August 8, 2003

             2003 U.S. Women’s Amateur

             Gladwyne , Pennsylvania

 

An Interview with:

 

VIRADA NIRAPATHPONGPORN

 

  RHONDA GLENN: Virada, I went through your card and you had 10 birdies. You each shot an identical score 68, 3-under-par.

  VIRADA NIRAPATHPONGPORN: We did. I thought I shot a 69.

  RHONDA GLENN: I got you 3-under.

  VIRADA NIRAPATHPONGPORN: I have a bogey somewhere.

  RHONDA GLENN: Right, it's down there. Eight, threes and five, fives.

  VIRADA NIRAPATHPONGPORN: I don't know.

  RHONDA GLENN: You had 6 birdies.

  VIRADA NIRAPATHPONGPORN: Can I see it again?

  RHONDA GLENN: Sure.

  VIRADA NIRAPATHPONGPORN: Birdie, birdie, birdie, so that's 3-under. So that's 2-under, 3-under, 2-under. 3-under, 4-under. And then I bogeyed two holes, 17 and 18.

  RHONDA GLENN: Let me double check this then. I got you 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, threes. And 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, fives. It's 69 each. 3-under fours. That's pretty great golf.

  Where does this match fit in all of the matches that you have played; where does it stand?

  VIRADA NIRAPATHPONGPORN: One of the toughest ones. Obviously I played Michelle earlier in the summer and even, you know, shooting 6-under par still lost by a shot, one hole. And this is, you know, only the quarter final round. But I think we all know  -- I know that the 2 of us are, you know, the 2 best players in the country. But when you bring it head-to-head, someone has to lose and someone has to win. We both played great, as can you see, 69 each.

  As I said at the Public Links, sometimes you are going to come out one shot shy of someone else. But sometimes you will come out on top. So today was the day that I come on top.

  RHONDA GLENN: You played great. What is your relationship with Aree , what kind of relationship do you have?

  VIRADA NIRAPATHPONGPORN: Sister, friend. We have been playing golf together, me, Naree and Aree since we were kids in Thailand , I was probably 14 and they were 10.

 

  Q. When you were in Thailand ?

  VIRADA NIRAPATHPONGPORN: Yes. It was the 3 of us at the top. It's always been that way. We all decided in 1997, okay, it's time to go over to the states. So their family moved and I came over by myself. So their family kind of took care of me. They were my host family. I would go over to their house and eat Thai food maybe once every two weeks or so.

 

  Q. How hard is it to play against an opponent to whom you are that close?

  VIRADA NIRAPATHPONGPORN: I think each of us knew out there, Aree and I both knew we are friends off the course. But on the course, and in the tournament like this, it's all business. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. It's the sport. Once it's over, you are friends again.

 

  Q. You bogeyed the last two holes, what was going on in your mind after the first bogey, were you upset?

  VIRADA NIRAPATHPONGPORN: I hit a good drive on 17. I don't know why it went left. I didn't think my ball was way down where Aree was. I couldn't see another ball in the fairway. I'm like well, where is it? And then I walked up to the ball and I am like oh, not a good lie.

 

  Q. Was it sitting down?

  VIRADA NIRAPATHPONGPORN: Sitting down in kind of a hole, thick rough around it, and I have about 190. My caddy asked, can you get a 7-wood out of there? No. I don't think so. So let's go with the 4-iron and run it up there and be confident enough with my pitch and I will get up and down, and I hit.

 

  Q. You hit a good pitch?

  VIRADA NIRAPATHPONGPORN: I hit a good pitch, left myself exactly how I wanted to leave myself. The putt is so quick and it breaks a lot. It's all a combination of speed and line. It's a lot of pressure, too. So I ended up not executing the shot as well as I wanted but that's how it goes sometimes, so I recollect myself and say I still got a hole to go still one up. I still have the advantage.

 

  Q. On 18 you hit a good shot right down the middle, and it looked as if you hit a real good second shot, what club did you use there?

  VIRADA NIRAPATHPONGPORN: A little 7-wood.

 

  Q. A 7-wood and it just took off?

  VIRADA NIRAPATHPONGPORN: Yes, I hit a really good one, maybe too good or something.

  But my caddy and I talked it over and we think maybe we were a little too aggressive on that hole. It's plus 10 to the back of the hole. Maybe we should have made plus 5 and stayed below the hole. I went in between clubs. I could have hit a full 4-iron. But I just was, at the time, was a little more comfortable with taking out my 7-wood. And I happened to hit it great. I don't know where it is. Did it even hit the green?

 

  Q. Yes. It hit the green and went right off the back. How about after that your chip back on, what are your thoughts with your putt knowing that she is still trying to get on the green, and she needs 2, and you go to extra holes. What are your thoughts after the chip back on?

  VIRADA NIRAPATHPONGPORN: I did it exactly how I wanted to hit it. Just kind of get it on the green. I know it's going to go way down there but that's fine because I know she has a pretty tough lie herself. I was surprised that she was over the green as well after seeing  --

 

  Q. A mistake?

  VIRADA NIRAPATHPONGPORN: Yes. But I think she hit a good shot. Sometimes I hit a good shot and it goes over the green. She probably did the same thing. And leaving myself that three-footer.

 

  Q. Was it that short? I thought it was maybe longer.

  VIRADA NIRAPATHPONGPORN: It was maybe like 3 and a half.

 

  Q. That's three feet, okay?

  VIRADA NIRAPATHPONGPORN: Just about three. But that's not the problem. It's the side hill. But I think I learned a lot from that putt on 17.

 

  Q. At the Women's Amateur Public Links, or this one?

  VIRADA NIRAPATHPONGPORN: No, this one. 17, I did not hit it firm enough. And so this one on 18, I'm like I got the line, hit it firm.

 

  Q. But did you also learn something from the three-footer that you missed at the Women Amateur Public Links to maybe concentrate more on?

  VIRADA NIRAPATHPONGPORN: I did. I have been practicing a lot of 3 footers, making sure that I hit it all firm. Sometimes you are going to miss. I try not to miss many of them.

 

  Q. To have a match like this in quarter finals will that help in the semifinals and finals tol?

  VIRADA NIRAPATHPONGPORN: Yes, the final match is going to be a tough one. It's always like that. So I think this is a good practice. I think playing Michelle at the Public Links, or even experiencing Match Play events earlier last summer, whatever, I think it's always helped. But it's good to play someone that brings it on to you, because then you learn how to hit shots under pressure and that's what you got to take to the final match.

  Tomorrow is going to be a good match, to.

 

  Q. In-Bee , have you ever played with her?

  VIRADA NIRAPATHPONGPORN: No.

 

  Q. The shot on 14 out of the bunker, what did you think, because it didn't look like you reacted like you thought you holed it?

  VIRADA NIRAPATHPONGPORN: I couldn't see it at all. But I knew it was right on line. The sand was very wet where I was. I don't usually get to hit that kind of shot very much, but I did get to practice because my caddy went like two days, during the practice round, he said go down and hit some of the wet sand and see how it comes out. I realize I have to deloft a little bit, and let it kind of skip instead of you launch it up there and have it back spin on you and whatever.

  And then when I hit it, I thought okay, this is good. And people were starting, "go in the hole," "go in the hole" then yeah. Then I saw Annie and all right.

 

  Q. How long was that shot would you say?

  VIRADA NIRAPATHPONGPORN: Well, I got like 13 paces to my landing spot, problem maybe 17.

 

  Q. About 35 feet probably?

  VIRADA NIRAPATHPONGPORN: Yes.

 

  Q. If it's all right, could I ask her the length of her birdie putts starting with No. 1?

  VIRADA NIRAPATHPONGPORN: One, probably a foot, she gave it to me. I didn't putt that.

 

  Q. 2?

  VIRADA NIRAPATHPONGPORN: 2 was six feet. 3 was a par-5, probably 15.

 

  Q. 6?

  VIRADA NIRAPATHPONGPORN: 6, 8.

 

  Q. 16, how long was that one would you say?

  VIRADA NIRAPATHPONGPORN: Not long, four feet, three of four feet.

 

  Q. Your great iron shots, I don't know, I consider that the strength of her game, her iron game, do you?

  VIRADA NIRAPATHPONGPORN: Yes, I think so. Distance control.

 

  Q. You came off to a really good start, were you trying to play aggressively early to put pressure on her or were you surprised that, you know, birdie, birdie?

  VIRADA NIRAPATHPONGPORN: No, no, it was kind of like the Public Links match. I really wasn't thinking birdies, you know, I was just thinking target, shot, target shot. But I was picking aggressive targets to go at and made those putts.

 

  Q. Just aggressive the whole day?

  VIRADA NIRAPATHPONGPORN: Yes, yes.

 

  Q. A lot of us were saying that this was possibly the match of the championship, did you think about that at all last night getting ready for today?

  VIRADA NIRAPATHPONGPORN: Well, I know it's not going to be -- this is only quarter finals. It would be great to meet later on in the week but when I saw the bracket I know who is in my bracket.

 

  Q. Any other questions? Thank you very much, Virada.

  VIRADA NIRAPATHPONGPORN: Thank you.

  Fastscripts by ASAP Sports....

 

 

 

 

  

 

  

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