Interview With Brandon Hagy (Quarterfinals)

August 17, 2012

PETE KOWALSKI:  We're going to continue with the next of our U.S. Amateur semifinalists.  Usually that's a good reaction from someone when I introduce Brandon Hagy from Westlake Village, California, who was a winner again in the quarterfinals advancing to the semifinals, beating Mr. Pan pretty convincingly, 4 & 3.  Tell us what you thought were the critical times and things that went your way to sway the match to you.

BRANDON HAGY:  He birdied the first two holes, made like a 30‑foot putt on the second hole for birdie, so he was 1‑up after that.  And then he made another big putt on the 3rd green to halve my birdie.

I got a tough lie on the 4th hole, so I went 2‑down there.  So that was an important part of the round.

I was just hanging in there.  I knew I had a par‑5 coming up, which was to my advantage, and I pulled of a good shot there and won that hole.  And then I won the very next hole.  So I think that stretch right there where I won those two holes back‑to‑back was huge, and then I birdied the next hole to go 1‑up.  That was a huge swing going from 2‑down to 1‑up there.  I played really consistent the whole rest of the way.

Q.  Now we've got two Cal Bears in the semifinals of the U.S. Amateur.  What's that mean to you?

BRANDON HAGY:  Awesome, awesome.  Michael is such a good player and this is huge for him.  He's coming out of a red shirt year and he's been playing well, and I'm so happy for him.  We compete against each other at school and qualifying rounds, and up‑and‑down contests and things like that, and we've become pretty good friends.  The whole team has really good chemistry about it, and I'm so happy for Michael.  It's awesome.

Q.  Have you seen him yet since you ‑‑

BRANDON HAGY:  I haven't.

Q.  Just talk about how you're feeling right now.  This is your first USGA championship and here you are in the semifinals of the U.S. Amateur.

BRANDON HAGY:  Feels incredible, actually started tearing up a little bit in my interview out there with Dottie Pepper, so I guess that kind of shows you what it means.  I've been playing well, and it means the world.  It validates all the hard work that I put in and all the practice.

Q.  What would it mean to have a final with two Cal Bears?  If this is incredible, what would that mean?

BRANDON HAGY:  That would be very special.  I don't know if that's ever been done before, two teammates.  But I think we're definitely pulling for each other, and we'd like to see that match‑up.

Q.  Give us a little more specifics on holes 5 and 6 where you went from 2‑down to squaring it up.  What were the clubs you hit, what were the distances, length of putts, et cetera?

BRANDON HAGY:  On 5, I hit a driver over the bunker, and then I thought it was going to be in the fairway, but it actually kicked a little left into the rough.  I didn't have a very good lie.  I was into the grain.  I had about 190 to the front edge, playing less than that for the altitude, and I just swung really hard an 8‑iron and got through and it landed just on the front of the green and rolled up there to about 20 feet.  Pan had a little trouble in the trees, and he ended up giving me that putt.

But I would say the second shot on that hole was the key shot there because I set myself up for an eagle.

And then the 6th hole, par‑3, actually I tugged my approach shot a little bit to the back of the green and then Pan hit it in the right front bunker, so I still had an advantage there, and he hit his bunker shot to about 15 feet, and I lagged mine up to about a foot, it was probably a 40‑foot putt.  It was a really good putt, it was quick, tough to gauge the speed.  So that was a good two‑putt there and he missed, and I won that hole.

Q.  Two other key putts I thought were at 10 where you had a tough two‑putt from the back right and then 11 making the eagle.  Wondering the distance of that and what you saw there.

BRANDON HAGY:  The 10th hole was a classic case of match play.  Pan had trouble in the trees, he didn't get out of the rough on his first approach shot.  Hit that to about 20 feet.  And then I was going and hitting my second shot.  I only had about 40 yards, and I hit it too hard, it didn't catch the slope, and I had like a 50‑footer with about 15 feet of break, so I hit that down to about five feet, but it was still a downhill slider left to right, and Pan just missed his.

That was a huge putt, to make that one, because I went 2‑up at that point.  That definitely would have been tough going from winning the hole to not winning.  So that was a big putt.

And then the 11th hole, I hit two great shots.  I killed my drive.  I played a little conservative on the second shot to make sure I stayed below the hole, so I had about 40 feet there, and I thought I saw the line pretty well, and I hit it a little too hard, but the line was perfect and went right in.  That was a really good feeling.

Q.  I walked off 82 yards between his drive and yours at 11.  Was that kind of one of the other keys was just you were really able to use your power to just sort of negate some of the things he could do?

BRANDON HAGY:  Well, I knew it was going to be a tough match today.  I played him actually in a match play college tournament earlier this spring, and he beat me.  He's an incredible player.  He does all the right things.  He doesn't make very many mistakes.  So I knew that my length would be an advantage, but I had to use that length and capitalize on that.  And he actually, he was only about five yards from me when we got up to the green.

But it definitely helps on some holes:  The 5th hole, getting over the bunker; the 7th hole, I've been trying to drive that hole, put myself in pretty good spots on that hole.  So that definitely was an advantage.

Q.  Have you actually driven 7?

BRANDON HAGY:  I haven't driven it.  I was maybe five yards off the green.  I was pin high today, just down the hill in the rough there, and I was able to get up‑and‑down.

Q.  We heard coach flew in last night.  Did you see him at all during the match or did you talk to him at all?

BRANDON HAGY:  No, I saw him.  He had a bright yellow Cal shirt on, so it was pretty easy to see him, and also, his voice is pretty recognizable.  No, I saw him out there, and that was pretty special for him to be out there following Michael and me.  I know he's actually hurt right now, so that was pretty cool of him to come out.  It was good to see him, definitely.

Q.  Talk about the long putt on 11 you made from the front of the green.  What were you thinking there, and did making that kind of help you with the momentum going forward?

BRANDON HAGY:  Yeah, I mean, when I went up to that putt, I mean, I was thinking two‑putt there for sure because he had about a 15‑footer for birdie.  So when it went in, that was definitely a bonus.  But the first two shots set me up for that.  I hit a great drive, and to have 7‑iron to the green is a big advantage there.

But yeah, that was a huge putt.  I read it really well.  It went in.  From that distance you always need a little bit of luck, but I put a good roll on it.

PETE KOWALSKI:  Congratulations.  Well played.  See you tomorrow.

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