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April 4, 2009

Cristie Kerr


DANA GROSS-RHODE: Thank you for joining us right now. You're the runner-up in the clubhouse, but in the Top-10, you're one of the only players that has not just a win but a major championship win; do you look at that as an advantage going into the final round tomorrow?
CRISTIE KERR: I definitely think it's an advantage, knowing what it's not only like to win a tournament, but a major and how to handle the emotions and how you feel. I'm sure not even having won a tournament, they are not really going to know what they feel tomorrow, so I think that's to my advantage.

Q. It looked like at least on the front nine, everybody was treading water and on the back nine, things picked up a little bit. Obviously the weather is better. Were the course conditions that much tougher today?
CRISTIE KERR: No, I thought the pins were really tough. The pin on the fifth hole, the par 3, was a little sketchy. It was kind of on a slope, three or four over the bunker. Where they put the pins today, I had probably six or seven 20-footers that broke anywhere from five to eight feet. I mean, it's kind of hard to be aggressive and make those putts, especially when they are going into you and they are really fast.
I thought the pins were really tough today. If it was a 40-mile-an-hour wind today, it would have been a disaster out there for everybody.

Q. How is the rough --
CRISTIE KERR: You know, this course, I said it from the beginning of the week: It's got enough rough, definitely around the greens. A little spotty sometimes when you are off the fairways, you get lucky but the course does not really need a lot of rough, or even necessarily that much wind to play tough.
I mean, the greens are very fast. There's a lot of slope. Sometimes they are difficult to read. You know, you've just got to kind of play smart.

Q. Did you watch the telecast yesterday afternoon, and how happy were you?
CRISTIE KERR: Very happy. Last week at Phoenix, I played in the afternoon on Thursday when it was nearly 50-mile-an-hour wind. So it was nice to just not have to play two weeks in a row like that. I went out with my coach, Bryan Lebedevitch, and Jim Klein out of PGA West and hit some balls and worked on a couple of things. Yeah, I was definitely happy to not be playing in the afternoon. It was difficult enough hitting balls in that kind of wind.

Q. On that tee ball on 17 that almost rolled in for one, did you aim it there?
CRISTIE KERR: No, I didn't aim it there. I aimed it where my game plan was, to kind of aim at the bunker and get a putt pin-high from about 30 feet, because I made it last year. I made birdie last year when that pin was there, as well. It was a fortunate break for me that it hit in the spot that it did, and almost went in. It was nice to not have to work a lot.

Q. You've had the answer for the last couple of years, what's wrong with American golf, and when you see so many Americans on the leaderboard now, do you feel vindicated or just what's your take on that?
CRISTIE KERR: No, I feel proud. We have to remember, we have a very international tour, and a lot of great players from Asia. As the years have progressed on the LPGA, it's been tougher to win. Things go in cycles, and I think that the Americans are back. It's a Solheim year. I think they are kind of getting wrapped up to play the Solheim.
You know, it makes me proud to see all of the Americans up there.

Q. How much tougher do you think those pin placements would be to call them unfair? A few of them seemed really, really tight, almost on a mound.
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, there were a couple that -- I'm a pretty good putter, and you had to not only hit a great shot into the green, but you had to be very cautious putting to it. You know, there were a couple out there that were a little sketchy.
Obviously everybody has to play it and today there was no wind, so you just kind of had to -- you have to kind of know the golf course and you have to kind of know where to leave the ball.

Q. Can you talk about what you were feeling from the moment you hit your tee shot on 14 until the ball came to rest?
CRISTIE KERR: I thought it was in the water for sure. I even went in there and looked. It was the hand of God that blew it over there. I should have made the putt; it would have been a better story. Sometimes you get a break, and to contend in a major especially, you have to have the good breaks; I felt that.
A spectator came up to me yesterday and said that her sister or her friend, I can't remember exactly, because I was just finishing my round, she said, "You've got an angel sitting on your shoulder." Because this woman named Jackie; again, can't remember whether it's her sister or her friend, followed me every year I was at the Kraft Nabisco, and it was going to be 13 years and she just passed away. She said I have an angel sitting on my shoulder this year. And she must have just thrown the ball on the green, because I have no idea how that happened.

Q. The closing nine holes at Pine Needles, you were rock-solid coming in. What did you learn from that experience that's going to be helpful tomorrow?
CRISTIE KERR: You know, I learned that I can handle my emotions and can control my game under pressure, and I think that's going to suit me tomorrow.
You know, I've been there. A lot of the girls up there haven't. Having said that, I've still got to go out and execute my game plan, just keep doing what I'm doing to the best of my ability and every shot, just kind of be there.
DANA GROSS-RHODE: Cristie, thank you for coming in and good luck tomorrow.

End of FastScripts

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