May 13, 2022
Clifton, New Jersey, USA
Upper Montclair Country Club
Q. Here with Gina Kim who sits at 7-under 3-2 days here at Cognizant Founders Cup. Been playing good. Had, what, four birdies, two bogeys on the card, maybe one bogey on the card today. How do you feel like you played out there?
GINA KIM: I felt like I played pretty stable. My shots were great. I put myself in the right positions. I didn't make as many putts as I would like to, but overall it was just really consistent.
So I'm looking forward to finally making to the weekend to see how many more birdies I can get out there. Feels great.
Q. First weekend you'll be playing of your rookie career.
GINA KIM: Yes, yeah. I haven't been doing well for the past three tournaments and I've been trying to just be nice to myself, be patient with myself, and hopefully things will work the right way.
I think this week might be it, so...
Q. Well, I mean, it's definitely going to be it. You're going to make your first cut for sure. How excited are you just to play the weekend?
GINA KIM: I'm so excited. Honestly, I wasn't sure if I was going to make it into this tournament at first. I was one of the last people to get in.
So just being able to get to the weekend and hopefully play with some of my idols, it just feels amazing, surreal.
Q. You're a player that has been around the block. Obviously had a really good college career at Duke, was a standout. How do you manage expectations when you come out to the LPGA Tour and you're like, I've had all this success but I've got make sure I know I'm doing a whole different thing?
GINA KIM: Yeah, honestly, I think it was those expectations that kind of stood in my way a little bit at the beginning, I just think understanding that this is a new level of golf. Everyone here is talented and every week is going to be different, so just being able to have that kind of calm mentality and just accept what comes and just let go of the bad shots, I think it's really helped me for the past two rounds.
Q. Walk us through the learning curve of a rookie out here and how you go from the first week with not even knowing how to book a hotel to where you are today.
GINA KIM: Yeah, I realized how spoiled I was, that college, that that's a huge part of it. So from booking hotels, booking flights, a lot of stuff that is off the course I think that's what really kind of caused a lot of my stress.
Just being able to find my own routine like you mentioned, going through that learning curve. I'm starting to find my rhythm and it's showing up in my golf game and the mental side, too.
I'm slowly getting there. It's not 100% perfect, but I'm happy to see improvement.
Q. And how do you maintain this positive attitude without putting too much pressure on yourself?
GINA KIM: I think after missing the first three cuts I had every reason to be disappointed.
But then again, I realized I just turned 22, so there is so much for golf left in my career. I'm wanting to stay here for a really long time, so the number of rounds of golf that's ahead of me, I think that's something I look forward to more than getting down on myself on the past rounds.
So just trying to be kind to myself once again and just taking it one shot at a time; I think that's what's really helped me here.
Q. I know it seems like a million years ago for you, but when you first burst on to the scene for us it was when you won the NCAAs as a freshman, and then you were pretty darn close to winning the U.S. Women's Open. We had you on the podium every day. How are you different now than you were then?
GINA KIM: I would say my mentality changed. Obviously as an amateur it was more about the experience, just having fun, you know, living out my dream.
I'm still living out my dream. It's just it's a totally different ballgame when this becomes your job, this becomes your livelihood.
I think I've grown a lot more from that. Those two tournaments did confirm to me that I did have the game to be out here. I just think it was more about becoming more mature and understanding the reality of pro golf and the hardship it takes.
I'm really proud of myself for making it this far.
Q. How do you think that leaving college and coming on to the LPGA, how do you think now that's helped your game and? Then of course moving forward how do you think that's going to help your game?
GINA KIM: I think like I mentioned before, the whole maturing aspect. I think I did a lot of it during college, especially during my later end of my career, especially last year.
I'm really grateful that I went through college and finished. I actually graduated a few days ago, so I'm a huge fan of going through college, finishing it all out. I think having the support of my teammates and my coaches back home, even when I am struggling out here, it definitely helps a lot.
Q. And not playing this year with Duke, is it bittersweet at all that maybe you could have been there and possibly helped your team into the NCAAs?
GINA KIM: Yeah. I definitely thought about it. I've been keeping up with the scores. It was tough to watch. They all have great skill and talent. I'm not sure how much my absence made an effect on the team since I'm not there, but it definitely hurt to watch.
It definitely fields bittersweet. It feels weird a bit just knowing that my team is playing somewhere else and I'm kind of on my own journey right now.
Q. Like you said, you're living out your dream.
GINA KIM: I sure am. I couldn't be any more happier. This is what I've always dreamed of, and that's something I've been constantly reminding myself. Even on the bad days, I signed up for this. I wanted to do all of it, the good, the bad, so I'm happy with where I am.
Q. So you mentioned being a little worried about not getting into this tournament. With the reshuffle coming up I'm wondering if you have that on your mind at all?
GINA KIM: It definitely is in the back of my mind. I just think I'm just going to keep trying to stick with my game plan because it's working obviously.
But no, I mean, if I happen to get reshuffled, great. If not, that's still fine. I think I'm making some great improvement even without the reshuffle.
So, you know, hopefully I can boost myself up, but that's not the main priority here.
Q. And then just last question from me. Emily kind of covered that part of it, but been a big week for you sounds like. Graduated from college and then making the cut, your first cut as a pro. Just assess these past two days. What are you feeling right now?
GINA KIM: A little overwhelmed, not going to lie. I had to rush over to graduation after the U.S. Open qualifier and then right after the graduation I actually had to drive right up, so I didn't even have time celebrate. So it's been a busy week, but it's been filled with a lot of positive expenses.
I'm just grateful for being where I'm at right now.
Fastscripts by ASAP Sports...
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports