Ft. Worth —> California

Hello from DFW! I got home to Ft. Worth late Tuesday night after a three week road trip and a final 19 hour drive home from Temecula, CA. So, its hard to believe I’m packed and ready to go again after a 3 day “off week.” However, I haven’t been on a plane since coming home from Singapore so I am thankful for that.

If you’ve been living under a rock, I’ll inform you that it is Masters weekend. My saturday flight to Hawaii today was specifically planned to I can wake up tomorrow and watch the final round instead of traveling on Masters Sunday and missing EVERYTHING!

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*Opening the ANA Inspiration with a traditional Japanese Sake drum ceremony. 

Before we get to the Masters each year, though, the LPGA kicks of the Major season with the ANA Inspiration (formerly the Kraft Nabisco) in Rancho Mirage, CA. I have two topics I would like to comment on before moving on from this for good. First, my own tournament play. In the past, this has been a tournament that has gotten the best of me. I have worked hard all year to change my thoughts and feelings towards the course and event. I played an even par Thursday round and felt I really turned a corner. I fought back from a 2 over start and was there to make birdies. Friday, on the other hand, was like deja vu. I felt anxious about the cut line and started pressing from the third hole on. It was one of those days when you start to question everything you’re doing.

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*Practice at Mission Hills.  

A couple days later, when thinking more clearly, I realized I had gone back to some old habits: looking at the leaderboard too much, trying to predict the cut line mid round, and comparing myself to other players. I know, more than ever now, that I absolutely have to stop. I have to live in my own world and not even open the leaderboard app. between rounds.  I have to focus solely on myself out there because thats the only thing I can control. This may sound super easy for some, but with my personality I know it is not. It is a very big challenge for me, but one I must take on and commit to every week. If I can learn to live inside my own little world week in and week out I know I will see some better and more consistent results.

*Lots of matching going on at the ANA last week with Kris Tamulis and Angela Stanford. 🙂

Second, the rules violation that occurred during the second round has been hot topic all week. As a player, I have to say first that my heart goes out to each player. Lexi was clearly running away with the event and had it taken away, So Yeon won fairly by the rules but everyone wants to put an asterisk by it. I’m sure both girls left the event with a funny feeling in their stomach; not the way it should be. So, here is my thought on the rule. We, the professional golfing community, need to get a hold on our own sport. I stand firmly against call ins from viewers at home for a couple reasons. One, not every single shot is shown on tv. Some players could violate a different rule on every hole and never get caught. Two, there is no other sport or competition in the world that allows anybody other than the referee to call the game. There are probably many times where replay would show that a player could also have gained more with a different ball spotting etc, but those aren’t every called in. Nobody ever gets to minus a shot or two or FOUR from their score. Finally, every round isn’t treated the same. If a viewer was to call in on Monday, it wouldn’t be reviewed once the tournament is closed. How is that ok? That’s like saying there will be no booth reviews allowed in the 4th quarter of an NFL game. What a laughable thought.

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*My pro am group from the ANA included two LPGA commissioners and Tommy Thayer of Kiss. Always fun playing with celebrities!

At the end of the day, golf was built on etiquette. Only the player knows if a violation is intentional or not. Only the players in his or her group are responsible for policing play. It’s not a perfect system, but there never will be. We need to take control of our competitions and stop allowing such fiascos to overshadow the incredible play and deserving victories. I sincerely hope I see a change in this policy very soon. At the very least, allow reviews to be made ONLY on the day of play, and then take away the penalty for an incorrect score card. That would at least be moving in the right direction.

 

*I made a quick trip to Temecula, CA for the Kore Am pro am on Monday before driving home.  The picture on the left doesn’t do this view justice.  Amazing drive from Palm Springs to Temecula.

I had two good days working with my coach in Ft. Worth this week. He decided to make a quick trip down to work out a few kinks before heading to Hawaii. I’m very lucky to have a coach that always makes the time and the trip when I need it most!

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*Working on some “miscellaneous shots” that I don’t often practice with my coach.  Let’s hope I don’t need to use them. 🙂

Here’s to lots of birdies in Hawaii!
KK

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Up and Up!

Hi everybody! I’m writing this blog from windy Palm Springs, California. It isn’t often we get windy days here, but when it blows it really blows! This is the site of our first major of the year, and I thought I would take you thru what my plan is to get prepped for the week.
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*My fan club in Phoenix.  We celebrated 3 birthdays that week! 

The best thing about this week is that it is only a two hour drive from our last event in Carlsbad, CA, so I was here by 6:30 last night. I knew the forecast was calling for wind so I was up and at the course before 7, and on the range by 7:30. I really wanted to “chart” my wedges and we need minimal wind. Charting wedges merely means I’m going to hit 5-6 balls with each grip and/or swing length and take the average of those shots. It’s the one time my caddie stands willingly on the range and lets me hit balls at her. 🙂
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*Dropping the puck at the San Diego Gulls game last week. 
We headed to the course shortly after I finished my wedges and played the back nine. I focused a lot on chipping and bunkers because I feel that is not well represented in the practice area this week. After I finished playing I did a little swing work and some putting, but the wind really picked up so I felt it wasn’t worth it to stand on the range and beat balls.

 

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*My San Fransisco host family moved to Carlsbad! I’m so lucky to have these guys cheer me on!

After I left the course I actually went and got a facial. Yes, we often do random things like that on the road. It’s relaxing, and if I don’t do it on the road I probably never will! It is always important to do things away from the course to get your mind off of golf. Perhaps even more important during a major.

 

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*LPGA photo shoot for new head shots and sponsors. 🙂

I plan to play at least 9, maybe 18 tomorrow, practice after and then attend the pro am party tomorrow night. It’s a full day but I’m looking forward to it. Wednesday I will play 9 holes of a pro am and get some good practice hours in. I am really looking forward to this week. My game feels as good as it has all year and I’m ready for it to reflect in my scoring. We were close last week; I’m excited to keep building on that!

Send some good vibes to California, please!

KK

Honda LPGA Thailand - Day 3

CHONBURI, THAILAND – FEBRUARY 25: Kim Kaufman of United States plays the shot during the Honda LPGA Thailand at Siam Country Club on February 25, 2017 in Chonburi, Thailand. (Photo by Thananuwat Srirasant/Getty Images)

 

Mindset

Hello from Singapore! I have just finished a partial practice round but unfortunately was rained out! Thankfully I have a great caddie that has walked the course and knows what we need to do even if I haven’t seen every hole.

On my last flight I was loaned a book about blogging from a friend on tour and if I learned only one things its that my blogs are probably too long! So, I’m going to start taking a different approach and write shorter (difficult task for me), but hopefully more often.

I just finished a very up and down week but for as many things that disappointed me I know that there were many positive to take aways as well. I write to my mental coaches at Vision54 every other week and thought maybe I would share with you what I wrote to them. A completely unfiltered look at what goes thru a tour players mind when they finish an event (or at least my crazy mind ;).

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*Dinner with the Fraser’s in Australia.  So great to see them every year!

So I started off by making a list of the positives:

-Bringing round 1 back from +4 to +1
-Making 7 birdies in round 2
-Making balance/tempo/tension practice a part of my daily routine (I could write a whole     blog about this, but just go with me here).
-Playing my first three holes of the day on the range
-Letting my “swing feel” come to me in the moment instead of deciding before the round (something I strive for).

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*Quick tuk-tuk ride to dinner for Audrey’s birthday in Thailand. 

Then I expressed what I felt where two areas I needed to improve on:

-I need to get my putting together. I feel I am all over the map. I find myself trying to “steer” my putts and become timid. I am focused on my stroke, even though I don’t want to be, and it results in a stroke that isn’t very fluid or natural. How can I step up and putt on the course as I do on the practice green?
-I found myself struggling to decide between my gut instinct and the “disciplined” shot. How can we work out which is the best time to use each?

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*Honda LPGA Thailand gala dinner with my roomie Angela and good friend Alena.

From here I will likely receive answers from them in the form of practice plans, ideas to try, and questions to ask myself in order to get to the bottom of it. While I know we can often make the game look easy its a forever learning process that requires assistance from coaches in the technical and mental areas. As a players, I think one of the easiest ways to help yourself get better is being able to distinguish when you need help technically vs. mentally. It is way to easy to call up your swing coach and blame it on him or her, when in reality you might just need to look in the mirror and face what’s going on inside your own mind. 🙂

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*Bitters and Love in Singapore. A must go if you’re ever in the city. 🙂

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*Breakfast with orangutans at the Singapore Zoo with Alena and Brittany!

I hope you enjoyed the insight today!

KK

Let’s Go!

Good Monday morning everybody! I absolutely can’t believe its been over 2 months since my last blog! Time has absolutely flown by and here I am in my 4th year on the LPGA already. I have had a great off season spending most of my time in Ft. Worth and just finished up a promising first event in the Bahamas.

Let’s start with the off season. I think if you took a poll and asked people what they thought we did in the off season you wold be surprised at the vast array of answers. I’ve heard everything from exercising and dieting to playing golf every day to working a part time job. In reality, everyone is pretty different. For myself, I need to stay away from the golf course from Thanksgiving thru the end of the year. Don’t get me wrong, there are some beautiful days where I would very much enjoy heading to the course for a few hours. However, I know in the long run, come around the end of August, I’m going to be glad I take that time off. The season is an incredibly long marathon, and as my coach likes to say, “you don’t run the Kentucky Derby every day.” Second, it’s a time that for a few precious weeks of the year I relish in the routine daily activities of a “normal” lifestyle. I love love LOVE what I do and the places I travel and the time I am away, but at the end of a 10 month golf/travel campaign, seeking normalcy is the best thing I can find.

While I tried my best to “stay put” in Ft. Worth and get to know my new home, there were a few occasions where I had to pack a bag and head to the airport. I went to Phoenix to escape a bad stretch of weather here in early January. I have great friends there to see and stay with and it was chance for me to see my mental coaches at Vision54 before the season started. It ended up being a very busy and productive trip. The cold weather in Texas was a blessing in disguise.

I also headed out to Carlsbad a week later for a club fitting. I had heard everyone talking so much about the new Callaway Epic driver so I was excited to test it out. It didn’t take me long to switch out all my old heads for the new Epic line. I played the driver, three wood, and five wood this week in the Bahamas. I stayed in California for a couple extra days and was very fortunate to play at Tradition in La Quinta and Mission Hills in Rancho Mirage (site of the ANA Inspiration, our first major). Tradition was really unlike anything I had every played. It took desert golf to a new level and how the course is positioned right against the mountains is just stunning. It was for sure one of the best days of my off season. I was especially thankful to my partner, Juli Inkster, for chipping in for eagle on 18 and saving us 50 bucks. 😉

Other than those two quick trips I have been enjoying my time out at Shady Oaks getting ready for the season. I will have two weeks here now before I head overseas and I will be found on the Shady Oaks “Little Nine” nearly every day. 🙂

I can’t leave a blog without my thoughts on my last event. The Bahamas was awfully kind to us this year, producing 4 days of nearly flawless weather with very low winds (unless you were in the final groups on Sunday!). It made for incredibly low scoring conditions, but the birdies were out there on every hole. I have to say my game has come out of this off season feeling better than past seasons. I drove the ball well, hit my irons well, and rolled the ball well on the greens even if they all didn’t go in. I lost the majority of my shots on the par 5’s with my pitching and wedges. It’s ok though, I have a great place to practice those things out at Shady. 🙂 I truly felt I played great there, but also have a very clear picture of where I was losing shots which makes it easy to make a plan going forward.
I have two weeks here at home, then I’m off on a three week stretch to Australia, Thailand, and Singapore. Hopefully the LPGA being back on tour gives you something to do if you’re battling a tough winter! Just remember that summer is getting closer every day. 🙂

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Callaway fitting in Carlsbad.  So thankful they help us get the best clubs in our bag every season!

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Kris and I as guest bartenders at the Pure Silk pro-am party. 🙂

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Auds and I happy to be back at work!!

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Things are serious in the pro am when the rally caps come on. Happy to report that it worked and we took home the hardware!

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One of the benefits of staying on the beach. 🙂

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First practice round of 2017. I’m lucky to call these people friends!!

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I became a true Texan when I attended the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo for Bulls Night Out.

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The 17th at Tradition. Yes, that landing area is as small as it looks.

Highs and Lows

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you all aren’t out there trampling people for tv’s today; but if you are, best of luck. I enjoyed a nice Thanksgiving at home in Clark for once and after a family wedding on Saturday I’ll be headed back to Ft. Worth. I’m looking forward to spending some time getting to know my new city.

It’s hard to believe another year has come to an end and I’m writing another year end blog. I had a solid week in Naples finishing T30 to finish out the year. I ended up 53 on the money list with a scoring average of 71.553 and 3 top tens. I haven’t sat down to really dig into my stats yet but when I do I’m sure I’ll find areas that improved and areas that will be of focus next year. In the meantime, It was fun to sit back and think about the best parts of this season, along with the times that taught me the most. I picked my 3 biggest moments of 2016 to share with you today.

1.) Singapore: After 2 seasons on tour I finally earned a spot to play in the HSBC in Singapore in February. This sticks out in my memory because the feeling of earning your way to play in those limited field events is always so satisfying. On top of that, it was one of the coolest places I had ever been, and somewhere I likely would never have gone if I didn’t play on the LPGA. I did not play well the first couple of rounds, but thankfully I should be back to play this year. 🙂

2.) Mid season slump: After a pretty solid first half of the year I hit a slump in late July thru early September. I made only 1 out of 4 cuts and finished in a tie for 44th in that event. It’s funny how this stretch of ugly golf is what sticks out in my mind the most. Throughout most of the year I feel I’m always right in it to play every weekend and have a good finish. I bounce back after missing a cut or having a bad round and I am always super happy and thankful for my job. However, during this time I realized that sometimes this “dream job” can be really REALLY hard. Although my game didn’t feel that bad I just wasn’t getting the ball in the hole and soon it felt as if everything was slipping away. I left France after missing the Evian cut by 1 shot and felt a sense of relief that the remaining events would be “no cut” events.

3.) Korea/Malaysia: I was happy to play in Korea this year, an event I had played only my rookie year. Malaysia was an event that I had originally wanted to take off because I always grinded out a bunch of 74’s and my caddie made more money than me. These courses both played very differently but my mindset and plan was the same: focus only on the process and let the score come. This is always my game plan but some weeks its just easier than others and these two weeks proved to be the epitome of what can happen when I really stick to that process. I finished T10 in Korea and two weeks later T7 in Malaysia. My best finish of the year on one of my least favorite golf courses. It’s funny what can happen when your attitude and mind is focused on what is possible and not on what has happened in the past.

I could probably write a list of 100 things I learned, enjoyed, and remember from this year but these definitely stick out in my mind the most. After 30 weeks on the road its time for a break from traveling and the golf course. Next year is a big year with at least 4 new LPGA events on the schedule and the Solheim Cup in Iowa. It will hopefully be a big year for me out there.

Happy Holidays! See you next year!

KK

 

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A little time at Disney before the final event in Naples.

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LPGA Girl’s Golf Junior Clinic in Naples.

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Matching as usual during the final event with Kris Tamulis.

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First day of off season spent on the boat in St. Pete thanks to these amazing friends! 🙂

Ricoh Women's British Open - Day One

From this years British Open at Woburn.

2016 Sime Darby LPGA - Day 2

From my best week of the year in Malaysia.  🙂

 

Over and Out

Hello, everyone! I happily write this blog from American soil after 5 weeks overseas. It’s 4 am and I am terribly jet lagged but thats always part of the gig. As much as I love to travel and play golf there’s something about coming home that you just can’t replace. With only one event left on my schedule this season I can nearly taste the off season and have to admit it is time for a break. These past few weeks have been busy, but always well worth it.

The last time I wrote I was in the middle of my Asian swing with three events left to play: Korea, China, and Malaysia. Little did I know this would end up being probably the best stretch of my year. Korea granted us with absolutely perfect weather and a challenging course that lead to a great week for me. I had only played in Korea once before but the course fit me well. With very firm greens it demanded patience, something I have worked hard on these past few years. We hummed along for four days and in the end snuck into the top ten for my second tenth place finish of the year. I felt as if the momentum I felt the last day in Beijing and thru Taiwan was really starting to pick up.

The plan was for all players and most caddies to take a chartered flight to China on that Sunday night. However, a strong typhoon was headed straight for the island we play on. After a lot of discussion on the part of the LPGA and the tournament sponsor, the LPGA decided to hold us in Korea until the storm passed. We spent Sunday night and Monday night in Korea, flew to Shanghai Tuesday and stayed the night, and finally to our destination by mid day on Wednesday. What seemed like a nice two day break at first turned into two very long travel days. Many caddies, including my own, weren’t able to arrive until Wednesday night, so we were allowed to go out in a cart on our own Wednesday afternoon and play as much of a practice round as we could. Needless to say, by the time we tee’d it up on Thursday morning we were all feeling a little out of whack.

