Evian Masters Golf Club
July 26, 2008
Third-round interviews: Angela Park | Candie Kung
Quick Quotes: Juli Inkster | Lorena Ochoa
Flurry of birdies give Park 54-hole lead
Second-year Tour member Angela Park went 48 holes without a bogey at the 2008 Evian Masters and fired off three consecutive birdies in as many holes to take a one-stroke lead heading into the final round. Park has carded all three rounds in the 60s (66-68-68) and is at 14-under-par 202, ahead of three-time Tour winner Candie Kung (66-70-67=203, -13). A win on Sunday would make her the season's seventh Rolex First-Time Winner, which would come on her father's birthday. Park carded birdies on holes seven and nine before a three putt from 25 feet on the par-4, 13th hole. The 457-yard, par-5 18th hole is where Park has carded birdies all three rounds.
Park, the reigning Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year, has only led once in her career heading into the final round: the 2007 Fields Open in Hawaii - a 54-hole event. Of her 12 career top-10 finishes on Tour, her best also came last season at the U.S. Women's Open. However, of her four top-10s in 2008, she's had two top-five finishes in her last three events: U.S. Women's Open (T3) and P&G Beauty NW Arkansas Championship Presented by John Q. Hammons (T4).
Kung within striking distance
Candie Kung flirted with the lead at the 2008 Evian Masters all day during Saturday's third round and actually signed her scorecard as the clubhouse leader at 13-under-par 203 (66-70-67). However, Angela Park (66-68-68=202, -14) - finishing three groups later - managed to slip by Kung by one-stroke to leave Kung in second place heading into Sunday's final round. Kung's 5-under-par 67 matched 2008 Wegmans LPGA winner Eun-Hee Ji (71-71-67=209, -7) for the low round of the day.
Kung's three LPGA Tour wins all came in 2003 - her second year on Tour. Since then, she has recorded 23 top-10 finishes, with her best finish being runner-up at the 2005 Chick-fil-A Charity Championship hosted by Nancy Lopez.
Inkster leads charge of past champions
Juli Inkster, the 2003 Evian Masters champion, owns the third-place spot after 54 holes with an 11-under-par 205 (67-69-69). The LPGA Tour and World Golf Halls of Famer is just three strokes behind leader Angela Park (66-68-68=202, -14). With 31 career LPGA Tour victories to her credit, Inkster has come-from-behind to win 18 of them (58.1 percent). Her largest deficit entering a final round has been six strokes: 1998 Atlantic City Classic, where she carded a 65 to defeat Beth Daniel in a one-hole, sudden-death playoff; and the 1997 Samsung World Championship of Women's Golf, where she carded a 67 to defeat Helen Alfredsson and Kelly Robbins in a one-hole, sudden-death playoff. Alfredsson is currently just one stroke behind Inkster and in fourth place at 10-under-par 206 (72-63-71), the day after firing a tournament-record 9-under-par 63.
Inkster's last victory on Tour was the 2006 Safeway International Presented by Coca-Cola, where she was down by two entering the final round and ended hoisting the trophy.
Angela Park, 66-68-68=202 (-14)
Scorecard: Hole 7, 526-yard par 5: birdie - 54-degree wedge from 90 yards to four feet
Hole 9, 482-yard par 5: birdie - chip from 40 yards to four feet
Hole 13, 418-yard par 4: bogey - 7-iron from 148 yards to 25 feet, three putt
Hole 16, 311-yard par 4: birdie - 54-degree wedge from 97 yards to four feet
Hole 17, 115-yard par 3: birdie - 54-degree wedge from 110 yards to 30 feet
Hole 18, 457-yard par 5: birdie - 5-wood from 210 yards to 10 feet
DANA GROSS-RHODE: Angela, you had a great round. Youve had just a great tournament so far. One bogey in 54 holes, which is very impressive and three straight birdies to take a onestroke lead. Pretty exciting.
ANGELA PARK: I think Im more amazed at myself. Because I was playing mediocre throughout the whole round, then I told myself, still got three holes, you still got four holes left and its pretty legitimate easy holes coming in, so you can get enough birdies out there.
I didnt see anyone go extremely low, so I tried to stay positive, and it came around.
Q. How many times in your career were you in first position before the last round?
ANGELA PARK: I dont know.
DANA GROSS-RHODE: We could probably look that up. I can look that up and get that stat for you.
ANGELA PARK: I dont remember. I dont want to remember. Because obviously I havent won.
Q. Do you have a strategy for tomorrow?
ANGELA PARK: No, I have no strategy so far. But just hit fairways and greens and be patient out there.
Like I said, I was very patient out there today and nothing went in the first couple holes, and I kept telling myself that you cant hurry anything, and sooner or later it will come around.
So I think tomorrow even if I have a good start or bad start it doesnt matter but Im just going to stay out there, stay focused and stay patient. Hopefully everything will come around.
Q. You have the double nationality, Korea and Brazil. Have you asked for American nationality as well?
ANGELA PARK: I actually have a double nationality for America and Brazil. Not Korean. My parents are Korean, but I have double nationality for Brazil and America.
DANA GROSS-RHODE: You recently became an American citizen in June?
ANGELA PARK: Uhhuh. A month and a half, two months ago.
Q. The American nationality is recent?
ANGELA PARK: Yes. Two months ago.
Q. We were just talking with Candie on the same subject about getting your American passport. I mean, how do you feel about being American? Whats the difference? Why did you want to do it?
ANGELA PARK: Well I have been living here since I was eight. So Ive been growing up with basically three different cultures. American and Koreans are a lot more different cultures. But I felt that I needed it because obviously Im going to spend the rest of my life here and its great country to be living in. And, I dont know, it was just an automatic decision. It wasnt a hard decision at all. I felt like it was the right thing to do and I told my dad and he was like, ‘Yeah thats a good idea,' so thats what we did.
Q. Do you speak Portuguese? And which bits of Brazilian culture or attitude stay with you?
ANGELA PARK: Oui. (Laughter.)
I dont know just a lot, especially the food. Its really good. The people there are very different from where I go. Because everyone there is very light hearted. They dont rush things or they dont worry about things. Theyre very generous. So I really miss that about Brazil.
And I miss a lot of my family because theyre all back in Brazil. So I go there about once a year. Hopefully Ill be able to go more often.
DANA GROSS-RHODE: You were in Brazil until you were eight and moved to the United States?
ANGELA PARK: Yes.
Q. Can I ask you to talk about your parents please, which Korea are they from?
ANGELA PARK: South Korea.
Q. With Angela do you have another Korean name?
ANGELA PARK: Korean name? Uhhuh. Its Hye In.
DANA GROSS-RHODE: Then talking about your parents a little bit, what they did, and how they got to Brazil?
ANGELA PARK: I dont know how they got to Brazil. On an airplane. (Laughter.) But it was obviously - I wasnt born yet. I think it was because Korea was having such a hard time at that time so my dad decided it would be better to raise the kids back in Brazil. He took action. He took the whole family there. Actually my grandpa was born in North Korea. So then it was kind of hard to live life there. So it was my dads decision and you know.
DANA GROSS-RHODE: Looking ahead to tomorrow you dont want to get too far ahead of yourself but what do you think your experience of the past year and a half on Tour has taught you going into tomorrow?
ANGELA PARK: I dont think I could put that in one word, but Ive learned so much. I feel like Im 10 years older than last year. I dont know; its been a tremendous experience. And especially traveling around the world and having people come out to watch you, and just the job itself. I wouldnt call it a job but my career itself for anybody with a career out here should be, you know, very precious and unforgettable. But I dont know I cant really tell you in one word but its been a very blessing experience.
Candie Kung, 66-70-67=203 (-13)
Scorecard: Hole 1, 361-yard par 4: birdie - wedge to five feet
Hole 2, 161-yard par 3: birdie - 9-iron to three feet
Hole 8, 174-yard par 3: birdie - 7-iron to five feet
Hole 9, 482-yard par 5: birdie - wedge to six feet
Hole 12, 412-yard par 4: bogey - 6-iron into left greenside bunker; sand wedge to 18 feet, two putt
Hole 14, 196-yard par 3: birdie - 4-iron to three feet
Hole 16, 311-yard par 4: bogey - wedge to the front of the green, three putt from 40 feet
Hole 17, 115-yard par 3: birdie - wedge to three feet
Hole 18, 457-yard par 5: birdie - 4-iron just short of the bunker, chip to three feet
DANA GROSS-RHODE: Candie, a great round. You had the low round today at 5under. This is one of the first times youve been in contention going into the final rounds since your three wins in 2003. What part of your game do you feel is coming back?
