July 20, 2013
An Interview With:
THE MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Jordan Niebrugge here, the 2013 U.S. Amateur Public Links champion. We'll start off with a simple question. Tell us how you feel about the win today?
JORDAN NIEBRUGGE: It's awesome. Going into today I was focused on kind of beating the course, didn't really look at who I'm playing. Obviously he's got great achievements. He's a great player. But I thought if I went and played the course like I did all week, I could have a chance at the end, and that's kind of where I ended up at the end. I was 1 up going into the last hole and ended up making par to win.
Q. You're coming down, you had a 4 up lead with 10 to play.
JORDAN NIEBRUGGE: Yeah.
Q. He birdied 9, and then the lead starts to get a little closer. What's going through your head?
JORDAN NIEBRUGGE: I mean, really I was just thinking, play my game. I mean, I only made – today I only made one bogey, and that was a three putt on 13, I believe. 13, so I mean, I made him beat me with birdies. He had a couple, and he actually left a few out there. I know 10 he could have had a birdie, 11 he could have had a birdie. There was a lot of opportunities for him, but I thought if I could just hit fairways, greens and two putts, kind of put the pressure on him, and if I hit it close, made birdies, that's just all the better.
Q. Did you kind of maybe relax a little bit when you were 4 up? I know there was still 10 holes to play, but still, that's a pretty nice lead.
JORDAN NIEBRUGGE: Not really. I just hit – on 9 and 10 I didn't really hit my best wedge shots. I've been short on those two holes all week really. I never really compensated for that. But otherwise I was playing good. I was hitting good shots, wasn't really nervous at all, was kind of just in the zone. I was hitting good shots, two putting it pretty much every green.
I picked up a hole on 15, the par 5, was a huge hole for me after he made birdie. I actually laid up too close into the rough, so it was a tough shot into there. But I made birdie on top of him, which was huge. I think that was kind of the momentum swing. If I would have mis hit we were even going into the last three holes, so anything could have happened after that.
Q. What does this week, this win, mean for you in your young golfing career?
JORDAN NIEBRUGGE: I don't know. I haven't really thought about it. I know I've been playing good since the win this past year, and I mean, I've hit the ball so well, and I think the only thing I have to work on right now – I mean, my putting was amazing. I couldn't ask for anything more. But I think that it really shows that it really takes people to the next level. I think putting is everything. When you hit the ball good, if you're making putts, you're going to score low. That's kind of what happened this week. I was fortunate enough to make a lot of clutch putts and a lot of 15 , 20 footers, so I was happy, fortunately enough.
Q. Talk about the second 18.
JORDAN NIEBRUGGE: The second 18 I got off to a really good start. He made a few mistakes and I capitalized on them. 7 and 8 I could have actually really had – I could have gone to 6 up. I had a couple birdie putts, a couple opportunities that fell just outside of the hole. I mean, I was playing good. He had uncharacteristic shots, I guess. He's an awesome ball striker. Every iron, every hybrid kind of right down the middle, so it's tough to get holes on him, make birdies to get holes on him. But I was fortunate enough, a couple of pars, so it was a big momentum swing that front nine of the second 18.
Q. Speaking of taking your game to the next level, what if that next level just happens to be that little tournament that's going to be played in Augusta, Georgia, next April. Talk about being able to play in the Masters.
JORDAN NIEBRUGGE: I mean, I haven't even thought about it. Like I was saying earlier, this past year after our win at Dallas, the team, we were driving back and we were obsessed with watching the Masters. We get it online, watch it in the van on the way home all the way home five or six hours. I mean, to play in it, I mean, it's just a dream come true, I guess, for any golfer, any junior golfer, any amateur golfer.
I mean, I can't even think of any – that's the one course if I had to pick any in the entire world that I wanted to play.
Q. What was it like having your dad on the bag? Was that your idea or how did that end up happening?
JORDAN NIEBRUGGE: I mean, after Ian Davis lost, I let Coach Guetz, our assistant coach at Oklahoma State, was caddying for him, and he was maybe going to stay here and caddie through on the bag tomorrow and maybe today, and I was like, well, you're doing well, I like having you on the bag. I mean, if I would end up winning it would be just an awesome experience having him on the bag the whole way. I'm glad he could make it all 36 these last couple days, and I really appreciate him, everything he's done over my entire career in golf.
Q. Your dad has caddied the whole week?
JORDAN NIEBRUGGE: Yes.
Q. What's his name?
JORDAN NIEBRUGGE: Rod Niebrugge.
Q. And your mom came out, too?
JORDAN NIEBRUGGE: Yeah, she came out I think – I don't even know what day. It's Saturday? I think Thursday maybe, after the – I think the first 36 we played. She wasn't here for the first part but she came out and watched.
JORDAN NIEBRUGGE: Yeah. Well, my sister is back home, but that's fine. (Laughter.) She's a big support back home. She's calling and texting and everything. She's a couple years older than me. Yep.
Q. Speaking of support, you had (inaudible) play with you. Did you hear from coach or the teammates back home?
JORDAN NIEBRUGGE: Yeah, I've heard from a lot of people, back in Wisconsin, back in Oklahoma, so much support. It really means a lot to me, motivates me to go out and win a couple more matches. Me and Davis and Talor Gooch especially, I've gotten really close to them the past year since I've gone to a bunch of – pretty much every event with them on the road. I look up to them. They're really good motivators, I guess. Both of them are just – I mean, having them be seniors this upcoming year and I'll be a sophomore, but they're upperclassmen, like leadership really helped me throughout the year. All their experience in big tournaments so far, I mean, it's all helped me.
Q. Did you ever look to see anything he was doing or were you just playing?
JORDAN NIEBRUGGE: Yeah, I mean, I just – I put the pressure on. A couple, I think, going into that back nine, obviously 9 through whatever, he got, I think – I don't really remember when he got back to 1 up. Maybe 13 or 12. 13.
I just kind of sat there, refocused, said to myself I'm still up one. You've got to play like you're up. I mean, he's got to be the one that's making shots. If he makes shots, that's great. I think I only had four or five holes left up one, so I had the advantage. I didn't really make any mistakes the last couple or four or five holes, so I think that maybe put a little more pressure on him making some putts. He didn't really force any shots, but I kind of wasn't fazed. I was in the zone, like I said earlier.
Q. I know you have a flight back, but how are you celebrating?
JORDAN NIEBRUGGE: I don't know. We're going to get home, as soon as the flight lands at 11:30. A couple of my friends are in town for the State Am starting Monday, so I'll be there, my sister will be there. I don't know, maybe a couple other people. I haven't really talked to anybody yet, so we'll see.
Q. You're going to play in the State Am?
JORDAN NIEBRUGGE: Yeah.
Q. After a week like this?
JORDAN NIEBRUGGE: Yeah, I was talking to a couple guys yesterday, and I think maybe we can get some carts. I think maybe I'll take a cart. But no, I have my old high school coach on the bag this next week. I told him I was going to play. It's a big tournament for me, even though it's the State Am. The State Am is one of the last – State high school, State Open, so State Am is kind of the last piece that I want to
Q. Wisconsin Grand Slam?
JORDAN NIEBRUGGE: Exactly. I'm going out there to win this next week. I'm not just going to go up and show up. I'm going out to play.
Q. Talk about the playing conditions.
JORDAN NIEBRUGGE: I mean, to be honest I don't think I've – except for maybe a little wind in the afternoon, I don't think I've ever played in this kind of – it was perfect every day. I mean, there wasn't – obviously the heat is – I mean, it was hot, but you've got to get over that. I think I drank 30 or so water bottles yesterday. But drinking water, you eat some fruit, you eat a couple of peanut butter sandwiches. You won't really feel it. The main thing is keeping your legs under you. You've got to get off your legs whenever you can.
I mean, otherwise the course is in perfect shape. Greens obviously were in incredible shape. You could make so many putts out here.
JORDAN NIEBRUGGE: At first I had a little more brake on, and I had a similar putt against Marty in my match yesterday morning. I kind of realigned myself, gave a little inch, inch and a half, maybe a ball and a half left break, and I hit it firm, because I know if I miss, so be it. But if I make, it's kind of easier from there. So yeah.
Q. I would imagine when you walked up to your ball on the 18th fairway, probably your first thought was you were going to go for it, and when Michael hit it in the water, it looked like you were really debating back and forth with your caddie on whether you should lay up or go for it.
JORDAN NIEBRUGGE: Yeah, the thing was I didn't – well, I heard it hit some marsh but there was no word he was in the water, maybe it stayed up. If it stayed up I think I have to go for it. I'd only have 4 iron in, about 204, 205 to the pin. But if he hits it on the green, obviously I'm going to go for it every time, no matter what the situation is. But he hits it in the water, smart play, so I hit 9 iron, little gap wedge in – I mean, 9 iron, gap wedge over 4 iron over the water, I'll take that every time.
Q. You had your putter in your hand for a while. What made you decide – obviously most people would have putted that but you decided to chip.
JORDAN NIEBRUGGE: Well, originally my dad just gave me the putter. It looked like it was about two feet off the green up there, and when I got up there, it was about four feet off the green and there was a little swale in the fringe, and then it was all green after that. So I kind of wanted to take that swale out. I mean, I really honestly couldn't have asked for a better lie. It was just propped up. So I took just a 58. All I had to do was land it right about a foot or two on the green and it just trickled all the way down there.
Q. Your coaches have talked to you about playing against perfection. Is that something you fight?
JORDAN NIEBRUGGE: A little. I mean, to be honest, I love when I hit it good. Obviously everybody does. But I hit a little one off the toe and it goes straight – my teammates make fun of me, I'll hit a driver off the toe or heel or something and I'll go, that was horrible, or something like that. You've just got to realize that if it's 10, 15 yards behind where you'd hit a normal driver or a normal shot, like for instance on 17 today, the 6 iron to the green, the last 18, the second to last hole, I mean, I hit it right off the toe. It wasn't a good shot but it got up there. I mean, it's on the green. On the green and a good shot from there, two putt for par. I just have to accept that it's not a good shot. But obviously I'll take the result.
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