June 4, 2022
Southern Pines, North Carolina, USA
Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club
Q. 3-under 68; how is the course playing out there today?
LEONA MAGUIRE: It's tricky. It's not maybe quite as firm and fast as we would have expected on the weekend, but the pins are in tricky spots so you really have to hit your targets and stay disciplined out there, and thankfully I did that for the most part today.
Q. Heading into tomorrow what have you learned about the course that's going to help you?
LEONA MAGUIRE: I think you just have to hit a lot of fairways, a lot of greens, stay really patient, cliches you expect from the U.S. Open, but there is some chances out there. You have to take advantage of those shorter holes and the par-5s, and there's a few other holes that you just have to take your par and know par is a good score.
Q. What's it been like being back in North Carolina and playing a major championship in North Carolina?
LEONA MAGUIRE: Yeah, I love it. It's a pity we don't have a major championship here every year or even a regular LPGA event. North Carolina has been a second home to me since I went to Duke, and first time I ever came to America was to Pinehurst.
North Carolina has a really special place in my heart and really enjoying being out here this week, and plenty of Blue Devil shouts and all that, so nice to have some home support.
Q. What do you remember about that first trip to Pinehurst and how's that journey helped you fine comfort owl you?
LEONA MAGUIRE: Yeah, I was 11 years old. Came over with my twin sister Lisa to play the U.S. Kids tournament, and we played No. 5; it was late July, early August. It was a million degrees and nothing like we'd ever experienced before.
But yeah, I guess we had a ball that week, and, yeah, I had four incredible years at Duke, as well, so I really enjoy coming back here and spending time in this part of the world.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about your iron play this week?
LEONA MAGUIRE: Yeah, I mean, it's something I've struggled a little bit the last few weeks, but I felt like I've got it nicely dialed in. I think you just have to be really special with your targets this week and you have to hit your shots at those targets, and I've done that really well especially the last two days.
There's also a lot of hybrids, my 6-hybrid, a lot of 9-woods, as well, so I can take it a little bit more conservatively off the tee on the ones I want to knowing I can hit still those targets with those longer clubs.
Q. You birdied 9, 10 and then a great par save on 11. Talk about how that kept the momentum going.
LEONA MAGUIRE: Yeah, I felt like the scorecard looked like I got off to a slow start, but I hit a really good shot on 4 and a really good shot on 5 and kind of got punished for them.
My caddie was just telling me to stay really patient, and yeah, the birdie on 9 gave me some good momentum heading into the back nine, and nice birdie on 10.
And that par putt on 11, I raced it by on 11, and that was really massive for momentum, getting that one to drop.
12 and 13 are two of the hardest holes out here, so it was a bonus to pick up those two.
Q. You talked about being patient after those; is there anything in particular that you keep in mind, particularly going into tomorrow, to just maintain your focus?
LEONA MAGUIRE: Yeah, I think it's just being really disciplined, not trying to chase after some of the pins. They're tempting to go after some of the pins, but it's just so penal if you miss them in the wrong spots.
I'm quite a few shots back, but you never know. Things can turn pretty quickly in a major championship. I'll just try and post a number tomorrow and see what happens.
Q. Are you going to be staying in the area after tomorrow?
LEONA MAGUIRE: Unfortunately not, no. I was here a couple weeks ago so I got to spend a few days at Duke. We came down here for a few days. Yeah, I've had two weeks in North Carolina. It's a pity it's not going to be more, but I'll be back soon.
Q. What's your favorite thing to do here in the area?
LEONA MAGUIRE: I mean, it's the southern hospitality, I think, and the food and all of that. I've probably gained a few pounds while I've been here. But it's nice to be back, nice to have some North Carolina barbecue again.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports