U.S. Amateur Semifinals: Gunn Yang Transcript

August 16, 2014


PETE KOWALSKI: We'd like to welcome the first of our two U.S. Amateur finalists, Gunn Yang from Korea. He plays college golf at San Diego State. He was the winner in 19 holes over Frederick Wedel. Congratulations, first of all. It was quite a match. I think in the 19 holes there were only five that weren't won by somebody, so it was going back and forth all the time. The status of the match was changing a lot. How did you keep your focus, and tell us how you thought you played.
GUNN YANG: Like Frederick was just playing just so well today. I mean, I had to keep up with him all the time to be all square. I was 2-down, and I had to go back to like 1-down and stuff. I had to play my best, and it paid off. I was 1-up through 17, but I made a mistake on the 18th hole with my second shot. It went into the water, and I had to concede the hole no matter what. I wasn't happy with that, but I was like, the 10th hole, 10th hole I made a birdie because we both conceded each other, and it was only like one or two feet away, so I was like, I can do this. If I'm going to hit a good drive again, and I did it, it was only like one yard different, so I hit -- I take out a 54 and swing it like three quarter, and it was like five feet away, and made a putt.
PETE KOWALSKI: You started out very well, chipped in for birdie on the first hole. That was a good start.
GUNN YANG: That was a heck of a start. I just wanted to put it next to the hole and just try to walk off with a par for both of us. But I chipped it in, so I was happy with that. But on the third hole, I didn't hit my chip well, and then Frederick holed it out, so I'm like, okay, we're even now. It was a heck of a day. There was lots of up and downs.
PETE KOWALSKI: The decision to go for the green on 18 with your second shot, you've got the lead, and tell us why you made that decision and what factored into it.
GUNN YANG: I mean, I just wanted to leave it -- leave my ball just back of the green or maybe a little bit off the green, but I grabbed an extra club and just tried to put it up there, but it just didn't work out. I just thinned it and it came out so low and just went to the middle of the hazard. I mean, that was embarrassing. But yeah, I mean, I lost the hole, but the next hole I won it, so, so what?
PETE KOWALSKI: Going for the green, is that a reflection of you being aggressive, or is it just that -- the conventional wisdom of match play is that you lay up on that one, you don't go for the green.
GUNN YANG: Yeah, because I knew Frederick was going for the green for sure. I just wanted to put more pressure on him, really. That was the reason why I tried to make that decision. I mean, I could have definitely laid up and tried to make a birdie, but Frederick hit his second shot from the bunker, it was only like -- I think it was like eight feet away. That was pretty close. That could happen at any time. So yeah, I mean, I thought I made the right decision, but it just didn't work.
Q. How does it sound to know that you're now going to be playing at Augusta National and at Chambers Bay?
GUNN YANG: Well, no question to say, really. I'm really excited right now and looking forward to one of the best courses in the world and just trying to do -- just grind my game and just try to prepare for the Masters, yes.
Q. The way you bounced back from what happened on 18 and the way you played on the first playoff hole, what does that tell you about your mental fortitude and the way that you can play and deal with the pressure out there?
GUNN YANG: You know, when I played the 10th hole and my 10th hole, I hit a perfect drive, and it was like 114 out and hit a 54, and it was like one or two feet away, and I just wanted to make that to happen again, really. It was close enough, it was only like five feet away. It was short of it, though. Made a putt. I just wanted to do exactly the same thing as how I did it on the previous hole, really.
Q. Looking ahead to tomorrow, do you know much about Corey?
GUNN YANG: I mean, I know he's on the Canadian national team, but other than that, I have no information.
Q. Considering all that you've already won here today, do you feel like regardless of what happens tomorrow, you've already won the week?
GUNN YANG: Well, I mean, of course, I mean, I'm already in the Masters and a couple good events, but I'm a player. I want to win the tournament. Obviously I want to put my name on the trophy with all the best players around the world. Yeah, I mean, that's my goal.
Q. Talk about the injury. Were you concerned you might not have a chance to play?
GUNN YANG: That's what I've thought, too. I never thought I could play like this, but I've been just trying to work on my game with my coach, Glen Daugherty, and he's been helping me out a lot. I mean, he's teaching at the Grand Golf Club in San Diego, and I'm also a member there. Whenever I'm not taking lessons but like hitting balls on the range, he comes out and checks my swing out for like 15 minutes. If it's wrong, then he stays there for 45 minutes and then changes my swing or something like that, works on it. If it goes well, then he just leaves right away. That's how I've been working with him, yeah.
Q. With regard to all the matches that you've had this week, has there been any standout matches that you look back on and think, that's what got me sitting where I am at the moment?
GUNN YANG: Well, Ollie's match, it was a heck of a match. It was the best match I've ever had. After his match, it just turned me on, really, because it built me lots of confidence because he's No. 1 in the world and I beat him by 1-up. I thought I can do -- I mean, I think I can do it from now on, too, so yeah, we'll see how it goes.
Q. You kind of touched on your back surgery that you had last year, but can you give a timeline of when you underwent the operation, when you began hitting balls and when you began feeling like --
GUNN YANG: So, I hurt my -- I had the first disk injury in 2008 during an Australian Boys Amateur, and I think it was during the second round, I think. And then I had like five shots in my back the past couple of years, I think. And then I've been working on it, like doing all the rehab because doctors were saying like I cannot take a surgery because I'm too young for it, and then I decided to take a surgery last year on May 24th, and then I started to chip and putt about two months after, then I started to hit balls about three to four months after the surgery.
Q. July or August?
GUNN YANG: July -- yeah, July I started to chip and putt, and then at the end of August I started to swing a bit, yeah.
Q. When did you feel like you were 100 percent again?
GUNN YANG: Well, I'm still not 100 percent really. I'm only like up to 95. Sometimes my back gets really stiff and muscle gets a little bit different. But I have my physical therapist back in San Diego. His name is Kevin Penske, and he's been working with me for the last two years. It's been really great.
PETE KOWALSKI: Congratulations. We'll see you tomorrow.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports


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