Interview With Semifinalist Erynne Lee
BETH MURRISON: We have Erynne Lee with us, who is our fourth semifinalist tomorrow. Erynne, congratulations. Can you talk a little bit about your play so much this week?
ERYNNE LEE: Well, especially today I played my own game, sticked to a strategy. I tried to just stay on the fairways and reach the greens and play a good game. And if I had a chance to make a birdie, to capitalize it sometimes. Yeah.
BETH MURRISON: You had the closest match out there, for most of the day, and all of a sudden it seemed like you really sort of hit the gas. Was there anything that you said to yourself to get yourself going?
ERYNNE LEE: I just told myself to stay steady, play my own game, as normal, and just have fun at the same time.
Q. You mentioned playing your own game or playing the par 3s. You won three of the four par 3s, and you actually birdied No. 5. Is that part of your game?
ERYNNE LEE: Not really. I just happened to play well on the par 3's today.
Like No. 5 I happened to like mis-hit my 5-wood shot, tee shot, but then it happened to be better than I expected. So it really relieved me.
Q. You told me yesterday that before you play your next opponent you try to find out as much as you can about them.
ERYNNE LEE: Right.
Q. Amanda kind of speaks for herself, everybody kind of knows who she is. Are you going to research her heavily tonight or are you going to go, I know enough about her, I'm not going to bother?
ERYNNE LEE: Not really because I know enough about her. And yesterday on the website I saw the blog about the quarterfinalists, and I read all about it. So (laughter) ... and I already know all about Amanda. She's an amazing player and she's really good.
BETH MURRISON: How much does having played in the Women's Open this year help you in this event, with the pressure and the crowds?
ERYNNE LEE: It taught me to be a little bit less emotional, sometimes. If I get too pumped up I start, I guess, falling downhill and getting too emotional -- too much emotions.
At the same time just to have fun, because I'm still 15.
Q. Your father is on your bag. You mentioned you had a couple of arguments with him every now and then?
ERYNNE LEE: Yeah.
Q. Can you describe those arguments?
ERYNNE LEE: The arguments are putting reads. He takes too less break. So it's kind of overwhelming at the same time, but it's fine. He's right by my side.
Q. Who ends of winning those arguments?
ERYNNE LEE: Me. (Laughter). Even though he tells me where to go, I just do my own thing.
Q. He's always whispering something, like he's helping you with alignment like on a tee shot or approach shot. What's the last thing that he whispers to you, he's always saying something at the end?
ERYNNE LEE: He just tells me to [remember] the fundamentals of my golf swing, shoulder turn, keep my lower body quiet.
Q. He says it every time?
ERYNNE LEE: Yeah.
Q. How did you start playing, how did you get into the game?
ERYNNE LEE: My dad influenced me, from the very beginning. After he saw Se Ri Pak winning one of the tournaments, he thought I had a chance of being like her.
Q. The other three semifinalists all have huge resumes. You've got Amanda, the other two are International stars. You're kind of like probably the underdog of the other three. How do you approach tomorrow's match against somebody with the pedigree that Amanda's got?
ERYNNE LEE: Really, I'm not really sure. I really want to enjoy it, I want to learn a lot from her. Because she's like a veteran out there.
Q. Do you get nervous? Will you be nervous or do you feel like you have nothing to lose?
ERYNNE LEE: I'm going to be nervous, because Amanda gets a lot of crowds around her and media. So today was really nothing, the last few holes. But then tomorrow will be really nerve wracking, especially playing with her.
BETH MURRISON: Have you surprised yourself with how well you've been playing at events?
ERYNNE LEE: Yes, I have. Especially every time I won my match. Especially today I won 4 and 3. And I was glad I didn't have to play the last three holes.
Q. But you did play them anyway, did you play all the way in?
ERYNNE LEE: Yes.
Q. Were you wearing an Ace bandage after your match yesterday on your knee?
ERYNNE LEE: I don't think yesterday, it was the day before. It's my left leg. It's been a problem for a while. But it's because I popped my left knee a few times and it's been bothering me for a while.
Q. How is it this week?
ERYNNE LEE: I just had to use the Ace bandage just once. But right now it's feeling great.
Q. You mentioned Amanda having a lot of crowds. Is there a lot of people from Washington coming down to see you play? You're not that far away?
ERYNNE LEE: I'm not really sure, really. My coach came down a few days ago, right after my stroke play. And he helped fix my swing a bit, which was a really good benefit.
Q. What's his name?
ERYNNE LEE: Ted Naff from Gold Mountain.
Q. Is that where you play?
ERYNNE LEE: I usually practice there, because it's a really nice facility. But my home course is Kitsap Golf and Country Club.
Q. You mentioned Amanda's crowds and her following. Tomorrow is your dad going to help you kind of block that out? Do you guys have the relationship where he keeps you focused?
ERYNNE LEE: He's been doing that for me the past few days. And he's going to do that for me tomorrow, especially. Like you said, there's going to be a lot more crowds and media. Try to keep me down, not get too excited out there.
Q. What year in high school will you be?
ERYNNE LEE: Sophomore.
Q. What high school?
ERYNNE LEE: I'm going to be going to Central Kitsap High School.
Q. Was your dad in Korea when he watched Se Ri win or was he over here?
ERYNNE LEE: I think he was over here.
Q. Is he a good player?
ERYNNE LEE: My dad? He tries to play often, as much as he can, but he sacrifices it for his job.
Q. What does he do for his job?
ERYNNE LEE: He owns a gas station and then a restaurant. Right now it's kind of hectic, the fact that he's been out for about nearly a week.
Q. What kind of restaurant?
ERYNNE LEE: It's a Vietnamese restaurant.
Q. Did he caddie for you at the Open, also?
ERYNNE LEE: No, that was my coach.
Q. You played Canon Cup last week?
ERYNNE LEE: Yes.
Q. So you're on three weeks in a row?
ERYNNE LEE: Right.
Q. How tired are you?
ERYNNE LEE: I'm really tired and I'm ready to go home (laughter), but next week I have the Junior PGA Championship (in Ohio). It will be really hectic.
BETH MURRISON: When do you start school again?
ERYNNE LEE: The beginning of September.
Q. Who is your sister?
ERYNNE LEE: Her name is Katie Lee. She's 12.
Q. And she plays?
ERYNNE LEE: Yes, she does.
BETH MURRISON: We read that you and she actually played in a match recently. Can you tell us a little bit about that.
ERYNNE LEE: My sister?
BETH MURRISON: Yes.
ERYNNE LEE: Well, it was one of the Junior local tournaments. She shot 69 on the second day. And I shot 70. I was really jealous (laughter) of the fact that she beat me. I still won the tournament, which made me happy. But overall I'm glad that she's playing golf. She can learn a lot while she's out here watching me and all the other competitors.
Q. Why do you think your game has blossomed so much this year, what improved a lot?
ERYNNE LEE: The fact that I'm practicing smarter, putting more effort into my game, trying to play better rounds, I guess. I haven't been playing really well the past few tournaments. My scores aren't as low as I want them to be.
Q. What has been a difference this week versus what happened at the Girls' Junior where you lost the first round?
ERYNNE LEE: This time I had strategy. When I was out there at the U.S. Girls', I was playing Lindy Duncan my first match. She had strategy out there. I guess she's been a veteran out there. And to me I was a newcomer, underdog. She would have a strategy where on par 5s she would just layup to a hundred yards and from there she would just stick it, where I would just go for it every single time.
Q. So you've taken that more of approach this week, more course management?
ERYNNE LEE: Uh-huh.
Q. You're 15 and you're playing the semifinals of the Women's Am. What's your first thought when I say that?
ERYNNE LEE: Wow, really. Just wow. I'm really glad that I've gotten this far. Right now I just really want ... now that I think about it I really want to win it. But it will kind of be hard because I'll be playing Amanda tomorrow.