May 24, 2023
Kiawah Island, South Carolina, USA
Kiawah Island Club (Cassique)
Q. USGA champions. When I say those two words, what comes to mind for either one of you?
SAMPSON YUNHE ZHENG: I'll go first. For me it's history. Our name's are going to go down forever in history.
50 years, 100 years later when this tournament continues on our name is going to be on there. That's such an amazing thing to think about.
Yeah, it's an unreal feeling.
AARON DU: I couldn't agree with Sampson more. He exactly captures both of our hearts. Yeah, I mean, just to be able to get our name's on the trophy, like that's amazing.
Yeah. It's hard to describe it with words right now.
Q. You guys came into the final match 36-under par over 100 holes of golf. I think you made six more birdies today. What an amazing week. Did you guys sense this was coming this week when you got here?
SAMPSON YUNHE ZHENG: I mean, I personally didn't know what to expect coming out here having not played River, only played Cassique, but I definitely know that if we played to our potential that this was a possibility.
I'm really glad that we played the way we did. Yeah, we're glad that it happened.
Q. Match today, this afternoon, was pretty tight. Obviously you knew who you were going up against. These guys were in the finals last year. Seemed like the turning point came on the back nine, I think on holes 11 and 13. What happened on those two holes?
AARON DU: Yeah, I mean, 11, par-5. I had like -- Sampson and I, we both had wedge shots, right?
SAMPSON YUNHE ZHENG: Yeah.
AARON DU: Yeah. So I believe I went first.
SAMPSON YUNHE ZHENG: First, you went first, yes.
AARON DU: It was like a 94-yard wedge shot. Went into the wind, and obviously that pin position is really tough.
SAMPSON YUNHE ZHENG: It's a tough pin.
AARON DU: Like if you get just a little long it goes all the way down, right?
So I just -- I played like 100, maybe 102. Yeah, just hit a low 52-degree wedge. Just skip up and just caught the perfect bounce and went over the ridge and stopped. It was perfect.
Q. So you made the birdie?
AARON DU: I made the birdie.
Q. How far was it? Was it a gimme?
AARON DU: No. It was like three and a half, four feet.
Q. Okay. What about 13?
AARON DU: 13, 13 was I think 12 to 14. Hit it pretty close. Landed it right next to the pin. Was kind of confused on the line for quite a while. Found one I was comfortable with and rammed it right in the center.
Q. What club did you hit it in?
AARON DU: I chipped a 6-iron.
Q. That's a par-3, right, 13?
AARON DU: Yeah, it was 120 -- not 120, 182 into the wind.
Q. Yeah. And 6-iron into the other par-3, right?
AARON DU: Yeah, that was a much needed putt for sure.
SAMPSON YUNHE ZHENG: Yeah.
Q. So you just missed a four-footer on the previous hole.
AARON DU: Yeah, yeah.
SAMPSON YUNHE ZHENG: Yeah, for me personally it just seemed like I was struggling with putting all week. Missed a couple short ones in every match we played honestly.
But especially after missing that four-footer down 16 I knew I had to do something or nothing was going to happen. I went ahead and did something and I'm glad I did it.
Q. You made the putt to clinch it?
AARON DU: Yeah. I mean, since growing up I've always dreamed having that putt to win the tournament or make it to -- I don't know, maybe make it through a qualifier. Let's just say winning a tournament. And that moment it was just so special. I was just -- it's a dream come true to be able to have that putt in the first place, and then making it, obviously with my partner, Sampson here, it's just -- doesn't get any better than this.
Q. You guys are the second and third players from China to win. I think second Cal players to win. Ben An won the Amateur before he got to Cal. What does that mean, for China, for Cal?
SAMPSON YUNHE ZHENG: It means a lot. You know, obviously I think it means a lot that we're from China. There aren't too many champions from China at this level, so I really hope that this can inspire junior golfers in China to do the same in the future.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports