Q. Well, the wind looks like it’s getting stronger throughout the afternoon. Alena Sharp has come in after a spectacular round in these conditions. Can you describe what it was like out there? ALENA SHARP: Well, it was pretty windy right from the get‑go. Warming up today I just kept the ball low. Very thankful […]
Q. Well, the wind looks like it’s getting stronger throughout the afternoon. Alena Sharp has come in after a spectacular round in these conditions. Can you describe what it was like out there?
ALENA SHARP: Well, it was pretty windy right from the get‑go. Warming up today I just kept the ball low. Very thankful that I had a nice lesson from my coach a few weeks ago. He’s actually an Aussie, Brett Saunders, and we worked on keeping the ball down with my wedges and I just did it with every club today. And I think it helped keeping the ball lower, spin control, and I was right around the greens when I missed the greens, so I think it really helped me get a good score today.
Q. Do you feel like it’s safer now being back in the clubhouse, because it does feel like it’s getting stronger?
ALENA SHARP: Definitely a little bit the last few holes, it feels like it’s picking up, especially cross breezes. Hopefully it will die down a little overnight so it won’t be as bad tomorrow, but I’m assuming it will be like this tomorrow, so we’ll see.
Q. Well, you seem to have it well in hand today. Over the course of the last three days you’ve had 13 birdie and an eagle. Am I correct in thinking there’s a donation for each of them to the wildlife affected by the fires?
ALENA SHARP: Definitely. I’m doing that this week and next week. I didn’t even know I had that many, so that’s a good thing.
Q. Talk to us about the Vic Open, it’s a unique format with the men playing alongside the women. Is that something you enjoy?
ALENA SHARP: I really enjoy this event. Last year was my first year and wanted to come back this year. Made some great friends last year and we’re staying with them this year, so it’s cool. We’re really enjoying being down here. It’s such a great part of the world to play golf.
Q. You’re just one shot off the lead so you’ve got a big day ahead of you tomorrow. How will you prepare for that, or are you just heading indoors to get out of the elements?
ALENA SHARP: I think I’m done for the day. I’m going to go relax, maybe just do a little journalling on what I did well today, really take in those good shots and get ready for tomorrow.
Q. Well, it was a day of survival, you made it out there, you’re done. You’re just one stroke off the lead right now. How did you make it out there on this incredibly windy day?
ALENA SHARP: I just, mid January, had some lessons with my coach, Brett Saunders, who’s an Aussie, so I feel like I have the Aussie luck on my side. Really worked on keeping the ball down with my wedges and I just did it with every club today. Kept it in play, drove it well, putted well. I think you have to putt well in the wind and my lag putting was right on. I didn’t have a lot of five‑, six‑footers for par. I just stayed steady and I just tried to stay even keel because, you know, it’s out of our control the way the wind’s blowing. Try not to let it get to you.
Q. Was that a little bit of Aussie knowledge there perhaps, planning ahead with him on those low shots?
ALENA SHARP: We were just working on getting better spin trajectory and I just kind of was doing it with my other irons and I’m like, I’m just going to go with it today because need to keep the ball down. Hitting it high in this wind, you just leave it up to chance on how far it’s going to go left or right.
Q. You’ve been playing really well late last year, coming in through the offseason, seeing your name on top of the leaderboard. Still looking for that first win. Does it cross your mind at all?
ALENA SHARP: Well, I think it would be silly to say no, I don’t think about it. I know I’m in a good position now and it’s been something that I’ve talked about with my mental toughness coach, Shawnee Harle, at the end of this year. Sorry, at the end of 2019. Don’t be afraid to win and don’t be afraid to think about it, and it’s okay that maybe there’s a fear there of winning.
Yeah, it’s going to be on my mind tonight but I’ll have a chat with her and, like I said, journal all the good things I did today and know that tomorrow’s probably just going to be like this so I just have to come out and do the same thing tomorrow.
Q. Playing in conditions like this, is the challenge more mental, more physical, or is it just relentlessly both?
ALENA SHARP: I think you have to golf your ball well, but you also have to have a lot of grit, just really not get too far ahead of yourself or let the wind beat you up. I think using it as your friend is more of a better way to say it than being fearful of it.
Q. And switching off between shots, is it harder when the wind’s constantly battering you?
ALENA SHARP: It is definitely harder because your hat’s blowing all over the place, but I think I have a great caddie and we just keep it light out there.
Q. We know it’s a grueling day, you’ve been at it for a while. What lessons do you take from everything you’ve done in your career into tomorrow?
ALENA SHARP: Well, like I said, don’t really think about winning but know that it’s there and really just stay in one shot at a time like I did today. I didn’t get ahead of myself, it was one shot after the next. It wasn’t, oh, I’ve got to hit a good drive On this next hole. No, I’ve got to make this putt first. Really stay in the present and stick to the process.
Q. I know last year you made some good friends here. Tell us about how you connected with your host family. I think it was through the love of dogs?
ALENA SHARP: Yes. Murphy, the Groodle, we met him last year on the first day and showed pictures of our dog and then they saw the head cover and we just kept in touch. Murphy was out every day last year. We haven’t seen him much this year just because of basically ‑‑ we’re staying with them, but we haven’t seen him much, but that’s okay.
We stayed in touch since last year and I sent them some Daphne head covers so they have the Murphy head cover. They’re just great people and we made a great friendship, and that’s what I love about this tournament, like everybody’s so nice and you can walk inside the ropes and you get to know people a little bit better than just being by yourself inside the ropes with the players and the caddies. It’s a cool event and we really enjoy it.