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July 5, 2012

Lizette Salas


THE MODERATOR:テつ Lizette Salas is the first one in the clubhouse with a round of 69.テつ She was 3‑under par today.テつ She's 22 year oldyears old.テつ She's from Azusa, California and drives around the tour in her dad's 2006 truck instead of flying.テつ First of all, that was a mighty fine round.テつ Congratulations.
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ Thank you.

Q.テつ How do you feel about the way you played?
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ I feel good.テつ Just had one little minor mistake and kept the ball on the fairway and just kept smiling out there.
My caddie and I were just cracking jokes all day, and just trying to stay in the middle of the green‑‑ trying to stay on the green, first of all.テつ And we just figured any putt on the green is a birdie putt.テつ And we had some good up‑and‑downs, and down the stretch we had some good birdie opportunities, and took advantage of that last one, and just threw out a fist pump.テつ It was good.
THE MODERATOR:テつ The one mistake you mentioned which one are you referring to?
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ I'm referring to 11.テつ I hit it in the right rough.テつ Tried to be a little cute with it.テつ Hit it a little over.テつ I hit a really good chip and just misread the putt.テつ I knew there were going to be more birdie opportunities the way I was swinging.テつ I just had fun with it.
I know it's four long days, and it's really hot out here.テつ I was trying to stay cool and just trying to have fun and play the best golf that I can.
THE MODERATOR:テつ You grew up in Azusa, your parents emigrated from Mexico.テつ Your neighborhood when you were growing up was drug‑infested, heavily gang‑populated.テつ How did you turn out so well?
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ Well, I love my hometown.テつ It's a great place.テつ There's always bad areas in cities, but I had a great family, hard‑working family that‑‑ with good morals and education was first, and I was the baby of the family, so I got a lot of attention.テつ And I think having good working parents and so optimistic helped me in my career.
And my dad still works long hours out on the golf course, my mom also; and so this is just my way of repaying them for all their sacrifice and all their work they've done for me.テつ And they're here this week, and so is my little niece.テつ It's just a family sport for us now, and it's just great to have them around.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Your dad is the head mechanic of the greens crew at Azusa Golf Course; correct?

Q.テつ How about Hispanic golf heroes?テつ Do you have any?
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ I have plenty.テつ I have, of course, Lorena Ochoa and growing up as a little girl it was Nancy Lopez.テつ I don't know how she got my number, but she called me right before my debut on the Future's Tour on the Duramed Tour last year.テつ Just so happened she texted me not too long ago asking me to call her.テつ I met her in Phoenix as I debuted on the LPGA Tour.テつ And she's still my role model and an idol and so is Lorena.テつ Of course, Lee Trevino with his optimistic attitude and his fun way of being on the golf course.テつ That's the way I want to be.テつ A little bit of everybody and just creating my own little style out there on the golf course.
THE MODERATOR:テつ So you just heard from Nancy just after you finished today?
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ I just got a text from her.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Terrific.テつ Terrific.テつ All right.テつ Do we have some questions for Lizette?

Q.テつ Can you just give us a little more background on how you got started in golf?テつ Your father approached the pro?
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ Yeah.テつ I started at the age of seven.テつ I gotta thank my brother because he hated golf.テつ He didn't want to play.テつ So my dad took me out to the golf course one day and gave me a club, and he was good friends with the head pro.テつ And he didn't have that much money to pay for lessons because they're really expensive.テつ I didn't have golf shoes.テつ I didn't know how to dress, nothing like that.テつ They worked out a deal where my dad did handy man favors for them.テつ My dad fixed cars on the side, and that's how I got started.テつ Just been swinging ever since.テつ Haven't stopped.

Q.テつ If you look throughout sports there's a lot of examples of people that use sports to earn a scholarship and maybe lift themselves out of tough circumstances.テつ It strikes me that doesn't happen a lot in golf.テつ Do you see that as unique even though it may not be in a sports setting?
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ I'm sorry?

