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August 18, 2015

Will Zalatoris

Olympia Fields, Illinois

Q. Looks like you're safely into match play. How do you feel about that?
WILL ZALATORIS: I'm excited. You know, I'm obviously coming off a surgery, and it's just been a giant buildup. Week to week I've been feeling stronger. This is my first week I'm actually hitting clubs the same distance that I did before the surgery, and I'm really excited for this week. I'm putting really well. I'm hitting it as good as I ever have, and just taking one match at a time, assuming that I get in, but one match at a time, that's all I can do.

Q. What was your expectations coming down the stretch? You kind of knew what the number was in your mind.
WILL ZALATORIS: Yeah, I mean, I've been playing good golf. I've had a couple of misses in the middle of the round that I just left myself above the hole, and when you're above the hole and you've got 156 guys coming through, sometimes the greens might get a little bumpy and you're kind of playing Plinko, but that happens; don't hit it five feet by. Basically I just knew the entire day I was going to make it, it was just a matter of how close.

Q. We just talked about the differences between the courses. What are the differences and what are the folks in the afternoon going to see?
WILL ZALATORIS: I think the folks in the afternoon, forecast-wise I know they're expecting more rain, but we had a ton of rain, but the course was pretty dry. There were not many mud balls. I was actually getting a lot of roll-out, surprisingly, throughout the day. I think on this side especially, it's more susceptible to wind, so I think that stretch on the farthest southern part of the golf course will be playing tougher, especially holes like No. 12 that are just absolutely brutal.

Q. Obviously you have won in this format before. It was the Junior. But what did you learn from winning the Junior that's going to help you here in match play?
WILL ZALATORIS: Patience, obviously. I know it gets preached a lot, but there were times -- there were a couple times where I was 3 down through 5 and I had Scott on the bag again, and it really -- there's ebbs and flows in a round, and there were a couple times where I think the semifinals match I was 4-up through 12 and all of a sudden I had to take it all the way to 18. If anything it's just don't get too frustrated, take everything with a lot of patience, and whatever comes, comes. But just accept whatever happens, and if you play against a guy who's 6- or 7-under, 5-under, there's nothing you can do about it, just try to shoot 6-, 7- or 8-under.

I'm excited for this week, and obviously this is the tournament that I've always wanted to win. Growing up it was the U.S. Junior, now this is the next stage. Every year it's to win this tournament.

Q. Last year obviously you got to the round of 16. Does that process of getting that far, does that help you mentally a little bit here?
WILL ZALATORIS: Yeah, a little bit. I think you draw more off the U.S. Junior just because it's more the format. I lost to Zach Wilson, who was 5-under for 15 holes, however many holes we went, so you know, just like I said, I think with all the matches that I played, especially last summer, you just have to have a ton of patience, and if some guy gets hot and you lose to him, tip your cap, say well done. If you get hot, there's nothing else you can do.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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