November 20, 2020
Belleair, Florida, USA
Pelican Golf Club
Q. Sophia, steady even par today. Take us through a little different day on the course for you.
SOPHIA POPOV: Yeah, I think this morning I started off playing really solid golf. I was playing really well. Made two birdies on the first couple holes.
And then I think the wind kicked up a little. I wasn't feeling it with my driver anymore. Definitely struggled a lot with the driver on the back nine.
Until then it was really just my ball striking. I missed a couple greens in the wrong spots; therefore making bogey. Bogey on No. 2 was just missing that green in the wrong spot. You just can't short side yourself out here.
But overall, I grinded it out and I made a lot of par putts coming in, so I'm pretty happy with my score.
Q. You said you made probably just as many feet of putts today as yesterday but only for some different results. Take us through that.
SOPHIA POPOV: Yeah, they're not on camera, but I think I made more feet of putts today for par than all of yesterday, and I thought I putted really well yesterday. But today I made a lot of key putts. I think I made about three 10 to 15 footers for par, and those keep the momentum going.
When your driver and irons are not working the way you want them to, at least you can save yourself at the end of the hole.
Q. You had quite an outstanding group: No. 1 in the world in there along with the current leader. What was it like competing with both, especially Ally, who had a good day, too?
SOPHIA POPOV: To me it was really fun. Ally had a good start too. When I started making a couple bogeys she was making birdies, and so I knew she was getting close to me.
I think that also helped to push me, because I knew at that point I kind of know where the leading score is because either her or me, that's what I thought at least.
And so I think it helped me make those pars at the end just to kind of grind it out a little, because I was like, I don't want to get too far away from her.
And they're two super nice people, so I think we just had a really good time.
Q. How do you anticipate the weekend ahead with just how you've been able to perform this year and then kind of drawing perhaps on some of the past wonderful experiences?
SOPHIA POPOV: Yeah, you know, I think I feel a little bit more comfortable going into the weekend as far as my nerves go. If I can drive the ball solid then I think I have a really good chance this week.
And my putter is working well, so I just have to keep giving myself a lot of chances. You're going to roll in a few here and there, so I think it's all about keeping your head in it.
I think bogeys and doubles are just out here. If you do make them it's not the end of the world because you can make some birdies on the par-5s especially.
So I think just definitely feel a little bit better going into the weekend than probably previously would've.
Q. What is about these greens that you like so much? So many are struggling with the grain.
SOPHIA POPOV: I don't know. I'm not a big fan of grain, and when we were playing the practice round I struggled a lot on the greens, and especially with the speed. I couldn't quite get it right. Every time I thought we were into the grain I hit it harder and then it went past, and vice versa.
So I don't really know, but I think I started -- Max and I started to read the putts so much better, and I think found a pace that works for me. It's a little bit more than (indiscernible) speed this time. I think just the combination of the two helps me roll them in.
On these kind of greens if you see a couple fall in it just helps for the other putts.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports