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August 30, 2019

Sarah Schmelzel

Portland, Oregon

Q. You tied the course record, but also your personal best score in junior golf, amateur golf and now as a professional. Congratulations to you on a magnificent round. You birdied the first five holes, 8-under through ten holes. Did you have any inkling this kind of round was in you as you were warming up today?
SARAH SCHMELZEL: Not when I was warming up, I don't think so. It's been kind of a frustrating year ball-striking wise-wise. I feel like I've improved my putt, my short game, and really frustrated not hitting the fairways as much. So today I decided to not look at the scoreboards, not look at anything and try to play my best and commit to everything and see where it all happened.

Q. When you got to that point where you were 7-, 8-, 9-under par, what did you say to yourself to keep calm and playing hard all the way through the finish?
SARAH SCHMELZEL: At the turn, I said to myself, let's pretend like you're starting on 10 today and let's pretend like you haven't even played nine holes yet. Let's just start the day and let's get one more. Every one I got, I said let's get one more, another one and another one. It just allowed me to stay I guess really competitive and aggressive on the course.

Q. Was there anything particular that was different today both physically, mentally, that enabled you to putt this great round together?
SARAH SCHMELZEL: I think it was that not looking at scoreboards. Just it's so easy to compare yourself out here, and you look up at a scoreboard and you see that someone's 8- , 9-under, and you feel like you've played well that day shooting 2-under, and you kind of can get down on yourself pretty easily, even though you're improving personally. So I just tried to take that out of my head and just try and make as many birdies as I could and be pleased with just trying my best.

Q. You're the fifth player to shoot 62, the course record and you join the likes of Annika Sorenstam and Beth Daniel. I know you wanted to give a shoutout to somebody special.
SARAH SCHMELZEL: Yes, I do. Hi, Gandy, I know you're home watching. Just wanted to say, all that blue and no yellow was all for you. Love you.

Q. Grandma back in Phoenix watching, I'm sure she's proud of you. Great job?

Q. This morning, you were on the phone with your boyfriend, who has been a putting coach. What advice did he give you?
SARAH SCHMELZEL: I saw him last week, and he tuned everything up and made sure setup was good and all that stuff. But he always just reminds me to keep my head in it; I'm never out.

He's such an encouraging factor in my life, and just to know that I have someone rooting me on like that but it was great to see him last week, have him making sure everything was in the right place and just kind of let it go and trust it.

Q. Five birdies in a row to start the round. What clicked right out of the gate?
SARAH SCHMELZEL: Just kind of had putts fall that weren't really falling before. I've been hitting good shots and had 10-, 15-, 20-footers and was not converting anything. Once I saw maybe the first two drop, I was like, okay, so we are in a little bit of rhythm here. Let's see how many we can get the rest of the day.

Q. At 7 years old, your dad took you and you watched Annika card a 59. Did that round come into your mind as you were playing so well today?
SARAH SCHMELZEL: Definitely. My boyfriend, also, always tells me, "One more, one more. When you're playing well, try and get one more. Try and get another one." I can't say that's always been my mentality. It's definitely a roadblock I had to get through. When I turned at 7 and got No. 8 on 10, I was like, let's try and do this and do something cool. I could kind of picture it in my head and kept trying to get one more, one more, one more.

Q. What does it mean to you to have part of the tournament record?
SARAH SCHMELZEL: Oh, it means the world to me to join the likes of Annika and Beth. It means so much to share that with the likes of Annika and Beth Daniel. It's a pinch-me moment that I'm out here living the dream and walking in their footsteps.

Q. On 17, your ball hit the flag and all that. What were thoughts when you hit that?
SARAH SCHMELZEL: It took off right on line. I was playing for it to land short. I'm not sure where it landed. It took a pretty big hop. To see it hit the pin, I thought it might have given me a better break and stopped more than going all the way to the back of the green. I'm just trying to commit to everything and let whatever happens, happen. I was pleased with that one.

Q. A delicate first putt.
SARAH SCHMELZEL: Definitely happy to cozy that up there. Probably one of the hardest putts on the golf course, one of those front-to-back greens.

Q. Your birdies --
SARAH SCHMELZEL: Maybe 25 feet, but I hit the ball really well today and had a lot of 15-footers, 10-footers. So made it somewhat easy on myself in that respect. Wasn't draining a bunch of stuff from really long range. But just overall really consistent.

Q. Did you feel like in a zone or more just natural and sort of happened?
SARAH SCHMELZEL: I think we all prepare to play like that. I think we all know that it's in us. So it's kind of just letting go and letting it happen and knowing you prepared for that; you put in all the work. You know you're in a zone and you just try and keep in your routine so you don't get out of that.

You're definitely aware, but try and just keep everything as normal as possible.

Q. Now all of a sudden, you're leaderboard and all that. Pretty early, but thoughts about going for something big on the weekend?
SARAH SCHMELZEL: Yeah, I mean, every week this year, I've thought about going something big, or going big, getting a win, playing well. That's what we're all out here to do.

Today I stopped looking at leaderboards and just tried to do the best that I could; whatever score I shot, I shot. I think that will just be the mentality going into the rest of the week.

Q. What has this rookie year been like for you?
SARAH SCHMELZEL: Oh, man. Rookie year's got its ups and downs. I think the first part of the year is just trying to get your feet under you. Everything seems so important. I've talked to a few of my other rookie friends, you're out there hitting a shot and it might be on Thursday, the sixth hole and you're like, oh, my gosh, this is so important now.

So it's been hard to overcome that part of just letting go and letting things happen, staying patient. I think now at this point, you realize how long of a year it is and even if you get into a lull for five weeks, you still have so much time to make that up. I think that's been the biggest change from beginning to end of the year is just staying patient, knowing you're working hard, not getting too down on yourself.

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