An Interview With Semifinalist Amanda Blumenherst
BETH MURRISON: We have Amanda Blumenherst with us. Congratulations on another victory out there. Can you talk about how you're feeling about your game right now.
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: I'm very confident. I'm hitting the ball really well. And the putts are starting to fall in. I kind of struggled with my putter really all last year. But I've been hitting the ball great. So I'm kind of putting both together. And it's been a lot of fun.
BETH MURRISON: You had a tough match your first match. How much do you think that's helped you in the three matches, since you've had some pretty big victories since that first match.
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: I'll always had a tendency; the first match has always been the most difficult. I don't know if I put a lot of pressure on myself or if it's just been ... I don't know, the first one has always been kind of the toughest.
After I got past that I've just been playing a little better and been a little more relaxed.
Q. Does this start to feel a little like last year, you had a tough 19th hole last year, and you breezed through. And in the semifinals you played a junior, and now you're playing another junior, are you seeing any similarities?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: There is definitely a pattern. The only difference, I knew every girl last year, even the college level or junior golf or something like that. And this year I've never played with any except for Lizette. I played a little bit of college golf with her. But the last few groups I've played with during the tournament I've never played before. And I've never played with the girl I'll be playing against tomorrow. It's a little different in that aspect.
Q. Does that make a difference? Do you want to know anything about your player?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: It's kind of nice not knowing. It helps me also focus on my game. I'm just playing the course and just trying to see how low I can go.
Q. Did you know anything about Carlota?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: No, I didn't. Except that she was from Spain, but that was it.
I'd never played with her before. I don't know how old she is or where she's going to school or anything like that.
Q. You didn't see her at all two years ago in South Africa at all. You guys didn't play in Spain?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: We must not have. Or if we did, I have a really short-term memory.
Q. So on the first hole she hit a great shot out of the bunker over there, and then what went through your head and then you obviously answered her right after that?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: It was kind of I was pretending like it was stroke play. She had a good recovery shot and I was just going to try to make my birdie.
Q. Your preparation for this week, what specifically did you do at all to get ready?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: Evened up my tan (laughter). I took the month off and I really just spent it with my family in Indiana and then I went up to Cape Cod to visit my boyfriend and then went to Arizona for about a week. And I kept practicing every day, I just didn't play any tournament golf. And really I've been focusing on putting. I've been hitting the ball well for a while, I knew that's what I needed to work on. And I had a lesson with Michael Labauve, my swing instructor, but he's great with short game, as well. The day before we left the tournament he helped me with my putting and it's really done a lot.
Q. What specifically?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: I mean small adjustments. Kind of just getting more solid contact with the ball and I'm constantly trying to remind myself to keep my head still and down. And I've been working on that all month.
Q. You say you didn't really play very many tournaments in the last few weeks, how important is that for you to stay fresh and be ready to get through the grind this week can be?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: It seems I have a pattern if I take a long break the next time I play very well. Even like my dad gave me a stat I've won the majority of them, from college we get all of November until the end of February off. And I've done well on our first spring tournament. And it's been consistent like that, even through junior golf. When I do take a long break I feel so much more refreshed and really excited to play the next tournament.
Q. What was your first round before this, before this week? You said you took the month off. Did you play any rounds of golf?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: My last round was the 9 hole Bloomy Open and that was 4th of July. But I had gone out and actually played, but just been throwing golf balls down and chipping and putting, never really competitive or full 18 holes.
Q. Since the retirement of Annika Sorenstam in the LPGA there's been a lot of publicity about you and your future in golf. Would you care to just comment on maybe how your Hoosier upbringing has helped you be balanced and help deal with the publicity that's coming in your career?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: My parents have been great role models just keeping me steady. And really families first and then getting a good education and golf. And everything is really well balanced. I actually don't look at any of the media stuff, really. I try to keep myself kind of detached from that. It's great when I get positive articles and I'll just look at the picture to make sure it's okay, and then I skim through it. But I just really ... I spend so much time on the golf course that I just try to play and I know I don't have the most conventional swing, so I don't need to read about it. And so just kind of just trying to play and then go watch friends or something.
Q. Would you meandering through that three birdie stretch at the end of the front nine?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: Well, there were several where I could have made birdie. I had just missed the putts. And I think those were the par 3 and then the par 5. And I knew I was stroking it really well. It was just a matter of speed and my line. So I was confident with how I was putting, I was hitting it great. So the par 3, got it close, and it was, it was probably six or seven feet and then the next hole was a par 5 and I hit a good drive and a 7-wood kind of to the back part of the green and had just a nice two-putt. It was downhill. So I had I think about four feet left. I made that putt.
