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August 21, 2016

Shawn Stefani

Greensboro, North Carolina

Q. Well, Shawn congratulations your third 66 this week at Sedgefield and today, maybe a little pressure on you. 95 percent you're in the Top 125.
How are you feeling right now center?

SHAWN STEFANI: It's pretty emotional, actually. Started to get a little emotional on 18. Sorry.

Q. No. No. I know it's tough. Let's start with 15. Pretty clutch second shot out there on the eagle putt. That kind of set it in the right direction, that made you inside the Top 125 that hole right there.
SHAWN STEFANI: It was nice. I mean you know, downhill putt, 22 feet or so and just trying to get it on line. It was a fast putt and really wasn't making anything all day.

Honestly, I was hitting a couple shots close and missed a couple of short putts for par the first 12 holes or so and, you know, when I hit it I knew it came off the putter really well and when I saw it go in, thank God it finally -- the sucker went right.

I knew going into 16, 17 and 18 I was going to have to probably play those holes even or whatever. Bogeying 17 wasn't good and obviously in 18 after I hit my second shot I thought I just needed a par really to be secure.

I thought 3-under honestly -- I thought 2-under was going to be the number today but I really thought 3-under would do it for sure and after I hit my second shot on 18 I started getting a little emotional and I just told my caddy on 18 green, I just want to lag it. My hands are shaking, I'm nervous. And actually I didn't know that until I got in the scoring tent that it was a bigger putt than I thought.

So, I don't know what's going to happen at this point. I think I'm a lock but still not sure. So, it's pretty awesome. I worked hard the last several months. You know, I really feel like the hard work has paid off. So it's been a great week.

Q. Shawn, as you walk around the back-9, there's a scoreboard on every hole. Are you watching the scoreboard?
SHAWN STEFANI: No, I wasn't really today. I was trying to focus on hitting each shot the best I could. You know, it was tough and the course wasn't playing easy and I wasn't doing a whole lot of great throughout any of the round and back-9 -- I played the back-9 great all week and I just had some positive vibes going into the back-9 so it was nice to really have some good things go my way today on the back-9.

Q. Lastly, before that hug with the caddy, I could see the emotion between both you guys.
SHAWN STEFANI: This game, doesn't owe anybody anything. Only hard work will get you to where you want to be and can't say I worked real hard in the off-season. My wife and I enjoyed it.

I kind of halfway through the year like okay, it's time to get going and started working really hard and working on the mental side, too, and just paid off.

Q. Congratulations. Clutch performance today.
SHAWN STEFANI: Thanks, guys.

Q. Tell us what it's like coming up, nervous?
SHAWN STEFANI: Nerve-racking, you know. Been playing very well the last several weeks. Actually I feel like I've been playing really well the last several months. Haven't got a lot out of my game.

I knew I had to come in here and have a good week. Top 15 I thought would do it for sure. Wasn't really a hundred percent positive but man, it's just been -- I don't know, just been a whirlwind of emotions this week and I've really felt good about my game and really love the direction my game is headed and the way I played today shows that. I'm looking forward to what's coming up next.

Q. How much was your head spinning after 17 with everything on the line?
SHAWN STEFANI: You know, not a lot. I obviously knew that I'm 3-under par, I'm 11-under for the tournament. I don't even know, I guess 11-under.

I honestly thought if I would have shot 2-under today it probably would have done it. But, you know, once I saw that I was like in 15th place or 13th place after I parred 16 -- I didn't know where I backed up to 17 after I made bogey and honestly I just told myself don't miss it left on 18 off the tee shot and I've been swinging the club well.

Made a great swing there and I had my second shot in there from 172 or 3, and I really thought just par would do it.

You know, I just told my caddy on 18 green, I just want to lag this up there, my hand was shaking and I'm nervous. Actually I'm glad I made it because I think there was more significance to that putt than I would have thought.

Q. There's pressure to win a golf tournament. People at home explain pressure of being in this situation that you were.
SHAWN STEFANI: Well, I mean, golf will put things in perspective for you for sure. I'm very blessed to be where I'm at today and I've worked hard. I feel like I deserve it. But the game doesn't owe you anything and I feel like the game gave me something today.

I've got to thank Steve Timms for giving me a sponsor's exemption a couple years ago in Houston when I was coming off a medical. I'm not an All-American story like a lot of these kids are getting a lot of sponsor exemptions out of college.

I wasn't a great college player. I had to earn my way the hard way, mini tours, 15 hour drives, driving across the country and, you know, it means more to me to keep my card than it does to some of the other guys who have won because I've gone the hard road for the game.

Q. What did you hit into 15 and 18?
SHAWN STEFANI: 4-iron into 15 from 219, I think and 7-iron into 18 from like 172 or 173.

Q. Did you know it was good as soon as you hit it?
SHAWN STEFANI: I was just playing for it to stop hooking. It was kind of drawing a little bit and I guess the Golf Gods gave me a nice little bounce off the fringe that actually landed right on the fringe and the edge of the green and kicked right. I had that putt for birdie.

So, it was a nice way to finish.

Q. How did you overcome the allergies over the weekend? You said it was a challenge on Friday coming in.
SHAWN STEFANI: It still is. I was blowing my nose out there all day. I know it was disgusting but, you know, I had to do what I had to do and I just kept taking medicine and when I would get done playing the round, I wouldn't practice. I was trying to conserve my energy.

I really think that helped me the most this week. I didn't do anything on Monday and Tuesday. I really tried to conserve my energy because I knew it was going to be hot. It's going to be a big week emotionally and, you know, I hate to say this but I was sitting there watching guys on the range and watching guys prepare, overprepare, overwork, overexert themselves and wast their energy and I wanted to have my energy coming in and honestly, today, I was full of energy to do it.

Q. You talked about the hand shaking on the putt on 18. When did those nerves hit you?
SHAWN STEFANI: Probably about the first hole today. You're nervous all day. Obviously I'm focused on what I'm doing but, you know, I'm still trying to concentrate on what I got to do and it's tough. It's not an easy game. It's not easy what we do and oh, man, it's just nice to finish off on a good note.

Q. Looking back at this season, is there any element that you can pinpoint where you had high mental doubt or you thought this thing might be getting away from you?
SHAWN STEFANI: No. One thing that -- oh, well, I'm usually a glass half full guy. Didn't get off to the start I wanted. I kept telling myself, we still got events left, still have tournaments left. Still have -- but, you know, when you say in March and there's 17 events left and you look in July and there's four events left you're like oh, you know, I don't have a lot of time and I really felt like I was close.

I mean for the most of the summer I felt like I was close, I was doing a lot of great things and I just didn't feel like things were happening.

And I just stayed really patient. I kept going, kept working, kept trying and I felt like everything could have gone wrong in the beginning of the year went right today and, you know, I don't know what else to say.

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