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July 13, 2017
Bedminster, New Jersey
THE MODERATOR: Welcome, again, to the 2017 U.S. Women's Open. We are very happy to welcome Shanshan Feng of China who opened today with a blistering 6-under, 66.
Shanshan, can you talk a little bit about getting off to such a great start at the Women's Open today?
SHANSHAN FENG: I started the round very great. I mean I had three birdies in the first four holes and then after that I mean I just felt so comfortable about everything, and then my ball-striking has been pretty good but I was kind of struggling about my putting so I was happy that I made a little adjustment on my putting with my coach, Gary Gilchrist on Tuesday and I think that's really been helping because I was rolling the ball very nicely on the greens and made a lot of birdies.
So, I felt great about the 66 today.
THE MODERATOR: I mentioned Lydia, obviously, just left you. You two played together this morning. You're obviously friendly.
How does it help you to be playing with someone else who is playing so well?
SHANSHAN FENG: I was very, very happy and excited about today and tomorrow because it's the first time after Rio, first time that all three of the medalists are in the same group.
So, I was really, really looking forward to it and, of course, I mean Inbee and Lydia are great players and very nice on the course.
I was just enjoying it so much on the course and I think that really helped my performance, too.
THE MODERATOR: Excellent. Thank you. We'll open it to questions.
Q. How did the conditions change over the course of the round as far as the heat and the humidity and playing that early help you avoid some of that?
SHANSHAN FENG: Well, I would say because it rained yesterday and then so the course was playing a little bit softer, that allowed us to actually maybe hit the ball closer to the holes, easier to have birdie chances, and it was humid but I think I rather to play in the humid weather with no wind because with wind this course can become a very, very tough course and then so I think today everything was great.
Q. A lot of players took last week off and you flew to China and played in a tournament.
First of all, how do you do that with your jet lag and did you feel prepared having only played I believe 9 holes each day coming into today?
SHANSHAN FENG: Well, it was my sponsor's tournament in China last week and I felt like it was my responsibility to actually go support my sponsor and also that was my first time to play in China this year so I really wanted to see my family and all my friends back home.
I played in China and I mean last week was such a warm-up for this week because that course was so narrow and then I had to hit my drivers and my irons like really, really straight and then I think that was one of the keys why I actually played well today because I left myself birdie chances on -- for most of the holes, yeah.
So I feel great.
Q. Gary said that you have a great ability to forget a bad round and just move on. Were you able to do that at the KPMG and why are you able to do that so well?
SHANSHAN FENG: You mean --
Q. The 77.
SHANSHAN FENG: Because I missed the cut? Actually already forgot it "laughter".
I would say yeah, I mean I'm a person that, you know, I like to be happy all the time. I mean golf is just part of our lives. It's not everything.
So, I mean even though I struggled this time but I mean off the course I still want to be happy and also I would say we're human beings so I'm not asking myself to play perfectly every week. I think I'll allow myself to make mistakes.
What I said after the interview because last week I was in China, right, and so many people they asked me, "Oh, you played so bad last week and coming to this week what do you think?" I was like, oh, I felt happy because I made all the bad putts and bad shots on the same week and then now only the good ones are left. And so, I was fine about it.
THE MODERATOR: Great perspective.
Q. Just to follow-up on your travels, how much time do you spend in China, how much time do you spend in Florida these days and what do you like about the American culture these days?
SHANSHAN FENG: Well, this is my 10th year on the Tour so it's been a long time already. I mean I just heard -- I can't believe I heard Lydia said she felt like she got a lot older compared to when she got just on the Tour. What should I feel?
I would say yeah, traveling is getting tougher for sure, to adjust the jet lag I mean it's not that easy anymore. But I mean this is my 10th year on the Tour. I should be able to perform well in any condition because I'm a professional.
So, I don't take that as an excuse if I don't play well this week. And I would say I love America. I mean I love American food. I love steak, maybe buffalo wings. I'm more about meat "laughter".
I think America is great. You like it? Everybody like it. If you don't like the food, how can you survive here?
I think that's maybe one of the reasons why that I've been doing well, because I love the food and I can sleep well and I forget bad things quickly so that's good.
Q. You spent most of your year here or how much of your year do you spend in China?
SHANSHAN FENG: Well, like this year, I actually started to travel less because I'm older so I'm actually cutting down the numbers of tournaments that I'm playing.
So this year I'm only playing under 25 tournaments and I used to play like around 28 to 30 every year and then so with that schedule, I'm mainly focusing just on the LPGA and then maybe a couple more in China and that's it.
So, my last time in China was March this year.
Q. Shanshan, do you think your scoring average is better when you break out the cow spots?
SHANSHAN FENG: I don't know. I mean somebody has to calculate that. I would say that because now the cow pants, cow shorts or the cow outfit has become one of my signature so when I'm wearing the cow pants, people recognize me more.
I think that's good to bring out your personality. And also tell people like what's the difference between you and the other players.
So, I like wearing the cow pants because I stand out on the course and people can spot me from like really far away and I mean maybe because of more people supporting me with the cow pants so maybe that makes me feel more excited than maybe play better.
