U.S. Women’s Open conducted by the USGA
First Round Notes and Interviews
June 27, 2013
For more information visit usga.org.
Ha-Neul Kim | Inbee Park | I.K. Kim | Lizette Salas | Anna Nordqvist | Caroline Hedwall | Mariajo Uribe | Stacy Lewis | Jodi Ewart Shadoff | Karine Icher | Natalie Gulbis | Na Yeon Choi | Annie Park | Paz Echeverria | Jennifer Rosales | Maude-Aimee Leblanc| Lydia Ko | Jessica Korda | Nelly Korda | Michelle Wie | Brooke Henderson | Cristie Kerr | Paula Creamer
Thursday’s First-Round Recap
Rolex Rankings No. 1 Inbee Park’s quest to win a third straight major championship got off to a great start on Thursday at the U.S. Women’s Open conducted by the USGA. Park fired a 5-under 67 at Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y. and she sits one shot back of first-round leader and fellow South Korean Ha-Neul Kim.
For most of the day on Thursday, it was Park at the top of the leaderboard. Park was the leader until nearly the last putt of the day dropped, as Kim birdied her 17th hole of the day around 7:45 p.m. ET to take a one-shot lead over the No. 1 player in the world. Kim shot a bogey-free 66 to take sole possession of the first-round lead. Currently a member of the KLPGA Tour and a seven-time winner in Korea, Kim is playing in her first U.S. Women’s Open.
“This is my first time in U.S. Open, and I didn't think that [I’m] going to do it like this,” Kim said through a translator.
While it was Ha Neul Kim at the top of the leaderboard at the end of the day, all eyes on the first day of play at the U.S. Women’s Open were on Park as she seeks to achieve a rare feat this week.
Features from USGA.org:
Park, who won the Kraft Nabisco Championship and the Wegmans LPGA Championship earlier this year, is trying to become only the second player in LPGA history to win the first three majors in a season. Babe Zaharias accomplished the feat in 1950 when she won all three majors played that year – the Titleholders Championship, the Women’s Western Open and the U.S. Women’s Open.
Bad weather had been predicted to arrive along the Peconic Bay in eastern Long Island on Thursday but the winds remained calm early and the sun was shining for the majority of the day. The placid weather combined with some generous pin placements created prime scoring conditions for the first round of the U.S. Women’s Open and Park was one of the players able to take advantage. She made six birdies and one bogey en route to shooting 67, her career-low round at the U.S. Women’s Open.
“The USGA was a little generous on us today,” said Park, who won the 2008 U.S. Women’s Open at Interlachen. “A lot of tees were moved up. So instead of hitting like 5‑irons, we were hitting 9‑irons, and that was making the course much easier. I was actually able to go for some pins and give myself a lot of opportunities today. Yeah, I made a lot of putts and didn't leave much out there.”
It has already been quite a year for Park in 2013. A win this week would be just the latest amazing feat for the 24-year-old South Korean. She has five victories so far this season, including the two major titles. She took over the No. 1 spot in the Rolex Rankings from American Stacy Lewis following her victory at the Kraft Nabisco Championship in early April.
Park’s impressive play, however, extends back to last season as she’s won seven times in her last 23 LPGA starts and has eight additional top-10 appearances over that span.
“I do have a lot of confidence in myself at the moment,” Park said. “The way I'm playing, the way things have been going, the way I've been getting the luck, I think I am in the zone. I've been playing my best in my career at the moment. I really just want to enjoy the moment.”
For those who have been watching Park’s dominant performance on the LPGA Tour over the past year, it’s no surprise to see her near the top of the leaderboard following Thursday’s first round at the U.S. Women’s Open. Even with all of the additional pressure and spotlight being put on Park as she seeks her third straight major victory, the ever-calm South Korean hasn’t changed her demeanor and the putts just keep dropping.
“She putts like that every week,” said Rolex Rankings No. 2 Stacy Lewis, who was paired with Park in the marquee group of the day. “I mean, it's every round I play with her. She always putts like that. I think everything inside 10 feet, other than that last hole, she made everything. So that's the way Inbee plays. She's steady. She'll hit a bad drive here and there but she'll get up‑and‑down from 100 yards and that's just her game.”
Sitting two strokes back of the leader Kim and stroke behind Park at 4-under-par are American Lizette Salas, Sweden native Caroline Hedwall and South Korean I.K. Kim. With one hole remaining in their rounds, both Kim and Hedwall were tied with Park for the lead at 5-under-par but both bogeyed their final hole to finish one shot behind the world No. 1. Salas birdied her final two holes to finish off her round of 4-under 68.
There are plenty of other players chasing as well, including Lewis. The Woodlands, Texas native is looking for her second career major title and she’s put herself in a solid position after the first round, shooting a 1-under 71.
“I'm excited with the way I hit the ball, especially some of those shots I hit at the end into 6 and 7 were really good,” Lewis said. “So I'm excited about where my game is. This is not a tournament you want to lead after the first day because it's hard to maintain that for four days.”
Defending champion Na Yeon Choi also fired a 1-under 71 and sits in a tie for 17th.
A different course: Stacy Lewis had plenty of chances to get a look at Sebonack Golf Club during practice rounds earlier this week, but Thursday’s round proved to provide a different test of the golf course than any she had previously experienced.
Many of the tees were moved up for Thursday’s first round with the course playing at 6,548 yards, 248 yards shorter than on the official scorecard. The change was made due to the bad weather expected in the area but it still caught a few players off guard. Lewis admitted she was very surprised at the change in set-up, although she wasn’t complaining that it left her with much shorter clubs in her hands for approach shots.
“The greens were more receptive from up there,” Lewis said of shortening many of the holes. “It was just a different course today.”
Seeking pars? Caroline Hedwall saw a lot of red numbers on her scorecard on Thursday and also a lot of scores above par. The 24-year-old Swede made eight birdies and four bogeys en route to shooting a 4-under 68. On a course where the greens are considered to be one of the most difficult elements, was Hedwall surprised by the large number of birdies she was able to make?
“It was definitely playing tougher during the practice rounds, but I think it was good that I could take advantage of the course playing a little shorter today,” Hedwall said. “So I didn't really think about it that I duly made eight birdies. I was just on a good roll and I made a lot of putts. It was nice.”
Hedwall is in her third year on the LPGA Tour and has posted five career top-10 finishes, three of which have come this year including a tie for third at the Kraft Nabisco Championship. While it’s taken a little time for Hedwall to find her footing on the LPGA Tour, she emerged in the spotlight back in 2011 when she was a rookie on the victorious Solheim Cup Team and secured a crucial half-point on the 18th hole in her Sunday’s singles match.
“Well, it gave me a lot of confidence that I could perform under that much pressure,” Hedwall said. “I kind of knew, because I enjoy playing under pressure. I think it's a lot of fun, and that's what I practice for. So I think it just gave me more confidence coming in and playing on the LPGA Tour that I knew I could compete against those players.”
Major performer…Lizette Salas may only be in her second year on the LPGA Tour but she’s no stranger to the feeling of being in contention at a major. Salas played in the final group at the Kraft Nabisco Championship this year, a hometown event of sorts for the Azusa, Calif. native. But the Sunday results certainly were difficult for Salas who shot a final-round 79 to finish in a tie for 25th.
Still, Salas took a lot of lessons from being in contention at the Kraft Nabisco Championship and two weeks later nearly won her first LPGA event, losing in a one-hole playoff to Suzann Pettersen in Hawaii after shooting a final-round 62. She now is off to a great start at the U.S. Women’s Open after shooting an opening round 68.
“I think with the more experience I have and the more times I'm in that position, I can get used to that,” Salas said of contending in majors. “Being in the final group at the Kraft on the weekend and shooting 79, but then I bounce back the week after and shot 62 in Hawaii. So I feel like anything can happen, but I feel like I'm much more prepared with my game and mentally.
“So if it comes to the weekend and I'm in contention, I really believe I can manage my patience and manage my nerves a lot more than last year and the year before.”
The affable Salas, who is well-liked by her peers out on Tour, has a lot of fellow Americans rooting for her to be on this year’s U.S. Solheim Cup Team and another strong finish this week with points doubled would be a huge boost for her chances. Salas is currently ninth on the Solheim Cup points list with the top eight point-earning players garnering automatic spots on the team.
Wishing for longer? Maude-Aimee Leblanc may have been one of the few players who didn’t necessarily love the fact that the tees were moved up for the first round of the U.S. Women’s Open. One of the longer hitters on Tour, Leblanc certainly has an advantage when it comes to playing courses that require some additional length off the tee.
But despite the fact that Sebonack was set up shorter than expected on Thursday, Leblanc still managed to deliver one of the better rounds of the day with a 3-under 69.
“I changed clubs pretty much on a lot of holes,” said Leblanc, who is in her second year on the LPGA Tour. “But a lot of people told me that's what tends to happen here. They will change tees and move some tees up, so I was prepared for it. But I hope they will move it back soon.”
Leblanc was perhaps most pleased with the fact that she recovered from a difficult start in which she double-bogeyed her first hole of the day. She went on to make seven birdies and two bogeys in her round. But at an event where she wanted to get herself in contention early in the week, Leblanc was pleased that she didn’t let an early hiccup derail her hopes.
“My face was probably as red as my shirt,” Leblanc said of the double bogey. “I was not happy. I knew my swing felt good. And they moved up a lot of tees today so I could reach most par‑5s in two. I knew there was still a lot of birdies out there, so I stayed patient.”
Great timing: The 2013 season hasn’t been the easiest one for Natalie Gulbis. After being diagnosed with malaria following a trip overseas in February, the 12-year veteran on the LPGA Tour spent close to six weeks not feeling entirely like herself as she recovered from the illness.
But Gulbis found a way to get her game on track for the first round of the U.S. Women’s Open. She fired a 2-under 70 on Thursday and sits in a tie for tie for ninth. And for the Sacramento, Calif. native it was perfect timing for everything to come together at one of her favorite events.
“I've been fortunate to play in quite a few Opens,” Gulbis said. “And being an American, it's a really incredible week. What a great setting. I have been to the Hamptons quite a few times. I played Shinnecock and I didn't even know Sebonack was here. The first time I played it, it's spectacular. It sets right on the water. It's in great shape and it's the U.S. Open.”
Gulbis’ 70 on Thursday marked the first time that she has shot under par at the U.S. Women’s Open since 2005. That year she finished T4, her career-best finish at this major championship, at Cherry Hills C.C. in Cherry Hills Village, Colo.
A well-known rookie…14-year-old Nelly Korda is playing in her first U.S. Women’s Open this week at Sebonack Golf Club but the youngest member in the field has garnered the media attention of a veteran thanks in part to her famous older sister. Jessica Korda, 20, is in her third-year on the LPGA Tour and already has one career victory to her name – the 2012 ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.
With father Petr on the bag, Nelly Korda delivered a solid 1-over 73 on Thursday to put her in a tie for 37th. Despite a few big numbers on the card, the 14-year-old managed to keep her emotions in check and even she was surprised by how unaffected she was by the big stage.
“I didn't really get that nervous on the first hole which was a big surprise because I thought I was going to get really nervous,” Nelly Korda said. “But I shot one over par with one double and one triple, so it was definitely some up‑and‑downs, but I finished well, so it was good.”
Jessica Korda didn’t let her sister take the entire spotlight Thursday. She shot a 2-under 70 and sits in a tie for ninth.
Quotable: “Everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong today, but I'm proud of myself for making tree birdies in the last four holes. So, hopefully I can get a couple more birdies tomorrow.” – Michelle Wie after shooting 80 in Thursday’s first round.
Quotable No. 2: “I'm very proud of her. I've known her since we were little children, and she's a good player. She's a great player and such a great putter. I admire her with her putting and everything. She's so calm. I think she has a lot of qualities to be number 1 player. Everybody's different. We've seen many good champions over the years, and I think she's one of the better ones. I think that's why she's been winning so many tournaments. I mean, if she doesn't win, she finishes very close. So I think if you put yourself in contention, I think that's what she's doing right now.” – I.K. Kim on the success of Inbee Park.
