USGA MEN'S STATE TEAM
Interview with 2014 Men's State Team Champion Texas October 2, 2014 | FRENCH LICK, IND.

The trio of Aaron Hickman (left), Colby Harwell (center) and Zach Atkinson led Texas to a fourth Men's State Team victory. (USGA/Chris Keane)

THE MODERATOR:  We're joined now by Colby Harwell, Zach Atkinson, and Aaron Hickman of Texas, the winners of the 2014 USGA Men's State Team Championship.  They finished with a 4‑under total, three strokes ahead of Florida.

Colby, you shot a 75 today.  Non‑counting, but each team member had two scores count this week.  What does that say about I guess the blend and the mix of the three of you?

COLBY HARWELL:  Well, that just tells you right there how strong Texas is.  The three of us fought pretty hard for two years to get to this point.  I'm really proud of all three of us for doing what we did and fighting it out all week.
 

Q.  Highest score of the week.  Was there anything different today?  I know big numbers can pop up out of nowhere here.  Was that the case today, or was it just a little bit different?
 

COLBY HARWELL:  Just a little bit of wind and few bad bounces.
 

Q.  Had you talked to any previous Texas teams that had won?  This is the fourth championship for Texas.

COLBY HARWELL:  No.  We hadn't talked to anybody at all.
 

Q.  Tell me what it means to win the championship and take the trophy back to your home state?

COLBY HARWELL:  To have my hands on a USGA trophy for golf, I mean, this is just unbelievable.  I can't believe that I've got my hands on one at all.

I'm excited.
 

Q.  Sure.  Any shots that stuck out this week first, second or third round?

COLBY HARWELL:  Well, no.
 

Q.  Okay.

COLBY HARWELL:  They all stuck out.  They all meant something.
 

Q.  Any particular strategy as a team this week?

COLBY HARWELL:  No.  We didn't come in with a strategy.  Just tried to go as low as we could.
 

Q.  Zach, you shot a 71 today.

ZACH ATKINSON:  I did.
 

Q.  Had a double bogey there on your outward nine, and then you didn't make another bogey the entire round.  You had three birdies on the back side.  Was that a moment that sort of just changed things for you in the round?  Was there anything in particular that you changed in your approach?

ZACH ATKINSON:  No, I didn't change anything.  You know, I probably just beared down a little more.  Last nine of a big tournament, USGA event, so, you know, the stakes are high.

I just tried to bear down and hit my targets and I did.  I made good one on 9, a good a little 10‑footer ‑‑ excuse me on 10.  A little 10‑footer that got me going.  I didn't really miss a shot after that.

So it was just bear down and go.
 

Q.  On No. 18 did you know that your putt basically would seal things?

ZACH ATKINSON:  I thought that was to tie.  I did.  I thought that was to tie if Gene from Iowa didn't make birdie.

I thought that put us to 5 and I thought that's what they were at.

So I had no idea that it was a couple‑shot victory.  I might have cozied it down just a touch more.  I don't know.
 

Q.  Earlier in the round first few holes, the team lead was as large as 7 and shrunk to as low as 1, but you never actually lost possession.  Maybe for a moment you were tied with Florida for a brief hole or two.  Did you know throughout the day what was going on with yourselves and Iowa and Florida?

ZACH ATKINSON:  I had no idea other than I thought we were 2‑down most all day.  From probably 4 on I thought we were 2‑down.  Looked like it was that way all the way around on the scoreboard that we were seeing.  That's where we thought we were.

Which may have been a good thing.
 

Q.  Aaron, tell us about your round today.  Had a rough one in there during your three rounds, but you rebounded, as did Zach.  What is it about this golf course where you can shoot a 70 one day, 80 the next, and then even par?

AARON HICKMAN:  Well, it's very ‑‑ I don't know how to put it.  It's challenging in the sense you can be just a little bit off and your ball hits one of these ‑‑ it's got really sharp edges.  When your ball hits these edges it takes huge bounces the wrong direction most of the time.

For me, the difference was kind of steering away from the sharp edges and keeping the ball a little more in the fairway on some of those and not having some big bounces.

That's what I had yesterday.  I just had some balls that hit three or four yards right or left of the target.  Next thing you know you're 30 yards from where you were trying to hit it.
 

Q.  What were some of the highlights of your round today?

AARON HICKMAN:  I putted really well today.  I made about a 35, 40‑footer on 9 for birdie.  Made about a 10‑footer for par on 16 that ‑‑ you kind of have a sense out there as a player that it's kind of tightening up at the end and you need to do something.

I had feeling that I needed to make that putt.  I ran it in there, and that's where I thought we had a little bit of a glimmer of hope.

Like Zach said, the scoreboards weren't up‑to‑date all day.  It did feel like we were 2‑down all day.  I putted really well, especially the back nine.  Made some clutch par putts coming in.
 

Q.  Have you played a lot of competitive golf within the past few weeks coming into this?

AARON HICKMAN:  Our state mid‑am was last week, so we all played golf last week.  Yeah, we played a little bit coming in.
 

Q.  How important was it for to you make this team?

AARON HICKMAN:  This is my third team.  Every time you make it it's special.  It's hard to qualify for a team like this.  In Texas we have a ton of great players.

To make the team and to be a part of a team that wins is amazing.  Colby said he hadn't talked to those guys that won it in the past.  I have.  You know, being on the team three times, they start asking a lot of questions, When you going to win one?

When we get back I can tell them I won one now.  Pretty special day.
 

Q.  Follow up on that, fourth title for Texas.  Hadn't had a top 10 in the past few championships.

AARON HICKMAN:  I know.  I played on those teams.
 

Q.  Yeah.  That was on the difference?


AARON HICKMAN:  You know, I just think we played better.  I know it was you two.  You two played great.  I think we played better.

I think the other places ‑‑ you know, everybody that makes this team is good.  It's just a matter of playing well once you get to the site and doing what we all think we're good at:  that's shooting low scores.

We did that this week.  Colby played amazing the first two days.  Zach played great the last two days.  I was lucky that they counted two of my scores somewhere in there.

But, you know, it means a lot to win.  Having good teammates, helps a lot to do that.
 

Q.  Congratulations to all three of you.

COLBY HARWELL:  Thank you.

AARON HICKMAN:  Thank you.

ZACH ATKINSON:  Thank you.

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