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July 11, 2011

Ryann O'Toole


Q. Ryann, your first Women's Open and a successful one. How are you feeling about it?
RYANN O'TOOLE: I'm feeling pretty good. I mean, a little bummed that I had a couple hiccups yesterday. I made a couple bogeys coming down the stretch in my third round, but overall when you end on a birdie, you have a good feeling towards the end of the event.

Q. Yeah, and that birdie putt on 18, that's a pretty big one because you've earned exemption for next year, finishing top 10. I mean, that's a big deal. That means you get to come back again.
RYANN O'TOOLE: Exactly. I know when I made the putt, my caddy goes, You just earned your spot next year.
I'm like, You mean I don't have to qualify?
So it was pretty good. Quite excited about that.

Q. I know you're still in school, right?
RYANN O'TOOLE: No, I graduated in 2009.

Q. So you finished, okay.

Q. Do you expect I guess with this next Women's Open coming up to maybe even finish better? Is that kind of your expectation that you set the bar for yourself?
RYANN O'TOOLE: I don't think there's ever really expectations. I think it should just be a goal. I think your expectations should be to execute one shot at a time, stay in the moment, and I think there's a few times that I kinda (indiscernible) that cost you shots, and you go back and look at that and analyze it and go, All right. Learn to back off, especially when certain thoughts come to your mind.
I did pretty well this week, for the most part, but two long days out there. It's real tough to always stay on top of it. Do I expect to play well and do -- I mean, of course. You know, I'll find out when I get to the course and see how it suits me. I think for the most part, Open courses are going to suit my game just from the fact that scores are never super low. I tend to make a lot of birdies, but I think my length helps take advantage of a lot of situations.

Q. What did you learn this week?
RYANN O'TOOLE: That I can contend with the top players in the world, that although my ranking stays whatever it is, that I have just as much talent as anybody else.

Q. How difficult was this course? I mean, just the altitude, how hilly it is.
RYANN O'TOOLE: To be honest, I'm kind of frustrated I shot 3-under, because I know I could have shot much lower. I think I left a few putts out there. I think the difficult part to this course was the greens.
But I struck the ball great. I hit my drive wonderful. I mean, there are only a few shots I left myself struggling in the rough. I never had any errant shots that costed me more than a bogey. I didn't take any doubles. Two out of the three par 5s are reachable for me in two.
So, you know, for the most part, I think it's not -- for me it's not difficult. For example, 18 I can fly the bunkers, so those don't come into play for me.
A few other holes I can cut the corners. So where girls are having rescue to 5-iron, and I am taking 8-iron and 9-ironing it. Much different golf course for me.

Q. How much did it help you because of your endurance because of the shape you're in?
RYANN O'TOOLE: I think when it comes to playing -- well, I played 32 holes two days this week, and I think that is a big advantage to being in shape and dealing with altitude. I mean, the only time I really felt the altitude was when you're kinda, you know, walking up the hill. But sprint training really helps, I think, with that. And I think just being physically in shape has helped me finish strong the whole way through.

Q. Can you elaborate what your sprint training is?
RYANN O'TOOLE: Well, I do weightlifting three to four days a week. I obviously tone it down during tournaments and right before an event, that being how much weight I use.
But then two days a week I will do sprint training, meaning 10 to 20 minutes of kinda either uphill sprint training or around the track or in the sand somewhere, just depending on anywhere from 100 yards to 400 yards.
I'm just trying to get basically completely out of breath. I'm not a big long-distance runner. I don't think long distance is very good for the golf game.
A perfect example is, you know, when you're hitting the shot and having to walk up a huge hill, you get out of breath quickly. How can you recover quickly? So teaching yourself and teaching your body to breathe, and, you know, get past it. That way you can hit the shot.

Q. When the weather started rolling in, you guys knew you were going to play a lot of holes. Do you think you had an advantage because of the great condition you're in?
RYANN O'TOOLE: I did, especially -- you know, what makes it tough is I think on any golfer, regardless of the condition you're in, is when you get pulled off and have to kinda hang out for a little bit and then get thrown back out, that can be difficult on you mentally.
I think physically-wise I was fine. I just regroup, get some food, fuel. But physically-wise, I could still -- I could have played 18 today and had no problem.

Q. How long before you win a U.S. Open?
RYANN O'TOOLE: Next year.

Q. How frustrating was this weekend overall?
RYANN O'TOOLE: Well, the on-and-off was hard, but you kinda just gotta keep yourself busy and relax and not, you know, get caught up in what -- the situation that you can't control. So you just stick to your game plan, stick to your routines, occupy yourself, entertain yourself, whatever, go to the movies, hang out with people who are here.
I mean, I can't control the weather, so why let it affect me?

Q. Your first U.S. Open. What was it like to be in contention the entire time?
RYANN O'TOOLE: I think it was surreal. It's like when -- I won out on the Futures Tour three times, and I didn't really notice that I won until the next day or two, like when you look back on the situation like, Wow, I won. You know, it just doesn't seem, like, did that happen?
I mean, as a golfer and as a competitor I didn't win. So I'm still frustrated about that and still bummed out, but at the same time, if I was going into this event and someone said, Hey, you would take the top 10 -- I don't know where I am right now, but I would have said, Yeah, you know, great.
I mean, so for the first U.S. Open, I'm very pleased with my finish.

Q. What did you learn about your game, yourself, the way you had to kind of maybe compare to the best women in the game?
RYANN O'TOOLE: I mean, like every event we're still learning, so what I would take from this event would be really use my advantages to their fullest: my length, my competitiveness. There are certain shots out here that -- people could say, Oh, you don't want to be aggressive, but at the same time, sometimes you have to be aggressive. You weigh the options. Is it risk/reward?
Like 17, today I kinda wanted to take a 3-wood. I mean, I couldn't reach it, but I wanted to get down all the way to the bottom have the easier pitch-and-run up. But instead I took the iron.
I mean, there are certain shots out here that you can't throw away. You know, par is a good score. So, you know, put yourself in a position that if you missed a birdie, it's okay.

Q. Could this be a springboard for you?
RYANN O'TOOLE: Definitely. I think what I'm pleased about is it got my name out there. This is what the sport is about. There are so many girls competing for the top.
Sometimes you're mixed up amongst a lot of them. And sometimes, just to get your name and recognition and air time, it takes a lot. But I think I showed well out here, and I think that was kinda my goal and just to kinda give everyone a heads-up that I can play and I can depend.
I think at the LPGA Championship I shot 3-under the first round, and then I kind of fumbled. I was just kinda still learning to get my feet wet, learning to control nerves. I think that's what I did much better this time is not go out and lose it. You know, so stay focused and stay pushing.

Q. Have you got any more sponsorship calls?
RYANN O'TOOLE: No, not yet. I have about 200 e-mails that I need to look at. I have yet to kinda look at them. A lot of Facebook friend requests. We'll see what else. Maybe there's some good stuff amongst that.

Q. You might have to get a manager.

Q. You know who you are. But how important is it to get that out obviously to the fans but obviously let the other golfers know, Hey, Ryann O'Toole is here to play?
RYANN O'TOOLE: I think it's important. I think -- what I've learned is by just playing in events and posting scores, players will know. Players, you know who's good and who's gonna be a threat out there.
I mean, I'm working my ass -- well, I'll say I'm working my butt off. I'm definitely gonna do my best to bring my game and push the girls. So that's my goal.

Q. How big do you think it's gonna be next week or next time you play to take this and move forward? Because now people are going to be watching you, see what you're doing.
RYANN O'TOOLE: Which will be cool. You know, I've spent a few tournaments, you know, behind Paula Creamer and Cristie Kerr and Natalie Gulbis, and they have the crowd, and I'm sitting there, going, I want the crowd.
You know, I'm hoping that this will kinda bring that for me in slowly but surely. I know over time, with good finishes and hopefully a win soon, that I will have that.

Q. Did you feel like you had it this week?

Q. That ovation on 18...
RYANN O'TOOLE: I did. And yesterday we had a lot of people following, and it was just really cool, especially when you make the turn on 3 or on 18 and you see everyone just gathering there -- yesterday must have been like 12,000 people or something? I don't know. It was really cool.
It doesn't make me nervous. No, it makes me excited. I just want to talk to everybody and wave. I like it.

Q. Have you been waiting for this? You're 24 years old. You're not exactly a kid.
RYANN O'TOOLE: Yeah. And I said that to my caddy/coach. I said -- I was, like, Wow, this event is what you dream about golf being like, all the people that come and support this event, all the people out here. This is what, when you grow up and want to turn pro, this is what you think of what it's like. It's really cool to experience that.

Q. How big was it to have a solid finish? You didn't quite keep up the pace you had, but so many times you watch a tournament, and somebody makes that quick, early run, and then...
RYANN O'TOOLE: And then they drop off. I know.
It's another learning experience. So the Open, when a player got to 5-under -- I mean, there are two players that eventually got to 5-under. I was, like, Oh, crap, someone's making a run.
They come back to the field, and you can't be the player that plays catchup. You have to just kind of keep playing your game. I think, you know, it's not like every event where someone starts making the run and they continue the run.
It's a big difference out here. They -- I mean, there are a lot of hard holes and anything can happen. That's kinda something I need to remind myself of the next time we play this.

Q. Is this an experience you'll never forget?
RYANN O'TOOLE: Oh, yeah, definitely.

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