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April 1, 2016

Lizette Salas

Rancho Mirage, California

Q. Let's talk about your experience at USC and when you look back what it means to you?
LIZETTE SALAS: It means the world to me. USC has a special place in my heart. I'm a big believer that they're a big reason why I'm out here on Tour, and I stayed all four years and made some mistakes, went through some injuries, but I stuck it through. I promised my family I'd get an education along with great golf. Just being a four-time All American was the icing on the cake, and I have a close relationship with Andrea Gaston and she's taught me a lot and she's inspired me to grow the game. Eventually after I'm done playing on Tour I'll take her spot and coach at the NCAA level.

Q. Those are lofty goals, I like it. Speaking of Coach Gaston, she's had so much success, what do you think is the key to her success and longevity?
LIZETTE SALAS: I think she's just able to connect with so many different girls. She dedicates her life to the game and really showing these gals their true potential. I mean, I was a girl from Azusa, didn't really know what my potential was and I was just under her wing. I listened most of the time, and she's just a great coach and she's a great friend more than a coach.

Q. How involved are you in the program still?
LIZETTE SALAS: Not as much as I want to. I keep wanting to practice with them in the mornings, but L.A. traffic just kills me every time. But I do support them. I watch them live scoring and I go out to Northrop Grumman and Palos Verdes.

I do know most of the girls on the team, and I went out to San Diego to go watch them tee off in the match play. I remember when I was in school seeing former players come and support us was really a big deal. So I've got to do my part.

Q. What is your cheer? What is that thing you guys do?
LIZETTE SALAS: We say "Fight on."

Q. One more time?
LIZETTE SALAS: "Fight on."

Q. Birdies on three of the four par-3s. We're all impressed. Were you impressed with your performance on the shorter holes?
LIZETTE SALAS: Yeah, I didn't realize until I was counting my score and I was like, wow, I had a lot of 2s. But I was really dialled in on my irons today and really just trying to keep things simple. Even though I missed a couple fairways, I stayed patient and knew what my strengths were, and just chipped out good saves for par. Missed a couple of good opportunities for birdie, but this course is not that easy. It could really bite you in the butt if you don't pay attention. Just hit some good spots, missed it in the right spots and just had a lot of fun this morning.

Q. You talked about the driver, what are you going to work on to clean that up for the weekend?
LIZETTE SALAS: Just try to keep it simple. I tend to get a little quick when I get nervous. I'm not going to lie. I was really nervous out there. Just trying to slow things down and really focus on my targets and just fire away.

Q. Proud USC Trojan, appreciate the time. Thanks for the "Fight on" lesson.
LIZETTE SALAS: Thanks, you're welcome.

Q. You were just talking about iron shots seemed to be the key of the day. What was the big difference in that from previous rounds?
LIZETTE SALAS: I definitely got my draw back. I've been kind of missing the ball to the right in previous tournaments, and my natural ball flight is a draw. So finally seeing that and being more comfortable with it, I was able to take dead aim at the pin today, especially on the par-3s. I got into some trouble off the tee, but I was able to stay patient and really just get a good number and got up-and-down a few times. One bogey is not going to get me down. I finished strong and just really staying positive keeping things light.

Q. You had a good strong finish last week at the Kia Classic. What was the biggest difference there and did you make any changes that got your game going?
LIZETTE SALAS: Yeah, I switched putters. My coach Joe Hallett and I we worked on my putting stance quite a bit. For the past maybe six months I haven't been feeling really stable over the golf ball, and I just made some tweaks here and there and started seeing a better roll and obviously more putts have dropped. Just got to keep that same mentality going and keep my head still for sure.

Q. You've had success on this golf course before. It's a similar hometown event and not too far from home. You had a lot of family out there today. What's it mean to have these types of rounds in front of a hometown crowd?
LIZETTE SALAS: They're definitely a huge support whether I'm playing poorly or whether I'm playing awesome. Just having them out here keeps the adrenaline going. I hit some big shots out there, and thanks to them, keeping that high spirit and cheering me on and hearing the Trojan call, it's pretty awesome to have them out here.

They got up pretty early to watch me play, so my team is awesome, and I wouldn't be here without them.

Q. Being in contention here a few years ago and going through that at a major championship, what does that do for you going into the weekend as you're at the top of the leaderboard?
LIZETTE SALAS: I mean, that experience really has helped me. It's helped me be more comfortable in that certain situation. Obviously it was my second year on Tour and never been in that spot before, so I definitely know what to expect. I'm not going to lie, I was really nervous out there and having the cameras out, I haven't been playing that great lately. To finally see the results that I've been working for and it's pretty inspiring, pretty motivating, and just can't wait to see what happens on the weekend.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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