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July 5, 2012

Cristie Kerr


THE MODERATOR:  Cristie Kerr, tied for the lead, 3‑under par 69 today.  That was a very nice, gritty round.  It looked like you really hung in there.  Three birdies on the front, no bogeys on the back, all pars on your front 9, and then you played the front 9 as your back 9.  No bogeys at all.
CRISTIE KERR:  Yeah, I played really well.  It could have been a lot lower too.  I had a wicked lip‑out on 18.  I hit a perfect putt.  It just horseshoed out.  Then the same thing on No. 5.  And then on 6 and 7 I think maybe I barely didn't start‑‑ I had two 7, 8‑foot birdie putts that maybe barely didn't start online.  Maybe they bounced off line.  Four opportunities I hit pretty good putts that didn't go in, but that's the U.S. Open.  Bogey‑free today.  I can't complain about that.  Very pleased with my round.
THE MODERATOR:  As well, you should be in that heat.  It took you a long time to play.  Five hours and 45 minutes?
THE MODERATOR:  How did you manage to play so well in those conditions?
CRISTIE KERR:  You kind of do it.  You don't really have a choice.  We got to the 10th tee which was our first hole and we had a 15‑minute delay.  It was just so hot.  It was so hot.  My husband Erik got us these little things we can dip in ice water and stick around our neck.  And just try and keep us cool during the round.  Everybody had one of those.  You had to.
It was just‑‑ the heat index was up to 110 at times.  It actually got really, really nice on the back.  13th, 14th hole of the day.  It started to cool down.  The shadows got longer and it was actually probably the nicest part of the day to play in.
So I did really well.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions?

Q.  Can you sum up what's really working well for you now?
CRISTIE KERR:  Well, like I said kind of all year I've scored‑‑ finishes haven't been indicative of how I played at times.  My goal is to kind of play like this consistently for the rest of this week and we'll see where we're it falls.  Been pretty inconsistent this year.  But I've found that determination, that fire in my belly today that said‑‑ I hooked it in the hazard my first hole today and made an unbelievable par on 10 getting up‑and‑down from 135 yards, making a 15‑foot, 20‑foot par putt.  That proved to myself I was there.  In a way it was good that happened.  I said to myself no, I'm not letting it go this way today.  I'm not letting it go this way this week.  That's been the difference in the inconsistency of my game this year.  I called it up.  I found it.  Since last week with five holes to go, even though I missed the cut, I birdied two of the last 5 to make the cut and I found that fire in my belly that I needed.  I kind of carried it over to this week.
You never know when the light switch turns on, and I feel like it has.

Q.  How far was your shot?  Was it a wedge in and how close did you stick it?
CRISTIE KERR:  On 10?  I think I had about 134 to the pin, and I made about‑‑ it was about six paces.  So it must have been about an 18‑footer from behind the hole.  I walked it right in the hole.  And I was like, let's go.
THE MODERATOR:  How did you get in that position where you had to hit your fourth shot close?
CRISTIE KERR:  What's that?
THE MODERATOR:  How did you get into that position on 10?
CRISTIE KERR:  I hit it in the water on the tee.
THE MODERATOR:  That will do it.
CRISTIE KERR:  That poor volunteer was down there trying to find my ball.  I said, please, don't even worry about it.
THE MODERATOR:  And then on 11 you birdied.  What club did you hit to the green?
CRISTIE KERR:  I hit a 7‑iron in, then I made about a five‑footer, made a great par on 12, made a great birdie on 13 where that pin was.
THE MODERATOR:  What did you hit on 13?
CRISTIE KERR:  I hit a 5‑iron in.
THE MODERATOR:  And how long was your putt?
CRISTIE KERR:  Probably about six feet.
THE MODERATOR:  And then another birdie on 16?
CRISTIE KERR:  Yes, I actually kind of pulled a gap wedge probably about, guessing, it was over 20 feet.  Big left‑to‑right breaker, I made that.  I hit a lot of good putts that didn't go in.  The putts that I should have made I barely missed them.  So it's nice to know that I shot in the 60s leaving some putts out there.
I'm sure it's not going to get any easier this week.  I think we had to take advantage of the conditions today being benign without a lot of wind.  Even though it was very hot.  I think the USGA did a good job of not letting the golf course get away from them because you could still hit manageable shots.  Because sometimes with this heat it's really just easy to lose a golf course very fast.  We didn't really see people syringing the greens.  I thought they did a good job, the golf course staff and the USGA did a good job not letting the golf course get away from them.  I think in '98 the golf course got a little bit away from us on the weekends.  So I thought they did a good job.
THE MODERATOR:  You had only 29 putts.  That was a good putting day.  Sometimes the late tee times first day, early tee times the next day are very difficult.  You have very little time to rest.  Any plans for this evening?  Put your feet up?
CRISTIE KERR:  No, I've got some good friends from Kingsmill the Whitakers are cooking for us as we speak.  I'm pretty lucky to have great friends that come and want to be the chefs for the week.  So I'll be able to get some rest.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions?  We're all set?  One more.

Q.  Cristie, understanding that you did have the five good holes in Arkansas to finish up, but how much of that fire in the belly just comes from being at the U.S. Women's Open this week?
CRISTIE KERR:  I think it's just a different atmosphere for me being here.  It's just something that it just comes up in me when I'm here.  And I think I did good to put that behind me last week, because that was disappointing.  But at the same time U.S. Open is where it's at.  This is where I want to perform.  This is the stage I want to perform on.  And I did good to stay focused and not get discouraged and not‑‑ in a sense when you have a bad hole, to put it behind you and go on to the next hole.  Sometimes it's hard to leave a bad tournament and go on to the next tournament, but when it's the U.S. Open I have no choice.  You have to.  So that was good.

Q.  Do you also tend to excel when the setup is a lot tougher?
CRISTIE KERR:  I do.  I think it forces me to focus more.  Sometimes I get a little bored or I lose interest.  But not here.  You can't fall asleep here.
THE MODERATOR:  And she's had five top‑5 finishes since the year 2000.  Cristie, thank you.  Good luck tomorrow.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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