Interview With 2014 U.S. Women's Amateur Champion Kristen Gillman


By USGA
August 10, 2014

Q.  Congratulations, Kristen Gillman, our 2014 Women's Amateur champion.  How are you feeling right now?

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  It feels awesome.  I don't think it's sunk in yet, but it's just awesome.

Q.  You were 2‑down at the break and got into a bigger hole in the early part, but again, you had an amazing comeback.  What is it with you and comebacks this week?

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  I don't know, I just keep fighting because I don't want to leave here without the ultimate prize that you want, so I just kept fighting.

Q.  Tell us about when you started making that comeback there on the back nine.  You were at least four down at one point or at least three?

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  Three.

Q.  Talk about your comeback there on the back nine.

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  I kept hitting shots right into the pin.  I missed a few shortish ‑‑ not short, but a makeable putt on 10, then I also missed another one on 13, so I decided to stay patient and I'd start making them at some point.

Q.  Towards the end (indiscernible.)

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  That's what I did all last week, and so I thought I'd get back to what I was doing then and not get too ‑‑ not over-think anything.

Q.  Talk about the nerves that you had to be feeling but didn't show.

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  I was definitely nervous.  I think it showed a little bit on 17.  Yeah, I was definitely nervous.  I wasn't nervous on 17, and then 18 I just kind of knew if I was nervous then I wouldn't really do that well, so I had to just calm myself down and not think about it.

 

Q.  Speaking about those approach shots, when you were walking up 18 and you saw where that ball landed, did you know you had won this thing?

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  I knew that Brooke had made that putt and I had a similar putt on 18 as I had on 17, but I felt more confident on that putt on 18 than I did on 17.

Q.  How long was your putt on 17?

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  About three‑and‑a‑half feet.

Q.  And what did you hit into 18, and how long was your putt?

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  I hit 9‑iron in.  It was about three feet.

Q.  What were your distances on the last two holes?

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  On 17 I had 130 yards in.  I hit 9‑iron.  And then 18 I had 122 yards in and hit 9‑iron.

Q.  And what about on the par‑5, you stuffed it.  What did you have there?

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  I hit a pitching wedge into that hole both times.

Q.  And 9 here?  You hit it pretty close on 9.

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  Yeah, I hit 9‑iron.

Q.  You like that club.

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  I do.

Q.  Can you talk about your ball‑striking and it's always been a strength of your game, I guess?

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  Yeah, ball‑striking has always been a strength.  I mean, I hit a lot of fairways and a lot of greens, and then throughout the last year my ball‑striking has gone a lot better, and I've just been able to hit it closer to where I can make the putts.

Q.  What do you think your friends back home in Texas are thinking?  Have you had any texts or emails?

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  I haven't looked at my phone yet, but my sister said it was blowing up.

Q.  Tell us about your thoughts coming into today.  You were playing the No. 2 player in the world.

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  I knew it was going to be a hard match, but I also beat three other top 10 players earlier this tournament, so I knew that I could do it.

Q.  You knocked off a lot of good ranked players this week.  Did it just kind of seem easier going into this one having the experience playing against so many of them?

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  Yeah, it definitely did because I had more confidence.  I was able to do it even though she was a highly ranked amateur.

Q.  Talk about how your sister helped you.

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  She just helped me relax more and just ‑‑ I don't know, slow down and calm down.

Q.  How much of your success is trying to catch up with your older sister?

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  I think a lot of it has to do with it because she always pushes me to stay longer at the golf course or to work out harder and just never give up.

Q.  Is that the first time you've seen him cry?

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  Yeah, I think so.  Probably.

Q.  I'm just curious about going to the World Amateur Team Championship and the Junior Ryder Cup in September. How much school will you miss?

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  Yeah, it will definitely be hard to catch up with all that work, but it's worth it.

Q.  Do you know anything about the World Amateur Team Championship?

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  No.

Q.  Have you heard about it?

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  Not really.

Q.  (Inaudible)?

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  Yes, I did like it.

Q.  What about the Junior Ryder Cup?

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  Yeah, it's actually on my birthday.  The first day is on my birthday.

Q.  What's the best part about winning this championship?

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  Just all the opportunities it gives me in the future.

Q.  Have you played in a major championship before?

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  No, I've never played in a professional event before.

Q.  There an LPGA Tour player that you idolize?

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  I know, I thought it would always be cool to play with (inaudible).

Q.  She's not that much older than you.  Have you met her?

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  I kind of did in Dallas.  I got a picture with her, but I didn't really get to talk to her much.

Q.  (Inaudible.)

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  Hopefully.

Q.  Did the adrenaline keep you from feeling tired out there or did you at all feel fatigue?

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  I felt tired during my first round of stroke play when I was carrying my own bag, but I didn't really think of it any other day.  I mean, I'm tired now, but while playing I didn't really notice that big of a problem.

Q.  What about the 17th green when you had that kind of short putt.

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  I think the nerves just kind of took over.

Q.  What did you think going into 18 tee then?

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  I went up and I knew I had to try to stay calm and not let the nerves get to me.

Q.  How has your game improved this summer?

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  It's improved a lot.  Definitely playing on these kinds of courses, different kinds of grass and everything, I'm learning a lot throughout just all the tournaments I'm playing with my short game.

Q.  Your high school girls golf season, is that in the fall or in the spring?

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  It's both.  I think our first tournament is the first weekend in October.

Q.  You won a state championship with your high school team?

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  Yes, my team did my freshman year.

Q.  Were you on the team then?

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  Uh‑huh.  It was like a year and three months ago.

Q.  How many days was it?

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  It was five days.

Q.  Where do you play?

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  I play at Karsten Creek.

Q.  What are your off‑course interests?  What else do you like to do?

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  I swim.  We have a pool.

Q.  Do you swim competitively?

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  Yes, I did, I swam when I was in sixth grade.

Q.  Do you go swim laps?

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  I don't know what I do actually.  I just kind of jump in the pool.

Q.  You're coming off your biggest win.  What is your mindset?

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  I'm playing the best golf I have these last few weeks.

Q.  Did you hear from Emma Talley this week?

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  She sent me a text two days ago but I haven't looked at my phone yet.

Q.  How did you sleep last night?

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  I slept pretty ‑‑ I mean, they got back at like 1:00 a.m.  I slept pretty good beyond that.

Q.  Your dad went to get you at the airport?

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  Well, we (Kristen’s coach and sister) flew at the same time.

Q.  Have you been doing anything this week that you like, a restaurant that you went to?

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  We ate pizza six nights we were here, so we won't be eating pizza for a while.

Q.  You ate pizza every night this week?

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  Yes.

Q.  Every night this week you ate at that same place?

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  Yes.

Q.  What did you have when you went?

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  I had pepperoni pizza.  I had a slice of (inaudible), like grandma's pizza.

Q.  We've all heard about how emotional that last putt was for everyone, but what were you feeling inside your head?

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  Just everything.  I couldn't process anything really.

Q.  This is you excited?

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  I'm the same all the time.

Q.  Are you looking forward to playing college golf?

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  Yes, I'm looking forward to it.

Q.  What do you think will be the big thing with that?

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  Just being with the team being able to travel to different states with them will be awesome.

Q.  How many people are on your team?

KRISTEN GILLMAN:  There is eight.

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