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June 1, 2022

Lucy Li

Southern Pines, North Carolina, USA

Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Welcome back to the interview area here at the United States Women's Open championship presented by ProMedica. We're here with Lucy Li, who became the younger qualifiers in U.S. Women's Open history back in 2014. How does it feel to be back here in the Sandhills, so close to your memorable week back in 2014?

LUCY LI: Yeah, it's obviously so great to be back and relive all the good memories. It's so funny to run into all these people who are like, oh, I watched you in 2014, and like oh, you grew up so much. I was like, well, I hope I have in the last eight years.

THE MODERATOR: You played incredibly well in your qualifier. How does your game feel coming into this major week?

LUCY LI: Yeah, I'm feeling good. I've been playing well all year. I've been hitting the ball really good. I've been hitting my irons really good, which is I think really good for this golf course, so hopefully I will keep going in the right trend.

Q. Do you still eat ice cream?

LUCY LI: Of course. Who doesn't eat ice cream?

Q. When you think back to that 2014 week, what are some of the fond memories that you remember most?

LUCY LI: Obviously just being able to be out there and play. There were huge crowds out there because we had the back-to-back Opens. So just thinking about walking up 18, and also the interview with the ice cream was hard to forget that.

Q. For players like yourself on the Epson Tour or even on the developmental tours, the purse this week presents this really great opportunity, both for prestige at the U.S. Open but to make money to finance yourselves and all that stuff. Tell me what you think about that. Does it put pressure on you? Is it exciting?

LUCY LI: I think it's very exciting. Then I don't think that's something I like to think about when I'm playing, but obviously in terms of just women's golf, it's so great to see that the purses increased so much just in the last two, three years.

I think that's just really exciting for everyone in the field.

Q. Are you looking forward to this opportunity that you have this year to hopefully make the LPGA Tour? I would assume that's a huge goal of yours?

LUCY LI: Yeah, of course. That's been my goal since I've turned pro is to make the LPGA.

Q. Does it feel like it's more tangible now than it has been?

LUCY LI: I think yes, I've been playing well, but I think it's really important to just take every shot, every week at a time.

Q. Thinking back to that Sunday at Pinehurst, watching Michelle throughout that whole round, what was going through your mind back then at that time watching her and how she ended up winning it? How has that progressed in your mind up until now and how you play the game, and how cool would it be to win a U.S. Open?

LUCY LI: Yeah, it was really, really a cool experience to be able to go out there on Sunday, and also the week before I went out and watched the men play. I think Martin Kaymer won by like a ton of shots or something.

But yeah, at that point I was watching just as a golf fan, so just really cool to be able to be inside the ropes because I was really short and there was a lot of crowds. I'm sure if I was outside the ropes I wouldn't have been able to see anything.

But it was just really good memories to think about kind of being able to walk in. I kind of was able to walk with the CEO at the time, Mike Davis and Tom O'Toole, and they gave me a little bit of advice, so it was cool to have that inside access.

Q. Lexi qualified here in 2007 as a 12 year old. She said that really started her career, got her in this direction. Would you say 2014 really helped get you to where you are right now?

LUCY LI: Yeah, I mean, obviously. That's why I'm standing here, I guess. It was a big confidence boost for me. But I feel like I've done a lot in my amateur and pro career since then that's gotten me to this point, but that's definitely kind of the jumping board of my career.

Q. As you're playing as a pro, what have you learned over the course of your career, from amateur to pro, and where do you feel your game is, and where are you looking to continue to develop and grow as a player?

LUCY LI: Yeah, I think what you learn as a junior and amateur and pro but it just becomes a lot more emphasized as a pro is the importance of being patient. I think that's something you keep learning over and over and over again.

But it's just really important to be able to take each shot at a time and be patient and not try to force anything.

In terms of where my game is, I feel very confident with where my game is, but obviously I'd like to improve all parts of my game. I think that's part of golf. You're just constantly improving.

Q. Where has your game changed the most since you were here in 2014?

LUCY LI: Well, I mean, I hit it like 50 yards farther now, so that's probably the biggest thing. But I think all parts of my game have improved a lot. Like I said, it's just continuously trying to improve throughout the years.

Q. How does this course kind of contrast to No. 2? Is it very similar or is it totally different?

LUCY LI: You know, it's another Donald Ross course, so it's kind of similar in the sense that there's a lot of kind of runout areas and false shoulders, false fronts, false backs.

But it's not quite as intense as No. 2 around the greens, but it is kind of similar, especially now that they've redone it so that the -- like around the fairway areas look a lot more similar to Pinehurst.

Q. There's 22 players under the age of 20 in this field; what do you see when these girls that you've played alongside these last couple years, it's sort of the youth movement on the LPGA Tour, even here at the Women's Open.

LUCY LI: Yeah, it's great to see. I think everyone in my group tomorrow is going to be really young, and I'm excited to be playing with my friend Rose. But it's just great to see that there's so many young girls getting into the game. I think it's really good for the future.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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