Exclusive: Beatriz Recari interview

Matt Cooper talks to Beatriz Recari about her sensational win this year in Finland, playing air guitar and singing karaoke in taxis.

When Spain’s Beatriz Recari travelled to Helsinki earlier this year for the Finnair Masters she was excited about returning to one of her favourite courses.
Lots of golfers hope for a good week in such circumstances, but few experience a week as remarkable as Beatriz enjoyed: she equalled the course record on day one, broke it on day two and then completed victory with an eagle after holing her approach to the final green from 161 metres out!
As the Ladies’ European Tour 2009 season heads east for the final events of the year Matt Cooper chatted to Beatriz about her win, surely the most dramatic and fantastic story of the LET year.
Golf365: Hi, Beatriz – thanks for talking to Golf365. We hope you’re not tired of talking about your maiden tour win in the Finnair Masters because it is such a great story that we’d like to go through it again! Let’s start with the return to Finland, to a course you liked, the Tali course in Helsinki where you finished third in 2008. You had good feelings then?
Beatriz Recari: Definitely because in 2008 it was my first top ten on the LET. It was that thing of overcoming the feeling that I can do it at this level. I really liked the country and the event but it was so good to know I could compete. I had a bad second round but then I was confident to be aggressive and it worked! That felt so good.
Golf365: How had 2009 gone for you prior to Finland?
Beatriz Recari: I was improving. I had an injury early in the season, ever since Australia in fact, and that stayed with me for a while. It meant I had to pull out of the Spanish Open. But it was only the details that were lacking. I was positive about my form.
Golf365: You played the British Open and then went to the S4/C Wales Championship of Europe where you changed putters. Was that important ahead of your return to Finland?
Beatriz Recari: Up to Wales everything was flowing and rolling, I was feeling comfortable. I was just looking for a putter that suited my stroke. Before Wales I changed for one I thought would help my putting stroke but it didn’t work that well. After the first round in Wales I went to the tour truck and I said, “I really need something else because I would rather be putting with my wood!” So I got another one and it worked fantastically well, really quickly.
Golf365: I read you found the British weather a bit cold!
Beatriz Recari: So windy!
Golf365: I was at both events and thought it was quite hot!
Beatriz Recari: For Britain I think so, maybe!
Golf365: So it was good to get home to warm up?
Beatriz Recari: Yeah I had two weeks off that enabled me to have really good preparation for Finland. I was focusing on the gym, really good quality technical work, improving my ball-striking. Those two weeks the feeling was like so good. My game was great, lots of anticipation. It was almost a case of: “Wow, I feel good!”
Golf365: Sometimes you can expect a week to go well in a favourite place, but it might not happen. Did the week start well?
Beatriz Recari: Yeah you almost can’t explain it. Even silly things like our bags being first off the plane! I was feeling happy, not worrying about anything. Which is very easy to say, and your coach can tell you to enjoy every shot, but trust me it doesn’t happen too much! It was almost strange – you have to feel it because it is so odd.
Golf365: In 2008 you led after the first round – and that’s exactly what you did again in 2009 with a six-under par 65!
Beatriz Recari: I was feeling so aggressive and putting so well. It felt good again.
Golf365: In 2008 you shot 72 in round two to slip back. Did you learn from that experience?
Beatriz Recari: When I talked to the media after leading again they wanted to know what I would do, how I would cope. I said, ‘well I’m not going to worry’. Last year happened, but this year is a different year. I’m going to enjoy it and see if I can play a better round!
Golf365: Which is exactly what you did – in round one you bogied the last to equal the course record and then in round two you went one better!
Beatriz Recari: Yeah, so I got, I think, eight birdies and one bogey. The day before everyone had teased me saying, “Bea, you bogied to equal the course record – you could have beaten it!” But then I went in to the media centre after round two and said, “Hello, I broke the course record today instead!” Last year was definitely a learning experience. I took the positives from it. I was able to stay more focused this time.
Golf365: In the final round you shot a two-over par 73 and were caught by Iben Tinning. But you holed a really solid putt on the final green to make the play-off. Was that an important, last minute confidence boost?
Beatriz Recari: I honestly kept telling myself that this was my week. I said, ‘I have the quality to win this week and I’m not going to let it go. I’m not going to beat myself up if they catch me. I’m just going to let it happen.’ It was a tough round, no doubt about it, but I was confident too.
Golf365: How did you approach the play-off?
Beatriz Recari: I was thinking, ‘Keep going and just enjoy it.’ I had a really strong feeling, though, that I was going to win in the end. It required a lot of mental control. But I had such a strong mental image of myself at the end of the day holding the trophy!
Golf365: Really?
Beatriz Recari: Yeah, yeah, I had that feeling! So strong …
Golf365: Talk us through the Shot of the Year – you’ve got 4-iron to the 18th green, the first play-off hole …
Beatriz Recari: We were so close to the same spot ten minutes earlier so we went with the same club. Imagine holing a 4-iron and not even seeing it go in! It was just the reaction of the crowd! In that moment I really didn’t know how to act. I have seen Federer win and he starts crying, but I didn’t know what to do! My eyes did feel full of tears but nothing came.
Golf365: Golf is obviously all about numbers but sometimes I think you have to look beyond the bare facts. It seems to me that, because of the circumstances, your final round 73 was mentally as good as the 64 and 65. Does that make sense?
Beatriz Recari: Yeah absolutely. I think I proved more to myself with that round of 73 than I did with the two rounds that went before. Yes, of course 64 and 65 look better on paper … But what I coped with that day, how I proved I could manage, how I turned it around for my benefit – yes it was definitely an important round mentally. I think my performances since have been better and it is mostly because of that third round. You know in Tenerife, Madrid and at LPGA Q School, I’ve definitely stepped up. I can overcome difficulties. It has also given me more exposure, but I feel stronger, and able to cope with it.
Golf365: In your TV interview after the