Interview With Semifinalist Alexis Thompson
BETH MURRISON: We are pleased to have Alexis Thompson here with us. Alexis advanced to the semifinals with a very hard-fought victory today. Can you talk about your match today and how hard it was?
ALEXIS THOMPSON: Yeah, it was hard. She birdied 1 and 2, so I was 3 down, so I said, okay, I need to start making some birdies. I mean, she's a great putter and just a great player.
BETH MURRISON: How did you feel any know the last few times we had spoken you had not been super‑pleased with your putting. How do you feel about it today?
ALEXIS THOMPSON: I tried not to think about too much stuff when I'm over the putt; towards the end. From the beginning I was still thinking about a lot. But you know, I got better. I've got to look at the positive side, the putt on 17 I made. So I'm happy about that one.
BETH MURRISON: What do you think was the real turning point in your match today?
ALEXIS THOMPSON: Well, like when I birdied 10, that was pretty big. I needed to make some birdies, even though I lost the next hole, but whatever. I'm not going to look at that.
When I won 4 with a birdie, and then I won the next hole, and then she dropped a bomb on me for a birdie. We tied that hole. But going into 17, it was all square, and hole 16, but it was tight for sure.
Q. What did you hit in on 16?
ALEXIS THOMPSON: Hybrid.
Q. Did you and your dad have a conversation about going for it?
ALEXIS THOMPSON: Yeah, I was definitely going for it, because I had a good mind. I mean, we were just in between, whether I should hit a soft 3-wood, or a hard hybrid. It was going to get on the green no matter what, because it was only like 180, so ended up being the right club.
Q. Were you shocked when she told you to pick it up on 15?
ALEXIS THOMPSON: Yeah, I was actually. Yeah, she could have made that one and I could have 3‑putted. I don't know, I was like, thank you. I'm like, I'm not going to complain, like thank you.
Q. You went two straight holes without making a putt and you won the holes.
ALEXIS THOMPSON: Yeah, I'm like this is good, getting away with this.
Q. After you missed the short putt on 8, it looked like you were really hot and when you talk walked to the tee you turned to your caddie and said: "I'm giving this to her." Were you really hot at the time, or was that a good thing?
ALEXIS THOMPSON: Well, usually when I get really mad I start to play better. I don't know what it is, but I don't know, yeah, missing so many of these 4-footers, I don't know. I was probably thinking too much over that putt, too. I thought I was going to win that hole. But it's okay.
Q. When it was over on 18 when you walked off, you seem like you weren't real pleased, either.
ALEXIS THOMPSON: Yeah, I mean, I played better today. My ball striking was better. It's just my putter started letting me down. I thought for sure they she was going to make that putt. I was expecting to go to 1. I mean, I don't know how she missed it. Maybe because she just, she sort of backed away a lot. But I figured she would have made it with her eyes closed.
Q. As players, you're competitive and you want to win, whatever it takes, but as a player, when a match ends like that, is part of the reason you're for lack of a better word, upset, just that you sort of hate to see a match like that end like that?
ALEXIS THOMPSON: Yeah, I do. But it's not like it's a 2-footer. I mean, it was like a 4- or 5-footer. I mean, I don't expect that at all. I rather would have seen it like birdie, par.
Q. Because you both had made really clutch putts back-to-back there.
ALEXIS THOMPSON: Yeah, her putt on 16, it was like, okay. And then she screamed, it was like, oh, okay. I'm like, thank God I just didn't 3-putt for par and lose that hole. Made my eagle putt.
Q. What about the chip on 17, the first one?
ALEXIS THOMPSON: Yeah, wasn't a very good one. It was like buried in. I had a lot of grass behind it. I actually thought I was going to chunk it. Guess I didn't do that.
But I ended up thinning it, skulled, whatever you want to call it. I was just thankful I 2-putted the next one, because I was thinking about chipping that one, too. I was like, "No, dad, not going to skull that one." It was on a downslope and not a very good line. I'm like, okay, I'll just 2-putt.
Q. How tough was the shot at 18 after you came in short?
ALEXIS THOMPSON: Yeah, the chip was actually really easy. You know, when you're nervous, nothing is easy. So I mean, I was just thankful that I didn't like duff it or skull it. I was thankful when I hit it, like, thank God, just spin now, stop near the hole.
Q. Your feelings before you won the U.S. Girls' to your feelings now, did you want the U.S. Girls' more before you won it compared to like how badly you want this it one? Kind of compare those two feelings.
ALEXIS THOMPSON: Yeah, well, when I was going into the last match in the U.S. Girls', I definitely wanted it and I knew I was against a good player. I mean, she just parred a lot. I'm like, okay, I'd better not make bogeys. But I was close until like the last like nine holes, because then obviously they are tired.
But both times, I go into every match wanting to win. I don't like losing, and I try my hardest to win. As you saw today, I came back and I fought to come back, it was good.
Q. Do you feel like you still have your best golf ahead of you? It seems like the last couple of days, you don't ever feel like you've played all that great.
ALEXIS THOMPSON: Yeah, I mean, today my ball striking was a little bit better. My iron shots were not as close as I usually hit them. Usually when I have a wedge in my hand or like a 9-iron, I'm usually like ten feet, but now I'm like 20, 25 feet. So I mean, I'm going to work on that. It's just my putting that sort of gets me frustrated.
But today I was sort of at least lipping out, or going over the lip, not missing by like three feet or short of the hole. Getting closer.
Q. What do you rely onto help you with your putting in this situation?
ALEXIS THOMPSON: Well, I have my dad lining me up when I'm putting and like the matches and stuff. I try to do my drills on the putting green and stuff like that, and just not going to think over a putt so much, because then I would get, I don't know, I have brain farts.
Q. When you're down three after four, but it's mainly because she birdied the first two and so forth, is that in some ways a little easier to come back from, because she's playing well and you're not trying to figure out, you know it's not so much that you're trying to dig yourself out of a hole by playing badly, but you're just trying to dig yourself out of a hole from someone who is playing well.
ALEXIS THOMPSON: Yeah, she birdied 1 and 2 and I bogeyed 4 and that's how she won that hole. I was just like, okay, I need birdies to beat this girl.
So I didn't make very many birdies, until No. 10, but yeah, I made a few pars and I actually won some holes with that, except for No. 8. Yeah, I mean, I started to make some pars and she made like one or two bogeys, so I got away with that.
Q. Psychologically is it a little bit easier on yourself?
ALEXIS THOMPSON: Because you know you're not playing bad, you're just getting beat because she's playing good. It's not like, man, I'm playing terrible. It's hard to come back from that.
Yeah, it's easy to come back because you know you're playing good and just you've got to hit it in the fairway here to make some birdies. So just get a few putts to drop.
Q. Is it any different, assuming you don't know her as a player at all, when you're in a match‑play situation and you get somebody who is a complete wildcard that you don't know at all, is that any less comfortable or difficult, or is there a point in the match where you sort of catch onto where she is? Is it different, I guess? How is it different?
ALEXIS THOMPSON: Yeah, like I know Jennifer's game pretty much. I haven't played with her, but I played a few years ago. I know her game. She's consistent.
The girl I played today, I didn't know how she played. After the first two holes I'm like, she's a good putter. Like, okay, she's already make something putts on me. You've got to expect that she's going to make the putts and you've just got to do better.
Q. You had easily the biggest gallery today. Do you enjoy that? You're obviously used to playing in front of a lot of people.
ALEXIS THOMPSON: Yeah, I like it a lot actually. I mean, like when you're walking to the hole, like to the tee boxes, they are always like: "Keep your chin up, let's go, keep it going" and just make some birdies and stuff. It just gets you motivated more. It just gets you going.
Q. How disappointed are to you see Jessica [Korda] go?
ALEXIS THOMPSON: Yeah, I'm really disappointed. I mean, I'm not going to say I wasn't expecting it, because that's pretty rude, but you know it's match play and anybody can win. I don't know how she played. I mean, her dad said that she made a few bad mistakes, but I mean, that's match play for you. You can't really make any mistakes or you're going to get beat.
Q. Did you share any consoling words with her or anything like that?
ALEXIS THOMPSON: No, I didn't talk to her. She didn't seem like she wanted to talk.
Q. Her dad was pretty bummed.
ALEXIS THOMPSON: Yeah, I didn't want to say anything. I probably wouldn't want to talk, either.
BETH MURRISON: Thank you so much.