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August 12, 2017

Albane Valenzuela

San Diego, California

Q. How do you feel? You're heading to the finals?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: Yeah, I'm really excited. It was getting closer every day, and I'm finally there, so I'm really proud of myself and happy to be here. Was a tough match today at the beginning. I was 1-down for like nine holes, but I just stayed very patient, and I'm really happy with my attitude on the course, and I just kept fighting and never gave up.

Q. Talk about the momentum shift. You could feel it when you were walking along.
ALBANE VALENZUELA: Yeah, I had very good rolls on the first six holes and always on the edge. Then the lip-out on hole No. 6 was kind of -- or 7 was kind of a bummer, but then when I made that putt on 8 and 9 and then 11, those were really momentum putts, and especially 9 was a really tough putt, and I knew that it would make a difference, so really that got me going, so I was like, yeah, now you can make them. It was really just a matter of patience and playing my game and not focusing too much on the outcome.

Q. What did you hit out of the bunker on 9?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: I hit a 7. I had like 140 meters to the pin, but I was like, well, either you just get on the green on the left side. Missed it, but I've just hit the lip of the bunker and not gotten out, so I was like, well, worst case scenario you stay left and you can still have an approach shot. I was just trying to play as smart as I could from the bunker, and that would be my best shot for the pin.

Q. It looked like you didn't miss a shot on the back nine. Was that pretty accurate?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: Yeah, I hit the ball really, really well. Starting on 10 I hit a really good 4-iron into the green and really that got me going, and then also my shot on 11 was really good. I was really happy with my ball-striking. Even on the first nine holes they were still really good shots. So no, overall my game has been pretty steady the entire now five matches.

Q. What does it say about the mental side of the game that on the back nine in this semifinals that you did strike it so well? Have you come a long ways as far as your approach to being under pressure as much as you can be on the back?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: Yeah, I've played quite a lot of tournaments under a lot of pressure, and I think I learned a lot from my mistakes. Sometimes I would approach those tournaments with kind of some fear, but now I realize fear doesn't bring you anything. The best defense is attack, so that's what I keep telling myself and myself, let's go for it, she's going to come out at you, so just go, go and go. Try to make those birdies and never, ever let yourself in a position where you cannot win the hole or at least still make a par. I guess that's kind of the attitude I've been having in match play now, and the good thing in Europe is we get to play a lot of match play events, so I played the Vagliano in June, won all my matches, and that really gave me confidence because before, when I played the Spanish International and the French International, the furthest I got was 32. So I would win in team events, but individually I was not winning that many matches, and I knew I had the game to win that kind of event. You know, it's great, and now I'm able to really pull out my game under pressure and just play well in match play.

Q. You have a chance to make a little bit of history as the first Swiss player to win. What would that mean to you?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: I mean, it would be great. I came really close also last time to being the first to win the European Championship. Now if I can make it here, that would be really awesome. This is the best tournament you can get in amateur golf. If I'm able to pull it out, that would be awesome. But still even make it to the finals is a very big achievement. No matter what happens tomorrow, I'm still finalist of the U.S. Amateur, and I'm going to the U.S. Open next year. I mean, that can only put a smile on my face. I'm really thrilled and really happy.

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