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July 11, 2009

Cristie Kerr


RHONDA GLENN: Ladies and gentlemen, Cristie Kerr is leading the championship. She is at 2-under par with a 72 today. Cristie, just generally assess the way you feel about the way you played today.
CRISTIE KERR: I feel like I played great actually. I hit it a lot more solid today, and you know, I had a couple opportunities for birdies that just didn't quite go in.
On 11 from the left side of the green it lipped out, looked like it was right in. On 13 that chip should have gone in. I played great and misread the putt on 16, which was my final bogey of the day, and a great par on 17 and 18. The course played definitely tougher today.
RHONDA GLENN: I have you down for two birdies. Correct?
RHONDA GLENN: No. 4, what did you hit to the green and how long was your putt?
CRISTIE KERR: 7-iron. Came back from the slope about foot and half. 15, I hit sand wedge to about a foot.
RHONDA GLENN: All right. Questions for Cristie?

Q. How does this feel right now compared to this time two years ago when you had the lead after Saturday?
CRISTIE KERR: It was kind of a different scenario at Pine Needles because we had to finish up on Sunday morning Saturday's round, so I mean you really didn't know what was going on or who was going to have the lead or anything.
To me it feels great. I feel pretty good. I'm not nervous. I feel calm. I know what I gotta do tomorrow and I'm just going to go out and do it.

Q. Could you talk about the win today, how much tougher was it to pull clubs, and just the grind it was to make the right decision on the course?
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah. It definitely played tougher, and the wind dried out the greens. This rain will help, I think, to bring a little moisture back in the greens now. But it was a lot tougher to get the ball close to the hole, in most case scenarios.
Two shots that I hit close were perfect golf shots. So it was definitely tougher to get the ball close to the hole, and the pins weren't any easier today. They were definitely, I would say, just as sneaky as they have been the first two rounds.

Q. When you get to this point in a major championship, how important is it to play smart golf besides just hitting quality golf shots, making the right strategic decisions and that kind of thing?
CRISTIE KERR: I think it's everything. If you're playing well, the temptation is to want to try and go for more pins and birdies, and on this golf course you can't do it because it'll bite you right in the butt. You gotta play smart golf.
Even if you're hitting great shots, when I had opportunity on 15, it was perfect club, I said, there's really no other place for it to go except at the pin. That was a rare instance where I had perfect club into the hole. The wind, everything was perfect.
So you know, I'm playing great. I still gotta play strategically smart, which is what I've done the last four days. Like I said, on this course it's also about eliminating mistakes as much as it is making birdies.

Q. You talked about playing smart golf and how difficult this course played today. Are you sort of amazed at yourself that you're the only player here under par?
CRISTIE KERR: No. You know, when I played a couple weeks ago and now, I knew this was going to be a great test of golf. But it's right in front of you. It's fair.
The pins have been really, really tough. They've put them definitely on some areas where I didn't think they would necessarily put them. But this is the USGA. I knew this course was going to be tough. It seems like the weather is going to be good tomorrow, so my job tomorrow is go out and shoot under par. It doesn't matter what anybody else is going to do tomorrow. I've got enough to handle with the golf course.

Q. Cristie, Paula had a meltdown at No. 10. I wonder what goes through your mind when you see a player going through something like that. And did you say something to her afterward?
CRISTIE KERR: No. I didn't say anything to her afterward. Would have been hard for anybody to say anything to Paula at the time, she was so mad. I don't blame her, though. But that's what the USGA wants to do. They want to bring in risk-reward.
And you know, I hit enough tee shots from that tee on the practice round to know that there's a lot of places you don't want to be hitting driver off that tee, and I gave myself good opportunity for birdie. And you know what, how many birdie chances are you going to get with a lob wedge at an Open. You have to take that almost guaranteed birdie chance opportunity.
So that's kind of what I did on 10. I executed my game plan. I didn't break on the putt. I actually hit it where I wanted to. But it was a little difficult waiting for all that period of time while she was going through what she was going through. But I felt bad for her. She's one of my friends, and you always want to see her playing well.
But that's what the USGA wanted to do is bring in risk-reward, and she put herself in a spot where she tried to hit it at the pin instead of just getting it on the green, taking par and leaving because that was a really tough bunker shot she brought in over the green into play which was not easy.
RHONDA GLENN: What did you hit on that tee?
CRISTIE KERR: I hit 5-iron, hit 5-iron, lob wedge and should have made the putt.

Q. All week you've talked about how beneficial the experience from two years ago is going to be for you here this week, and now tomorrow you'll get a chance to prove that. Talk about that. And is this a situation where you can't think of a better place to be?
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah. There really isn't a better place for me. I love this golf course. I think it's an amazing challenge, the way it's set up. I think the USGA has done a great job setting it up. I can't imagine a better place to be.
I feel good. I'm sure there's going to be some nerves in the morning. But I've been there. I know I can handle it. And I gotta go out and do my job tomorrow.

Q. Talking about how fast the greens were this week, how welcome will this rain be tonight going into tomorrow?
CRISTIE KERR: I definitely think it'll help the condition of the greens. They were definitely starting to get really crusty. And you know, the wind today definitely dried them out more. So I think it'll keep them healthy. I think they'll still be up to speed tomorrow. But I think it'll keep them healthy and not getting so brown and burned out.

Q. How proud are you of the way you've managed the golf course now for three days?
CRISTIE KERR: I'm very proud because, you know, even as the temptation is to try and want to make more birdies, I've said to myself it's equally important, if not more important, to try and eliminate mistakes this week. I think I've done that. You're going to make some bogeys on this golf course. It's kind of unavoidable. If I play smart and I get the speed on the putter the way I want it, I'll be happy at the end of the day.

Q. Do you consider yourself a front-runner? Do you like being out in the front or would you like coming the other way? Who has the advantage tomorrow?
CRISTIE KERR: I think I have the advantage. You know, I've won every way there is to win out on Tour. I was leading the U. S. Women's Open at Pine Needles when I ended up winning. I've also come from eight shots behind in an LPGA tournament to win. I think with my experience and the way I'm playing, I think to have the lead is the advantage.

Q. We all know what a grind the U.S. Open is, so I'm wondering how you've been unwinding after your rounds. What have you been doing?
CRISTIE KERR: Wine. Wine and good food.

Q. What kind and how much?
CRISTIE KERR: I try not to kill myself with the workouts this week. I'm not a good nap taker. I've been taking naps this week. Just trying to get enough rest. Just trying to make it low stress on myself as well, because instead of hitting the driver, the fairways are starting to run out kind of firm.
They said it played shorter today. I said, not really for me, because I had to hit some fairways off tees.
I'm just keeping it all in perspective. I'm trying not to put pressure on myself. I'm trying to actually be really selfish with the way I want to play and how I want to play this course, and that's what I've done every day.
I have plenty to handle with this golf course that I don't need to be thinking about the results of how tomorrow's going to end up. If I do my job and I play the way I want to, we'll see what happens.

Q. Cristie, do you have a three or four-foot putting drill that you use for greens like this, because correct me if I'm wrong, I don't think you have a three-putt this week.
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, I do. I have a three-putt from just off the fringe, so technically not, but you know, in my mind it is. I have a lot of drills I do for my putting. A lot of them for speed.
RHONDA GLENN: All right. Thank you so much, Cristie, and we wish you good luck tomorrow.

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