Q.テつ You can look throughout sports, there's a lot of people who come from tough backgrounds, earn a scholarship and better themselves.テつ It might not be better in golf.テつ Do you think this is unique in the golf world?
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ I think so.テつ I've heard stories like this in football and in basketball.テつ And it's kind of special because golf is such a unique sport and it brings different backgrounds together, and I'm just fortunate to be here; and to be amongst the top players in the world has always been a big dream of mine.テつ And just getting to USC was a big goal for us, for my family.テつ Coach Gaston believed in me.テつ I was just under her wing, listened, and now just on the LPGA living the dream and playing the best golf that I can.テつ And just having fun along the way.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Are you the first person in your family to graduate from college?
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ Yes, here in the U.S.テつ Yeah.
THE MODERATOR: テつAnd you and your dad and your ten‑year‑old niece drove out from Arkansas in his 2006 truck.
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ Yeah.テつ Not the first time.
THE MODERATOR:テつ That was not the first time?
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ No.テつ We've did two road trips from last summer on the Symetra Tour from California to Ohio.テつ And after the Open Colorado we drove home.テつ We did another one from California to New York, and then did a couple of Symetra Tour events and drove home from Georgia.
This isn't anything different for us.テつ Just gives us time to be together and talk about life and how different our life has become to about a year ago, trying to make it on the Symetra tour.テつ And now being on top of the leaderboard at the U.S. Women's Open is just surreal.テつ I just have the best team around me that allows me to have fun at what I'm doing and to not put so much pressure on myself and just smiling out there.
THE MODERATOR:テつ You've made over $70,000 this year.テつ You could fly first class if you wanted.テつ But you like that truck.
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ We like that truck.テつ It's red and it has "USC dad" on it.テつ I think it has over 90,000 miles on it.テつ We've had some great memories, laughed and shed tears in that truck.テつ And I often slept in it.テつ It's been a good‑‑ it's been a fun adventure, and just going to keep going and making more experiences.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions.テつ Okay.テつ Did you tee off on the front 9?
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ Yes, I did.
THE MODERATOR:テつ You birdied the first hole.テつ What club did you hit to the green and what was your putt?
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ I hit a 9‑iron on the first hole and I had about a seven‑footer.
THE MODERATOR:テつ On the 7 you made another birdie.
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ No. 7, it's the par‑5.テつ I hit a 52‑degree wedge to about 8, 9 feet.
THE MODERATOR:テつ No. 11 was a mistake you were talking about.テつ The one mistake of the day.
THE MODERATOR:テつ On 15 you had a birdie 3.
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ That was a big putt.テつ That was I would say around 35, 40 feet.
THE MODERATOR:テつ What club did you hit to the green?
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ I hit a 9‑iron to that.
THE MODERATOR:テつ And No. 18?
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ No. 18 I hit 6‑iron.
THE MODERATOR:テつ How long was that?
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ That was about 7 feet, I would say.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Did your dad and your niece and your mother walk around with you today?
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ Oh, yeah.テつ My niece, as I said before, my niece has been with me since Arkansas, and so has my dad.テつ My mom just flew in last night.テつ My niece is just having a blast.テつ She's been helping me practice.テつ She's making me laugh.テつ And having my family here makes it so much better.テつ I'm just glad that they're here with me and enjoying this experience with me, because it's definitely a family sport, and without them, I wouldn't be here.
THE MODERATOR:テつ How did you deal with the heat today?
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ These sleeves.
THE MODERATOR:テつ What do they do exactly?テつ Explain that to us.
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ They keep your arms cool.テつ I don't know.テつ My dad just gave them to me.テつ Never played with them before.テつ So it was the first time I tried them.テつ I had my sun umbrella out there, my caddie kept giving me tons and tons of water and Pedialyte.テつ They mixed that in my water and it keeps me hydrated.テつ My don't tell anybody.
THE MODERATOR:テつ A secret ingredient.

