June 4, 2022
Southern Pines, North Carolina, USA
Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club
Q. 5-under 66, six birdies on Saturday of the U.S. Open. You have to be feeling good about your round.
LYDIA KO: Yeah, overall I think I played solid, and I hit a lot of greens. Some of the greens I hit, it was quite a ways far from the pin, but still, you take any green in regulations.
I think I stayed pretty patient out there, and I think that's what I did pretty well these last few days.
You know that even though it's the same as any other 72-hole event, this week just feels a little longer, a little tougher. I just try to stay patient, try to have a good time out there, and to be able to play some good golf with that is definitely a bonus.
Q. We could hear the reaction from the fans on 18 when you hit it close there. Talk about the energy and what it's feeling like on the course today.
LYDIA KO: I think overall this is probably one of the biggest crowds that I've seen at the U.S. Women's Open. I think we had pretty good crowds last year in San Francisco, but this is a huge golfing community.
I know that even when there aren't championships here, a lot of people come in the area to play Pinehurst or play here.
It's actually nice to go to those kind of places where people love it, people are excited about women's golf being here, people are excited about golf in general. I think that's why the fans aren't in one specific hole or one specific group. They're just kind of scattered all around.
Like even when I saw groups teeing off at 10:00, there were a bunch of people. It's nice to play in front of them, and I feel like everybody out here are avid golf fans and there's a lot of kids, as well, which is always nice to see.
Q. Seems as though there's been more low scores this week than you might expect to see at the U.S. Women's Open. What's your opinion on the setup?
LYDIA KO: I think overall it's a course that doesn't suit like one type of player. I think I said that earlier in the week, as well. I think that just showed on the leaderboard, there are some longer hitters, there is an amateur at the top of the leaderboard, there is some shorter hitters. It's very different, right?
I think at some courses it kind of gets dialed down to like one type of player, but I think around a course like this, it doesn't fit just one, and I think no matter what kind of game you have, no matter if you play a fade or a draw, you can all get around the course, and I think that's why it's showing.
The course is in really pure condition, so I feel like if you hit good shots you're rewarded with it; but at the same time, it's really small margins of being a perfect shot to being just off the green and now you're short sided.
I think playing smart at any U.S. Open is key and especially around greens and courses like this. I still think it is tough out there, I just think the level of play is really good, and I think that's why the cut was at plus 3, and I think at most U.S. Women's Opens it's a lot higher than that, as well.
Q. Was the setup today any different than the first two days, and what part of the course was most challenging for you today?
LYDIA KO: Yesterday I think they moved a par-3 up; the day before they moved a different par-3 up; today I think they kept it kind of -- mirrored what the scorecard length would be.
I was talking to the people from the USGA, I don't think it was unfair. Yes, you need to hit good shots and the greens are rolling out more and more, so you have to play for that, but I don't think I had a shot where I was like, man, I don't know how I'm going to stop this or get this close to the hole.
I think it's been fair. The wind I think dictates how the hole plays a lot. Compared to the first day, the last two days the wind directions were almost the opposite direction.
That just makes the course play a lot differently. I don't know what it's going to be like tomorrow, but I think the wind dictates it more, and just because we've had nicer weather, the course itself is only going to get drier over these next few days.
Q. No. 4 seemed to be playing really hard today for a lot of people. You got par there with a nice long putt. How did you find that hole playing today?
LYDIA KO: I think that was just into the wind, and today it was a little bit more breezier than the other days, just from the start of the day, probably from the storm that was kind of around last night that the wind kind of stayed.
That just makes the hole a little bit longer and just makes the tee shot a little bit more demanding. There's not a lot of room there. There's a lot of false fronts, so I think people -- you're trying to get over the false front, but then not too long because when you've got downhill putts they're really quick.
I think even if you have a short club in or a perfect number, you still have to hit quality iron shots, and I think just being smart and just know that par is a good score and not to get overly too greedy out there.
Q. What was key to your performance today?
LYDIA KO: I think for most parts I didn't make too many mistakes, and I think when I was out of position I was able to scramble well.
I made a bogey on 15 after hitting a great -- the first good drive on that hole of the week, and then I think I hit this far behind the ball for the second shot, which was a shocker.
I was able to bounce back with a good birdie on 16.
I think overall I just was pretty -- I never got too excited or never got too down when I was out of position, and I think that's what you've got to do well.
Like I said, it's a long week, and I'm just trying to play the best golf I can. If I can play good golf on top of that, that's ticking the boxes.
Q. Do you feel like you're in contention now? We don't know what'll happen but you're currently five shots back.
LYDIA KO: You just never know, right? There has been some lower scores at this course. I don't know, like I said, how it's going to be set up, what the weather is forecasted to be tomorrow. It's the U.S. Women's Open; there's always that little bit of adrenaline and little bit of nerves that maybe necessarily don't come at any other event.
I'm just going to focus on my game, just enjoy it. It's such a great golf course, and it's a fun course where I think you can be aggressive, but at the same time when you are -- there are some penalizing bits, as well. You just have to play really smart.
I think this has been one of the most fun venues of the U.S. Women's Open that I've played, so hopefully I'd better finish off my week well and see where that puts me at the end of tomorrow.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports