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July 10, 2019

Virginia Elena Carta

Toledo, Ohio

THE MODERATOR: We're here in the media center at the Marathon LPGA Classic, joined by Virginia Elena Carta.

Virginia, as a freshman at Duke you won the individual title; you got to play here. Flash forward to this year. You were a part of Duke's national championship team and you were selected by your coach to play here again.

What does this tournament mean to you and how happy are you to be back here?

VIRGINIA ELENA CARTA: Yes, definitely. I am super excited to be back in Toledo. I loved playing the Marathon Classic few years ago, three years ago. I love staying with my family. Been staying with the Highlands three years ago and back with them this year, and my best friend this year.

Just a lot of fun to be here in Toledo. And Highland Meadows, I love the course. It's kind of like a northern Italy type course so it's what I grew up playing. I have a lot of good memories. Adam Reny was my caddie three years ago and he's caddying for me this week as well.

So just good grouping. I'm excited to get started tomorrow.

THE MODERATOR: What does it mean to you that the LPGA tournament supports NCAA golf by inviting the individual and the team representative from the team each year?

VIRGINIA ELENA CARTA: I think it's very important. It gives us the opportunity as amateur players when we play NCAA to have -- to play in a professional event and get to play with the best fields in the country.

So I'm really thankful that I won Nationals individually three years, four years ago. To be back this year because we won it as a team is just a great experience.

I know everybody is looking forward to this week. When we play Nationals, everyone is looking forward to win it to play in the Marathon Classic. So it's just nice that it happened to be me. I'm grateful. It's a great field, so...

THE MODERATOR: What have the last few months been like for you between graduating, going to NCAAs? You played the ShopRite LPGA Classic few weeks ago and now here this week.

VIRGINIA ELENA CARTA: These have been crazy months. Very busy. Academically very busy, and I had to finish my thesis and get it going this semester. So a lot sacrifices this semester, this year, but I think they paid off. I'm very excited that we got to win Nationals at the very end and I closed the academic year very well and the golf year, the college career very good as well.

It's just exciting. Busy time. It was good to play the ShopRite few week ago. Just another experience that I got to live. I'm very excited for this week.

THE MODERATOR: For those people that may not have heard, can you walk us through your plan for this upcoming year and your plan for golf in the future?

VIRGINIA ELENA CARTA: Yes. I have a busy summer. I will be playing few amateur events, European Ladies Amateur Team -- not team, Ladies Amateur Championship in couple weeks and then playing the U.S. Amateur and then flying to Spain to play another event, and then I will be heading to Cambridge for (indiscernible) on environmental policy, so it's a one-year degree, advance research master program.

Very excited about the opportunity. I'm going to be playing for the men's team so it's going to be a different setting completely different. 72 holes every weekend, so a lot of the golf. Different than NCAA.

But it's going to keep me in shape and next year turn pro. That's the goal.

THE MODERATOR: Back to this tournament. You made the cut when you played back in 2016. What do you like about this course and this event here?

VIRGINIA ELENA CARTA: I love everything about this course. I mean, I love everything about the event as well. Judd Silverman does a good job with the organization of the whole tournament and whole event. He really makes sure everybody is happy and having a good time.

I think I really like this course because it reminds me of my home course back home. It has a look to it that I think it's great. It's in great shape. We had a lot of rain this week, but the course is beautiful anyway.

I think the field itself makes this event such a great event. I remember three years ago I made the cut and I had a lot of fun in my first few days, and I hope to do the same this week.

THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead and open it up for questions.

Q. It seems like I asked this last time. NCAA just seems to be a training ground for LPGA players. (Indiscernible) you feel like you went from point A to where you are now?
VIRGINIA ELENA CARTA: I definitely think so. I mean, for me specifically NCAA helped a lot. I mean, four years of college I've been through up and downs and a lot of injuries, sicknesses.

I think what you experience as a college student, student-athletes, is something you don't get anywhere else. I think I've grown as a person, and that will definitely help me with my game.

It's an experience that really will set you up for LPGA events. The college fields that we get are mostly made of players that then get into the LPGA and we'll compete with and against. So I think it's a great ground practice and get ready.

Q. (Indiscernible.)
VIRGINIA ELENA CARTA: I think really embracing the opportunities that we get as college student-athletes. There are so many doors that open up once you are studying in a university. I think that's what I was looking for when I was in high school. Really having the opportunity to be at Duke University and embracing all the opportunities.

You really have to work hard. It's a lot of hours of studying, a lot of hours put into golf. At the end of the day, you are so -- I don't know. I mean, I felt really empowered and I felt like I had a lot of opportunities coming from being just college student.

So it's a great opportunity, and golf really opens a lot of doors.

Q. I have a couple questions. Now, you came from Italy. Seemed like a lot of players coming on the tour (indiscernible) international background. Do you feel like that's helped prepare you as well? The tour is going all over the world now. Big circuit.
VIRGINIA ELENA CARTA: That's a good question. I think being international helps a little bit, meaning just that you have to travel a lot. You're traveling all the time just to play international events. I think in my junior career back home I was never really playing in Italy. I was playing few national events in Italy, but all the other events during the year were all over the world.

So I think that helps a little bit, because then when you come to the States and you play on the LPGA, there is a lot of traveling obviously, and I think being international just makes it a little bit easier in that way.

Q. One follow-up question. I didn't hear the whole thing, but looks like you're playing a lot of amateur tournaments over the next few months. When are you going to parachute into the LPGA Tour full time?
VIRGINIA ELENA CARTA: Yeah, so I'm going to be keeping my amateur status for a little bit longer, until next year. I will be going to Cambridge, starting Cambridge October 1st. Until then I will be playing amateur events this summer. Once I'm in Cambridge I will be playing tournaments for Cambridge and amateur international amateur events around Europe.

I am hoping to play Augusta next year. That is definitely a dream of mine to go back and play the Augusta Women's Amateur. All of that leading up to the summer where I hope to receive some invites, and we'll see how my game is going to be by then. Going through Q-school and turn pro. So that's the plan.

Q. (Indiscernible.)
VIRGINIA ELENA CARTA: I know, right? So, it's seven against five, so very nice.

THE MODERATOR: Any other questions for Virginia? All right. We're good. Best of luck this week. Thanks for joining us so much.


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