Q.テつ You talked about Nancy Lopez reaching out to you.テつ But you're really too young to remember‑‑ you weren't even born for a lot of her career.テつ What do you know about her?テつ Have you just watched any archival things?テつ What do you know about what kind of player she was?
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ What I remember is her style.テつ She was so feminine.テつ She brought out a different style in golf.テつ She was just so loving to the fans.テつ She's so bubbly and approachable.テつ I think that's really important.
The fact that she went out of her way to talk to me just shows how great she is to young golfers that are coming up in the LPGA.テつ I know her swing was super long and she was one of the longest hitters.テつ I even asked her how do you hit the ball so far?テつ She was like, "I had a big, big swing."
Just little things like that.テつ And she's impacted my view of golf in a big way, and she's just awesome.

Q.テつ What exactly are those sleeves?テつ What kind of fabric?テつ Is that like an Under Armour type thing?テつ What does that do for you?
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ I can't hear him.
THE MODERATOR:テつ It's very hard to hear the questions that we get.

Q.テつ The fabrics.
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ It's like Under Armour.テつ It reflects the sun and keeps you cool.テつ I don't know what brand it is, but they're really good.テつ I have them in red and black.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Do you wet them at all?テつ Or just dry fabric?
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ I haven't put them in water, but I think with my sweat they're already wet as it is.

Q.テつ Lizette, you had to qualify to get here.テつ I don't think you have a top 10th this year.テつ What were your expectations heading into the tournament?テつ Are you surprised at all with how well you played today on this golf course?
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ Considering I had a top 15 finish last year and I had won my qualifier in Phoenix and I had just been playing consistently on the LPGA so far.テつ I was kind of upset that I had to qualify.テつ So I just came out here and proved to myself that probably half the game did not qualify, but came out here and tried to play golf that I know how to play and to keep it in the fairway and to just make clutch putts down the stretch.
THE MODERATOR:テつ You have on your cap a black ribbon that says "rest in peace, Randy."テつ Who is that?
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ Randy Acosta is a friend of ours who died about a week ago.テつ He was put to rest on Monday.テつ He just got in a car accident, 20 years old, and just too young to go.テつ Figured it was my way of paying‑‑ to show the family my respect.テつ That was just a little something my niece and I did for him. テつI felt bad that I couldn't be there with them.
THE M‑O‑D‑E‑R‑A‑T‑O‑R:テつ Spell Randy's last name.

Q.テつ Did I read correctly you won a nine‑way playoff during your LPGA spot?テつ And what was that like?
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ Yeah.テつ I actually birdied my last hole in regulation to get into the playoff.テつ And I knew it was going to be close, so I just‑‑ I put on my headphones, I went straight to the putting green and I just putted, and I wasn't nervous until they told me it was a nine‑woman playoff, three holes.テつ And I just stayed patient, stayed positive, and I had my dad out there with me and my mom.テつ And my mom has that fiery attitude, and my dad is like, it's okay, it's okay.テつ But my mom is like no, no, no, no.テつ You're going to go out there and you're going to get that card.テつ And just birdie, birdie, birdie.テつ That 18‑footer on the last hole I knew where I stood.テつ I knew I had to make it.テつ It was probably the slowest putt of my life, but it was great.テつ All the emotions of all the hard work we've done as a family and all the sacrifice my dad has done and my mom.テつ It was just a great moment for us.

Q.テつ That was December 2011?
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ This past Q‑school.
THE MODERATOR:テつ December.
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ December.
THE MODERATOR:テつ I imagine your parents are pretty happy about your round today?
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ They are super excited.
THE MODERATOR:テつ What did they say to you?
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ I haven't even talked to them.テつ After signing my scorecard, they dragged me and wanted to do all these interviews.テつ I'm sure they're going to be excited.テつ They're just going to tell me what happened today happened.テつ Let's just try to focus on the next three days, and it's a marathon out here.テつ U.S. Open always has tough conditions, and it's more of a mental tournament as well as dragging out three more rounds.テつ So I'm pretty sure they're excited, but we just gotta take it one shot at a time.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Thank you for being so gracious and joining us.
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ Thank you.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Very good round.テつ We wish you good luck tomorrow.
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ Thank you.

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