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June 27, 2013

Lizette Salas


CHRISTINA LANCE:テつ We are very glad to have with us Lizette Salas coming in with a 4‑under 68.テつ Lizette, a great round out there, six birdies and two bogeys.テつ How did you feel out there?
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ I felt good.テつ I felt comfortable.テつ I just kind of prepared my mind for some sneaky pins and some tough weather conditions with the wind kicking in.テつ Just really tried to stay patient today.
CHRISTINA LANCE:テつ If you wouldn't mind walking us through your card.テつ Just the highlights, the six birdies, and the two bogeys, what happened there for you?
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ I started on 10, so I mean my goal is always to get off on a good start.テつ And I missed the fairway on 11 and chipped and two‑putt for bogey.
I really tried to stick it on 12 and made birdie there.
Then on 15‑‑ oh, I don't remember 15.テつ Gosh, what is 15?
And 18, I really remember that.テつ Just trying to dial in the wedge in and same on number 1, was trying to get on the correct side of the pin today and really tried‑‑ made a really clutch left‑to‑righter on number 1.
Then on my second hole, I just made a really silly mistake in three‑putting, which is pretty easy to do out here.テつ Took advantage of the par‑5 on 8 and almost reached it in two, just got up‑and‑down for birdie.
Then on 9, just really tried to get a good number in and just dialed it in and read a good ‑‑ had a good putt and just trusted it, and it went in.

Q.テつ Tell us how you felt out there today?テつ Have you played the course much before you got here?
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ I played nine on Monday late afternoon and played 18 on Tuesday.テつ Just kind of chipped and putted on Tuesday, and we just tried to study where is the right places to miss in case you missed it.
There's a lot of false fronts on this golf course, and you just really had to kind of play from the green back and try to have a right angle to the pin on some of the holes.テつ So that's what we tried to do this week.

Q.テつ How do majors feel different for you now after your experience at the Kraft?
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ I just try to think of it as another golf tournament and try not to think of it‑‑ try not to think of the outcome or the pressure of it being a major championship.テつ This is only my fourth U.S. Open, and I just really try to focus on the types of shots I want to hit and really just play my game.
Sometimes par is a good score out here.テつ But being at a major and with all the pressure and being the U.S. Open, and this is our National Championship, so, yeah, there is a little bit in the back of your mind, but you just kind of have to put that aside.

Q.テつ Can you talk about how Sebonack might have differed today from the course that you prepared for or had you heard about?テつ Was it any different from what it was in preparation?
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ Well, they moved us up on a couple of tee boxes which was very beneficial.テつ I thought it was very nice of the USGA to move us up.テつ But at the same time, there was no wind this morning, and it kicked in in the afternoon, and you have to play with the wind.テつ You can't fight it.テつ You can't really force it out here.テつ You just have to use your imagination and visualize a lot more than a typical tournament, I think so.テつ But it was very different from our practice rounds, yeah.

Q.テつ Just wondering if you had a chance to talk to your fellow Trojan, Annie Park?
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ I haven't talked to her today.テつ I saw her before she teed off, and we played our practice round together yesterday, and I played with Kyung Kim, which is another member of the team.
There were a lot of people following her, which she so much deserves for what she's done in the last couple of months.テつ I tried to give her a piece of advice on how to manage the crowd and how to handle that, because she's only 17, 18 years old, and she barely just graduated from high school six months ago.
But she's a phenomenal player.テつ Her mom is by her side and assistant coach Justin is here taking care of her.テつ I told her if she ever needing anything from me, I'd be willing to help her.

Q.テつ Is that a tough spot for her to come into here just right after the NCAAs and then the Pub Links and everything, and then just walking into a Women's Open with really heightened expectations because of what she's done?
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ Yeah, I told her about that, and I said just put that in the back of your mind, don't even think about it, just play your game.テつ She's a phenomenal ball striker.テつ She has so much talent in her that she's scary good.テつ I think if she just plays her game and not think about all the expectations and, yeah, she's the local favorite.テつ And I said, just play your game.テつ Don't even think about the crowd, but acknowledge them and be grateful for this opportunity because not many players can have such a great fan base at a very young age.
So I'm very much supportive of her, and I look up to her too just because she's done so much for the program and for herself and for this area.

Q.テつ You were talking about, obviously, seeing perhaps a little bit of a different course with the tees moved up and whatnot.テつ I'm curious, this is different than a lot of U.S. Opens before.テつ Was there a point during the week where you start to feel comfortable on a course like this and realizing maybe you have to play it a little differently than you would other typical Open set‑ups?
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ Yeah, I mean, yesterday we focused on chipping and putting, that was it.テつ I think that's what has helped me kind of understand the greens and visualizing a lot more chipping and putting around the greens and where is the best place to miss it.テつ For me, it's the same ‑ picking a target, swing at it.
The real tricky part is second shot in.テつ You kind of have to figure out which angle is better for your eye.テつ And for me, I hit a draw, so I try to‑‑ it might be different than another player, but you just have to really focus on the wind and ride the wind.テつ You can't force it.テつ I was in a couple of fairway bunkers and really just figured out which number is going to get me that up‑and‑down.テつ I think you just have to play this golf course to your advantage even if you're a long or short player.

Q.テつ You've had a strong year, obviously, this year.テつ How are you a different player perhaps now than you were a year ago?
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ I'm much more comfortable, and I think I'm becoming a lot stronger mentally.テつ I give that credit to my father.テつ I give that credit to my instructor, Jim Gormely, and having the support from the fans.テつ I think I'm just getting a lot more used to being in contention and really studying the leaderboard and really managing my patience.テつ I think that's been key for me this week.テつ Yes, I still get nervous on the first tee and my hands keep shaking, but I just know that if I just trust myself and trust my instincts, I can perform out here.

Q.テつ You've played pretty well at the Open the last two years except maybe not as well on the last day of the Open as you wanted to.テつ Sort of to follow up on what you're saying about becoming more patient; do you feel like this year your game is in a place where if you go into that final day in a good position you'll be able to closeout a little bit better?
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ I think so.テつ I think with the more experience I have and the more times I'm in that position, I can get used to that.テつ Being in the final group at the Kraft on the weekend and shooting 79, but then I bounce back the week after and shot 62 in Hawaii.テつ So I feel like anything can happen, but I feel like I'm much more prepared with my game and mentally.
So if it comes to the weekend and I'm in contention, I really believe I can manage my patience and manage my nerves a lot more than last year and the year before.

Q.テつ I just have to ask, you have a new face on the bag, and I know you and Greg were friends since you were 10.テつ Your new person caddying, just kind of talk about that switch and breaking in a new partner, so to speak?
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ Yeah, John and I started working a week ago.テつ Greg is a tremendous, amazing man, friend, caddie, but it comes to a point where sometimes that relationship can affect the way you perform on the golf course.テつ So I didn't want to jeopardize our friendship for the results that I was going through on the golf course.テつ So I just decided he has a family, so he's at home cheering me on.
But I'm very grateful for him being on my bag.テつ He's taught me a lot.テつ He gave me so much confidence him being a player himself and gave me that insight and that fighter mentality.テつ But John's great.テつ He has a lot of experience.テつ He's very professional, and I think I made a good switch with having John on my bag.

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