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May 30, 2021

Sophia Popov

Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Shadow Creek

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Joined by Sophia Popov, runner-up at the Bank of Hope LPGA Match Play hosted by Shadow Creek. Sophia, pretty emotional on 17. Obviously seven matches in five days wears and tears on you. Take us through the emotion. Was it just wanting to get it done for family?

SOPHIA POPOV: Yeah, for sure. Obviously for myself, too. I think ability-wise I had plenty to win today. I just hit some shots out of fatigue and made some mistakes, because I was definitely tired from all the rounds that I've played and having to go into over time and maybe playing a few more holes than Ally did.

Yeah, I think just there were a couple key moments where I could have turned it around and she made some clutch -- she hit some clutch shots. She played great and she's a deserving winner.

Runner-up in any other event is a great success, so I'm very happy with that.

Q. When you were on No.4 I think, the par-5, you reached the green from about 270 out.


Q. As fatigued as you were, you and Ally both hit some shots that left us all just wow.

SOPHIA POPOV: Yeah, that 3-wood, honestly, I hit it perfect and I was just -- it's kind of hit and hope and hope you hit the right spot right in front of the green.

And it turned out perfect. She came and just pitched it to give me range, and I couldn't be aggressive with the eagle putt, almost made it.

But that and then I think the shots we hit on 13 were -- on any -- you're really happy if you make par on that hole really.

We both hit great -- I think she also hit a great 7-iron -- great 7 irons down there. Every time I thought, you know, this is -- I have a chance she kind of said, Nope, and that's the thing with match play.

It's one on one and you kind of have to keep the momentum on your side.

Q. Seemed like you and Ally, obviously competitors out there, but you were looking out for each other as well.

SOPHIA POPOV: 100%. We're good friends. I consider her one of the nicest people on tour and always welcoming. I love being paired with her.

Just kind of a mellow person. I love that personality. So we had a good time out there. Maybe didn't make me quite as feisty as I can be, but it all turned out the way it should.

Q. Trying to think what hole the -- she had that long putt on.


Q. 14?


Q. Take us through that hole and just kind of what was running through your mind at that point.

SOPHIA POPOV: Yeah, you know, I had 112 and then I hit that good shot on 13. We tied with a birdie and she was 1-up going to 14.

We hit good tee shots, and then I actually hit a very solid pitching wedge that didn't run out quite as much as I thought, but she left hers short of the green. Obviously I'm thinking I have the advantage here. I think her putt was running fairly fast.

I think if it hadn't hit the hole could have been maybe five, six feet by and I thin the scenario is totally different. But she made that putt, and I think for me personally it was probably -- especially after playing that many holes, I think it was just a real momentum killer, a little bit of a dagger in in the heart.

But obviously that was the turning point for her, too. Yeah, it's tough.

Q. Does this get you jacked for Solheim?

SOPHIA POPOV: 100%. I love match play. It excites me. I think I have a feel for the putts that have to be made and the shots you have to hit in certain situations.

You know, I'm hopefully not going to be as fatigued as I was this afternoon when I get there.

Q. What does it mean to you to have your family out here this week and play so well in front of them?

SOPHIA POPOV: Yeah, everything. I mean, it's awesome. Any week if everyone is out and I come in second, that would be incredible. So this week is exactly the same. I honestly couldn't have hoped for a better week.

Yeah, I could have topped it off with a win, but pretty sure when I look at them they're proud regardless. So that's -- I'm just lucky to be able to hug my nieces when I got off my round. She said it was really boring today, so obviously it wasn't that important to her.

You know, priorities are different, and that's what I love them for. Yeah, I'm a very, very lucky person with the family I have.

Q. Quick turnaround. Major week at hand now. What's the schedule look like to get ready for the U.S. Open?

SOPHIA POPOV: Yeah, I just talked to my caddie, Mikey, about that. I technically have a practice round scheduled tomorrow afternoon, but I think that's not happening. I'm going to take tomorrow off, play nine Tuesday, nine Wednesday, take it easy.

When I won the British I only had one practice round, so if you see all the holes once I think that's plenty. Probably better to not really overthink it.

So just rest the feet and hopefully be ready.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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