I played the best I could each day, but I could tell I was on my fourth week in a row at the end of the season; I was completely exhausted. I jokingly told my caddie, Audrey, on Friday that if I worked a normal job I would have called in sick. As much fun as playing golf for a living may seem, sometimes we want to play hooky, too. 🙂 I played relatively well on the weekend and left with a top 25 finish and one week to go in Asia.

The Sime Darby LPGA in Malaysia is usually the first event in the Asian swing but happened to fall fifth, and thus last, for me. Its a great golf course that challenges accuracy and demands a lot from the flat stick. It’s a place where I generally grind out a 74 and can’t understand how anybody finished the tournament under par. This year it held something different for me though. Although I didn’t have the best playing memories there, I knew I was playing well and if I just took it one shot at a time, perhaps I could just prove to myself that I can play this golf course. It wasn’t perfect (two water balls and a couple missed three footers) but I was relentless in letting this course win for the third year in a row. I finished with an up and down out of the bunker on the 18th on Sunday for a T-7 finish at 10 under par. My best of the year. 🙂

Playing in Asia at the end of the year feels almost like a completely different job. It has such a different feeling from the first 7 months of the year. It’s rewarding, exhausting, and frustrating, but nevertheless teaches you so many things that undoubtedly make you a better player for it. I opted to not play in Japan or Mexico but will be in Naples for the tour championship in two weeks.

Thank you all for the kind messages this week. It’s been a great run in Asia!
KK

 

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The only fish I ever eat. Sweet red beans in a pastry. Traditional Korean practice round food every year on this hole.

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Pro-am party in Korea.

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Some of my best friends on tour.  Love these guys!!

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Pretty nice view from the gym in Korea. Lovely fall day. 🙂

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Sometimes you have to just sit back and relax for a few hours. 🙂

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Pro am Party in Malaysia with my wonderful friends. :))

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Great minds think alike.

Asia 2016

Good morning from South Korea! We arrived in Incheon late last night from Tawain and I have to say I always look forward to coming to Korea because it is the first time all year where I can feel the seasons here are changing. The fall weather reminds me a lot of home at this time of year.

I’ve been doing a lot of traveling this past month but am still feeling good! I started this morning off with a great workout, some flight booking, my stats from last week, and a little grocery shopping. I’ll spend the rest of the afternoon trying to relax while getting organized and ready for the week ahead.

Last time I wrote I was in France and feeling pretty down about my game. The great thing about golf is that, although there are many low times, it will eventually be followed with some high times. Every roller coaster eventually comes back up. I’m happy to say I had a good week in Tawain and can feel my confidence coming back a bit. It has been a tough couple of months but we snuck inside the top 25 last week and I still felt I left a lot out there.

Before Taiwan I played in Beijing for the first time. I had a few reservations about coming to Beijing, but I actually enjoyed the week very much. We spent Wednesday afternoon climbing the Great Wall of China and it is probably in my top three of best things I have done throughout all my travels. It was an incredible view (smog free!) and an incredible workout. We climbed nearly 100 floors, and were absolutely exhausted; I can’t even imagine how they built 15,000 miles of it. I could still feel my calves three days later, but worth every step!

My play in China was a mix of bright spots and old habits. However, something clicked on Sunday and I shot a bogey free 7 under for my best round of the year. When you aren’t having your best week, the best thing to do is to use the last day or two to try and gain some momentum for the following week. It gives you a different purpose within the tournament you’re playing, and really can give you momentum a week later. I went to Tawain with some good memories on a course that sets up pretty well for me. We had a mix of great weather and absolutely terrible weather which lead to a great test of golf. Although I stood on the driving range on Friday (and Sunday) with rain blowing side ways in a 40 mph wind just waiting for the horn to blow, those bad weather days helped me climb the leaderboard.

Last year I sat here in Korea as first alternate and promised myself I would do everything I could to not be in that position again this year. I’m happy to report I earned my spot this year. It’s a good course, weather looks great, and the fans will be out in full force. With women’s golf at its absolute peak in Korea right now it’s definitely a fun spot to play. I will take the same approach as I did last week and hope for more good results.

Three more weeks here in Asia before I’m back on American soil, not that I’m counting. 😉

KK

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Ready for our 14 hour flight!

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Starting up the wall.

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Halfway there…

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Pro am party in Beijing.

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Almost there 🙂

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Out to dinner in Taipei, Taiwan.

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Our favorite pizza maker and my number one fan in Taiwan! See you next year, Stanley. 🙂