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April 3, 2019

Jennifer Kupcho

Augusta, Georgia

THE MODERATOR: Okay. We'd like to welcome Jennifer Kupcho to the media tomorrow. She's from Westminster, Colorado. She attends Wake Forest. She had a bogey-free 68 today, four birdies.

Jennifer, you hit the opening shot today. Talk about that experience.

JENNIFER KUPCHO: It was awesome. To be able to be there with Olivia, we were both in the Curtis Cup, so there was just as many fans today as there was at the Curtis Cup. So it was kind of nice to be able to be with her and kind of calm my nerves before that shot.

THE MODERATOR: Great bogey-free round. Would you please share some general comments about your round?

JENNIFER KUPCHO: This round, I think this is the first time I've ever had no bogeys and hit 18 greens together. So probably the first perfect round I've played.

Obviously I could have made a few more putts. I had a lot of pretty like decent putts, like 20 feet and in, so I could have made more, but you can't ask to make everything on these greens. They are really hard to read.

Q. How many fairways did you miss?
JENNIFER KUPCHO: I don't know actually. (Laughs). It was probably a couple. If I did, it was like just off the fairway.

Q. I followed you for the first nine holes, and I thought, just you were playing some awesome golf, but the birdies are not coming till the one on the 8th, actually. Was it getting a bit frustrating or how were you just conducting yourself throughout?
JENNIFER KUPCHO: Yeah, not seeing putts fall, it was definitely frustrating. I kind of thought the greens were impossible. And then the one fell on 8 and I think being with Olivia, again, we just kind of loosened each other up because we are good friends. So I was able to loosen up and started making some more putts.

Q. Just tell us something, brief details, of the four birdies that you had, especially the one on the 18th, as well.
JENNIFER KUPCHO: All of the putts actually were within ten feet. So those -- the putts I made were within ten feet. On the par 5, 14 -- that's 14, right? I actually pulled my drive, hit a tree and it like knocked it back, so I didn't have a shot to the fairway to lay up. So I had to lay up right of the fairway bunker up by the green, and then I hit it on from there and made the putt, so that was one was kind of interesting.

And then 18, I was over the back of the green and I didn't really know what kind of short game shot I was going to hit, and then my dad just said, "Just hit your 58. You always hit that well. So just go with that." Then I hit it right where I wanted to land it and it rolled down perfect.

Q. Does that mean Dad gets to keep the bag at Augusta National then?
JENNIFER KUPCHO: We'll see in the practice round (smiling).

Q. Can you just describe the atmosphere this morning on the first tee, and the whole ceremony, and having the honor of hitting the first tee shot?
JENNIFER KUPCHO: It was very official. I walked up, everyone was very quiet, like no talking to each other at all. I was like, oh, my gosh, this is crazy. (Laughs).

But yeah, it was a great experience to have everyone there. Mr. Chairman was there. It was exciting to get to hit it.

Q. And then you hit it right down the middle?
JENNIFER KUPCHO: Yeah, I was a little nervous, but somehow it went straight (smiling).

Q. I know you've probably talked about this a million times, but talk through your decision to defer, and what sort of prompted you to want to wait to get through the NCAA Tournament this year before you took that tour card?
JENNIFER KUPCHO: One of the main things was just to be with my team. We all get along really well and we have a good shot at hopefully Nationals. We're playing really well right now. Also my assistant coach, Ryan Potter, came back for my senior year, so I felt it was kind of my duty to stay for my last semester.

And then obviously to get a degree, is really important to me, and parents, who have been in education, so it's kind of been a family thing all along. Yeah, pretty much.

Q. Did the 68, did that exceed what you thought after your practice round or about what you thought, and why did you think the greens were impossible early on?
JENNIFER KUPCHO: I actually thought it was going to play a lot longer than it did. I think yesterday I had like a 6-iron into No. 1 and then right off that, I had pitching wedge, and I was like, okay, this is a completely different golf course.

So definitely yesterday, I thought it was going to play a lot harder. I thought even would be pretty good. I think it still will be, but the greens are definitely pretty hard to make. You have to roll it perfect; so if your putting stroke isn't on, you're not going to get a bunch of lip-ins. It's hard to make those putts.

Q. Speaking about the greens, apparently you have a long streak going of no three-putts.
JENNIFER KUPCHO: (Audience all saying, "Jinx!") (Laughing)

Q. How important is that? Your dad apparently keeps track of that. Do you feel that, too?
JENNIFER KUPCHO: I wouldn't say I necessarily count them, but I do know this is my fourth round without a three-putt. I mean, I've always struggled with three-putting, three-putting, definitely that was one of the big things when I was a freshman and sophomore.

I was looking at Leona Maguire, and every time she would have less than one 3-putt, she won a tournament. That's what I need to improve and that's what I've been working on a lot.

Q. Curious your reaction to seeing who your table guests were last night at the dinner.
JENNIFER KUPCHO: Yeah, I was with Diana Murphy, as well as Mr. Chairman. That was pretty cool to get to sit with them. They are really nice people and it was great to get to visit with them and kind of see their thoughts on Augusta and this course, as well.

Q. Can you just talk about what last night was like?
JENNIFER KUPCHO: Yeah, it was awesome. We got to go shopping, which was super cool. The merchandise tent over there, or building, I guess, it's like a mall. It's crazy. So I was like, wow.

But then we got to see the clubhouse, see the men's locker room, and then I think it's called the Crow's Nest where the amateurs stay. We got to see all of that.

The dinner was great. They put on a great program, and the food was amazing.

Q. Just getting back to the round today, can you just tell us, what you hit on the 8th hole, that was really a fantastic shot?
JENNIFER KUPCHO: I think I hit 5-iron.

Q. Everything I've read that says you're a competitor in everything you do, where did that come from?
JENNIFER KUPCHO: Probably my brother. Anything, board games, we're a big family and we always competed. Definitely family game night would like end in fights. I would say that's probably where it all started.

Obviously he also plays golf, so I was competitive with that, and then growing up, I played a lot of sports. So I just was competitive my whole life in everything.

Q. I would say that the feel and the importance and kind of the attention paid to this event is maybe reflective of what you're going to see after you leave college and go on to professional. When you think about that level, what's kind of your biggest hurdle or the biggest thing that you see that you need to work on to be successful at that level?
JENNIFER KUPCHO: I would say, probably working on my putts. Like I know, I think I make a lot of putts outside of ten feet, between 20 and 30 feet, but I think on as nice and pure of greens as this, it's hard to make those.

So I think working on keeping the ball on line and really reading the greens is going to be important out there.

Q. How about off the course, in terms of how you handle dinner sitting next to a chairman, what are you learning about the rest of this?
JENNIFER KUPCHO: It's a lot of social skills. I'm definitely an introvert, so I'm going to have to become more out and just be able to talk to whoever comes up to me and carry on a conversation with them.

Q. Following up on that, what did you guys talk about last night?
JENNIFER KUPCHO: We talked about Augusta. We talked about, I had gotten some tips from Hale Irwin, so he kind of talked a little bit about him. We talked about this course. I don't know, there was a lot (laughter). Those are like a few things.

Q. Have you played much with Maria Fassi, and how does your game -- she hits it a long way. I followed her a little while out there. How do you compare sort of distance-wise and game-wise with her?
JENNIFER KUPCHO: Yeah, I have played with her quite a bit. I think she does hit it really pretty far. I know when I play with her, we're close but she definitely is out-driving me by probably ten or 15 yards, and when I do finally out-drive her once a round, I'm like, "Hey, I just out-drove you." (Laughter).

Yeah, we're pretty similar. I think my ball-striking and my iron game is probably a little bit more zoned in, but I think her putting is probably stronger.

THE MODERATOR: Thanks so much, Jennifer. Good luck this week.

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