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June 8, 2019

Mariah Stackhouse

Galloway, New Jersey

Q. Almost ended things with an eagle out there, but just take us through your round and how were you feeling out there on the course.
MARIAH STACKHOUSE: I think that after such a solid round yesterday, I felt comfortable coming out here. I think that when you can put up a low round in the afternoon, the morning conditions are almost always going to be a little bit more fair. So I kept that in mind.

With all this wind yesterday afternoon, I hit some great approach shots and gave myself a lot of opportunities, so I figured I would have another opportunity to do the same this morning, and that's kind of the mantra and mind-set that I came out with. Let's just see how many birdies I can get.

Q. For you last year, you had a great showing, especially in the second round at this tournament. Were you pulling on your experience from that maybe today during the second round?
MARIAH STACKHOUSE: You know, what absolutely. I think that one of the benefits for tournaments that you come back to year-in and year-out, or once you have a solid couple rounds out there, you know it's possible to string it together on that course. So I think the next year you come back, and you have a hot round one; well, I've done that and I've followed it up again. You know that it's a course that when you're striking it well, it's friendly to you, and it makes you a lot more calm when you come out, definitely.

Q. With the way the afternoon may go, you're going to be close to the top or on top of the leaderboard, maybe in the final pairing tomorrow. What does that do for your confidence after a round like this?
MARIAH STACKHOUSE: You know, like I said, no matter where I am on the leaderboard, I'm going to keep the same mind-set. I'm pretty sure that there are going to be a couple low rounds that come in this afternoon, because despite the wind, the greens are so small that you just have a lot of birdie putts.

So I'm confident there are going to be a couple of rounds that come in low, but no matter where I'm sitting, I'm playing this course well right now. My mantra is hit it in the fairway, hit it on the green and go make some putts. I'm going to stick to that tomorrow.

Q. What is it about this course that just seems to bring out the best in your game, basically?
MARIAH STACKHOUSE: You know, I think that I am fairly accurate off the tee. I think being in the fairway out here is helpful because you have some longer holes where you can come in with some longer irons and hybrids into the wind, and when you're doing that, it's much easier to come into those greens out of the fairway. I think that's the key out here is if you're hitting it well off the tee, the trouble is minimal. But if you're in the rough a little bit, and you find yourself in some of that fescue, the up-and-downs are easy. Take a look at these greens. The beauty of them is that they are small, which makes putting fun. The other side of that is that if you miss, you probably are off on the side and have somewhat of a tricky shot, unless you have a lot of green to work with. I think it's a lot of fun to navigate this golf course, and with the experience that I got out here last year, I kind of knew what needed to be done on what holes.

Then I think you've got par 5s that give you opportunities out here, which is one thing I love about this, too. You watch men's golf and you see them getting to go for a couple of par 5s with irons, so it's cool for us to get an opportunity to do the same thing and that's how you get those eagles coming in or those opportunities, and it makes golf really exciting. I think this course sets up extremely well for if you're hitting it well tee-to-green, and then if not, you've got to play smart and get yourself back in play to avoid that double creeping up in your scorecard.

Q. After contending last year, what good memories do you bring into this course and how do they help you today, and yesterday you had a good round, too?
MARIAH STACKHOUSE: You know, I tell everybody, when I played with -- I was in a group with Annie last year for the final round, I think we were the second-to-last or third-to-last group, and I watched Annie drain putts from all over that green.

So that's what I'm seeing out here this week is I'm putting the best that I've putted all year so far right now, and it's because I'm just seeing Annie dropping them from everywhere last year, so that's good. That's my last memory of this golf course. So it's a good thing to come in with in the back of your mind.

Q. Every time you're in contention, obviously an African American hasn't won on the LPGA in a long time, maybe if ever. How do you handle that? Do you feel pressure because of that? What's your take on that whole issue, basically?
MARIAH STACKHOUSE: I don't think -- that's something that would only -- I would only really think about after a tournament such. When you're on the course, that kind of stuff just isn't in your mind. You're playing in windy conditions out here. Makes judging approach shots tough. Every single shot, that's all I'm concerned with is getting that number right, putting the right club in my hand and executing a solid shot. So there's no time for your mind to wander to any other things until the round is up with.

Q. The wind today, is it worse than your round yesterday?
MARIAH STACKHOUSE: You know, the front nine was nice and relatively calm. This back nine actually did get quite windy, but I looked at the hourly wind at the start of the round so I knew at least the last six holes I was going to have some howling winds similar to what it was all yesterday afternoon, which is different. You come out in the morning and think, you'll get a break, and oh, get a break for about nine holes, that was it. I was prepared for it but it played pretty similar to yesterday.

Q. Anything that you take -- you were in this position last year, looks like you'll be in the same position again. Is there anything you take out of last year that you can take into tomorrow?
MARIAH STACKHOUSE: Only thing from last year is final day, free that putter up. Just, you know, there's nothing that you've got to do differently. Don't all of a sudden start trying to put the putts in the hole.

That's been my focus all week. It's something I've struggled with a little bit so far this year. And I came out here, had a talk with my caddie and said, you know what, when I put that putter down, I took a look at the hole and I look back at my ball and I'm not waiting. I'm just going. That's my only focus for tomorrow.

I'm hitting the ball extremely well, so I'm not going to go beat on the range or anything. I'm just going to keep that nice, calm swing that I've had going and release the putter. If they fall, they fall. If they don't, they don't. But if you let them fall, most of the time if you release them, they do fall.

Q. You've certainly not followed up a great year last year this year to this point. What has been the issue, and have you gotten yourself out of whatever doldrums?
MARIAH STACKHOUSE: Putting has been the issue, and right now it's not an issue. I've been hitting the ball well for at least the last two months or so, which has been extremely frustrating because I've given myself plenty of opportunity and haven't gotten barely a putt to fall.

I feel like my score cards for the last few competitions, I might have two or three birdies a round, sometimes none at all, and you just can't do that. So I think that my switch with putting and trying to go into this a little freer this week, instant turnaround, and now, look, my solid ball-striking is finally for a purpose. So it's good, yeah.

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