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June 30, 2018

So Yeon Ryu

Kildeer, Illinois

THE MODERATOR: We are here with our 54-hole leader So Yeon Ryu atop the leaderboard at 11-under, 205, shot a tremendous 67 today. Opened with a bogey at No. 3 but then you reeled off one, two, three, four, five, six birdies, including one at 18 to extend your lead. You have to feel fairly comfortable with where you are heading into the final round.

SO YEON RYU: Yeah, for sure. Well, after the front nine I couldn't actually expect to be leading after the third round. But I think that 11 was really, really important momentum for me. That was a really big birdie. I made like a 15-footer birdie putt, and then after that I felt more comfortable on the putting green. Then even at the 13th, par-3, my par putt was quite a tough one, like that was about an eight-foot par putt and broke quite hard to the right and then I made it again.

I think all that putt just made me feel so much comfortable on the putting green, and then I was able to make some birdies on the back nine. I felt pretty comfortable on the putting green right now, and I think that's the attitude I need to have for tomorrow.

THE MODERATOR: You certainly don't look like you just played 18 holes in 100-degree weather, but how did you handle the weather and the humidity and everything out there today?

SO YEON RYU: For sure I had to drink a lot of water and then had to keep the umbrella quite a lot of the time. It's definitely helpful having an umbrella. But I think just -- it was quite a strong wind out there, so I think that helped to feel a little bit cooler. It was a bit better than I expected, yeah.

Q. First round 69, you hit it great; second round 69 you scrambled pretty well. How would you describe the 67?
SO YEON RYU: I think for long game, I can give myself an A, and then about the putting, also I can give myself an A. On Thursday it definitely was a matter of putting, and then yesterday it was like -- couldn't really make enough birdie opportunities. And then today I think everything was combined really well. So hopefully tomorrow is going to be even A+.

Q. Can you just talk about when your ball went long on 7 and landed in that woman's lunch sack or whatever, and what kind of break that was?
SO YEON RYU: For sure that one of my luckiest moments out there. Well, the ball could have gone into the water hazard, and even if I dropped it there, the tree was going to be in my way, so I could have made double bogey instead of 5. Definitely God helped me out out there.

Well, yeah, so hopefully I can get some of his luck tomorrow, as well, or I'd better not put myself into any of that situation.

Q. What did you hit on the shot?
SO YEON RYU: The second shot? To the pin there was 211, and then the breeze was quite strong helping, and then my 5-wood is flying 205, but I was at the first cut so the ball was sitting a little down, so wanted to hit a cut shot with the 5-wood to make sure I hit like a 195 shot, but I couldn't really cut it enough, so that's why the ball went really long. But luckily the little bag was there, so it saved me.

Q. How did that sort of impact your mentality going to the next tee? Does that give you a momentum shift in and of itself?
SO YEON RYU: No, I actually forgot about it just right away. You know, like people really needed to forget about what you really appreciated, but I just forgot that.

Q. It looked like you caught another great break at 9. That ball could have gotten in the bunker there and had a really tough lie. What did you have there, and did you think, wow, it's two in a row?
SO YEON RYU: Yeah, I was expecting my ball would finish at the bunker, but the ball finished at -- like kind of sideways at the bunker area. I thought, well, maybe the bunker should have been better. The ball was sitting a little down, and then obviously when the ball is under your foot, the ball goes a little right. But I played a draw because the tree was on the on the left and wind was on the left, so I hit quite a big draw, and I think it worked even though the wind a little pushing it to the right. I was like super satisfied with that shot.

Q. When you went to Cameron McCormick to change your swing, there was some risk in that. We've seen players that make big swing changes that cost them a lot. Can you speak to how that has all come together for you?
SO YEON RYU: That was definitely a big decision, especially that year was 2016, and then I really wanted to play in the Olympics and everybody knew it, and then nobody really supported my decision because they thought that was a really stupid decision because once you start to change your swing you take some time to get used to it, and those periods of time is the toughest times to play really well.

