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April 27, 2014

Lydia Ko


MODERATOR:  Good evening, everyone.  We would like to welcome the 2014 Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic champion, Lydia Ko into the interview room.  Congratulations.  Great performance today.
It was a lot of fun to watch, and it came right down to the 18th hole.  Great third shot with a little bit of pressure with what the other two had hit.
Take me through the 18th hole first and what the nerves were like.  One‑shot lead after Stacy hit her shot in pretty close.
LYDIA KO:  Yeah, when I was playing the Canadian Open, both times I had more than one‑shot lead.  So I had a little room, even though I wouldn't want to finish with a bogey or whatever.
But here was definitely different.  Two great players.  They're putting great.  They're playing great.  They stuck it close by the crowd's reaction.
Me, coming out of rough, I knew I had to putt just slightly shorter and then kind of hopefully for it to run up there.
It did, so I was very happy about that.  Luckily I didn't have a severe breaking putt.  I had to just trust it, and that's all you can do at that point.
MODERATOR:  Your first professional win came last fall at the Swinging Skirts in Taiwan.  Now your first win as an LPGA member comes here at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic.
Is there something a little special about this tournament that seems to work well for your game?
LYDIA KO:  Yeah, definitely something is going on.  No, I been getting a lot of support from the Swinging Skirts team, Chairman Wong, Miss Chu.  That's why I kind of wanted to play better, to make them happy.  They have been supporting me and invited me to their tournament in Taiwan.
I won over there and I was so happy to do that and have my first win over there at their tournament.  To kind of have my first LPGA win since I turned pro here again I think is great.
I think they're a great group of people, and I think it was a great golf course to win it.
MODERATOR:  I saw they gave you a beautiful bracelet earlier this week.  You turned 17.  What a week for you.  You turned 17 years old; you're named one of Time's 100 most influential people in the world; and now get your first LPGA Tour victory as an LPGA Tour member.  Have you ever had a week this good?
LYDIA KO:  Normally they would a Sweet 16, but I would say it's Sweet 17.  No, it was great.  I don't think I would have any better birthday week.
I won here.  I finally turned 17.  I been 16 for a long time.  Yeah, you know, top 100 most influential people, I don't know what I've done to get there, but, yeah, it's a very‑‑ it's just a really special week for me.
I'm so honored to have all those titles.
MODERATOR:  One other special thing is your dad was here to see this victory.  I know he wasn't there for the first two.  What does it mean to have him here to be able to witness this?
LYDIA KO:  I'm going to cry now.  All the tears are gone.  Yeah, it's very special to have him here.  It's his second LPGA tournament he's watched.  Last week was a tough week for me.  I couldn't really get my putts rolling even if I hit it good.
This week, even if I hit it far away I holed some medium‑, long‑length putts, which kind feels better than having a tap‑in birdie.  I think it's really special him being here.  My mom is always going to be with me.  She said she would have flown over on Saturday, but luckily she came over earlier to spend the whole week with us.
MODERATOR:  Okay.  We'll open it up for questions for Lydia.

Q.  How difficult was the lie on the third shot on 18?  Did you think you could get it that close to the hole?
LYDIA KO:  Luckily it wasn't totally buried.  I was kind of in the short/medium length grass.  I was really fortunate about that.  I think somebody walked through there before my ball was there so the ball was kind of heading towards the green, which was also another lucky part about that.
Yeah, I knew I had to pitch it short on the green and for it to roll up, because it was no way going to spin out of there.  I was just hoping it would I guess bump and run up there.

Q.  That shot and then the chip on 17, which was really quick going downhill, sort of the speaks to your chipping ability.  Just curious the roots of that.  Have you always been good at that part of the game?  Why do you think that part of the game works so well for you?
LYDIA KO:  Actually some lies here can get really tough.  I also got a pretty good lie on the 17th as well.  It wasn't sitting down too much, so I was able to hit my 54‑wedge and kind of roll it down there.
My short game has been pretty good the last couple weeks.  It has helped me in some areas.  I think my chipping has definitely improved compared to six months ago.
MODERATOR:  It wasn't just an easy victory for you. You pulled ahead a little bit for a while.  You had like a two‑shot lead over Stacy, and she kept making birdies.  Seemed like again we were seeing the same duel you put on yesterday.
What's that like when you're playing with a top player like that and you're trying to make sure you're staying up?  What are the last few holes like for you mentally?
LYDIA KO:  Tough for me because I started with some bogeys.  When you make a bogey you're suddenly over par.  You were one shot behind, but now you're two shots.
I needed to make a birdie, and then after a birdie I would make another bogey.  So it was kind of like me, I needed to kind of grind it out and actually make some birdies out there.  I knew both Jenny and Stacy would make birdies.
Yeah, I knew they're going to make birdies, so my goal is to make as many birdies as possible, and when I'm in a tough position, how to actually make a par.
MODERATOR:  This week also makes you become a Rolex first‑time winner because it's your first win as a member of the LPGA tour.  Is it different winning now that you're a rookie and a member of the tour?  Is it different than winning as an amateur out here?
LYDIA KO:  I don't think it's that different.  I'm so honored to win.  I don't feel that different.  I think the most difference was I think having my dad here.  Tears nearly run down my face after I made the putt and also during the speech.
I think just having your parents here.  You may lose friends, but you're never going to lose your parents.  They're always with you.  I think that's why it actually made me feel a little bit more emotional.
I try and make myself not cry of happiness, but it was coming to that point.

Q.  The last few holes, from like 14, I think Stacy made three birdies in here last five holes.  What were your emotions like?  Everyone talked about your poise and how calm you seem.  Were you calm?  How did you stay calm down the stretch?
LYDIA KO:  Yeah, you know, 18 is a great birdie opportunity hole if you're on the fairway and you got a nice wedge.  But pin position like today, it is quite tough.
I think all of them, the key was you needed to hit the fairway and give yourself the opportunity to hit that wedge or to hit that close iron.
I didn't hit the fairway on 17; my third shot I wasn't hitting out of the fairway on 18; I didn't hit the fairway on 16.
So normally I'm really confident with my driver, but I was overly confident with that.  No, I was more concentrating on my game rather than thinking about Stacy's.  I can't control what the other player is doing.  If they make an eagle and I make a par, it's really out of my hands.
So I tried to kind of calm myself and do as much as I could, you know.

Q.  (No microphone.)
LYDIA KO:  Yeah, I think so.  You know, I hit it left on 16, then I kind of pushed it right on 17, and then hit it left again.  So it's going left, right, left in a good pattern right there.
Obviously it's not ideal to hit out of a fairway bunker or out of a rough when the pins are in tough positions.
MODERATOR:  Any more questions for Lydia?

Q.  Lydia, they said on TV you're going to change your travel plans a little bit and stay here and sightsee.  Is that right?  What's your list of things you need to do?
LYDIA KO:  The mayor said there is cable car downtown, so I think I'm going to do that.  My dad is flying out to New Zealand tomorrow and I'm going back to Orlando.  We decided to get a later flight so we can stay with him and enjoy beautiful San Francisco.
Cable cars, there is a little fair down the road down there.  I really don't know.  I might sleep in until like 12:00.  I might knock myself out and I won't have much time.  Hopefully we'll go around and see the city.
MODERATOR:  I was going to say, have you gotten to see much of it at all or is this going to be the first time you'll see it?  And is it a little sweeter with a victory behind you?
LYDIA KO:  I've seen my hotel room and the golf courses pretty much everywhere.  I've seen the Korean restaurant next door.  I have not seen much of it.
The family that my dad's staying with, he took us downtown to this really delicious sushi places last night, so I got to see all the houses and buildings.
MODERATOR:  Any more questions for Lydia?  All right.  Congratulations.  Great performance that you put on this week.  Thank you for treating us to such tremendous golf.  What a week for you.  I'm sure this is a pretty special time.
So congratulations.  We look forward to many more of these wonderful victories from you going forward.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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