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April 4, 2019

Jennifer Kupcho

Augusta, Georgia

THE MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Jennifer Kupcho to the interview room. She's from Westminster, Colorado, and she's the tournament leader at 5-under par. She shot a 1-under 71 today with three birdies.

Jennifer, do you mind just some general comments about your round?

JENNIFER KUPCHO: Yeah, I started out really strong, was hitting the ball really well and on the back nine just kind of came around and hit a few bad shots and lost my confidence a little bit. My short game was there. Just on my 11th hole, I missed a short putt, so kind of lost my confidence there, too, on the birdie putt.

THE MODERATOR: You're going to be in the final group with Maria Fassi on Saturday, can you talk about that a little bit.

JENNIFER KUPCHO: Yeah, we got really close this past fall in Q Series, so I think we'll have a lot of fun. We both are good friends, so I think it will be a lot of fun, and we're both good at golf, really good at golf, so I think we'll make a lot of birdies, and it will be pretty fun to watch us.

Q. You mentioned you and Maria have gotten close. What things do you guys bond over besides the obvious?
JENNIFER KUPCHO: I think kind of from the beginning, she was just -- she always came to Colorado to qualify for U.S. Ams and everything, and she's very confident, obviously, so very intimidating to me.

And kind of at Palmer Cup is kind of where it all started this past summer. We just started, bonded over what we both wanted to do. We wanted to go to Q Series, play well, get our card and then come back to school and that kind of just -- that's pretty much how it started.

Q. Do you remember that first qualifier and how old you guys were?
JENNIFER KUPCHO: I think the first time -- she definitely came a couple times before this, but I remember there was one, it was the U.S. Open qualifier and I think I was probably -- well, that would have -- I qualified -- no, I didn't qualify.

So it would have been, I think I was like 18 maybe, so she would have been there a couple years before, as well.

Q. Did the two of you discuss the option of deferment during Q Series after?
JENNIFER KUPCHO: During because we played together a couple times. She actually thought I was going to turn pro, so she was like, "Wait, what?"

But we kind of both were just saying that we really enjoy being in college and we didn't want to leave yet, so why would we not stay an extra semester.

Q. Just the dynamics of this tournament with two rounds here and then kind of the carrot at Augusta National on Saturday, what was it like for you in two days in terms of what you were trying to do? Did that change at all?
JENNIFER KUPCHO: Not really. Kind of just going out there and playing the best I could. I mean, it's going to be a tight race all the way through the finish. So just going out there and playing the best I can and keeping my game where I want it to be.

Q. Jennifer, do you think the bogeys that you made coming in, would you look at as, say, a blessing in disguise, because you know, you can't be really complacent at Augusta National with a huge lead, and it looked like you would be about four or five shots ahead, the way you were playing?
JENNIFER KUPCHO: I mean, yes and no. Obviously it will make it very entertaining for everyone to watch.

But I mean, it was just a couple bad swings followed by a couple bad chips and putts. So I mean, I played a perfect round yesterday, and you're not going to continue doing that.

Q. With everything that we know about Saturday, where it's being played, the number of spectators, national television, does all of that stand to make it more exciting for you, or does it also serve as a possible distraction of what your job is on the golf course?
JENNIFER KUPCHO: I think for me, because I've played in the U.S. Open and the marathon classic, I've kind of been around that. So I think it will be -- it won't be too bad. I mean, it might be different when I get there, and there's all the fans watching us, but for right now, I think it will be okay.

Q. We know Maria is very long off the tee. How do you stack up with her, and did you continue your three-putt avoidance streak today?
JENNIFER KUPCHO: Yes; no three-putts today. She out-drives me by like ten or 15 yards usually, and then every once in a while, I'll out-drive her.

Q. With you guys, two of the longer players in this field and two of the better ball-strikers, hit it pretty high, are you welcoming some rain tomorrow and hoping that it plays a little longer on Saturday?
JENNIFER KUPCHO: Either way. I mean, I think my shorter irons are better than my longer irons, so I'd prefer it not, but either way, I mean, it's still golf. It's still going to test all of aspects of golf.

Q. You've played there haven't you?

Q. What do you remember most about it? What was that day like?
JENNIFER KUPCHO: Yeah, it was a lot of fun. We played with our team at Wake Forest. We had a couple games going, and we just had a lot of fun. It was really cool to see the course.

Q. What was the best shot you hit that day?
JENNIFER KUPCHO: I don't know. I don't remember.

Q. Just pick one.
JENNIFER KUPCHO: I really don't know.

Q. Let me ask you this. How well, do you think, that day aside, how well do you think you know The National based on how long you've watched the Masters?
JENNIFER KUPCHO: I know it well but you don't see the greens on TV, and I think that's the toughest part of the course.

So I think I know the course, but not the greens.

Q. There's a lot of stuff going on on the fringe this week. We're asking for your time every day. How does that play into it? Does fatigue play into it at this point in the week?
JENNIFER KUPCHO: I think it was definitely a lot more the last three days. We've had dinners every night. It was nice to get to sleep in, but I think it will continue the next couple days. We have a dinner and everything going on tomorrow at Augusta, so I think it will be a long time until the finish.

Q. A lot of people talk about playing Augusta National, talk about the long hitters having an advantage, but you brought up the fact that the greens out there are pretty ridiculous. They are like sometimes if it's going quick, it's like putting on a glass roller coaster. How do you feel your short game is doing right now and your putting game right now, because that's where a lot of people win at Augusta National is on those greens.
JENNIFER KUPCHO: Yeah, I think it's just a matter of if you're above the hole, you're just trying to two-putt, and I think they did a really good job, also, making this course just like it, because there's many times out there that I hit it ten feet above the hole and all I'm trying to do is two-putt, because you don't want to be having a 5-footer back. I think that's going to be a big thing out there.

Q. Are you going to keep your dad as a caddie or Augusta National caddie?
JENNIFER KUPCHO: I'm not sure yet. I did just meet the guy that I had caddie for me when I played Augusta, and he's going to caddie for me tomorrow. So we'll see. I haven't -- I haven't decided.

Q. What are Dad's thoughts on that?
JENNIFER KUPCHO: I don't know. I really don't know. I think I want to caddie but he knows that he -- he wants me to do the best I can.

Q. So if you take the caddie tomorrow, will your dad be on the course with you or will you leave him off the course?
JENNIFER KUPCHO: He'll be on the course. It's actually like a rule that we have to have an Augusta caddie tomorrow, and if you have an outside person caddying, they just walk along.

Q. Curious about the finish today. You talk about losing a little confidence on 11. You had a lip-out for, I think would be your first bogey for the week, on 5?

Q. What are you trying to accomplish coming in? Did you find yourself battling, and if so, were you just trying to get to the house without losing anymore strokes or were you trying to fix it en route?
JENNIFER KUPCHO: I think I was -- after 5, I was just trying to get through 6, honestly, and then kind of 7, 8 and 9 were all birdie holes. Obviously I didn't make any, and I didn't really give myself an opportunity.

But I was just trying to make pars and get in, and hopefully I can go out and figure out what was going on with my swing.

Q. How quick do you expect the greens to be at Augusta on Saturday, and do you consider yourself to be a good, fast greens putter?
JENNIFER KUPCHO: From what I heard, they are supposed to be about the same as here. They were trying to make them very similar. But I'm sure they will be faster. And I would say I'm a pretty good fast green putter. I'm pretty good at figuring out how hard to hit it and whatnot.

THE MODERATOR: Thanks so much, Jennifer. Good luck Saturday.

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