Corey Conners (Semifinals)

August 17, 2013

PETE KOWALSKI:  We'd like to welcome Corey Conners.  I'm sure he's disappointed with his loss to Matthew Fitzpatrick in the semifinals of the U.S. Amateur, but the advancement to the semifinals has got to be something you're probably hanging your hat on right now I'm guessing.

COREY CONNERS:  Yeah, absolutely.  Very proud of the way I played definitely.  It's quite an accomplishment to make it this far.  Obviously a little disappointed but still really happy with my performance, and gives me lots of confidence going forward.

Q.  In this match, was it more you not playing up to your standard or was Matt tough to beat today?

COREY CONNERS:  Matt was pretty tough to beat.  Anytime he was in a difficult place where he had little chance of getting it close, he hit an unbelievable little flop shot or pitch shot and played right beside the hole, had a chip‑in.  So when your opponent does that, you're not really counting him out, but when in a difficult spot and pulls off a great shot, it kind of deflates the tires a little bit.  I don't know, still tried to do my thing, and I played pretty well, was always in nice spots.

Q.  I guess the question is what do you take away from this experience?  I heard you say that you're not much of a match play aficionado, but obviously it's a totally different game than stroke play and you're not going to play it much in other places, but what do you take away from this that will help you down the road?

COREY CONNERS:  Just a lot of confidence knowing that I can compete and play against the best amateurs, and then hopefully keep getting better as the best professionals in a few years.  Just basically a lot of confidence, and I said a little earlier that I wasn't the biggest fan of match play, but this course kind of suited me well because there wasn't a lot of birdie chances out there.  I usually hit the ball pretty well but don't make a ton of birdies.  Nice pars is usually my speciality, and that works out here.  The course did kind of set up well for me in the match play, just limit my mistakes.

Q.  The other thing is that the golf course has changed a lot since you first got here on Sunday until now.  How much has that taken away the ability to really score out here and when you're behind to be able to catch up?

COREY CONNERS:  Yeah, it's really tough.  You definitely can't force anything.  The course has firmed up a lot, and today actually the wind was a little bit different direction, and it made some of the holes a little bit tougher where you weren't able to be aggressive really at all, and the speed of the greens increasing and the firmness of them, you had to be really smart about the decisions because it was easy to get yourself into some really tough places.

Q.  It seemed like you hit a few shots to the right on 13, 14 and 15.  Were you just fighting your swing a little bit today?

COREY CONNERS:  Yeah, just on 14 and 15 I just had long irons in my hand and just didn't quite get through it.  I was pretty committed to the shot and had a nice feeling, but yeah, it's my miss once in a while with the longer irons, just kind of get a little too steep coming into the ball and hit it low on the club face and it squirts to the right.  Yeah, that happened a couple times out there.

Q.  Do you think the momentum changed at all on 6 when he made that long birdie putt and then you had about 10 feet and ‑‑

COREY CONNERS:  Yeah, definitely.  It was definitely looking good that hole.  I hit a pretty good pitch, I was about 15 feet behind the hole, and when he made that putt, it kind of put a little pressure on me, and I didn't make the best of strokes.  I tried to force it a little bit, instead of just being smooth like usual.  So yeah, definitely killed a little momentum that I had, but I was still feeling good.  I was hitting great shots.

I hadn't really missed anything up until that point, so I still had lots of confidence, and I hit a great shot on No. 7, and he made a long putt for par, as well, which ‑‑ it kind of wasn't what I was hoping for, but he's a lovely player, so nothing I could do about that.

Q.  On 16 tee you're down two with three to play, and then you make a birdie and then he follows with a birdie on 17.  Take us through those two holes and what happened, what clubs you had, et cetera.

COREY CONNERS:  Yeah, on 16 I had 162 to the front, 167 to the pin.  It was on five paces.  And the wind was out of the right a little bit, a little bit hurting.  Had basically a perfect 8‑iron distance; a good hard 8‑iron goes just under 170 for me, 168, 169, so I knew I could take a good full swing at it, and that's usually when I hit my best shots, when I'm trying to make aggressive swings and be firm with it.  Yeah, the pin was kind of accessible, I was able to go right at it, hit a sweet shot definitely, a 10 out of 10, and ended up just over three feet away, and I was able to roll that in after he made his about eight‑footer for par.

And then on 17 I mis‑hit my tee shot so was out of position in the bunker but was able to hit a really nice pitch from short of the green to give myself basically just over a foot away, so a lock for par, and he rolled in his 25‑foot putt up the hill, which I was kind of expecting from what he'd done all throughout the day.  He was rolling the ball really well.

Yeah, disappointed to not be able to be victorious, but still have to be happy with how I did.

PETE KOWALSKI:  Corey, congratulations on a great run at the U.S. Amateur.

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