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August 9, 2018

Brandon Stone

St. Louis, Missouri

Q. First of all, congrats on a great round of golf. Talk about what you were able to do today.
BRANDON STONE: Got the ball in the hole as good as I could possibly do. Hit it really well. The rhythm was spectacular and the swing. Just putted beautifully. Rolled the ball so nicely. Managed to see a lot of the lines quite easily out there today, which could be quite tricky, especially with a little grain on the surface. I do like the putting green with a little bit of grain. Gets my eye a little bit more.

But, yeah, 66 on a Thursday of the U.S. PGA, if you had told me that a month ago, I would have said you're kind of smoking something.

Q. You haven't had the easiest time at PGA Championships.
BRANDON STONE: Not at all. Not at all. I think Quail Hollow chewed me up and spit me out quite quickly last year. But, yeah, it's all experience. It's all being a part of this atmosphere and being with the spectators, how incredible they are, and there's just so many people out here today. It's not something we're typically used to.

But having those two past previous experiences at the PGA Championship really built on that, and I really engaged with the fans out there today. It kind of kept me at ease, kept me nice and loose. Yeah, it seems to have worked.

Q. So does the experience play into that, or is it also a balance between that and the evolution of your game?
BRANDON STONE: I think it's a combination of everything. I think you can ask every professional golfer, as the years progress, you learn certain things about yourself, about the way that you play. Obviously, we've been developing the game in a certain way to make ourself more consistent on a week in and week out basis for about 18 months now.

Swing, like I said, felt phenomenal, really held up under the pressure coming home. But, yeah, it's a combination of having been there and done that really. You can't coach someone to behave and focus in this atmosphere. I mean, it's 105 degrees out there with 35,000 people walking around you. So you can't exactly coach someone how to do that. So having had the previous experience at Baltrusol and Quail Hollow really helped.

Q. How would you describe the way you've been playing?
BRANDON STONE: Prior to Scotland, not great. Obviously, that victory was monumental. Just the confidence factor. Just got that monkey off my back. I knew I could play and compete with the best players in the world.

But, yeah, I mean, I felt really good for about three, four months now in the game, prior to even winning the Scottish Open. Last week was a little adjustment for me because, obviously, I was in Scotland and at the Open it was quite firm turf. And went to South Africa where it was middle winter, so we got there last week, and I just started molting the minute I got off the plane. Got used to the greens. They weren't rolling at 9 on the Stimp. They were rolling close to 15. So that was a massive adjustment for me.

Felt like I had built on some results. Played nicely last week at Firestone. A lot of good things I started feeling in the game. Built on that, and obviously it worked today.

Q. Brandon, what specifically do you feel has really clicked into place in you right now?
BRANDON STONE: I think I'm putting a lot better than I have. I haven't particularly been known as a good putter, but I feel like I'm really running it very nicely. I mentioned that I switched back to a good old school blade putter the Monday of the Scottish Open, and since then I really felt like I'm putting leaps and bounds ahead of where I had been prior.

I mean, anyone could tell you, if you're putting well, you never feel under pressure because you feel, if you miss a green, you've just got to chip it within five, six feet, and you know you're going to hole it. That was the case today. I had a few great up and downs going into really tricky pins. So, yeah, I'd say the putting is the thing that's improved over the last three, four months.

Q. You had the big win in Scotland, and now right up there at the season's final Major. Just elaborate a little bit more about how it feels, the whole experience, the whole package.
BRANDON STONE: I don't think I have the educational level of vocabulary to really describe it. It's just fun. That's the simplest of words to describe this experience. To have 40,000 or 50,000 people here supporting you and cheering you on. Every birdie you made, there were huge screams. I'm a kid from South Africa. I have nothing to do with St. Louis. The spectators have obviously been incredible. The event itself is just so special. I mean, having players like Tiger and Rory and Jordan, these guys who are the best at the current moment and also the best of all time.

So to be here competing with those guys and kind of holding your own really shows that the game's close to where it could be competing with this on a weekly basis.

Q. Great tradition for South Africans in golf's Major championships. Of course in your lifetime, Ernie's won a bunch. Trevor won the Masters. Retief, of course, great run there. Talk about what it means back home for a South African player to win, and how much would you like to be able to join those names?
BRANDON STONE: I think South Africa is such a proud sporting nation that it doesn't matter what sport you do, if you've been successful anywhere in the world, we have a fantastic support base back there. I'm sure my phone will be blowing up with what's app even though it's 3:00 in the morning. I'm pretty sure my grandfather and father haven't turned the TV off since they've had their dinner.

Obviously, to be compared to guys like Ernie Els, Gary Player, Retief, Louis Oosthuizen, Trevor Immelman, just to name a few, to be in that list would be monumental. At the same time, it is Thursday. There's still three days left. This golf course is not there for the taking. You need to play smart. You need to play consistent golf. You need to -- when there's a green light, go for it. When there's a red light, you've got to step off. Hopefully, I can continue to do that for the rest of the week.

Q. The guys this morning thought the afternoon would be really difficult putting. You didn't find it that way. Were you a little surprised?
BRANDON STONE: I must say -- without saying a cliche, I got really lucky out there. I didn't have a lot of lines that had a lot of spikes in them at all. I found some really pure patches of green, and I just saw the lines great. I really do enjoy a green with a little bit more grain to focus a little bit more. I didn't feel like I was struggling with the surface at all, but I'm very excited to tee off at 6:45 tomorrow without a person stepping down on it.

Q. How long had it been since you used that putter?
BRANDON STONE: I actually switched the week I turned professional from a blade putter to a mallet. I had been struggling with my putting for a few months before that, and I hadn't gone back. I experimented with the one I had as a child. It's 28 inches and 7 degrees of loft, and probably the grip was so skewed. I tried that when I was back home a couple years ago, and it wasn't pretty. So I changed it.

I got a really close friend of mine on my bag for the last few months, and he said, you know, from what he's seen from the outside -- because he's a professional golfer. He said, I see your stroke being more suited to a blade putter, so just give it a try. So got one made on the Monday of the Scottish Open and just haven't looked back since.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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