June 4, 2022
Southern Pines, North Carolina, USA
Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club
Q. Minjee Lee, 4-under 67. Just talk a little bit about the day and also a bit about the fans out there. They seemed to be behind you.
MINJEE LEE: Yeah, I had a pretty solid day. Started a little bit slow. Made one bogey on the front and then went on a string of birdies. That was nice heading into the back nine.
Yeah, overall pretty solid. I mean, the fans were really cool today. There was a lot of them out there, especially on the 18th. You could see everybody kind of out on the grandstands and lining the fairways, so it was really nice.
Q. Heading into the final round of the U.S. Open, three-shot lead, can you remember another time when you were kind of in this position?
MINJEE LEE: No. It's the U.S. Open.
No, but I'm just going to stick to what I know. I've been on -- been to plenty of U.S. Opens and been in pressure situations like this before. Just take away my experience from the other events and the other Opens and try and get it done tomorrow.
Q. You always look so calm out there; what is your inner dialogue like? Is self-talk really important to you out there?
MINJEE LEE: Pretty much when I was on the run of birdies I wasn't too nervous. But I think coming down the stretch a little bit more, just with more people maybe, just a little bit more pressure.
Yeah, I'm pretty calm. My personality is pretty calm anyway. I don't think I get too high or too low. I think that's a strength of mine.
Q. Your first Women's Open professionally, or was it your first --
MINJEE LEE: As an Am.
Q. Was it Pinehurst?
MINJEE LEE: Yeah.
Q. What do you remember about that week?
MINJEE LEE: I just remember it being really hot. First time experiencing the turtleback kind of greens and just the runoffs there. I remember I was doing really well as an Am, and yeah, I just remember it being really, really cool, being the second time at the U.S. Open but first time playing.
Q. Do you think with the greens being a little softer this week and more receptive it's played into your strengths as a ball striker?
MINJEE LEE: I think it's helped everyone really. I think some pins you can go for, and obviously if you have a shorter club in then you can be a bit more aggressive.
But some of the pins you just can't play to, you just have to play the safe route and take your par, like your two-putt. If it's 30 feet, it's 30 feet.
Yeah, I think it has helped a little bit that it's a little bit softer, that we can hit the greens a bit more easily and not have to run it off the fronts.
Q. Holes 9 through 12 felt really decisive today. Can you talk about what you were feeling when you were so hot, and as much as you want, can you kind of play-by-play it and maybe give us some of the clubs you hit on the approaches?
MINJEE LEE: 9 -- I can't remember, I'm sorry.
10, I hit maybe 50-degree or pitching wedge. I'm not sure. But I had like 10 feet for birdie.
The next hole -- what's the next hole?
Q. Par-4, 365 --
MINJEE LEE: That's not really helping me. Sorry. It's uphill? I remember 12.
I'm not sure. All the putts that I had were quite like inside birdie chances, so it was like inside 12 feet, all of them. I feel like I had -- once I had the 9th I sort of had a good look with the speed and everything.
Yeah, I just went on a little run there.
Q. Did it feel like it was the irons that were doing it, the approach shots, you caught a little bit of a heater?
MINJEE LEE: I just had good numbers, and having shorter irons in, I think it was easier to calculate the bounce.
I hit some really good shots in and hit some really good putts, too.
Q. Your birdies were 12 feet, 12 feet, eight feet, six feet.
MINJEE LEE: Yeah, it was inside 12 feet.
Q. Sometimes there was a two-shot swing on the golf course that you don't really know about. You had back-to-back two-shot swings within your group. What does that do mentally for you head-to-head against somebody? Talk about the 11th and 12th hole.
MINJEE LEE: I didn't really think about how Mina was playing. I was just trying to make as many birdies as I could just to try and post a good score.
I don't know, I think maybe -- I didn't really notice her playing that much because I was really kind of in my zone, so I don't really have a comment for that.
Q. Can I ask you about your driving advantage? You'll be playing head-to-head tomorrow with her again; confidence out-driving her by such a distance?
MINJEE LEE: I mean, I know for myself, I picked up a little bit of length over the past off-season, so it has been helpful for me. I don't think it really matters what -- it doesn't matter how far I can hit it because the second shot is what matters.
I feel like Mina was doing great, as well, and I was doing great, so yeah, I don't --
Q. What is your approach going into tomorrow, and how much does it help having won a major?
MINJEE LEE: You know, my approach is going to be the same as the last three days. I'm just going to try and make as many birdies as I can to give myself as many opportunities as I can on the greens. Play safe when I need to and just take one shot at a time really.
Q. The Open record is I think 16-under; any thoughts of that?
MINJEE LEE: You know, I haven't really thought about it. If I play good, it's going to come with it, right? Hopefully I can play well.
Q. What did you do specifically to gain extra distance?
MINJEE LEE: Not too much different. I just went hard in the gym over the off-season. Just kind of slowly learned how to hit it a little bit faster and faster, as I was the last couple of years, as well. Just seems to be coming together a bit more this year.
Q. And your caddie was obviously on the bag when Cristie won here --
MINJEE LEE: Yeah.
Q. Did you feel like he had any extra important insight this week?
MINJEE LEE: I feel like the course has changed quite a lot. It's been quite a while. He said all the rough is gone. I think maybe they remodeled the course. I'm not sure. But I know he knows the layout pretty well, and just like the undulations of the greens.
No, he hasn't really talked about too much.
Q. Have you heard from Karrie this week?
MINJEE LEE: Yeah, she texted me yesterday actually.
Q. What did she say?
MINJEE LEE: She said, keep it going, let's go Aussie.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports