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June 22, 2013

Brandon Stone


Q.  You're right in the mix, your first professional event, I know you're a little disappointed not to sink the birdie putt at the last, but overall, wow, what a week it's turning into?
BRANDON STONE:  It's a special week.  I played really good golf the whole week so far, and yesterday I managed to grind out a good round but today I really played great golf again.  Just had one bogey the whole day.  Having Matteo play with me this week really helped settle the nerves a little bit and it's been a fun day today, and I can't really complain, even with the par on the last.

Q.  How are you staying in the moment and not letting everything get to you?  How are you able to handle this in the mature fashion that you are?
BRANDON STONE:  I think compliments go to my caddie, Gary, he's really helped settle my nerves the entire week.  From the moment I got here, he just said we have to focus shot by shot.  When it comes down to it, I just have to try to do the best I can on that shot and that's what I've managed to do this week so far.

Q.  Going back to yesterday, 3‑over after six, and you had the double and it was a really grinding performance; that must have really pleased you the way you dug deep yesterday and bounced back to putt yourself in the position that you had today?
BRANDON STONE:  Yesterday was by far my best round this week.  It was a gutsy performance, and when I was speaking to my parents, I said to them‑‑ when I woke up in the morning, I was a little nervous and obviously being in the Top‑10 your first event you've going to have a little bit of nerves going into the second round.
When I managed to sign for 71 at the end of the day, it was such a burden off my shoulders.  It felt fantastic.  It showed that I have the determination to get through the tough times as well as the good.

Q.  What about playing with Matteo today?  Everything you're going to face in your professional year now, obviously he's been there, he's done it and he's achieved a lot.  I presume you talked a lot and picked his brain a little bit today?
BRANDON STONE:  We had a great time.  We chatted about‑‑ he asked me about the University of Texas and how I enjoyed college golf, and I asked him how he's liked the professional life because he's been here for two or three years already.  We had two different ways of get to go this point but there's no correct path in being successful in golf.
We had a great time out there.  We chatted about football and cricket and everything.  So the last thing we actually chatted about was golf, so we just had great day out there today.

Q.  So will the approach for Sunday be the same as it has been all week?
BRANDON STONE:  Definitely.  There's no need to change a game plan that's not wrong.  I played fantastic golf hitting the fairways, hitting the greens and giving myself opportunities to make the putts and that's what you really need to do on this golf course.

Q.  Your thoughts on 12‑under par around this tournament?
BRANDON STONE:  It's been a fun week so far.  It's been an interesting week, you could say.  I had a fantastic first round and had a really gutsy round yesterday.  I mean, managed to get a 1‑under par after being 3‑over through eight, and then today with another 67, you can't really complain with that.
Being my professional debut and having those scores, I couldn't ask for anything better.

Q.  You're very competitive so even at the last, you get annoyed with yourself.
BRANDON STONE:  The last one left a little sting in my mouth.  I think it's good, it's going to make me hungry for tomorrow and make me try to hole everything tomorrow.  Obviously would I have loved it go in, but the end of the day, 67, you can never complain.

Q.  You wanted to play well but does it surprise you, that you've got a victory chance?
BRANDON STONE:  I wouldn't say surprised.  Coming into this week, I was playing phenomenal golf.  I finished second at the National Championship, so I knew I was playing great but I had not had a competitive round for two weeks.
So when I got on to the first tee, I wasn't quite sure what it was going to be, and obviously the 66 settled the nerves completely and told me I was playing the same game and as it proved to be the last three days, I've managed to keep it going and keep the good golf playing.

Q.  How was it playing alongside a veteran, Matteo Manassero has got you by a day.
BRANDON STONE:  A day older than me and it really shows.  He's got four victories already.  I'm only getting started but I'm going to have to do some work to catch up to him.  We had a great day out there, it was a fantastic time.  We chatted about soccer and cricket and everything.  He's a fantastic guy.  I mean, he's really one of those guys I've been watching for the last two or three years, knowing that he's my age and seeing if I can do what he can do.  Coming here this week, that's all that‑‑ maybe at the end of the week, try to get a W.  He's set a very good example.
There's definitely going to be some nerves on the first tee box tomorrow but with Gary on the bag he will help settle me down a little bit and help me feel more calm than I did yesterday, but looking forward to it.  You can't really think up this, your first professional tournament, I'm going to be inside the Top‑10 hopefully.  I mean, going to give myself a shot to win my first event which is breathtaking.

Q.  Plenty of well wishes from home?
BRANDON STONE:  My Twitter is going to be blowing up today.  But like I said, you can never have too much support and being a South African, we get behind our athletes, and I'm a proud South African and I know that there's going to be some calls and some texts, but that comes with the duty.

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