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March 3, 2013

Stacy Lewis


KELLY THESIER:   We'd like to welcome the 2013 HSBC Women's Champion into the interview room, Stacy Lewis, congratulations, sixth career LPGA victory, first of the 2013 season.
Just take me through the day and where does this win kind of fit in among all the others that you've had so far?
STACY LEWIS:  Well, to start the day, I actually felt very comfortable.  I didn't hit it good the first five holes and then kind of from there on, I kind of found my swing.
You know, 7, obviously hitting hybrid, almost making it for double‑eagle, that was definitely huge.  I don't know, I made birdie on 9, I hit it close a lot on the back nine.  Just couldn't get any putts to fall.
And the last four or five holes, I was pretty nervous, I'm not going to lie.  That golf course is hard and it can jump up and get you at any second, and to have to play with two great players on your tail all day, and they played unbelievable, and none of us really we just couldn't get any putts to fall on the back nine.  I don't know what it was.  Edges just seemed a little bit tighter.  Paula had a couple on the edge.  I don't know, I just played hard and put my head down and tried to make as many putts as I could, and fortunately I came away with the win.
KELLY THESIER:  You couldn't ask for more dramatic golf for people watching this event as you guys were coming down; Na Yeon, No. 2 in the rankings, you at No. 4, and Paula is right up there at No. 13; to have that kind of group and to have them battle you, especially when Paula got off to the hot start and Na Yeon, she just never seems to fade away.  What is that like as you're going through the 18 holes to have that sort of battle back and forth?
STACY LEWIS:  Well, part of it was I knew it was going to be like that.  I knew early, when I was warming up, the wind was blowing and I knew that would be to basically the three of us advantage.  We were kind of separated from the rest of the field, and with the wind up, it didn't really allow a really low number out there.
So I knew it was going to be one of those days you just had to kind of grind it out.  And Na Yeon, we played together three days this week.  I played with her once last week and she makes putt after putt after putt.  I expected the one to go in on 18, too.  Just the way she plays, you never know when she's going to hole a putt.
They never seem to go away, and it was certainly entertaining for the crowd, but it's not the way I would liked it to have been coming up 18.  But it was nice to have just the little tap‑in for the win.
KELLY THESIER:   When you stepped on 18, your lead had been cut down to one, what was your approach on that hole, and what were you thinking, knowing that if they made birdie, could make it a little closer.
STACY LEWIS:  I was actually glad I was hitting last on that tee so I could kind of see, because we had not played that hole yet when it had been all the way downwind.  So I was glad I could see where their drive ended up.  All week, I played it as a three‑shot hole, laying back short of the bunker and then laying up from there.
And I saw where Paula hit her drive past the bunker and I turned to my caddie, and we both at the same time said driver, and I let it rip and that thing got so far down there.  I think I was actually in between a 4‑iron and a had before I had and so we erred on the long side and hit hybrid up on the green, and I thought I made my second putt, but just to have an inside ten feet for birdie, that's all I was asking for.
KELLY THESIER:  Talk about your caddie, Travis Wilson, he was named the HSBC Caddie of the Year, you talked about how important it was to have his input all week on a tough golf course like this.  What did he kind of do, as you said, you were nervous through those final few holes.  How much of a help was he to you over that stretch?
STACY LEWIS:  You know, it's more just the calming effect.  He's very level.  He doesn't get too high, he doesn't get too low, and we just talked about the shots and we talked about whatever came to mind.
You know, for him, he's the same person, whether we tee off on 1 or whether we are walking off on 18, and that's the best thing could you ask for in a caddie.  Things are kind of going sideways, but his reaction, you would have never known that it was.
And he's worked hard; he's a really good green reader.  He helped me a lot today, and he's worked hard at it.  You know, I'm just glad that he got recognized by the rest of the players and the caddies; to be recognized by your peers I think is pretty special.  So I was happy that he got that award.

Q.  What did you hit on 17?
STACY LEWIS:  17, I don't remember the yardage but I was hitting 5‑iron.  It was a little bit into the wind.   We were trying to land it short, short of the pin and let it roll up.  I just blocked a 5‑iron just kind of came out of it, got a little quick, that's kind of my tendency under pressure.  The bunker didn't have as much sand as I thought was going to be there, kind of clay and mud and the bunker shot came out short.
Then I had 20 feet for par, and decided to hit that about five feet by.  Somehow that putt caught the right lip and went in.  It was a 4 on the card but it was a lot more work than that.

