Navistar LPGA Classic Presented by Monaco RV
Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, Capitol Hill, The Senator
Final-round notes and interviews
October 10, 2010
Katherine Hull, -19, Rolex Rankings No. 22
Brittany Lincicome, -18, Rolex Rankings No. 20
Cristie Kerr, -17, Rolex Rankings No. 3
Lindsey Wright, -16, Rolex Rankings No. 46
Katherine Hull won the Navistar LPGA Classic Presented by Monaco RV on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, Capitol Hill, Senator Course in Prattville, Ala. Sunday. With a birdie on the 71st hole, Hull got to 19-under to pull one shot ahead of third-round leader Cristie Kerr (72) and Brittany Lincicome (66). A long two-putt par on the 72nd sealed the deal. Hull will cash a $195,000 first-place check for the win, her second on the LPGA (2008 CN Canadian Women's Open.) Hull's 19-under finish broke the tournament record previously held by Lorena Ochoa.
"It's a little overwhelming, actually," Hull said of her post-victory mindset. "It probably won't hit me until later. You just get so focused on executing and just finishing that you don't think about anything else. I'm definitely on a high right now, and probably won't come down for a while."
Walk Tall: Hull got a little help from above this week, via a unique Bible verse that stood out to her beforehand: Proverbs 2: 6-11. "It talks about, ‘He holds victory in store for the upright,'" she said. "I was like, that's kind of an unusual verse that just stuck in my head. I guess call it a premonition, but I'm pretty happy with the way it went. Thanks, God."
In Vern We Trust: The birdie on the par-5 17th Sunday was the go-ahead stroke for Hull, but walking up to the green, she said she was kicking herself because her approach wasn't as good as she would have liked. "My caddy Vern said to me, ‘Would you just make the putt? That's what you do best. Just roll it in.' So he snapped me out of it."
No Longer a Bridesmaid: Hull's been playing well this year but, until today, hadn't been able to put four rounds together and pull out a win. She had three second-place finishes in Australia early in the year and then again in the Ricoh Women's British Open. "I'm just happy to finish one up instead of one back," she laughed. "That's happened a lot this year."
Bogey-Free Is The Way To Be: Hull made just one bogey all week, the 17th hole on Thursday. She then went bogey-free over her last 55 holes. "Keeps it simple for sure," she said. "Stress‑free golf."
Out of Magic: Cristie Kerr held the third-round lead by three shots but "didn't have any magic today," she said. Kerr started the round with eight straight pars before bogeying the ninth. At 18, she had a chance to force a playoff with a birdie but pushed her iron right – her bugaboo all week – and couldn't hole the birdie chip. "Today things didn't go my way," she said. "If I had played half as well as I played the first three days, it would have been no contest. Even par is like shooting over par on this golf course." Kerr missed her par putt on 18 to fall back to 17-under and finish in a tie for third.
Leader of the Pack: When Kerr bogeyed the ninth and dropped out of a share of the lead, it was the first time she hadn't held at least a share of the lead since the 15th hole Thursday.
Kerr will have to wait: The current Rolex Rankings No. 3 had the opportunity to reclaim the top spot in the world of women's professional golf with either a win or a tie for second this week in Alabama. Kerr, who lost her approach shot on the final hole to the right, failed to convert the up-and-down to drop into a tie for third with Na Yeon Choi. Rolex Rankings will be updated Monday morning. It is projected that Ai Miyazato will spend her eighth consecutive week in the top spot.
A Friend Indeed: Hull may have gotten some help from above Sunday; Lincicome got some from her own group. Creamer, who shot a final-round 71 to finish 11-under (T16) and was never a factor, gave her playing partner words of encouragement when she checked the leaderboards and saw what was happening. "It helped a lot," Lincicome said. "I mean, she's been there before. She knew what I was going through. I'm not sure if she knew that I didn't know where I was standing, but she obviously did. She was a great friend out there today."
Low Rookie: American Alison Walshe fired a final-round 66 to lead the rookie pack this week. Walshe finished in a tie for 16th, her career-best LPGA finish. Columbia's Paola Moreno also claimed a career-best. Despite carding a final-round 73, she tied for 27th. Rookie Azahara Munoz extended her lead in the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year race with a tie for 20th.
All 'Wright'! Lindsey Wright became the seventh player in tournament history to shoot a record 9-under 63. Wright actually had a 10-footer for 62 on 18, a fact that, judging by her leaving it short and low, might have been on her mind. "I was a little nervous, to be honest, but it was a tough putt," she said. "I didn't want to shoot myself in the foot and be too aggressive. I probably lost a little bit of concentration by that point. Who knows. I'm happy with the score."
Birdie Season Continues: The Birdies for Charity program is chirping unlike ever before this year. The program, which involves charities that collect pledges for each birdie made throughout the week, has enrolled 46 charities, up from 32 last year. The way they're playing, donations could exceed $20,000. The field made a total of 1,586 birdies this week.
Of note: Alena Sharp shot a 3-under 69 that featured a mere five pars. She made eight birdies and five bogeys. She didn't make any pars over her first seven holes and only one over her first 12.
KATHERINE HULL, Rolex Rankings No. 22
MODERATOR: Katherine, our champion, welcome. Congratulations. Just talk about you how you're feeling right now.
KATHERINE HULL: A little overwhelming, actually. It probably won't hit me until later. You just get so focused on executing and just finishing that you don't think about anything else. So, yeah, I'm definitely on a high right now, and probably won't come down for a while.
MODERATOR: On 18, you kind of had a little knee‑knocker left. What was going through your mind at that point?
KATHERINE HULL: Um, I've been hitting my driver a little right all week, so I wasn't really thinking about left. But I got a little quick, and I don't know whether I got a good break or not. But, you know, certainly had a good angle into the pin for my second. Yeah, made it interesting with I guess a five‑footer for the win. But putting is the best part of my game, so glad to see it dropped.
MODERATOR: You've had a lot of good 18‑hole rounds this year. You've kind of put yourself up there and haven't been able to seal the deal. How validating is it right now to be able to get the win?
KATHERINE HULL: It's actually really validating. I feel like my game's the best it's ever been, and I know it's going to get better, too. I think I've always struggled to try to put four good rounds together, and I was able to do that this week. Like you said, one bogey, yeah, it's kind of nice to do that. Keeps it simple for sure, and stress‑free golf. Yeah I just think it's a combination of hard work and not putting too much expectations on myself.
Q. If I may ask, Cristie Kerr was the leader by three going into today and you were paired with her. Is that an advantage or disadvantage to you to be paired with someone who is ahead of you in a tournament?
KATHERINE HULL: Um, actually, I don't mind chasing. It is kind of nice to lead, though. But it's out of our control as to who's on the leaderboard. All you can do is play your best and go from there. Cristie and I both kind of were a little flat on the front nine. I finished off well yesterday, so I kind of had that in the back of my mind today, that I could finish strongly and it wasn't going to be over until the 72nd hole. That's kind of what happened.
Q. On the 18th hole, the first putt, was that just kind of to get it up there close, or did you hit it not as well as you wanted to? Because it seemed like you probably wanted to get it a little closer than you did.
KATHERINE HULL: Yeah, I would have liked to tap‑in for sure. (Laughter.) No, I said to my Vern, my caddie, that I was trying to get to the shadow of grandstand that was I guess about six feet short of the hole. Really I should have just played level speed, but I didn't, and that's why it came up short. Yeah, I mean, ideally from that length you're trying to put really good speed on it. If it rolls in, that's a bonus. It's kind of hard to make 'em from that distance. Yeah, just happy the second one went in.
Q. On the back nine, it was sort of a slug‑fest all day between about five players. At what point did it flip and you say, it's starting to go my way?
