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April 26, 2015

Lydia Ko


MODERATOR:  Happy to be joined by Lydia Ko, 2015 champ here at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic.  Back to back years winning here.  What was it like in that playoff?
LYDIA KO:  You know, every hole is pretty nerve wracking, but to be in a playoff, that was double the pressure.  Morgan had been playing so well the whole week and she's a tough player beat, but I tried to concentrate on my game.
That's all I can do.
MODERATOR:  Questions.

Q.  On the second playoff hole, on your third shot you had a shot out of the rough.  I have seen you spin that shot before out of the rough.  You're pretty good at it.  You showed that today.  Is that a shot that you practice from time to time?
LYDIA KO:¬† I was actually‑‑ I didn't know if I was in the fairway or not, but I wasn't in the rough, rough.¬† I actually had a pretty good lie.
Last year that one I didn't have a good lie, but this year, like even the last two times I played it today, that hole, I said, Okay, let's lead 111‑ish, and then I can hit sort of a grip pitching wedge.
Because of the wind it went a little further than I wanted.  It wasn't normally a sand wedge distance, but I hit the sand wedge and it ended up being good.

Q.  Walk us through the birdie at 15.  40 feet, is that about right?
LYDIA KO:  Yeah.  Yeah, just over 40.  It was a long putt at the end of the day.

Q.  That's really where you kind of got yourself into a spot where, Hey, I can win this thing; is that right?
LYDIA KO:  Yeah, I think so.  I parred the 14th.  If you play that hole well enough you're going to come off with a birdie; I didn't do that.
I was a little disappointed, and then didn't hit great shot on that tee.  I kind of made that rule, last year, too, when I chipped in on the third round.  Similar case.  I putted and I thought it looked good and I thought it was actually going to stop right in front of the hole.
That would've been a whole different scenario, but that definitely gave me a lot confidence.

Q.  With you being in a different group with Morgan and Brooke and them sort of dueling it out there and you're in a different group.  Last year you and Stacy were sort of dueling a lot of the time it seemed like.  How about the difference from this year to last year, how you kind of came up at the end and won.
LYDIA KO:  Yeah, on the first tee I told Stacy we had to play together one of the rounds because we did every round last year.
Yeah, it was so much fun.  We were just birdie after birdie last year.  I mean, this year was a little different, me being in the group in front of the final group.  I just needed to play my own game.  I started off a couple shots back.
When you're in that situation, I just said, Just try and make as many birdies as you can.  If the other players play better, you can't do much about it.  That was the game plan.
I mean, obviously I would love to have the lead going into a final round, but ended up being okay today.

Q.¬† What's that like on your first go round?¬† I believe you're on the putting green and you're basically having to listen to the crowd to know if you're in a playoff or finishing second.¬† Then on the first playoff hole you're standing there watching Morgan with about a 10‑footer to win.¬† Which is more nerve wracking?¬† What's the difference between the two situations?
LYDIA KO:  They're both similar.  After I had already played the hole it's just really out of my hands.  I know how great of a putter Morgan is, so I kind of thought she was going to make it.  I was like, I tried my best and that was kind of it.
I think it was probably the first playoff hole would be a little bit more disappointing because I had had the perfect line and then just lipped it like the ball was short.  You never really want to leave it short in that case.

Q.  You started three back, and then you started bogey, bogey.  What did you tell yourself early there?
LYDIA KO:  I said, Man, this is an awful start.  Yeah, no, it was pretty bad, you know.  I had hit the fairway on 1 every single day, and I kind of faded my hybrid straight out of the back.
I had a great lie in what bunker on 1.  Kind of carried a lot further than I expected.  I told Jason, I've never complained because I've got a good lie, and here I am.  Yeah, just hitting that good shot on 3 kind of gave it I guess a little bit of a turnaround.
Last year after four holes I was one over, then two, but I was able to bring it back with some good birdies.
Yeah, you know, I think when you make ‑‑ I think for me, that No. 3 tee shot was the crucial shot where I said, Don't worry about what just happened.¬† Just keep going.¬† There are some birdies out there.

Q.  What club?
LYDIA KO:¬† It was a 7‑iron.

Q.  How satisfying is this kind of victory where you dug a hole and kind of have to dig yourself out of it?
LYDIA KO:  Like I said before, I think it's always very close when whenever I play this event.  Last year here was the first time where I experienced every little shot counts.  That last putt, if it drops you're winning; if not, you just never know.
The two previous Canadian Opens I was like four or five shots ahead going down the last hole so you know you've got a little bit of a leeway.
Here last year I knew I needed to make that putt because I knew Stacy would make it.  Like even this year I missed my birdie on 17.  I said, If I want to put some pressure, I need to make a birdie or better on 18.  Ended up being good for that.
But, yeah, this tournament always makes my heart clench.  You know, I got so nervous.  It's a good thing that they're going in the hole, yeah.

