June 10, 2021
Daly City, California, USA
Lake Merced Country Club
Q. Right back to the range, but you shot 4-under 68. Seems like the course is playing difficult with scoring average over par. Take me through just the day for you.
ALBANE VALENZUELA: I think I just played very -- played some good golf. Missed some shots out there, but I kind of knew on this golf course and just the conditions we were going to miss shots.
But I think I just handle myself really well. Just super patient. I have my best friend on the bag this week, college teammate, roommates and everything, so I think it was just really fun to have her on the bag, and we just had fun.
I think I just played shot at a time and actually had a fun time.
Q. What's her name?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: Emily, Emily Wang. Her Chinese name is Ziyi, but we call her Emmy, so...
Q. Is she still at Stanford?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: She just graduated yesterday from her master's degree in international policy and she's a Rhodes Scholar, so she is probably, have to say, the smartest caddie of the week because she outsmarts everyone. (Laughter.)
So she's awesome. She's really like my best, best friend from college, and this week neither my dad or my brother could caddie because my brother is playing in the Mexican Am, so I called her and I was like, Can you please caddie for me? She was like, Done deal. Reply within five minutes. Really cool.
Q. Does she still stay up this way, live up this way then?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: She's still at Stanford just because she had to finish her master's degree, but she's off to Oxford to start her Ph.D.
So she's really...
Q. What's she doing on that end?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: She is going to do a Ph.D. in history. I mean if, there is really one smart person that came out of Stanford's women's golf, it's Emily Wang.
Q. That's saying a lot. So your brother is playing the Mexican Am and your dad out there with him?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: My dad I think has work. I don't know where he is. We're kind of all -- mom is in France and we're all over.
Q. Have you played out here before?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: No. It's actually my first time I think every time the team came out here I was injured or something came up. But I never played here. So for being 30 minutes away it was kind of funny that I never actually played here.
Q. So when you got out here and saw the course and you compare it to maybe some of the stories you heard, how does it compare or not compare?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: Well, one, I did not hear any stories. I think that was maybe a good or bad thing. I don't know. Definitely felt it was a really tough course, but it's a drawer's golf course, I feel like, and good -- I mean, that's my trajectory. I always hit high draws.
So I feel like it really suits my eye pretty well. Then the greens are super slopey and I definitely had a hard time adjusting. They were a little bit slower starting yesterday in the practice round, and I feel like that kind of helped me get a good pace for it.
Definitely when I came or Monday, Tuesday I was struggling from tee to green. I was on the struggle bus. Today I was like, you know what? Just focus on good tempo. Try your best. If you make a bogey, you make a bogey. That's why I'm not even mad about the bogey on 18. I'm like, whatever. It's golf.
Q. Good mentality. What did you do on the week off from competition last week?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: I went back to Dallas, spend sometime there with my brother, which was good, and then came early on Saturday just to see some friends here at Stanford. It felt weird coming back to Stanford being an alum. I'm a foreigner. I see a freshman I'm like, Oh, they're young. That was me not long ago.
So it was good to see my best friends from school, spending time with my caddie before things got hectic.
Q. Your caddie, best friend.
ALBANE VALENZUELA: Yeah.
Q. Today you had quite a colorful front nine. Let me take a look at it. Here you had birdies on 2, 3, 5, 7, and then --
ALBANE VALENZUELA: Yeah, I had a lot of birdies.
Q. Yeah. And then 10, 11, and 14. Split up the two nines. Start on your front nine, which was the back nine, 10 11, and 14. Any one of those in particular stand out?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: I gave myself so many good birdie looks on the back nine. I really felt I was always pretty much putting for birdie.
I made a good long one from being left in the trees. Hit a really good recovery shot. I think that was my third birdie on the back. Really good recovery shot and made the putt. I was like, Oh, that's a plus, because I was happy with a par on this one.
But I think really the best shot I've hit all day was on No. 2. Into the wind, 140 meters to the pin, and we were going to play a 6-iron to the wind. I'm, you know what? I'm just going to play like some kind of 5-iron, like grip it short, just lower spin, and I knocked it to like two feet.
So I really hit -- I came out of the club and I was like, Oh, it's actually (indiscernible) shot. So that was probably the best, the most fun.
And then my up and down on 8 was pretty fun, on my 17th hole. I joke with my caddie that I fist pump for par saves but not your birdies. (Laughter.)
Q. Some of those are almost more important.
ALBANE VALENZUELA: Yeah, you struggle and you come out of it and you're like, yes.
Q. Does it just kind of feel like although you haven't played here before kind of like a homecoming week?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: Oh, definitely, and I'm staying with really good friends from Stanford that I met, the Epstein family. They host us this week, and it just feels great. I actually almost lived in their house my senior year when I had to live out, and just being there I think having home cooked meals and just being in a family setting really feels great. I feel at home.
I see my best friends around here, and obviously not this week because we're under COVID rules, but I see her, it's great.
Q. Epstein you said?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: Yes, Sue Epstein. She's very involved with LPGA Reach, with the PGA Reach programs, and she's really involved with Stanford women's golf. Yeah, her husband is Jeff Epstein. Great family.
Q. Where do they live?
ALBANE VALENZUELA: Atherton.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports