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March 30, 2018

Albane Valenzuela

Rancho Mirage, California

Q. Go ahead and just talk about your round?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: It was a good round. Hit a little bit less fairways today, so a little bit harder. I had to kind of save my pars today, but still a good round overall. I put a good fight out there, and still 1-under is a good round, so happy with today.

Q. How does it feel to bounce back with birdie on the 8th hole?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: That was definitely great. I still remember actually from two years ago I went bogey, bogey. And I was like, oh, I did make a birdie on 8 as well. So I tried to think about it and it went in, so super happy and it was a good way to end the round.

Q. Did you feel a little rushed out there at times with the rules officials?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: Yeah, definitely it was a little stressful when he came and I was like, oh, I have to hurry up a little. So that definitely stopped my momentum. But it happens in golf. I still bounced back fairly well, so it's fine.

Q. Where were you put on the clock?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: On hole number 6, I believe.

Q. Were you on it for very long?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: No, no, I don't think so. I mean, we caught up pretty quick. But it's still pretty stressful when you have a rules official coming out there.

Q. How does it feel to look up at the leaderboard at a major championship and see your name there?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: It's definitely really fun. Yeah, unexpected, but there is still so much golf to play, so really happy to make the cut, and just now just try to have fun. It's amazing to be here. So I'll try to do my best in the upcoming days.

Q. Were you able to take a moment to just kind of absorb that and enjoy it, or were you so into playing that you don't do that?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: No, I actually enjoy it more than anything. It's so much fun out there. I'm really comfortable with my game right now so I can really try some shots. I really feel good on the course. So I'm enjoying it and just playing it as well.

Q. You've played on a lot of major championships. How prepared do you feel with all that experience for the weekend here?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: It definitely helps. I think it helps knowing how the crowd works. Just kind of like the atmosphere. So I definitely feel more comfortable with that. Yeah, it's always hard when you get into a major. Every week is hard. So I'm just happy that I had this experience, and I'm looking forward to the weekend.

Q. You set the mark for an amateur low 36 holes at this event in history. So how does it feel to have a record set here this week?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: I didn't know that. Yeah, that's fun. There are still two rounds to play, so no one will remember what happened after two rounds. People remember after four. So I still have to make a lot of putts in the upcoming days and we'll see what happens.

Q. So you were supposed to play -- were you supposed to play the second year?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: Last year, yes.

Q. But you had the accident, right?

Q. How did that affect you coming into this week? Did it make you more appreciative of the opportunity?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: Oh, definitely. Definitely very grateful to have the opportunity. It's really hard for amateurs to get exemptions, and there are so many great players that could have come here this week. So really grateful for all the people that allowed me to play this week.

But two years ago really helped. So I just loved this course and was really happy to come back again this year.

Q. Did you write a letter to get in?

Q. What was the timing of that? Had you already been invited and then had to pass on it or what?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: Yes, I fell last year the day before flying here.

Q. The day before?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: Yes, on the Friday, and I was supposed to fly in Saturday morning. So, a little rough, yeah.

Q. Did you watch it on TV last year?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: I was honestly just kind of trying to focus on my health at that point. I had a pretty bad concussion, so looking at screens was pretty bad for me at that point. So just trying to recover and was caught up in hours and hours of PT and MRIs. The first week wasn't really fun.

Q. I don't want to beat you with this, but could you give us a quick summary of the accident again, just what happened?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: I was biking to the gym late at night, and there was like one no-through alley and there was a car coming up. I tried to veer to the right, but there was a trench full of leaves because it was really rainy that week at Stanford, and I just completely crashed, face forward. So did not use my hands. I was not smart enough to do that and wear a helmet.

Q. Did you go through the entire concussion protocol that football players go through?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: Yes, eye tracking and all that rehab.

Q. Was it serious enough that you were concerned enough about your career as a player?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: It could have been bad. I was actually fortunate to get out of it fairly well. The concussion was definitely pretty tough, and getting out of golf for a month at that point of the season, you never know what happens, but I was very fortunate. Once I could get back to golf, I wasn't really worried about myself. I was really eager to come back, and I think that gave me extra motivation to be grateful and play out there on the course.

Q. So, it was basically one month you lost?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: Yes, one month and a half.

Q. How long did it take you for your game to come back to where it was?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: I mean, then we played Pac-12, I came up 10th I believe, and the week after, I won Regionals. So I kind of like to joke about it saying that the concussion helped me with my stroke and I could read the lines a little better.

No, actually, I was surprised to see that my game was still there when I came back to golf. Just really happy to put that work back again, and kind of like a break. You don't want that kind of break, but it wasn't that bad.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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