But to make Team Korea was quite tough. I had to play really well from the beginning of the season, but I played really -- well, it wasn't terrible, but I didn't really play well, so it ended up I couldn't make the team for the Olympics. But everything what Cam told me and explained about why I need to change that totally made sense to me, and then I had a really strong faith about my decision. Back then I never become a No. 1, and then I thought I have to do something to make myself to put on the different level, and then what Cam explained to me was like for sure like, okay, if I've got to listen to this guy, and if I'm going to keep working hard with this guy, I definitely can become a No. 1 at some point, and then I achieved my dream. So I think that's one of the best decisions I've ever made as a professional golfer.

Q. Are you a better ball striker, and what's better about your ball-striking?
SO YEON RYU: I would say a bit of everything, but the ball-striking, well, I think I've always been really consistent player, but I thought maybe I was not long enough. But since I started working with Cam, I definitely hit it longer, and then also I hit it a little longer with the iron shots, as well. I'm hitting like half club longer than three years ago, and then actually maybe it sounds like it's really nothing, but half a club is kind of huge. Also right now I feel more comfortable, too, having all the creative shots, like feel more comfortable to hitting fade, draw, even like low one, high one, and then one of the biggest changes could be short game. He taught me a lot of the short game skill, and it's quite different to have like 10 skills versus like 50 skills. I just need to pick up the shot whatever I need to have, and then just having a lot of skill is totally big difference out there.

About putting? I'm still working on it, but he's done a really great job.

Q. Speaking of that, you didn't putt very well at the U.S. Women's Open, but after that you've gone on a tear and putted great. What did you do?
SO YEON RYU: Well, it could sound really awkward, but I told him like I'm so nervous at the putting green, and he's like, So Yeon, what are you nervous about outside of golf. I don't know, I cannot really think of it, maybe horror movie, and he asked me about, what about the roller coaster. And I'm like, I hate that. He's like, you've got to go.

After the U.S. Women's Open I actually went to Six Flags in Dallas. Well, I wasn't going to go at all for myself, but I told my sister, and then my sister was in Dallas with me for that week after the U.S. Women's Open, and then my sister was like, we've got to go. So she just bought the tickets, so I went there on Wednesday after the U.S. Women's Open, and oh, my God, I don't want to do it again. I took like roller coasters, I just had some -- like really afraid thing to me. Like I hate heights. I've gone up to maybe like 50 meters up there and then they're swinging, and I was like, oh, my God, I cannot do this. I was actually pretty sick after that.

Maybe that helped because I won right after that week, Meijer Classic, but I totally forgot about that amusement park, and then my sister was like, maybe Six Flags worked. And I was like, oh, my God, Cam knew it. And I told him, well, I didn't realize I went to Six Flags before Meijer, but after I went there, I won, so obviously you're right. And he was like, well, we're going to go to the next chapter, so I'm really afraid of what he's going to give me next. So I'd better putt well.

Q. You're no stranger to being in this position. What's your strategy looking forward to tomorrow?
SO YEON RYU: Just do not expect anything. Just do not expect anything and then just focus on what you have and just focus on what you need to decide, and then as long as I decide something, just stick to it and then just believe in myself. That's my strategy out there tomorrow.

Q. Do you think that going off earlier to beat the storms will help in any way?
SO YEON RYU: It's fair for everyone, everyone just teeing off at the same time. And then, well, if we tee it up in the morning, maybe we can have some cooler temperatures, so it should help to save my energy.

Q. I know you've talked about wanting to get back to No. 1, but how important is it to you to win major championships and sort of your long-term goals of what you'd like to accomplish when you leave this game and your legacy?
SO YEON RYU: Well, actually I think that winning this tournament is going to be huge because I never really dreamed about becoming a Grand Slammer, but after I won the ANA Inspiration, I started to dream about becoming a Grand Slammer. For that I need to definitely win this tournament, and right now I'm in pretty good position to achieve another dream, so I really want to make it. I really want to finish strong, and then if I can win this tournament, it's going to be part of the history. If you look back all the past champions of this tournament, just everyone is just such a great player out here. I definitely want to be part of the history.

THE MODERATOR: Might this be one of your better birthday weeks ever?

SO YEON RYU: Yeah, I think if I am going to win tomorrow, it's going to be even better week. You know, it's going to be my best birthday week ever.

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