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September 30, 2015

Chip Lutz

Egg Harbor Township, N.J.

Q. It's your first time punching through your semifinal barrier, three times in a row, and now it wasn't going to be easy, you knew that, but you had the 3-up lead, and then was it a struggle coming in a little bit?
CHIP LUTZ: No question, it was very difficult for me. I knew what I had to do to try to get over those three semifinal losses, and that was significant trying to get by that. You know, just hung in there, tried to stay calm and breathe and try to play my game and stay in the moment.

Fortunately I was able to do so. Not without a significant degree of difficulty, that's for sure. Anyway, Tim played nicely. He didn't make some putts, I didn't make some, and that's always kind of even, but he gave me a couple early, I gave him a couple early and hung on to that. But finishing was really quite tough today. But I managed to hang on, so I'm thrilled.

Q. Was this a mental thing, being so close to breaking through and then actually having to cross the finish line there?
CHIP LUTZ: Well, easy to melt down. I was close. It was definitely a trying moment for me, having been so close but yet so far. And I just felt like I needed to do this. I had to get over that. Just hung in and hung in and just tried to get through it and do what I had been doing for the whole tournament, and it was just the putts that he placed that he didn't hit it solid. A few shots left me, but I managed to right the ship when I needed to and made some good putts coming in. 17, after I hit that real thin third shot that was -- that was tough because it was like --

Q. Would you say you were about 50 feet there maybe?
CHIP LUTZ: Oh, gosh, that could have been more like 70. That was really long. I actually had 79 yards to the hole, and 80 yards is my perfect 60-degree wedge, and it was uphill and into a light breeze, so I knew I had to hit a good 85, so I swung a little harder at it and I got a little thin on it, and it just --

Q. Jumped?
CHIP LUTZ: Well, I almost boned it. It was really thin.

Q. When it left the club face --
CHIP LUTZ: I was happy it got on the green. It was really unbelievable. You know, fortunately I got down in two, which was huge to maintain that 1-up advantage.

Q. It was an excellent two-putt.
CHIP LUTZ: It really was. That was significant. It was a clutch two-putt for me. I had to make about a two and a half foot comeback putt and managed to get that in. And then at the last we both hit great second shots. Not really good drives, but a little quick, again, over the top, and then left, and I had a pretty horrendous lie, and I managed a 5-iron in there that held onto the corner.

Q. It was a beautiful shot, yeah.
CHIP LUTZ: Oh, very stressful.

Q. And then the lag putt on 18?
CHIP LUTZ: Yeah, it had a chance.

Q. I thought you had made it there for a moment. Just slipped by on the low side?
CHIP LUTZ: On the high side.

Q. It looked like it was in about a foot from the hole.
CHIP LUTZ: I know. It was really well struck.

Q. Tim mentioned that he probably gave you a couple early, maybe you gave him 16 a little bit, but at this level you're just playing your game, doing the best you can --
CHIP LUTZ: Absolutely.

Q. And it's a grind, isn't it?
CHIP LUTZ: It's hard to play perfect golf at this level and after this many days and this many rounds.

Q. Seventh round in five days, right?

Q. Competitive rounds?
CHIP LUTZ: Absolutely, it takes a toll, no question. You have to expect some errors and some challenges, but it's trying to fight your way through that and get to the other side is what counts.

Q. What do you think going into tomorrow? Early start tomorrow --
CHIP LUTZ: Yeah, you know what, I've had a lot of them this week. Unfortunately I was first off on Saturday in the first round of qualifying at 7:10, so I know what that's about. We're staying out at Seaview and about 30 minutes away, so it's another early start with these 5:00 a.m. wake-up calls, come around awful quick. But I'm looking forward to it, and I'm hoping to carry on with some good play tomorrow.

Q. Do you think having gotten to those three semifinals before, the quality of players here, you're 60, right?
CHIP LUTZ: I'm 60.

Q. You're trying to get -- it's a very competitive group here.
CHIP LUTZ: Absolutely.

Q. How hard is it to break through, not just because you've been there but the quality of the field and the --
CHIP LUTZ: It's incredibly difficult. We have U.S. Mid-Am champions, former senior Am champions. This is really a fabulous field. Every time I look at those brackets I try not to focus on that too much because some guys don't make it through that you think should have, and other guys -- guys get upset during these matches. Anything can happen in match play, as you know, and I've seen that happen to me in these semifinal losses. I've played extremely well and lost. I've played okay and lost. I've lost a lot of different ways already. I've finally found a way to get one in here at least to get to the final show, so I'm hopeful that I'll play well tomorrow. It would mean an awful lot to me. I've been at this a long time.

Q. This is your fourth try, but it's also -- you're local here to some degree. Do you know this area pretty well? You've got some supporters out here, don't you?
CHIP LUTZ: Basically. I'm two hours from home.

Q. And some friends out here watching?

Q. So that must be very meaningful.
CHIP LUTZ: More supposed to be here tomorrow, so it should be fun. I hope I can hold up in front of them tomorrow.

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