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August 10, 2017

Albane Valenzuela

San Diego, California

Q. Walk me through this round a little bit.
ALBANE VALENZUELA: You know, it was a really good round. I played very steady the entire 15 holes. Didn't make a lot of mistakes. I had a bogey-free round and four birdies. Made some really good putts, like six-footers, and just putts to save pars or make birdies. Overall I'm really pleased with my game. I drove it really well, and it was a tough match, but just staying patient, it could turn out my way.

Q. What are your expectations of yourself heading into this championship?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: I honestly had no expectations coming into this tournament. Obviously you want to perform, but it's match play, and you know how match play works. You have to respect all the players and just the entire field, and once you're one in 64, it's back to just square one. I just tried to play one match at a time. There's no need to think too much ahead or anything, so I just try to go out in my match, win it, and if it doesn't go my way, then I just go and shake hands and go home.

Q. Were you nervous coming in that you might be playing one of your Stanford teammates in match play?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: It's never fun. You never want to play your teammates. But I saw that I could only get with Shannon in the semifinals, and I was like, well, at least it will still -- that would mean that we both did great. She played awesome. Our Stanford team is just doing great. We have Andrea and Shannon, Mika, all these great players, so you expect to see them down the stretch, having those players playing for the win.

Q. What does it mean to you to make it to the quarterfinals here tomorrow?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: I mean, yeah, it's great. I'm very happy. I had a tough -- kind of a tough week last week at the European, so I came in this week hungrier, and just wanting to perform. Even so far top 10 at a U.S. Am, it's already a good performance, so now everything is just bonus and keeping one round at a time.

Q. (Indiscernible).
ALBANE VALENZUELA: This is just the best amateur tournament you have in the world. It's organized just like the U.S. Open that I got to play last year. I think it's exactly the same if not better. I mean, this is just -- if you get to win this, I mean, you're good with your amateur career.

Q. And this is the first time you're playing in the Women's Amateur?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: Yeah, this is my first time.

Q. And because you were exempt in, so had you tried to qualify for this in the past?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: No, so last year I was also exempt, thanks to the U.S. Open, but as I played Rio -- I wanted to get --

Q. The whole Olympic thing.
ALBANE VALENZUELA: Yeah, I wanted to get the opening ceremony. I wouldn't trade that experience for anything.

Q. The opening ceremony fell --
ALBANE VALENZUELA: Yeah, and I was like, well, I cannot miss that. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. No, it's my first time playing and first time qualifying. I never tried.

Q. I wanted to ask you about the Olympics. Tell me about the opening ceremony. What was that like?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: Wow, it's breathtaking. I mean, you just -- there's no words to explain what happens when you go there. I was lucky enough to be right out in the front, so I was just behind the flag bearer. You go there, and they name your country, and you have I don't know how many thousands of people, and you feel like the entire world is watching you pretty much, and it's just amazing. Then you're in the arena, and you just see -- I saw so many great athletes, and it's just such a great environment. It's just the best you can see in sports.

Q. What's the best selfie you got?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: I got a few. I got one with Phelps, I mean, pretty much everyone.

Q. Did you get Federer?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: He wasn't there, no. That was really a bummer.

Q. Did you stay in the village?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: Yeah, I stayed the whole time, and because golf was one of the last events, I got to stay from the beginning to the closing ceremonies, so yeah.

Q. Closing ceremony is like a party?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: Oh, it's a huge party. I was on the back of one guy. Like everyone gets on the chairs and coaches are all over. It's a huge mess. It also was raining.

Q. What other events did you go see?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: I went to gymnastics and watched Simone Biles. She's great. I also watched -- what is the thing where they're like four and they pass on when they --

Q. Oh, relay?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: Yeah, so that was great. Yeah, just great sports. It was a lot of fun. Even the men's golf was just so much fun to watch. Down the stretch I was dancing. It was just very exciting.

Q. How was your golf?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: Yeah, I was really happy. I qualified 50 something, so as long as I got better than that, it was already a performance. Obviously I wondered -- I was already in the Olympics, I don't care.

Q. Your country's first qualifier.
ALBANE VALENZUELA: Yeah, I don't care about what happens. I obviously want to play well because it's a better memory, but I was so happy to be there. It's just so much fun.

Q. So you're going to play even Robynn Ree or Miyamoto.
ALBANE VALENZUELA: No, I haven't played with either of them, but once you're in the quarterfinals, you're playing some really good golf. They both played great to get there, and obviously it's going to be a tough match. Matches are getting tougher and tougher. Stephanie was also playing great. Yeah, it's just getting tougher.

Q. How has this course suited your game?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: I think it's suited me pretty well. I have a pretty high iron flight, so I guess it's an advantage for me because I feel like I can stop the ball where I want to. I mean, I hit it far enough that I don't have too crazy long clubs. I don't have like hybrids going into the greens. My putting has been good also this week, so I feel like that kind of speed actually suits me well. I feel very comfortable on these greens.

Q. Obviously representing your country means a lot to you, so you'd be the first USGA champion from Switzerland; what would that mean to you?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: It's great. I mean, Swiss golf is like just starting really now. We have a really strong team now, and we started to perform, so kind of all the girls now on the Swiss team during the first kind of in the Swiss golf history. Every time we get to do a performance, it actually makes kind of a little bit of history. Switzerland being such a tiny country, it's very small history, and golf is a small sport, tinier. It's great, and I'm very grateful to kind of like be there for my country.

Q. Will you be celebrated there for a win?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: Oh, honestly making the cut is already great for them.

Q. Wouldn't it be funny if you won in all these countries like Mexico wanted to claim you, obviously?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: Yeah, they kind of --

Q. Everybody would want to kind of claim you as their champion, which is not a bad thing?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: Yeah, I have four citizenships. Obviously I play for Switzerland. I feel Swiss. But I also have Mexican blood and French blood. I cannot deny that. That's who I am. I always have kind of -- I have heart a little bit everywhere around the world, but obviously the biggest part of my heart is in Switzerland.

Q. What part of Mexico was your dad from?

Q. Have you spent much of your life --
ALBANE VALENZUELA: Just five years, but I go back there every year.

Q. In Mexico City, that's where you were?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: Yeah, five years.

Q. You guys lived in New York?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: Yeah, just until I was like five, six, so very young.

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