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June 20, 2013

Brandon Stone


BRANDON STONE:  It was fantastic.  You always want to get off to a good start, and today you could say was the best start.  There's a few shots I left out there.  I felt like I played really good golf today.  Hit a lot of fantastic shots and coming in I didn't miss a shot for the last three or four holes.  A lip‑out on my 17th hole and my 15th hole, could have gone a little bit better, but you can never complain with a 66.

Q.  You're a hugely accomplished player already, so you know what it's like on this environment, but what was it like on the first tee knowing you're playing for money?
BRANDON STONE:  It was pretty funny.  When I stood on the first tee, or the 10th tee in the practise rounds, I thought it's a 3‑wood off the tee and I got up to the tee box and I was like, maybe I should hit driver.  It's a little bit bigger club for me to hit right now.  You get the butterflies in the stomach and a little emotional to me.
Then hit that first tee shot, hit 3‑wood down the middle of the fairway and that toll on your shoulders just collapsed and I felt comfortable all gay.  Gary on my bag helped settle the nerves and keep me focused on the now and managed to keep on playing good the whole day.

Q.  So there was a burden, you had been thinking about this for a while?
BRANDON STONE:  I've been thinking about this round for the last six weeks.  I've been eager for it and been really looking forward to my professional debut.  To have a debut like that, it's just something special, and I'll remember it for the rest of my life.

Q.  I gather your father is good friends with Ernie Els who is leading this tournament now; have you spoken to Ernie?
BRANDON STONE:  I haven't actually seen him so far, he only got in on Tuesday afternoon and I've been in the mornings here trying to stay out of the heat.  I'll have a chat to him this afternoon, and we'll have a few jokes.  He played phenomenal golf again.  To see your golfing idol making birdies like that, it only motivated me a bit more.
I had an eagle putt on the last and I was like, if I hole this, I actually get on the leaderboard and get into the top 5.  I actually hit a fantastic putt and it just didn't break and lipped‑out.  But it's still a birdie and it's still 66.  Going to go get some rest this afternoon, come back in tomorrow afternoon and try to shoot another good number.

Q.  What are your aims and have they changed?
BRANDON STONE:  I just came here to have some fun.  That was the goal and I felt like I was playing really good golf.  I had a really good finish in the NCAA National Championship; I finished tied for second.  I knew I was playing good golf and it's been two weeks since I've had a competitive round so you don't know quite how you're playing.
After the first nine holes, I felt comfortable and tried to keep the same mentality, hit good shot after good shot which we managed to do today.
The South Africans, James Kingston and Keith Horne, had a practise round with me, and the IMG guys have done a fantastic job of getting me settled and making sure everything is fine and I'm happy.  They have done a fantastic job.  From Gary to IMG to the South Africans, they have helped me to get to where I am this week.

Q.  And BMW for inviting you?
BRANDON STONE:  BMW, you can't thank them enough, the exposure I've had in this one round is more than South Africans get in their career.  My hat is off for just getting the opportunity to play this week.  I'm going to go out tomorrow with a smile on my face and try to shoot another really low number.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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