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Interview With Semifinalists Belen Mozo And Azahara Munoz

BETH MURRISON:  We have with us Belen Mozo, who won her quarter final match today.  Congratulations.  Can you talk a little bit about how well you're playing right now.

              BELEN MOZO:  Right now?

              BETH MURRISON:  Yes.  Not at this particular moment, but for the whole week.

              BELEN MOZO:  Well, I started playing really good after my second match.  I don't know who I played against.  Well, the qualifying I didn't play ... I played well, but my short game was not really good.  So I started getting confidence after my second match where I started making some putts in the first holes and it gave me the confidence that I was lacking before.

              So basically I just have I call it magic, that comes out; he leaves and he comes whenever he wants.  I don't know.  I'm confident with the putting, that's all.  That's important, I think.


              Q.  Do you do anything to adjust, to help it come out, or is it just all of a sudden you start making putts?

              BELEN MOZO:  It comes.


              Q.  You don't adjust your stroke?

BELEN MOZO:  Well, the thing, well, whenever you want it to come back you just ... well, what I do is you just remember those days where you were playing really good or any tournaments and you just try to do the same routine and try to put yourself in those moments and think about what made it to putt well.  So, I don't know, I guess yeah.


              Q.  Is it just the putting that's magical or you're talking about your whole game?

              BELEN MOZO:  Putting.


              Q.  Just putting?

              BELEN MOZO:  I think all the players have the same thing.  If you start putting well, the rest of the game comes along.  It's just because you have this confidence that even if you miss the green you're going to do up and down.  So, I don't know, it's easier that way.  Because on this course you're going to have greens and fairways all the way.


              Q.  I know you guys are very close, you now you have to play with her tomorrow.  Are you going to talk to each other tonight?

              BELEN MOZO:  Of course.


              Q.  Is it going to be a little silent treatment until you play?

              BELEN MOZO:  No, nothing is going to play.  Match play is even tougher than if we play stroke play.  We are best friends.  And obviously tomorrow each other, we want to win, each of us, obviously.  But it's just ‑‑ we kind of just, I don't know, change our attitude.  You just go and play our game.  She plays better and wins, awesome.  If I do, awesome, too.  It's just whoever, I don't know, hard to say.  We played under this circumstances once.  We were thinking about it.  We played against each other stroke play a lot of times, only one time match play, a long time ago, really long time ago.  So, I don't know, we'll see tomorrow.


              Q.  Who won?

              BELEN MOZO:  I did.


              Q.  Where was that?

              BELEN MOZO:  Spanish International.  That was like five years ago, six years ago.


              Q.  Do you know what event it was?

              BELEN MOZO:  Spanish International.  I don't remember the year.


              Q.  What have you guys been doing at night, have you been going out to movies?

              BELEN MOZO:  We were so exhausted we just stayed at the house.  Our host family cooked and we just went over a thousand pictures.  She loves taking pictures and she would just sit down and, look, this is when ‑‑ this is the mountain that I took a picture from the plane.  It was so cute.


              Q.  Your house family was showing you pictures?

              BELEN MOZO:  Yeah.  Just stayed there.  Because all of our friends are gone.  Well, we wanted to go to PF Chang's with everyone, but they just left.  So we couldn't.


              Q.  Are they cooking your favorite dishes or are you eating American style food?

              BELEN MOZO:  Meatballs yesterday and like a meat with ...

              AZAHARA MUNOZ:  Well, the first day meat with rice, and today meatballs with noodles.

              BELEN MOZO:  Easy.  And then watermelon, of course.


              Q.  Do you have a favorite? Do you guys have favorite Spanish style food that you like?

              BELEN MOZO:  I'm starting liking a lot of Asian food now that I'm in America.  We don't have that stuff in Spain.

              BETH MURRISON:  How does it feel to come to this championship and represent Spain so well with the three of you having made it so far.

              BELEN MOZO:  For us?  The same.  For the Federation, I guess, it has to be wonderful.  I don't know.  Every time we go and play International tournaments we represent Spain, if you're not in college.  So kind of used to it.

              BETH MURRISON:  To come and played so well here.  How does that feel to be playing so well?

              BELEN MOZO:  Really good, I guess.  Really, really good.


              Q.  It's been a pretty good year for Spain on the athletic front, the soccer team winning Euro 2008.  And Rafael Nadal defeating Roger Federer at Wimbledon?

              BELEN MOZO:  We've been with the European these years, so not really good in golf.


              Q.  Sergio hasn't won a Major yet, right?

              BELEN MOZO:  He will.


              Q.  Do you guys talk to your parents at home or do they watch on line?

              BELEN MOZO:  E-mails.

              AZAHARA MUNOZ:  Yeah, they watch on line.


              Q.  And they stay awake, even though it's a nine-hour difference.  Whenever we finish, I didn't bring my Spanish cell phone here.  I just go on line and Message and she's there.

              BETH MURRISON:  How much of a time difference from here is it?

              BELEN MOZO:  Nine.


              Q.  Did you guys have an idol, Spanish golfer idol at all growing up, with Seve Ballesteros being so successful?

              BELEN MOZO:  Spanish, right?


              Q.  Any idols growing up from Spain, Seve or Jose Maria Olazabal?

              AZAHARA MUNOZ:  Seve, he was gone when we started.


              Q.  Did they influence you at all?

              AZAHARA MUNOZ:  No.

              BELEN MOZO:  We don't watch too much golf on TV.

              AZAHARA MUNOZ:  No, I watched golf, but I was more like, I liked Sergio [Garcia] better, even though Seve was playing better, but I never saw him play.


              Q.  Do either of you have a preference for stroke play or match play, like is there one that you like a lot more than the other?

              AZAHARA MUNOZ:  No.


              Q.  What about you?

              BELEN MOZO:  Before I used to hate match play.  I don't know why.  I just thought I was a better stroke play player.  But now I'm pretty just the same.  We just come to realize it's just the same.  You just have to play.


              Q.  Like a triple in stroke play is a lot worse than a triple in match play?

              BELEN MOZO:  It's true that in match play you go more for it.  You don't think that if you miss you have to stay above the next putt.  You just go for it.  And, yeah, sometimes, I think most of the times you do a better score if you play match play, because you're not scared of doing three-putts, you just go for it.  I don't know.


              Q.  What's the thing about Azahara that people don't know about that they should know about?

              BELEN MOZO:  You ask me these questions.  I don't know.  I think it's pretty obvious.  She's what it is.  You see what she is.  No, she's a really real person.  She's not fake at all.  What you get is... I don't know.


              Q.  What about her?

              AZAHARA MUNOZ:  Well, I don't know.  I don't know, same thing.

              BETH MURRISON:  Well, let's ask you some easier questions than that one.  We have Azahara, who was also victorious today.  And you played very well.  Can you talk a little bit about how comfortable you are playing right now and how you feel about your game?

              AZAHARA MUNOZ:  Well, I'm playing pretty good.  My long game is working, my short game, too.  I'm confident.

              BETH MURRISON:  Was there any key today to your match, was there any point where you felt like you had really taken control?

              AZAHARA MUNOZ:  Well, like I birdied No. 1.  I hit it like this close (indicating).

              No. 2 I hit a really good shot, too.  From the beginning I was up.  I don't know, Stephanie never got a chance to win a hole or anything.  Yeah, I guess from the beginning.


              Q.  You have a chance to become the second person to win the NCAA Division I title and the Women's Amateur title in the same year.  Can you talk about the difficulties of winning both even though one is at stroke play and the other is match play?

              BELEN MOZO:  Well, it is difficult because they are really like two really good tournaments.  But I don't know how I got that far, I didn't know these things.

              BETH MURRISON:  Have you thought about playing Belen yet in your match tomorrow and what that will be like?

              AZAHARA MUNOZ:  Well, it will be normal.  We are best friends, so it will be just like that.  Whoever wins.

BELEN MOZO:  We just came from practice together, so I don't know.


              Q.  When you got ahead early like that, did that kind of help you relax and kind of go from that as the round went on?

              AZAHARA MUNOZ:  Today?  No, I didn't relax, no.  Because she was 3-down through 11 and then she won.  And I was 2-down yesterday, with four to play and I won.  So I never relaxed today.


