U.S. Women's Open Championship
First-round notes and interviews
July 5, 2012
Cristie Kerr -3, Rolex Rankings No. 8
Brittany Lincicome -3, Rolex Rankings No. 15
Lizette Salas -3, Rolex Rankings No. 206
Ai Miyazato -2, Rolex Rankings No. 3
Lexi Thompson -2, Rolex Rankings No. 23
Beatriz Recari -2, Rolex Rankings No. 84
Se Ri Pak E, Rolex Rankings No. 33 and 1998 U.S. Women's Open champion
Paula Creamer +1, Rolex Rankings No. 12 and 2010 U.S. Women's Open champion
Yani Tseng +2, Rolex Rankings No. 1
Michelle Wie +2, Rolex Rankings No. 40
Look out for the Red, White & Blue! There was a patriotic feel to the top of the leaderboard at the 2012 U.S. Women's Open as three Americans -- LPGA rookie Lizette Salas, 2007 U.S. Women's Open champion Cristie Kerr and five-time LPGA winner Brittany Lincicome - were tied for the first-round lead. The trio of players each shot a 3-under-par 69 on the Championship Course at Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wis. on Thursday. They lead by one stroke over a group of four players at 2-under-par that includes two other Americans, 17-year-old Lexi Thompson and LPGA sophomore Jennie Lee.
Fire in the belly: Rolex Rankings No. 8 Cristie Kerr admits she's been plagued by inconsistency this season but found a way to put together a well-balanced opening-round, bogey-free 69 to grab a share of the lead after 18 holes of play. Kerr hopes she can continue her steady play throughout the remaining rounds in an effort to claim her second U.S. Women's Open victory.
"My goal is to kind of play like this consistently for the rest of this week and we'll see where we're it falls," said Kerr. "Been pretty inconsistent this year. But I've found that determination, that fire in my belly today."
Kerr said bouncing back from a few shaking shots today showed her she has all the tools this week to keep it together.
"I hooked it in the hazard my first hole today and made an unbelievable par on 10 getting up-and-down from 135 yards, making a 15-foot, 20-foot par putt," said Kerr. "That proved to myself I was there. In a way it was good that happened. I said to myself ‘no, I'm not letting it go this way today. I'm not letting it go this way this week.'"
Since her U.S. Open victory in 2007, Kerr has fared well in the national championship, finishing in the top-20 each of the four years following her win, including a T3 last year in 2011. If she felt like the light switch on her game has been dim or off this season, she's found a way to turn in on this week
"You never know when the light switch turns on, and I feel like it has," said Kerr.
Fishing Queen: Brittany Lincicome's Twitter feed (@Brittany1golf) is often filled with as many tweets about her fishing hobby as it is about her golf game. But while she often jokes about how much time she spends out on her new fishing boat, it hasn't appeared to hamper her golf game.
Lincicome appeared to be on cruise control in her round Thursday at the U.S. Women's Open as she fired a 3-under 69 to capture a share of the first-round lead with Cristie Kerr and Lizette Salas.
"I was very in control of everything today, which is a nice feeling, obviously," Lincicome said. "I knew exactly where my tee shots were going. I knew exactly where my irons were going. The putts, even if I read them wrong, I still kind of got back on track, and I was making them. It was one of those days where you were like, that was easy. If golf could be this easy every single day, I might make a living out of it. laug."
But while it was a great day out on the course, Lincicome -- who has one major title on her resume from her victory at the 2009 Kraft Nabisco Championship -- couldn't leave the media center without sharing the story of one of her recent great catches out on the water. Two weeks ago, Lincicome reeled in a 400-pound grouper while fishing out in the Gulf of Mexico near her home in St. Petersburg, Fla. and she shared some photos she took of the big fish.
"The week before that I went out and caught a 400 pound grouper, and still fished as much as I practiced golf," Lincicome said. "It's kind of an easy balance."
First-round flair: LPGA Tour rookie Lizette Salas was the first player in the field to shoot a sub-70 round in the opening round on Thursday and carded two birdies on both the front and back nines with her only bogey coming on the par 4 No. 11.
"I hit it in the right rough," said Salas. "Tried to be a little cute with it. Hit it a little over. I hit a really good chip and just misread the putt. I knew there were going to be more birdie opportunities the way I was swinging. I just had fun with it."
Salas, playing in her third U.S. Women's Open Championship, came into this week with a bit of a chip on her shoulder, although her smiley demeanor said otherwise.
"I was kind of upset that I had to qualify," said Salas. "So I just came out here and proved to myself that probably half the game did not qualify, but came out here and tried to play golf that I know how to play and to keep it in the fairway and to just make clutch putts down the stretch."
Salas is in familiar territory after 18 holes of play. She was in second after the first round just a year ago at the 2011 U.S. Open after shooting another opening-round of 69. She went on to finish T15, following up her Thursday performance with rounds of 73-73-75. The Californian feels confident with the state of her game although she has yet to post a top-10 finish in her rookie season. Her best finish in 2012 came at her first event at the RR Donnelley Founders Cup where she finished T22.
"I know it's four long days, and it's really hot out here," said Salas. "I was trying to stay cool and just trying to have fun and play the best golf that I can. I just have the best team around me that allows me to have fun at what I'm doing and to not put so much pressure on myself and just smiling out there."
Heat wave: Extreme heat conditions hit Kohler, Wisconsin during the opening round of the U.S. Women's Open and players were faced with the challenge of beating out the hot temperatures and finding ways to keep cool. Beatriz Recari said the triple digit heat and high heat index was one of the biggest obstacles of the opening round.
"That was definitely a challenge today," said Recari, who finished in a T4 after a 2-under 70. "We bought some electrolytes last week. It was incredibly hot. It was very hard conditions. Took some electrolytes, drank some electrolytes before the round when I was warming up. Some more halfway through and in the end. Make sure that you drink plenty of water. That was definitely goal No. 1 out there to make sure that we stay hydrated."
Lexi Thompson, who also shot 70 in the opening round, agreed a constant intake of water was essential.
"It was extremely hot out there. I had my umbrella pretty much the whole time and a cool towel around my neck. So staying hydrated was really important. Every hole. Pretty much at least one water a hole, if not more."
With players taking extra precautionary steps to beat the heat, the high temperatures would be easy to blame for the 5+ hour rounds on Thursday. But Recari said players stuck to their routines and spent much of their time on course management.
"It's hot out there," said Recari. "That doesn't make you that much slower. I mean, I think I play with Se Ri (Pak) and J.J. (Jeong Jang). We all, by the looks of it, have the same routine as in a regular tournament. We drink more water, but you don't walk slower. Why it took longer is because of the difficulty of the course, I would say. That's my opinion."
Back-to-back? Ai Miyazato is trying to accomplish a pretty rare feat this week. If Miyazato, who the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Presented by P&G last week, can take home the U.S. Women's Open title, she could become the 12th LPGA player to capture a major title the week after winning another event. The last player to do so was Yani Tseng, who won the 2011 State Farm LPGA Classic and the Wegmans LPGA Championship the following week.
But when it comes to the U.S. Women's Open, the feat is practically unheard of as only three players have done it previously. The last player to win the U.S. Women's Open the week after a victory at another event was Amy Alcott in 1980. That year Alcott won the Mayflower Classic the week before the U.S. Women's Open at Richland Country Club in Nashville, Tenn.
Miyazato shot a 2-under 70 in Thursday's first round and was tied for the early clubhouse lead. Miyazato, who has nine career victories on the LPGA Tour, is still seeking her first major title. But she knows that she still has a long ways to go in this tournament if she's going to have a chance at winning this major.
"I'm trying to do the same thing -- just playing it simple, and just trying to hit fairways and trying to hit the greens and make some putts," Miyazato said. "But if you get in the wrong position, then it's going to be really hard. So you have to think about every single hole. But like I did today, just to try and save my energy out there, because I know it's going to be really hot tomorrow, too. So I just want to control myself really well tomorrow, too."
Higher expectations: Lexi Thompson is playing in her sixth U.S. Women's Open Championship this week and in addition to experience, she is bringing in higher expectations.
"Coming into this event just preparing for it the few days before I knew I could open with an under-par round," said Thompson. "You just have to be patient and take your pars on the hard holes and just go for the shorter par-4s and try to make birdies there. So I'm extremely happy with my round today and hopefully do the same the next three days."
Thompson says there aren't many holes on the championship course that you get on the tee box and think ‘birdie.'