Q. Just a follow-up for me, too. Gary also loves your swing. He says that you don't obsess about it, you own your swing, you don't have to maybe work on it as much as other players.
Is that true? Could you just speak to your swing and what you like about it?
SHANSHAN FENG: Well, I would say I try to have a simple swing and then I think that's what I really like about Gary because he's more about tempo, also, and I think my swing is not bad.
I mean I wouldn't say it's one of the best but I think it really suits my own body and I don't do anything crazy in my swing and then I think that I really focus on the tempo of my swing and also controlling about my distance and I don't know, because when I first met Gary, Gary asked me, "What's your ball flight?" I was like, "I hit straight."
Gary didn't tell me until like maybe half year later, he thought I was an idiot when I said I hit straight balls because normally people maybe little draw, little fade and I said straight. He thought I was -- I didn't have -- I mean I was like no thinking. One of the stupid players, maybe.
Then he found out that for somehow when I hit the balls, actually my balls don't have much side spins so they do go straight. I think maybe that's a good swing.
Q. (Inaudible). You.
SHANSHAN FENG: No, because nobody really asked me before. I would say my swing -- it can't be too bad because I mean look at now Maria, Lydia, all the good players are coming to Gary. If I have a very bad swing I don't think they'll come. I think that's a good swing.
THE MODERATOR: I thought she was laughing because she was going to wonder what a follow-up to your cow pants was.
Q. Shanshan, I was just looking at your stats in this tournament. This is the first time you've broken 70 in any round.
SHANSHAN FENG: I know. They just told me that.
Q. The question I would have is, do you feel like if you're in first place now are you sitting there going, "Hey, this could be my year?"
SHANSHAN FENG: Well, I mean my best finish in the U.S. Open was just a 4th and, of course, like I said earlier, like -- I mean like last year, that I've been very consistent player throughout my whole career and I've made many, many Top-10s but compared to my Top-10 numbers before the Olympics last year I've only won four times on the LPGA.
So, I wanted to win more. Then I was trying to go for the wins when I had a chance and then I played more aggressively now because I think I wasn't aggressive enough, and I think I'm changing and it's a good change because so far from the Olympics to now I already got three more wins in the hand and I'm feeling great about my game and when I have a chance to win any week I won't give up.
I just had a great day so hopefully the next three days that I can perform well also and let's see what happens.
THE MODERATOR: One more question in the back.
Q. I just wonder if you could -- what was the name of the event you played in in China?
SHANSHAN FENG: The Kumho Tire Ladies' Championship. Here (indicating).
Q. When did you get here and what kind of travel time are we talking about with that trip?
SHANSHAN FENG: Well, my original plan was to fly out Sunday night from the small city to Beijing at 9:00 p.m. and then the flight didn't depart till 3:00 a.m. so I really got to Beijing, almost 5 in the morning and my -- connecting flight was 9:30 .
So I almost didn't sleep the whole night and then I flew out here, I got here Monday maybe around noon and I was a little bit tired but I slept really, really well last night and also the night before so I think I'm fine about the jet lag.
THE MODERATOR: When you arrived on Monday did you play or --
SHANSHAN FENG: No. I couldn't do anything on Monday.
Q. What was the small city in China?
SHANSHAN FENG: Weihai. It was only like hour and a half away from Beijing.
THE MODERATOR: Shanshan, before we let you go, would you mind going through your birdies quickly today with us?
SHANSHAN FENG: Well, starting from the 10, so I made a birdies on 11, 12 and then 13. So, 11, what did I do? I'm sorry, I don't have very good memory. I didn't make -- my caddy. How does the 11 look like? Sorry.
I remember 12. 12, I think I hit driver down the fairway and then -- oh, 11, now I remember. Okay. Sorry.
So I hit driver and then I had like 130 to the pin, I had 9-iron and I pulled it a little bit so I left myself maybe like a 20-footer for birdie and I made it.
Then 12 hole, pin was all the way on the back over a ridge so I had 9-iron again, like a punch 9 and it was maybe 6 feet from the hole and I make the putt.
13th. I forget 13 again.
THE MODERATOR: We'll skip it thank you.
SHANSHAN FENG: Then 17th I remember. 17 pin was front left and I hit -- my drive was in the first cut on the left side. I hit 8-iron like 140 pin and I hit a controlled 8-iron and it was only three feet putt for birdie.
Par 18, the 3rd shot I had 91 to pin and 52 and I hit it to ten feet, maybe 8 feet and made the putt.
Then No. 1, par 5, so the 3rd shot I had 96. I had 96, I think, I believe, and then I hit a 52 again and landed past the hole, came back a -- I mean spin a little bit and then I had uphill putt for maybe six feet and then I made that.
THE MODERATOR: You really put yourself in great position today.
SHANSHAN FENG: Yeah.
THE MODERATOR: Took advantage of it with a 6-under, 6 to start. Shanshan, thanks for joining us. Great to have you here today. Wish you well the rest of the week.
SHANSHAN FENG: Thank you.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports