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August 13, 2018

Anthony Sebastianelli

Pebble Beach, California

Q. How pleased are you to be 1-under after the first round?
ANTHONY SEBASTIANELLI: Beyond pleased. This golf course is so hard. Pins are tucked everywhere. You need to hit fairways here to even have a chance at getting within 20 feet of some of these pins. I'm really, really pleased to shoot 1-under and put myself in a pretty good position.

Q. Tough start, got off to a bogey start where you started on 10, correct?
ANTHONY SEBASTIANELLI: Yeah, it was funny, actually, driving here, I told myself, if I make bogey on 10, I'm okay with it. That hole just doesn't really set up for my eye on any shot, so I accepted I was going to make bogey there, and I was not too mad about it, and I was able to get up-and-down from the bunker on 11 for birdie to kind of jump start the round.

Q. How long was that putt?
ANTHONY SEBASTIANELLI: Like six, seven feet. So I jump started my round there. Coming into the round, I know I told myself you've got to birdie 11. It's a very gettable par-5. So to birdie 11 and get my round going was really pleasing.

Q. Tell me about your birdie at 7, too.
ANTHONY SEBASTIANELLI: Oh, my seventh hole?

Q. Well, it would have been your 16th hole.
ANTHONY SEBASTIANELLI: Oh, the par-5. Yeah, I hit it left in the rough, which I was kind of happy about because I was not going at that hole. But in the practice round, I saw it was a front left pin, it's really gettable with a wedge. I think it's an easier birdie with a wedge. So I laid myself up to a perfect distance, had 105, and was able to just flight a gap wedge and take a lot of spin off of it and hit it to about six feet. Had a dead straight six-footer. I told my caddie, I'm going to lay up and I'm going to make birdie here. I was really confident with the wedges in my hand today. To be able to make a birdie like that at that time in the round, especially kind of just making a lot of pars, so to make a birdie there was really important to get some momentum into tomorrow.

Q. Tell me how you got yourself going this year. Obviously we don't hear a lot about college golfers from Central Connecticut State, but how did you become the player that you are this year where you were the conference Player of the Year?
ANTHONY SEBASTIANELLI: My coach, Kyle Gallo, really helped me, not with the golf swing particularly but just being able to manage myself around the golf course. When I was first in college, my freshman and sophomore year, I hit driver everywhere, attacked every single pin and got myself in some pretty bad spots. With my coach being able to kind of teach me how to strategize around the golf course, it's helped me so much, not going at flagsticks and playing to conservative sides of greens and just trusting my putter. I think that's the main reason why I was able to kind of elevate my game a little bit, because I'm starting to play -- actually what my coach says is actually play golf and not just hit the golf ball around. And it showed today with these pins. You can't go at every single one of them, so you have to play to fats of greens, fats of fairways, and just rely on your putter.

Q. This is your first --
ANTHONY SEBASTIANELLI: This is my first U.S. Am, yes.

Q. What's the difference between playing in a USGA championship like this and playing in your normal conference championship, say?
ANTHONY SEBASTIANELLI: The field is crazy strong. You have kids that are on Junior Presidents Cup, Walker Cup, guys who are future PGA TOUR pros. When you get over that, it's just another golf tournament. I told my dad, I told all my friends, I'm going to soak it in during the practice rounds and see those big names and be, oh, my gosh. But the moment I tee it up on the first hole, in the first round, it's just another golf tournament. The goal is to put the ball in the hole in the least amount of strokes as possible. That's my mindset going into today and going into tomorrow. You can't treat it like a bigger golf tournament than it really is. You can't psych yourself out. Just got to keep plugging along.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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