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An Interview with: Jennifer Rosales

 

RHONDA GLENN: Jennifer Rosales, who finished today with a 69 and leads by 3 strokes, 7-under par. Jennifer, yesterday you seemed a little bit tense about being the leader, and yet you went out today and fired a 2-under par round, it seems as if you had some great composure on the golf course.

JENNIFER ROSALES: Yes, I did. I wasn't even thinking I was in the last group. I just told myself, just same game plan, stick to your game plan the whole week and you'll be fine.

RHONDA GLENN: You started with a bogey on the first hole, how did that happen?

JENNIFER ROSALES: Well, I had a good tee shot and my ball went in a divot, and I told myself, what a way to start the day. And I hit a good shot from there, it drifted right, and I still had a chance to save par, but I just put myself in a really tough putt downhill and missed it and made bogey.

RHONDA GLENN: Let's go to the birdie on No. 3, that was a good come back.

JENNIFER ROSALES: The par-5. Yes, it was -- I had like a 14-footer for birdie, it was a little downhill. And made it and that gave me confidence for the round.

RHONDA GLENN: No. 9, the birdie.

JENNIFER ROSALES: No. 9, yeah, it was about the same distance, but it was a little uphill. And I made a good putt, made birdie.

RHONDA GLENN: No. 10, the bogey.

JENNIFER ROSALES: Oh, on 10 I got too greedy, I kind of pushed my shot on the right. Before I hit the shot I told myself not to miss it right and I did. Still pretty lucky I made bogey there.

RHONDA GLENN: 13 --

Q. How long was the putt on 10?

JENNIFER ROSALES: I didn't have really a whole lot of room to work on my chip shot on the right, and I told myself not to leave it short and I kind of hit it too hard and I had like about 25-foot putt for par and made bogey.

RHONDA GLENN: The birdie on 13, what did you hit into the green there?

JENNIFER ROSALES: I missed a really short one for eagle there. I had about 6 feet for eagle. And just gave it too much left and it didn't break, it stayed on line.

RHONDA GLENN: What did you hit for your second shot there?

JENNIFER ROSALES: I hit a 5-iron today.

RHONDA GLENN: 16, surprisingly a birdie on 16. That hole paid you back today.

JENNIFER ROSALES: I was thinking about 16 when I was on the first tee already, what am I going to do on that hole. I hit my drive where I wanted to hit it. I wasn't in between clubs on that hole. And I hit a 5-iron, just stayed aggressive and just hit where I wanted to hit it and made birdie. It was about ten feet.

Q. How far did you have in on your 5-iron?

JENNIFER ROSALES: I was about 182 yards, I think.

Q. Tell us who's on your lap?

JENNIFER ROSALES: This is my niece Isabel. Her mom is in LA, she's 8 months pregnant and can't travel, so she sent her with my mom, here.

Q. Is she sort of your good luck charm?

JENNIFER ROSALES: She is, she always watches me in the Opens, since she is little. She's four years old now, this is her fourth year. She group up in the golf course.

RHONDA GLENN: When did your mother and Isabel arrive?

JENNIFER ROSALES: They actually got in Connecticut on Saturday, and I met with them Sunday night.

RHONDA GLENN: They've been here all week?

JENNIFER ROSALES: Yes, all week supporting me.

Q. Will you allow yourself to think, whether it's tonight or tomorrow as you enter your round, as winning? Do you allow yourself to get that far ahead, and if not, what are your thoughts?

JENNIFER ROSALES: Well, I can't, I can't let myself do that. I'm going to put too much pressure on myself before I tee it up tomorrow. I'm just going to try to relax tonight and watch a movie and see what happens.

Q. Was there a time at all today when nerves were a factor, be it before you teed off, on the first tee?

JENNIFER ROSALES: Well, actually I wasn't really nervous on the first tee. But I was kind of nervous at the end a little bit, on the finishing holes. But I told myself I did a pretty good job the last few holes and hopefully I'll get it done tomorrow.

Q. The nerves toward the end was it one of those things --

JENNIFER ROSALES: It was more of adrenalin, it was too strong, because I wanted to make birdies to have that cushion. But I'm pretty happy the way I ended up.

Q. At the LPGA you told us after you won in Atlanta you got a call from the president offering to throw you a parade back home, what do you think would happen if you won the U.S. Open back home?

JENNIFER ROSALES: I can run for president (laughter) if that happens. I don't know what they're going to do. My coach, I was so bummed he couldn't make it this week, he told me that all the people back home are behind me and praying for me.

Q. When did you first come to the United States and how often do you get back home and how much is home here and the Philippines for you?

JENNIFER ROSALES: Well, I have a home in the Philippines and have a home here in California. And I go home once a year during holidays. And that's where I train. And on my weeks off I go back to California. Home for me is still the Philippines.

RHONDA GLENN: When did you first come to this country?

JENNIFER ROSALES: Since I was 12 years old I start competing here in AJGA, Junior Golf. This is where I started playing tournaments.

Q. Who is bigger in the Philippines, you or Dorothy Delasin?

JENNIFER ROSALES: Well, you can't compare that. She grew up here, she's a Filipino American. And I was born and raised in the Philippines. So there's -- I don't want to talk about that. You can't compare it.

Q. Who are the biggest sports heroes in the Philippines, because you don't see it much in the Olympics?

JENNIFER ROSALES: We had a good billiard player, pool player, he's known out here, he won the U.S. Open in billiards, too. And in boxing and -- I think that's it.

RHONDA GLENN: So you will be the only female sports hero in the Philippines, is that correct?

JENNIFER ROSALES: Yes, you could say that, yes.

Q. I wonder if you've thought about, obviously when Se Ri Pak had her success, the explosion of golf and young Korean golfers.

JENNIFER ROSALES: Yes, I want to encourage younger players to pick up the sport. And right now I'm so happy because we've got a lot of young girls trying to follow my footsteps, and with my win two months ago it gave them motivation that I could -- they could do it out here, too.

Q. How much do you think Open experience will factor in tomorrow with Meg and Annika right behind you having been here before and having won this before?

JENNIFER ROSALES: Well, Annika is an awesome player, she's going to try to win this bad. But I told myself that, Jen, just try and play hard tomorrow and never look back, just keep looking forward, just one shot at a time and that's it.

Q. How popular is golf in the Philippines?

JENNIFER ROSALES: Oh, it's pretty big right now. We've got a lot of good courses back home and a lot of people playing the sport.

Q. Did you come over here because you couldn't get the training that you wanted?

JENNIFER ROSALES: When I started there wasn't that much people playing golf. It wasn't that big. But six years ago, I mean, it just got big, with -- especially with Tiger Woods making it so big and a lot of Asian players dominating out here, it's an awesome field.

Q. Even though you're going to try not to think about it, what would winning a U.S. Open mean to you? Obviously you just won in Atlanta, that was a great thing, now it's ratcheted up a little bit. If it were to happen to you tomorrow, can you talk about what it would mean to you?

JENNIFER ROSALES: It's going to mean a lot for me. My first win my family wasn't there. And right now they're all here and hopefully I get that win for them tomorrow.

Q. Of all the Majors, Jennifer, was the U.S. Open the best suited for your game or were others best suited for your game?

JENNIFER ROSALES: The U.S. Open is the U.S. Open, it's not like any other Majors, it's awesome, the fans out here are unbelievable and are with you all the way. And just winning this prestigious tournament, it's just hard -- there's no words to explain it.

Q. You said you don't want to think about what it would mean to win, how are you not going to do that tonight and tomorrow, how are you going to block out the type of thoughts that might be counterproductive to doing what you want to do tomorrow?

JENNIFER ROSALES: That's a really good point. Yesterday I was thinking -- it's hard, it's really hard to block it out, but I'm trying not to. Probably half of it I will think about it and half of it just try to put myself to sleep. That's the only way I won't think about it. It's just a great feeling, my family here with me and in the same room as I am, just help me try to forget about it. But my brother will not, for sure, he's going to go, "Come on, come on, one more day, one more day."

Q. How much family do you have besides your mother?

JENNIFER ROSALES: My mom is here, my brother, he plays in the Asian Tour, they had some time off and came out here to watch me and my niece.

RHONDA GLENN: How big is this room that you have?

JENNIFER ROSALES: It's pretty big. It doesn't matter how big the room is, we're Filipino we stick together.

Q. Is there a pattern to mistakes that sort of alert you to the fact that you need to step back, and the second question, as a caddy, an experienced caddy can sometimes assist the player, because of your history with caddies, do you think that's a liability for you?

JENNIFER ROSALES: Well, yeah, my caddy, she's so laid back. She's out there to just let me forget about stuff, where I am, where I stand. And sometimes she just tells me stupid stuff to forget about it, and I get mad at her for that. But I need her tomorrow. I mean, there's two of us out there grinding and hopefully we'll get that win.

Q. What's a tougher hole coming home for you, 16 or 18?

JENNIFER ROSALES: The toughest hole for me? 16, I think is the toughest hole because that little creek just comes in play, just think about it, it doesn't matter what club you use, it's just -- on the first round I went in there. And I made par, I hit it from the water and made a good chip out there and made a putt for par, and from that end, I just kept thinking about that little creek there.

Q. Is it playing easier today than yesterday?

JENNIFER ROSALES: A lot easier. Well, yesterday I just had too much club. I hit a 4-iron yesterday, just tried to hit it too hard and missed it left. And today I just stayed with the right club.

Q. What did you hit today?

JENNIFER ROSALES: I hit a 5-iron.

Q. What do you think has been the difference this year, winning a tournament, contending more, from the first few years that you've been out here?

JENNIFER ROSALES: Well, contending more, last year I was knocking on the door so many times last year, and I told myself just be patient, it's going to come. Every time you put yourself in the spot like that you learn from your mistakes. You learn. You get experience every time. And finally when I won in Atlanta, I know how to handle it, and it paid off.

Q. You talked about wanting to get a cushion for tomorrow. Do you feel that with the way the course is playing is par a good score for you? Do you think that would be untouchable?

JENNIFER ROSALES: Well, yeah, pars tomorrow would be good. I don't have to go low tomorrow, just a couple under will do it.

Depends on how the course will play, how hard the greens are going to be.

Q. In the recent years there hasn't been only one come from behind victories in the Open. Do you take it as a positive?

JENNIFER ROSALES: I don't even know that. I don't look at the past, I just go in the future. You know, you never know what's going to happen.

Q. If I'm not mistaken when you won in Atlanta you came from behind to win, is that correct?

JENNIFER ROSALES: Yes, it is.

Q. Can you talk about chasing and being the person that's going to be chased tomorrow, and how you feel you'll handle that?

JENNIFER ROSALES: Well, in Atlanta it was just different. Everybody was so close. When we got on the backside everybody was like 13, 12, 11, it was anybody's ballgame.

When I started making birdies at the end, I had a chance to win. I didn't even know until the last hole. And actually Meg and Lorie Kane, I played with Meg and Lorie Kane, they helped me go through it, they did an awesome job to keep me in there.

RHONDA GLENN: Good luck tomorrow.

End of FastScripts.