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July 4, 2002

Laura Diaz


MODERATOR: This is Laura Diaz. She shot 3 under par today. In previous Women's Open rounds, she once had a 69 in 1997. That would have been at Pumpkin Ridge, that would have also been 3 under par in the first round.

Tell us your overall feel for the golf course today, the fact that there was not so much wind, did it play soft to you?

LAURA DIAZ: You know, we've had -- i played 18 holes in the rain, and 9 holes in extreme wind, and 16 holes, in not that bad a wind yesterday, so I think it played similar to yesterday, but the wind is definitely not kicking up like it was in the beginning of the week, so I really got a chance to enjoy the golf course, and it was lucky enough to hit it close a few times and makes some birds.

MODERATOR: How do you explain the turnaround in your game? You have gone from being a person who was an average professional and now you're right up there at the top.

LAURA DIAZ: Patience, hard work, determination, just really practicing hard, and I think setting higher goals, so that it makes you work harder year after year.

MODERATOR: Any questions for Laura about her round today?

Q. When you say that you really got a chance to enjoy the course today, you make it sound like the first three days in the rain and extreme wind, that you were trying to survive the course; is that a good assessment.

LAURA DIAZ: You don't really get a chance to appreciate the golf course in severe conditions. I think you're working so hard and battling so hard to get through the weather that you can't just sit back and hit some good shots and enjoy the fact that you're at the U.S. Open, and I think today I got a chance to do that. A lot of nerves going through my body on the front 9, but still you're able to say, hey, this is the 4th of July, I'm at the LPGA Women's U.S. Open, I got a lot of people out here cheering us on.

The galleries were just incredible today, and I think that's so nice to see because it's just nice to know that all these people appreciate good golf.

Q. I know the course is quite different, but how do the severity of the conditions compares to DuPont?

LAURA DIAZ: DuPont was an extreme golf course this year, I thought. I had never seen rough that thick and greens that firm, and considering the fact that we had water on -- we had a lot of rain the one day, so you couldn't land it short, and let it go up, just that DuPont was very difficult this year, and I did not enjoy myself, so I hope that this course treats me better and that I'm able to go out the next three days and enjoy myself like I did today.

Q. Is that a 4th of July ribbon you have in your head? And could you also go through your birdies as far as the yardage and the clubs?

LAURA DIAZ: I can try. I birdied number 2, I hit an 8-iron, I had 142 yards, and I hit it to about 4 feet. Do you want me to talk about my bogeys, too?

Q. Sure.

LAURA DIAZ: I bogeyed number 5, I had to take an unplayable, and then from where I was, I didn't get it on the green, but I was able to get it up and down.

Q. How was it unplayable?

LAURA DIAZ: I hit it in the stuff, whatever you want to call that, the Prairie Dunes, yeah, in the tall stuff. I birdied 7 -- what did I do on 7? It's the par 5. I almost hit it on in 2 and then chipped it to about a foot. It was 223 to the front. I hit 67 wood. I bogeyed number 9 from the middle of the fairway, which was a bit disappointing after hitting a 6-iron from 147 yards.

Then I didn't get it up and down out of the bunker. I birdied 13, which is -- i don't know what hole that is. Is that the par 4 down the hill?

Q. No.

LAURA DIAZ: Oh, I hit 4-iron from 166 yards to about 5 feet, and on 14 I hit my 50-degree pitching wedge from 102 yards, and it actually hit the flag and it came back, and I thought I went in the hole but it rolled about 25 feet, and I made the 25-footer.

Then I birdied 17, I hit 9-iron from about 1 -- well, I can tell you exactly -- 111 yards to the pin on 9, and I hit a 9-iron to 3 feet.

Q. Laura, did you consider 14 a good break or bad break, and how big was making that putt?

LAURA DIAZ: It was kind of unfortunate because my ball mark was literally on the hole, and I thought I had made a pretty good swing, and it's always upsetting when it hits the flag and doesn't go in, and goes back 25 feet, so I think that I and my caddy were pretty upset about that, and he said to me as we were walking off the green, "You deserved that. This hole owed you after hitting the flag and coming back."

So I felt pretty good after being able to make the putt instead of being upset it hit the flag and rolled back.

Q. Laura, is the comfort level totally different when your name goes on the board at the U.S. Open?

LAURA DIAZ: I don't pay that much attention to the boards because, for one, it is the first day; and for two, it really doesn't do me any good to know how the other players are playing. I still have to play my own golf game.

But the comfort level in general is much more comfortable. I feel -- in the last two years I think that I've gotten a lot more experience, and it's allowed me to get a lot more comfortable out here, and I've been able to enjoy the last two years a lot. Hard work is really paying off.

Q. You scored better on the Back 9 today. Do you find that to be an easier to score on, or the front?

LAURA DIAZ: I don't think there is anything easy about this golf course. I hit it closer on the Back 9 more times, so I was able to make a few more birdies than I did on the front, but I don't find either 9s easy. I think it is a very challenging golf course, as the U.S. Open should be.

Q. You didn't find one hole more favorable to scoring than the other?


Q. You mentioned the 4th of July holiday. There are other Americans on the leader board with you. Does that leave you with a patriotic feeling today?

LAURA DIAZ: I think I'd be feeling patriotic no matter where I was on the leader board, but I think it's nice to have two Americans with two good scores today, and it's always an honor to be able to tie one of the best players in golf, Juli Inkster, so I think that this is a great day to say "I'm proud to be an American," and as is every day.

MODERATOR: Laura, wonderful round. Good luck with the rest of the championship.

LAURA DIAZ: Thank you.

End of FastScripts....

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