Q.  Lydia, was there any point at all on the back nine where you came remotely close to thinking, This might not be my day?
LYDIA KO:  I think maybe after having such a good one on 15, I think 16 kind of killed it a little bit.  I said, Okay left, right, they're both okay.  I hit them in the bunkers a couple times last year, the left bunker.  Pretty much anywhere is fine.
Then I hit it more left than the bunker and it wasn't really good there.  I thought I putted it good and it ended up missing.  Then on 17 I thought it was in but it wasn't.
So when you get kind of those, I thought it was a hint that, You know what?  It's not your week.  That putt on 18 kind of proved me wrong.  Yeah.

Q.  You're obviously on quite a roll here to have seven wins just after your 18th birthday.  Morgan won a couple times early and now has gone a long time without winning now, does that remind you that it's hard, that it's not always easy to win?
LYDIA KO:  Yeah, I mean, it's never easy.  You're playing good golf and then someone beats you by a shot; that can happen.
So sometimes it's just really out of your hands.  You know, sometimes you don't hit the ball well but you putt great and you end up winning, and vice versa.
Morgan is definitely showing she's playing some great golf.  She played great at ANA and she played great last week, and then here.  She's having a greats season.
You just can't take anyone out.  Just because someone has not had a win for a while doesn't necessarily mean they're not playing good golf.  She's definitely playing great golf.

Q.¬† How did you overcome the bogey on 16, the short par‑4?¬† How did you overcome that?
LYDIA KO:  You know, I hit a really good tee shot on 17, and that out myself in a really good position.
I thinned my second shot a little bit, but I kind of got away with it.  When you've only got putts under 12 feet for birdie and giving yourself opportunities, that makes it a lot easier.
If I was maybe in the position I was last year on like 17, I don't think I would would've made it to the playoff.

Q.  When you came off 18 green in regulation, I saw you make your way over to the practice putting green and began rolling some putts.  Was that to settle your nerves?  Could you maybe walk us through what your thoughts were at that time?
LYDIA KO:  Yeah, you know, the last playoff I did was in Naples last year.  I had a couple putts then and then went into the playoff.  So I said why not just go into the same routine.
If I go in the playoff, great.  If I don't, can't do much about it.  So I just said, Okay, at the end of the day putting is going to be the most important thing if I do go in the playoff.  I just tried to roll it on the chalk line and give myself a good feel.

Q.  Why should anyone believe you when you say you're nervous, because you never look that way?
LYDIA KO:  Why wouldn't you?  I'm an 18 year old and I'm very nice.
No, yeah, I do get nervous.  You have to take my word on that.  My 17th hole shot at Ocala definitely proves it, doesn't it?  That was a pretty bad shot.
Yeah, you know, I think everybody has nerves.  Some people show it; some people don't.  But to me, even just playing a round of golf with club members gets me nervous.
I know I've got the nerves.  If some people think I don't look like I am nervous, then it's a good thing.

Q.  What's it like to play a playoff hole over twice in this case when it's pretty much a hole that nobody can reach and it never plays the same way.  Does it make it easier?  Harder?  What?
LYDIA KO:  No. I just tried to go with my game plan.  I knew that whoever was going to win in the playoff was going to make a birdie.  You know, there is not that many places where you're going to get a chance for a bogey or something.
We're both hitting the ball good, so I knew that at the end it was somebody that was going to make a good putt and come off with a birdie.
Yeah, I just tried to stick to my game plan.  I kind of worked off some of the yardages I had couple times before.

Q.  (No microphone.)
LYDIA KO:  You want the exact yardages?  It was 108 the first time, 111 the next time; it was like 96 the third time.
Yeah, I was kind of hitting an easy pitching wedge for the first two times, and I thought, Hey, might as well be aggressive with it and hit a longer club.  I can hit a full sand wedge rather than trying to kind of chip the pitching wedge.

Q.  (No microphone.)
LYDIA KO:¬† Yeah, that was my 54‑degree wedge, so I kind of closed it down and then hit it full.
MODERATOR:  All right.  Thanks, Lydia, for coming in.
LYDIA KO:  Thank you.

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