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August 31, 2016

Alena Sharp

Cambridge, Ontario, Canada

Q. You're about an hour from your hometown, right?

Q. How has that feeling been? Did you go home at all?
ALENA SHARP: It's been a busy -- since I got here on Monday, I've been pretty busy. I was home for like three hours, had lunch, hung around with one of my nephews and picked up my dogs, and we came over here and checked into the hotel and played nine with the mowers on Monday night, and then I had an RBC day yesterday in Toronto, so I haven't had really much time to spend with my family, but they'll be out tomorrow and I'll spend more time with them on the weekend.

Q. Do you feel pretty good about your game coming off your best career finish last week?
ALENA SHARP: Yeah, I mean, I was playing well in Rio and didn't make putts, and then I was making everything last week, so it was nice to see that change. Just having that finish just gives me more confidence heading into this week. I'm continuing to hit it well, and I like the golf course. I think it sets up well for me, and just a matter of reading the greens properly because they can be tricky. I feel like it's going to be a good week for me again, and not putting extra pressure on myself because I played well last week, but just that confidence and riding the momentum.

Q. Will you have a lot of people come out for this being so close to home?
ALENA SHARP: Yeah, friends, friends of the family that I grew up playing golf with, like friends of my dad and my mom and dad and aunt and uncle and my sisters will be out, so it's nice to have them come out and watch, especially because it's so close to home.

Q. Brooke Henderson talked about the support she had last week at the CP Canadian Women's Open. I imagine you must have had great support, too. Did you feed off that as the rounds continued?
ALENA SHARP: Definitely on Sunday I could see the crowds getting bigger the last few holes. The last six holes it seemed like there was more people adding to our crowd. It was nice to have people following me, and I saw the crowds Brooke had, and it was crazy. She had a lot of people watching her. It's great for us because Canada golf fans are amazing, no matter where we are. They're so supportive and they love to come out and watch. I don't think it's going to be any different this week. I think if anything the weather is better, so maybe we'll get more people out.

Q. Brooke has kind of a high profile as a Canadian golfer, and you've been around longer than she has. Has your Olympic experience, have you seen any increase in people knowing who you are because you were in the Olympics, or has it been about the same?
ALENA SHARP: I feel like definitely last week I felt more people came up to me than normal, and then last night at the pro-am party I felt like everybody said hi to me, and that was kind of cool, from probably playing well last week and the Olympics. I definitely think that the Olympics has helped me personally be more well-known, and just playing well last week was icing on the cake for that, too. Now that I'm kind of close to where I grew up, I think people know me more in Ontario than maybe they do out west.

Q. And then your Olympic experience, I know you probably would have wanted to finish a little bit higher, probably play a little bit better, but what was it overall? You were in the athletes' village, and seeing other athletes around?
ALENA SHARP: I think, number one, the first night I got there, we all went out there together, Brooke and Brittany and Sarah and I, we went to the performance center and got all of our clothes, and it makes it more real because you get all the Team Canada stuff, and then going to the village that night, it's eye-opening. It was pretty well put together, and being around all the other athletes going in to eat in the cafeteria, and then the first day being announced from Canada and actually hitting the first tee shot finally, just like that anticipation has been building for months, so that was amazing, and then the best part of it all was closing ceremonies. We stayed for that. Walking in with Team Canada, it was amazing.

Q. And then did you get out to see any of the events? I know you were probably concentrating on your game and so on. Any events that you got out to see?
ALENA SHARP: I did. I went to see the women's basketball team play Sunday night against Spain, their last round-robin game, and then after the third round we rushed back, jumped on a bus and got to the diving right at the end to see our bronze medalist from the platform, the 10-meter platform, so that was cool being around that. Talk about focus and concentration.

Q. And then how about transportation? Any problems getting to the course, or was transportation fairly smooth for your event?
ALENA SHARP: For our event it was really good. The bus system worked fine. I think it left on time. The only time we had to wait was waiting for the bus from the event. It wasn't as on schedule then. But leaving, it left every half hour on the 15 and 45. No issues, no security, didn't see a mosquito. I was really pleasantly surprised and had a great time, and it's too bad it got blown out of proportion a little bit with all the things that were supposedly wrong there because it was a really good experience, and I think that anybody who was there would say the same thing.

Q. You've had a great season, actually, topped off by last week's fourth-place finish. How do you feel the season has gone overall? You've been in the mix and maybe had one bad round out of the four. You must be really happy with the season so far.
ALENA SHARP: Very excited and happy with my season, especially last week. I've been in contention and didn't really quite close it out on the Sunday, like shooting even par when I was shooting 4- or 5-under in the other rounds, and shooting even par in some of these tournaments, you're going to fall back. It was nice to do that last week and shoot the 5-under on Sunday and move up and stay in good position. I've just been working really hard, and it's nice to see the results come. I think before I was always pushing for results, and then I just let it happen, and it's been so much better.

Q. You touched on this a little bit already, but what's changed for this season that's got you such great results?
ALENA SHARP: Well, I've started working with Tristan Mullally, the national coach, last year, and he's really helped me firm up my backswing. My backswing has gotten a lot better, and I think it used to break down a little bit when I did get nervous, and I was kind of in contention or close to the top, wouldn't get a good finish, finish in the 20s. That's helped me a lot. My mental game is much better. I've been working hard with my mental coach, Mimi Peak, for almost a year and a half now, and the results are starting to show, and she told me, be patient. It's a process. It may not happen this month, it may not happen next month, maybe seven months down the road, but this is what we're working for, not instant results.

My caddie Sarah and I, we get along great. We've been working hard on a lot of the weaknesses in my game, spend a lot of time working on my short game and putting, and I feel like I step up those shots and those putts now with much more confidence and less thinking and just being an athlete and hitting the shot.

Q. Last week, we've already discussed this, your best ever finish on the LPGA. How do you improve on that for this week?
ALENA SHARP: Yeah, try and be in the top four. But I don't really like to think about results. Just trying to play it one shot at a time, one day at a time, really. Just really keep my confidence going and be into the target and try not to get distracted by all those things, but definitely thinking, yeah, it's my time to win. Eventually sometime this year I'm feeling like it's coming on, and some people have told me that, but I've got to just try and stay grounded and be in the moment because sometimes when you come off a good finish, you just expect it the next week, and I think I know better not to come out here and expect that, but obviously you want to do that.

Q. You and Brooke have really forged a friendship this season, and you're both also having great seasons. What's that like to encourage each other? What's that dynamic?
ALENA SHARP: Yeah, she's a great girl. We've been friends now for almost two years. Obviously seeing her do well, it inspires all of us, not just me but all of us Canadians, knowing that Brooke is doing it, why can't we. I think she's raised the bar, and she's positive, aggressive. I love being around here. Just very infectious attitude, and I think it's helped me kind of try and be an 18 year old again and not be afraid of things and to go after it. I think it's been a really good friendship both ways. I'm happy that we play practice rounds together and feed off of each other.

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