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April 6, 2014

Lexi Thompson


THE MODERATOR:  We would like to welcome the 2014 Kraft Nabisco champion, Lexi Thompson, into the interview room.  Congratulations.
LEXI THOMPSON:  Thank you.
THE MODERATOR:¬† What a great final round performance, 4‑under par, started with a birdie on the first, and it just seemed like you didn't look back from there.¬† Take us through the day.¬† What was the day like for you becoming a major champion for the first time?
LEXI THOMPSON:  Well, it was an amazing day.  Starting off with a birdie definitely helped.  But just hitting that first tee shot obviously a little nervous, but it was definitely what I've been practicing for, what I live for, to play under that pressure and to get a major win under my belt, especially the Kraft Nabisco.  It's such a huge honor to win this tournament.  It was such a solid day, and playing with Michelle helped out a lot, too.
THE MODERATOR:¬† You headed into 18 with a four‑shot lead.¬† What was that moment like walking down that fairway and the crowd ovation?¬† Were you able with that lead to kind of soak it all in?
LEXI THOMPSON:¬† I actually didn't look at a leaderboard.¬† I looked at one on No.9 and didn't look at one the whole back nine.¬† I figured I had a few‑shot lead, but I just played aggressive pretty much the whole day and just played how I have been the last few days.¬† But just had fun out there.¬† I just followed my way through the whole week.
THE MODERATOR:  You've had three victories since October.  What has this stretch been like for you, and how different is it with a major championship win compared to the other victories that you've had on your resumé?
LEXI THOMPSON:¬† It's been great.¬† This is what I've worked my whole life for and practiced my butt off for, but especially the off‑season.¬† This was one of my main goals, to come into this year‑‑ to play on International Crown was one of my goals, but to win a major has been a goal of mine my whole life, especially this year.¬† I'm going to continue to work hard and set even more goals for the rest of the year.
THE MODERATOR:  I know I had asked you yesterday had you thought about that jump into the pond, but as I talked to you as you were getting ready to go in, you were still like, how am I going to jump.  Had you thought about it at all and what was the decision in doing a cannonball?
LEXI THOMPSON:  I would say the first time I thought about it today was going up to the 18th green.  I was like, oh, I guess I should probably think about this a little bit.  I just kind of went for it, made sure I jumped in far enough into the deep part, and I guess I did a cannonball.  I just jumped.

Q.  How will winning a major championship change the way you think about yourself?
LEXI THOMPSON:  Well, I think winning this tournament just overall has helped out my confidence a lot.  I've always imagined myself winning this tournament and how I would win it, but it's been a dream come true winning the Kraft Nabisco Championship.  But it doesn't change who I am.  I mean, it obviously changes my confidence going into each event, but I'm still going to practice and work on improving stuff in my game that needs to be improved on.

Q.¬† How do you think it'll change the way the fans look at you?¬† You're looked at as the young up‑and‑coming star now.¬† Now you're a major champion.¬† Do you think that might change their perception?
LEXI THOMPSON:  Well, I hope it would just gain more fans on my side.  But the fans are so amazing here at Mission Hills.  I love coming to this tournament and playing in front of the crowds.  They're always rooting you on no matter how you're playing, even if you're playing bad.  Walking to the next tee, they're always saying, go for it, you can do it.  It's so great to have a fan base behind me and a support system like that.

Q.  Can you describe the leap into the pond?  Was it cold?  How was the water?
LEXI THOMPSON:  It was a little cold.  A little unexpected.  But it felt really good because it was so hot today, it was probably about 90 out.  But it was everything I imagined.  The jump into that pond with my family, it was a moment I'll always remember.

Q.¬† You hit driver a lot today.¬† Was there any‑‑
LEXI THOMPSON:  (Laughing.)

Q.¬†¬†¬† ‑‑ thought at any point to I just need to throttle this thing back and get it to the house, or were you like, I've got confidence in it, I'm just going to keep hitting it?
LEXI THOMPSON:  Well, I pretty much hit driver on almost every hole out here.  I play this course very aggressively, and I didn't want to change the way I played the last few days because my driver won't get me in any trouble on a lot of the holes, so laying back wouldn't really make sense.

Q.  What's the secret to hitting the long distance consistently?
LEXI THOMPSON:  Well, I train a lot.  I mean, I train at least four days a week with my trainer back at home, so strength is obviously very important.  But really, I mean, consistently I don't try to just rip the ball.  I don't go at it 100 percent, even though it probably looks like it.  Really just picking out my target and committing to every shot, going up to it confidently, I think that's the main thing on being consistent.

Q.  Four titles including a major at age 19.  Is this going along as you planned, or have you surprised yourself with where you are right now?
LEXI THOMPSON:¬† I think it's going as I planned.¬† It's kind of hard to say.¬† I've always‑‑ I go into every tournament wanting to win.¬† I would picture myself winning.¬† But I've worked my whole life to be on the LPGA.¬† It's always been a dream of mine, and obviously to win the Kraft Nabisco has been a dream of mine.
But I'm going to continue to work hard and hopefully win a lot more, but I'm really looking forward to the future.

Q.¬† Can you just talk about the walk up the Walk of Champions and the feelings you were having, what you were thinking, you were high‑fiving some fans.¬† How much fun was that?
LEXI THOMPSON:¬† It was so much fun.¬† Having that walk up to the 18th green, high‑fiving all the fans and the crowds, there's nothing like it.¬† I mean, just knowing walking up to the 18th green that you're going to win a major championship, it's such a huge honor and a great feeling to myself, but embracing the fans the whole week was a huge part of it because they were always rooting me on.¬† Even if I had bogeyed a hole or hit a bad shot, they were always saying, you can get it up‑and‑down or get it from there.

Q.  You driving the ball off the tee on most of those holes versus Michelle not using a driver, it seemed like you had a great advantage being farther along and closer to the green consistently.  Would you agree with that, that that gave you an advantage?
LEXI THOMPSON:¬† Well, I would say this golf course, the greens were a little firmer this week, so even with a wedge in your hand you had to play for quite a bit of bounce‑out.¬† I figured the closer I could get, even if I was in the rough, I could get it pretty close to the hole.¬† I think mainly just trying to place yourself in the right areas on this golf course is key.

Q.¬† Benji was talking about how you guys were pretty care‑free today.¬† You were cutting up and telling jokes and singing songs and what have you.¬† Is that good for your game?¬† Are you the type of player that responds best to not stressing out and just being loose and not thinking about a lot of things and stressing yourself out?
LEXI THOMPSON:¬† Yeah, I would say‑‑ I just learned this in the past few weeks.¬† I usually am mentally tough on myself.¬† I get really serious, and when I struggle I get even more serious.¬† But these last few weeks have been huge for me with Benji, and we've pretty much laughed our way through a lot of the rounds and just had fun, relaxed, and that's really when my game comes out the most, like even when I'm just at home playing with my brothers, we're just having fun, listening to music, and that's when I play my best.

Q.  How has your improved putting taken the pressure off the rest of your game, and if it has, how instrumental was that in your winning here?
LEXI THOMPSON:  My putting?

Q.  Taking the pressure off the rest of your game.
LEXI THOMPSON:¬† Yeah, I would say it definitely helped.¬† I worked really hard on my short game overall in the off‑season, especially my putting.¬† I worked with Jim McLean a lot with it.¬† It helps a lot because not every day you're going to have a good ball‑striking day, so you have to fall back on your short game, and I think golf comes down to putting a lot.¬† Just to know that I can make a putt or get up to it confidently and just put a good stroke on it is huge, especially in majors.

Q.  You talked about the history, wanting to win here because of the history and everything.  You're 19; how did you find out about the history?  Is that just osmosis being around here?
LEXI THOMPSON:  Yeah, well, I've played in this tournament even since I was an amateur.  I mean, obviously you learn facts throughout every year playing in this tournament.  It does have so much history behind it, and like I said, it has been an honor to play at this tournament so many years and only being 19, and to win it is even the biggest honor ever.

Q.  Did you have a backup dry outfit, identical outfit ready to go in case you won today?
LEXI THOMPSON:  Apparently not because I'm soaked right now.

Q.  That's the same outfit?
LEXI THOMPSON:  It's the same one.

Q.  It looks dry.

Q.  This is one time being all wet is fantastic, right?
LEXI THOMPSON:  Oh, yeah, definitely.
THE MODERATOR:  Lexi, that celebration that was on the 18th green, before you even got the jump in, to have Stacy Lewis and Austin Ernst and your family there to greet you, what was that moment like, and all the players on Twitter congratulating you, what's that like to get that recognition from your peers who were there to celebrate with you and appreciate what you've done?
LEXI THOMPSON:  It means a lot to me to have a few close friends like Austin Ernst and Stacy to come up to me and congratulate me on the last hole.  It means a lot coming from fellow players and competitors.  It's such a competitive field out here, but really off the golf course there's a few good friends that we just hang out and have fun.
THE MODERATOR:  Congratulations on your first major victory.  I have a feeling we're going to be seeing a few more of those from you in the coming years.  Great performance, definitely represented the LPGA very well today, and very happy for you and wishing you the best in the events coming up.
LEXI THOMPSON:  Thank you so much.

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