Tweet of the Day: “Steve DiMeglio [of USA Today] is daring the golf gods. He is standing I'm the exact spot at 14th green where Suzann Pettersen whacked him in the back.” -- @RandallMellGC
Shot of the Day: 53-year-old LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame member Juli Inkster, who is playing in her record-breaking 34th U.S. Women’s Open, finished off her round by holing a 103-yard wedge shot for eagle on the 18th hole. She finished with an even-par 72.
Of Note: The turnaround of the day goes to Jodi Ewart-Shadoff who bounced back from a front-nine 40 with a back-nine 30 to shoot a 2-under 70 in Thursday’s first round…Former U.S. Women’s Open champions Cristie Kerr (2007) and So Yeon Ryu (2011) each shot an even-par 72 in the first round…Michelle Wie opened up her round with a quadruple bogey on her first hole of the day. She recovered with three birdies in her last four holes to shoot an 8-over 80…University of Southern California team member Kyung Kim and Canadian Brooke Henderson tied for the low round by an amateur on Thursday with a 1-under 71.
For more information on this week’s U.S. Women’s Open, you can visit the USGA’s official website: http://www.usga.org/ChampEventSite.aspx?id=2147487117
CHRISTINA LANCE: We are here with our clubhouse leader, our final leader of the day, Ha‑Neul Kim from Korea, with an amazing 6‑under 66, six birdies, no bogeys. Ha‑Neul, how did you feel out there? You played very well.
HA‑NEUL KIM: I had six birdies today. They were all within tap‑in range, so I felt like my putting wasn't really tested, but my tee‑to‑green I was very good.
Q. You seem a little stunned that you're actually in the lead. Is that true?
HA‑NEUL KIM: I was very nervous coming in, and I thought in the practice round that the course was very difficult. Before playing today I thought that even par would be a very good score for me.
Q. Can you tell us a little bit about your golf background? When you started to play and, up to now, what's been the biggest moment in your career as a golfer?
HA‑NEUL KIM: I was 12 when I started at Gold Country Club. I was at the driving range for a year at the age of 12, and then after a year, I started playing at Gold Country Club near Seoul.
Q. What is the biggest win?
HA‑NEUL KIM: The Hite Cup on the KLGPA. It's a major in the KLPGA. In 2011.
Q. Have you been following Inbee's year so far, and would you be surprised that you're actually beating her by a shot after the first round?
HA‑NEUL KIM: When Inbee shot 6, she said to herself, wow, how did she shoot that score? And then she went out and beat her.
Q. It is your first Women's Open: Were you nervous? Were you excited? How did you feel coming in to this week?
HA‑NEUL KIM: I'm enjoying myself. I'm just happy to be here and to be playing in this big event. I'm not really thinking about winning or results but enjoying the moment.
Q. (No microphone)
HA‑NEUL KIM: It was her first time in U.S. Open, and she didn't think that she's going to do it like this. Then she just think she want to pass this tournament.
Q. (No microphone)
HA‑NEUL KIM: She think she had a very good shot today.
Q. Was it with the woods? Was it with irons, putts?
HA‑NEUL KIM: She said both irons and woods were good, but she said she got four birdies with wedge shots.
Q. (No microphone)
HA‑NEUL KIM: Within the one meter.
CHRISTINA LANCE: Welcome to the first round of the U.S. Women's Open. We're here with Inbee Park who has come in with a great round of 5‑under 67, carding six birdies and one bogey. Inbee, your great play continues. Tell us how you felt today.
INBEE PARK: I played very good today. I hit the ball very good, didn't miss many fairways or greens. I was able to take some pins today where the USGA was a little generous on us today. A lot of tees were moved up.
So instead of hitting like 5‑irons, we were hitting 9‑irons, and that was making the course much easier. I was actually able to go for some pins and give myself a lot of opportunities today. Yeah, I made a lot of putts and didn't leave much out there.
CHRISTINA LANCE: If we could quickly ask you to run through your card. You started on 10, and you started right off with a birdie. If you wouldn't mind walking us through your round really quickly.
INBEE PARK: You mean like shots?
CHRISTINA LANCE: Yes, birdies and your one bogey.
INBEE PARK: Number 10 was ‑‑ what did I hit? I hit a 47‑degree wedge to about a foot, and I just tapped in for birdie.
And 14, I hit 5‑iron to seven, eight feet.
And number 1, I hit pitching wedge to five feet.
Number 2, I hit 5‑wood to 15 ‑‑ no, 10, 12 feet.
Number 4, sand wedge to 15 feet.
And a bogey on 6, yeah, I was in the thick grass off the tee, and I just laid it up and hit it on the green and two‑putted.
Number 8 was a 30‑yard chip, and I did to about five feet, six feet.
Q. On number 16, you hit a 3‑wood, I think, off the tee there or driver. I'm sorry. This is number 6, you hit a driver. Were you trying to carry that bunker there?
INBEE PARK: No, I mean, they moved the tees up about 35 yards, and it wasn't a driver hole from behind, but then I knew I was getting into the left or right bunker. But that hole was a quite tough hole, so I really wanted to take the risk and going with the short iron, but I pushed it and that just slightly went over the bunker into the thick stuff on the right.
Q. And on number 16, you hit 3‑wood, I believe. Were you trying to stay short of the bunker there?
INBEE PARK: 16?
Q. The uphill par‑4.
INBEE PARK: Yeah. Well, 16, what did I do there? 17 is the par‑3. I remember the par‑3, but ‑‑ I was just trying to stay short of the bunker there on the right. Driver brings the bunker into play, and it wasn't worth it. Even the bunker is an automatic bogey.
Q. When you make a birdie putt or you hit it close from the fairway, it's difficult for us to even see an expression change. But I'm wondering what goes on in your head, and do you allow yourself to get excited? What do you think when you do something really good on the course?
INBEE PARK: Well, I get my happy moments and I get my angry moments. But it's just a shot in golf, and you sometimes hit a good shot. You sometimes hit a bad shot. I don't think it's a big deal. You're excited inside, but you can't be too excited because you've got to play the next shot. So I'm just trying to stay as calm as possible when I'm on the golf course.
Q. When was the last time you stood over a putt and thought I just can't make this?
INBEE PARK: Maybe like a 30‑footer. No, I've been feeling quite confident over the putts I guess the last couple of years.
I had a little struggle with my putting in Shop Rite this year in May and maybe in the Bahamas. After that, I really haven't felt that bad.
Q. We hear a lot of athletes say "in the zone" when they're feeling it. Since you've won so much at these majors and last week, do you feel like you're in that area right now in your game that you just can't be stopped at this point?
INBEE PARK: I mean, I do have a lot of confidence in myself at the moment. I mean, the way I'm playing, the way things have been going, the way I've been getting the luck, I think I am in the zone. I mean, I've been playing my best in my career at the moment. Yeah, I mean, I really just want to enjoy the moment.
Q. You used the word "generous." That's not a word that most people use when they talk about the USGA in terms of set‑up. Do you think they'll be less generous tomorrow?
INBEE PARK: I'm not sure about tomorrow, but I think on the weekend they'll definitely go difficult. I think with this golf course, they can do so much on this golf course. You could play a totally different golf course tomorrow and they can do so much with the tee boxes and pin placements. You just can't expect anything from them. They can do whatever they want.
Q. And along that same line, this course was played completely different than when you practiced on this week, didn't it? I mean, no wind, some receptive greens. Were you surprised that you got those conditions?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, I mean, I never had practiced from those tees, so I was a little bit shocked when I went to the tees. I didn't know what line I had to hit to. I mean, it was just a learning experience today. But I didn't hit ‑‑ I hit my shots where I wanted to today, which helped a lot.
Q. As many great birdie putts as you made today, you also missed two or three short ones. The last hole, number 18, and I think number 15. What happens there and what do you tell yourself after you miss a makeable putt?
INBEE PARK: I just tell myself when putts are not going in, I mean, it's going to go in maybe the next hole or some time. I mean, you can't miss everything. We have 18 holes to play, even if you miss a couple putts, you'll get more opportunities. It's bound to go in. You have your handicap.
Q. Just your general thoughts on how the round went?
INBEE PARK: This morning, I think we almost had a perfect condition for scoring. A lot of the tees were moved up. I played on the tees that I had never played from on the practice round. I mean, it was playing a lot shorter than the practice rounds, so I was able to go in with a little more short irons, and I was able to attack the pins a little bit and gave myself a lot of opportunities and made a lot of putts to day.
Q. Was it what you had expected in terms of conditions? How much different was it?
INBEE PARK: I mean, they can still make this golf course really tough, but today I think they were maybe expecting a little bit of bad weather, so a little bit of the tees were moved up.
So I think we had to take advantage of today of good scoring. I mean, they can play around with this golf course so much that it can play so long tomorrow and so short the next day. It just depends on the weather and where they put the tee.
I think it was very fair today.
Q. Did you have a score in mind for today?
INBEE PARK: I think anywhere in red numbers were good today, yeah.
Q. How do you think you played today?
INBEE PARK: I played really good today. I hit the ball very good. I didn't miss many fairways or greens, and I hit a lot of shots really close. Yeah, I putted really good. I made some great up‑and‑downs from around the greens.
Q. Are you the best putter in the world? If not, who is better?
INBEE PARK: I don't know. I think there are a lot of good putters on this TOUR, I think. I think Stacy is one of the good putters, yeah.
Q. But do you feel like you're kind of in a groove with the putter? Have you ever been on a run like this when you were younger?
INBEE PARK: No, especially with the putting, I don't think I've been ‑‑ I don't think I've ever putted this good in my life ever. I think I'm putting my best in my career at the moment.
Q. Do you look at everything and assume it's going to go in? Everything you stand over?
INBEE PARK: No. I mean, sometimes maybe inside 15 feet I try to make it. You know, it comes down to some days I can really concentrate well, and a lot of putts go in that day, and sometimes I have trouble concentrating somehow and I miss quite a bit of putts that day. I think it's just really ‑‑ it all comes down to the focusing and concentrating.
Q. One of the things that the USGA likes to do is put the top three ranked players in the world together. They did it at the men's and they did it here. What was that like, the top three players in the world playing together?
INBEE PARK: I really enjoyed playing with Suzann and Stacy. We had quite quick group, three quick players. It just makes your day much easier when you play with quick players. I'm one of the quick players, so I think it was a perfect match‑up. Yeah, we had a great time.
Q. Could this day have gone much better? I mean, first day of a major, you've got to feel pretty good.
INBEE PARK: Yeah, I think I'm in the best position I could be in. I didn't leave many out there. Probably left a couple out there, but I made up a couple, so I think I had pretty much everything that I could have done today.
Q. What was the longest putt you made today, and what was the shortest putt you missed?
INBEE PARK: Longest putt today would have been like 20 feet today. I didn't put myself in like long, long putts today. I think everything was pretty much inside like 30 feet today.
Q. What was the shortest putt you did?
INBEE PARK: I don't think I missed any that were inside six feet today, no.
Q. How are you a different golfer right now than compared to a year ago when you began this run?
INBEE PARK: I think I'm just a lot more experienced, and I think I've been in contention a lot of times. So I don't feel as pressured as before. You know, when I'm in the winning position, I know what I need to do. I just don't get as nervous as before.
Q. Have you done a whole lot different with your putting?
INBEE PARK: No, not at all.
CHRISTINA LANCE: We're very happy to have I.K. Kim with us: six birdies, two bogeys, en route to a 4‑under 68. I.K., tell us how you felt today out there?
I.K. KIM: Hi, guys. Well, today, I played well today. I just said it, but I had a rough start. But I was able to get up‑and‑down on 1 and 2, so that gave me some confidence.
CHRISTINA LANCE: It would be great if you could go through your card real quick and let us know how all this happened?
I.K. KIM: I played well today. Par on number 1, got up‑and‑down from the front of the green. It was just a three‑footer.
Number 2 was the same thing. It was short and I chipped out and got up‑and‑own. Par‑4, bogey, just misread it. I hit the green, three‑putted.
And 7, I don't remember. I only played once this golf course, so it's just hard to remember all the holes. But number 9, I remember hitting 52 to about 90 yards, so that was a good birdie.
Number 8 also a par‑5, so just laid out my hybrid and made the putt, a short putt. Just hit 6‑iron. It was 160‑yards. Yeah, got out there and it was only a foot away from the hole, so that was birdie.
12 was a good birdie with 8‑iron. It was about 133 yards. That was actually a good putt that I made today.
And 13, birdied par‑5. 18, first time I hit it out from the rough on the third shot and it was thicker than I thought, so I had to three‑putt, unfortunately.
Q. The course was set up pretty short today. Did that prove easier for you or was it a more difficult adjustment hitting to different places and having to maybe lay‑up more often off the tee? How big an adjustment was that that the course was set up so short?
I.K. KIM: My caddie, I think, he had some headaches today. He had to walk off from all the way back. But for me, he gave me numbers where to hit it, and that's all I did. But it was kind of surprising, because it wasn't like one or two, every hole was kind of moved forward. So you can't really think about where the tees are different. But I think definitely shorter makes it easier on a few holes, hitting irons to the green.
Q. Just curious what's going on on your left arm with all the tape? Did that have anything to do with why you only saw this course one time?
I.K. KIM: No, actually, that's not it. But I had this problem last year, and I'm taking care of it better this year. It just prevents small things. Yeah, that's all.
Q. So why the shortened schedule? How come you only saw the course one time this week?
I.K. KIM: Well, I played 18 on Tuesday and 9 yesterday. I got here on Monday night, so I didn't have a chance on Monday.
Q. Do you like the set‑up? The first time you saw this course, did you feel like it suited you? It was good for your game?
I.K. KIM: It was a good golf course. Everybody thinks it's one of the best golf courses that we play. I mean, every year we're spoiled pretty bad, but this golf course is very interesting. I'm very looking forward to playing the next three days.
Q. How hungry are you to win a major championship?
I.K. KIM: I don't know. I'm just happy with where I'm at, and it's one other tournament for me. It's one of my favorites, so it will be great to win the tournament. I feel very calm this week, so I'm looking forward to it.
Q. Can you just talk about Inbee's play and how well she's doing? Just what's so great about Inbee Park?
I.K. KIM: I'm very proud of her. I've known her since we were little children, and she's a good player. She's a great player and such a great putter. I admire her with her putting and everything. She's so calm. I think she has a lot of qualities to be number 1 player. Everybody's different. We've seen many good champions over the years, and I think she's one of the better ones. I think that's why she's been winning so many tournaments. I mean, if she doesn't win, she finishes very close. So I think if you put yourself in contention, I think that's what she's doing right now.
I. K. KIM: Today I had a great day. I had a rough start, first and second ‑‑ I mean, it's a tough hole, but I'm fortunate to up‑and‑down on those two. Gave me some confidence going forward.
I hit a lot of good shots today. I had a lot of good chance. My speed was good. I was calm, so I think that's why I was able to score well today.
Q. (Inaudible) that last putt?
I. K. KIM: The first one I misread it. I thought it was straightforward. It broke right to let.
The second one, it broke more than I thought. I hit it where I wanted it, but ‑‑
Q. When was the last time you had a run of birdies like that that you had in the middle of the round?
I. K. KIM: Well, I mean I played well last week. And this golf course today was something different than what we played yesterday and the day before. They moved the tee a lot forward, so it was tricky hitting off the tee.
But once we got on the fairway, we had a good chance to hit a second shot. So, I mean, I really didn't think about score or anything. I just did what I can do. I think I hit a lot of sweet spots today.
Q. Has your confidence grown just from the start of the season?
I. K. KIM: This is my seventh year on the Tour. This year has been very consistent and have some good chance going into the last day.
I'm happy where I'm at. I'm confident with my game. And I'm generally just very calm, so I think that's kind of ‑‑ you have got to have some like harmony. You can't really play golf too much or too less, so I think ‑‑ also, I have a lot of support system and that really helps.
Q. I know it's early, but how eager have you been to get in the hunt to win a major?
I. K. KIM: You know what, I'm just really happy with my life. I mean, it's great when to win a major championship. I feel great this week. So I'm not really pushing anything. I just got to go out and play my game.
Q. Is it nice to see your name on top of the leaderboard?
I. K. KIM: I get excited. When you are playing well, you don't think about it too much. But you can't ‑‑ there is times you feel a little nervous. I think that's just kind of part of the game. If you are not nervous or you are calm, that's not human. But that's my little ‑‑ does that answer the question?
I. K. KIM: It's good. Without it, it hurts. But with it, it helps.
CHRISTINA LANCE: We are very glad to have with us Lizette Salas coming in with a 4‑under 68. Lizette, a great round out there, six birdies and two bogeys. How did you feel out there?
LIZETTE SALAS: I felt good. I felt comfortable. I just kind of prepared my mind for some sneaky pins and some tough weather conditions with the wind kicking in. Just really tried to stay patient today.
CHRISTINA LANCE: If you wouldn't mind walking us through your card. Just the highlights, the six birdies, and the two bogeys, what happened there for you?
LIZETTE SALAS: I started on 10, so I mean my goal is always to get off on a good start. And I missed the fairway on 11 and chipped and two‑putt for bogey.
I really tried to stick it on 12 and made birdie there.
Then on 15 ‑‑ oh, I don't remember 15. Gosh, what is 15?
And 18, I really remember that. Just trying to dial in the wedge in and same on number 1, was trying to get on the correct side of the pin today and really tried ‑‑ made a really clutch left‑to‑righter on number 1.
Then on my second hole, I just made a really silly mistake in three‑putting, which is pretty easy to do out here. Took advantage of the par‑5 on 8 and almost reached it in two, just got up‑and‑down for birdie.
Then on 9, just really tried to get a good number in and just dialed it in and read a good ‑‑ had a good putt and just trusted it, and it went in.
Q. Tell us how you felt out there today? Have you played the course much before you got here?
LIZETTE SALAS: I played nine on Monday late afternoon and played 18 on Tuesday. Just kind of chipped and putted on Tuesday, and we just tried to study where is the right places to miss in case you missed it.
There's a lot of false fronts on this golf course, and you just really had to kind of play from the green back and try to have a right angle to the pin on some of the holes. So that's what we tried to do this week.
Q. How do majors feel different for you now after your experience at the Kraft?
LIZETTE SALAS: I just try to think of it as another golf tournament and try not to think of it ‑‑ try not to think of the outcome or the pressure of it being a major championship. This is only my fourth U.S. Open, and I just really try to focus on the types of shots I want to hit and really just play my game.
Sometimes par is a good score out here. But being at a major and with all the pressure and being the U.S. Open, and this is our National Championship, so, yeah, there is a little bit in the back of your mind, but you just kind of have to put that aside.
Q. Can you talk about how Sebonack might have differed today from the course that you prepared for or had you heard about? Was it any different from what it was in preparation?
LIZETTE SALAS: Well, they moved us up on a couple of tee boxes which was very beneficial. I thought it was very nice of the USGA to move us up. But at the same time, there was no wind this morning, and it kicked in in the afternoon, and you have to play with the wind. You can't fight it. You can't really force it out here. You just have to use your imagination and visualize a lot more than a typical tournament, I think so. But it was very different from our practice rounds, yeah.
Q. Just wondering if you had a chance to talk to your fellow Trojan, Annie Park?
LIZETTE SALAS: I haven't talked to her today. I saw her before she teed off, and we played our practice round together yesterday, and I played with Kyung Kim, which is another member of the team.
There were a lot of people following her, which she so much deserves for what she's done in the last couple of months. I tried to give her a piece of advice on how to manage the crowd and how to handle that, because she's only 17, 18 years old, and she barely just graduated from high school six months ago.
But she's a phenomenal player. Her mom is by her side and assistant coach Justin is here taking care of her. I told her if she ever needing anything from me, I'd be willing to help her.
Q. Is that a tough spot for her to come into here just right after the NCAAs and then the Pub Links and everything, and then just walking into a Women's Open with really heightened expectations because of what she's done?
LIZETTE SALAS: Yeah, I told her about that, and I said just put that in the back of your mind, don't even think about it, just play your game. She's a phenomenal ball striker. She has so much talent in her that she's scary good. I think if she just plays her game and not think about all the expectations and, yeah, she's the local favorite. And I said, just play your game. Don't even think about the crowd, but acknowledge them and be grateful for this opportunity because not many players can have such a great fan base at a very young age.
So I'm very much supportive of her, and I look up to her too just because she's done so much for the program and for herself and for this area.
Q. You were talking about, obviously, seeing perhaps a little bit of a different course with the tees moved up and whatnot. I'm curious, this is different than a lot of U.S. Opens before. Was there a point during the week where you start to feel comfortable on a course like this and realizing maybe you have to play it a little differently than you would other typical Open set‑ups?
LIZETTE SALAS: Yeah, I mean, yesterday we focused on chipping and putting, that was it. I think that's what has helped me kind of understand the greens and visualizing a lot more chipping and putting around the greens and where is the best place to miss it. For me, it's the same ‑ picking a target, swing at it.
The real tricky part is second shot in. You kind of have to figure out which angle is better for your eye. And for me, I hit a draw, so I try to ‑‑ it might be different than another player, but you just have to really focus on the wind and ride the wind. You can't force it. I was in a couple of fairway bunkers and really just figured out which number is going to get me that up‑and‑down. I think you just have to play this golf course to your advantage even if you're a long or short player.
Q. You've had a strong year, obviously, this year. How are you a different player perhaps now than you were a year ago?
LIZETTE SALAS: I'm much more comfortable, and I think I'm becoming a lot stronger mentally. I give that credit to my father. I give that credit to my instructor, Jim Gormely, and having the support from the fans. I think I'm just getting a lot more used to being in contention and really studying the leaderboard and really managing my patience. I think that's been key for me this week. Yes, I still get nervous on the first tee and my hands keep shaking, but I just know that if I just trust myself and trust my instincts, I can perform out here.
Q. You've played pretty well at the Open the last two years except maybe not as well on the last day of the Open as you wanted to. Sort of to follow up on what you're saying about becoming more patient; do you feel like this year your game is in a place where if you go into that final day in a good position you'll be able to closeout a little bit better?
LIZETTE SALAS: I think so. I think with the more experience I have and the more times I'm in that position, I can get used to that. Being in the final group at the Kraft on the weekend and shooting 79, but then I bounce back the week after and shot 62 in Hawaii. So I feel like anything can happen, but I feel like I'm much more prepared with my game and mentally.
So if it comes to the weekend and I'm in contention, I really believe I can manage my patience and manage my nerves a lot more than last year and the year before.
Q. I just have to ask, you have a new face on the bag, and I know you and Greg were friends since you were 10. Your new person caddying, just kind of talk about that switch and breaking in a new partner, so to speak?
LIZETTE SALAS: Yeah, John and I started working a week ago. Greg is a tremendous, amazing man, friend, caddie, but it comes to a point where sometimes that relationship can affect the way you perform on the golf course. So I didn't want to jeopardize our friendship for the results that I was going through on the golf course. So I just decided he has a family, so he's at home cheering me on.
But I'm very grateful for him being on my bag. He's taught me a lot. He gave me so much confidence him being a player himself and gave me that insight and that fighter mentality. But John's great. He has a lot of experience. He's very professional, and I think I made a good switch with having John on my bag.
Q. Great job with the birdie on 18 to finish. Capped off a great day. Tell us what happened.
LIZETTE SALAS: I just really stayed patient today, really just stayed focused on each shot. Really tried to make the best swing that I can on that shot.
And I made bogey on my second hole, which was not part of my game plan, but I stayed patient.
I had a lot of opportunities for birdie. And when I minute missed the green, I tried to get up‑and‑down as easy as I can. We try to visualize a lot more. It worked out today. Really I just stayed patient. I knew the par‑5s were going to be scorable today. I almost reached 8 in two, so that gave me a chip and one‑putt for birdie. Just tried to dial in anything under 130, trying to dial them.
LIZETTE SALAS: Yeah.
