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April 2, 2019
THE MODERATOR: Welcome, everybody. Welcome to the first-ever all Augusta National Women's Amateur Championship. Really excited about this week, and we're really excited to have these three women up here on stage. These are the top three ranked amateurs in the field this week. We have Jennifer Kupcho, who is from Westminster, Colorado. She goes to Wake Forest.
We have Jiwon Jeon from Daegu -- did I say that right? Daegu, South Korea, University of Alabama.
And then we have Andrea Lee from Hermosa Beach California who is attending Stanford.
I'm going to open it up with some general conversations with introduction and then we'll open it up for questions.
So, we'll start with Jennifer. How does it feel to be here for the first-ever an with a and what was the course like today?
JENNIFER KUPCHO: It was a lot of fun to play the course today. It was a lot longer than I expected. I had a lot of long irons in, which I'm a pretty long hitter, so I wasn't really used to that.
But it's great to be here for the first-ever Augusta Women's Amateur. It's crazy that they are actually letting us play the course, so it will be pretty exciting to play this week, and it's been a great experience thus far, just with the kind of treatment and everything, the organization of the tournament has been great.
JIWON JEON: It's very exciting to play the very first Augusta National Women's Amateur and I mean, it's just such a great opportunity for myself and all the girls out there today, and the course has been -- the course was just in fabulous, fabulous shape.
Well, it was long as Jennifer said, it's longer than what I expected. But I really enjoyed the course today, and then we have to be very -- have a specific target going into the green and stuff.
So I mean, it's pretty challenging, but I really enjoy the course and like it.
ANDREA LEE: This being the first ANWA, obviously is a really special opportunity for all of us. We're really grateful that we're even having the chance to compete and play at Augusta National. It's going to be really monumental and I think it's really inspiring for young girls out there who may be watching this event; that maybe they can play in it one day, as well.
Regarding the course today, it's a really nice course. It's pretty long and it's definitely going to be a really good test of golf, I think. We're all just really looking forward to getting it started and it's going to be a very special week.
Q. Having played both sides, what would you all think, for 36 holes, what would be the leading total, and which of the two nines do you think is more scorable than the other?
ANDREA LEE: It's tough to put a number on it right now, I would say. It's definitely a tough course. I think the back nine, which I'm pretty sure is Jack Nicklaus's design, is in my opinion, pretty -- pretty tough, just because it's a lot hillier and I feel like a lot of holes are dog leg right, which kind of suited his game. I guess he played a fade, so I think that the back nine is definitely going to be the less scorable side.
The front nine was kind of what you see is what you get. Pretty straightforward for the most part but obviously the course as a whole is going to be a really good test of golf overall.
Q. Around par, do you think, for 36 holes?
ANDREA LEE: I would say maybe a few under par. I would consider this field, obviously some of the top amateurs in the world are here, so I'm assuming the scores will be somewhat low. I think under par.
Q. When you looked at the tee times and saw that you were going off first, what did you think of that, and just being an historic shot, historic tournament?
JENNIFER KUPCHO: I guess I didn't really think about it until now (laughter).
JENNIFER KUPCHO: That's kind of crazy to think about now (laughter).
Yeah, obviously I knew I was going off first, but I didn't really think about the first tee shot, like of the group. I mean, it's pretty exciting. It will be super cool to be able to say I did that.
Q. For any of you. What was your reaction when you first heard the announcement that they were going to have this tournament last year? Were you shocked, and was your immediate thought, I've got to figure out how to get into that?
JIWON JEON: Well, I was pretty shocked when I got the letter from Augusta National, and it just feels very like unreal that we're going to, we're actually going to play at Augusta National because we've been dreamed about it, so it's just amazing when I opened the letter, it was just great.
JENNIFER KUPCHO: For me personally, when the announcement came out, I didn't know where I would be or whatnot, because I was going to Q-School and I didn't know what I was going to do, so I didn't know if I would play in it or not.
But obviously I knew it was going to be great for the game.
ANDREA LEE: Yeah, I was definitely shocked. We've all dreamed of being able to play the Augusta National, but as women, we didn't think we'd be able to have the opportunity to do so.
But yeah, when this was announced, we were all shocked. I think the whole golf world was. I think that's why there's so much media attention about this because obviously it's the golf course that hosts the Masters.
So we're all, you know, just really excited and obviously all wanted to try and get into this event. Yeah, it's going to be really exciting.
Q. I don't know if any one of you or each of you possibly had an opportunity to play in the ANA this week, and was it a tough choice, or was it the idea that you could play in this first event here, sort of an overriding thought for you?
ANDREA LEE: It was definitely a tough choice I think to pick between the want and the ANA. Obviously the ANA is the LPGA's first major of the year. It's really hard to turn that down, but just considering that this is the first time women are having the chance to even compete at Augusta National, I felt that, you know, this is kind of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I mean, unless the LPGA decides to -- or has a tournament here in the future, who hopefully, maybe.
But yeah, just considering that I think, and just dreamed of playing at all and that's why I chose the ANWA instead.
JENNIFER KUPCHO: Yeah, I kind of actually didn't really have two tough of a decision, just because I did receive my card, I'm hoping that hopefully I'll be playing at the ANA in the future.
So this is kind of a first-time thing, and it's really cool to be able to play in the first one ever, and it will be my last chance to play in it, so I figured I might as well play in this.
JIWON JEON: For me, it was kind of a hard decision that I had to make, but I mean, Augusta National is just a special place, and there is no reason to choose. I mean, it's hard to turn down the ANA Inspiration because it's the major event, and then I always wanted to play there.
But I mean, it's going to be there in the future whenever I turn pro. So I mean, I just wanted to be at the special place here and then it's a first event, so there is no reason to choose ANA.
Q. Can I ask you, Champion's Retreat is the first two rounds but Augusta National is a golf course I'm sure you all are really looking forward to playing. You know the golf course so well, having seen it on television all these years. Is there any particular preparation that you guys did, keeping that in mind; that the rounds on Friday and Saturday -- at all golf club? And secondly, did any of you speak to any of the players, men players who, have played in the Masters and got some kind of advice from them?
JIWON JEON: So actually, I met Jerry Pate at the golf center in Alabama a couple of days ago before I came here, and he gave me a tip that just like, if it's a downhill putt, don't try to make it. Just try to stop it (laughter). That's what he gave me.
But like hit the greens as much as possible, and then he told me to kind of hit off the -- I heard the fairway and the fringe are really tight there, so just try to hit off the green, because we don't really have tight lies at the golf center. So I kind of practiced that.
ANDREA LEE: Sorry, what was the first part to your question? Did you ask about the preparation?
Q. If there was any special preparation that you did keeping Augusta National golf club in mind?
ANDREA LEE: I see. Nothing special, I don't think. I think we all try to work on our game's as best as possible to get ready for such a big event like this, competing against the top amateurs in the world. But I mean, just seeing it on television, I don't think does it quite justice.
I was fortunate enough to be able to play at Augusta National earlier this year with my team. Yeah, it's incredible. It's absolutely at the top of my list of favorite golf courses now.
It's definitely hillier than I expected and the greens are definitely really tough, so I guess preparing for that is, you know, a lot of lag putting. You've got to be accurate off the tee and you've got to hit great shots into the green.
I think every aspect of the golf game has to be either pretty consistent to be able to do well at that golf course.
I haven't gotten any tips from any Masters players, but yeah, I think just having that opportunity already has been a really great experience. It's going to be -- I think it's going to be a lot different on Friday and Saturday, just because it's the week before the Masters. I think it's going to play a whole lot differently, probably harder, probably tougher. The greens are probably going to be really fast, I'm assuming, so just a lot of putting and short game things.
JENNIFER KUPCHO: Yeah, I've played the course, as well. I played it my sophomore year, and I think one of the main things is how hard the greens are going to be. So I guess, I wouldn't say it's necessarily preparation for that, but just in general, I have been doing a lot of lag putting and short putting, just because that's probably the weakest part of my game.