Q.  Yesterday you had frustrations on the 15th hole and that's been a problem all week; can you describe that?
STACY LEWIS:  I hit the fairway in the practise rounds, but I did not hit it any tournament day.  And I don't know why‑‑ I don't know why, it just doesn't really set up to my eye.  I don't think it really mattered if I would have hit 3‑wood or anything else off the tee.
So you can't really go back and second‑guess that.  But I had two in the water and two in the bunker.  So it's just, I don't know, that hole is just hard and I mean, today I was just glad to get out of there with bogey.

Q.  That was an impressive win given the rain delay yesterday and two bogeys later on today, where does that leave you now as you push on to become world No. 1?
STACY LEWIS:  Well, it certainly helps a lot.  The field this week is one of the best statistically that we have all year, so I know that helps a lot with the rankings.
I was just told that I moved up to third, just barely behind into I don't know now, and I'm sure I have to be closer to be Yani.
So ultimately I would like to get to No. 1, and a win is a good way to get there.  So just got to keep chipping away at it, and hopefully in a few weeks, we're there.

Q.  I think it was 10,11, 12, 13, where you had birdie putts; when you do, that when it happens, when you're setting up good chances for yourself and you miss them, what do you tell yourself?  What happens?  What sort of conversations do you have in your head at that time?
STACY LEWIS:  Well, each of those putts were a little bit different.  10, I actually hit a really good putt and thought I made it.  When you hit a good putt, that's another story, but 11 and 12, I didn't hit good putts at all.  I was definitely frustrated there.
I wanted to hit good shots and did not really get anything out of it, and just really felt fortunate that nobody else was making putts, too.  Na Yeon had plenty of chances, Paula had a bunch of putts on the edge, and it just seemed that nobody could get any putts to go in.  I'm sure it was frustrating for the fans to watch that.
Just it was‑‑ I don't know what was going on.  I was surprised, when I made bogey on 15, I was surprised Paula made bogey, and Na Yeon had a pretty short birdie putt that she missed, as well.  So we all had our opportunities.  Just nobody really seemed to capitalize on it.

Q.  The other part is that you said yourself that you were nervous toward the end; what happens when you get nervous?  Physically how does it manifest, what happens to you?
STACY LEWIS:  As far as my golf swing, I usually tend to get quick with my transition, so standing on 18 tee, I just told myself, just good tempo, nice and smooth.
And then the putting is the hardest part under pressure.  You can't really feel your hands.  They are kind of numb, you're shaking and your heart is kind of pounding and you just have to find a way to almost get out of that experience and say, I'm on the practise putting green and I'm just going to knock this one‑footer in.  You just have to forget where you are and do the best you can.

Q.  Did it work?
STACY LEWIS:  I tried.  I'm not good at it all the time. But I did it one more‑‑ is one time good enough?  I don't know.  One extra putt.

Q.  You had a pretty short putt coming back the next hole with an eagle, can you talk us through that?
STACY LEWIS:  Yeah, 6, I held my drive down there and had a little wedge in.  Hit it to probably four feet and I just pushed the putt, just didn't hit a good putt there either.  But after that hole, I told myself, I just made some good putts for pars on the previous holes, so just to not really worry about it.
And then got down there on 7, hit a really good drive, and we had about 200 front and it was like 208 to the pin.  For me it was like a perfect hybrid.  Ball was a little below my feet, a little hold shot, held it up against the wind and it was perfect.  Looked pretty good from the fairway, so had to be close.

Q.  I'm sure you've spoken about this a lot, but I just wanted to know, is your back giving you any trouble anymore? Is that a problem that's finished forever, or how is it?
STACY LEWIS:  Right now, knock‑on‑wood, it great.  I haven't had any issues with it in a long time.  I work out a lot, stay in shape and do a lot of things so I don't have to worry about it.
There's really no timetable on what I'm going to be able to do and how long I'm going to be able to play because there's nobody else doing this with a rod and five screws in their back.
It's really kind of an unknown, and I think that's one thing that kind of helps me go play every week and makes me work hard is that I need to take advantage of the time that I have right now.  There's no guarantee how long my back holds up, so I'm thankful for the time that I have and it makes me just go work hard every day.

Q.  Will you have time to spend some of that money in the casino tonight?
STACY LEWIS:  I guess they would like me to keep it in Singapore, I'm usually not very good in the casinos, so I would just be giving my money away (laughing).

Q.  How long are the rods supposed to last?
STACY LEWIS:  They are supposed to last my entire life, barring any injury or accident or anything like that.  It's supposed to be fine.  It's not moving and it's not going anywhere.  So unless I do something weird to make it move, that will be the only issue.

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