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May 29, 2018

Zach Bauchou

Alan Bratton

Austin Eckroat

Viktor Hovland

Stillwater, Oklahoma

THE MODERATOR: We're joined now by the Oklahoma State cowboys, head coach Alan brat ton, student athletes Zach Bauchou, Austin Eckroat and Viktor Hovland, and Coach Bratton, if you would just a quick opening statement and we'll take questions for everybody on the dais.

ALAN BRATTON: You know, we had a lot of goals for the week, and we took care of the first one in the stroke play. Next was to win the first match, then win the semifinal match. That's three down, and then the ultimate goal tomorrow. Just pleased for our guys. We've had contributions 1 through 5 in the lineup this week, so pleased with our play, and we've got a job to do tomorrow.

Q. Alan, talk about the performance of Austin as a freshman, coming in here and clinching both matches for you guys.
ALAN BRATTON: That's why we brought him here, and I think that's why he came here. He's got a lot of guts, and he's playing very well. He showed that in the stroke play, and obviously he did that today. But certainly he wasn't the only one. These two guys over here took care of their matches, and the other guys took care of business in the first round. We'll need everybody tomorrow, and we're fortunate to have a deep lineup, and expect them all to take care of the guy in front of them.

Q. Austin, if you would follow up on that question, as well.
AUSTIN ECKROAT: Yeah, I came here to contribute to the team and win a national championship. That's the overall goal. I'm just excited for the opportunity.

Q. Austin, the chip-in on 5, how big was that for you?
AUSTIN ECKROAT: It was awesome. I was already ahead in my match, and it was one of those things where he had the advantage. It was a pretty easy chip, but for the most part he had the advantage. I hit a really good chip, and it went in. Yeah, it got the crowd involved a lot. It was the first loud roar of the day. Yeah, it was huge for me.

Q. (Indiscernible.)
AUSTIN ECKROAT: Yeah, growing up, I was an Oklahoma State fan ever since I was a kid. I've had season tickets to the football games since I can remember, and yeah, we've been coming to the games to tailgate. Yeah, I was wore Swinging Pete whenever I was playing in my junior tournaments at eight years old. Yeah, it's always been a huge goal of mine to play golf for Oklahoma State and contribute to winning a national championship.

Q. Viktor, this morning you guys had control of that match most of the day, and at the end it got a little hairy, but you guys pulled it out. How tense and pressurized was that last couple of holes?
VIKTOR HOVLAND: Very. No, I felt pretty comfortable throughout the whole match, but as I missed the putt on 18 to close it out and Chandler made his and we went to extra holes, I really began feeling the jitters. Yeah, I was glad to close it out on the 19th hole and be finished with it.

Q. Alan, what are your memories from 2014, and is there anything from that day that you will take into tomorrow?
ALAN BRATTON: It's a good question. I haven't had time really to think about that. Obviously that year we were the two best teams. I think that was clear. The middle part of the match, we looked like we were in control, but they had a really good team. They stepped up and play well there towards the end. The only things that are the same from there are the coaches, the head coaches, and we've changed assistant coaches since then.

Obviously their guys are used to being there. Our guys are, as well. It'll be a good test, two good teams, hopefully in front of a massive crowd, and I'd like them to be making lots of noise. If we can take care of our business, get some birdies going, that's going to be a really fun environment. College kids don't get to play in that setting. Several of you in here cover a lot of college golf. This is very unusual, and what a dream scenario to get to perform in front of a crowd, and we're excited for the opportunity tomorrow. That's why you play. And I expect us to come out on top.

Q. Zach, you've kind of talked about the week, how you said you haven't had your best stuff. How big was this afternoon's round going into the championship match for you tomorrow?
ZACH BAUCHOU: Yeah, I played very poorly for most of the tournament. Probably had my B game. After the first round, I came out and I played a good nine holes, for about a nine-hole stretch, and this morning I saw some good things, but this afternoon I played really solid, made a lot of birdies, only one mistake, and that was nice to see going into tomorrow.

Q. This is for both Alan and Viktor. You come out of stroke play and you go right into match play. They're very different disciplines, very different styles. How much do you have to warm up to it? Like this morning did that kind of hone you for this afternoon, and did today kind of prepare you for what you're in for tomorrow?
ALAN BRATTON: Well, this format you basically start over every day. We had a stroke-play event. You start over for the first-round match. Doesn't matter what you did there, you've got to bring it every single day. So it's a new tournament every day. But I would expect all of our guys should go into tomorrow with a lot of confidence.

VIKTOR HOVLAND: Yeah, I'd just echo what Coach said. You're just trying to play the same game plan as you had in stroke play. I don't think I'd change anything. Just try and make some birdies, try not to make any bogeys, and hopefully that'll bring you on top.

Q. Zach, how much pressure is there on you guys, considering you've had your No. 1 team all year, most people have called you the favorite, you get to play at home, it's a big advantage, but is there a disadvantage in that there's a lot of pressure because everybody is here watching you, expecting you to win?
ZACH BAUCHOU: I don't think there's any pressure when you're as good as we are throughout the lineup. We've played so well all year, starting in Hawai'i. We just came back and had it rolling all year. I would say four guys did that this week except for me in the stroke play, and I kind of found it today a little bit. So I think tomorrow we'll come out and be ready to roll.

