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July 1, 2017

Chella Choi

Olympia Fields, Illinois

CHRISTINA LANCE: Welcome to the media center. We are happy to be joined by Chella Choi. Four birdies and no bogeys today, a 4-under 67, that currently puts her in the solo lead going into the last round of the KPMG Women's PGA championship. Congratulations, great round, Chella. Tell us how you felt on the golf course today.

CHELLA CHOI: (Via translator) There was a lot of wind during the round, so it impacted my focus a little bit. I lost a little bit of focus, but all of the players are playing the same, difficult conditions. So I tried very hard to focus and given the fact that it's Saturday, a very important day, I was able to play well I think at the end of the day.

CHRISTINA LANCE: You're right, Saturday is a very important day. Can you tell us about your four birdies, any one of them that you really felt was a key to your round?

CHELLA CHOI: Before practice, before I played tournament, I practice here, very narrow golf course, because left and right, bunkers on both sides, so very difficult tee shot. So I focus my key just on tee shots. I ask to my dad a lot of time and he give me very good information. So I follow him, so last three days, very good, my tee shot.

Q. You've never led going into the final round of a major. How will you prepare for tomorrow and will it be any different than any other event?
CHELLA CHOI: I feel very good right now. My shot and my putting, very good before last couple weeks. So I have a confidence and, you know, like my father's come back to here, so I'm very excited to work with my dad and he give me a lot of confidence.

You know, it's a major tournament. It's very biggest for me, but I'm ready for final round, so I practiced a lot and I'm training a lot, and mental training, too. So trying to focus on just confidence.

Q. How big are 16, 17 and 18? Do you think they will be a factor tomorrow in the sense that 16, 17, playing so difficult, and 18, a lot of birdies are being made there.
CHELLA CHOI: Very difficult No. 16 and 17 because a lot of into the wind. So when I hit tee shot, like a second shot, like 5-wood took down today. But first round, just 7-iron. So very difficult.

But my fairway wood is very good. So it's not too big problem.

And No. 17 is very difficult par 3, but it's my 5-wood or 3-wood, just hit on the green, it's not too hard. So I'm trying to make not -- how do I call -- I try not to think about it in too difficult of a way; put too much thought into it.

Q. Your father was going to retire when you won, right? Can you tell us how it transpired that he ended up not retiring? Did you not allow him to retire, or what's happened there?
CHELLA CHOI: First thing, he want to stay with my mom. That's why like always (say) retire. So whenever I work with somebody, he work very good for me. But I lose my confidence in my shot and my putting, don't have confidence. I lost my confidence.

Then I ask to my dad, I'm very tough to play golf. I don't want to play golf, so can you come back and can you help me, just couple weeks. So that's why he come back. But last four weeks, we work together. Four weeks, I'm not sure.

Q. How long was he not your caddie?
CHELLA CHOI: Seven weeks.

Q. So you think he's helped your confidence a lot?
CHELLA CHOI: Yes, a lot.

Q. What does he do for you on the golf course? Does he tell you jokes? How does he take care of you?
CHELLA CHOI: Nothing. Just carry bag and just say, just calm down and just focus on golf, just one shot. If you are bogey-free today, I give you a gift or something, so that's why I'm bogey-free (laughter).

CHRISTINA LANCE: Parents always know, right.


Q. How long is he going to stay on the bag?
CHELLA CHOI: This year, my ninth year on Tour, and he work one year Symetra Tour, so total ten years. Very tough, don't ask my dad (laughter).

Q. I know this is a very sensitive thing, but it's also relevant because of what happened to Lexi in the first event of the year. Three years ago at the Canadian Pacific, you went through a similar situation where you were going to be penalized for the way you marked your ball and you withdrew. Can you just tell us, with what Lexi went through, how much did you feel for her when there was this whole debate about that?
CHELLA CHOI: (Via translator)Like Lexi, I also found out that I mismarked my ball after my play, after my round. I felt very bad for Lexi as an athlete. But also, that incident at the Canada Pacific Women’s Open helped me realize and helped me learn that I need to be more -- play more as a role model athlete.

And so I felt bad for Lexi as an athlete, but I also learned from that experience.

Q. Do you remember the first time that your father caddied for you, how little were you? How young were you? Where was it?
CHELLA CHOI: (Via translator) When I worked together, when I was a junior in a Korean event, because first thing, save money. That's why we worked together. I'm very excited when I'm an amateur.

I always had a dream of having my dad on the bag when I went from amateur to professional.

Q. Just to clarify, you said your father wanted to go home and spend time with your mother. How long was that, just a few weeks?
CHELLA CHOI: Seven weeks of tournaments, but total ten weeks.

Q. Did your mother get sick of him and kick him out again?
CHELLA CHOI: I played bad, so my mom tell to my dad, go help Chella, why are you staying here. That's why he come back and he's watching my tournament one time, but played so bad. So I asked to my dad, "Can you come back?"

He said, I need time, like after a couple hours, let's talk again. So anyway, he's my father, so I know my father's come back.

Q. And what was the gift he gave you when you had the bogey-free round today?
CHELLA CHOI: I'm so excited. I'm thinking right now.

Q. You can choose?
CHELLA CHOI: Yes. After I play, I'm just thinking what I need (laughter). Maybe money.

Q. Do you have a price limit?
CHELLA CHOI: There is no price limit, but I have to be considerate of the fact that it is a gift from my father, so I want to do something that's modest. (Laughter).

CHRISTINA LANCE: Congratulations, great round. Less us know what you pick and we will see you tomorrow.

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