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June 9, 2018

Mariah Stackhouse

Galloway, New Jersey

Q. Good way to finish after waiting almost three hours to get back out there.

Q. So what have these two days been like for you?
MARIAH STACKHOUSE: The two days have been -- I guess the word I would use to it would be "smooth." I had the week off after not making -- qualifying for the Open. Actually, I went to California and didn't take my clubs. Just took some time off. Been in a place where I just feel very good about my game. The whole spring season I was performing better and better every week.

Just kind of came here -- especially after last year. I didn't play well for this course. As a result of that, I didn't know how to feel going into this tournament. Like could this be a place where I think I could continue to play better? I don't know. Because after last year I'm like, I don't like it. I also wasn't playing well.

So I think coming in here just with a better game, stats looking better, hitting more fairways, hitting more greens, I actually realize I actually do like this course. (Laughter.)

Q. What do you like most about it?
MARIAH STACKHOUSE: You know, what I like is I think distance-wise I think this sets up really well for us. I think if you're hitting fairways and greens there is only a couple holes where you're coming in with longer irons. I think it sets up well to score.

I think out here it's important to take advantage of being in the morning wave, your first nine holes. I think that's the story with po everywhere. Towards the end of the day it just gets bumpy.

So that was my mindset going into today. I said, With the 9:00, last tee time in the wave, I figured the front nine I would have a pretty good opportunity to make putts on the greens; back nine I just kind of had to throw away my mind and say, Look, if you're missing putts, don't beat yourself up about it. Just going to be bumpy after that.

Q. How did you occupy yourself during the delay?
MARIAH STACKHOUSE: I watched a show on Netflix.

Q. What one?
MARIAH STACKHOUSE: Don't worry about it. (Laughter.)

Q. What was the shot on 17? Had you tee'd off yet?
MARIAH STACKHOUSE: I had already tee'd off, thank goodness.

Q. So you were just waiting on the putt?
MARIAH STACKHOUSE: Yeah. I had a little nine-foot putt breaking right to left. I went over to the practice greens, found that exact same putt, put a tee there, and just went through my pre-shot routine and just kind of putted that putt over and over and over so I knew what I was getting prepared for.

Q. What had this road been like for you? I saw you attended Stanford all four years, got your degree, and came out here, didn't rush it at all.

Q. What's that been like, the whole career path for you?
MARIAH STACKHOUSE: You know, I think what it did for me out here is I didn't feel the need to apply pressure for myself. Last year, you know, definitely a little bit disappointed in where my game was.

At the same time, I had already kind of gone into it like rookie year, this will be my learning experience. Became apparent after a while that I wasn't necessarily going to pop, so I had to shift my perspective and say, Okay, do your best to learn the golf courses, because someday you're going to be in the same position.

And so to feel good about the courses you're heading into and knowing what I'm getting under my belt, learning how to handle the travel and planning it myself versus the coaches doing everything or my mom handling everything like in junior golf.

So it was just a grind, but I'm happy with where I am. Like I said, golf is what I want for my career. I don't want it to be a quick thing, which is why I didn't feel the need to rush or leave school early. Personally for myself.

I want to be out here for a while and I don't think there is any rush in that for me.

Q. In addition to the travel and the competition, there is also role model. How do you accept that responsibility? I don't know if it's a responsibility, but that quality, to be a role model for the young girls and maybe get some for African American girls out here?
MARIAH STACKHOUSE: Yeah, no, no absolutely. I always say it's an opportunity. I don't think being a role model is a responsibility. I think if you're doing your best to perform to the top of your abilities, being a kind and humble person, and just genuinely loving and appreciating what you get the opportunity to do, I think that in itself will help you kind of emulate the person that you want to be.

So that's just kind of the mindset I have when I'm on the golf course. Just be happy to be out here. Be thankful. I worked my whole life for this. Anything could have gone wrong. I could have broken something. Who knows? But I'm here and it worked out for me.

So just appreciating that and doing my best to always -- not doing my best -- always being nice to the kids and signing autographs and encouraging them, asking them how long they been playing golf, how much they like it.

That's how I think about it.

Q. Seeing more little girls coming out when you're playing?

Q. That must be pretty cool.
MARIAH STACKHOUSE: Yeah, it is. It's special.

Q. You'll be around the lead tomorrow. How do you think you'll handle the pressure? Also, I don't think an African-American has ever won and LPGA event. How do you sort of handle that added pressure, if it is added pressure?
MARIAH STACKHOUSE: It's not added pressure. When I'm on the golf course I'm not (indiscernible) as a black American. I'm just a golfer trying to make as many birdie putts as I can and save all the pars that I can.

Like I said, my approach this year, I didn't come out wanting necessarily to win tournaments and be in contention. I need for my game to be at a place where I'm actually having an opportunity to contend week in and week out. That's my only focus.

I've been getting closer and closer to that with every event over the last five or six weeks. My numbers have been improving. I'm just happy to see myself where I am. I'm not going to go to bed tonight and think about winning a golf tournament. I'm just going to try to get enough sleep. (Laughter.)

Q. When you took the time off last week and didn't take your clubs or anything, is that something you do regularly?
MARIAH STACKHOUSE: No, no. It's not something I do regularly. I was like, This could be a stupid decision. At the same time, I was like between Phoenix and Kingsmill, I mean, I played a lot of golf. Honestly, six, seven days without your golf clubs you're not going to lose anything that you've been gaining.

With the summer stretch, a major being in between and a couple courses I really like before and after the KPMG, I just want to be well rested. I didn't want to be like, I've seen too much of my golf bag, I've seen too much of my clubs.

And I am going to miss graduation and a bunch of my friends are graduating, so that was kind of like let me go hang out, see my people, have fun, and enjoy the week.

Q. So you went back to the Stanford area?

Q. Lastly, since we're semi-close to Philadelphia here, your father is Jerry Stackhouse's...
MARIAH STACKHOUSE: Cousin. I can't tell you exactly how that works.

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