Q. Austin, you talked about your putting game had kind of been off throughout the year. How important was it to stress the chipping today?
AUSTIN ECKROAT: Well, yeah, throughout the year, putting has been the thing that's been holding me back. I've been putting really well this week, though. Yeah, chipping obviously -- with respect to every foot closer you can get, you have a higher percent chance, so yeah, every inch you get helps a lot.

Q. Talk about the course; it seems to have held up really well.
ALAN BRATTON: Yeah, Karsten Creek did its job. It was really wet and soft when we started. The scores were kind of bunched up. It ended up separating the field in the stroke play, and it's just gotten better and better every day. Travis Levings, our superintendent, he's been going for two weeks straight with the women's tournament before us. I thought the golf course was fantastic today, and the greens just keep getting better and better.

Q. Alan, how would you assess that last couple of holes against A & M?
ALAN BRATTON: Well, I think the reason the match ended up tied is they're a very good team. They were ranked No. 2 in the country for a reason, and obviously you get behind like that, they're not going to go down without a fight, but our guys knew how to close out the match, and they did, and I think that helped us for this afternoon, the fact that you close those matches out too early, you don't get to play those last holes. Viktor got to play bonus golf, so did Kristoffer. That's big to achieve in those situations. That gives you a lot of confidence going into whatever scenario you might see tomorrow. But the reason that match was close is they're a good team.

Q. Zach, you mentioned the big turnaround for you in the afternoon. Was there one thing in particular that kind of gave you some confidence and got you rolling?
ZACH BAUCHOU: I was driving it really poorly out here, as you could probably tell from just watching it, you can't play from the trash. You've got to be in the fairway. The fairways are pretty generous, but if you miss them, you're going to be in trouble. That's kind of what I struggled with in the stroke play was getting into trouble. I think this afternoon for sure, I tried to (indiscernible) and it gave me more opportunities to hit greens and get the ball closer to the hole and make some birdies.

Q. Alan, this afternoon it looked like Wolf wasn't using his driver that much. Was he just not feeling it or did he have an equipment issue?
ALAN BRATTON: He's stuck with the same game plan the whole week. The clubs that he's used -- the wind has kind of dictated what he does, so he's had the same game plan all week.

Q. Is Zach always this hard on himself?
ALAN BRATTON: He's just very honest. He's not afraid to praise himself when he does good. He struggled in the stroke play, but we knew if we continued to roll him around this golf course, as good as he is, he's going to put up good scores. We're not worried about him.

Q. Can you just talk about celebrating today, then refocusing for tomorrow?
AUSTIN ECKROAT: Yeah, you have to definitely forget about what happened today. It's a new tournament tomorrow. We start at zero. Everything that happened today and in the prior days doesn't matter. It's just us versus Alabama. Yeah, you have to enjoy the moment but then forget about it and get to work tomorrow.

ALAN BRATTON: We haven't really had a chance to celebrate. We haven't been together very long. You guys keep pulling us away to do other things, but that's just fine with us. We'll find time to celebrate, and then that'll end quickly. We need to rest up for tomorrow, and we've got a job to do.

VIKTOR HOVLAND: Yeah, we'll find time to celebrate after tomorrow instead of after today. We'll save it for then.

ZACH BAUCHOU: Yeah, I think we'll probably have a couple conversations at dinner, but the focus for us will just be tomorrow and how we can play well, how the course is going to play well, game plan a little bit. But tomorrow will be the big celebration. That's what we're focused on.

Q. You guys have seen this course in about every condition it can be in. Has there been any hole location this week you haven't practiced before or that your players haven't known?
ALAN BRATTON: No, that's the great thing about playing at home. We've seen everything they can do. There's been a couple places I didn't expect them to go. We've played there, but I didn't expect them to go there. But overall I think the setup has been very good. They've had a nice variety of tees and hole locations, and that's been fun to see. We didn't get to have any input on how they set up the golf course, but we're certainly ready for anything they throw at us.

Q. Alan, how close are you with Jay at Alabama? Do you know him very well?
ALAN BRATTON: We're friendly. He's a super nice guy. You'll see that talking to him.

Q. He made a humorous statement. He said, I wasn't sure I was going to say this. But tomorrow they're #Driven, they're #golfschool. We're #un-Driven, #footballschool. Any response?
ALAN BRATTON: I don't really even know what that means, to be honest. I don't use many hashtags, so I don't know if that's trash talk or not. I don't know. I'm certainly familiar with --

Q. It's Twitter talk.
ALAN BRATTON: Certainly familiar with Jay. You know, we talk from time to time. But we haven't played with them much this year. Haven't seen them very much. So yeah, we're friends, but I'm not calling him on the phone very often.

Q. Between the tee boxes and the pin positions between rounds, is that where the experience here really helps you guys?
ZACH BAUCHOU: Honestly, this course, I think there's only one way to play it. Wherever they put the tees, if you want to play well here, you have to be good at (indiscernible), and that's why we've played well. The experience comes from on the greens because they're so slopey, so you have to respect them, and there's so many areas where other courses you could go for putts, but out here you find yourself just lagging putts. But that would be more where the experience comes in for us.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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