And then hole 9, I hit a good drive, and stuffed an 8-iron.
Q. To about...
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: To probably about six feet.
Q. So right there you kind of stepped on her throat, more or less. Did you kind of feel the air go out of the match at that point, when you got 4 up?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: It wasn't like she was playing poorly. It was just even, or something, I don't even know. But I just was playing well and just wanted to keep the momentum going.
Q. I think six rounds in the golf course, how familiar are you with it now or comfortable are you with it?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: It's great. Definitely the more I play it the more familiar I become, just because there are a few fairways that you can hit it on the left center and it's going to kick into the center. And you know that ‑‑ I figured out that these group of trees really come into play when you hit it over on one side of the fairway. So I think the more I play the more familiar I am, with the greens, as well.
Q. Do you feel with this narrow course you need to be straight? That's obviously one of your specialties. Do you feel like the course plays to your game?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: Definitely. And I also have a tendency to hit a little bit of a draw. And there's only a few holes where that isn't a good thing. And I hit a 5-wood on 11. And I think there's another one, I think maybe it's the 14. And those are the ... and I kind of struggled with those just because they kind of call for a little bit of a fade. But I'm able to adjust, accordingly. And I definitely am hitting it in the fairway is a huge benefit. Sometimes if you hit it in the light rough it's not a big deal. But it's here it's a big deal.
Q. Were you trying to hit a fade on 6, the par 5?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: The par 5. I hit a draw, but started off a little bit more to the right.
Q. You are hitting driver, though?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: Yeah.
Q. The gallery following your group was a lot bigger than any other on the course. Is that something that you could feed off of or it doesn't affect you at all?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: You know, I really didn't notice the group size, like the proportion of who was following. But it's great to hear people cheering for you. And even if they're cheering for your competitor, it's great having people watch.
And also it's wonderful preparation for the Tour. Sometimes if I can kind of see people moving I just remind myself it's going to be like that on the LPGA so just let it go and focus.
Q. Is it more key this year than last year, when definitely there were a lot of family and friends?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: I loved having all my family out and they made dinners a lot of fun. But it definitely put a lot of pressure on me, just because there's so many people that come out to watch. People said we drove from Ohio to watch you and I'm, oh, good (laughter).
Q. No board games this week?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: No board games. I've been playing cards with my mom.
Q. On many of the holes it seemed like that Ciganda quite often out drove you. And maybe the difference in this match was your second shot or approach shots. Can you talk about your mid irons and how that really gave you the match?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: I hit my driver well, where I think I only missed like one fairway where it actually kind of affected how I had to hit my approach shot. But I just, I was hitting in the fairway, I heard she was really long. I kind of mentally prepared myself. But I could tell I was a little straighter. I hit it in the fairway and then my irons have always been my strength, so just staying confident with those and finding the right yardage and hitting it.
BETH MURRISON: Have you changed your approach to match play since last year's Women's Amateur?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: No, I feel I played really well last year in match play. I have kept the same mentality throughout the year and applied it to this tournament.
BETH MURRISON: Has playing more and more, obviously the Curtis Cup the last two times, has that helped you over the years?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: For sure. It definitely has. I think the more you can practice match play, the more confident I've become. And also I've kind of learned the strategy a little bit better.
Q. Do you plan your schedule far enough ahead to know if this is your last amateur?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: Well, I knew that just because I'll be turning pro after Nationals next year. So, yeah, I kind of realized this would be definitely be my last U.S. Am, so I'm trying to go out with a bang.
Q. You've led the last 45 holes in your matches. Talk about not being behind and how that frees you up maybe mentally?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: Well, definitely. When I played with Lizette and I came back, I still had kind of the same feeling as when I was up, just because I had the momentum going. I was hitting it well.
It definitely helps, though, just to get out early and just for me I almost can get even more into my own game and forget about who I'm playing with, just see how low I can go.
Q. Can you tell us about when you really pretty much put her away, you went dormie on 13. Was that your best drive of the day, your drive on 13?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: I hit it really hard. And I also hit it a little bit lower than I had been. I didn't do it on purpose, I just kind of the way I hit it. It definitely hit and it rolled down that hill. So it was nice. I was hoping I wasn't coming downhill line, it was coming down flat. So I think it was one of my better drives today.