Q. Obviously it's working well again?
LIZETTE SALAS: I just knew during the practice rounds, we try to study where is a good place to miss in case we missed it, just trying to use the backdrops and know where also all the false fronts are and where can we get up‑and‑down the easiest in case we miss the greens.
I have been doing a couple of swing changes that have been really working for me last week and the week before. And you know, I switched putters to the Tank and I feel like it was a good switch for me.
I'm feeling a lot more confident, being able to visualize a lot more and really use my imagination, which I like to do. I think the better ‑‑ the more experience, more players tend to do that in these types of conditions.
CHRISTINA LANCE: We're here with Anna Nordqvist with a 4‑under 68 with six birdies and two bogies, a great round for you, Anna. How did you feel out there?
ANNA NORDQVIST: I couldn't wish for a better start. I felt pretty solid. It was a couple tougher pins, but I felt like I managed myself very good out there today. I was very patient, and when I had opportunities I took advantage of them.
Q. Real quickly, if you wouldn't mind just walking us through your birdies and your bogeys and let us know what happened?
ANNA NORDQVIST: I started on the back nine on number 12, I hit a 9‑iron to about 18 feet, made a putt for birdie.
I actually hit a good 4‑iron in on number 14, pin high, missed a three‑footer for par. So I made bogey there.
16, is the par‑4. I actually hit a 5‑iron from about 180 to maybe 20 feet and made a long one.
Then on 18, I had only 40 yards left, and hit it to about 7 feet and made that one.
On number 2, I hit a 4‑iron from 190 yards to about three feet and made that one for birdie.
Number 5, I hit it in the fairway bunker, so I just had to chip out and made bogey.
Then on number 8, I was almost on in two, so I chipped to about 8, 9 feet and made that one.
Then on the last one I had about 100 yards and hit it to about 7 feet.
Q. Can you just sort of talk a little bit about this tournament? You've had some rough moments at this tournament before, but do you feel like this is a year you're coming in where you can really compete in this tournament?
ANNA NORDQVIST: Yeah, well, I never really felt like I had the game to really contend at the U.S. Open. It's the toughest challenge all year.
When I came out on TOUR in 2009, I was pretty shocked about how fast the greens were. It was nothing that I ever experienced growing up in Sweden and playing around in Europe. But it's certainly one of the tournaments you really want to play good in, and I couldn't ask for a better start today.
But I feel like it takes a couple of years to get used to the way the USGA sets up the courses and the way you're going to have to manage yourself and prepare for these tournaments. I felt like I'm much better prepared this year than I've been in the past.
Q. Also there are a couple of Swedes, Caroline is at minus 3 too. It must be nice to see another countrywoman up there playing in the first round?
ANNA NORDQVIST: Absolutely, Caroline is a friend of mine, we've been growing up playing together, and certainly seeing her shooting 4‑under in the morning session gave me a little bit of inspiration for the afternoon. But she's a great player. I'm not surprised to see her up there.
Q. You finished with two birdies. It has to be a nice way to take yourself into tomorrow.
ANNA NORDQVIST: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I felt a little bit of momentum on 6. I made a good putt for par, and then you feel like it's starting to get pretty late out there, and just finishing with two birdies is more than I could ask for. Definitely gives me some more momentum going into tomorrow.
Q. Had you been here before and played the course at all?
ANNA NORDQVIST: Yeah, actually I was here a couple years ago playing in the Val Skinner, a fundraiser for breast cancer. So I got to see the course already then, and kind of had to mentally prepare the last couple of years because I knew the greens were going to be very undulated.
But I was here a couple weeks ago, and I think I got a round and a half in. Just seeing the course, and I think it helps seeing the course. The more you see it, the better it gets.
Q. What are your thoughts on the course? Is it very different from what you're used to, or what are your thoughts?
ANNA NORDQVIST: I think it's actually a good golf course. It challenges all parts of your game. The greens might be big, but it's just such small sections where you can put the pins and where you have to play to, so you really get penalized if you don't hit it in the right spot. I truly feel like it's a really challenging course.
CHRISTINA LANCE: We're here with Caroline Hedwall who is in with a 4‑under 68. Caroline, a great round. We were talking 8 birdies, 4 bogeys, as you said, not a lot of pars out there. How did you feel today?
CAROLINE HEDWALL: Well, I played really solid, and obviously I made a lot of birdies, which is always nice. I could have made a couple more pars. I was unfortunate and hit over the green with two wedges during the day and made bogeys, which was unfortunate. But I'm really happy with the start, and 4‑under is always a good start to a tournament.
Q. How surprised were you with the course set‑up, and the number of tees being moved up and everything? Was that surprising?
CAROLINE HEDWALL: Yeah, I didn't really expect it to play that short, but I tried to just take advantage of it. And I could hit a lot of wedges into the greens, which helped a lot.
Q. Can you recall any holes where a change in yardage kind of threw you a little bit or you weren't sure what to expect, or did you handle it okay?
CAROLINE HEDWALL: Not really. I worked pretty well with my yardage book and could figure it out pretty quickly. I had to go down to hitting my 3‑wood a little bit more than my driver, but I wasn't really ‑‑ I wasn't bothered by it. It worked out okay.
Q. You seem to be finding yourself on TOUR. Can you talk about the evolution of your game and how you're becoming accustomed to playing here in America?
CAROLINE HEDWALL: Yeah, I mean, I think I've always been a strong player from tee to green, and I've worked a lot on my putting. That is finally starting to pay off. But I'm usually really solid from tee to green. If I have a good day with my putter, I'm going to shoot long.
Q. How promising is it that you're able to really kind of keep pace with Inbee Park, especially with a 4‑under in the first round?
CAROLINE HEDWALL: Well, it's still 50 more holes to go, and it's just the beginning of the tournament. You can easily shoot a couple over here. So I'm just happy with a good start of the tournament, and I hope to play as well for the rest of the week. But I'm not going to have too high of expectations.
Q. Going back to the up tees and everything, had you practiced from there this week? The forward tees?
CAROLINE HEDWALL: No, not really, no. My swing coach who is caddying for my this week, he was one‑day delayed because he flew in from Copenhagen, so he came in late on Monday. So we just had Tuesday and Wednesday to prepare, basically. So I didn't have time to play from that many tees.
Q. Could you tell me how it is that you got to Oklahoma State and how much of a cultural shock that was from home?
CAROLINE HEDWALL: Well, it's kind of a tradition for Swedes to go to Oklahoma State. I think I was the 20th player to play there. Just they have a really good reputation in Sweden. I mean, Karsten Creek is an unbelievable golf course.
It was quite a big difference from Sweden culture‑wise, but that's what I liked about traveling. And it was a good experience to live in a different culture.
Q. Can you just tell us what it's been like the last year or so on TOUR when you look at a leaderboard and Inbee Park is almost always there? What's it like?
CAROLINE HEDWALL: Well, she's just playing really great golf right now. She's an unbelievable putter. I've never seen anyone hole that many putts. She's, obviously, striking the ball well too, but that's what I see makes the big difference when they start making a lot of putts. That gives you a lot of confidence. So I think it's impressive to see her play.
Q. How much did your good play in the Solheim Cup, what did that do for you?
CAROLINE HEDWALL: Well, it gave me a lot of confidence that I could perform under that much pressure. I kind of knew, because I enjoy playing under pressure. I think it's a lot of fun, and that's what I practice for. So I think it just gave me more confidence coming in and playing on the LPGA Tour that I knew I could compete against those players.
Q. Eight birdies in the U.S. Open. Could you ever imagine making eight birdies in this place the first three days when you were practicing?
CAROLINE HEDWALL: Well, yeah, it was definitely playing tougher during the practice rounds, but I think it was good that I could take advantage of the course playing a little shorter today. So I didn't really think about it that I duly made eight birdies. It was just on a good roll and I made a lot of putts. It was nice.
Q. At what point did you see or hear that 5‑under was where the lead was? How far along were you?
CAROLINE HEDWALL: Well, I saw maybe after 14 holes or something, I can't remember. I just saw that Inbee was 5‑under, yeah.
Q. Did you feel a little pressure going in?
CAROLINE HEDWALL: Not really, I like being in this position. I mean, I hit a good wedge in. I just was a little unlucky that it bounced over. I hit a good putt, but it broke more than I thought. 4‑under is still a great start for the tournament, and I'm happy with that.
Q. What did you think when you saw the set‑up of the course today, when you got here and saw where they put the tees?
CAROLINE HEDWALL: Yeah, they moved a lot of the tees up, so it played easier than I thought it would. The conditions have been nice all day for me too. I guess it will get tougher during the week though, so I just have to fight.
Q. Knowing that, how important is this start for you today? You touched on it briefly, but knowing that these pins are going to be a little crazy on Sunday?
CAROLINE HEDWALL: Yeah, well, 4‑under is a great start for a U.S. Open, so I'm really happy with it. I think it's really going to be a battle for pars for the rest of the week. So I'm in a great position. It's fun.
Q. How did you read that putt on 9?
CAROLINE HEDWALL: Just left edge, and I hit the left edge, but it broke more.
Q. The greens here, the tees are moved, but did the greens play the way that you practiced them as well?
CAROLINE HEDWALL: Yeah, I think so, but I think I stayed on the right side of the pin all day which helped a lot. I didn't have that many tricky putts. I stayed away from three‑putts, I think. So that's always good on this course.
Q. How did you finish?
MARIAJO URIBE: 2‑under, yep.
Q. Tell us about your day a little bit, how you arrived at a pretty nice score?
MARIAJO URIBE: Yeah, I mean, I started the day with a bogey on number 1, the tees were shorter, and I kind of had a tough time today with that. The three holes that I bogeyed were the ones that the tees were short and I hit it in the bunker. I didn't think I was going to hit it there.
I putted really good. Left some birdies out there on the back nine, a couple of five‑footers and six‑footers. But still a great score out here.
It's a U.S. Open week, and I really like the set‑up now, shorter and a little bit better. So now tomorrow that I know how to play them, I think it's going to be better. But just being patient. I love the USGA events. My game fits really well with them too. So just staying positive this week and having patience.
Q. USGA events, you haven't won any USGA events, have you? (Laughing) maybe talk about the experience of USGA events and being comfortable playing in them?
MARIAJO URIBE: Yeah, definitely. I think the most important thing of the USGA events is the patience. So if it's a U.S. Am, it's like 12 rounds of 18 holes or something, so you've really got to stay on the pressure and really get things started going your way. And U.S. Opens, it's just always tough to score well out there.
I think that is the main thing, just patience, and I'm really good at that. I have a lot of passion for the game, and I really battle out there. So I think that's pretty much it. I love this course. It's in great shape, and I'm really excited we're here this week.
Q. Do you play better on difficult set‑ups, or what is it about that?
MARIAJO URIBE: Yeah, I think I play better under pressure, so you really have to bring your A‑game to this tournament. It steps up. I mean, I come from missing two cuts the last few weeks, and not hitting the ball that well on courses that really didn't demand good ball striking, and today was great. It's clicking. I knew I was close, but finally clicked this week. I feel really good about this week, definitely.
Q. How did you adjust? What was the adjustment in your game?
MARIAJO URIBE: In the tournament in Texas, in April, I hit a root off a tree and my wrist was really bothering me. So my swing has always been based on a lot of hand movement. So I've been working on that a lot and just using my body a little bit more. I was going close, but it's one of those things, tempo, and just hitting a little bit fat.
Just this week I'm well‑positioned. I had the ball a little bit forward too. So just working with my coaches this week. But I was close the other weeks, just didn't get there quite the whole way.
Q. So you had to change your swing a little bit to account for ‑‑ was it your left wrist?
MARIAJO URIBE: Yeah, my left wrist. I've been doing it already, but after the incident I had in Texas, I really had to step up. I had to change it, because if not I would have had to change the last few weeks.
In Mobile, I had to get used to the swing. I feel like it's great. But I planned my season to pick up this time. Because it's the U.S. Open, and then we have the British and a couple of really good purses coming up. So I feel really good about this week.