KATHERINE HULL: I think I was a little frustrated I missed the putt on 16, because that was a really good chance. But when that putt dropped on 17, I kind of breathed a little sigh of relief. It's always nice to go into 18 with a one‑shot lead. I didn't really have that option, so, yeah, nice little cushion coming down 18. Yeah, just I guess happy to finish one up instead of one back. (Laughter.) That's happened a lot this year; that's why I say that.
Q. You said it'll hit you later, but if you had to put in words your feelings right now, what would they be on winning this tournament?
KATHERINE HULL: In a word? Yeah, it's funny. I had a Bible verse that I've had in my yardage book all week. Proverbs 2 ‑‑ well, it's a few versus ‑‑ 6 through 11. It talks about, ‘He holds victory in store for the upright.' I was like, that's kind of an unusual verse that just stuck in my head. I guess call it a premonition, but I'm pretty happy with the way it went. Thanks, God.
MODERATOR: Is that the first week you've ever had that particular one in there?
KATHERINE HULL: Yes.
MODERATOR: Keep it around a little bit?
ReplaceName: No, I'm sure God will give me another one at this point. (Laughing.) For now, I'm going to hang onto it.
Q. Proverbs 2:6‑11?
KATHERINE HULL: Yes.
Q. Can you run back through the 17th? That, by the way, was the one that you bogeyed on the first day and came back and birdied it today. What was better today or what worked right?
KATHERINE HULL: Actually, I wasn't happy with my third shot, my approach shot. I was kind of complaining about it walking up to the green. Vern said to me, Would you just make the putt. That's what you do best. Just roll it in. So he snapped me out of it. Yeah, a good line, good speed, and it went in. I guess the bogey on Thursday was a three‑putt, and that didn't even enter my mind even in the second or third round, let alone today.
BRITTANY LINCICOME, Rolex Rankings No. 20
Q. Brittany, what an incredible final round for you. You started the day three shots back. What ignited the fire from you early in this round?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Not sure. It's just a great golf course. You can make a lot of birdies out there. So just give yourself enough chances. I was rolling the putter really well until the last couple. Just got a little bit nervous out there. But it was nice. You know, 65 on the final day, that's pretty cool.
Q. Obviously a very tight race. Were you aware of where you stood throughout the round?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: I was not. I didn't look at one leaderboard until after I made the last little putt on 18, and then I saw the board. So not sure if it's going to be enough, but I'm pretty happy with my day.
Q. Playing alongside Paula Creamer today, we saw her give you some encouragement. How much did that help?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: It helped a lot. I mean, she's been there before. She knew what I was going through. I'm not sure if she knew that I didn't know where I was standing, but she obviously did. She was a great friend out there today.
Q. It's time to wait and see. Congratulations on a great final round.
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Thank you.
Q. I know you don't think about this, but when you come into a tournament, Paula Creamer is the big deal because she's never played here, and you walk off 18 and everybody is hollering your name. Is that satisfying to you?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, Paula has obviously won bigger events and has done so much more than I have. She deserves everything that comes here way. For myself, I just tell myself I need to keep playing better golf and then the fans will start recognizing my name and know who I am and they'll flip and want to root for me. (Laughing.)
CRISTIE KERR, Rolex Rankings No. 3
MODERATOR: Cristie, welcome back. Obviously kind of a disappointing day for you. Just talk a little bit about it.
CRISTIE KERR: Well, I started off hitting it fairly well. You know, just couldn't get any of the putts to go in. Almost made birdie on 1, 3, 4. Good par save on 5. Just couldn't quite get it as close to the hole. The reads were a little bit off. Hitting was a little bit off. Everything was kind of a little bit off. Couldn't get any momentum going.
MODERATOR: I assume at 18 you knew you had to make birdies.
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, I knew I had to make birdie. It wasn't a mental error. I was in a downhill lie and I was aiming five yards left of the hole, and just started way right. You know, I've been kind of fighting that all week. Some with the driver ‑‑ more with the driver, but it was one of the first irons that it kind of went that way. I was in between 8 and 9, and 9 would have been exactly where hers was. That wouldn't have been a very good opportunity for birdie. I was trying to chip it in at the very least, but I wasn't trying to knock it that far by the hole. I knew she was going to make par, so, you know, second‑ or third‑place finish when you're trying to win a tournament is, you know, whatever.
Q. When you chipped it in on 12, did you think you were going to finally get things going and jumpstart your round?
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, I hoped. I hit a good iron on 13 and totally misread the putt. I had to bring my caddie in to help me read some of the putts. I didn't ever get into a flow for a couple holes in a row. I made that putt on 14; that was a great putt there. And almost one on 15. I had a chance on 16, 17, and just today things didn't go my way. If I had played half as well as I played the first three days it would have been no contest. Obviously today I didn't play well. Even par is like shooting over par on this golf course.
Q. Did you know at any particular point what was going on? Like you said, the first couple holes you had some close shots. No. 3 was the one in particular that put it in there tight. Does that build momentum too, just like when you're making birdies the last couple days and when you're not making them on a day like today?
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, like I said I couldn't get the momentum going. The putt on 3, I don't know whether I pushed it. I was in a big patch of like where the Bermuda has grown in. And when I hit it, I thought it just bounced off the putter right. I don't think that I pushed it. But, I mean, it never had a chance. My reads were off all day. I probably misread that one as well. Just kind of a tough day out there for me.
Q. With a tough day, is it disappointing to you to finish second or third in a tournament, or in this particular tournament? What's the reaction just to the overall play you had this week?
CRISTIE KERR: You know, I think I played very, very well this week. Obviously I didn't play as great today as I would have hoped. When you're leading a tournament by three shots, you certainly don't want to lose. You want to extend and win by a bigger margin. I was able to do that earlier in the year, and today I wasn't. I'll learn from this experience. Some weeks are different. Some weeks you're thrilled to finish eighth because you didn't play well and you finished eighth. Obviously this is disappointing to finish second or third.
Q. And to follow up on that, can you just talk about where you think it'll put you in it the Player of the Year standings?
CRISTIE KERR: I'm not sure. I think I would have had to finish first or second by myself to have the chance to get that back. That's even more disappointing. I gave it my all today and just didn't have any magic out there.
Q. Can you comment on Katherine's play? As the round was going on, seemed like she was building momentum her way like you did the last few days. She even left a few putts out there.
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, she played very well. Yeah, it's probably some of the best golf I've seen her play. She was kind of, you know, playing within herself and knocking in putts. She was making the putts and I wasn't; that was the difference.
Q. I take it No. 1 is still a goal and it's doable in your view.
CRISTIE KERR: Yes. Yeah, No. 1 is definitely a goal of mine.
LINDSEY WRIGHT, Rolex Rankings No. 46
Q. Great round today. Just tell me about it.
LINDSEY WRIGHT: Well, what was it, I was 6‑under on the front, 3‑under on the back. Just made a lot of birdies really. Had a lot wedges in my hand out there, so I hit a lot of shots to about 10 feet; made some good putts; didn't make any mistakes.
Q. Does anything stand out? I know you said you had a lot of wedges in your hand. So driving, irons?
LINDSEY WRIGHT: Yeah, just driving well. I played well. The scores are so good. The course is playing awesome. I thought, If I shoot 18‑under today I might have a chance of winning. But 9‑under, that's great. Yeah, I'm really happy with the finish.
Q. The putt on 18 looked like you didn't really hit it. Was 10 on your mind?
LINDSEY WRIGHT: I was a little nervous, to be honest, but it was a tough putt. I didn't want to shoot myself in the foot and be too aggressive. I probably lost a little bit of concentration by that point. So, yeah, you know, who knows. I'm happy with the score.
Q. What now? Will you stick around or kind of see what happens?
LINDSEY WRIGHT: I'll be around for an hour or so, but I doubt it. I think one of the leaders or someone who started the day at 14, 15 would finish, I would imagine 21, 22 would win.