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November 7, 2018

Thipada Suwannapura

Hainan Island, China

Q. Great opening round in pretty trying conditions out there today. What was key for you in your 68?
THIDAPA SUWANNAPURA: I think the key for me today was my irons. (Indiscernible) My iron shot is pretty good today. I can attack the pins a lot of holes and a lot of birdie opportunities.

Q. When the wind gets up like this, how important is it to be patient on a day like today?
THIDAPA SUWANNAPURA: I mean, everybody have to be patient when you play hard golf. But then with this golf course it's really challenging and it's windy and you have to think where to go, where to miss, so it's kind of fun to play in this golf course. We just enjoying playing today.

Q. There are a lot of Thai players up by the top of the leaderboard. Could you say there are some comparisons between this golf course and playing back in Thailand?
THIDAPA SUWANNAPURA: I don't think we have this much wind, to be honest. I think Thai golfer (indiscernible). And then, you know, we have two top 10 in the world. It's getting better every year, I think.

Q. You're certainly getting better every year. You picked up your first title on tour earlier this season. What's improved this season for you?
THIDAPA SUWANNAPURA: Since 2016 I hurt my back so I have surgery. (Indiscernible - wind.)...so I didn't put any pressure on myself. Just play golf. Then I get better with my iron. I try to improve my putting a lot. Even today I leave it short like so many holes.

But, yeah, just happy with 68 today.

Q. I remember when you played in Dubai and you were like in the final round limping around just trying to get around. We thought was a hip problem back then.
THIDAPA SUWANNAPURA: Yeah, I think the disc is bulging and then I couldn't find out what it is. I also had fracture on my bones on the spine, so we couldn't find out until I get the rest for a month. So I didn't do much and do a lot of stretching, and then just keep playing until Kingsmill, until May. Monday in Kingsmill just pop. So the 1st hole on Monday, second shot hitting 6-iron.

Q. So Kingsmill 2017?

Q. Okay. And then you just played through that?
THIDAPA SUWANNAPURA: Yeah. No, like '16 I broke my back in Kingsmill. I had surgery on June 26 and recovery, and then play Dubai in the end of the year just to try. I finish like 20, maybe 20, 22. But that time I'm still sore on my back.

Q. How long before you really thought you were back to yourself after that?
THIDAPA SUWANNAPURA: It's hard to say, because after surgery I have to change my swing a little bit. I could not use the same muscle. I usually use a lot of my back and then broke my back, and then I have to use some other part. It's have to train for a while.

With the driver I don't have a problem hitting. I hit a lot of fairway with my driver. So the only thing that have to be careful with is my approach, because, you know, if you use different muscle and you really have to attack a pin and be consistently, like hitting straight.

So my caddie, Nikki, say that, You still not the same with your first year. I'm like, Okay. Because my first year I was like a rookie and I finish like 63. She said like that time you hit it so straight, Jasmine. I'm like, Okay. I'm not there yet.

But, yeah, today I attack a lot of pin and I leave maybe four, five hole short, like that short. She's like, Jasmine, why you leave it short?

Q. When you changed your swing did you work with like your coach to do that? Just all on your own?
THIDAPA SUWANNAPURA: Yeah, I don't really have coach. Since I start playing golf it's only me and my dad. Never have a coach.

Q. So no trainers or anything to help you?
THIDAPA SUWANNAPURA: Well, I did talk with -- no, I go through therapy, so he told me what muscle I should work on here. So completely from zero because I don't have it at all right here. Nothing. Like nothing.

So I'm working out, I'm recovery, so I work a lot here.

Q. Okay.
THIDAPA SUWANNAPURA: Then start to feel like using this part more than my back. So that's a big different, like because you have to use completely different part of your body. You know, because when I come back and hit maybe two months and hit balls I have to separate it because if not I'm still using my back and it's going to be pain again.

So it's getting better and better. I still need to work on a lot of putting because I feel like putting, it's a weakness of my game.

Q. Really?
THIDAPA SUWANNAPURA: All the time. I hit it so straight. I hit a lot of fairway. I had a lot of opportunity hit on the green and I just -- you know, couldn't make. Just make everything harder and more tired. Putting, just please putting.

Q. Next part.
THIDAPA SUWANNAPURA: The only wish I want is putting.

Q. Five birdies?
THIDAPA SUWANNAPURA: Yes, five birdies.

Q. Maybe best birdie of all?
THIDAPA SUWANNAPURA: Huh? Best birdie? I hit it pretty close today. I didn't -- yeah, all the birdies I make it's within 15 feet. So, yeah, only like six yards, seven yards max. And then I have like for birdie one or two holes.

So I think it's more like good iron today, good approach shot. You know, figure out the wind and the yardage. We do good today, me and Nikki today. Feel comfortable with the wind and then figured out what to do.

Q. I think your early years you played on CLPGA?
THIDAPA SUWANNAPURA: Yeah, 2010 maybe.

Q. So I mean, is that part of your career, just help, I mean, on the U.S.?
THIDAPA SUWANNAPURA: I mean, every tournament is experience, so playing every tournament we get to see, we get to do different thing, different shot. It's just more experience. The more you play the more you get.

I like it here. I play Sanya so many times in the European Tour and Sanya Ladies. So, yeah, just nice golf course.

Q. And tomorrow?
THIDAPA SUWANNAPURA: Tomorrow? Just play golf, do my best. Yeah, because it's my five weeks in a row. I haven't have a break. I won't think much. Just eat, back to the hotel, play games, relax.

Q. And the goal for the rest of the year?
THIDAPA SUWANNAPURA: Well, just keep play good golf. (Laughter.) You know, you have to keep see and watch where or which part you can improve in your golf. Right now I want to improve my putting because something is off, the distant, or I couldn't figure out the line. Just too many putts. So if I can drop the putt it would be much easier for me.

Q. Ranking, money ranking?
THIDAPA SUWANNAPURA: Well, in the beginning of the year even before I win I was 96 in the money ranking. I just want to keep my card, to be honest. Then I win the tournament and come up to 37.

So now I just enjoy life, play good golf, and I'll be happy to be in Thailand playing and see all my Thai fans cheering for me. That will be good.

Q. That win took the pressure off?
THIDAPA SUWANNAPURA: Yeah. Yeah, been playing on the tour for six, seven years, and you never really get into top 10. Like, you know? I don't have that much feeling of being top 10, maybe two top 10.

So you kind of be like down because you been playing so long. I'm like, Okay, am I good enough? I have to try to be better somehow. When, where, what to do, so kind of lost. And then, yeah, somehow on those three weeks before I win I just get up and say, You know what? I'm good enough to be here. I'm just going to play.

Then I get better and better. That week my putt is dropping then I win, so everything is good there. Especially after I come back from back surgery and I didn't think at all I'll be able to play golf. Without a surgery the doctor say I wouldn't be able to walk within a year. That bad. All my right leg is numb.

So he said, I talk to him and he said, Within four days have to do surgery. I don't even know what's going on. He showed a picture and I'm like, Okay, it's broken. There is no bone there.

So he say, See you in four days. Get this and that to prepare for the surgery. I was crying because 24, 23 years old have to go through surgery. I can't imagine people like cut me open. I'm like, Oh, that's scary.

I was crying. I don't know what to do. All my parents in Thailand. We have friend.

Q. But it's what you had to do.
THIDAPA SUWANNAPURA: Yeah. He said, You won't be able to walk. You'll be disabled for sure.

Q. Two years later you're a winner on tour.

Q. Good story.

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