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June 10, 2018

Annie Park

Galloway, New Jersey

THE MODERATOR: Annie Park is your 2018 ShopRite LPGA Classic champion. We welcome her into the media center after all those pictures and all that water that got dumped on your head. You got tons of text messages on your phone I saw. What is this moment like for you?

ANNIE PARK: It's crazy. Like I said earlier, I can't describe in words how I feel. It's my first win out on tour. I mean, every win is very special, but just having my family out here, my friends supporting me, it's just -- all the fans, my friends back home, I would like to thank all of them.

Without them and having that support, I probably wouldn't have been here today.

THE MODERATOR: Talk about your journey in golf to this point and all the work it took to get to the winner's circle on the LPGA.

ANNIE PARK: Man, I mean, it's been a crazy first half of the year. Came into the year with having partial status and jugging between the Symetra Tour and the LPGA Tour.

I think that MEDIHEAL tournament really got it going. Mondayed in; had a great first two rounds; kind of got reshuffled into the mix.

And having this first win, it's been crazy.

So struggling through a back injury last year. Definitely hasn't been easy coming to this win, but definitely worth it.

THE MODERATOR: What did it mean to do it in close proximity to home and with all your family and friends that are here?

ANNIE PARK: I think that makes it more special just being so close to home, having an LPGA event close to New York. It's going to definitely be one of the memorable events that I had. Definitely having the family out it's very special.


Q. Your best career finish before today was a tie for sixth here two years ago.
ANNIE PARK: That's correct.

Q. Is there something about this course that was pleasing to you before you started play on Friday? What is it? And just how you felt on the course.
ANNIE PARK: Honestly, I think it's just growing up playing a lot of links golf courses. I think that really helped out a lot. Definitely a lot more comfortable out here just because I'm so familiar with the grass, the course layout, just everything. Even the weather. That makes a huge difference.

When I had my tie for sixth back my first year I also shot I think 7-under the last day, so it's just crazy. I really like this golf courses.

So, yeah.

Q. What were your emotions like on the back nine? Are you a leaderboard watcher? When did you become aware you were in the lead? Just kind of what were you emotionally going through on the back nine there?
ANNIE PARK: Right. I would say honestly it was more emotional the front nine just having back-to-back birdies; that eagle putt on nine was kind of crazy.

From there, I kind of had my momentum going for all these putts going in, so that was -- I think for me, it was more emotional the front nine compared to the back.

I made some really great two long putts on the back. But, yeah, I mean, still can't believe that I won. Having that emotion out there was definitely not in the picture. I was like, Oh, my gosh. Am I really leading?

I didn't really know what the scoreboard or leaderboard was going through, so wasn't sure if I was outright lead or...

So I had no idea what was going on out there. I was just trying to break my on personal record, so...

Q. Take us through the putt on 9 you said was key, the eagle putt on 9. What did that do for your confidence or emotions at that point?
ANNIE PARK: I think it was definitely over 60 feet. The pin was front. I was all the way in the back. I saw the putt almost -- I was like, I think that's going to go in. Hit it right in the back of the cup. So that was an awesome putt.

I think I had a lot more long putts like that out there, especially the back nine, and it's just been a crazy round.

Q. How has the long putter impacted your game and when did you switch to it?
ANNIE PARK: I switched to it this January, and it's actually helped me out a lot. I mean, I've always struggled with putting. I like it, but it's also kind of hard because it's longer and heavier. It took a while for me to get used to the putter, but I really like it.

So, yeah.

Q. I know you said you can't really describe or put into words how you feel now, but maybe try and contrast the uncertainty you felt with your status at the beginning of the season to go to the certainty of what an LPGA win, you know, the difference in those feelings.
ANNIE PARK: Right. I mean, I struggled last year through injuries and just with my game, swing changes because of my injury. It was tough. I think finally kind of getting used to all the traveling and being out on tour. It's definitely changed a lot.

Coming into this year I was -- I've never felt more ready than ever. I was just ready to go out there and play, play my best golf that's yet to come.

I mean, that Monday qualifier really changed things around. Got a reshuffle in the mix. Getting this first win, it's been a crazy, crazy last few years, especially the last few months.

Q. You looked awfully calm out there. What role did nerves play, if anything? You said you were more emotional on the front nine, but coming down the stretch on the back nine, did you know what Sakura was doing? She was ripping it up. Did you have any nerves at all on the back nine? How did you stay so calm?
ANNIE PARK: I was definitely nervous out there. It's golf and you're leading. It's kind of normal. But, I mean, I've won three tournaments on the Symetra and won national NCAAs, so I think all these wins kind of helped me have the experience.

So I was just focusing on trying to make my putts, hit some great shots. Especially the last hole I wish I birdied, but it worked out.

But I really wanted to beat my personal record, 8-under, and so was that basically what was going on through my head the whole time.

Q. On 18, did you know where you stood on 18? Did you know that three putts would win it for you?
ANNIE PARK: I honestly didn't. I thought if I had a birdie on the last hole I would've been at least safer, even maybe playoff if someone birdied the last hole.

So I really had no idea who was second playing going through the last hole and what the score was, et cetera.

Like, again, I was just trying to beat my own personal record. But that birdie, it won't give it to me. Yep, there is more golf play, so I can't wait for that.

Q. What did you feel when you made I think the two-tiered putt on I guess it was 13? You broke into a big smile. Mariah gave you a fist bump. Did it help you playing with her? Apparently you and she are pretty good friends. She said you're one of her best friends on the tour.
ANNIE PARK: Right. Mariah and I go way back since junior golf, especially when I was like 13 or 12. Almost a decade really. You know, she was Pac-12; went to Stanford. I went to t USC. We've played a lot of golf together. On the same Curtis Cup team, and I know Curtis Cup is going on right now.

We just have a lot of memories starting at the junior golf days to college to Curtis Cup to out here even. So we get along very well. It's always nice -- it's always fun to play with her and talk to her.

Q. I know at least on 17, and I think on one other hole, you had long birdie putts that maybe could have turned into three-putt situations, but you were able to save par. How key was that? How did you face that?
ANNIE PARK: Yeah, so I actually struggled with my long putts coming into this event, so I saw Sean and we worked on my swing, my short game, even my putting. I told him I had trouble with my lag putts. He helped me out a lot and it worked this tournament.

So I practiced a lot of what he taught me and told me to work on. It was great.

Q. Did you feel like you were going to have a really good week going into the week, at the beginning?
ANNIE PARK: Well, coming in I felt great about my swing. I was hitting it well. Obviously with the new putting routine it really helped me out.

Yes and no.

I mean, I was just trying to play my best out there, and whatever happens. I just need to accept what happens. But I didn't really -- I just, yeah, thought about my own game. Just try to think about the present moments in each shot.


THE MODERATOR: Anyone else? Questions? All good? Well, you tied your personal record, so that's pretty good, I guess, and you got your first win.

ANNIE PARK: Thank you. Hopefully that 9-under comes one day.

THE MODERATOR: Congratulations again.

ANNIE PARK: Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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