"There's not many, but once you get your drive in the fairway and then you can go for the pin, then you know if you can birdie or not. But there are a few shorter par-4s, but there is definitely not too many holes out here. But there are a few that if you go into confidently, you can try to make birdies."
Earlier in the week, Thompson talked about the overwhelming nervousness that struck her on the first tee at the Pine Needles in 2007 at her U.S. Open debut, when she was just 12 years old. After playing in five Opens, the nerves have turned into positive energy.
"I mean first tee shot you always have that adrenaline, nervous feeling, but it's more exciting than nervous," said Thompson. "I take it as that's what I'm playing golf for, just for that feeling. So I enjoyed it."
If Thompson comes out on top this week, she will break another ‘youngest player' record and become the youngest player in history to win a major championship, previously set by fellow American Morgan Pressel. Pressel was 18 years, 10 months, and 9 days old when she won the 2007 Kraft Nabisco Championship in Rancho Mirage, California. Thompson will be 17 years, 4 months and 28 days on the final round on Sunday, which would make her 10 days younger than Young Tom Morris when he won the British Open in 1868.
Acing the test: Blackwolf Run certainly fits the description of a typical U.S. Women's Open golf course by providing a stiff challenge to nearly every golfer that plays it. That's why Beatriz Recari was particularly pleased with her bogey-free round of 2-under 70 in Thursday's first round, saying that she played "very smart" out on the course.
"I gave myself chances," Recari said. "And the most important part is that I didn't run into trouble. I had a great up-and-down on the first. After that -- that was a little bit more of an adventure hole, my very first hole. But after that I was just very solid, driving it to the fairway, on the green, and just my distance starting my long putting was very, very good.
"My comebacks were tap-ins. If not, they were no more than 3-footers. So that was definitely very important. We did a lot of work on the greens during the practice days and made sure that we have the greens very well charted. Like I said, just make sure that if I was not going to be able to go for the pin, just position the ball in the right place so that I could have an easy 2-putt."
Recari's last victory came back in 2010, her rookie season, when she won the CVS/pharmacy LPGA Classic. This is only the second time that she has played in the U.S. Women's Open, finishing in a T27 last year at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Welcome Back! It was 14 years ago that Se Ri Pak's life changed dramatically at Blackwolf Run when she won the 1998 U.S. Women's Open in a 20-hole playoff with amateur Jenny Chuasiriporn. By looking at Pak's opening round score of even-par 72, it seemed like she was right back at home on the golf course. But Pak, who has gone on to become an LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame member since that historic win, said that it's not quite the same track she remembers from 1998.
"Actually it's very exciting to be back again," Pak said. "Of course, it was 14 years ago, but the funny thing is I remember when I was at the playoff, last couple holes, and then I did a practice round earlier and they moved the tee. It felt like a totally different golf course, you know."
It may not be the same course that Pak won on in 1998, but it didn't seem that she missed a beat in her return visit. Pak had five birdies, two bogeys and one triple during her round to finish at even-par, two shots behind the leaders. And despite some ups and downs, Pak was pleased overall with her position after Day 1.
"A really solid round today," Pak said. "I'm very happy about the way I'm playing. But this golf course, you miss one shot little and you look and you have huge scores, huge numbers all of a sudden show up. You can see that…I think I had three missed shots that cost five strokes there. So that's a lot."
Energy channel: 2010 U.S. Women's Open champion Paula Creamer shot a 1-over par 73 in the opening round on Thursday and was a bit ambiguous on how she felt about her first-round performance.
"I don't really know," said Creamer. "I was talking to Collin (her caddie) at the end, and you know, I only missed three greens, and I gave myself a lot of chances, but it's hard onto make birdies. The opportunities that I did give myself I made."
Creamer currently sits four strokes off the lead and she's optimistic about where her game is heading into Friday's second round.
"You know, it's tough to make 25, 30-footers out here," Creamer said. "There's just so much speed related. But I'll take it. It's first day. It's Thursday. Nothing crazy. But this golf course is only going to get harder, and I think today was a pretty good ball-striking day. Just need to see a couple putts go in."
Creamer is looking to notch her first victory since her U.S. Open win back in 2010 at Oakmont and admits that her winless streak gets in her head at times.
"It's very hard," said Creamer. "It's frustrating. At the same time it's motivating. You know, I'm trying to learn how to channel the energy that I have from being frustrated into making it positive, and you know, it's been hard."
Creamer has been no pushover in 2012 and has recorded seven top 20 finishes including three in the top 10. But the major champ has her sights on winning week in and week out.
"I set such high expectations for myself, and to not have won since 2010 is kind of crazy to me, but it is reality, and I've been working very hard. I can't say that I am slacking off or anything like that. If not, I'm working harder now and maybe even too hard, you know, just putting pressure on myself.
"But it's going to happen," said Creamer. "I'm not too scared about that. It will come around, and you know, it's just a battle of fighting through all this."
Of Note…Rolex Rankings No. 1 Yani Tseng fired a 2-over 74 in Thursday's opening round and sits tied for 38th…Joining Tseng at 2-over-par in the opening round was Michelle Wie, who finished T55 at last year's U.S. Women's Open…Only 14 players managed to break par on Thursday when temperatures soared to the high 90s with a heat index of over 100 degrees…Defending champion So Yeon Ryu shot 74 in the first round.
THE MODERATOR: Cristie Kerr, tied for the lead, 3-under par 69 today. That was a very nice, gritty round. It looked like you really hung in there. Three birdies on the front, no bogeys on the back, all pars on your front 9, and then you played the front 9 as your back 9. No bogeys at all.
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, I played really well. It could have been a lot lower too. I had a wicked lip-out on 18. I hit a perfect putt. It just horseshoed out. Then the same thing on No. 5. And then on 6 and 7 I think maybe I barely didn't start -- I had two 7, 8-foot birdie putts that maybe barely didn't start online. Maybe they bounced off line. Four opportunities I hit pretty good putts that didn't go in, but that's the U.S. Open. Bogey-free today. I can't complain about that. Very pleased with my round.
THE MODERATOR: As well, you should be in that heat. It took you a long time to play. Five hours and 45 minutes?
CRISTIE KERR: 5:45.
THE MODERATOR: How did you manage to play so well in those conditions?
CRISTIE KERR: You kind of do it. You don't really have a choice. We got to the 10th tee which was our first hole and we had a 15-minute delay. It was just so hot. It was so hot. My husband Erik got us these little things we can dip in ice water and stick around our neck. And just try and keep us cool during the round. Everybody had one of those. You had to.
It was just -- the heat index was up to 110 at times. It actually got really, really nice on the back. 13th, 14th hole of the day. It started to cool down. The shadows got longer and it was actually probably the nicest part of the day to play in.
So I did really well.
Q. Can you sum up what's really working well for you now?
CRISTIE KERR: Well, like I said kind of all year I've scored -- finishes haven't been indicative of how I played at times. My goal is to kind of play like this consistently for the rest of this week and we'll see where we're it falls. Been pretty inconsistent this year. But I've found that determination, that fire in my belly today that said -- I hooked it in the hazard my first hole today and made an unbelievable par on 10 getting up-and-down from 135 yards, making a 15-foot, 20-foot par putt. That proved to myself I was there. In a way it was good that happened. I said to myself no, I'm not letting it go this way today. I'm not letting it go this way this week. That's been the difference in the inconsistency of my game this year. I called it up. I found it. Since last week with five holes to go, even though I missed the cut, I birdied two of the last 5 to make the cut and I found that fire in my belly that I needed. I kind of carried it over to this week.
You never know when the light switch turns on, and I feel like it has.
Q. How far was your shot? Was it a wedge in and how close did you stick it?
CRISTIE KERR: On 10? I think I had about 134 to the pin, and I made about -- it was about six paces. So it must have been about an 18-footer from behind the hole. I walked it right in the hole. And I was like, let's go.
THE MODERATOR: How did you get in that position where you had to hit your fourth shot close?
CRISTIE KERR: What's that?
THE MODERATOR: How did you get into that position on 10?
CRISTIE KERR: I hit it in the water on the tee.
THE MODERATOR: That will do it.
CRISTIE KERR: That poor volunteer was down there trying to find my ball. I said, please, don't even worry about it.
THE MODERATOR: And then on 11 you birdied. What club did you hit to the green?
CRISTIE KERR: I hit a 7-iron in, then I made about a five-footer, made a great par on 12, made a great birdie on 13 where that pin was.
THE MODERATOR: What did you hit on 13?
CRISTIE KERR: I hit a 5-iron in.
THE MODERATOR: And how long was your putt?
CRISTIE KERR: Probably about six feet.
THE MODERATOR: And then another birdie on 16?
CRISTIE KERR: Yes, I actually kind of pulled a gap wedge probably about, guessing, it was over 20 feet. Big left-to-right breaker, I made that. I hit a lot of good putts that didn't go in. The putts that I should have made I barely missed them. So it's nice to know that I shot in the 60s leaving some putts out there.
I'm sure it's not going to get any easier this week. I think we had to take advantage of the conditions today being benign without a lot of wind. Even though it was very hot. I think the USGA did a good job of not letting the golf course get away from them because you could still hit manageable shots. Because sometimes with this heat it's really just easy to lose a golf course very fast. We didn't really see people syringing the greens. I thought they did a good job, the golf course staff and the USGA did a good job not letting the golf course get away from them. I think in '98 the golf course got a little bit away from us on the weekends. So I thought they did a good job.
THE MODERATOR: You had only 29 putts. That was a good putting day. Sometimes the late tee times first day, early tee times the next day are very difficult. You have very little time to rest. Any plans for this evening? Put your feet up?
CRISTIE KERR: No, I've got some good friends from Kingsmill the Whitakers are cooking for us as we speak. I'm pretty lucky to have great friends that come and want to be the chefs for the week. So I'll be able to get some rest.
Q. Cristie, understanding that you did have the five good holes in Arkansas to finish up, but how much of that fire in the belly just comes from being at the U.S. Women's Open this week?
CRISTIE KERR: I think it's just a different atmosphere for me being here. It's just something that it just comes up in me when I'm here. And I think I did good to put that behind me last week, because that was disappointing. But at the same time U.S. Open is where it's at. This is where I want to perform. This is the stage I want to perform on. And I did good to stay focused and not get discouraged and not -- in a sense when you have a bad hole, to put it behind you and go on to the next hole. Sometimes it's hard to leave a bad tournament and go on to the next tournament, but when it's the U.S. Open I have no choice. You have to. So that was good.
Q. Do you also tend to excel when the setup is a lot tougher?
CRISTIE KERR: I do. I think it forces me to focus more. Sometimes I get a little bored or I lose interest. But not here. You can't fall asleep here.
THE MODERATOR: Brittany Lincicome is tied for the lead with a 3-under par 69. Wonderful playing out there. Lots of birdies. A few bogeys. You must have been pleased.
BRITTANY LINCICOME: I was very pleased. Coming into this week and playing the practice rounds, you're out there and you're like, oh, my gosh, 5, 6, 7-over is going to win this event. Obviously today shooting 3-under I have to kind of rethink my strategy, and obviously under par is very doable. If you can keep it in the fairway, hit it in the right spot on the green and I made a couple long putts today which was nice.
THE MODERATOR: You said your round was a little over five hours.
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Yeah.
THE MODERATOR: How did you deal with the pace of play and the heat?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: It was a bad combination. I felt like we were out there waiting on every single hole. You kind of have to take your mind on somewhere else and not focus on obviously what you're doing, because five-and-a-half hours it's hard to concentrate that long. When it was your turn to hit, you had to really focus 110% on every single shot. The holes I bogeyed I thought they were easy wedge shots, they were easy shots and I didn't put as much energy into those. And bad things happen. U.S. Open is one of those weeks where you are mentally drained after each round you have to focus really hard on every shot.
THE MODERATOR: You had a good putting round.
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Yes.
THE MODERATOR: Key for this week, don't you think?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Absolutely. I just saw Judy Rankin on the interview she did said it's going to be the player who gets the ball up-and-down. It's not necessarily a player that's going to hit it in the fairway every time or hit it in the green. It's going to be the player who gets it up-and-down the most. And I felt I did it really really good at that. Putting, I had 25 putts today, which I haven't seen all year, pretty much, so it was nice to kind of see the putter kind of going my way, and I felt very confident today with it.
Q. Brittany, could you just tell us what the story of your day was?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Can I tell you what?
Q. The story of your day. Sum everything up.
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Story?
THE MODERATOR: Your story.
BRITTANY LINCICOME: My story was easy. It kind of felt like -- I was very in control of everything today, which is a nice feeling, obviously. I knew exactly where my tee shots were going. I knew exactly where my irons were going. The putts, even if I read them wrong, I still kind of got back on track, and I was making them. It was one of those days where you were like, that was easy. If golf could be this easy every single day, I might make a living out of it.
Q. Brittany, by talked about how much fishing you've been doing this year. How much did you practice coming into this week and how did you prepare in general?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: It's probably why my game has been like this all year. Need to stay off that boat. Didn't really practice any differently. Obviously, last week we were in Arkansas, which was nice. Kind of got a tune-up for this week.
The week before that I went out and caught a 400 pound grouper, and still fished as much as I practiced. It's kind of an easy balance. Went down to a new golf course I've been practicing on. Worked on putting a bit. Other than that, it was a normal week. Last week was great to get ready for this week.
Q. Did you say a 400 pound grouper or 400-pound groupers?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: 400 pound one Goliath grouper. One fish weighed 400 pounds.
Q. Do they even come that big?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Yes, I have pictures.
THE MODERATOR: Where did you catch the fish?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: In Florida, where I live. In the St. Pete area.
THE MODERATOR: In the Gulf?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: In the Gulf. Yes. You were as shocked as I was when it came up to the surface.
Q. How long did it take to get it up?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: About 30 minutes. My guy friend couldn't reel it in. I had to physically help him hold the rod. It was nice.
THE MODERATOR: They get certificates for fish like that when they are past a certain tonnage. Did you get one for that?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: No, that would have been fun. I needed to submit it to the wildlife somebody.
Q. Just wondering, you got one round under your belt. How do you prepare for tomorrow? Sort of what do you look for?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Really going to go to bed right now and try to get my ten hours of sleep in. But, no, just go to bed. Try not to think about it too much. This is like the first time I've been in the Media Center in a long time. So it's kind of a fun treat.
Just go home and do the same thing, have dinner, go to bed early, get up, and hopefully it keeps going. And it's golf. You never know what's going to happen. I feel great. I feel like I'm hitting it well, putting it well. Keep doing that, and I'll be where I need to be.
Q. Do you see this putting round coming --
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Did I see my putting round coming? I had changed something in my putting about a month ago right before Wegman's. And it really was a disaster, and it didn't
Putting is all confidence. You can shut it down, slice it, hook it, do whatever you want in the stroke. But as long as you're confident in doing it, you can kind of trick your mind into thinking your the best putter ever, even if you have the worst stroke on tour. But it doesn't matter, as long it gets in the hole.
There's no pictures. Obviously we have cameras out there. There's no pictures on the scorecard. Whatever you have to do to get it in the hole in the fewest amount of strokes is obviously the goal. I feel like I've been putting really well lately. It's nice to see it turning around. Even the short five-footers I'm saving for par are no-brainers any more. I'm confident I'm going to make it. It's a nice feeling. It takes a lot of stress out of my life.
Q. What were the keys for to you beat the heat?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Well, I drank about a bottle of water almost every single hole. I had my umbrella out today. That was nice. But I guess that and trying to make sure I ate every couple of holes, whether a banana or a granola bar. Trying to eat every couple of holes and drink as much water as I could. And carry my umbrella.
Q. You've had a couple of top 10 finishes in the Women's Open. How have those experiences tended to help you? Maybe you can take us forward from what you learned from those experiences for the next three days.
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Those are huge. Even winning Kraft Nabisco in '09. I know it was a long time ago. You can still pull from past experiences like that and get yourself through this. I've been sitting in this chair before on the first round. And I finished top 10 before. So just kind of pull from those and be confident and know I can do it and know I'm a winner on this LPGA Tour, this tour, and just try to stay confident and go out there and do my thing.
Q. Can you tell us exactly what it was you had changed in your putting stroke?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Just changed my grip a little bit. It's kind of hard to -- my hands were more on the top of it. I tried to move them to the sides a little bit. Speed control was horrible. I would have even ten feet and I would either blow it by five feet or leave it five feet short.
So I just kind of went back to -- my stroke originally my grip was more on top. I was shutting my putter down but I always got it back to square when I brought it through. I basically went back to doing that, I guess.
I don't see my swing on video. Somebody mentioned it to me, and I had listened to them, and it was downhill.
THE MODERATOR: I recall that in the 2004 Women's Open, you were an amateur.
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Yes.
THE MODERATOR: You eagled one of the par-4 holes. You hit this fabulous iron shot out from the trees, holed it, and your dad I think was caddying for you.
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Yes.
THE MODERATOR: And you burst into tears.
BRITTANY LINCICOME: I was going to say that.
THE MODERATOR: You were leading after the first round.
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Yes.
THE MODERATOR: It was like it's a whole new world out there. Do you ever look at how far you've come since then in this championship?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Oh, yeah. Absolutely. My dad is sitting in here with us right now. He follows every single round I ever play. It's crazy. I see pictures of that shot and I remember busting into tears. I remember talking to my dad and saying he was crying. He was like why are we crying? What does this mean? What are we doing? It's great. He was always telling me you can never win a tournament on the first day, but you can lose it on the first day. I think we're sitting in a good spot for the next three days.
THE MODERATOR: You have come a long way. You were kind of shy at that time. Now you're --
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Now look at me.
THE MODERATOR: Let's go over your card if we can. You started on the back 9. You birdied No. 10. Your very first hole.
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Yeah.
THE MODERATOR: What club did you hit and how long was your put?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: I really wish I had my yardage book. I had 250 to the pin. I tried to hit a 3-wood. Left it short just in the rough and hit a lob wedge up to about 5 feet and made it.
THE MODERATOR: And then 17, the par-3 you birdied?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: I don't know. Hit it to like -- that was that one. I hit I think it was about 155. I hit an 8-iron. Was trying to hit it 145 to the front and hit it to five inches. I think I almost made it.
THE MODERATOR: We had a couple of bogeys here. No. 1 you bogeyed.
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Bogeyed. Yes I hit a 3-wood off the tee. I was hitting a sand wedge out of the fairway and didn't commit to it or didn't put all my energy into it and left it out to the right a little bit where you didn't want to be. Basically 3-putted. I was off the green.
THE MODERATOR: So 3-putt.
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Yes.
THE MODERATOR: And No. 2 you birdied.
BRITTANY LINCICOME: 2 par-5, birdie. I don't remember how far. 15 feet, maybe. I don't remember.
THE MODERATOR: And then a bogey on No. 5.
BRITTANY LINCICOME: That was another brain fart, if you will. Hit a 3-wood right in the middle of the fairway sitting perfect. Wasn't committed to my second shot. I was kind of on a side hill lie. I tried to grip a 9-iron and didn't want to come out of it like I did the wedge a couple of holes prior, and I pulled it into the water. Basically got it up-and-down from the hazard.
THE MODERATOR: Pretty good bogey.
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Yes, very good bogey out of the rough.
THE MODERATOR: No. 7 was your last birdie of the day.
BRITTANY LINCICOME: No. 7. Long par-5. Thank goodness it was downwind. I hit a great drive. And then I had about 250 I think to the pin again. Was trying to hit on the front. Hit a 5-wood up to like the front of the green. Chipped it up and made about a 12-footer.
THE MODERATOR: Lizette Salas is the first one in the clubhouse with a round of 69. She was 3-under par today. She's 22 year old years old. She's from Azusa, California and drives around the tour in her dad's 2006 truck instead of flying. First of all, that was a mighty fine round. Congratulations.
LIZETTE SALAS: Thank you.
Q. How do you feel about the way you played?
LIZETTE SALAS: I feel good. Just had one little minor mistake and kept the ball on the fairway and just kept smiling out there.
My caddie and I were just cracking jokes all day, and just trying to stay in the middle of the green -- trying to stay on the green, first of all. And we just figured any putt on the green is a birdie putt. And we had some good up-and-downs, and down the stretch we had some good birdie opportunities, and took advantage of that last one, and just threw out a fist pump. It was good.
THE MODERATOR: The one mistake you mentioned which one are you referring to?
LIZETTE SALAS: I'm referring to 11. I hit it in the right rough. Tried to be a little cute with it. Hit it a little over. I hit a really good chip and just misread the putt. I knew there were going to be more birdie opportunities the way I was swinging. I just had fun with it.
I know it's four long days, and it's really hot out here. I was trying to stay cool and just trying to have fun and play the best golf that I can.
THE MODERATOR: You grew up in Azusa, your parents emigrated from Mexico. Your neighborhood when you were growing up was drug-infested, heavily gang-populated. How did you turn out so well?
LIZETTE SALAS: Well, I love my hometown. It's a great place. There's always bad areas in cities, but I had a great family, hard-working family that -- with good morals and education was first, and I was the baby of the family, so I got a lot of attention. And I think having good working parents and so optimistic helped me in my career.
And my dad still works long hours out on the golf course, my mom also; and so this is just my way of repaying them for all their sacrifice and all their work they've done for me. And they're here this week, and so is my little niece. It's just a family sport for us now, and it's just great to have them around.
THE MODERATOR: Your dad is the head mechanic of the greens crew at Azusa Golf Course; correct?
LIZETTE SALAS: Yes.
Q. How about Hispanic golf heroes? Do you have any?
LIZETTE SALAS: I have plenty. I have, of course, Lorena Ochoa and growing up as a little girl it was Nancy Lopez. I don't know how she got my number, but she called me right before my debut on the Future's Tour on the Duramed Tour last year. Just so happened she texted me not too long ago asking me to call her. I met her in Phoenix as I debuted on the LPGA Tour. And she's still my role model and an idol and so is Lorena. Of course, Lee Trevino with his optimistic attitude and his fun way of being on the golf course. That's the way I want to be. A little bit of everybody and just creating my own little style out there on the golf course.
THE MODERATOR: So you just heard from Nancy just after you finished today?
LIZETTE SALAS: I just got a text from her.
Q. Can you just give us a little more background on how you got started in golf? Your father approached the pro?
LIZETTE SALAS: Yeah. I started at the age of seven. I gotta thank my brother because he hated golf. He didn't want to play. So my dad took me out to the golf course one day and gave me a club, and he was good friends with the head pro. And he didn't have that much money to pay for lessons because they're really expensive. I didn't have golf shoes. I didn't know how to dress, nothing like that. They worked out a deal where my dad did handy man favors for them. My dad fixed cars on the side, and that's how I got started. Just been swinging ever since. Haven't stopped.
Q. If you look throughout sports there's a lot of examples of people that use sports to earn a scholarship and maybe lift themselves out of tough circumstances. It strikes me that doesn't happen a lot in golf. Do you see that as unique even though it may not be in a sports setting?
LIZETTE SALAS: I'm sorry?
Q. You can look throughout sports, there's a lot of people who come from tough backgrounds, earn a scholarship and better themselves. It might not be better in golf. Do you think this is unique in the golf world?
LIZETTE SALAS: I think so. I've heard stories like this in football and in basketball. And it's kind of special because golf is such a unique sport and it brings different backgrounds together, and I'm just fortunate to be here; and to be amongst the top players in the world has always been a big dream of mine. And just getting to USC was a big goal for us, for my family. Coach Gaston believed in me. I was just under her wing, listened, and now just on the LPGA living the dream and playing the best golf that I can. And just having fun along the way.
THE MODERATOR: Are you the first person in your family to graduate from college?
LIZETTE SALAS: Yes, here in the U.S. Yeah.
THE MODERATOR: And you and your dad and your ten-year-old niece drove out from Arkansas in his 2006 truck.
LIZETTE SALAS: Yeah. Not the first time.
THE MODERATOR: That was not the first time?
LIZETTE SALAS: No. We've did two road trips from last summer on the Symetra Tour from California to Ohio. And after the Open Colorado we drove home. We did another one from California to New York, and then did a couple of Symetra Tour events and drove home from Georgia.
This isn't anything different for us. Just gives us time to be together and talk about life and how different our life has become to about a year ago, trying to make it on the Symetra tour. And now being on top of the leaderboard at the U.S. Women's Open is just surreal. I just have the best team around me that allows me to have fun at what I'm doing and to not put so much pressure on myself and just smiling out there.
THE MODERATOR: You've made over $70,000 this year. You could fly first class if you wanted. But you like that truck.
LIZETTE SALAS: We like that truck. It's red and it has "USC dad" on it. I think it has over 90,000 miles on it. We've had some great memories, laughed and shed tears in that truck. And I often slept in it. It's been a good -- it's been a fun adventure, and just going to keep going and making more experiences.
THE MODERATOR: Questions. Okay. Did you tee off on the front 9?
LIZETTE SALAS: Yes, I did.
THE MODERATOR: You birdied the first hole. What club did you hit to the green and what was your putt?
LIZETTE SALAS: I hit a 9-iron on the first hole and I had about a seven-footer.
THE MODERATOR: On the 7 you made another birdie.
LIZETTE SALAS: No. 7, it's the par-5. I hit a 52-degree wedge to about 8, 9 feet.
THE MODERATOR: No. 11 was a mistake you were talking about. The one mistake of the day.
LIZETTE SALAS: Yeah.
THE MODERATOR: On 15 you had a birdie 3.
LIZETTE SALAS: That was a big putt. That was I would say around 35, 40 feet.
THE MODERATOR: What club did you hit to the green?
LIZETTE SALAS: I hit a 9-iron to that.
THE MODERATOR: And No. 18?
LIZETTE SALAS: No. 18 I hit 6-iron.
THE MODERATOR: How long was that?
LIZETTE SALAS: That was about 7 feet, I would say.
THE MODERATOR: Did your dad and your niece and your mother walk around with you today?
LIZETTE SALAS: Oh, yeah. My niece, as I said before, my niece has been with me since Arkansas, and so has my dad. My mom just flew in last night. My niece is just having a blast. She's been helping me practice. She's making me laugh. And having my family here makes it so much better. I'm just glad that they're here with me and enjoying this experience with me, because it's definitely a family sport, and without them, I wouldn't be here.
THE MODERATOR: How did you deal with the heat today?
LIZETTE SALAS: These sleeves.
THE MODERATOR: What do they do exactly? Explain that to us.
LIZETTE SALAS: They keep your arms cool. I don't know. My dad just gave them to me. Never played with them before. So it was the first time I tried them. I had my sun umbrella out there, my caddie kept giving me tons and tons of water and Pedialyte. They mixed that in my water and it keeps me hydrated. My don't tell anybody.
THE MODERATOR: A secret ingredient.
Q. You talked about Nancy Lopez reaching out to you. But you're really too young to remember -- you weren't even born for a lot of her career. What do you know about her? Have you just watched any archival things? What do you know about what kind of player she was?
LIZETTE SALAS: What I remember is her style. She was so feminine. She brought out a different style in golf. She was just so loving to the fans. She's so bubbly and approachable. I think that's really important.
The fact that she went out of her way to talk to me just shows how great she is to young golfers that are coming up in the LPGA. I know her swing was super long and she was one of the longest hitters. I even asked her how do you hit the ball so far? She was like, "I had a big, big swing."
Just little things like that. And she's impacted my view of golf in a big way, and she's just awesome.
Q. What exactly are those sleeves? What kind of fabric? Is that like an Under Armour type thing? What does that do for you?
LIZETTE SALAS: It's like Under Armour. It reflects the sun and keeps you cool. I don't know what brand it is, but they're really good. I have them in red and black.
THE MODERATOR: Do you wet them at all? Or just dry fabric?
LIZETTE SALAS: I haven't put them in water, but I think with my sweat they're already wet as it is.
Q. Lizette, you had to qualify to get here. I don't think you have a top 10th this year. What were your expectations heading into the tournament? Are you surprised at all with how well you played today on this golf course?
LIZETTE SALAS: Considering I had a top 15 finish last year and I had won my qualifier in Phoenix and I had just been playing consistently on the LPGA so far. I was kind of upset that I had to qualify. So I just came out here and proved to myself that probably half the game did not qualify, but came out here and tried to play golf that I know how to play and to keep it in the fairway and to just make clutch putts down the stretch.
THE MODERATOR: You have on your cap a black ribbon that says "rest in peace, Randy." Who is that?
LIZETTE SALAS: Randy Acosta is a friend of ours who died about a week ago. He was put to rest on Monday. He just got in a car accident, 20 years old, and just too young to go. Figured it was my way of paying -- to show the family my respect. That was just a little something my niece and I did for him. I felt bad that I couldn't be there with them.
Q. Did I read correctly you won a nine-way playoff during your LPGA spot? And what was that like?
LIZETTE SALAS: Yeah. I actually birdied my last hole in regulation to get into the playoff. And I knew it was going to be close, so I just -- I put on my headphones, I went straight to the putting green and I just putted, and I wasn't nervous until they told me it was a nine-woman playoff, three holes. And I just stayed patient, stayed positive, and I had my dad out there with me and my mom. And my mom has that fiery attitude, and my dad is like, it's okay, it's okay. But my mom is like no, no, no, no. You're going to go out there and you're going to get that card. And just birdie, birdie, birdie. That 18-footer on the last hole I knew where I stood. I knew I had to make it. It was probably the slowest putt of my life, but it was great. All the emotions of all the hard work we've done as a family and all the sacrifice my dad has done and my mom. It was just a great moment for us.
Q. That was December 2011?
LIZETTE SALAS: This past Q-school.
THE MODERATOR: December.
LIZETTE SALAS: December.
THE MODERATOR: I imagine your parents are pretty happy about your round today?
LIZETTE SALAS: They are super excited.
THE MODERATOR: What did they say to you?
LIZETTE SALAS: I haven't even talked to them. After signing my scorecard, they dragged me and wanted to do all these interviews. I'm sure they're going to be excited. They're just going to tell me what happened today happened. Let's just try to focus on the next three days, and it's a marathon out here. U.S. Open always has tough conditions, and it's more of a mental tournament as well as dragging out three more rounds. So I'm pretty sure they're excited, but we just gotta take it one shot at a time.
THE MODERATOR: Ai Miyazato with a round of 2-under par 70. Started play on the back nine. Went one over par at the 11th hole and two over par at the 15th hole and bounced back with four birdies. So we'll go over those clubs and the length of the putts in a moment. But first, how did you feel about the way you played today.
AI MIYAZATO: I'm very happy with my round today. It was really tough out there because of the heat. And you know, the golf course is always tough conditions at the U.S. Women's Open. But I kept hitting the fairway and kept hitting it to the greens. So overall I'm really happy with my round.
THE MODERATOR: What provisions did you take for the heat?
AI MIYAZATO: It wasn't easy, but I had an ice bag in my bag, so I used that a lot, especially last five holes, and I had a sun umbrella and trying to drink lots of water and take some vitamins and just trying to get used to it, but it wasn't really easy out there, but I'm very happy that I started in the morning.
THE MODERATOR: And you wear those socks. Tell me the advantage of the socks and why you still wear them despite the heat.
AI MIYAZATO: I think most people think I'm crazy, but it's not really hot, though. Trust me. This is like sun block socks, too, so it's not hot either. So it's actually helps my muscles, too. So it's really good socks.
THE MODERATOR: And how do they help with muscles?
AI MIYAZATO: It's not really compression socks, but sun block, so you won't get tired.
THE MODERATOR: Oh, okay. All right. Good. All right. Questions for Ai? If not, we'll go over your card. Bogey on No. 11. Missed the green. Your second hole of the day.
AI MIYAZATO: Yeah, I had a three-putt.
THE MODERATOR: And then 15?
AI MIYAZATO: 15 I had a three-putt, too.
THE MODERATOR: And then started coming back on No. 1. What did you hit to the green?
AI MIYAZATO: Pitching wedge and it was like one-footer.
THE MODERATOR: Okay. And No. 5. Birdie. The par-3. Excuse me. Par-4.
AI MIYAZATO: Par-4, yeah. I hit it into seven wood, second shot. And it was on the first. It was like ten meters.
THE MODERATOR: Okay. 30 feet?
AI MIYAZATO: Yeah. 30 feet.
THE MODERATOR: And No. 8, birdie?
AI MIYAZATO: 8, I hit into hybrid 4, which is like three irons, and birdie putt was 10 -- no, 12 feet.
THE MODERATOR: 12 feet, and then your final hole of the day you birdied, No. 9.
AI MIYAZATO: I hit 6-iron second shot and it actually hit the tree but stayed on the green. But it was like six meters.
THE MODERATOR: It hit the tree?
AI MIYAZATO: Tree. And then stayed on the green on the right side. So I was lucky.
THE MODERATOR: And so you were within about 18 feet of the hole?
AI MIYAZATO: Yes.
THE MODERATOR: And you made it. Good putting round except for 11 and 15. On 11 when you three-putted, how far away were you?
AI MIYAZATO: It wasn't far. My par putt was only like three-footer.
THE MODERATOR: But I mean to start with. Were you 20 feet?
AI MIYAZATO: Yeah. 15 feet.
THE MODERATOR: And then on 15?
AI MIYAZATO: 15 I was in the front of the green, but then it was like 10 meters, I guess.
THE MODERATOR: And you three-putted from 30 feet?
AI MIYAZATO: Yes.
THE MODERATOR: So your position is a very good one. For now you are tied for first. Is this what you dreamt of when you came to this Women's Open? You thought maybe this would be a good place to be after the first round?
AI MIYAZATO: Oh, definitely. I'll take it. You know, always the low score on the green is really good. But tomorrow it's going to be another day. So you never know what's going to happen. But like I did today, I'm trying to do the same thing. Just playing it simple, and just trying to hit fairways and trying to hit the greens and make some putts. But if you get in the wrong position, then it's going to be really hard. So you have to think about every single hole.
But like I did today, just to try and save my energy out there, because I know it's going to be really hot tomorrow, too. So I just want to control myself really well tomorrow, too.
Q. Beatriz was saying that since she's not a long hitter, she is used to hitting long clubs into fairways. Would you say that that is the same for you and could that be -- if you're hitting fairways, is that an advantage for you at a very long course like this?
AI MIYAZATO: Yeah. I think it's pretty same feeling with her. But today fairway was pretty firm, firmer than I thought. So I hit pretty long, longer than usual. So I used lots of irons today with my second shot. So because of that I didn't feel it wasn't that long.
Q. It didn't feel like 7000 yards?
AI MIYAZATO: No, it didn't.
THE MODERATOR: A lot of players might have said at the beginning of the week that a long player would be favored because it's a published 6900 yards. They might not have given you much of a chance because you're mostly known for your approach shots, your fairway woods and that sort of thing, but I guess you showed them, didn't you?
AI MIYAZATO: Yes. I think so. If you're on the fairway, then I think you can hit to the greens. So even though irons or hybrid, it doesn't matter, I think. So if I could -- you know, my swing tempo is really slow, slower than any players, but if I can keep my good tempo, then I think I'll be fine.
THE MODERATOR: Okay. Lexi Thompson is with us. She is 2-under par, 70 today. Let's talk about the heat. How did you deal with that? Heat index of about 105.
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah. It was extremely hot out there. I had my umbrella pretty much the hole time and a cool towel around my neck. So staying hydrated was really important.
THE MODERATOR: How much did you drink or water or whatever did you drink out there? Every hole.
LEXI THOMPSON: Every hole. Pretty much at least one water a hole, if not more.
THE MODERATOR: And how do you feel now? You finished strong. Still feel fresh and ready to go again?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah. Feeling good. I'm going to relax the rest of the day. I have a late tee time tomorrow. I tee off at 2009 and going to relax after that and go out with the same attitude.
THE MODERATOR: And how do you feel about the way you played today?
LEXI THOMPSON: I feel really good about it. I had two bogeys on the back nine. So I got off track a little bit there, but I bounced back and made a few birdies, so was really happy with that and ended on birdies so take that into tomorrow.
THE MODERATOR: Let's go over your birdies. If you could just tell us what clubs you hit and the length of the putts. I don't have the score sheet here, but perhaps you can go by this.
LEXI THOMPSON: All right. Well, No. 2, par-5 I hit my 3-wood on the green from like 235 front. I hit it on the green about 40 feet and made about 10-footer for birdie. And then No. 5, I think. Yeah. No. 5 I had about a 12 footer for birdie with my lob wedge. I hit the lob wedge to 12 feet and made birdie. It's really hard to remember. Okay. And then --
THE MODERATOR: You had a couple of bogeys on the back nine.
THOMPSON: Yeah. I bogeyed 12 and 13. I just missed the green on both and didn't get up-and-down. And then 14 -- no. 15 I birdied. I hit my 55-degree from about 100 yards to six feet and made it. And then I birdied the next hole. I hit my lob wedge from like 61 yards to ten feet.
THE MODERATOR: Seven feet.
LEXI THOMPSON: Ten feet. And then I birdied the last hole.
THE MODERATOR: Okay. And how long was that putt on 18.
LEXI THOMPSON: On 18 it was about eight feet.
THE MODERATOR: So putting was good and you said in your pre-championship interviews that you hoped to putt well because that's the key to this.
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah. It's really important. You have to place your ball in the right spot on the greens and sometimes just play away from the pins and take your par and two-putt.
Q. Lexi, it was going pretty slowly out there. How do you keep your concentration on such long rounds, and why was it going slowly out there today?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, I didn't realize how slow it was going until I made the turn and it was three hours later. You know, you just have to do your routine on every shot and just keep your focus, and like you said, just stay hydrated. It's really hot, so you just have to stay hydrated and cool and just relax.
Q. Why were the rounds so long?
LEXI THOMPSON: I'm not sure why the rounds were so long. My group didn't take much time at all. But you know, it didn't seem like it was going by that slow, but maybe just the heat and it was slowing a few people down.
Q. Lexi, you had a couple of nice bounce backs on holes today. Can you talk about maybe your temperament and your mindset or attitude that helps you do that?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah. Pretty much I made a few bogeys midway through the back nine but once you get to an easier hole you have to go into it with a positive attitude and say you're going to birdie this hole and just go into it confident and just forget about the bogeys that you just made and just bounce back from it.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about your work with Dave stock stone and your putting and just kind of what you're concentrating on out there as far as putting?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah. I worked with Dave Stockton and Jim McLean on my putting. Just you know, putting is pretty much all about confidence and just trusting your line and putting a good stroke on it, because you just have to put a good stroke on it. If it doesn't go in you can't do anything about it. It's pretty much on the mental mindset and a few technical things in my stroke and set up.
Q. So how is it different now than perhaps at the Kraft or can you pinpoint any specifics about your stroke that are different?
LEXI THOMPSON: At Kraft I was just trying to change a bunch of things at one time, which probably wasn't the best idea. But now I just figure with a few things in my set up that's actually helped out with my stroke. Just little things instead of just changing big things in my grip or setup that I was doing at the Kraft.
THE MODERATOR: Coming into this championship did you ever have a thought I'd really love to open with a round that's under par. Did you ever have any kind of mental image of what you'd like to do and if so, does this live up to it.
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah. Coming into this event just preparing for it the few days before I knew I could open with an under-par round. You just have to be patient and take your pars on the hard holes and just go for the shorter par-4s and try to make birdies there. So I'm extremely happy with my round today and hopefully do the same the next three days.
Q. Considering where you live, where you grow up, how often do you play on days like this? How often do you play when it's this hot?
LEXI THOMPSON: Being from south Florida I'm used to the heat, so I play every day, no matter how hot it is.
Q. Is it an advantage that you play so much in the heat?
LEXI THOMPSON: I would say I'm definitely more used to it, I guess, being in South Florida, growing up there. So it's definitely helped out, getting used to this and last week in Arkansas.
Q. Lexi, you mentioned a while back that in the bounce-back there were some holes where you were going into it with the attitude that I'm going to birdie this hole. How many holes out there can you go into saying I'm going to birdie this hole?
LEXI THOMPSON: There's not many, but once you get your drive in the fairway and then you can go for the pin, then you know if you can birdie or not. But there are a few shorter par-4s, I guess, but there is definitely not too many holes out here. But there are a few that if you go into confidently and try to make birdies.
Q. Would you take four rounds of 2-under par in 72 holes the next three days?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah. I would definitely take four rounds at 2-under par but I'm just going to try to do the same thing I did today and stay confident, patient. That's pretty much all you have to do in an Open out there.
THE MODERATOR: Did you ever get nervous out there today?
LEXI THOMPSON: Not really. I mean first tee shot you always have that adrenaline, nervous feeling, but it's more exciting than nervous. I take it as that's what I'm playing golf for, just for that feeling. So I enjoyed it.
Q. It's been pretty well documented youngest to do this and that. What would it mean to you to be the youngest to win a major?
LEXI THOMPSON: It would mean a lot. That's a pretty big achievement right there. There's a lot of golf to be played. Three more days on a challenging golf course. So I'm just going to go out and try to play the golf course and try to do my best.
THE MODERATOR: And where are you headed now, once you walk out of the media room.
LEXI THOMPSON: If lunch is still serving I would like to get something to eat and then maybe just hit some balls and relax the rest of the day.
THE MODERATOR: Go to the hotel, put your feet up, watch TV.
LEXI THOMPSON: Yep. Definitely.
THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, we have Beatriz Recari, who fired a round of 2 under par 70. Beatriz is 25 years old, she's from Espana. We congratulate her for that good round. How did you deal with the heat today? It looked brutal out there.
BEATRIZ RECARI: Yeah, that was definitely a challenge today. And we bought some electrolytes last week. It was incredibly hot. It was very hard conditions. Took some electrolytes, drank some electrolytes before the round when I was warming up. Some more halfway through and in the end. Make sure that you drink plenty of water. That was definitely goal No. 1 out there to make sure that we stay hydrated and, yeah, we just -- that was the most important part.
THE MODERATOR: You had a very consistent round. Two birdies, no bogeys. A birdie on No. 2, the par-5. What did you hit to the green there, and how long was your putt?
BEATRIZ RECARI: On No. 2? I hit my 54 degree. I had, if I remember right, 86 yards to the pin and I probably had like a 5-footer past the pin.
THE MODERATOR: And then on No. 12, the par-4, you birdied. What did you hit into that hole?
BEATRIZ RECARI: Hit my 6-iron. I think it was 164 to the pin. It was slightly helping. And I don't know. I would say maybe a 12-footer right-to-left. It was pretty big break. But, yeah, I made it.
THE MODERATOR: How do you feel about your round today?
BEATRIZ RECARI: I feel great. Especially because I played very smart out there. I gave myself chances. And the most important part is that I didn't run into trouble. I had a great up-and-down in the first. After that -- that was a little bit more of an adventure hole, my very first hole. But after that I was just very solid, driving it to the fairway on the green, and just my distance starting my long putting was very, very good.
My comebacks were tap-ins. If not, they were no more than 3-footers. So that was definitely very important. We did a lot of work on the greens this practice days and made sure that we have the greens very well charted.
Like I said, just make sure that if I was not going to be able to go for the pin, just position the ball in the right place so that I could have an easy 2-putt.
Q. Rounds are about five hours or so at least in length. Do you think a lot of that is because of the difficulty of the course or just the conditions being so warm out there and hot and humid?
BEATRIZ RECARI: You know, the practice runs were very long too. And I think the greens are challenging. There are a lot of small ridges. It reminds me a lot of links courses, the greens, that is, very small. You definitely have to keep -- have the greens under control pretty much. And I think -- I don't know why exactly, but I mean, it's obvious it's a U.S. Open course. It is hard. And you have to play smart, and yeah, it's very easy to run into trouble. That's what I did really well today. Just stay out of it.
But a few pins out there that you can actually be aggressive. Most of them are just going to go and roll past. Then you have long putt as a first putt. So, yeah, you -- it's a challenging course. Definitely.
THE MODERATOR: Do you think the fact that it's such a difficult course, that's what made the play slow?
BEATRIZ RECARI: That's the only reason I come up with. It's hot out there. That doesn't make you that much slower. I mean, I think I play with Se Ri and J.J. We all, by the looks of it, have the same routine as in a regular tournament. We drink more water, but you don't walk slower. Why it took longer is because of the difficulty of the course, I would say. That's my opinion.
Q. How do you prepare to play a course that's 500 yards longer than what you play on average at the tour?
BEATRIZ RECARI: That's always been my advantage and disadvantage at the same time. I've never been a long hitter. As an amateur, I was always the first one to hit and hit in a bunch of woods and hybrids into the greens. So that is not new. Doesn't upset me when I go to one course, and I have to hit a lot of hybrids. I developed a very consistent swing, and I joke with my caddie, my hybrid is my favorite club of the bag. I just leave it as close as with my wedges. It's not upsetting when I have to hit hybrids. I accept it. I have to commit to that shot and make sure that my mind is in the right place.
But coming into this kind of courses, now that, for example, I tend to play slightly always -- I always do it. But even more now -- I tend to play a little bit longer yardages than we normally do, because if you practice in harder conditions, then you go to your tournament and you feel very confident about your game.
Q. So you think there could be an advantage to the players that are normally shorter playing a course like this because you're more used to using your woods and hybrids?
BEATRIZ RECARI: The only advantage is going to be for those players that are very consistent and patient. I play with Se Ri and J.J.
And it was a great experience. It was the first time I ever played with Se Ri. And I think the second time I played with J.J. And they are very consistent and solid players. That's what they do. They give themselves chances and just stay patient and just be solid all day long. That's the key.
THE MODERATOR: After a day like today, when you've been struggling a bit with the heat and the length of the round and a difficult golf course, what do you do now? Do you go out and beat balls or do you go rest?
BEATRIZ RECARI: Well, I always wind down even if I have a very good feeling. Like today I just -- I'll do a few drills that I do every day just to make sure that the right feeling is still going on for tomorrow and for the next few days. But definitely in any situation, any day, resting is very important to recover.
I'll probably go to the gym a little bit, since I have a late tee time tomorrow. So I can definitely do that and release some adrenaline. But hydrate yourself, eat proper food, a little bit of gym this afternoon and plenty of rest. That's my plan.
Q. You had a fairly early tee time today. Can you weigh the advantages and disadvantages of playing in the morning versus the afternoon?
BEATRIZ RECARI: As a first day round?
BEATRIZ RECARI: Just today.
THE MODERATOR: I think he's talking about playing early-late, which is what you have.
BEATRIZ RECARI: You know, you play late-early or early-late always. But in the U.S. Open if you're feeling confident, you're playing well, it's definitely an advantage to just set up a good score and get yourself up in the leaderboard soon and then keep that.
I think with these heat conditions and this type of course it's going to be good to have that extra rest in between. So play late-early I think is going to be a good side of the draw. I feel like it.
Q. What I'm driving at is did you find the course was hardening up as the day went on?
BEATRIZ RECARI: No, I played -- I had a late practice tee time on Monday, and I had early Tuesday and Wednesday. And I think it's just as challenging. It's not softer. It's just as hard. The greens are the same in terms of how receptive they are. But I think I'm going more towards having that extra rest in between and putting up a good score on the leaderboard early after the first round.
THE MODERATOR: The statistics on the golf course showed that up until at least a half hour ago the 8th hole, the par-3, was the third hardest hole on the golf course. I know you parred it today. But 195 yards. Averaging more than 3.5 strokes. Why do you think it's the third hardest hole?
BEATRIZ RECARI: Well, you have a balance of water on the left. And the shape of the green it is -- starts on the right and then kind of follows towards the left. So already like where the tee were today, it was playing pretty long. It was like 160 something yards to the front, to the very front, and that's on the right, and the pin was on the left. The left side is intimidating. When I played it, it was the wind was blowing to the right. If you play just to the middle right it's going to end up in the thick rough and that side of the hole is -- practice these last few days is very, very thick. So it's challenging.
And I was -- it is an intimidating hole just because of the setup of the green and especially where the pin was today. It was long left.
THE MODERATOR: And the wind was blowing it towards the out of bounds in the water.
BEATRIZ RECARI: Exactly. So you had to play it smart. That hole, it was just par was --
THE MODERATOR: You were glad to get out of it with a par.
BEATRIZ RECARI: Yes.
Q. Se Ri, the obvious question, what is it like to be back here where you had so many great heroics?
SE RI PAK: Actually very exciting to be back again. Of course, it was 14 years ago, but the funny things I remember was at the playoff, last couple holes, and then I did a practice round earlier and they moved the tee. It felt like a totally different golf course, you know. But as I said, I have such great memories about '98, so no matter what, I feel really great to be out.
Q. What did you think of your round?
SE RI PAK: I was really solid round today. I'm very happy about the way I'm playing. But this golf course, you miss one shot little and you look and you have huge scores, huge numbers all of a sudden show up. You can see that.
So today, same as I am, actually. I was all the way to 18 I got a really great solid round, and I got a couple -- maybe I think I had three missed shots that cost five strokes there. So that's a lot. So other than that, I really, really feel great. Very happy to be out here again, and of course today you can see it's so hot out there. But it's just really fun. Fun to watch all the fans out there. Seems like back then 14 years ago, I love to see that. So it just makes me feel great.
Q. Do you feel like you're still in contention?
SE RI PAK: Yes, of course, because still three rounds to go. But I will do my best as I could the last three rounds. But no matter what happens, this is my best ever, ever at the golf course, ever tournament. So no doubt about it, and of course, as I said, I wish I could do it one more time, but we'll see.
Q. How aggressive can you be out on this course? It seems like everybody is kind of trying to avoid the big number. But how aggressive can you be in trying to make some scores?
