May 29, 2021
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Q. Here with Sophia Popov, 3&2 winner over Patty Tavatanakit to advance to the Bank of Hope LPGA Match Play semifinals tomorrow morning. On paper it looked kind of stress-free.
SOPHIA POPOV: The afternoon was stress-free, yes. For most parts. Patty was playing really solid. I was playing really well. Like I didn't leave any openings. I didn't make any bogeys until 15, so I was just putting for birdie almost all day, and I could have made more.
So I think for me it was just very stress-free. It was a lot of two-putts, gimmes, and, yeah, definitely happy that I didn't have to go through this whole thing like the first round again.
Q. Take us through the transition time between beating Inbee, coming off that high, and having to go tee it up within an hour after that.
SOPHIA POPOV: Yeah, I think the 30 minutes was -- that went by in about 10 minutes. I barely could eat anything, and it's really hard to eat anything anyway because you're just -- you got the nerves going and you're like, Okay, now I have to go out again. You have to prepare for the next match.
So definitely have to get some nutrition in tonight, and obviously I knew I was playing Patty and she's been playing super solid. Typically someone who doesn't make a lot of mistakes, so I knew I had to be on top of my game.
I think maybe also that quick transition helps. You just almost continue playing, and I think that might have helped a little bit.
Q. Today you went through a gauntlet of major champions. What does that speak about your game right now?
SOPHIA POPOV: Well, I'm a major champion, too, so I figured, you know, you can beat other major champions.
No, I think with Inbee, I think that was definitely some of the best golf I've played this year. She's just -- she is just so solid and I had to do every a little bit of what I do in order to win. So I think that was in and of itself a great achievement for me.
In the afternoon I think I was very much head-to-head with Patty and I just -- I was just maybe making -- overall just playing a little bit more solid. So just kind of an exhausting day. A lot of brain work, and ready to shut it off soon.
Q. I know your three and five year old nieces were out with you today. Were there any moments that stick out with them watching you?
SOPHIA POPOV: I think it's the cutest thing when I make a birdie or win a hole and they know. They know what's going on and they're so excited. So when I come off the green they give me high fives and fist bumps.
For me, I think it's a quick reminder that golf is not everything. My family is everything to me. I know they're not going anywhere because they're watching. I think that's the nicest, to have that little reminder.
Q. I know you were holding one of their hands walking off the 18th before your playoff. How did what help you going into that?
SOPHIA POPOV: I just think it's so nice for them to be part of this, and I love having them be part of it because they've never watched me play. They've seen me on TV and I think they're a little bit confused because they don't quite know what the situation is and what is she doing at these tournaments.
So that's been kind of nice just to show them what I do. I think almost maybe a little bit of pride for them, too, to be like, That's my auntie. And I think that's just something that gives me a little bit more motivation going into the playoff this morning.
Q. Can you speak about you mentioned the word exhaustion. A lot of players out here look like the heat is really getting to them and they're using umbrellas and walking slow. You seem to have a pep in your step, whatever happens, happens. Is that kind of the attitude you've taken?
SOPHIA POPOV: Yeah, you know, to me, my attitude is just I work for these days. I work for these weeks. I work really hard with my trainer Andrew Hannon, and he's just been for the last four years trying to create exactly the person I was today.
He's not in charge of my golf game, but he's like, I want you to be just as focused on the 36th hole as you were on the 5th or 6th hole. Just that hard work paying off really means a lot to me, means a lot to him.
Yeah, honestly, to me, I feel fresh. I feel good. It's just obviously the heat takes a toll on you. I'm not going to lie. I can't wait to put my feet up and do it all again tomorrow.
Q. After you do it tomorrow, you're looking at the most difficult major there is probably on just an atrocious course. Is it just take care of tomorrow and worry about the U.S. Open Monday?
SOPHIA POPOV: Yeah, absolutely. I'm definitely -- my head is not at the Open yet. I think my head is fully here. I have two matches to play tomorrow and I'm going to try to make the best of the day, and then I can worry about what happens at the Open.
I think it's an amazing course. I think I'm the kind of person who just looks forward to going to a new venue. I'm good at taking it easy, shortening my practice rounds when I get there.
But that's something I will focus on next week.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports