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May 30, 2018

Zach Bauchou

Alan Bratton

Donnie Darr

Austin Eckroat

Viktor Hovland

Kristoffer Ventura

Matthew Wolff

Stillwater, Oklahoma

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by the national champion Oklahoma State Cowboys, head coach Alan Bratton, assistant coach Donnie Darr, student athletes Zach Bauchou, Austin Eckroat, Viktor Hovland, Kristoffer Ventura and Matthew Wolff. Coach Bratton, if you would, an opening statement.

JAY SEAWELL: Whoo, that was quite a day. I hope everybody liked that. I've got one thing I wanted to say kind of to start things off that I've been holding since 2014 when we had a chance to win the championship. We were in the final that year, and it's unbelievable to have everybody out here, to have all the cameras, to have this championship on television, to have The Golf Channel covering us on something like "Driven," but in 2014 we lost a guy that was a huge part of making people aware of college golf, a man named Ron Balicki. Coach Darr and I played at the time he was covering golf, and he was really the only reason anybody ever knew about college golf. I think we'd be remiss to not honor him today. I wanted to do that in 2014, but they didn't let me talk after the tournament. So I wanted to bring that up today to just thank him for setting the tone. Mark Lasch is another one that we lost. He's the guy that came up with GolfStat, that allowed all the fans to be able to follow college golf.

This sport has grown a ton, and it was exciting to have all the cameras and see that the world can see Karsten Creek for the first time and Cowboy Nation. You get into coaching, and you come to play college golf to have a chance to win a national championship, and I think that's why you want to coach, to give kids an opportunity like that. Our kids had that today, and this day was all about them and all the people that came before them. They'll never forget how they stepped up on that stage, and this will be a big catalyst for all the things they'll do in the future.

Q. Matt, your second shot on 6 when you were in the trees and you walked up, Coach kind of asked you, he said, you can get the ball through there. What were you thinking when you looked through the trees and saw the pin?
MATTHEW WOLFF: I mean, it probably made the decision a little easier because it was match play, and I knew if I didn't pull it off it would probably just be a loss of hole instead of bringing double bogey into play. But it's a chip shot nonetheless. I mean, my coach made himself feel pretty confident that I could pull this off, and once he gave me confidence, I gained more confidence, and I was able to pull it off. It was a pretty straightforward shot other than going through the trees. Had a good lie, kind of too much -- I was in the gunch (sic), but it wasn't too thick of a lie, so I knew that if I just hit a good shot I could pull the shot off.

Q. Zach, after the way stroke play went for you the first four days, how satisfying was it to be the first point for the championship?
ZACH BAUCHOU: Yeah, it was really nice. I was the last out but the first in, which was pretty cool, so I got to see a couple of the other guys finish up. But I just want to give credit to the other four guys here. They played so well all week, especially Austin stepping up the first couple rounds and being our best guy. That was really impressive, it was really gutsy, it was really cool. I was kind of along for the ride for that, and then in the match play, between this last match and yesterday, I played really well. I stepped up. I looked really good. It was nice.

Q. Can you talk about that bunker shot on 9, holing that thing out?
ZACH BAUCHOU: Yeah, from the fairway, he was out of play off the tee, and I think I was maybe 5-up or 6-up at the time, and so I was thinking, I'm 5-under; what would I do if we were playing a match out here? And the only thing I told myself is I'd hit a 2-iron and try to hit it in that bunker and hole the bunker shot, so I did just that. It was lucky it caught the hole, but sometimes luck happens like that.

JAY SEAWELL: All you people that were in here talking about how hard he was on himself, I told you guys he's just honest. When he does something good, he's not afraid to praise himself. (Laughter.)

Q. Alan, why was this team in particular able to handle the pressure of being arguably the most -- have the most expectation out of any college golf team you've ever had?
JAY SEAWELL: I think it's the leadership of the older guys on our team, Zach being one, Kris and Viktor, the guys that were here before. They welcomed these talented freshmen in, but I think their leadership really carried us through. Zach in particular talked about the streak that we were on. A lot of people hide from those kinds of things, and he embraced that, and it's amazing what you get when you talk about the things you want to happen.

Q. Matthew, talk about how you developed your swing.
MATTHEW WOLFF: It's pretty natural. I kind of -- I didn't try and swing that way. If no one ever filmed me and I never saw my swing, I would think I took it straight back and straight there. That's how it feels and that's how I've always done it, take it a little upright and drop it in the slot, sort of bring up the heel, which is from baseball. But no, I mean, me and my coach George, we've been working on it, and I went to him about freshman year of high school, and ever since then, he's loved my swing and told me that I was going to be a great player, and he's the only one I trust with my swing. Without him, I don't know if I'd be here today, but yeah, it's certainly (indiscernible) how I was playing golf.

Q. Matt, just talk about rolling in the final putt. Obviously it's a dream scenario, for a championship, the celebration after that, being surrounded by all the Oklahoma State fans.
MATTHEW WOLFF: Yeah, I mean, it's everything I could wish for. I didn't know that it was to win the championship, I just knew that it was to win my match, and that's how you win championships. Coach has told us every day when we practiced, how we win the championship is everyone wins their match, and that's what we did today. He told me right before I hit it, just act like it's the first hole, no pressure, just you're a great putter. We picked a line, we felt confident, and we rolled it in, and I knew that was big, and kind of let my emotions out.

Q. What was that like to find out that that sealed the deal?
MATTHEW WOLFF: Yeah, I mean, obviously -- it hasn't really sunk in. To be the one to make the putt, that's going to be really memorable for me and I'm sure everyone else, but I've got to give it up to these guys, because without them, I wouldn't have been in that position. I would have just won one point. But we did a clean sweep. Every one of these guys, even our 6 through 10, they pushed us every day. They were the ones who made us step up to the stage like we did, and we all handled it really well.

Q. Kris, you had mentioned to me that you chose Oklahoma State because you wanted to be the first Norwegian, you wanted to make history. To leave this way as a national champion, how perfect has this journey been for you?
KRISTOFFER VENTURA: It's amazing. This is everything I've ever dreamed of. When I came here, I knew that the history was huge and they had won a 10 championships, but I just wanted to do something different. I came here, and some former players had advised that this was the place for me, and to get it done this way, it's unbelievable. My teammates and the relationship that we had this year has been amazing, on and off the course. I think everything kind of led to us being in this position today, and that's amazing. I don't have any words for it.

Q. Matthew, could you talk about just getting off to a really good start right out of the gate on No. 1?
MATTHEW WOLFF: Yeah, I knew it was going to be a big match. I mean, obviously all their players are top-notch. You can't make it to the finals of the NCAA championship and kind of skate your way around it, but I knew Davis was a really good player. He's been a standout his entire college career, and I played him at the 2016 U.S. Amateur, and he clipped me there. But I knew I was a different player now, coming to college, developing my game, especially with all the crowds out here. I knew that, and I knew if I really got them on my side and got the momentum that I would have a good chance of winning this. That eagle was really good. It was loud from the first hole. I pulled my 4-iron, 240 to go, and I couldn't even hear myself so no one else could. That just shows how loud they were and how into it they were. But that was a really big eagle on the first hole to get the match going and gave myself a lot of confidence to finish it out. I never really let him back in the match after that.

Q. Coach, you talked about standing on the shoulders of the ones before you. What's it like to get the first title in more than a decade here at OSU?
JAY SEAWELL: Well, that's the goal at the start of every year, and I talked about the goals we had this week. We had four of them, and we got all four done. Again, it's about these guys up here and the work that they've put in every day, pushing each other. So all the credit goes to these guys sitting up here and the other guys, other five guys that were out there, as well.

Q. Austin, Alan twice since the tournament ended has talked about you guys standing on the shoulders of the players who had come before. A bunch of them were out here, dozens and dozens of them. How much does that history and tradition, especially a guy from Oklahoma, how much does that propel you or lift you up or encourage you? What's your relationship with those former guys?
AUSTIN ECKROAT: Yeah, it encourages all of us. I mean, I've grown up with them and I see a lot of them. I'm based out of Edmund, all the players that have been successful, (indiscernible) after college, and seeing them out here cheering us on, it propels us to do the best we can.

Q. Zach or anyone else, my understanding is the bags were unveiled to you for the first time last night. First, what was your reaction, and second, was there anything cool as you went through the day today looking down and seeing those national champions listed on your bag?
ZACH BAUCHOU: I think for me, the 10 national championships that have come before us, one of our goals for the year has been to win more tournaments that they have done, and this week was -- I'm counting the stroke play, but our 11th win, and I don't think any other Oklahoma State team has ever done that. And so I remember talking to Coach Holder after we lost the Big 12, and I said, Coach, we're still the best team Oklahoma State has ever had. He said, no, you're not. But I told him, hey, after we win the national championship, we'll go out to have lunch and we'll talk about it. And so that's something we've been really proud of all year is just the consistency every week starting with Viktor and Matt. They've been unbelievably consistent, and Kris has chimed in on perfect times and played awesome this week, too.

Q. So what was the reaction to the bags?
MATTHEW WOLFF: Yeah, no, they were awesome. As soon as they pulled them out -- they didn't tell us what they looked like. I know (indiscernible) not so much about the past players, and those are the people that (indiscernible) really it's just a symbol of all the players that have been here from recent players like Ken Flaherty, Trent Tyler, Jonathan Moore or Willie Wood, players like that. It goes back to the start of Oklahoma State golf, and we're now a part of the elite fraternity that not a lot of people can say they're a part of. I mean, that's, I think, really the coolest thing to me.

JAY SEAWELL: One of the good signs at the start of the day, too, was as we pulled into the parking lot, the first two guys that we saw were Lindy Miller and David Edwards. Lindy is arguably the best player that Oklahoma State has ever had, and David Edwards won the national championship in 1978, and this was the 40th anniversary of that. We wanted to honor that team, and Lindy was on that team, as well. That was the first two people that we saw, so I thought that was a wonderful sign of things to come for today.

Q. Austin or anybody else, finishing out this incredible year with a national championship, does this feel like destiny?
AUSTIN ECKROAT: Yeah, I mean, from the beginning of the year, we thought we were going to do it. Coach told us this was the team that was going to do it, and doing it in front of our fans made it even better. Just hearing the roars and everything, something we'll probably never get to experience with the crowds again at the college level, but it was fun to get to do it, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Q. Viktor, you've been the No. 1 guy for a while now; how important did you feel it was for you to get out there and set that pace, that blistering pace the way you did to really set the tone for the entire day?
VIKTOR HOVLAND: Yeah, I mean, we're five guys playing in match play, and I knew we needed at least three points to seal the deal, and I just thought it would be huge to get the first point early on the board and try and help the other guys out and get some momentum out there. It was definitely some added pressure, but yeah, just did the stuff I normally do, and it panned out.

Q. And can you talk about the drive on 12 where you decided to go for the green and put the pressure on him, and he ends up hitting it into a hazard?
VIKTOR HOVLAND: Yeah, I usually always hit driver on 12. It doesn't really matter the wind. It usually blows all the time, so it's either into the wind or downwind, so I'm always going for the green or hitting driver and getting it up there, whatever. But yeah, I just felt comfortable with it. I'm usually a very straight hitter, so there really wasn't much of a decision. I just pulled out the driver.

Q. Why did you think this OSU team was the best ever?
ZACH BAUCHOU: I remember talking to Sam about it after we won our last tournament in Atlanta in the fall, and I said, Sam, I think we might win all of them in the spring. It just -- things seemed to come together really well. Matt started playing awesome, or he continued playing awesome. Viktor continued his great golf. It just seemed like for a while there our team couldn't lose. We were really good, and we were playing really well. And when we went down to win our seventh in a row at Texas A & M, we all talked about it and said, hey, this is going to be our toughest win of the year, and it was. We really fought hard that week to win.

I think Viktor shot 65 the last day there to propel us to first place, and that just kind of shows when there was something on the line this year, we stepped up, and that was really cool.

Q. Viktor, after the Big 12 and losing to OU, was there any regrouping that had to be done before regionals?
VIKTOR HOVLAND: I mean, we just needed to get back to what we were doing. We just had a bad week at Big 12's. We knew if we were just on our game, on our everyday game, we were going to be really hard to beat. We just had a bad week at Big 12's, and yeah, we just found it again, I guess.

Q. Did you feel like there was any loss of confidence after that?
JAY SEAWELL: No, Viktor said it well; we didn't perform that week, and we got beat. That's a credit to the other teams in the conference, and obviously we had a strong conference this year, and obviously that's a credit to the University of Oklahoma for playing well at the Big 12 and beating us. We talked about how we didn't want that feeling again, and that was just a refocus back to what we've been doing, which was every guy up here just trying to be himself, play his game and do what they do, and obviously we did a good job of that for the rest of the year and certainly this week.

Q. Kris, can you talk about being right in the middle, two groups in front of you, two groups behind you, when you heard the crowds light up behind you or you heard something going on in front of you, what was your mindset?
KRISTOFFER VENTURA: Yeah, every time I heard the crowd go crazy, I knew it was one of our guys. But they knew that we were working pretty hard. I was just -- I kept thinking it might come down to my match, and I needed to be ready, and I've got to play like I usually do. This week I tried too hard before the match play. I was playing more for the fans. I wanted them to have something to cheer on, and I wasn't quite myself. But during the match play, with every group having a lot of people watching, their energy just helped us a lot this week, and once I heard -- I had a putt for birdie on 14 and I heard a roar over at 15 and I knew Matthew won his match, but I didn't know that was the championship, and then once the official came over and said, it's over, I just couldn't believe it. I didn't plan for that. It's just amazing. I don't have words to describe it.

Q. Zach, what kind of a rhythm did you feel early in your match that allowed you to take over the way you did?
ZACH BAUCHOU: You know, sometimes golf is weird. You have a couple bad days, and then you have a couple really good days. I had played some of the worst golf I did all semester in the stroke play and probably some of the best golf I played all semester in match play, so it was a complete flip for me. I came out today and had 225, I was a little amped up on the first hole and I hit a 4-iron and carried it all the way to the hole. That was pretty cool, to know that that was going to be there all day. I think after the 2nd hole I one-putted every single hole, so I definitely caught a little heat with my putter, too.

Q. Matthew, for being just outside of Hollywood, this has got to be the perfect ending, right?
MATTHEW WOLFF: Yeah, I guess. I don't really know what that has to do with it.

Q. The perfect Hollywood ending, though, right?

JAY SEAWELL: It's not over yet.

MATTHEW WOLFF: It's just been amazing. I think in the beginning, the cameras were on us the whole time and it was kind of uncomfortable, but we got used to that, and I think that helped a lot this week, just getting used to the distractions and people around us and everyone up in your face, that definitely helped us this week and that was a huge advantage because once the team started playing us and they saw the people and the cameras, I think that's when we stepped up and were able to play well.

Q. As a follow-up to what Zach said about struggling during the stroke play, talk about how satisfying it is that you had all five players play lights out today.
JAY SEAWELL: Yeah, we've leaned on our depth a lot. It's been a different guy every day, and this week in the stroke play it was kind of like that. We talked to the guys about another goal for the week was to do something like this, to sweep the match, and obviously they were all on their games today, and we were able to do that.

Another thing we've talked about, and Zach has kind of hit on that, I've talked about all the players that came before, and there's been some incredible things done in college golf at Oklahoma State as an individual and with the teams. It's very difficult to -- and rare to have an opportunity to do something that another team or individual here hasn't done, and this team has been able to do that several times this year. To have an opportunity to do that, as well. Pleased with that, because again, that's a special experience, and all the work they put in, the depth, and all of that ended up playing out today and capping off a wonderful year.

DONNIE DARR: Yeah, I think the -- we talk a lot around here about you get what you talk about, you get what you think about, and there were a bunch of days -- I've never won a national championship. There was a bunch of days where I sat around and thought about, we could win all 15 points, and for this to happen today is really cool. Had a chance to walk with Austin all week, and man, was he good. To see a freshman stand up and do what he did, early in the season he was struggling a little bit, but he just kept doing the right things, and to see him finish off and then win three points was awesome.

Q. Alan, your thoughts about pros and cons of this tournament being here on your golf course. And can you talk about the satisfaction of executing to the end?
JAY SEAWELL: Well, let's make one thing straight: She said that in the presentation afterwards. We've been talking about expectations all week. The only reason we've been talking about that is because you guys keep asking about that. As far as our group here, it's nothing but a positive. I don't think there's any sport where you don't play to have a home field advantage, and Zach said it very well yesterday. Someone asked what the advantage was here, and it's on the greens, knowing where to hit the ball. We had a little rain overnight, and I saw in Davis Riley's group, the ball reacting on the greens a little differently than he had gotten accustomed to just in the few days he'd been here. Our guys knew exactly what these greens were going to be in any kind of condition they could possibly be, and then obviously the truest home field advantage was all the crowds, all those people out there. To be able to make a putt and perform and celebrate, our guys like to talk about how they don't like to fist pump. I didn't see all the groups, but I'm guessing you saw some fist pumps out there. It's hard not to get emotional when you've got all these people pulling for you. We talked with our team a lot about how many people care about what goes on here at Oklahoma State golf, and you get evidence -- you get reminders of that from time to time, and today was another one of those big reminders from the former players, the hole donors, all the text messages we got from all those players. I sent a text message this morning to every former player that I had their phone number, and I got a response from every single one of them, and a lot of them were out there today. It's great to see that manifest itself and all those people out there. I don't know how many were there, but wow, was that really cool, and these guys delivered.

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