CANDIE KUNG: I think its mainly just putting for me this year so far. Ive been hitting the ball great; just puttings been struggling.
But for some reason the previous six years that Ive been here, the greens been freaky to me. But, like I said for some reason this weeks been putting pretty good for me.
Q. People have been talking about the greens being softer this the week than in past years. Has this helped, or do you agree?
CANDIE KUNG: Yeah, I think the greens are holding pretty good. We hit wedges into the green, theyre holding it great. I mean, I can just play at the flag pretty much firing at the flag on every hole. Even with the 6, 7irons theyre still holding pretty good. I think that helps a little too.
Q. Is it true that you learned how to play in the states not in Korea?
CANDIE KUNG: First of all, Im not from Korea. Im from Taiwan.
Yes, I didnt play golf when I was in Taiwan. I picked up golf when we moved to the U.S.
DANA GROSS-RHODE: When was that?
CANDIE KUNG: That was back in 1995.
Q. Are you a U.S. citizen as well?
CANDIE KUNG: Yes I am.
Q. How long have you been a U.S. citizen?
CANDIE KUNG: I would say about three, four years.
Q. Does that mean you have a dual nationality, dual citizenship? You have two citizenships?
CANDIE KUNG: No. I only have U.S. passport.
Q. Its been awhile, a few years since your last win. It looks like youll be in had the final pairing tomorrow. Have you been in contention in the third round have you been in these positions and what happened then?
CANDIE KUNG: Yeah I had a few times the last few years being in the last two or three groups. But this will be probably the first time being in the last group from what I remember.
Its going to be fun. Whoevers going to be paired with me tomorrow, were going to have a lot of good times out there and hopefully the rain will stop by tomorrow.
Q. And where in Texas are you from?
CANDIE KUNG: Im in Allen, Texas, thats 30 minutes north of downtown.
Juli Inkster, 67-69-69=205 (-11)
Q. Juli, had a great opportunity to win here last year, you've won in the past, I imagine you feel like you have another good chance tomorrow.
JULI INKSTER: I do. I'd like to be a little closer, but (three)-back isn't too bad. You just don't want to have a lot of people between you and the lead. We'll see what happens. I'm struggling with my driver, but am hitting my irons OK. I'm putting well, so I feel good.
Q. That has to do a lot for you knowing that, all you have to do is get it around and you've got a chance.
JULI INKSTER: I know, because usually it's the other way around where I hit it pretty good and don't make anything, but I feel pretty comfortable on the greens. I left a lot of them short, but they're right in the jaw, so that gives me a lot of good feelings.
Q. As a (LPGA Tour and World Golf) Hall(s) of Fame member, you've won a lot, you've won here, but it's been a while. What do you do to get the job done tomorrow?
JULI INKSTER: I have to play well. I have to get some good shots, make some putts when I need to make them and post a low score. Probably have to shoot at least a 5-under tomorrow to maybe have a chance, 4-under. I don't know what the weather's going to bring, but if it's a little bit nasty, that might be nice.
Lorena Ochoa, 65-73-70=208 (-8)
Q. Is the scoring tough today? No one's made a big move toward the lead.
LORENA OCHOA: No, just like any other day. We have perfect weather, not much wind and some pin placements were accessible to make birdies. In my case, I didn't make any putts, but I was really close to shoot a low round, I just couldn't make any putts. I'm frustrated and hopefully they'll drop in tomorrow.
Q. You're among 10 women within a few strokes of the lead. What will it take to win tomorrow?
LORENA OCHOA: For me, a low round—7-, 8-under-par. But, still, I can do it. There were a few low rounds in this tournament and I'm going to be positive and hopefully I'll start good tomorrow and just go from there.