Q. Tell us about the birdies you made, especially the one on the last.
MARIAJO URIBE: Yeah, I made two bogeys like 14 or 15 or something. I really wanted to finish 2‑under, and I got it all the way to 3. I had a lot of opportunities and didn't make them. So it's one of those things where you really force yourself to have a birdie and finish on a good note. Because it was a really good day, but if you didn't make it, it would have been kind of bummed at the end.
But I birdied number 9, number 7, and number 5, I think. So really spread out the birdies.
Q. What did you hit on the last hole?
MARIAJO URIBE: I hit driver and 3‑wood, and I was a little in the rough, so I hit a really high 52° from 100 yards and stuck it close. But it was a five‑footer that broke the cup. So you've just got to trust the line and hope they go in. The other ones didn't go in, but that one did.
Q. You just missed a couple of five‑footers too?
MARIAJO URIBE: Yeah, it's this course, you know, subtle breaks and really sloping greens. That's the way it goes. Some lip‑out, some go in, and you've just got to stay patient.
Q. You feel like you're rolling it well?
MARIAJO URIBE: Yeah, I feel like I'm putting well. A lot of my birdies were close, too. I hit the ball really well today. A couple of long putts I made. But it's just one of those things that you cannot go doubting yourself on courses like this, because everybody's missing short putts and a couple of made putts out there.
Q. What was the longest putt you made?
MARIAJO URIBE: I think 5. It was probably a 20‑footer for birdies, so that was my first birdie, and it was a really good way to start the momentum going forward in the round.
Q. Kind of settles you down?
MARIAJO URIBE: Yeah, started with a bogey. But then still just keep it close to even par this week, and I think you can be in the hunt on Sunday.
Q. I apologize to jump backwards. But what hole did you hurt your wrist on and what round?
MARIAJO URIBE: First round of Texas. I'm pretty sure it was my 7th hole, hole number 16. So I kept playing. It was a really firm course. They had not that much rain over there. I heard their winter wasn't really that strong, so the course was pretty firm. I thought the root wasn't there, I tried to test it, and I hit it. But it's one of those things, and it wasn't anything super serious or anything. But as golfers we usually have a little tendinitis in that hand because we use it a lot.
MARIAJO URIBE: Yeah, I travel with a physio. He travels with five of the players out here. That's really nice.
Q. Is this the best you felt since you got hurt as far as where your game is?
MARIAJO URIBE: Yeah, like three weeks after I kind of felt good with my swing again in Mobile, I finished tied for 12th with 14‑under, which is good. But that course, just a lot of birdies and I wasn't able to go up to the top. But my putting has been really good lately, and that's kind of what's been saving me because I wasn't hitting the ball that well. So everything's clicking now, and the fairways are super wide here, so hopefully that helps out too.
Q. The course was set up a little differently today. It was shorter; can you just talk about how you found it?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I was surprised. First ‑‑ we started on the back, and the first three holes I had pitching wedge, pitching wedge, 9‑iron into. So it was definitely set‑up a lot easier today, a lot more scorable. Not surprised Inbee shot what she did because it was definitely out there. But I was definitely surprised at how, I mean, how many tees were moved up. I'd say over half the tees were moved up today.
Q. Did that make it difficult just because you were practicing from other tees?
STACY LEWIS: No, not really. It was kind of nice to hit a 9‑iron instead of a 5‑iron into the green. It just played differently. The greens were more receptive from up there. I don't know. It was just a different course today.
Q. Did you feel like you left some out there?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, probably. I mean, I hit a lot of good putts that didn't go in, and I got a bad lie on 8 where I probably had a pretty easy birdie, so I definitely felt like I left some out there.
But they were kind of things that were out of my control. So I felt like I did a lot of really good things. I'm excited with the way I hit the ball, especially some of those shots I hit at the end into 6 and 7 were really good. So I'm excited about where my game is. This is not a tournament you want to lead ‑‑ I don't think you want to lead after the first day because it's hard to maintain that for four days.
Q. You mentioned putting. Had you ever seen anybody putt the way Inbee's putting now?
STACY LEWIS: She putts like that every week. I don't know, I mean, it's every round I play with her. She always putts like that. I think everything inside 10 feet, other than that last hole, she made everything. So that's the way Inbee plays. She's steady. She'll hit a bad drive here and there but she'll get up‑and‑down from 100 yards and that's just her game.
Q. What is it like being in that marquis group? The USGA likes to put the top three players together. What did that feel like?
STACY LEWIS: That was fun. It was cool to have that buzz, and just to be included in that group is an honor. But to play with the No. 1 in the world, that's what you want to be doing. You want to see what she's doing to play as well as she is. And right now, she's solid. She's hitting the ball close and she's making putts, but it was nice to have that buzz out there.
Q. How did you find the hole locations today? Do you think they'll be able to make them a lot tougher?
STACY LEWIS: They were a pretty good mix, actually. There were a couple that were on the front where you had wedges in where there were some pretty easy birdies. But it was a pretty good mix of pins. There were a couple holes that played long. 2 played really tough today. So I thought it was overall the pins were pretty good.
Q. Are you happy the way you grinded it out?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I did. I definitely grinded today. I was at 1‑over and probably could have gone the other way pretty quick. So I was proud of being able to shoot under par. That was kind of my goal on the back nine was to shoot under par. So that was ‑‑ I said it coming into the week I need to be level; I need to kind of grind it out, and that is what I did today, so I'm happy.
Q. Was there a turning point there that you said, hey, let's turn it around, or looking back on it, was there a turning point that really got it going better for you?
STACY LEWIS: Actually, probably making par on 5. I hit it in the fairway bunker and thought I wasn't going to have a shot. But I was fortunate to hit it into the green and got it up‑and‑down for par, and that really got things going the right way. Hit a good shot into 6, birdied 7, thought I was going to birdie 8 and then finished off pretty good too. I don't know. I'm just excited about where my game's at.
Q. Birdied the last; is that right?
JODI EWART SHADOFF: Yeah.
Q. Good finish. Tell us about the way you played today?
JODI EWART SHADOFF: (Indiscernible) I bogeyed ‑‑ doubled 11 and bogeyed 12, so I was 3‑over after three. But after that I kind of made a couple pars and then started to get into it on the back nine which was actually the front nine. I made five birdies on the front nine, so I started to hit the ball really good and gave myself a lot of chances, so it was good.
Q. Five threes on the front nine? I was just going to ask you what is the main defense of this golf course? But if you're making birdies, there is not as much defenses?
JODI EWART SHADOFF: Yeah, you've got to hit it in the right places on the greens just to give yourself the opportunity, really. I had a lot more putts that could have gone in. But I'm happy with the way I'm playing right now, so...
Q. How many did you leave out there, do you think?
JODI EWART SHADOFF: Probably two or three.
Q. Any time you're under par in the U.S. Open, I would think that's good?
JODI EWART SHADOFF: Definitely. I told myself this week that par is good on every hole, so a birdie is a bonus.
Q. Little bit of an easier set‑up today than what you guys have seen perhaps? Did you play any of these tees during practice?
JODI EWART SHADOFF: Well, yeah, that's what we started to notice after three or four holes. They moved a lot of the tees further up. So I was changing a lot of the clubs off the tee. I was hitting more 3‑woods than I had done in practice, so it kind of changed some of the way the holes were playing.
So it was a little bit different, but, I mean, not necessarily making the course play any easier. It was just different tee shots.
Q. I think it's relatively easier, but not easy by any stretch, is it? Not at all?
JODI EWART SHADOFF: Right.
Q. Especially when you see Michelle Wie started with an 8 on the 10th hole. You can get in trouble pretty easy here too. You really do have to sort of keep yourself together.
JODI EWART SHADOFF: Right. We said on 10 it was all of a sudden how many is it to that bunker? In the practice round you had never really seen that bunker because it had never come into play. Yeah, it was, again, moving the tees up wasn't making it play necessarily easier; it was just very different.
Q. Were you happy with your game coming in here?
JODI EWART SHADOFF: Yeah, I mean, the back nine ‑‑ well, coming into the tournament, I had actually missed a couple of cuts, the first two cuts of the year, so I was mentally not all there. But I think I turned a corner a couple days ago with my swing, and that's what's been my weakness the last couple of weeks. So it's nice to finally get it going again.
Q. What was the thing that you turned around? What was the problem and how did you fix it?
JODI EWART SHADOFF: Just ball striking, going every direction possible. So it was really frustrating the last two weeks have been frustrating. I sent video back home to my coach and spent a good couple hours on the range last week and this week, and it finally clicked yesterday.
Q. Was it ball position? Was it alignment?
JODI EWART SHADOFF: It was just timing. My swing is very timing based so finally got into a good rhythm today.
Q. Good timing on having your timing back?
JODI EWART SHADOFF: Yeah, exactly.
Q. Assess your round and the conditions you had to play under today.
KARINE ICHER: It was a little different today because we played different tees than in the practice rounds, so it was like a new golf course. Good conditions, the greens are a little bit slower than in the practice rounds. So I felt it plays easier than it should be, but it is still a difficult course.
I had good putting today, bad driving, but you don't drive on a lot of holes. It turned my way a little bit better, but I have to work on my driving to be ready for tomorrow.
Q. This weekend, will it come down to putting? It seems like that is pretty much what everyone's saying here?
KARINE ICHER: Yeah, it's all about putting and chipping. You can do like all par‑3s, and it will be the same, to start from the middle of the fairway. Because the first shot is not the big deal. It's open and wide, and it's more from the second shot to the green. We can have crazy pin positions. And I think by the weekend it's going to be that case.
Q. Knowing that, how important was this round for you today? Because you know those pins are not going to be where they are?
KARINE ICHER: Yes, on the weekend it's going to be two or three from the side. It's important to play under par and take a little bit of shots ahead to be able to be more relaxed by the weekend.
Q. As you look at the scores, there are not many people under par right now?
KARINE ICHER: No, but we'll see. Maybe this afternoon there are going to be more.
Q. You looked like it was just sheer joy out there at times. What was your day like out there?
NATALIE GULBIS: Well, this is my 12th season on the tour, so every U.S. Open is pretty special. I've been fortunate to play in quite a few Opens. And being an American, it's a really incredible week.
What a great setting. I have been to the Hamptons quite a few times. I played Shinnecock and I didn't even know Sebonack was here. The first time I played it, it's spectacular. It sets right on the water. It's in great shape and it's the U.S. Open. What could be better than this?
Q. What have you done to get ready for this week? You said you hit it better last week. Anything you're doing differently?
NATALIE GULBIS: Just working on my golf swing. With golf it's always a work in progress to work on your golf swing. And this week in particular, it's just more lagging. The greens are big and they have a lot of slope and undulation. You can work on your putting.
Q. Much more important question: How is your health? You had a rough go earlier this year. How did you feel and how did you get through that?
NATALIE GULBIS: I feel good actually. I started feeling better in Rochester, which was probably three or four weeks ago to where I was playing full rounds of golf and feeling good and able to practice and starting to work out again. It was exciting to get some of my energy back. I felt good since March or since April, I would say.
Q. How did you get through that? Is there medicine? Just rest?
NATALIE GULBIS: A lot of rest. And just I thought I was ‑‑ mentally you can think you can do more, then I would think I would just practice a little more. That just kept setting me back. Then I would have to start again.
Q. That had to really catch you by surprise when they told you what it was, right?
NATALIE GULBIS: I think it was better that they knew how to treat it and what to do. That always helps when they have a clear understanding of what to do. They told me it was going to be six weeks, but I had an athlete mentality that I could come back sooner. And they were right.
Q. Did you feel like the harder you work the quicker you could come back?
NATALIE GULBIS: Absolutely. Isn't that what athletes do? They always come back before when the doctors say they can.
Q. Obviously you know you talked about the signings you have. You know how much you mean to this sport and to this TOUR. How does that make you feel and what sort of responsibility is that?
NATALIE GULBIS: Fantastic. I mean, it's an honor not only be here at the Open but to have great partners like Lexus and Adidas who was involved in this event. They want me to do signings and do more to grow the game and to give back to the fans and the people that are also excited about those companies. So all positive things.
Q. How do you balance those responsibilities with how much you have to work on your game?
NATALIE GULBIS: Those are my only responsibilities for the week. I had a pretty good week. They don't like to do signings during tournament rounds, so I haven't done any since I've gotten here. Just enjoyed the golf course, signed a few autographs.
Q. When you played Shinnecock, what were the circumstances? Was it an outing?
NATALIE GULBIS: No. I had a friend that used to have a house here in Southampton, so I'd always go and play Shinnecock over there. It's great golf course. I had known of National, but not of Sebonack. But this place is beautiful.
Q. What is the best you ever did at Shinnecock?
NATALIE GULBIS: I broke 81 and shot 77 from ‑‑ I don't know what the tees were, but that's one of the hardest golf courses I've ever played.
Q. Raymond Floyd won the U.S. Open and he just stayed here. He bought a house here. Is that any possibility of that? If you won a U.S. Open, would you move to Southampton?
NATALIE GULBIS: I like where I'm at. I like Nevada and I like California, so I would enjoy visiting here.
Q. In terms of the course setup, is it easier today? How important was what you shot knowing that this is going to get much more difficult?
NATALIE GULBIS: It's always great to shoot par any day at the U.S. Open, and under par is even better. Yes, it did ‑‑ if you hit good shots, you were rewarded for it. The greens were perfect this morning. The wind wasn't too tough. I think that the morning rounds definitely showed that.
Q. Did you feel like the round would get away from you at all?
NATALIE GULBIS: I think you are remained that you have to hit fairways and greens. I hit it well most of the day, so I stayed away from the tall stuff that causes stress during a U.S. Open.
Q. Everyone seems to think that this will come down to putting. Now that you've had enough experience on these greens, how difficult are they?
NATALIE GULBIS: Very difficult. They are very difficult. If you miss a shot just a little bit, instead of having a 15‑foot birdie putt, you've got a 50‑foot lag putt and hoping to make par over some slopes or roll off the green.
Q. So a minus‑1, good score; could it have been better or are you satisfied with today?
NA YEON CHOI: I'm pretty satisfied. I started to hit a birdie today for the first hole. And then I saved a great par on the 18th hole, so I'm pretty satisfied. I got four birdies out there. And then I think I hit 27 putts out there, so I think that's a great score. So I think I'm very satisfied right now.
Q. How did you feel when on the first tee they announced you as the 2012 U.S. Women's Open Champion?
NA YEON CHOI: I was very excited. I think that was the first time I heard, you know, like it's been a year. So, yeah, I was very excited and actually I didn't get any nervous when I heard that, and I felt more excited and I got good vibes from there. Like, hey, you know, I did a good job last year, so we can do one more. Just do my best.
Q. How did you find the course as far as a challenge? Was it a little breezy? Were there challenges with the greens? Was it what you expected?
NA YEON CHOI: I think the course is pretty difficult, but today a lot of the tee boxes moved up 30 or 40 yards like on many holes, so actually I felt like it's just different holes. Almost every hole was a different target, different aim. Then the wind was switching a lot out there, so it wasn't easy for a club selection.
But I think I had pretty fun with my group. I played with Lydia Ko today. That was my first time playing with her, and she played so well and she hit it far. I think she's a great player. So we had fun out there.
Q. How difficult is it to refocus coming back in as defending champion and all the hoopla that goes with that?
NA YEON CHOI: It wasn't difficult. I think my focus was great today. I saved a lot of pars out there, especially the last hole. The wind wasn't easy to read, so that was a little difficult, but me and my caddie did a great job out there. So hopefully we'll take a good rest today and come back tomorrow with a good feeling.
Q. Was it one of those feelings where once you're able to get inside the ropes you're able to tune the rest of it out?
NA YEON CHOI: Not really. I'm sorry. I didn't get your question.
Q. With all the hoopla of being champion, you've had to talk to us, and you've had to go around and represent the USGA for a year now as defending champion, are you able once you step on that first tee to zone all of that out?
NA YEON CHOI: I mean, I think if I think about I'm the defending champion, I'm going to win this week, if I think like that, I think never good results come. I was thinking yesterday and two days ago like how I approached the tournament last year with the USGA tournament. I didn't try like I want to win last year. I just tried to do my best.
If I have a chance, I just try to do my best to make it, and just try to make less mistakes out there.
Q. Talk about the way the round went, your gut reaction?
ANNIE PARK: I started out well. The third hole ‑‑ well, the third hole for me, I miscalculated the yardage, so I had a tough break there.
From there on, I just tried to get my game back together. It was ‑‑ I was just struggling out there just trying to make putts, getting it on the green.
Q. You had four three-puts today, you are playing in the afternoon. Were the greens tougher, do you think?
ANNIE PARK: I mean, towards the end I was actually putting better except for one hole. But I was putting better. I gave my best effort and it didn't go in. It was frustrating, but what can I do? Can't control the greens.
Q. You had all these people out here following you. Did that put any extra pressure on yourself to perform for them?
ANNIE PARK: I mean, I did feel the pressure, but like I tried to block it out. I mean, I was very thankful for them to come out and watch and support our group and it was just great.
Q. Tomorrow will be an easier round just getting this out of the way?
ANNIE PARK: I think so. I mean, hopefully I get some ‑‑ I get my putting back together. My shots they were kind of iffy. Just it's going to be a new day and hopefully it's better.
Q. Can you describe your emotion on the first hole when you were teeing off?
ANNIE PARK: I mean, like every tournament, everyone gets nervous. I was nervous but I hit a great drive. I had great second shot. I lipped out the putt. But after that it wasn't too bad.
Q. On No. 4, you had a big drive down there, the short par‑4 downhill. It seemed like this might be your chance to make a birdie to get you going. What happened?
ANNIE PARK: I kind of pushed my wedge. I didn't want to hit it left, so I guess I tried not to hit it left and then I pushed it right.
Q. The three‑putt there, that must have been the frustrating moment of the day for you?
ANNIE PARK: Actually, it's funny because my par putt, I was so confident in making that putt and then I misread the putt. I was like, okay, I'll just move on. I missed the next putt, and I was just like okay.
After that I was trying to get my game ‑‑ tried to make some birdies, but it didn't work out.
Q. Was Sebonack very much different from the courses you've played a number of times? They set it up differently.
ANNIE PARK: Yeah, they did set it up differently. The only thing was No. 2 being No. 1 and 1 being No. 9. That was kind of confusing and I'm still confused. But overall, I mean, the course was in great shape.
Q. You mentioned the pressure. What about support? Did you feel like there were a lot of people supporting you out there?
ANNIE PARK: Yes, it was. Also at the same time it was kind of pressuring. I'm glad that I experienced this now than later. I'm grateful for that.
Q. Is it because you can hear a gallery reaction? You don't usually have that?
ANNIE PARK: It was different because me seeing Tiger play and all the crowds supporting them, and then me being in the ‑‑ me experiencing it myself was pretty cool.
Q. What was that feeling like on the first tee when they ‑‑ you were playing in front of these Long Islanders. They announced from Levittown, New York, Annie Park. What goes through your head and your heart?
ANNIE PARK: I was just so honored to be part of Long Island. And me being a resident in Levittown, I'm grateful.
I also like Sebonack being on an Island is just great.
Q. Obviously you are going to try to come back tomorrow and make the cut. What do you ‑‑ what kind of plan to you take? What kind of approach do you take? Do you forget this right away? What do you do next?
ANNIE PARK: I mean, it's kind of hard to forget about it because I think that was one of the things coming into this tournament was I had a bad last round before this, and it kind of like ‑‑ it was in me and it was hard for me to get it over with.
Today it was worse. So I mean, hopefully tomorrow is going to be a different day and just going to try to change my mindset.
Q. Is it possible that you kind of lost your rhythm between that because you were doing other things instead of playing golf?
ANNIE PARK: Kind of hard to like get back ‑‑ I mean, I had some bogeys. I had tried to get back into a momentum. But I was struggling out there in general.
Q. How does it feel to see your name on the leaderboard at the U.S. Open?
PAZ ECHEVERRIA: It is great. It is my first Open, so it's really special. My family is here with me. And my coach is too, so I think I am feeing really comfortable with the course.
I played really great today. It was one of those days when everything came together. I drive really good, hit good shots, make some putts and that's it. That's this course.
Q. Was there anything in your play the last weeks that would make you think you would begin with this score at the U.S. Open?
PAZ ECHEVERRIA: I feel like I've been playing really good for the past months. I haven't been very lucky, so I don't know. It's just trying to do my things. Try to keep calm.
It is a big tournament. There are a lot of distraction here, and you have to like stay focused. That's what I'm trying to do.
Q. What's been the biggest distraction for you first time here?
PAZ ECHEVERRIA: I think just knowing that it's a U.S. Open. I mean, it's my first, so I think just that.
Q. We have some people that are 14 playing and you're ‑‑
PAZ ECHEVERRIA: 28.
Q. Talk about just the path to get here and playing your first at 28?
PAZ ECHEVERRIA: My path is a bit different from most of the girls because I didn't came to college here. I study and get my degree in my country, in Chili. I didn't realize I wanted to be a pro golfer ‑‑ I was 24 when I finished my degree. After that I went on a trip to Asia for three months. I realize that I love for traveling and I wanted to give it a shot here, so I'm enjoying the moment.
Q. Did you play golf on that trip?
PAZ ECHEVERRIA: No, no, no. Just travel. Just southeast Asia. It was great.
Q. Does this give you a different appreciation because you are a grown woman doing this? You have gotten a degree. You are very different than some of the younger girls?
PAZ ECHEVERRIA: I believe that maybe I don't have the pressure that other girls may have. I don't know. Like probably I see life in a different way. I don't know. I have my degree. If this doesn't work, I have another Plan B which I hope not to use. But it's always there.
Q. Did you play golf in college in Chili?
PAZ ECHEVERRIA: No. I mean, I keep practicing, but like once a week, my weekly class with my coach, but I didn't play much.
Q. Did you consider coming to the United States to play collegiately at all?
PAZ ECHEVERRIA: I did, but ‑‑ I had some offers, but I wasn't really sure about coming here and I really give a good test, like the SAT in Chili, I had a good one. And I could study what I want where I want, so I decided to stay there.
Q. What did you get your degree in?
PAZ ECHEVERRIA: It's like business with an economics and marketing. It's like a little bit of everything, so it's business.
Q. What is Plan B exactly?
PAZ ECHEVERRIA: Plan B is like working in four walls, but I don't want to do that now. I want to enjoy the moment.
Q. When you came and looked at this course, did you feel like it had the type of scores it's had today?
PAZ ECHEVERRIA: I think the course was playing really easier, much easier than the practice rounds. Most of the tees were really forward, so it wasn't that long. I'm not impressed about this course. If you hit it good, you are in the right spot. You can use the slopes. And I'm not impressed at all.
I'm a little bit sick.
Q. Do you play better when you're sick?
PAZ ECHEVERRIA: I don't know. I've been like this ten days. I can't take anything, so just waiting to go away.
Q. Who is the most famous golfer from Chili?
PAZ ECHEVERRIA: There was one girl who played here before me, Nicole Perrot. She won one once, but that was like eight years ago.
This year I got my conditional status, so I'm the second.
Q. How popular is this sport?
PAZ ECHEVERRIA: It is not popular at all. Everything is about soccer. And for everything. Like to find sponsors or for everything, it's like golf does not exist.
Q. Are there a lot of courses?
PAZ ECHEVERRIA: I would say probably 40 in the whole country, so it's not much.
Q. Pretty hilly too?
PAZ ECHEVERRIA: Yeah, my course is pretty hilly.
Q. How did you start playing golf if it's not popular there?
PAZ ECHEVERRIA: We go ‑‑ in summer we have a beach house an hour away from Santiago where the most beautiful golf course in Chili is. My dad started playing there when he was a grown man. I started with him. I was five. I wanted to spend time with him, so he took me. While he was in his lessons, he was like there is your club, there is your ball, do whatever, swing wherever you want but don't bother me. This is my hour; I'm playing here. Yeah, I think that that was the way I started.
Q. When did you first get lessons? Are you self‑taught?
PAZ ECHEVERRIA: I'm sorry?
Q. Are you self‑taught or did you get lessons?
PAZ ECHEVERRIA: No. I got lessons. After that I started having my regular lessons and then probably when I was eight, I start competing in junior tournaments.
Q. Where you grew up, how close is that to Santiago?
PAZ ECHEVERRIA: I grew up in Santiago. My golf course was like three minutes away, five minutes.
Q. Would you like to see this course harden up?
PAZ ECHEVERRIA: Harder?
Q. If you are unimpressed today, what would impress you for this course?
PAZ ECHEVERRIA: For the way I hit the ball today, I don't mind if they put it longer. I think that will benefit me. Some days you play well, some days you don't hit that well. So I think it doesn't really matter because to everybody it is the same course.
Q. Did you grow up kind of idolizing Nicole or who was your golf idol?
PAZ ECHEVERRIA: The truth is ‑‑ the truth is that golf wasn't like a big thing for me until I was like probably like 18 or something. At that time Nicole was on Tour and she opened us a door, like showing us a way that we didn't even think about. So basically, yeah, I could say maybe I didn't idolize her, but she was the one who showed us the way.
Q. What were you thoughts coming into this tournament in terms of expectation?
PAZ ECHEVERRIA: I didn't want to think ‑‑ I don't want to think about results. I just want to think about play well and if that via consequence brings a good place that will be great. I just want to have fun out there.
Q. This is not only your first Open but your first major?
PAZ ECHEVERRIA: No. I played in Rochester three weeks ago. That was my first.
Q. Do you have your whole family, mom and dad here?
PAZ ECHEVERRIA: No, not the whole. I have five siblings, so I couldn't bring them all. I brought my sister, my parents and my coach.
Q. Sister older or younger than you?
PAZ ECHEVERRIA: Older, three years older. She took a week off from the office.
Q. Minus two today. Happy with that?
JENNIFER ROSALES: Very happy. Actually, I was expecting ‑‑ today was different from the practice round. Some holes they moved the tee backs, so it got shorter. So, yeah.
JENNIFER ROSALES: Yes, it just plays with our head. We didn't know what to use. It just took some time to figure out if you were going to hit a driver or 3‑wood off the tee.
Q. What part of the game was best for you today?
JENNIFER ROSALES: My irons were good today and my drives, putting really good. Just everything went well for me.
Q. If someone tells you you are going to shoot two under at the U.S. Open first round ‑‑
JENNIFER ROSALES: I'm pretty happy. The way it was setup on the practice round, I thought, oh, my God, it's going to be a fun week. I'll take 2‑under. Any under at the Open, I'll take it.
Q. You've got a lot of experience in the women's golf. You've contended. That probably has to play into how you played today, I'm sure?
JENNIFER ROSALES: Yeah, I know how it is to play in the U.S. Open. I've been there. It's just nice to be the position I'm in.
Q. What about tomorrow? What are you going to try to do?
JENNIFER ROSALES: It's not going to be the same thing tomorrow. It's going to be tougher. They are probably going to move the tees back. So look forward to the challenge. We'll see how it goes.
Q. Did you leave any birdies out there that you wish you had?
JENNIFER ROSALES: Yes, some of the par‑5s. Just hit a good shot just stupid mistakes, so you learn from it.
JENNIFER ROSALES: Yeah, I had a lot of lip‑outs today. So that's golf. It's the Open.
Q. 69 today. Happy with that? First round of the Women's Open. You have got to be satisfied, right?
MAUDE‑AIMEE LEBLANC: Definitely. Especially starting with the double bogey on the first hole. My face was probably as red as high shirt. I was not happy.
I knew my swing felt good. And they moved up a lot of tees today so I could reach most par‑5S in two. So I knew there was still a lot of birdies out there, so I stayed patient.
Q. Did that set you back a little bit? When you started to see there were several holes where the tees were moved up, did that kind of get in your head a little bit? Did you just change clubs and have a different angle for the hole and go with it?
MAUDE‑AIMEE LEBLANC: Yeah, I changed clubs pretty much on a lot of holes. But a lot of people told me that's what tends to happen here. They will change tees and move some tees up, so I was prepared for it. But I hope they will move it back soon.
Q. Did you think it plays to your strength to have it play back farther?
MAUDE‑AIMEE LEBLANC: Definitely. I'm one of the longest hitters here. Yeah, definitely. It's an advantage to play 68 or 60‑something, yeah.
Q. How did you feel about the way you were playing coming into the week?
MAUDE‑AIMEE LEBLANC: Pretty good. The last week in Arkansas I didn't play well the last round, but my swing felt good. It felt like it was getting better.
I spent time with my coach here this week. A lot of things improved in the last couple of days, so I'm looking forward to the next few days.
Q. What did you work on?
MAUDE‑AIMEE LEBLANC: My takeaway, I tend to get the club face shut a little on the takeaway. So it was hard to get the ball where I wanted to, but that improved a lot as well. So short game as well, bunker play, I had a little lesson with my coach and that helped too.
Q. What is your reaction? You are only two strokes off the lead after the first day?
MAUDE‑AIMEE LEBLANC: Yeah, it's nice. That was one of my goals this week was to get in contention soon and that's been one of my struggles this year is to start on a good note. So when I started with that double I was like, oh, no, not again. I'm just glad everything felt good today.
Q. Can you sum up your day and how it went for you?
LYDIA KO: I started off with a bogey and ended up with a bogey. So other than that, it was a pretty good day. Yeah, you know, I think when I was off the green, and even though I was putting, that's when I made my bogeys. But I made some really good birdies. And it's not an easy golf course, so even par is a pretty good start to the open.
Q. I saw you play a few holes. You looked like you were really throwing your irons right at the flag. Was that a strategy this week or something you just thought hit the ball?
LYDIA KO: It depends on every hole. There are some holes where you can go for it and some holes you just can't because the greens are so elevated here. It's definitely one of the toughest greens I've putted on. But, yeah, you know, it depends on every hole and what the condition is at that time.
Q. What is it about the golf course that a lot of scores bunched up, minus 1, minus 2 in there, and yet we have two players minus 5? What is the difference? What do you think it takes to separate yourself like that? Is it making long putts?
LYDIA KO: You know, I guess, like Inbee ‑‑ and they went low, and I think 5‑under is a really, really good score out here. You know, it's quite good to have that really good start.
But like I said before, it's not an easy golf course where you can shoot 6‑under or 7‑under. And I'm sure people go, oh, if I putt that, I may have shot 6‑under and stuff.
But at the end of the day, I don't think it's that kind of golf course where like 20‑something under is going to win it. So, yeah, I think a couple under par every day would be a pretty good score.
Q. Do you have your driver's license yet?
LYDIA KO: No, I don't.
Q. Do you plan on getting it soon?
LYDIA KO: No, I'm a crazy driver.
Q. You're what?
LYDIA KO: A crazy driver.
Q. How do you know you're a crazy driver if you don't have your driver's license? Do you have your temporary license?
LYDIA KO: No, just the carts I've driven, and it's not good.
Q. Everybody drives a golf cart kind of fast. They're fun to drive. But you're not a crazy driver with your driver, right?
LYDIA KO: Hopefully I'm a good driver with my club driver, yeah.
Q. But is that really a key this week with the fairways so wide? Is it more short game putting here?
LYDIA KO: I think it's more, you know, going on the green, and then some putts you just kind of go for it. A two‑putt is good, so, yeah, I think around the green is the most important putt. But in saying that, it's not the easiest. It's not really open wide. But I guess it's open wide compared to Wegmans, if you say.
Q. Did you have fun today?
LYDIA KO: Yeah, it was my first time playing with Na Yeon Choi, and I always said that I want to play with her. So, yeah, I was pretty excited. And I played with Brittany a couple of times, and she's a great player to play with. So it was a really good group. I think we'll have some fun tomorrow as well.
Q. This whole year there have been a lot of new experiences for you. I mean, you talk to us, you come to these kind of events and stand up on the podium, that sort of thing. What is it that has surprised you the most about not just what's happened on the golf course but what's happened off the golf course this year?
LYDIA KO: I don't think it's much like here, but back at home, more public don't know much about golf know me so that's the only really big difference. But other than that I don't even know why I'm sometimes doing media. I play average and they want to talk to me.
Q. You are 16?
LYDIA KO: Yes, I'm 16. I'm having fun.
Q. Are you recognized in airports that sort of thing?
LYDIA KO: No, maybe in New Zealand, yes, but not outside, not internationally.
Q. Have you been home this year to New Zealand?
LYDIA KO: I came over for the Wegmans for the LPGA Championship, and that's when I flew in, and I haven't had time to go back.
Q. What is your school situation? Do you go to school?
LYDIA KO: Yeah, I go to school. I go to Pioneer School, which is a private school in New Zealand. Yeah, they've been really helpful in helping me out. I don't do that many subjects, anyways, so it's not a huge deal. One of my subjects is photography, so that's easy. I get to go around the world and take some really good photos and do it on the computer.
Q. So advanced calculus, you're not into that?
LYDIA KO: No, no, that's not even an option.
Q. You had it to three. Was it up an down in terms of bogeys and birdies today?
JESSICA KORDA: Yeah, started with a birdie and then quickly dropped on my third hole, and then made a couple of birdies coming in. Just up‑and‑down all day.
It's a U.S. Open; it's to be expected. Just got to stay patient out there.
Q. The way the tees were moved up, did that cause you any difficulty at all?
JESSICA KORDA: Not really. You just play the yardage that you have. You've played the golf course. It's not that really that big of a deal. It's just another couple of yards here and there.
Q. Were the bogeys the result of bad approach shots?
JESSICA KORDA: There was one 3‑putt and then one bad approach shot, and the rest were just I tugged it into the rough off the tee and you have to take your medicine out of there.
JESSICA KORDA: Probably ‑‑ I didn't really leave too many out there on the front nine, more on the back nine. Probably around like four more or five more birdies I could have had.
Q. You are still a young player (inaudible)?
JESSICA KORDA: Yeah, I mean, I have been playing solid all year, just a couple of small injuries here and there.
But nothing was going to keep me from playing in the U.S. Open. It's one of my favorite events. It's my sixth time playing it. I wouldn't miss this for the world. This is one of my favorite ones. Shoot 2‑under, great, but you have got three more days left.
Q. Why it your favorite?
JESSICA KORDA: When I was 15, I qualified for the U.S. Open, and I realized that this was what I wanted to do. Just the atmosphere of the U.S. Open, it's nothing like anything you play.
Q. Your first U.S. Women's Open round. Can you talk about that?
NELLY KORDA: It was really nice. I didn't really get that nervous on the first hole which was a big surprise because I thought I was going to get really nervous. But I shot one over par with one double and one triple, so it was definitely some up‑and‑downs, but I finished well, so it was good.
Q. The triple was on 7?
NELLY KORDA: Yeah, I hit it into the water.
Q. That was difficult on that hole?
NELLY KORDA: It's a little scary, you know. You don't really want to miss. You have to hit on the green, and it's right in the front. So you're like, oh, my God, I have to hit this shot perfect. But I didn't, so that's how I made the triple.
Q. But you were able to bounce back pretty well there?
NELLY KORDA: Yeah, then I made birdie‑birdie.
Q. Talk about that mentality of not getting down.
NELLY KORDA: Me and my dad were just like let's forget this hole and move on and start fresh. That's how it went.
Q. What kind of advice did Jessica give you this week?
NELLY KORDA: Just to keep calm. That's mostly it. She helped me with ‑‑ we played all our practice rounds together, and she helped me with the greens. But mostly to keep calm. That is the most important for me, probably this week.
Q. How could you not be nervous on the first tee?
NELLY KORDA: I don't know. I was like I don't even know. I was just like how am I not nervous? I just went up to it and hit it like it was just a junior tournament.
Q. Were you nervous last night or this morning?
NELLY KORDA: No. It was weird. I wasn't expecting this at all.
Q. Did you hit it right down the middle?
NELLY KORDA: Yeah, I hit it really good. So I was like, whew, let's go.
