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August 23, 2015

Derek Bard

Olympia Fields, Illinois

PETE KOWALSKI: We'd like to welcome 2015 U.S. Amateur runner-up, Derek Bard.

Derek, you hung in there, and just couldn't get it done. Just give us a quick comment about what it was like to go through that experience and maybe a little bit about what this week means to you as a player and as a person.

DEREK BARD: Yeah, it was unbelievable. I came here in the beginning of the week, just focused on making match play and getting back to match play because it was so much fun to play and I did do that. I started to win matches and every match I won, I gained some more confidence.

Just kept winning and winning until I saw myself on the first tee today and teed up with Bryson. It was awesome. It was a lot of fun. Just all the people here are great, just treated phenomenally every day and it was a week I'll never forget.

PETE KOWALSKI: Anybody from Virginia or your family arrive in time for the final?

DEREK BARD: Yeah, my mom and sister flew in last night. We hung out last night and they were here today. I had two buddies here. They took a train through the night and were here for the Jon Rahm match, and then two other friends came in last night and were here today. I had a nice support group out there cheering for me. Unfortunately couldn't get it done.

Q. Seemed like he gave you an opening on the 19th hole with everything that happened over the railroad tracks, and you didn't take much advantage aside from that hole.
DEREK BARD: Yeah, obviously I was 1-down through 19, had some momentum going. He had a great wedge in there on 2 and made birdie. Made a little bit of a bad swing on 3, and all of the sudden I was 3-down and he just started making putts on me. It's tough to come back from that.

The last few days, I was the one making putts and today I wasn't. I didn't make anything and he made all the putts he had to and he won 7 & 6.

Q. For kind of weathering the early storm there, he made two pretty big putts to start the day on the first two holes. You came out and won four of five. This is something that you maybe switched to or just was it calming down that made you get on that little run?
DEREK BARD: Yeah, a little bit of calming down and then also, I felt that the weather delay was -- I tried to use that to my advantage. I came out, they called it in the middle of 5 and I was 1-down at that point. I just tried to use it to my advantage and hit a good one there and rolled the putt in, so then all-square.

I played 6 well, so I hit wedge in there, 1-up.

He made bogey on 7, all of a sudden I was 2-up through seven holes and I was feeling good. At that point in the round I was playing my best golf.

Then I think the turning point the whole day really is he airmails the green on 8 and flops it in, which is -- you have to pull off shots like that if you want to win a championship like this. It's one of those signature shots. I mean, it was pretty cool to watch. He hit a perfect shot up there and tumbled in. Like I say, he deserves it and from that point on, he really took control.

Q. I was going to ask you if 8 was probably the turning point, but what did you tell yourself walking to 9?
DEREK BARD: Yeah, I was still 1-up at that point, so I still told myself, he's got to come get me. I played 9 poorly all week and I did again this morning. Missed the fairway. But he got on there in two and 3-putted, so I was 1-up through the front nine.

But I felt like that morning match, no matter where the match got to, I always felt like I was still in it, because we had 18 more holes to go in the afternoon. It's such a long day and to get it back to 2-down after the morning was big I thought until lunch. Gave me some momentum and like I said, I came out in the afternoon and won the first hole and then just kind of fell apart.

Q. What were your thoughts at lunchtime, and I guess what did you tell yourself?
DEREK BARD: I was pretty happy to be where I was because I finished the round awfully. I bogeyed the last four and actually I lost three holes in a row, starting on 14, hit a great shot in there to go 1-up.

Then I was fortunate to be where I was, because walking up to our tee balls, he was right down the middle and I was -- yeah, the first fairway, where I was, I had basically no shot and shanked my second shot. So I went from 4-down to 2-down pretty quickly, and that made lunch taste a little better and gave me some momentum.

Then he snipes one off the first tee, so after that, I was like, wow, get one here and game on. I didn't get one there, and just faltered away.

Q. I know you're focused on your own game but he has so many eccentricities in terms of the types of clubs he uses and when he's lining up his putts. Did you notice that stuff and did you ask him about any of it?
DEREK BARD: No, I never asked him. I don't know Bryson personally very well, but I know about all the stuff he does. Obviously he's a very smart kid and I've read a lot of stories and stuff about him. I talked to a few people last night that know him a little better than I do, so I was prepared for all that. You've got to do whatever works for you and obviously this week it works for him pretty damn well.

Q. I hate to say it here but school is starting pretty soon and the season is coming up. I know NCAAs last year for you was pretty successful. What are some of the things that you can take away from a week like this to help you prepare for a long and grueling season through collegiate golf?
DEREK BARD: School starts up Tuesday. I think I'm going to take a few days off. I don't know if I'm going to be there for the first few days unfortunately.

No, just gives me a lot of confidence heading into; I'm looked upon as the leader of this team now. So you know, this just kind of reinforces that I feel like; a second-place finish at this tournament is pretty cool. And going into the year with the guys in the team that all respect me, and we all have good relationships; I feel like that kind of solidifies my role as a team leader, which is cool, and hopefully I can lead with some good golf.

Q. You mentioned that you fell apart, and I don't know if maybe you're being hard on yourself. But the pace of play was a little bit slow. Did you find it very slow or did the referees say anything to you on the way around?
DEREK BARD: No. Everything was fine with us. He actually told us after the first 18 that we were eight minutes ahead. So I figured we were on pace.

Q. Maybe also just sum up your summer. You won the Sunnehanna and obviously runner-up here. Pretty good run.
DEREK BARD: Successful summer. Started off at Monroe and finished third there, which was pretty good up in upstate New York, good way to kick it off. And next week, Sunnehanna, broke through there, which was huge.

Actually I didn't have my best -- played a few tournaments from there. Players, I was playing pretty well until that last day; I shot 79 and kind of fell down the leaderboard. Didn't play well at the Porter Cup. Missed the cut at Western. That whole time I felt like my game was right there. I just wasn't shooting the scores. It wasn't really reflective upon my scores.

So I knew coming in this week that, listen, it's right beneath the surface, just let it out. It came out pretty well this week and made a nice run at it. Looking back on the summer, it's been very successful and gives me a lot of confidence going into the fall and the school year.

PETE KOWALSKI: When you take the first tee for Virginia in the fall, you'll step there with a whole lot more confidence -- what do you think your perspective will be?

DEREK BARD: I think I'll have a lot of confidence going in. We start up at Rich Harvest Farms which is where the Western was. We played in that last year and I know the course pretty well, played it a few times. I like that course. I like to go back there and play it.

But that's the thing, I have a lot of confidence going in but I'm not really going to change anything about myself or show. I feel like I'm a pretty humble guy and I don't really show a lot of emotion out there on the course. Beneath the surface, yeah, I'll have some confidence, but I won't act any different than I normally do.

PETE KOWALSKI: Well played. Thank you, sir. Look forward to watching your career.

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