U.S. Amateur Semifinals: Frederick Wedel Transcript


By USGA
August 16, 2014

 

PETE KOWALSKI: Frederick, tell us about your experience this week and let's talk a little bit about the match first.
FREDERICK WEDEL: I mean, it's just been the most special week of my life for me. I mean, there's been so much support, family and friends, and the cast has just been amazing. But today's match, it was tough. He drove it really well, he put a lot of pressure on me. I answered quite a few times on the front nine, and I had the lead. Once I got the lead, I was confident that I wasn't going to give it up. I mean, I've been in that position every time this week. I've been leading, and I haven't given it up, and I actually shut the door on him pretty quick, but I gave it back on 12 and 13, and those are just bogeys I couldn't make. And then 14, 15, 16, I made some big putts there, and then all square going into 17, hit that chip and just pushed the putt. 18, really my goal was set up for me, and then on the 19th hole he made birdie. Good for him.
Q. Can you describe the fairway bunker shots on 12 and then on 18, just each one, how they were different?
FREDERICK WEDEL: 12, I think I was 248 to the hole, Gunn was up there at 220, 215, so I figured he was hitting 5-iron. He's going to get there no problem. I felt like I had a good enough lie, and it was a good number for my hybrid, especially back into the breeze a little bit. So I guess I didn't think it through completely, but I felt like I could put it up there and put a little pressure on him, and unfortunately it didn't work out. 18, when he hit it in the water, I felt -- I was 210, and I think I was 195 to cover, so I mean, at that point I told myself, hey, even if -- I mean, I've got to hit it on the green. So I pulled enough club to what I think was going to be plenty to carry the water, which wasn't the case, but I mean, I hit a great shot there and pulled it off. But on 18 I knew I had to go.
Q. On the extra hole you laid back a little bit more than you did when you went through the first time. What was the decision making there, and were you trying to do something different, or do you regret laying back farther?
FREDERICK WEDEL: No, I don't. I don't regret it. I put it in the fairway. I mean, I thought him going with driver was extremely aggressive. If I put it in a bunker, I'm screwed, especially hitting first. But yeah, I mean, I put it down there in the fairway. I figured I'd have 9-iron or 8-iron in, and I did, I had 8-iron, and I think I had 167 hole. I've been hitting it and putting well enough to give myself a look at birdie, but he stuffed it in there on me and made a putt, so good for him.
Q. The semifinals in this thing have a lot more at stake than just getting to the finals, as you know, getting to Chambers Bay like you wanted to and getting into Augusta. Did that enter your mind today and does it add a little more pressure to the semifinals than just trying to get to the final?
FREDERICK WEDEL: Yeah, it adds a lot more pressure. Definitely I think that while you're out there, it's in the back of your mind, but it's not something that I was thinking about. Once you're out there you're in the zone and you're just playing golf. Yeah, I was aware of what was going on, but at the end of the day, I mean, it's golf, and if I'm not going to be able to live up to that pressure, then I don't belong.
Q. Was the chip shot on 17 as hard as it looked?
FREDERICK WEDEL: Yeah. I didn't know if I was going to be able to get the ball over the collar where the fringe turns into the rock, and then it was going to hit and go back in the water, but I had to go for it. And then I had to shut my club face a little, too, because I had no stance. Half my feet were over the water. I was scared that I was going to embarrass myself and fall in, but yeah, I shut the face down a little bit and nipped it perfectly. Yeah, I mean, I pulled it off perfectly.
Q. What was the club on that one?
FREDERICK WEDEL: 58.
Q. And then on 18, how surprised were you when he's hitting first to dump that in the water and did any part of you say should I hit a sand wedge out there?
FREDERICK WEDEL: No, my lie was pretty good in the bunker, and especially on an upslope, so I figured I wouldn't have any problem getting it up and getting it to fly. When I saw him go for it, it was actually kind of relief because it looked like his ball was sitting down a little bit, and I was thinking if I was in his shoes I'd lay up and then force me to go for it. But fortunately he gave me another chance, and then unfortunately he shot me out on the next.
Q. I just wonder if you could talk about the unique challenge of the U.S. Amateur. It's a long week, and how do you keep fresh physically? How do you stay with it mentally? It can be very grinding.
FREDERICK WEDEL: Yeah, it is a grind, and it's a long week. I kept telling myself that it's not physical at this point, it's mental. It's a lot of golf, a lot of walking. I could feel myself getting a little worn down yesterday, and then today I was actually pretty tired because I have been keeping ahead of my opponent all week. I've been walking really quick, trying to control the pace of the match and get that mental edge, and today I found myself out there today a few times behind Yang. It was hard to keep up. I was worn out a few times. It's a long week, and it's a tough test of golf.
Q. The bunker shot on 18, what club did you hit, and in your mind, is it as good a shot as we thought when we saw it?
FREDERICK WEDEL: I hit 5-iron, and I hit it perfectly.
Q. After six days what do you think it says about the level of amateur competition that No. 619 in the world was going up against No. 776 with a chance to win a national championship?
FREDERICK WEDEL: Well, I think match play factors into that a little bit. It's completely different. Maybe in some ways guys are still going out there and trying to score instead of playing each other, and that's the most important thing I tried to focus on was trying to beat my guy. But also I think rankings are just a number. I mean, it really doesn't matter that much because those rankings roll for the whole year, and a lot can change in a year. It really doesn't take long, maybe you just start putting a little better or hit it a little better and it gives you confidence in the rest of your game. Things can go well for you quickly if you're working on the right thing.
Q. You said earlier that week that regardless of what happens, you feel like you're a better player than you were at the beginning of the week. Tell us a little bit more about that.
FREDERICK WEDEL: Well, I've been under the gun. I've had to hit a lot of big shots this week, make a lot of clutch putts. That's definitely experience that you can't get anywhere else. I mean, you're put under the heat and pressure of a U.S. Amateur trying to close a guy out, I mean, there's water on half the holes on the back nine, and you've just got to clutch up. It will give me a lot to feed off of in the future. Maybe I can draw from the U.S. Amateur in future tournaments and events and just think to myself that, hey, I've been here before, and each time you are under the pressure of that, you're more likely to pull it off next time.
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