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May 18, 2014

Lizette Salas


MODERATOR:テつ I would like to welcome the Kingsmill Championship champion.テつ Lizette, how does it feel to hear those words?
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ Oh, my God, it is a dream come true.テつ I've been working so hard for this.テつ I've had so much support over the years throughout my career, and to finally break through my third season out on tour, I'm just so happy.
A lot of emotions right now.テつ I wish my parents could have been here to witness it, but I know they were glued to the TV.テつ I think the whole city of Azusa was glued to the TV.テつ All my junior golf kids were pulling for me.テつ My alumni, my USC fans, just everyone.テつ I just felt the energy today from them.テつ I wanted to win not just for me but for them.
You know, coming down 18 I asked my caddie, I said, Am I going to win this thing?テつ He was like, Yeah, you are.
So I just enjoyed that walk up 18.テつ It was a big relief.
MODERATOR:テつ Were you shaking?テつ How were the nerves during that walk?
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ I felt the nerves on 17 just to have that four‑footer, and then I looked over and I had a pretty nice cushion.テつ But still, the nerves were still there.
18 is a very intimidating hole to the eye.テつ Just when I hit the fairway I was like, Ah.テつ Okay that's down. テつNow let's hit the green.テつ That's what we did.テつ Just two‑putted for my first win.テつ I'm so excited for it to be here in Kingsmill at such a great golf course.
MODERATOR:テつ You talked about your parents.テつ You're going home after this back to California?
MODERATOR:テつ Have you had a chance to talk to them or has it been too hectic?
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ No, I just talked to my swing coach just now.テつ He was a nervous wreck the whole day.
I have not talked to my parents.テつ My agent has talked to my parents, and they are just very happy, super ecstatic, and I'm sure we'll have some tears of happiness when I get home tomorrow.
MODERATOR:テつ You mentioned yesterday you had a different approach this week.テつ Are you going to continue that from now on?
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ I don't know.テつ We'll see how it feels.テつ I mean, it worked this week, so we'll see in the future.テつ Just last week when I missed the cut, or two weeks ago when I missed the cut in Dallas, I just felt like I needed a whole different approach.
I felt like I wanted to be perfect all the time.テつ I felt like I needed to play like a top‑tier golfer every week.テつ That's not it.テつ It's about feeling confident.テつ Golf is a sport where you can't control everything.テつ I felt like I needed to control that.
I just took a step back and looked at golf differently.テつ I just tried to have fun this week.テつ That was the most important thing.
MODERATOR:テつ Out on the green during the trophy presentation we mentioned that every past winner here has won a major.テつ So what's going to be the first major you're going to win?
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ I don't know.テつ Any of them would be nice.テつ U.S. Open is a phenomenal tournament.テつ It's a national championship.
I'm a southern California girl, and Kraft Nabisco is really close to my heart and almost in my backyard.
Not going to be too picky, but I really prefer the Kraft Nabisco.
MODERATOR:テつ Let's open it up for questions.

Q.テつ Were you aware most of the day by how much you led?テつ And at some point, did you make a conscious decision just to pull back and play it safe?
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ I kept looking at the leaderboard quite a bit just knowing Lydia was in the group in front and I knew she was playing well.
Towards the back I saw that Yani was going for a good run.テつ I just tried not force it, not to be so aggressive.テつ I had a five‑shot lead after 17.テつ I was hitting good putts but they just weren't rolling in.
Those are the times where you can get too frustrated or too caught up in, Oh, that should have gone in, should have gone in.テつ There is a point where you just have to move on from that.
I looked at my caddie and said, Am I being too picky right now?テつ He said, Yeah, you need to slow down.
So we just made in simple:テつ hit the fairway, hit the green, and if you rolls in, it rolls it.テつ If not, you can't control that.テつ Just stuck to my routine and stayed patient.

Q.テつ On 16 you had a long, long putt and came up short and you tapped it in.テつ On TV it looked like you had a really satisfied smile on your face.テつ Did you know at that time that Yani had double bogeyed 18?
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ Actually, I didn't.テつ I had no idea until I was on 17 where I had that four‑footer.
I had no idea.テつ I expected her to make birdie and have a shorter lead.テつ She was the No. 1 player in the world at one point, so she can obviously pull off those shots.テつ But I had no clue she did that.

Q.テつ On the first hole you hit what appeared to be a pretty tentative putt.テつ I think you left yourself what, eight, ten feet?

Q.テつ How big was that putt to make it for par just to settle you down for the rest of the day?
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ Yeah, that was a big putt just to start off the day.テつ Downhill slider to the right.テつ I mean, I even threw in a fist pump because I knew how important that was for me mentally and on a confidence standpoint.
Just after that kind of shook it off.テつ I was like, Okay, just try to play your game and let's not force it.テつ I think I got a little too cautious on that first putt, but I just tried to play my own game.

Q.テつ Real quick, I saw the birdie on 5, but I didn't see the one on 3.テつ Could you go through that a little bit?テつ Well, go through both of them.
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ Yeah, 3 was the par‑5.テつ I stuck it to four feet after Hee Young stuck it to six feet.テつ She hit before me.テつ At that point, she was still three shots back.
After she missed it, I knew I had to‑‑ I wanted to make it to increase my lead; I did just that.
The birdie putt on 5, I missed the putt on 4 which was a really good putt.
Then on 5, big slider about 15 feet right to left.テつ Hit center of the cup.テつ That was a big putt for me.
Then missed a little five‑, six‑footer on 6.テつ You can't make 'em all out here.

Q.テつ Obviously isn't your first time in contention.テつ Couple runner‑ups and a couple thirds.テつ In those tournaments, were you pleased with how you faced the Sunday pressure?テつ And did you change anything today from how you played in those instances?
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ Yeah.テつ I think I was in contention once as a rookie.テつ Looking back, I definitely put a lot of pressure on myself.
Last season I was in contention at the Kraft Nabisco.テつ I had a lot of the fans out there.テつ I just think I needed more experience through those times.テつ I shot 62 to be in the playoff with Suzann, and unfortunately didn't have that win there.
I think this week, I mean this year at the Kia Classic when I was in contention and I wasn't playing‑‑ I mean, I wasn't playing amazing golf, but I really had to grind it out all 18 holes.
So I think that experience at the Kia Classic really helped me mentally on really grinding it out all 18 holes and really finishing strong.
I think I made two birdies out of ‑‑ two of the last four holes for birdie and finished second.テつ So I think that really helped me stay strong for this week.
Someone is calling me.テつ It's Jeff.
I'll call him later.

Q.テつ How do you anticipate this will kind of change you?テつ You've already made tons of money on tour and done great; third‑year pro.テつ You've had a lot of success, but how do you think proving to yourself you can win will change you?
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ I don't think it'll change me at all.テつ I think it'll just get me more excited to win more championships and to be a major champion.
At the same time, I have to think of it as a process and not focus on results so much.テつ I think it's just back to the basics after this.テつ Try to study another golf course and really try to figure out what this golf course does to your game and how your game benefits on that golf course.
Every week is different, but your mentality has to stay strong throughout the whole year.テつ Having 30‑plus events this year, it's not a sprint, it's a marathon.テつ You have to be ‑‑ I have to be very patient and not get too caught up in trying to win the tournament on Thursday rather than Sunday.

Q.テつ You mentioned a putting contraption or something that your dad had given you.

Q.テつ Talk about that a little bit.
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ Yeah, he made like this L‑looking stick where you just stick it into the green and you have your alignment stick covering over it.テつ Just makes my putter stay low to the ground and really focus on having that arc through that line.
Really helped me stay down through the ball and visualize my line.テつ Seeing straight lines out there rather than ‑‑ yeah, it just made it a lot more simple for me to make putts out there.
He made it for me when I was on the Symetra Tour.テつ I decided to bring it out this week, so in some sense dad was here this week.
MODERATOR:テつ Any other questions for Lizette?テつ If not, the champion gets to go home and celebrate.
LIZETTE SALAS:テつ Thank you.

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