Transcript Of Interview With Finalist Amanda Blumenherst
BETH MURRISON: Amanda Blumenherst, thanks for joining us today. Congratulations on another victory. Can you talk a little bit about your match today? I think it was probably a little tougher than many of us expected.
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: It was. It was a grind. I didn't hit the ball as well as I have been at the beginning. My driver was going a little left. And the rough was just so thick that it kind of can be a little trickier.
I was putting well and just everything came together on the last part of the front nine. And I just kept playing solid. And she made some good putts on the backside, too, to keep it close. I started hitting the ball a little better.
BETH MURRISON: Did the rain we had this morning affect the golf course at all the way you played it or was the rough denser?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: I was trying to think if I was in the rough that much in the beginning. Chipping was a little bit stickier. But I could tell it was a little bit colder. I wasn't hitting it quite as far the first few holes, so it affected my distance.
Q. You were out on the range last night. You played 18 or you played in, then you were out on the range. Is there anything in particular you were working on?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: No, just confidence builder, I guess. But I was hitting, I was hitting it fine, and just wanted to kind of stay loose and just hit it more.
Q. You're back in the final again. There's been some patterns of this, in the USGA past, Jane Park lost and came back and won the next year. Do you feel like this is now your time? You've been through this. You've got the experience of playing in this final now?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: For sure. I'm putting better than I was last year, which is good. And it definitely helps in match play. It's a great way to get your momentum going and just kind of keep getting further and further ahead. But, yeah, it definitely is a little bit of a pattern, seeing myself back in the final group.
Yeah, I'm just going to go out and play my game and give it my best shot.
Q. Do you have any routine that you fall back on from last year or anything you'll do the same or differently?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: The only real difference that I might have kind of forgotten about last year was that it is 36 holes. And it's so important to stay patient, just because I think it's easy to get frustrated or worried. But 36 holes is a lot of golf and really anything can happen.
I'm just going to make sure that I stay very patient.
Q. This is a pretty tough thing to do, get back in two consecutive rounds. Very few people do it. How much of a grind is it for you, and how fatigued are you? How do you work it out so you don't feel tired or don't feel fatigued?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: It's such a long week of golf. So many rounds of having to play very well, especially in match play. Because if you have an off day you're out of the tournament. And so it is a grind. But I had taken quite a bit of time off before, so I was well rested. And I will be taking some time off after the tournament. But, yeah, just one more day, just 36 more holes. I definitely have the endurance for a little bit more golf.
Q. Do you do something? Do you have a workout routine at home or school to keep yourself physically fit, to not get yourself where you're tired playing a long match like you're going to have tomorrow?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: For sure. At school we do step aerobics, and a lot of cardio, just so when you're playing 36 holes, you know, it's not so easy to get tired. When I'm at home I run quite a bit. I've never really had a hard time, I never have really gotten tired before during a tournament or during 18 holes. And when we played 36 I wasn't really tired or anything. And it helps having a caddie.
Q. Can you talk about the sequence on 9 and 10? You squared the match at 9 then you par and she made par on top of you. What's going through your head at that point, it's like I can't shake her?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: Well, it seemed like she was putting very well. It happened a few more times, or happened at least one more time on the backside. But I just kept rolling the putts and when they were going in, I wasn't really waiting for her to make a mistake or you almost have to always expect your competitor to make that putt.
Q. It seemed like maybe one of the turning points in the match, certainly one of the most exciting was when she made that great par save on 5 to go up one and then she stuck her drive on No. 7 and then you drove it inside her and then she made her putt, you made yours and she made hers, can you talk about that stretch?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: Well, definitely. I think it was 6. That was a very fast putt. I don't think either of us were really expecting it. I was kind of glad when she putted it that far off, because I wanted to make sure everyone didn't [think] I had a muscle spasm or anything, it really was that fast. And she made a great putt. And it just lipped out. And then she definitely fired a good little iron. And we both made birdie. But I knew we had a whole another backside. I started hitting the ball a little better after that point.
Q. There was a bogey putt you had on 5 that she conceded to you. How far was that?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: I was actually kind of surprised when she gave it to me. It was probably four feet. But it was straight downhill. So it was a little tricky. But she had a little bit coming back, as well.
Q. Are you surprised she didn't at least attempt to putt first?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: Yeah.
Q. She didn't play match play until last week, maybe some of that experience...
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: I think so. I could kind of tell, too, just with the putts she didn't concede, or some of the shorter ones she had me putt out, which they're ones that I would have given. But then also she gave me the longer putt. You could tell a little that she hadn't played that much match play. But she still was extremely competitive. And obviously she's going to do very well in this format.
Q. A lot of girls her age with her relative lack of experience might have kind of been overwhelmed going up against somebody of your stature, she seemed to hang in there well for so long. Are you surprised in that regard, too?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: Yes, I've never played with her before. And it was kind of neat to see the West Canon Cup and all of that. I could see how it would be a little overwhelming, just playing with someone quite a bit older, too. But she did hold up very well and fought back.
Q. Does it make it more frustrating having a 15 year old go toe-to-toe, like how dare you, you're so young?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: Well, I remember playing in the Am, I don't know if I was 15, but I definitely was playing at this level at 15, or just starting to. So I kind of thought if I was in her shoes I would have been terrified. But it was great. It was fun. It was a good match.
Q. Azahara is the reigning NCAA champion. You're a three-time college player here, do you think it is fate? Or maybe this will settle who is the best college player in the country tomorrow?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: Well, I doubt that (laughter.) I'd say it takes more than just one tournament. But definitely she's a great player. And someone asked, I think at the beginning, before the tournament even started who was going to win the event, and I said a college player was going to win. For the finals, so I got that going for me. I have it guessed right. But it will be a good test tomorrow.
Q. A college player hasn't won since Virada in 2003. It's been a while.
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: Us college girls were due.
Q. The USGA program notes show that of all the players in Eugene this week there's only two with uncles on the bag. And could you describe as far as the mental approach to your game and how exhausting a week like this, what is it like having your uncle, is it your dad's brother?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: It's my dad's younger brother. It's great. He's very calm. And when I make a good putt he gets really excited and confident. He gives me a little like fist pump and it helps so much. He's great at reading putts, too, which has probably helped me the most. Because that's always kind of the part that I've struggled the most at.
BETH MURRISON: What do you think your emotions will be like tomorrow playing in the final again but also knowing that it's your last Women's Am and what is coming forward. What do you think you'll be feeling tomorrow as you play?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: I'll definitely be nervous. If I didn't have the first tee butterflies then I would know something was wrong. But I'm going to try to stay calm and just play my best because it will be a long day. I'm not going to try to let my nerves get to me too much, turn it into energy, I guess.
Q. I'm assuming, obviously since last year that the goal was to get back to the final this year. Now that you're here is there some relief, is there excitement? What's the emotion about getting back to this step that you were at last year to kind of avenge last year, for lack of a better term?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: For sure. I definitely want to get to the finals for a few reasons, one of them so that I wouldn't have to qualify for the Open, that was huge. So far I haven't had to a qualify for The Open and this will be my third year, so that's been great. And also just to have a shot at putting my name on the trophy. I definitely have learned a little bit from last year's experience, I would have done a few things differently. So I'm going to apply that to tomorrow.
Q. That means you'll stay amateur through the Open, then turn pro?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: Oh, that's crushing. I think that it should just say no (laughter).
BETH MURRISON: I was wondering about that.
Q. Being a westerner and playing Pumpkin Ridge in '06 and then here in Eugene in '08, what would you say as far as the layout? Yesterday you were talking a little bit about the draws favor your game. Can you compare a little bit of the difference between Pumpkin Ridge and Eugene?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: I'm trying to remember the course a little bit. Definitely it is a little more wide open. There weren't quite these trees where if you hit it here if you hit it a little too far right it can clip a tree before it gets 100 yards out, which I don't think Pumpkin Ridge really did that much. But they're similar in the fact that they're very green. Oregon, I think, is just such a beautiful state during the summer, it's so nice. And so I can tell just the conditions.
Q. I have a follow-up, too, on the tree. What about No. 3 and the cypress today?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: Oh, yeah. That was interesting. Actually I hit a good shot underneath it. If I had a little more swing room it would have been ... I could have probably reached the green, just because there wasn't anything in my way besides just keeping it low enough. But the branches kind of impeded my backswing.
Q. How was the pressure of playing in the final individually compared to being the player that your teammates count on say in an NCAA tournament, chasing an NCAA championship?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: There's definite similarities. Last year our team I think was good, but I definitely felt like I had to play well every day, which was a little bit ... put a little bit of pressure on myself. And so it definitely has prepared me for events like this.
Q. You talked about yesterday you didn't know any of your opponents pretty much all week. Tomorrow obviously you're facing a girl, at least Azahara said you played in college events. You know the caliber of player you're facing, you know her résumé, how is that different?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: It's definitely different. When we're in college it's much more relaxed because you have so many college events. It does matter how you play individually, but you're really going for your team and you want to play well. But there's definitely more conversation in the fairways. So it is a little bit different than what it will be like tomorrow. But I really like Azahara and we have a good time when we play together, so it will be a fun round tomorrow.
Q. Do you think there will be any conversation? She talked a lot today with her teammate today when she played?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: I really don't talk that much during a round, especially match play or really when I have like a caddie. When I'm carrying my own bag it's a little bit different. I probably won't talk to her hardly at all, but it's definitely nothing personal.
Q. Do you think that the fact that she actually had to play a tough emotional match against her best friend, do you think that that may give you a little edge or maybe make it a little more difficult for her to get started or do you think she's going to be firing at you from the first shot?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: I'm sure today's match was very difficult. But now it's kind of water under the bridge. So I'm sure she'll be, tomorrow, this match really wouldn't have affected her for the next day. That's just my guess.
Q. I was wondering with all the team success you've had with the Curtis Cup with Duke and all that, maybe this isn't fair, but does this feel like winning tomorrow would validate or provide further validation to your amateur career or is it like this will be the cherry on top or is this the actual ice cream of the sundae?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: For me this is the cherry on top. I'm proud of myself for getting to the finals two years in a row. I would absolutely love to win. That's what I'm shooting for. That's what I'm going to be grinding tomorrow for. But I've had such a great amateur career that no matter what happens tomorrow I'm not going to see myself as a failure in amateur golf because of the final round of the U.S. Am. So whatever happens tomorrow, I think I've done very well in college and the Amateur circuit.
BETH MURRISON: Thank you so much for being here and good luck tomorrow. Look forward to watching.