              Q.  So you like kind of did some research on her before you played her?

              BELEN MOZO:  No, I talked to her, actually.  When I won, I asked her if she won.  And I said I'm playing you tomorrow.  She said I saw you were down.  And I said yes.  And then she said, well, I was 3-down through 11th morning and I won.  So that's why I know.  I didn't Google her or anything.


              Q.  So, you two are watching your teammate, here, what did you say to her after her loss to Amanda Blumenherst?

              AZAHARA MUNOZ:  We said, you can do it.  She was five down, but she could win.  Just keep playing.  What did you say, one hole at a time or something like that?


              Q.  What club did you hit into 1, not to over labor that one?

              BELEN MOZO:  Wedge.

              AZAHARA MUNOZ:  Wedge.


              Q.  Pitching or sand?

              AZAHARA MUNOZ:  Pitching.


              Q.  You guys are such good friends, how come you ended up at different Pac-10 schools?

              AZAHARA MUNOZ:  I don't know.


              Q.  No explanation for that?  Were you recruited by the same schools?

              AZAHARA MUNOZ:  Yeah, we actually were (attends Arizona State).

              BELEN MOZO:  I just wanted to go to California so bad (attends USC).


              Q.  I know you guys keep saying it's going to be normal playing each other, you're such good friends?

              BELEN MOZO:  It's not going to be normal.  It's going to be awkward (laughter).  But, I don't know.


              Q.  Do you feel like you have a distinct advantage over her or do you feel that way about her?  Do you have an advantage over each other?  One thing that you know you do better than the other one?

              AZAHARA MUNOZ:  You mean about our games?


              Q.  Yeah.

              AZAHARA MUNOZ:  We actually ... our games are really close.


              Q.  How is it going to be awkward, then?

              AZAHARA MUNOZ:  It's going to be awkward because I have to play her.  But it's going to be normal because I'm going to be talking.  It's not like I'm not going to talk to her.

              BELEN MOZO:  I mean because we know each other we both know that during the course there's going to be some times that you're not going to be talking, because you need to be more concentrated.  So it's fine.

              BETH MURRISON:  What will it be like for you to watch the two of them play tomorrow?

              CARLOTA CIGANDA:  Well, it's going to be nice, because they are my friends.  And I would like both to win.  But it's impossible.  But it's nice because one of them is going to win the final.  So it's good.

              BETH MURRISON:  Thank you both very much for visiting us and congratulations again, and good luck tomorrow.



Championship Facts

U.S. Women's Amateur

HISTORY: The U.S. Women’s Amateur is one of the United States Golf Association’s original three championships. It was first conducted in 1895, shortly after the inaugural U.S. Amateur and U.S. Open. The Women’s Amateur has since been conducted every year except 1917-18, when it was temporarily suspended because of World War I, and 1942-45, when it was suspended because of World War II.

PAR & YARDAGE: Yardage for the Eugene Country Club will be set at 6,484 (stroke play) / 6,516 (match play) yards, par 72.

ARCHITECT: Opened in 1926, the course was designed by H. Chandler Egan. In 1967, Robert Trent Jones Sr. reversed the routing of the original Egan design (i.e., No. 18 tee essentially became the first tee, etc.).

Fairways – Cut to ˝ inch
Tees and collars of greens – Cut to 3/8 inch
Putting greens – Prepared to be firm and fast to measure approximately 11 to 11 1/2 feet on the USGA Stimpmeter
Intermediate rough – Cut to 1 ˝ inches, approximately 6 feet wide along fairways
Primary rough – Cut to 2 ˝ to 3 inches
Player courtesy walks – Cut to 1 ˝ inches, approximately 6 feet wide
The championship setup results in a USGA Course Rating™ of 78.1 and a Slope Rating® of 144

FORMAT: The Women’s Amateur is conducted with 36 holes of stroke-play qualifying. The low 64 scorers then advance to match play, with the champion determined by a 36-hole match-play final.

WHO CAN ENTER: The championship is open to female amateurs who have USGA handicap indexes not exceeding 5.4.

ENTRIES: Entries for the 2008 U.S. Women’s Amateur closed on June 18. There were 960 entries received for the 2008 championship, just shy of the record 969 entries received for the 2006 U.S. Women’s Amateur.



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