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May 30, 2021

Sophia Popov

Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Shadow Creek

Quick Quotes

Q. Joined by Sophia Popov, 1-up winner in her semifinal match over Shanshan Feng at the Bank of Hope LPGA Match Play. Sophia, you advance to the finals to face Ally Ewing this afternoon. You had a nice sigh of relief on 18.

SOPHIA POPOV: I don't even know. I left myself so many nail-biters coming down the stretch. I think I had to make -- feels like -- four or five five-footers to stay in it, and then about a six-footer at the end to win the match.

I think it's just sigh of relief that it's over and that I was able to pull through.

Q. Obviously big holes at 12, 13, and 17 that you won on. I want to go back to the par-4, 11 and that putt to stay 2-down.


Q. How big that was and how much did that give you confidence moving forward?

SOPHIA POPOV: You know, that was huge. Obviously I was frustrated after my wedge shot. I been hitting really good wedges all week, and first one I chunked and just left short in probably the one place you don't want to be.

But I do no that I'm a good bunker player, so I said, okay, if you can just get up and down for par, you know, you're still in it. 2-down and I think seven to go; you've got plenty of time.

I think that putt was just -- that was huge for my momentum and to keep it going.

Q. How is your energy level right now with 18 holes to go?

SOPHIA POPOV: Not too bad. You know, obviously a little bit of adrenaline flowing through me right now so probably more energy right now. I'm going to keep it up and maintain it for the next match. Obviously Ally has played less holes than I have, but I feel pretty good.

The crowd's been energizing too. It's been nice to have spectators out and to have my family out, too. They are always pretty loud, so that's nice.

Q. You're pretty emotive on the golf course. How do those first pumps help you in this kind of long tournament?

SOPHIA POPOV: Yeah, you know, it just gives myself a chance to know that I'm in it. Like every fist pump, okay, I'm right there. I have a chance to win this. Also it's a sign to the outside I would like to think of myself as being pretty positive throughout the whole round.

I think that positive -- I have to show myself that positivity before I show it to anyone else, and I think that's why I fist pump quite a bit.

Q. Can I ask your niece a question?

SOPHIA POPOV: What would the question be?

Q. What's it been like watching your aunt play for the first time?

SOPHIA POPOV: Thumbs up? Go like this. It's been awesome. (Laughter.)

Q. What's it been like having everybody out here with you?

SOPHIA POPOV: It's been amazing. Look at these little ones. You know, I never have them out, so even for my first win overseas I didn't have anyone out there, except for my boyfriend Max obviously, and now he's the one person missing, which is very sad because I would love to have him here.

Other than that, just amazing to have the whole family out, and they give me so much energy. You know, no matter the -- that's the greatest part. The outcome doesn't matter. These girls will hug me anyway, love me anyway, and vice versa.

Q. When you were 2-down through 10, was there a little more self-motivation, a little digging deeper, especially with the heat and just coming down the stretch of a long week?

SOPHIA POPOV: Yeah, you know, I know that I'm physically in good shape. It was just about mentally figuring out a way to hit shots that were a little bit more consistent and that were a bit more repetitive.

So I think just mentally digging a little bit deeper and, yeah, pushing as much out of my legs again. For a minute I got a little tired in my legs and lazy quite frankly. So just being less lazy on the back nine, that kind of helped.

Q. As much of a Solheim Cup preview as fans can get this afternoon, you versus Ally. I'm sure that's not at the forefront of your mind, but when you do hear that and you do look down the road a little bit to the next match play event, how exciting is it to have this kind of preview?

SOPHIA POPOV: Yeah, I mean, it's pretty cool. It's just awesome that we get a chance to play some match play before the Solheim Cup. Obviously that's been a huge goal for me this year, and I'm still hoping to just solidify myself on that team. Playing some match play really helps, because I think my first match Wednesday against Hee Young I was definitely not in the same -- in the right mindset I had to be in to win a match. I think mentally I was still in stroke play mode and just not playing as give as I would like to.

I think it just gives us a great opportunity to play some matches, and, you know, Ally is a good friend of mine, you know, so, yeah, might be a little bit of a Solheim Cup preview.

At the same time, I think we're just going to try to go out there and have a good match and try to make as many birdies as he can.

Annalise, you have a question?

Q. I'm tired. (Laughter.)

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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