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July 11, 2020

MJ Daffue

Dublin, Ohio

Q. Obviously congratulations on qualifying, making it through. After Monday qualifying, what's that experience been like for you to get into a tournament and now obviously advancing to the weekend for the second time in your career?

MJ DAFFUE: Oh, man, it's a pretty crazy experience because obviously I've done pretty good in Monday qualifying, but it's pretty tough because you put a lot of effort in preparing, getting in, and then you rush around -- actually this week has been much easier because usually there's a pro-am, so I only get one round. This week I got two rounds, so I got to be able to prepare a little bit better. But you never find a good rhythm, especially because you get in, you go for your testing, you do this, you do that, all this running around. But I feel like I've been playing well enough to get up the leaderboard, so to fight to make the cut is tough. But you just take what it gives you.

Q. When you were coming down 9, did you have any inclination that you needed a birdie?

MJ DAFFUE: Yeah, I knew. I knew. I mean, I just haven't -- I consider myself a decent driver of the golf ball, and it's not been driving well this week, so I've been fighting this rough, and it's getting the best of me. You know, I just was like -- Mark, who I was playing with, was 2-under, and I knew that I needed birdie, simple as that. On 9 I hit my tee shot about two feet in front of him, and he hit first and helped me because we had the wind down, and he hit it short. So I took extra, and I hit it to about a foot and a half.

Q. What did you hit in there?

MJ DAFFUE: I hit pitching wedge, yeah. You know, like I said, this game gives, the game takes. On 12, I hit first and I got a gust and it went in the water, and they hit more club and they hit it on the green.

Q. You never take anything for granted, but when you're standing over that putt on the last, despite the fact that it's pretty short, how did you feel?

MJ DAFFUE: You know, it's like you say. Never take it for granted. I was just trying to read the line and trying to make sure I'm triple checking the green, asking the caddie, hey, it's just straight, right? Yeah, yeah, it's straight. And then getting up there and making sure that I just hit it solid in the middle of the face and put decent speed on because if it's straight from two feet it's not going to do anything.

Q. So I assume you know who you're playing with?

MJ DAFFUE: I'm playing with Chesson Hadley. So that's it; twosome in the back of the field is going to be a lot of fun.

Q. I know you went to Lamar. When did you come to the United States?

MJ DAFFUE: I came in 2008, came -- I was supposed to go straight to Lamar, but I had some problems with the NCAA clearinghouse as far as like in South Africa we start high school in great eight, and here it starts grade nine. They didn't take any of my grade eight classes, so I needed some extra stuff. So I went to Cleveland, Tennessee, for a year and then transferred over to Lamar, and I graduated in 2013.

Q. And once you finished college you've just been trying to play --

MJ DAFFUE: Yeah, it's been a little bit of a roller coaster. I turned pro and got off to a really good start, playing the Hooters Tour and won a few times, and went to South Africa, got my card and played well in some European Tour events and came back, and then my mother-in-law, she tripped over a manhole and fell in front of a car and she died. She was hit by a car. In 2014, end of '13 to about middle of '15, I wouldn't say that it was caused by her death, but obviously I was struggling with a few self problems like depression and stuff like that. It affected my game, especially when you start playing bad. You just go deeper into the hole.

Made a few changes, started seeing a different coach, and we moved to a different part of town in Houston. I just had to make changes as far as like who was in my life, that kind of stuff, and then started playing better again. So the last few years -- 2018 I played 12 Monday qualifiers and missed eight of them by a shot or in a playoff. So played great. And then last year I started getting -- started making some breakthrough.

Q. And this game, confidence breeds success, and now you're in a situation where you feel like you can maybe gain some momentum?

MJ DAFFUE: Exactly, and I saw a crazy stat that last year minimum rounds of 30 on the Korn Ferry TOUR, I was top 5 in strokes gained against the field but only played nine events. If I had more of a season, I think I would be able to get in the top 75 and get better status because I missed top 100 status by two spots. So it was pretty tough. It was a hard one to swallow because I played four events and I missed the top 25 by a shot. That's more events.

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