And then I actually talked to Hale Irwin, who is also from Colorado, and he gave me a few tips about, it as well.
Q. As a follow-up, can I ask you, all three of you, is there any particular hole at Augusta National with all this crowd around you that you really are looking forward to play? Is there any one particular hole, and why would you pick that hole?
ANDREA LEE: I think 18, for me. Seeing it in person was kind of crazy. I had always watched on TV while watching the Masters, and you're like, wow, it's a really narrow fairway, but I'm actually there and it's still really narrow (laughter).
Yeah, that hole obviously has so much history. So many champions have walked the fairways, Tiger Woods, Adam Scott, I mean, the names go on. But yeah, it's really one of the top holes out there and really looking forward to play it, just walking the fairway and hopefully hitting the fairway on that tee shot.
JIWON JEON: Is 12 or 13 the par 3? Yeah, hole 12 is the hole I'm very excited about. I've seen it on TV, watching the players, like hitting into the greens and it kind of looked pretty tough. It doesn't really look bad, watching on TV, but there are kind of -- it looks like pretty challenging hole. So I'm pretty looking forward to play that hole.
JENNIFER KUPCHO: I would say 13 for me, I really like par 5s (laughter) that's pretty cool.
Q. This format, have you ever had this before where you play two different course, and then also, these 36 holes are actually two tournaments in one where some people are just trying to get in the top 30 to get to Augusta and plus you three probably want to be near the top, so you have a good shot to win Saturday. But is that a challenge? Have you ever had that occur before?
ANDREA LEE: No. This is the first time I think I've had a practice round in between the competition rounds for sure. This is definitely different.
But I think, you know, Friday is just going to be a really special day for everyone, no matter, you know, who you are. All 72 players are going to have the time of their lives, and it's going to be really fun and I think for those who are in contention after the first two days, can kind of see it as a reset day in a way. But also just to be able to really enjoy themselves on the golf course, as well, in preparation for Saturday.
Yeah, I think it's just going to be a really fun day, regardless of the format.
JENNIFER KUPCHO: Q Series, it was two courses, four days at each course and practice rounds in between. So two different weeks. So I have done that. Obviously that's a lot longer than this.
But this is definitely like a short period of time turnaround, so it will be interesting to see how this kind of goes.
JIWON JEON: Yeah, I've never played this kind of like format before, like having a practice round between the two rounds, and then the third round.
And, well, I mean, after these two days, my first two rounds, and then the practice round, Augusta National kind of gave us a little break and clear our minds just going into the final round at Augusta National.
So I mean, I'll just try to like focus on each shot and then each day, like maybe I'll not try to, even though I have a great chance to like be in the top of the field, but I mean, like every shot is just like one at a time and then just trying to focus on each shot, not the hole.
Q. I know you're trying to reconnect with the caddie that you had a couple years ago here. Did that happen for this week? Are you using the same local caddie?
JENNIFER KUPCHO: I actually haven't found out yet. I don't know if it's the same one. But impaired up with one, and I'm still deciding whether or not I'm for sure going to use an Augusta caddie for Augusta.
Q. What would sway you to one way or the other?
JENNIFER KUPCHO: I guess it kind of just depends on how it goes with my dad I guess (laughter) I guess that sounds really bad, but just for Augusta, it's think different kind of game and I think if you have that local knowledge, it's going to be very helpful compared to my dad who obviously does not have local knowledge.
Q. Jennifer, you are the No. 1 in the world. You've won so many important titles in your career, and you are about to turn professional next year. If you just -- where would this stand in your amateur career and your life so far if you win this tournament?
JENNIFER KUPCHO: I think it would be really cool to win the first one ever. Obviously that's the goal. That's everyone in the field's goal is to win. You can't go into it expecting to win or anything. I mean, it's going to be a really fun tournament. It has been thus far; so to just go out and play my own game, you can't play defense against the rest of the field. I've just got to focus one shot at a time.
Q. But where will that stand in all your achievements?
JENNIFER KUPCHO: Probably right below NCAAs.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports