May 26, 2021
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Q. Gerina, you're the first winner of the day at the inaugural Bank of Hope match play event. Upset on paper. In your eyes I would imagine you've been playing some pretty good golf lately, so not too much of an upset. Take us through how good it feels to come out with a round one win.
GERINA PILLER: Yeah, for sure. First off, Hannah is a great player and major champion, so she definitely has the credentials and she's a great player.
Just been working hard with my coach back home. Took two weeks off and just trying to keep -- stick to the process and keep things simple and get back to what I'm good at.
And we both played really good golf. I don't know if we -- I think maybe one bogey on the front nine, so just kept sticking to my game plan of hitting fairways, hitting on the right side of greens, and trying to make a putt when it's a green light.
Q. You took an early advantage after par on one and she came back, squared it up, took the lead. You squared it up again with an eagle on 7. That seemed to be a momentum shift. Take us through that hole.
GERINA PILLER: Yeah, that was huge. She was out of position off the tee and so she had to layup. I was just looking at my caddie, I'm like, Hit 3-wood, and hit a really good 3-wood just on the fringe and she kind of got back in position and kind of just needed to nestle it up there for my birdie.
I was like, you know what, let's just make it. It's been a while since I've made an eagle, to be honest. Made one in the U.S. Open qualifier, so maybe that sparked me, inspired me.
Q. Absolutely. Then you kind of ran away with it; pair of birdies to close out the front nine. Moved to 2-up, and then birdie on 12 and a par on 13 to get to 4-up. At that point, it's match play, anything can happen when your back is up against the wall.
GERINA PILLER: Yeah.
Q. What was the mindset for you knowing just the setting of this event?
GERINA PILLER: Yeah, you know, I don't want say it's easy to kind of let up, but if you're dormy or just you don't want to just let up and just, Oh, I can just tie her on this hole. I try to remind myself, no, stay aggressive, keep doing what you're doing.
She made a good birdie on 15 and I was out of position off the tee. So my goal this week is to not get to 18. (Laughter.)
Q. Good goal. You're a three-time Solheim Cup member. You've had some major moments for Team USA over the years; 2015 comes to mind. At any point this week just with it being match play, any flashes of that putt or any of those moments flashback in your mind?
GERINA PILLER: For sure. It's just so different from stroke play. Obviously you're playing the golf course and the whole field, and now it's just you and the other opponent and the golf course, and so anything can happen, like you said.
You know, I just go back to what Juli would tell us. You're never out of a hole and they're never out of a hole. Just keep the pedal down and be committed and pick good lines and believe in yourself. It's so cliche and easy to say but ready hard to do.
Q. Yeah, it is. I can imagine. You got Pat Hurst out here this week. Angela Stanford was talking about watching Team USA hopefuls this year. How much does Solheim Cup mean to you and how much is an event like this a potential launching pad to showcase what you can do?
GERINA PILLER: Yeah, Solheim is very special to me. I've said it many times, any time you can put the stars and stripes on your chest, on your back, I feel like that's the greatest honor. I love America. I'm very patriotic. I just got to keep doing what I'm doing and trust in my game and taking care of the process, and hopefully turn Pat's head.
Q. I think we talked at Kia, and you mentioned this was that moment was when you kind of felt like you were getting back to Gerina form. Maybe not old Gerina form, but the new form of Gerina. You haven't missed a cut since. You have three straight top 20s. How good of a place is your game right now?
GERINA PILLER: It's really good. I'm really excited. I've always been really good at ball striking and kind of maybe lacked a little bit in the short game, and I don't -- my short game might be surpassing my ball striking. It's super exciting.
I don't know, I just have this new love for golf. I'm excited to get out there and work just to get better. My new coach, we have a great relationship, and, yeah, he's just awesome.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports