Quote transcripts: Scroll down for reaction from both finalists in the Mass Amateur championship.
Q: When you picked up the trophy and you’re looking at some of the names, what’s going through your mind knowing you just won it.
A: It’s truly special to be able to say that ‘my name will be on this trophy pretty soon. Something that I feel even better about and even more proud and happy about is that the shot Nashawtuc Country’s Club’s name will be on this trophy. Every member over there has always been so supportive and they have been all week you know I got a bunch of texts yesterday, telling me good luck tomorrow and you know, on top of that, there’s some pretty famous names on here, a bunch of players I’ve looked up to growing up, like my buddy Steve (DiLisio) won last year and that was pretty special. It’s very very cool to watch him win. And just to be able to put my name on this pretty soon as is his amazing feeling.
Q: You lost your senior season at Emory University due to COVID-19. Does this win help make you feel any better about that?
A: This was my first tournament since everything went down and since the beginning of March. As you said, I can never get my senior spring back. We had such a great group of guys down at Emory, such a great coach (John Sjoberg) and you know we definitely had something special. But this you know nothing could ever replace that. But this is certainly a good feeling.
Q: What are your plans? Are you going to stay amateur through October? Is there anything after that you can tell us about?
A: Short term I’m looking forward to next week over at Concord Country Club in the New England Amateur. I’ve caddied at that golf course for a long time, and I’ve been there, played a bunch, so I’m very excited for that. After that, take it day by day. My plan is to turn professional at some point and start playing some pro events and see how that goes. But with COVID-19 and everything, the goal is just to stay safe. You know right now uou just got to take things day by day and get out there and practice and if you do that you never know what happened
Q: Was there a certain point in the tournament where you felt like you had a chance to win it?
A: I’ve been practicing a lot over at Nashawtuc CC, it’s the only thing I’ve got to do. I’m very lucky to be able to be in that situation. Last week I started putting myself in preparation mode and started really thinking about shots and things and places and decisions that I’d have to make in the tournament and tournament play. It wasn’t any point in particular this week. I came down here, I played on Monday, I played pretty well and I went home and I packed a big bag with a lot of clothes. And I said, I hope, I hope I got to use all these, and I don’t have any clean clothes left so that’s a good thing. I just had a good feeling. You know if you come in and you believe in yourself, you never know
Q: You had a 4 up lead after 11, was there some complacency or were you trying to play it safe?
A: This morning, it was tough. The weather was tough. The wind was all over the place. It was raining. Nick and I didn’t play great. We didn’t putt great. We hung in there. t was a hard round of golf, but in the afternoon, I sat down for lunch and I really knew that somebody had to go win the golf tournament, and you know I came out and I put some pressure on him, and I felt good. I mean he responded every time. He played so well. It was such a treat to play with him. But yeah, I mean, golf happens sometimes. I put some pressure on him, and I got up and he came right back and that’s how it works sometimes and you just got to put your head down, put one foot in front of the other and, you know, make a good golf swing.
Q: Can you talk about how well you putted the ball, especially today coming down the stretch making big par putts like on 16 to keep him at bay?
A: Match play is a different, different beast, and momentum and confidence and pressure especially is important. It really is, especially in golf. I certainly know my putting kept me in it all week. I really putted well in all my matches and certainly down the stretch today. The wind was blowing hard, and I hit some golf shots that I thought were good and that didn’t end up great, and I was able to put myself in a spot where I could make a putt. That was by far the most important part. These greens are so tough, and they’re so pure, too, and you just got to get below the hole, you got to be putting uphill, and I was lucky enough to put myself in some spots where I could make some putts, and I executed and that’s always a good feeling.
Q: What was the toughest part in playing in this all week?
A: Playing and keeping the adrenaline and the energy up for 36 is tough. I’ve never had to do it while playing the same person. It was tough and the weather today felt like we were not in the U.S, we had a little bit of everything. I think that was probably the toughest thing was just keeping your head in it for eight hours.
Q: What happened on the front nine of the second round when you went down 4?
A: I honestly had a couple of the drives I hit. I hit good I just played them too aggressive of a line with the wind. So I don’t think I judged the wind quite as well in the afternoon early on. After that I think I played, I was telling McKenzie, I think from 7 to 18 I played pretty much bogey free three under golf. Which you know that’s throwing the book at him and credit to him for making the putts that he did coming down the stretch.
Q: Tell me about that chip-in on 8 that helped get you closer?
A: The lie I got previous that I flipped and played lefty was probably one of the worst lies that I’ve seen, but the next one I just told myself it wasn’t too bad of a chip and it definitely gave me a bunch of energy because at that point, you know, if he makes that putt things start to really get out of hand. Being I think it would have been 5 down through 8 so that was a good way to flip the table, and, you know, really kind of get back on track.
Q: Can you talk about mentally regrouping on nine and giving yourself a chance?
A: It was something where you know McKenzie was constantly saying, you know, let’s just go, you know I was three down to Matt (Parziale) last round so you know to be three down to him, I just said let’s do it again it’s just one more. Obviously got three back and needed a fourth on 18 but it was a good regroup. You know I hit it solid I played the wind right I putted pretty well. So, like I said, I think I played it two or three under on the back and if you can do that I think you probably come out on top and fortunately it wasn’t today this year.
Q: Do you still feeling confident about your game moving forward knowing how hard it is to get here?
A: Yeah, you know this year is a unique one with everything that’s going on with the world the pandemic everything so you know to be able to play golf was really important. I think it got everybody a sense of normalcy for me yeah it’s disappointing. I’d never gotten this far. Obviously, I like Brae Burn from (winning) the (Mass). Mid-Amateur last year so we’re gonna try to, you know, regroup next year and get back to the final, but there’s not many chances you get at it, you know, it’s only a handful, you know, two guys a year get to do it, and it’s, it’s fun, and it was an experience and certainly I’ll learn from it.
Q: What was your favorite part about this week?
A: I think for me, honestly, you know, being with (my caddy) McKenzie (Murphy) was awesome. You know her dad has been probably one of my best friends helped me with my game a lot, and then all the texts and calls have been phenomenal. You know, last night, I turned my phone off because it was just constantly vibrating, so tell everybody thank you very much. And then my girlfriend and my family, you know they’ve been awesome. You know my girlfriend’s mom passed away. One year ago this week. So I play with her initials on my ball and just to make it to the final was great and you know she was able to walk around the end of today so it was a lot of fun.