SE RI PAK: It's pretty hard because today is a lot firmer than yesterday. And of course afternoon tee times are going to be a little harder, too, because fairways firm, greens firm and actually the breeze helps a little bit more than anything.
So just as I said, I know out there is a lot of trouble, and the best way to just -- you have to take it, no matter what. Of course you're trying to not make big mistake, but it was happening. Like today I knew I got mistake here and there, but I still hung in there because I know I'm the only one miss it. So just hang in there. I'm trying to make sure I'm thinking positive as far as I could.
Q. Se Ri, did you find that the crowds know you and were really supporting you because of your previous success?
SE RI PAK: Yes. All the fans out there, every single person, they walk and they want to see me again here, and again, no more repeat and at the same time it's a lot of pressure. But I like to see the fans remember that.
I think because of -- I guess that's the years of the most best memories, I think, in history, I guess, because for myself, not because I won, but I saw amazing fans out there in '98, back then. And then we got Monday, Tuesday, the fans out there in the practice rounds, just amazing. So really, really great. Just grateful.
Q. When you tee it up tomorrow, are there particular holes that you look at to go and try to get birdie, birdie? Are there holes out there?
SE RI PAK: Well, all the par-5s probably trying to get some birdie out, but the par-3 is pretty difficult here. Par 3s is pretty long, a lot of trouble, short side and long side. The greens are really you understand late and far from the edge. So it's pretty hard. And then some couple par-4 has pretty short. Actually can't really -- depends on how firm the green is, but you can make a couple of birdies there, but just more trouble out there, more birdies. As I said, I'll try to hang in there the next three days and hopefully I will have another big smile.
Q. How do you feel about your round?
PAULA CREAMER: I don't really know. I was talking to Collin at the end, and you know, I only missed three greens, and I gave myself a lot of chances, but it's hard onto make birdies. The opportunities that I did give myself I made. You know, it's tough to make 25, 30-footers out here. There's just so much speed related. But I'll take it. It's first day. It's Thursday. Nothing crazy. But this golf course is only going to get harder, and I think today was a pretty good ball-striking day. Just need to see a couple putts go in.
Q. Any particular holes that are birdiable out there and others that are --
PAULA CREAMER: I would say some of the par-5s, you know you get a shorter wedge in your hand and you're able to put spin on it, you can take advantage. 9. I think 4. Those are some birdie holes.
You know, the main thing is just giving yourself opportunities constantly, and it's so hot. It's such another element to add to it that you tend to -- you're not thinking 100 percent clearly all the time. And I think that's the hardest fight and battle out there is trying to just be in the shade as much as you possibly can. I'm not the biggest sun umbrella fan, but I used it almost every hole.
Q. And you wore black.
PAULA CREAMER: I know. I always gotta wear black and white. Always, once, and I figured today was the morning day. I have a white hat in my bag, though, just in case.
Q. How frustrating has it been not to have won since --
PAULA CREAMER: Incredibly. It's very hard. It's frustrating. At the same time it's motivating. You know, I'm trying to learn how to channel the energy that I have from being frustrated into making it positive, and you know, it's been hard. I mean it's been very difficult. I set such high expectations for myself, and to not have won since 2010 is kind of crazy to me, but it is reality, and I've been working very hard. I can't say that I am slacking off or anything like that. If not, I'm working harder now and maybe even too hard, you know, just putting pressure on myself. But it's going to happen. I'm not too scared about that. It will come around, and you know, it's just a battle of fighting through all this.
Q. Did you play practice rounds on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday?
PAULA CREAMER: I played -- yes, I did.
Q. It's the fourth day in the heat, the sun. Does it grind on you a little bit?
PAULA CREAMER: Yes and no. I live in Florida also, so I'm used to the humidity. And last week was hot. But that's why you work out. That's why you drink a lot of water. Nutrition is important. I would never want to sit at the end of the day and say, man, I'm tired. I'm not preparing myself, my body for something like this. I don't think I could accept that very well.
But you know, it is. It's hard, yes, but you just have to take the proper measurement and everything to go that route of knowing it's hot.
Q. As driven and focused as you are, what do you do to relax?
PAULA CREAMER: I'm learning that one. I'm learning. I'm very -- I like to go, go, go, so it's hard for me to just sit down. But just really learning how to be able to do that I think is important. My family is here. My dog's here, so it's nice to be able to get away.
I think the people around me, my team have done and are doing a great job helping me kind of get away from the game, get away from golf when I'm gone. I think about it so much, it's hard to not do that. But that's what the best players in the world can do. They can separate the two.
Q. A lot of players said coming into the tournament the mental grind wore on them more than the physical grind as a tournament like this. When you just got done playing, is that the same thoughts or is it more physical once you get done playing?
PAULA CREAMER: No. It's hard out there. Mentally it's tough. You know, it's not necessarily like the longest U. S. Open we've played because there's a lot of run. Of course there's some holes where they're long, but it's just hitting the ball in these right little spots with these hills and constantly thinking, okay, can I fly it to the right of it, can I fly it to the left of it. So it's more I think mental exhaustion at the end of the day, definitely, than physical.
Q. On a light note, I can't help but notice your nails?
PAULA CREAMER: I like both of the colors, so I decided to do both, and I always do something a little different at the U. S. Open, and the pink, obviously, and I thought the blue was pretty. I don't know.
Q. Kind of an up-and-down day for you. Is that a good way to describe it?
YANI TSENG: You know, I played my best today. I only had two bad holes. I had one 6 and one 7. But I hung in there and didn't give up any shots and I fight to the end and make up a couple birdies on the back. And 2-over is not far back, and there is lots of golf we will play for the next three days.
So I'm very excited for tomorrow to see I can make more birdies and I feel pretty good with my game right now.
Q. Take us through how you made the high numbers on those two holes. Was it just bad break?
YANI TSENG: Yeah. On No. 4 or something I hit it to the rough on the right, and the second shot I just pulled it and hit a cart path and go into the very long grass; and it was really hard to make up-and-down there.
And I hit another one, didn't get on the green and didn't make up-and-down. And on the back nine on No. 11 I didn't hit a good drive so go into the long rough, but I chip out, try to make bogey there. But the second shot I hit with my 4-iron, hit a hook, go all the way back to the long rough again. And then hit it again, didn't come out and hit it again and make a two-putt there. I thought it was going to be better, but I didn't give up any shots. I still try to make it in the hole and try to play safe and try to make bogey there.
Q. You came up with a birdie after that and then played steady the rest of the way in. How do you think that'll factor in going forward that you were able to right the ship and come in with a pretty decent round today?
YANI TSENG: Yeah. Like I say, I feel I played very good. I feel I can make lots of birdies there. I know the course better today and just needed to drop more putts, and I hung in there, and there's nothing -- I think there is nothing I can improve today because it was only two bad holes, so I'm very looking forward to tomorrow.
Q. Are you a little disappointed with the round today or was the way you played you got to plus two is about as good as you're going to get?
MICHELLE WIE: You know, it was an interesting round. I definitely made some putts, but I definitely lost some shots out there, but you know, the course is playing good today. Just gotta go out there and hopefully shoot a low number tomorrow, or a red number, I mean and get back into contention.
Q. Was it -- the score today, was it more important to strike the ball well or to putt it well?
MICHELLE WIE: I mean both. I mean I think it was playing a lot firmer today than it ever was in the practice rounds, especially on the greens, but the conditions are so good. You just have to hit it right online and the putts will go in. So just tomorrow I have to keep patient. The U. S. Open golf courses are not the type where you can make 10 birdies in a row, you know, so you just gotta be patient out there today and just pars are your friends.
Q. You're two over, so the best score is minus three, so you're within shot. What is what you're looking at for tomorrow?
MICHELLE WIE: You know, tomorrow I'm just going to take it shot by shot. You know, it's a long day out there today, you know. It took over six hours today, which you know, you have to kind of just play along and think one shot at a time, and I think I did a pretty good job of that today. So I'm just going to do that tomorrow, just focus on stay in the present on each shot and not really think about the leaderboard too much.
MICHELLE WIE: It was hot, but I have to say when the sun came down in the end it felt really good.
Q. Do you know how much water you drank out there?
MICHELLE WIE: I think a bottle a hole, pretty close to that.
Topics: Notes and Interviews, US Women's Open, Kerr, Cristie, Lincicome, Brittany, Salas, Lizette, Miyazato, Ai, Thompson, Lexi, Ricari, Beatriz, Pak, Se Ri, Creamer, Paula, Tseng, Yani, Wie, Michelle [+]