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July 16, 2021

Aditi Ashok

Pajaree Anannarukarn

Midland, Michigan, USA

Midland Country Club

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Here with Aditi Ashok and Pajaree Anannarukarn after an outstanding day of alternate shot today. Bogey-free. How important was that for the both of you going into this round knowing that you were in contention here to wind up bogey free after today?

ADITI ASHOK: I think it was pretty important, because on a windy day people are going to make mistakes and it's hard playing alternate shot. Your miss is not always your partner's miss. Being bogey-free is just something that was happening for the first two rounds, but today it was a good goal.

Q. Pajaree, what is it like being paired up with Aditi this week and being able to trust in each other so much?

PAJAREE ANANNARUKARN: I think since we've known each other for quite a few years, since junior golf, I think that's definitely something that I -- that's why I wanted to pair with her, too, so we can kind of enjoy each other out there, support each other.

Yeah, that's just what we do.

Q. Aditi, how much fun have you had over the past three days?

ADITI ASHOK: A lot. I never get to be part of team events, so this is super exciting for me. And yeah, I've had a blast.

Q. You guys have talked about having fun all week. How important is that in terms of bringing your tension level down once you're in contention?

PAJAREE ANANNARUKARN: I don't think we were expecting anything other than just kind of playing each shot and supporting each other every shot.

ADITI ASHOK: Exactly. We basically have been teaming up really good, and I guess -- I think alternate shot is harder, so we got those two out of the way and I think we've done really well with alternate shot.

Q. You've talked about the differences in your game. Pajaree, you hit it a long way, and Aditi, you're incredibly accurate. What is it strategically that you have learned from each other?

PAJAREE ANANNARUKARN: I've learned a lot from her.

ADITI ASHOK: It's just, I know that -- about alternate shot I guess not really a lot because you just have to play the ball where it is.

But with the team event, I know if I hit the greens, she's really confident with her irons and wedges, so if I just hit it close, maybe not super close, but if she sees a ball on the green she can go straight at it, so that's definitely one of the keys for four-ball.

Q. Aditi, it was four years ago right after the Olympics when you kind of burst onto the scene and a lot of people wanted to talk to you. How are you a different person now than you were then?

ADITI ASHOK: I guess I'm kind of the same. I guess golf-wise I feel I'm a bit better and a lot more experienced, but I'd like to think I'm the same as a person because the Olympics came and went, but golf is still not as popular in India, so I'm still trying to do my best every week to make that happen.

Q. Wanted to first of all just ask, you worked your way into contention, tied for the lead going into the final round. I think we've kind of already talked about it, but not putting too much pressure on yourself, just going out and having a good time tomorrow, how much importance do you place on that and sort of putting a balance between having a good time and knowing that you could win a professional golf tournament?

ADITI ASHOK: Yeah, I think the pressure that comes with winning a golf tournament is I would say not as much tomorrow because you know you have a partner who's playing another shot and you know if you miss a putt she has a chance.

I think that's what helps me keep calm on the four-ball days, so yeah.

PAJAREE ANANNARUKARN: Yeah, everything that she said. That's all I can say.

Q. I wanted to ask about the walk-up song and how much fun that environment was. I believe you played the Spice Girls, if I'm not mistaken. How much fun was that environment walking up the 18th green, and what kind of went into the idea of picking that particular song?

PAJAREE ANANNARUKARN: Her caddie and my caddie picked the song pretty much. But I think I just like that everyone is here. The crowd has been amazing, and we have a good time up there.

Q. What experience have you two had in alternate shot before this event?

ADITI ASHOK: Alternate shot, I guess when I was nine and ten I played alternate shot with my dad, and that was a long time ago and the strategy was completely different. But that's it for me.

PAJAREE ANANNARUKARN: Yeah, I played once when I was in junior golf in a tournament and last year, so we didn't really get to play much alternate shot.

ADITI ASHOK: Yeah, not much, just this event 2019, so I guess twice.

Q. What's been the key to being so successful at it despite having limited experience?

ADITI ASHOK: I don't know. I think when I'm playing by myself, obviously I'm trying my best, but I think having a partner who's going to hit your next shot, I guess it adds pressure, but it also makes you a lot more sharp because I know I want her to have the easiest shot possible or the easiest putt left.

That's what motivates me to hit it close or hit it in a good spot.

PAJAREE ANANNARUKARN: Yeah, but I think what I like about the alternate shot is that we just kind of are supporting each other out there no matter what.

ADITI ASHOK: Exactly, yeah, because I fatted a wedge somewhere in the middle and she had an amazing chip, so I didn't even have to work hard for the par. Yeah, we definitely had each other's back.

Q. You guys mentioned you've known each other for a long time. Do you remember when you first met?

PAJAREE ANANNARUKARN: I think it was in Thailand?

ADITI ASHOK: Yeah, when it was --

PAJAREE ANANNARUKARN: Actually I met you at the Junior Open.

ADITI ASHOK: Yeah, that was more recently, yeah. So that was like 2014. 2014 for sure.

PAJAREE ANANNARUKARN: Yeah, I met her in the hallway, and that's how we kind of know each other.

ADITI ASHOK: And I think playing golf in Asia, there's just fewer Asians -- not Koreans but just Asians apart from Korea. So yeah, we ended up playing a lot of tournaments together.

Q. Pajaree, how proud are you of the way the both of you have played over the past three days?

PAJAREE ANANNARUKARN: First of all, I really enjoyed playing out there. Obviously having her by my side all week, it's been a great week so far, and I really enjoy it. Going into tomorrow I would probably just going to do my best, and of course supporting each other, continue to do our best and just -- yeah, that's what we're going to do tomorrow.

Q. Aditi, no player from India has ever won on the LPGA Tour, and tomorrow you may have an opportunity to do that. How special of a moment do you think that would be, and how much do you believe in yourself to get to that kind of moment?

ADITI ASHOK: Yeah, I think it would be amazing, especially because we've always had men doing well on international tours but not as many women. So I think it would be amazing for golf in India.

I think just for me, I've been trying really hard the last few years and learnt a lot, so hopefully I can put it all together tomorrow.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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