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July 12, 2018

Kay Cockerill

Chicago, Illinois

Q. How did you feel out there?
KAY COCKERILL: I was really nervous. I was so nervous, I could hardly eat any breakfast, and I just tried to stay hydrated, and I packed extra bananas and protein bars because I knew once I got out on the course and kind of settled down, I needed to have some nutrition, so my husband and caddie just -- I said, make sure I eat something every three holes, otherwise I might hit the wall.

But I birdied -- did I birdie my second hole?

Q. Yes, looks like it.
KAY COCKERILL: And my hands were shaking going back and through, and the ball went in the hole, and that just kind of put a big smile on my face and sort of really settled me down. Really the first hole just hitting the green and making an easy two-putt was very settling, as well. It was great playing with Jane and Jan. I feel very fortunate to have been put in a pairing with those two. We go back a long ways, and they were great, and we chatted a bunch out there once we sort of all got over our initial tension and nerves.

Q. And got into actually just playing, right?

Q. Because there's a lot around it, right?
KAY COCKERILL: Yeah, well, it's just -- the hardest thing honestly is the putting and how tricky these greens are and tapping into the right speed. You think you hit a pretty good putt, and it just rolls on by another six or eight feet instead of being two or three feet. I had probably three, maybe four easy two-putt tap-ins. Otherwise I was grinding over three-, four-, five-, six-footers for par, and I made a fair number of them. Missed a couple, but that's the challenge. And that's what I'm not used to doing because when I play at home, we play matches or we play happy golf, and that's good. But got to hole everything out here.

And I made sure even on the little -- like if I had eight inches, I just marked it and waited and just settled myself.

Q. How long was that putt on 11 that you made for birdie do you think?
KAY COCKERILL: I think it was probably about 15 feet, 15, 18 feet. I hit a really nice shot in there.

Q. And obviously I think it was 15 pars, two bogeys and a birdie, so pars are never a bad score.
KAY COCKERILL: Par is your friend. For sure, that was my goal was to just think about pars, and certainly the couple of par-5s out here -- well, I hit 18 and three-putted that, and then I was short on 6. I hit on the false in two, false front, and it rolled back and I hybrided it up. I made sure I got it up that false front and didn't hit it quite close enough and missed the putt. There were a couple holes -- I think I could have played the par-5s better than I did. But golfers will always say there's a couple of holes that they could have done better. If I take my total what I did from start to finish, I'm more than pleased.

Q. That's a very good score. You may not have seen the entire board, but 2-over is the best score and 1-over is a really solid round.
KAY COCKERILL: I'll take it.

Q. A solid start is really all you can ask for, right?
KAY COCKERILL: Definitely.

Q. Just a little bit about the experience so far? I know you were in the media center the other day.
KAY COCKERILL: Yeah, it's been great. I feel like I've been treated like a queen here with the reception and the way I've had a lot of people ask me what it's like and that they enjoy watching me in my regular job with the Golf Channel, and that's always pleasing. I've had several people -- I had the cutest video put together by my Golf Channel crew, a six-minute video just wishing me luck, everyone from engineers to commentators to producers, and I watched that this morning while I had breakfast, and I literally was going back and forth between laughing and crying, I was so just touched by that. I've felt a lot of support. The USGA are my old friends. You know, I feel like we really became special -- had a special relationship after I won U.S. Amateurs and played on the World Amateur team, and then it continued as I worked a lot of USGA events in television.

For me to now play in another USGA event is just -- it's just incredible.

Q. It's a little bit like a homecoming almost?
KAY COCKERILL: It is, it is. It's nerve-racking. It's nerve-racking. I don't know if my constitution could take too much of it. But at least I'll have a long time to rest. That was the hardest thing is just not thinking about the end of the round and saying, okay, just stay in your moment, stay one shot at a time. Just keep doing your process. What I hear all the pros, men and women say, it's so boring, but I was just trying to stay in the moment and not futurize, and if I started futurizing, just let it go.

Q. That's really hard to do when you're actually out there, right?
KAY COCKERILL: Uh-huh, and I haven't been in training to be in concentration mode. I do have to concentrate for a number of hours when I'm working television. It's a little bit different, but I'm just trying to bank on some of the practices that I've done, either in TV or out watching the best play. I thought about Inbee. I thought about Inbee Park and thought about how in between shots or in between holes she just peace fly stands there and almost like meditates, and I tried to be like Inbee and just be quiet in between shots, not exert too much energy and too much thought.

Q. And go blank almost?
KAY COCKERILL: Uh-huh, and just think positive thoughts and stay relaxed.

Q. So that doesn't mean tomorrow is necessarily going to -- you're already dreading tomorrow being difficult again, right?
KAY COCKERILL: It will. It will be good, but I'm going to relish and welcome the challenge. That's what we're here for. That's why you put yourself out on the line and that's why you compete, because it's uncomfortable, and you have to see how you handle the challenges. Tomorrow may be another great day, it may be tougher, I don't know, but we'll see. We'll see, and I'll look forward to it.

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