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June 17, 2014

Lucy Li


CHRISTINA LANCE: All right, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon, I'm Christina Lance and welcome come to today's final press conference for the 2014 U.S. Women's Open. As you can tell, I'm very happy to be here with Miss Lucy Li, she's 11 years old. She's become youngest qualifier in U.S. Women's Open Championship history. There is going to be Lucy's third USGA championship. In 2013 she was the youngest qualifier in U.S Women's Amateur history and she also became the youngest player ever to reach match play at the Women's Amateur Public Links. And we were just chatting, she's excited, in a few weeks she will be joining us at the home course in DuPont, Washington for the U.S. Amateur Public Links, as well. So Lucy, thank you for coming today.

LUCY LI: Okay.

CHRISTINA LANCE: You said you played nine holes today. What do you think about this golf course?

LUCY LI: I think the course is great. It's in awesome condition. The greens are running perfectly and there's not much rough. The fairways are nice and firm and it's pretty great.

CHRISTINA LANCE: Have you ever played a course that's like this? It's kind of different to a lot of the courses here in the United States.

LUCY LI: Yeah, it is. It's kind of a links style and Donald Ross, so not really.

CHRISTINA LANCE: So it's knew.

LUCY LI: A little bit like the Country Club of Charleston, but not really.

CHRISTINA LANCE: Country Club of Charleston you did really well. You shot an 80 on the first day.

LUCY LI: 82.

CHRISTINA LANCE: But then came back and shot a 70. How did you feel knowing you can come back from a tough first day?

LUCY LI: Yeah, it's good, because actually, it's better for the first day if I play bad, there's not much -- yeah, I normally can come back from a bad round. I'm pretty good at that.

CHRISTINA LANCE: Good. We'll open the floor for any questions.

Q. I know it's early in the week, but what's been the coolest moment you've had so far?
LUCY LI: Coolest moment? I guess when I met Webb Simpson Thursday.

Q. Why was that cool?
LUCY LI: Because he's my favorite player. He's a really nice guy.

CHRISTINA LANCE: Why is he your favorite player?

LUCY LI: I guess because he won at the Olympic Club in San Francisco and the Olympic Club is my favorite golf course.

CHRISTINA LANCE: Very nice. Next question?

Q. I think you were in gymnastics what other sports have you played and why golf? Why do you like golf so much?
LUCY LI: I like golf because it's different from other sports. Anybody can play it, if you're tall, short, fast or slow, that's what I like about it. I have tried dancing, I really like dancing, I do table tennis, swimming, I love diving, badminton.

CHRISTINA LANCE: Your mom was a champion table tennis player, right? Did she ever give you lessons?

LUCY LI: Yeah, she's trying to.

CHRISTINA LANCE: How did the lessons go?

LUCY LI: Not very good. (Laughter.)

Q. Just as a follow-up to that, do your parents play golf? And I know -- I think you got your start watching your brother on the range, is that correct?
LUCY LI: Yeah, my brother was playing on his high school team or I think his high school team, so, yeah, that's what got me started into playing golf.

Q. Do your parents like to play?
LUCY LI: My dad likes to play, he's actually pretty good.

Q. This morning Michelle Wie came in. We asked her what advice she would give you and she said that she would tell you, talk to the pros, go up and ask them anything you want, because they're not scary. Have you done that and do you plan on doing that?
LUCY LI: Yes, if I think of anything to ask them.

Q. But you haven't done so yet?
LUCY LI: Yeah, I probably will.

CHRISTINA LANCE: Are there any pros you're really excited to meet?

LUCY LI: Yeah, I met Annika and Karrie Webb, they're really nice. And, oh, yeah, what was her name? Anna Nordqvist, she was really nice. I met her on the range today.

CHRISTINA LANCE: Did they give you any advice?

LUCY LI: Not really.

CHRISTINA LANCE: Not really? Just have fun. Having fun can be good advice.

LUCY LI: Yeah.

Q. Your caddie said that he was amazed at how much you knew about Donald Ross. That you even read books on him? Can you talk about what you have read about him and why?
LUCY LI: I like Donald Ross, Donald Ross, I like him because I played Country Club of Charleston last year and Penninsula Golf Club in San Francisco, so I know that he loves doing those undulating greens.

Q. How do you like those kind of greens?
LUCY LI: They're tough. But I like them, because they're good. They can help you and they can hurt you.

Q. Two questions. One, is there anything that really scares you about this week that you're nervous about? And two, what do you think of playing in front of crowds and getting attention? Do you like that?
LUCY LI: I think I like crowds, they don't bother me. I play better the more people that come watch me. So, yeah. I'm really excited though.

Q. Is there anything about this week that makes you nervous or scary?
LUCY LI: Not really. (Laughter.)

Q. How much have the sessions in Miami with Jim McLean helped you and what's that like to go there for long stretches? Do you miss your friends? Do you like it because of the golf and can you just talk about that a little bit?
LUCY LI: I like Jim, he's a really funny guy. I remember the first lesson I had with him, he put balls everywhere and he had me hit them from like standing in one place and lefty and right and like one-handed and stuff. So it was a lot of fun. He keeps the game really natural and fun for me, so, yeah.

Q. First of all, can your dad beat you?
LUCY LI: (Laughter.) No. (Laughter.)

Q. What are your expectations for the week? What would be the perfect week for you on the golf course?
LUCY LI: The perfect week, I just want to go out there and have fun and play the best I can and I really don't care about the outcome, it's just I want to have fun and learn. I can learn -- I want to learn a lot from these great players.

Q. You've gotten to go to Augusta National this year and compete and then come to Pinehurst No. 2 and compete. How do you compare those two experiences and what's been the best part for you?
LUCY LI: It's awesome, right? I mean Pinehurst and Augusta National in like two months. I mean that's just amazing. It's mind blowing for me. It's been awesome, because it's been -- I mean the food is great and it's been a lot of fun. I've made a lot of friends.

Q. I've got two questions. First question is, what's your favorite subject in school?
LUCY LI: I like everything, math, science and history.

Q. Can you name two or three books that are your favorites?
LUCY LI: I love Rick Riordan so I read all of his books and I like reading Sherlock Holmes, too.

Q. Is your brother here this week or going to be here?
LUCY LI: He wanted to, but he's interning in New York, so he can't take that many days off work, so.

Q. Your mom and dad and your aunt, are they here, all here?
LUCY LI: Yeah, they're all here.

Q. What do your parents do for a living?
LUCY LI: My dad's a finance guy and my mom -- yeah, he's a stock broker or he's a stock trader. He's really good at it. (Laughter.) It's true. And my mom used to be a manager at HP, but then my brother, he got into high school, so she is just taking care of us now. Pretty much just me.

Q. Is there anything special you like to do on your birthdays?
LUCY LI: Yeah, I like to go to arcades. I love going to Dave & Busters. Every time on my birthday I go there and I watch movies.

Q. You wonder how many hours do you practice every day when you're not in a championship?
LUCY LI: You mean this week?

Q. No, no, when you're not in a championship, how many hours do you practice?
LUCY LI: Oh, it depends. It depends on my schedule and if I feel like practicing. I go out when I feel like it, so it depends.

Q. About how many hours then?
LUCY LI: I don't know. Three or four.

Q. What's your hobby when you're not playing golf?
LUCY LI: Reading. I love doing a lot of things, but reading is my favorite.

Q. That was kind of my question, but on a typical week at home, do you go out and play a couple times? And if you are able to go out and do something other than golf, and reading, what would it be?
LUCY LI: I like swimming, biking, table tennis, badminton, yeah.

Q. In a typical week at home in the Bay Area you play two times a week, three times a week?
LUCY LI: Yeah. Sort of. It depends.

Q. Whose idea was it to try to qualify for the U.S. Open?
LUCY LI: It was mine. Because I wanted to go out there and get the experience. Because it's 36 holes and I didn't care if I qualified or not, I didn't think about it, I just wanted to go for the experience.

Q. Then how did you celebrate when you did make it?
LUCY LI: I went to have dinner at may favorite restaurant and I watched a movie.

Q. What's the name of the restaurant?
LUCY LI: Little Sichuan.

CHRISTINA LANCE: And what movie did you watch?

LUCY LI: The Amazing Spider Man 2.


Q. You said the food is great. What have you eaten? What was the best food you ate at Augusta National and what is the best food you've eaten so far this week?
LUCY LI: Augusta National? I liked the ice cream and the sliders. And the tacos are really good, too.

Q. What about here?
LUCY LI: There's a lot of food here.

Q. Now that you've qualified for a Women's Open, will you be able to or even want to be inspired to go back to a Drive, Chip and Putt Championship?
LUCY LI: I really want to go, but if my schedule allows it, I probably will.

CHRISTINA LANCE: What was the best part of, besides winning, of being at Drive, Chip and Putt for you?

LUCY LI: It was awesome, because the food was great and the people were awesome and they get to go to Augusta National, right? I went to look at Amen Corner and it was so beautiful. And I made a lot of friends, because we were -- after the tournament, we were all hanging out, so, yeah, it was a lot of fun.

CHRISTINA LANCE: That does sound fun.

Q. You've said that you can do things on the course that you realized other people cannot, they come naturally to you. When did you first realize that you could do things that are hard for other people? How and when did you realize that?
LUCY LI: I realized that I guess when I was seven, because I was on the range and my brother was playing in the high school match and my parents and my mom and my aunt were there, so they told me to hit a few balls. And I was twirling around in circles and my mom was like, you can't do that, you have to stand here and you have to stay where you are. And after she told me I could do it like after one swing, so, yeah.

Q. How far do you drive the ball and say how far do you hit a 5-iron and is there a shot there that you have to kind of work on on a course like this?
LUCY LI: My drive goes about like 230, it goes farther in tournaments when there's adrenaline. I hit my 5-iron like 170. And, yeah. So on this golf course, I guess I need to practice some longer pitch shots and bunker shots, yeah.

Q. Who, as a player, who is your favorite player, who inspires you the most and that would be question one.
LUCY LI: Inspires me? I like -- Erik Compton is such an inspiring story. I played with him once a few years, two years ago, and it's just amazing. He's such a nice guy and he's such -- his story is so impressive.

Q. And have you ever been intimidated on a golf course?
LUCY LI: No. I just don't care that much.

Q. What were the circumstances playing with Erik? Where were you and how did that come about?
LUCY LI: Well, just casual. It was just a casual, like a few holes I played with him. I think that I was practicing and Jim was like oh, Erik is here and I just wanted to play a few holes with him. It was very relaxed.

CHRISTINA LANCE: It was when you were in Miami?

LUCY LI: Yeah.

CHRISTINA LANCE: Did you beat him?

LUCY LI: I don't know. Probably not.

Q. You talked about you're not really worried about how do you here, you just want to have fun. But long range, do you look towards playing professional golf and are you eager some day to do that for a living?
LUCY LI: I haven't really thought about that. Right now it's just play as well as I can and it's going to take -- the game's going to take me wherever it's going to take me, so I just really don't care that much.

Q. What are your friends thinking about you playing in the U.S. Open this week?
LUCY LI: Oh, yeah, they were pretty shocked. They thought it was amazing, yeah. They're all going to be watching.

Q. What do you think of when you hear at 11 years old that you're the youngest to qualify for the U.S. Open? I mean that makes you kind of stick out here this week.
LUCY LI: It's pretty amazing, but I don't really -- I try not to think about it, I'm just another player, just trying to do the best I can, so, yeah.

Q. If there's anybody in the world that you could meet, who would you want to meet?
LUCY LI: I don't know.

CHRISTINA LANCE: Doesn't have to be a golfer.

LUCY LI: I haven't really thought about that.

CHRISTINA LANCE: Well you're going to meet a lot of people this week.

LUCY LI: Yeah.

Q. What's the happiest you've ever been on the golf course and have you ever thrown a club?
LUCY LI: No, no, throwing clubs is strictly off limits. No. No. The worst I've done is hit myself in the head.

Q. Have you ever met Woody Austin?
LUCY LI: What?

Q. Never mind. What's the happiest you've ever been on the golf course?
LUCY LI: It's just what -- happiest on the golf course is when I'm playing casual game with my -- like my friends and we're just playing around, having fun.

CHRISTINA LANCE: Well, thank you very much for coming, Lucy. Have fun the rest of the week. Lucy is going to be teeing off at 7:07 a.m. off the 10th tee on Thursday. Hope to see you all there. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

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