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July 10, 2018

I.K. Kim

Toledo, Ohio

THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead and get started. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, we're here with our defending Marathon Classic champion, I.K. Kim. Shot a personal best 72-hole score of 21-under, two 63s last year. Absolutely blitzed your way around Highland Meadows here. Take us back to last year. What clicked for your game when you pulled into Toledo and you played so well?

I.K. KIM: Hi, everyone. It's nice to be back defending the second time, I didn't do the shot right at all, but I'm just happy to be here, seeing my friends. Doing the presentation, and all the volunteers, so very welcoming coming in last night. I haven't seen the golf course yet, but I think practice areas look really nice. So I hope the weather will stay dry, and I look forward to another challenge.

THE MODERATOR: We might get some storms this afternoon, but fingers crossed once we get through that, we'll be good. So last year you played so incredibly well when you were here. What was the State of your game then? What was working for you then, and what do you hope you can bring forward to 2018?

I.K. KIM: Last year I think I had a lot of progress there over the summer. And I think in Toledo, just coming over here I feel like I've been coming here since 2007, and since I've been close to (Indiscernible), and that definitely helps. Just shooting low score on the last round to win the tournament always feels special, and it gave me a lot of confidence.

THE MODERATOR: I know when you came back for the media day you got it see your name on the street sign. What is that like when you're pulling in and you look up, oh, there is my name right above me in my car?

I.K. KIM: I know, I wish my friends are here. They don't know what's happening in Toledo. So I think it was really neat. You know, I don't know how many people get to have that experience. I guess I wasn't even thinking. It just kind of came together after winning the tournament, so I really appreciate all of the appreciation of what I do. I just feel grateful for everything that happens.

THE MODERATOR: So not only are you here as defending champion, but right after this you're heading over to the women's summit, and the focus this year is on meditation and mindfulness. I know you've been very open about how meditation and spirituality is very important to you. How do you use that as you go out on a golf course, and as you go through your everyday life?

I.K. KIM: You know, I think because I got into meditation because of the media days and not only playing golf, but the things that I never thought I would imagine to do. And meditation just kind of keeps me calm and helps me to just be myself and not worry about something I can't control. So I think it will be interesting. There are experts speaking, Mallika Chopra and also Hannah Storm. So I'm just going to soak in all the good energy, probably.

Q. How difficult is it to be defending champion? Mentally do you try too hard? Is it different?
I.K. KIM: I think it was difficult because even though the course suits my game, but I think I felt the expectation, and I wasn't really expecting those feelings going back and playing the tournament. For some reason, I think because I've done it more, I feel a bit more calm this week. I feel like my game's in a good place, and I really like any new hybrid I just changed a few weeks ago at KPMG. So I'm looking forward to the next few weeks starting this week.

Q. Last year obviously you won the tournament, and then you went to the Women's British Open and did the same. You haven't won between that, is this just the right time of the year for you? You had a top finish a few weeks back, defending champion. Does this start getting you fueled up again?
I.K. KIM: I don't think I totally understand your question. Well, I don't know. (Indiscernible) sort of fast. But I think I just have to pick and choose which tournament that we're playing. I was really lucky about Kingsbarns suits my game really well. It was raining a lot. The course was playing a little bit softer, same as here last year. It rained, and I was able to set my goal on the greens which was a real benefit for me.

I think like some of my preparation has met the opportunity. I think I was ready to play under pressure. Now every tournament is same but different challenge. Now that I feel like my head's in the right place, and where I don't have to force myself to try too hard. So I'm really looking forward to it.

Q. (Indiscernible) the tournament last year, what was your mindset?
I.K. KIM: Actually, I played with Natalie. (Indiscernible) I just had started off really well. I saw the birdie on the line. I had a great up-and-down. I think it was the most memorable up-and-down I made last year at No. 2. So I was just really having fun, just playing my game.

When we turned around we had like nine to go and I was leading the tournament, and I felt like I was doing a lot of right things, and that's always fun to do.

Q. I want to ask you about the women's summit today. Why are you participating in it? What does it mean to you?
I.K. KIM: It's something that I can just walk over. People signed up like over a month ago, and they were already sold out, you know. It's a great opportunity for me to join them. I'm not sure what I'll be speaking about, but because I feel like (Indiscernible) physical but at the same time very mental, and I feel like playing sports helped me a lot.

It's kind of the lesson I learned through golf, like about life, and everybody goes through it similar and different places. I think golf represents, for me, it taught me a lot of different things, meditation, or eating healthy, and sleeping, representing, and recovery. So I think hopefully that will benefit them in a way so that they can live a healthier life. We all want to live healthier and happier, you know?

What's more special is it's all women. And I am around women all the time, but the women that I'm around is very strong and they're very powerful mentally and physically. So I'm curious what, other than golf friends, I want to see what it's like living outside of the tour.

Q. You have a friend that works for the Golf Channel, right?
I.K. KIM: Sorry?

Q. Do you have a friend that works for the Golf Channel?
I.K. KIM: Yes.

Q. My second question is about her, and what is it like to have somebody who is a friend of yours that you see in the media throughout the season?
I.K. KIM: Yeah, it's just she was my roommate in high school, and we were roommates for over a year. She played, actually, on the tour as well. Then she changed her career to TV broadcasting and reporting. You know, I don't know. We never had that competitiveness towards each other at all growing up. You know, you don't really find those friends that are so comfortable you share everything, you know, and they keep it to themselves. They don't share with other people. So it's really comfortable, and I think we cherish our time. We're both single, and we have a lot of free time now to golf.

So it's just small things, small happiness, even on the tour, that I get to have the kind of grounding feelings.

Q. Can you talk about just what the game means for you. I know you just got back from spending a couple days in Seattle at the Special Olympics USA Games. Tell us about that experience? I know working with the Special Olympics is very dear to you. Tell us what that experience was like there with those wonderful athletes?
I.K. KIM: You know, I just got to celebrate even more often. I've learned so much. Their joy, seeing them so happy real he inspired me, and they're always in themselves. They don't try to -- I don't know. It's just some kind of connection that I feel like myself when I go there, a special thing.

It's inspiring for me to -- especially that they represent America to me. That America is all different people and it includes differences. I think that's what I learned most, that I don't get to see, like get to learn in Korea. Because most of the people living in Korea, speak Korean (Indiscernible). Over here I feel that people are different, and Special Olympics taught me how to be okay with differences and help support one another.

So it was really good to see their celebration. The World Game and this summer game, the World Game will be in Abu Dhabi next year, and I would love to be there, but it's going to be March. So I really wanted to make this one count.

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