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Interview: Margaret Shirley, U.S. Women's Mid-Am Runner-Up


| Oct 8, 2015 | Choudrant, La.
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Q. Good battle out there, right?

MARGARET SHIRLEY: Yeah. You know, I just got down really early. I really could have been I think 5-down after 5. I made some really good putts on 1 and 3 and 4 to kind of stay in it. But Lauren is a phenomenal player, and I think she made three bogeys today and a couple birdies. That's hard to beat. When you're 3-down after [6], to try to battle back on a golf course like this when someone is not making any mistakes, it's hard. My lone birdie I had was one where she birdied, too. She's a phenomenal player. Just a great champion, great girl, and had a lot of fun out there. It was a good battle. I was afraid I was going to get beat pretty early with the way I was playing there at the beginning. But it was a great match. That's all you can hope for.

Q. You mentioned that your putter helped you out early on.


Q. Was there anything in particular with your game you had some trouble with? You had some trouble on the second hole.

MARGARET SHIRLEY: Yeah, just got a little fast at the beginning, and that tends to happen. I don't know, I haven't played those first few holes well. Really didn't play them well yesterday, either. Then my putter let me down a little bit back here, but also know I got away with a few there, especially on 4, that saved me. So it all balances out. I can't be disappointed. I gave myself chances. Sometimes they go in; sometimes they don't.

Q. Lauren missed a couple short putts of her own. Do you think nerves had something to do with that?

MARGARET SHIRLEY: Absolutely. It's hard. It's not easy. And on a golf course like this with these greens, you just -- they scare you. They just do. There are just some birdie putts, even if it's only 15 feet, you can't go after. Yeah, it's not easy, obviously. I've lost twice now and luckily won one, but it's certainly not easy out there.

Q. Did you feel less pressure today or more pressure having to defend?

MARGARET SHIRLEY: I felt less. Even though my game might not have showed it at the beginning. I was relaxed. I really played well after I think I bogeyed 6. I think I was 3-down after 6. I played the rest of the way in really well, and like I said, gave myself chances. Just didn't make the putts. That's what it boils down to. 

Q. 17, after your second shot you sort of had the advantage there a little bit.


Q. When she stands over a 25-footer like that and she makes it and all of a sudden you have to make it, does that change your mindset?

MARGARET SHIRLEY: Obviously you can't be leaving it short like I did on a couple of those other ones. She's just a phenomenal player. Like I said, she just didn't make any mistakes. She made something like that on me. What am I supposed to do with that?

Q. Having played as much match play as you have, do you stand there watching her expecting her to make it? Is that your mindset?

MARGARET SHIRLEY: You have to. She had been close on a few other ones today, just like I had. I hit a lot of really good, long putts that I thought were middle of the hole the whole way and kind of skirted out. Yeah, you have to have that mindset. Also, when someone is standing over a 30-, 35-footer, you know, it is what it is.

Q. Obviously being the competitor that you are you come here expecting to win. Do you take away positives and a lot of success from this week?

MARGARET SHIRLEY: Absolutely. I was reading last night, you know, being only one of 13 players now to play in three [consecutive USGA] finals is pretty incredible. Like I said, after my seizure on Sunday an hour before I played, the fact that I'm here is pretty incredible. Not even knowing I was going to be able to finish the stroke-play portion. It's always a learning experience. I think you learn in every round you play. But, I mean, I can't hang my head on a runner-up finish.

Q. What would be your advice to Lauren now? She will be the defending champion, which you spent the whole year as.

MARGARET SHIRLEY: It's a ton of fun; enjoy it. It's something that you never know if it'll happen again, there are a lot of really cool things that come with it. She's a great champion. Could not have been a nicer competitor. Just a hell of a player.

Q. Plans for the next several months competitively? Is this the end of your competitive season?

MARGARET SHIRLEY: I was thinking about it out there. I played once in June, once in July, once in August, once in September, once in October, so the last five months I probably won't tee it up again really until next June. I play four or five times a year. I think I played -- between the state team championship and this I played nine holes of golf. I just enjoy it so much. Obviously a competitor. I don't know if that's kind of what spurs me on when I'm here even without a lot of practice. Like I said, I don't think I'll play again until probably June.

Q. Does Atlanta Junior Golf still have events in the fall?

MARGARET SHIRLEY: Yeah, we still have -- we actually have a tournament on Saturday and Sunday this weekend. So we're still rocking and rolling. We'll wrap up middle of November. Yeah, got to go back to work. Haven't been there in a week and a half. I better do something.