Q. You were 3‑over early and you managed to bounce back and get back to even par with like three birdies on your second nine?
NELLY KORDA: Yeah, I made a couple of long putts, but then I hit some pretty close to the pin, so I managed to make those, which was really good.
Q. Did you come in here with a specific goal or were you just like, hey, I'm here, my first experience, just move.
NELLY KORDA: Just to tee it up on the first hole. Just get that over with, and then I'll look.
Q. What were your first impressions the first time you played here, which I assume was Monday?
NELLY KORDA: Yeah, the fairways are forgiving, but then the greens, it was like, oh, my God. This will be a challenge this week. I definitely think I had a couple of three‑putts, but it was ‑‑ it's definitely about putting here.
Q. Were you at Interlachen when your sister made her debut in '08?
NELLY KORDA: Yeah, I've been to all six of her U.S. Opens. This is my first one playing though.
Q. What were your impressions when you're at 9 and watching your sister play as an amateur at 15?
NELLY KORDA: I was nervous. I was probably more nervous for her back then than I was playing my first time. So it was definitely I was nervous for her.
Q. If you and your dad go out for 18, who wins?
NELLY KORDA: I haven't played with him now because he has a bad back. But it's usually really close if we play together. Like sometimes he goes for it. So sometimes he makes an eagle, and I'm like, oh, really?
Q. Does it help, even though you haven't played before, but because you've experienced the Open atmosphere and watched your sister, was that a help that you at least knew what it was going to be like out here?
NELLY KORDA: Definitely. That's why I probably wasn't that nervous because I had just been to a lot of her tournaments. So it was just like one of my tournaments.
Q. I talked to her at the LPGA Championship. She's sort of protective of you. She said I don't know how she's going to do, but it seems that you're dealing with it just fine.
NELLY KORDA: Yeah, it was good today. I played really well, and I'm really happy with my round.
Q. Will you talk to her much today before she goes out or not at all?
NELLY KORDA: No, I won't. Probably I'll tell her about a couple of things, but I won't talk to her a lot so she can concentrate on her round.
Q. You played relatively well today. Does that change your outlook for tomorrow in terms of how you go about your second round?
NELLY KORDA: No. I'm just going to come out here and play, and nothing else. I'm not going to expect a lot. I'm just going to come out here and play my game.
Q. Does your dad calm you down or fire you up? How does that work?
NELLY KORDA: He calms me down. When I start walking a little too fast, he's like, okay, slow it down a little. But then when I make a birdie, he's like, okay, let's go. Next hole.
Q. You're not going to play much after this, is that what your dad said?
NELLY KORDA: No, I'm just going to relax. I don't really see my friends that often, so I'm just going to relax, play some soccer, swim. I'm not going to put ‑‑ I don't even know what tournament I have after this. But if I get into Junior Solheim, then that's definitely my next big goal.
Q. So even if you make the cut, you wouldn't play the Girl's Junior Women's Amateur?
NELLY KORDA: I don't know. I'm just looking forward to tomorrow. I don't know yet.
Q. Did you ever dabble in tennis at all?
NELLY KORDA: When I was little, just like I was hitting with my dad on the court. But when I have days off, sometimes I go with my brother. Not often, because I don't really get out there too much.
Q. Are you any good?
NELLY KORDA: My forehand's good. My serve is not very good.
Q. Playing soccer and swimming, does that help in terms of getting your mind a little away from golf, but it's still a good sport?
NELLY KORDA: Yeah, definitely. I play with one of the soccer players, he lives by us and he comes down every summer. His name is Pavel Nedved, and I play with them. Sometimes I play some golf with him. So I just have fun in the summer.
Q. What grade will you be going into?
NELLY KORDA: I'm going to be going into 10th grade.
Q. Do you play on any of the school teams? Do you play soccer in school?
NELLY KORDA: No.
Q. Your dad says you and Jessica are different.
NELLY KORDA: Yeah.
Q. In what ways?
NELLY KORDA: Probably a little mentally. We have a different kind of swing too. It's just what we do outside the golf course. We just think a little different, but we look the same. I'm her mini me.
Q. Do you get mistaken for her at all?
NELLY KORDA: Oh, yeah. On the range yesterday I was with Tom because I had to do an interview, and he came up to my dad. He was like, oh, my God. I thought that was Jessica. And I was like, no, Jesse's on the other side of the range.
Q. Do you guys ever play pranks on other people because you look the same?
NELLY KORDA: Pranks? No, we haven't done that one yet.
Q. What happened on 10 that seemed to get your day off to a bad start?
MICHELLE WIE: Well, I snap‑hooked it off the tee. My backswing caught the weeds, topped it went in the Heather or the Fescue. Ran from Fescue to Fescue, lost the ball, went back to the Fescue, chipped out, and almost made my putt for a 7, but had an 8. Everything that could go wrong went wrong today. But I'm proud of myself for making three birdies in the last four holes or five holes. So, hopefully I can get a couple more birdies tomorrow.
Q. Can you just talk about how difficult that is to come back after the first hole of the championship to try to keep your composure?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, I mean, I hit a couple of good shots after that. Just didn't really work out. It's just tough on this golf course once you get started on the wrong foot. But hopefully the last three birdies the last couple of holes, I'll have some momentum for tomorrow.
Q. You've played this course in different conditions when it's colder. How different was it today?
MICHELLE WIE: Well, they put the tee box up on every single hole. So it made it a little bit different from the practice rounds, but, you know, this is just a bad round today. Hopefully, I can bounce back tomorrow, make a couple more birdies and not have ten happen again.
Q. Did you just start hitting it better over the last few holes?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, a little bit.
Q. How did you enjoy yourself?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Oh, it was so much fun. I just enjoyed the day. I have a lot of family and friends watching. It's a beautiful golf course, and it's just a lot of fun. I started off a little rough on the first couple holes, but I was able to get it back and finish at 1‑under.
Q. Nelly Korda is around your age. She told me that she wasn't nervous at all on the first tee. What were you feeling? What were your nerves like?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, definitely a little bit. I wanted to play well, and I wanted to have a good round. So definitely a little bit of first tee jitters, but having my sister there really helped me stay calm. Once the round got going, it really felt better, and I was able to finish strong.
Q. Your drive on the first tee there was that just being pumped up or was that a misjudgment of some sort?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Honestly, I didn't think I could get there. I thought I'd be a couple yards short. I hit it the way I wanted to, I just ended up in the bunker.
Q. What were your expectations this week? Do you have goals or do you just come out, enjoy yourself and see what happens?
BROOKE HENDERSON: I'm looking to make the cut, definitely, that is a big goal. But I just wanted to enjoy myself and take in the whole experience so I can get better and hopefully down the road that experience will help me out.
Q. With a few holes did you feel like you had some birdie opportunities that just didn't drop for you?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, I had a couple there on the back nine that I could have made (Indiscernible), but hopefully I'll get it tomorrow and make up for it.
Q. What are your long‑term plans? Would you like to play college golf?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, I think college golf is awesome. I'm looking at a few schools right now. So hopefully I'll play college golf and hopefully turn pro after that.
Q. You're playing in two more LPGA events coming up here pretty soon?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yep.
Q. Kind of talk about the schedule that you've put together? You're playing above your age quite a bit.
BROOKE HENDERSON: When I found out that I qualified for this, I was really excited that I played well the last couple of events, so that got me into those two other LPGA Tour events. I'm really looking forward to that. Just taking in the experience right now and gaining as much as I can.
Q. How long was that putt on 18?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Probably 15 feet, maybe a little less.
Q. What happened there?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Breaker, left to right, just had enough speed there and just sort of fell on the top side. I was happy to see it fall instead of just sitting there.
Q. Sometimes your putter wasn't that hot for you, but that could change things around for you that putt right there, do you think?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, I definitely had a couple of putts out there. 14, I had a clutch par save to keep my round going. Then on 18 there that was a good one. So left a few out there, but I made them when I really needed to.
Q. Did you miss a fairway after the first two?
BROOKE HENDERSON: No, I don't think so.
Q. Well, and that's got to be part of the success today, obviously, right?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, definitely. This course can really jump up and bite you if you miss the fairways, so that is definitely the key.
Q. Was 14 the one you were in the rough?
BROOKE HENDERSON: By the left side.
Q. Yeah, the left side. You figured out that would be a pretty big shot for you too?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, definitely that chip shot over there. I just had to get it to the top of the hill there and let it run all the way down, and I hit it like I wanted to and it turned out.
Q. So you won a tournament and broke Lydia Ko's record for youngest winner in a pro tournament. Is that a big deal to you? Do you pay attention to what other kids your age are doing and the amazing things they're doing?
BROOKE HENDERSON: It was pretty cool. I liked to win that event. At the time I didn't know about any of the records. It wasn't until after. And to think there are so many amazing players out here on TOUR that have come through, so it's pretty cool to think that I am the youngest one to win, but at the time, I didn't know.
Q. Minus‑1 after your first round in a major tournament like the U.S. Open, better than you could have expected do you think?
BROOKE HENDERSON: It's pretty good. (Indiscernible).
Q. Just, you're playing in the Manulife now; that's been confirmed.
BROOKE HENDERSON: I think the press release was supposed to come out today.
Q. Yeah, it did, so maybe just a word about that?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Oh, I'm really looking forward to it. It's pretty close to home, actually, so hopefully some of my family and friends will come out there and support me. I'm sure they will.
Q. Did you notice how many were out here today?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, there were quite a few. That was pretty awesome.
Q. That helps?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, definitely.
Q. I mean, people that aren't even family drove quite a long ways to come watch you play. Were you surprised by that?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah. They're awesome. They're actually from my club, and they support me 100% all the time. When I knew they were coming a few weeks ago, I was really excited to have them come out and watch.
Q. One more question about you and your sister; you guys must be close if she's on the bag here. What have you learned from her and what has her career meant to your career?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Actually, when I was younger, I grew up watching her and wanted to be just like her. She's a huge role model for me. It's a huge comforting factor to know she's there and she's very knowledgeable. She just finished her fourth year at university college golf, so she knows a lot and helps me out.
Q. 72, did you leave some out there?
CRISTIE KERR: I did. You know what? God, I had some putts on the front nine, which was my back, I just hit great putts and they just didn't go in. I kind of made a couple bogeys late, but got one back on the second to last hole. Yeah, definitely.
I think it's probably about as easy as this golf course can play today. There was really no wind, so the golf course was definitely firming up as the day went on, but it wasn't like, you know, how it could have been. I thought it was very scorable today, and I didn't play that great and I shot even.
Q. The movement of the tees, were you kind of expecting that?
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, definitely. It plays hard enough that you don't really need to play it at the full 6850 because at any time it could blow 40 miles‑an‑hour out here, so you've got to protect against that a little bit.
Q. What went a little bit south?
CRISTIE KERR: Just my ball striking; I'm going to go hit a few balls with my coach.
Q. How did it go out there?
PAULA CREAMER: It went all right. I mean, I gave myself a lot of chances. Made two bogeys. One was an errant drive, had to take an unplayable. Then the next one was a three‑putt, which I thought I made a good putt, but just didn't make as many birdies as I would have liked.
It's the first day and I'll take even par for sure in the afternoon.
Q. How much more did you leave out there? Were there some putts that could have gone in?
PAULA CREAMER: Oh, tons. I had a lot of 5‑, 6‑, 7‑footers throughout the ‑‑ started off really strong and just kept on grinding. I didn't ‑‑ (indiscernible) obviously helps a lot with your confidence. You want to see the ball go in, but at the same time you are kind of getting frustrated because you are giving yourself just as many opportunities and not making them.
Q. You said before that this place reminds you of Oakmont, that's where you won. Has that kind of lent to your confidence?
PAULA CREAMER: For sure. It's not easy out here. But it's first day and there's always a lot of low scores or numbers out there going into the weekend.
It's a grinding golf course. Mentally you are just kind of exhausted, especially because USGA does a good job with the tee boxes. We are all over the map out here, and that's something that ‑‑ I mean, how many tee shots did you hit in the practice rounds. I think that's what makes it so much more difficult is you come out with a plan, but you are thrown a curve ball out there.