January 29, 2022
Boca Raton, Florida, USA
Boca Rio Golf Club
Q. Joined by Lydia Ko after round three of the 2022 Gainbridge LPGA. Lydia, one bogey, one birdie on the scorecard. How pleased are you to come away even par on a tough day out there?
LYDIA KO: Yeah, you know, going into today I knew that it was going to be pretty difficult. I didn't see the forecast, and then Nelly and I were talking about how windy it was going to be today, and that obviously makes the cold even colder.
Just playing in the wind in any sort of temperature makes it a lot tougher, and I knew that today was going to be a little bit more of a grind. I think overall my game wasn't as sharp as the other days, but when the conditions are tough, you know, I think it's difficult.
You know, you have to be more focused, and, you know, try and move on when do you make mistakes. I think overall I don't think I gave myself a lot of birdie opportunities, but I still was able to hit a fair amount of greens, and that way putting obviously makes it a little bit easier to kind of get around the golf course and having to scramble a lot.
But finishing the two pars in the last couple holes I think I got away with it there. And to finish even par after a tough, grindy day, I think it was a solid day in the office.
Q. You take a two-shot lead into the final round. To shoot even par and to look at your name atop the leaderboard with a two-stroke lead, does it feel like you maybe even shot 3-, 4-under, like if it was a normal kind of conditions?
LYDIA KO: I think today I just really focused on my game. I knew that Danielle has been playing amazing. I really don't need to go on about it. She's shown how well she's been playing, so I knew that -- and Jodi had a great round yesterday as well.
So it was going to be some good golf, so I just tried to focus on my game. I know I made the turn at 1-over and I said, Hey, I just want to give myself opportunities. When I keep doing that, you know, hopefully one birdie will drop and kind of take that momentum.
But I think I made a few good par saves on the back nine, which was even more important than making birdies at times.
So, yeah, like I feel like score is just a number. Obviously you're trying to shoot the best score you can, but today I was more focused on me rather than seeing where everybody else was placed.
Q. Would you say the wind affected your approach shots more or your putting more?
LYDIA KO: I think it affects everything when it's almost 20 mile per hour. It is tough to be over some of these putts, to be really stable over it; and then at the same time, tee shots, you know, shots into the green, I think wind, especially at this strength is a factor in all counts.
Q. And between you and Danielle, did it feel like match play at all? You just don't even think about what she's doing?
LYDIA KO: Honestly, we -- going into today we still had half the tournament left. You know, who knows, especially on a day like today. If somebody shoots a few under par they can go really up the leaderboard; more so than any other days.
So I just tried to focus on me, and at the end of the day, if I played the best golf I can and somebody plays better than me, then I can't do anything about it.
That's going to be the mindset for tomorrow as well. Just trying to shoot the best score that I can. Be great if I'm the one at the top the leaderboard tomorrow as well, but there is still so much golf to be played. I'm just going to focus on me.
Q. Did your approach on the last go through the wind and end up in that back bunker? How good was that save?
LYDIA KO: I knew that it should have been like an 8:00 wind, a little down off the left, but being in the bunker I thought the sand might take a little bit of the distance off it.
But I fleshed it, and I don't think that was the right club anyway. So I was in that back bunker, and being in that downhill lie wasn't the greatest position. But at the same time, I knew that it was going to run out from there; whereas if it's a really good lie, you know, I've had a few times where I've left it short thinking it would run out, but I've clipped it too well.
So I hit it there, so I just tried to scramble, and obviously making that putt was definitely nice to finish on that note today.
Q. You seem very peaceful this week. Do you feel ready to win again?
LYDIA KO: Yeah. I mean, it would be great to be -- it's great to be back in contention. It's great. I played really solid and I played really consistently, especially in the back half of my season last year.
I think when you keep putting yourself there you feel like at one point it's going to fall, you know, I'm playing alongside the best female golfers and some of the best athletes in the world, so it's not easy.
You know, that's why I think rather than getting too carried away about what somebody else is doing, I'm just trying to hit -- keep giving myself chances, try to hit good shots, and just be committed. That's all I can do.
Yeah, you know, just enjoy being out there, enjoy being in that position, and we'll have to see what happens at the end of tomorrow.
Q. I know club selection, it was difficult today, watched you and Danielle step away, switch clubs. Would you say it was more analytical or did you go with your gut a lot, like this just seems like the shot?
LYDIA KO: I think it's kind of -- it's more -- I think it's just feel. I don't have an exact equation on how many miles per hour and that pin equals what. If I did have a calculator like that, that would make my life a whole lot easier. Make Derek's life a whole lot easier.
But sometimes it's feel. It might be a full 6. Might be a chip 5. I think when it's windy you can be so creative, and I think Danielle is one of the most creative players. She works the ball a lot.
And as someone playing alongside her, it's also really cool to kind of see that. Yeah, I think it's very feel-based, but also at the same time, because we're in between the trees the wind picks up and dies down, and that's probably what our process was.
Like if we have to back off, it's not really the sense of like it changing, yeah.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports