Inbee on Tour and you guys have been chasing each other. How are you trying to give Inbee a bit more pressure?

I don’t think that we players give each other pressure. It’s more the media that’s trying to make it into a big rivalry but it’s a good rivalry. My goal this year is really just to see how good I can be. I know its good enough to be World No.1 but what defines being No.1. It’s self-esteem; it’s how you work every day. I feel like my golfing skills are good enough to be the World No.1 so for me it’s a matter of time. To be the best player in the world you’ve got to win tournaments and you’ve got to be consistent, week in, week out. For me, it’s just to try and get the season started, get on a roll and get a good rhythm.

There are not a lot of people playing golf in Norway and not that many Norwegians on Tour. How did you get ranked so highly in the world and do you want to be an ambassador of your home country?

Growing up in Norway I did all kinds of sports. I’m a very competitive girl and grew up with two older brothers so I think my competitive instincts I got from my childhood growing up. I had to fight for everything, pretty much. Why I ended up with golf? I think it’s just a sport with a lot of challenging aspects. It’s a great game and it can be the most frustrating game on the other hand. I think I’ve never looked at coming from Norway as being a disadvantage in getting to the top. I always see it as the other way. I want to prove to everyone that you can actually make it. Obviously being one of the best players in the world, together with that comes some responsibilities and I try to help grow the game around the world. Wherever we go, I would love to introduce this great game to as many kids as I can meet. It’s brought so much joy to my life and I would like to pass that on to as many kids as possible. You do take on the responsibility as a golf ambassador, but as much as we travel, it’s just great to grow women’s golf around the globe.

Can you play midnight golf in Norway?

Yes. Last summer I was up in northern Norway with a bunch of foreign journalists and we played midnight golf. I was on the course playing from 10pm to 1am and it was as light as it is outside right now. I mean, it was amazing. Daylight is no excuse in the summer time. In the winter time, however, it’s a little bit depressing.

How do you feel about being defending champion this year?

It’s always great to come back to a place where you’ve won. It’s a different course this time so it’s a little bit different to the experience I had last year. I just have to forget. Being a defending champion only means that you have done well in the past, so I take that as a compliment and help that build my confidence overall.

You mentioned right after the Goodwill Trophy that you don’t find the back nine holes too challenging. Is it the same feeling after the back nine holes today?

Every course is obviously challenging but it’s very playable and you can really put together a good score. It’s not the longest course that we play, that the US players play all year. The par fives are shorter than what we normally play so that’s why I’m saying that if you can take advantage of the par fives, you can literally put a solid score together right there. Then if you birdie a few of the par fours, the par fives are essential this week. If you can finish each day at least three under par on the par fives, you put together a good round.

This year is a totally different golf course.

It’s a completely different tournament. I feel like I played pretty good. It’s a fairly short course so you should try and take advantage of the par fives, which I did. Overall it was a good start for me and I feel like my game is getting better and better.

How do you feel about the challenge of the course?

I think the wind makes it a little more of a challenge but you’ve got to take advantage of the par fives. Some of them are playing shorter than others, so you’ll definitely have some scoring opportunities on those.

Guess a number for the final winning score.

If the weather conditions stay like this, I would say 18-under-par.

Minjee Lee 68 (-5)

How do you feel about this golf course?

I think it’s in fantastic condition and it’s quite challenging but there are some holes where you can be aggressive so it’s a really good scoring golf course and I’m enjoying it.

What’s the most difficult part?

Maybe around the greens. Some are into the grain and some are down grain and if you’re chipping it sometimes checks up and sometimes rolls out, so you’ve got to be careful with that.

You had a good finish at five-under. How does it feel being an amateur in the WLC?

It feels good to be up there but it’s only the first round so anything can happen. I’m in a good position and I don’t feel like I’m out of place. I feel like I can play with the pros and it was pretty cool playing with Inbee today.

Any special plans for the next three days?

I just want to continue playing how I did today and hopefully I can make a couple more birdies and have some good scores.

When will you turn pro?

I’m going to LPGA Q School at the end of the year so hopefully around then.

Guess a number for the winning score.

Maybe 18 to 20 under.


Inbee Park 69 (-4)

I think it’s a different golf course to last year because last year was really wide open and big greens but this year it’s narrower fairways and smaller greens so there is more to think about and I like this golf course better. I think it’s more challenging and it’s a pretty golf course so I love playing here.

What is the most challenging part?

On this golf course I think the greens. Hitting the second shots and putting as there are a lot of slopes on the greens and you need to read the putts carefully.

As World No.1, do you feel a lot of pressure in this tournament?

Not really, because there is a little bit of pressure but I try not to think about it because that’s what I get every week and I better get used to it otherwise I’ll be too hard on myself. I’m just trying my best and that’s how I got to number one. I’m not trying to push for anything, I’m just trying to really enjoy the week.

Two shots back. Do you have any plans for the next three days?

This is a very scoreable golf course so you can make a lot of birdies with reachable par fives. You’ve got to play aggressively the next three days to go close to winning. I’m going to play the par fives smart and make a lot of birdies.

Guess a number for the winning score.


Gwladys Nocera 69 (-4)

How do you feel about this golf course?

It’s a good challenge and a tough track, I think. You have to do everything properly in order to shoot a good score. The driving is not easy on certain holes. You have to hit the greens and then on the greens it’s another difficulty so it’s a very challenging golf course.

I played well on the front nine, putted good and on the back nine I felt it was slow so I was tired at the end and wanted to get a rest.

Anything on top of the leader board is good and I feel really good about shooting that score today on the first round. There are still three rounds to go and the course is tiring with lots of walks so I think it will be important this week to rest and take some time on my own.

Guess a number for the winning score.

If the wind picks up I would say 10-under.

So Yeon Ryu 70 (-3)

Do you have any secret weapon?

I think today my iron shots worked well and I had so many chances for birdie putts but couldn’t make it. Maybe today’s secret weapons were my irons and the worst weapon was my putter.

How do you feel about this golf course?

One of my favourite golf courses is in Jeju Island in my country and it feels really similar so when I play this golf course it feels really comfy so I love to be here.

What is the most challenging part?

The par fives are short so we have to make a birdie on every par five. That makes it a little tough, because it puts pressure, as in, this is a birdie hole and I have to make it, so that makes me a little tired.

Guess a number for the winning score.

I’m pretty sure it will be more than 20 and that’s not because of course quality, it’s more a matter of players’ ability. These days so many players are playing so well so I think more than 20.

Shanshan Feng 74 (+1)

How do you assess your first round?

I made four birdies and they were all on par fives so I did well on the par fives but didn’t make any birdies on par fours or par threes. Instead I made three three-putts and then another two bogeys. Of course it wasn’t a very good round but I don’t think my condition is that good because I didn’t play well the last two weeks either. I think right now, maybe I’m a little confused about my game but I’ll try to pick it up and come back. The season is long, so this is just the beginning of the season.

What is your mentality going forward?

I’m just trying my best because my condition is not that good I’m not aiming for anything. I’m not setting a goal, just trying to do my best on each shot.

Have you been working out?

Maybe that’s the problem, because I lost weight, I can’t play golf. It’s okay.

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