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August 11, 2019

Gabriela Ruffels

West Point, Mississippi

Q. Just try to put into words kind of what this all means.
GABRIELA RUFFELS: I don't really know yet. It's been kind of a blur the last kind of 20 minutes. But this is amazing. This is what you dream of as a kid when you start playing golf, winning tournaments like this. This is the biggest championship in amateur golf. I'm still speechless. But I guess that shows how much it means to me.

Q. Just talk about the last two holes a little bit. What was going through your mind over those putts?
GABRIELA RUFFELS: Again, it's still kind of a blur, but my caddie Blair was great. She made it so clear. She made me so comfortable. And to be honest, I didn't think that last putt on 18 was going in, but seeing that just drip in, probably the best feeling of my life.

Q. What did you hit on 17 from the tee?
GABRIELA RUFFELS: 17 I hit a 6-iron.

Q. And how was your distance?
GABRIELA RUFFELS: It was 143 meters.

Q. And on 18, what did you hit and what was your distance?
GABRIELA RUFFELS: 18, I had maybe -- maybe it was 18 I had 143, but I hit 7-iron, a little choke-down 7-iron.

Q. Was it weird having to go back and forth between yards and meters when Blair came out there? What was that like?
GABRIELA RUFFELS: No, my caddie actually gave her a little slip of what I've been hitting each club in meters, which was nice, so we never even spoke about yards because my laser is meters, so yeah.

Q. Blair played this course a few times, so it must have been comfortable for you, to get her knowledge on those putts?
GABRIELA RUFFELS: Yes, for sure. I had played with her before. I knew she was from Mississippi and was a proud Mississippi State student and I knew that this was her home course, and she's such a sweet, nice person, and I just needed someone to kind of calm me down, someone to talk to because I didn't want to be by myself out there, and she was great. Couldn't have asked for anyone better.

Q. What was going through your mind when you were making that transition? You were still 1-down at the time and you kind of got on a roll, but were you nervous at all?
GABRIELA RUFFELS: Yeah, Justin told me he had two holes left maybe at the end of 12. I mean, I was prepared for it. It was nice to make that birdie on 14, and then my mom came with me with Blair, kind of holding her to the side, and it was like, Blair is ready if you want her, and I was like, yes, I will have her right now. I need someone to talk to.

So it was a little stressful in the transition, but it was so great having Blair and someone to talk to

Q. Can you talk about making history today, the first Aussie to win the Women's Am? Obviously Australians have won Opens, Seniors, Women's Opens and U.S. Amateur, not the Women's Amateur. You're the first to do that. Put that into words.
GABRIELA RUFFELS: It's amazing. I can't really -- I'm a proud Australian. That's where I started playing golf. I have such a huge support system back there, and to win it not only for myself but everyone back home is huge, and it just means the world.

Q. Who did you get texts from after the match, Karrie Webb, maybe your brother?
GABRIELA RUFFELS: So I actually haven't really looked at my phone, but I just FaceTimed my brother straight after. He was with my dad. They're in Canada right now. They said they were watching the whole thing. And I couldn't really talk then, either. I'll have to call them back when I kind of get my words back.

Q. Obviously you're going to get a lot of perks out of this win. You're into the U.S. Women's Open. You knew that already, playing the Augusta National Women's Amateur, Women's British, ANA, Evian. There's a lot of stuff coming your way. Talk about all that.
GABRIELA RUFFELS: It is. Yeah, winning a championship like this gives you recognition and opportunity, and I'm looking forward to that. But kind of still going to keep my head down, work hard, and I've still got a lot of things ahead.

Q. Talk a little bit about your improvement because when you came to the U.S. and talked to Justin, he said you were pretty raw. In the last year you improved your stroke average two strokes. What's been the difference? Why have you made such big leaps in the last year and a half?
GABRIELA RUFFELS: I think I can credit that to my USC team actually. We just included last year Malia Nam as a sixth person, and five people travel, so there was a lot of competition between us at school. I think we're all ranked maybe in the top 80 in WAGR, so there was definitely a lot of competition to go and travel, and we all push each other so much. And having that pressure to make the team, especially with all these great players around I think has pushed me to a new level and has made me try and work harder and harder, and I think I can credit that.

Q. What did you see on that putt on 18 when you were kind of lining it up and it dropped in?
GABRIELA RUFFELS: I was like to Blair, this is moving a lot. This is moving a lot to the left, and she's like, yep, it is. And it's really fast downhill, too. You're downhill, down great. I'm like, okay. But yeah, just kind of trying to match line and speed and just seeing that ball kind of roll into the hole is special.

Q. Especially since you knew that Albane was basically three feet and had a kick-in for birdie, you probably knew you had to make it, otherwise you're probably going to the 10th tee to play extra holes?
GABRIELA RUFFELS: Exactly. Albane towards the end was playing really well. I knew she was going to make that. She's a really good putter and really clutch towards the end. So yeah, I knew I had to make that putt. Wasn't really expecting it, if I'm being honest. But yeah.

Q. How much did Blair help with that putt?
GABRIELA RUFFELS: I mean, as I said, I just said, it's moving a lot, and she said yes, and then she said, it's downhill really fast. And that was that. But she did help. She did.

Q. She said that she told you it's breaking more than it looks.
GABRIELA RUFFELS: Yes, she did, yep. So that was good to know, too, because I was seeing that so it was good to have some confirmation.

Q. If you line up all your matches from this week, where does this one rank?
GABRIELA RUFFELS: One. I mean, this is -- I feel like in the final you're so close to that win, and it can sometimes be hard. You might try too hard to get the win, and looking at that trophy on the first tee in the first and second 18, you're so close but you're so far. Just kind of the pressure at the end and how I managed to kind of close it out was special.

Q. It's a long day and really hot temperatures. What goes into staying focused throughout 36 holes like that, a marathon today?
GABRIELA RUFFELS: Actually towards the middle I was struggling a lot. I told my caddie that it was very hot, and I got my umbrella on the last nine, and that really helped. Just kind of maintaining energy levels was hard, but I just kind of got in like a new wind towards the end. I think the adrenaline kind of kicked in, and Blair was also a nice fresh kind of addition. Yeah, throughout the middle I was kind of tired, but towards the end it was fine.

Q. I think on 17 you guys kind of had a conversation on judging the 6-iron, whatever you were going to hit. What was your conversation there, and then obviously you stuck it so it worked.
GABRIELA RUFFELS: It wasn't really a big conversation. I remember from the first round that I had hit 6-iron, and I knew I pulled it a little, so it went a little further. But same yardage, same tee location. I knew the wind kind of changed and it was kind of into me, so I was like, 6-iron is perfect, and then she just agreed with me, and yeah, off we went.

Q. In terms of on that shot, it was pretty aggressive for a shot. Were you sort of even going into the final two holes? Were you trying to go up then basically?
GABRIELA RUFFELS: Yes, I was, and I knew I could either pull it off or it could be a disaster, but kind of not really looking back on that now because I'm not going to play that shot ever again. But yeah, super glad it worked out.

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