September 11, 2020
Rancho Mirage, California, USA
Mission Hills Country Club
THE MODERATOR: We're here with our midday leader Nelly Korda. Nelly just finished up an incredible round, a bogey-free 67. Your putter was on fire out there, absolutely on fire. I think you're on fire, right? It's a little warm out there right now?
NELLY KORDA: Yeah, very hot. I was definitely very happy with my putting today, and I was superbly happy with the bogey free.
THE MODERATOR: You came close on 2 and 3; your putter really saved you. Can you talk us through what happened on 2 and 3 and what that really meant to spur your round on.
NELLY KORDA: Honestly on 2 I didn't even hit my drive that bad, I just may have tugged a little, and I was in a spot where I was about to drop, but if I dropped I would have been in thick rough, so I just took the chance. I've been hitting my 4-hybrid outright a lot recently, and I hit this thing probably like 30 yards outright. Near dead over there. So honestly, I was super happy with rolling that putt in. I was like, just get me off this hole.
THE MODERATOR: Talk me through your birdies. You started on the back nine, but on 14, 17, 1 and then 8 and 9. You were just solid out there.
NELLY KORDA: Yeah, on the back nine, my front nine, I actually made all my birdies on par-3s. I hit really good shots into the greens and capitalized on that.
THE MODERATOR: What do you think is the key to the strong putting performance you had today? I know that's something you work on a lot is your short game.
NELLY KORDA: Yeah, I think just confidence. Everything in golf I feel like is all about confidence and momentum, so just having that confidence and believing in yourself is definitely really important.
THE MODERATOR: When you look back on a day like today, is it something that really helps push that confidence forward? As you look to tomorrow, will you rely on this or start tomorrow as a fresh day?
NELLY KORDA: No, I think I wouldn't want to give myself that many long par putts. I definitely want to be a little bit smarter with what I do out there, so I'm going to go practice after and try to get ready for the weekend.
Q. How long were the putts at 2 and 3?
NELLY KORDA: The thing out here is you hit a solid putt and it keeps on going. You think it's going to stop, and it just keeps on releasing, so then you're like, this is a good putt, this could possibly go in, and then it releases five to six feet because that's just how it is out here. I had a lot of five- and six-footers for par today.
Q. The ones on 2 and 3 specifically?
NELLY KORDA: Gosh, 2 and 3, I wouldn't even know. I think I had like a 15-footer -- 15-, 20-footer on 2, and then like a pretty decent 25-footer on 3.
Q. How did you get in trouble on 3?
NELLY KORDA: On 3 I just kind of hit my approach shot a little fat, and I was in really thick rough. I had a decent amount of green to work with, but in this rough it's really unpredictable the way the ball is going to come out.
Q. On 2 when you mentioned you're debating taking a drop, what would that have been a drop from?
NELLY KORDA: The cart path.
Q. I wanted to ask you about switching to Justin and what you like about his approach and what kind of precipitated the move. Why Justin?
NELLY KORDA: I really like his philosophy when it comes to golf. He was also a good friend before. Like we played golf a couple of times actually just before because I would drive up to Pelican, and honestly, like he's just made me believe in myself a lot more, and I've really liked his philosophy about everything.
Q. You changed your putting grip?
NELLY KORDA: Yeah. I changed my -- honestly I've always really wanted to go left hand low, but I've never really had the guts to do it pretty much, and the first week I tried it was at British, and I was like, well, this is a great week, it's 40 miles an hour. But it worked out really well, and I've been putting pretty good with left hand low.
Q. I know you said about you're the best putter in the world, but anything else that Justin has said specifically that's really pumped up your confidence?
NELLY KORDA: I think just in general about everything. There's not just -- I mean, one thing that obviously stands out is the confidence that I need to have when I play golf.
Q. You talked a lot about your putting, but you hit 13 of 14 fairways today, and that seems critical out here with the rough. How important was that to your game?
NELLY KORDA: Yeah, for sure. The only fairway I missed was on No. 2, my 11th hole today, and I hit that shot good, too. I've been hitting it really good off the tee. Even off the fairway, I mean, I'm not missing it by much. Like occasionally because it's so grainy out here you catch it a little fat or you don't catch it so clean, but honestly I've just been playing really solid golf.
Q. Did you sense that the golf course has changed from yesterday to today or that it's starting to dry out, the greens are getting a little -- you mentioned the putts rolling out a little bit more?
NELLY KORDA: Yes, the putts were definitely rolling out a little more for sure, but I think when it came to fairways they weren't rolling out as much. I think in the morning it was a little softer and dewy. You had longer clubs in I would say.
Q. When people talk about sleeping on the lead at a major, when does that start, tonight or tomorrow?
NELLY KORDA: I would say tomorrow. I mean, you don't win it tomorrow -- you don't win it on Saturday, you win it on Sunday, so it would start on Saturday night I would say.
Q. The other thing you talked about is confidence; does that confidence come from results, or do you just talk yourself into it? Do you need to see some --
NELLY KORDA: A combination of both, obviously. Yeah, a combination of both.
Q. Just a quick tennis question. What was it like having your brother in the U.S. Open, and were you able to catch it?
NELLY KORDA: Yeah, it was super cool. I actually flew in that day from Arkansas, so I jumped straight in front of the TV and watched him. It was really cool. Super special.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks so much, Nelly. Go cool off. We'll see you tomorrow.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports