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April 5, 2019

Ally McDonald

Rancho Mirage, California

Q. How did you sleep last night? What were the feelings like when you got on the first tee this morning?
ALLY McDONALD: You know, I slept fine. I went through the same routine. Didn't check any social media. Just kind of responded to some friends that had texted me, and family. But other than that, I just stayed away from social media. Tried to stay away from some of the noise.

But as many deep breaths as I took and tried to calm myself down, that first tee was still pretty nerve wracking for me. Once I kind of got through that I kind of settled in a little bit better. Today was really just one of those grinding days. I missed a lot of greens in the last few holes. Just kind of settled for some pars and that's just how was it.

Overall, like you said, I'm really happy after that 1st hole being so, you know, gross I kind of kept the wheels on and finished with an even par round.

Q. How important was it, because you had a six-footer on 10 there for bogey?
ALLY McDONALD: Yeah, it was probably even more than that. Came up over the ridge, hit a terrible chip, and, yeah, it was actually probably close to eight to ten feet. So that was huge, I think.

Not to write me off for the rest of day, but making that putt versus making a double on the 1st was huge. Even though it was for bogey, it's a big boost for momentum.

Q. When did you feel like you sort of nestled into, Okay, now I'm just playing golf and everything is okay?
ALLY McDONALD: Yeah, my swing just kind of felt out of sequence, that that could've been some of the nerves there at the beginning. Probably a few holes in -- after I made two great up and downs from the bunkers on 12 and 13 I made a pretty decent swing on 14, and then it was good to see the birdie on 15.

After that, I just felt like I kind of settled in and was able to make some pretty good swings. I hit some pretty good putts, too. Didn't have anything fall, but just kind of how it is out here. Hit it above the hole, you have to settle for two-putt sometimes.

Q. You've played in a lot of really big events. You've had your name announced representing the U.S. in the Curtis Cup. Was this as nervous as you've been?
ALLY McDONALD: You know, actually I think I was the most nervous at the British a couple years ago when I e was kind of in contention third round. You know it's way different out here because Curtis Cup is a huge honor to represent the United States, but it's such a different concept having a team atmosphere.

Yeah, I would definitely put that close-up there for sure.

Q. Because you don't look at social media you might not know that some of the people who played with and against you in high school were posting to the LPGA Facebook and saying, Yeah, she beat us all the time. I was wondering what that's like for you to hear that, and do you think you changed a lot of players' minds when you were playing with the boys that maybe at first they were a little suspicious of this girl playing with them, but you won them over with your ability?
ALLY McDONALD: Yeah. You know, it was fun playing against the guys in high school. Once I got to probably my freshman/sophomore year the state changed the regulations and I had to move back to the boys tees. In some states it's completely different. They said if I were going to play with the boys, then you're going to play where the boys play from.

At that point I had to kind of figure out how to naturally get the ball out there because we were playing probably equidistance to this. The state championship that I remember I won, we played actually close to 1600 yards.

So it was a lot of fun competing against the guys, and few of them would give me a hard time. My team at IHS, they were great. I would say they kind of looked after me a little bit. You would always the have some guys that kind of didn't want to talk, and some guys were like, Yeah, you're a girl, you're out here playing.

It was fun and they took me in. I really didn't have anybody that was really negatively against me.

Q. Going back to play the boys tee, is that the Ally Rule? Did they want you to...
ALLY McDONALD: You know, we actually had to petition the MHSAA because I did not have any other girls on the team. My eighth grade year we were able to have a girls' team. We had a couple girls, which we went on to win.

But after that, it was all boys and I was the only girl at my school. In order to play high school events I said, well, I'll just play the boys team. About that freshman year we had to petition the state to give me a write off, because otherwise I would not have any competitions to really play through the high school.

Q. How has it changed in ten years later? Could you play on a girls' team?
ALLY McDONALD: I think our high school may have a couple girls playing now. Carly (indiscernible), who was a few years below me, she's in Beaumont right now playing some college golf. I don't know if there are very many girls out there right now. I think a First Tee program in Mississippi is starting to get going, and I think we should see several girls coming out of that. Should spark it in the state.

Q. So there is this idea that men or boys can't really understand how good girls are until they play with them. Then they get it. It's easy to dismiss the other sex until you see up close their skill level. Did you find that to be true in your experience playing high school?
ALLY McDONALD: You know, I would have to say probably not, because the state of Mississippi I wouldn't say -- we were starting to generate a lot of really good players. Maybe when I was in high school we had some. My high school team was pretty stacked. Chad Ramey went on to play at Mississippi State and is now on the Web.com Tour. Another guy, (indiscernible - wind) Louisiana Monroe.

And we had four or five that were also really good. We won three or four state championships while we were there. As a whole, the guys that I was surrounded by, they kind of knew. They always respected me for that. But I was -- I never felt like I was kind of counted out.

Q. That speaks to your talent, that you were able to make that team with all of that talent on it.
ALLY McDONALD: Yeah. We had five guys, and my senior year my brother game came in. I talked him into playing some golf. He was a great pitcher with baseball; really good forward on the basketball team. Had ambitions to play basketball, and it turns out as great an athlete as he is, he end the up walking on at community college to play golf once he graduated high school, and is now finishing up school at Blue Mountain College.

So there were just some athletes, and we were able to put together a really good team when I was in high school.

Q. Did you and the state play No. 1?
ALLY McDONALD: Yes, my senior year we did, yeah.

Q. So back to today, you had one round where you had great a ball striking round and today where it wasn't quite there but you scrambled the heck out of it.

Q. Do you feel comfortable going into the weekend?
ALLY McDONALD: Absolutely. You know, if there is one piece of my game that I've kind of been on edge about recently it's been my short game. I felt like my putting has been really good. I think today, just knowing that I'm swinging at it really well, but also at the beginning of the round scrambling, to see myself get some hard balls up and down and make some key putts for par is huge. Builds both sides of the confidence level.

Q. Almost stole one over on 8.
ALLY McDONALD: Yeah. That was probably -- well maybe the second worst swing of the day. You know, on the left edge of the green with where that pin was positioned it was a fine line of really good speed and turned out I almost made it.

I was very happy to walk a with a two-putt.

Q. Was last night more about letting yourself dream a little bit or shutting down the noise?
ALLY McDONALD: Absolutely shutting down the noise. Day one, Thursday; the caliber of golfers out here, anyone can do that. It's what you can do for four days in a row.

So, yeah, I was just happy to shut off some of the noise and try to get a good night's rest.

Q. What Pernilla did last year, when you watched her do that, what were your thoughts?
ALLY McDONALD: I thought it was great. I mean, like I said, the caliber of golfers out here, it's all about piecing four rounds together. Pernilla played great golf on a major championship golf course. It just speaks to the grind and the resilience that people have to have.

No matter if you're a top-ranked player that every week you're considered a good chance to win to girls just getting started to girls who have been out here maybe in a biggest bit of a struggle, just speaks to how strong our fields are every week and who can get it done.

Q. Are you to the point where you're saying, Hey, I'm hitting it good. Why not me?
ALLY McDONALD: Yeah, I mean, I feel like every week you kind of -- you trust in your ability and try to talk yourself up and you rely on the confidence within you. Some weeks are going to be good; some aren't. But with 36 holes under my belt and knowing that I struck it pretty good, driven the ball pretty well, I am excited, but there is still a lot more golf to play.

I'm just going to try to get a little bit of the kinks worked out here this afternoon after I grab some lunch and see what the weekend has in store.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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