Interview With 2017 Champions Shuai Ming (Ben) Wong and Frankie Capan

Q. So now that you've been presented with the actual trophy?
FRANKIE CAPAN: I feel good now, less nervous.

Q. Less nervous than on the stage. Is it starting to sink in?
BEN WONG: Yeah, yeah, definitely. Being up there, giving that speech, seeing everyone congratulate us, it means a lot. It's still overwhelming being a USGA challenge peep, a Four-Ball champion.

Q. Was there ever a point in the match where you guys didn't think you were going to be able to come back on them?
FRANKIE CAPAN: No.

BEN WONG: No, literally. Like we've been hitting the ball really, really good, like today and yesterday. And I just knew it was trending and I was getting there. And putts just weren't dropping, but I knew at one point everything was just going to click.

FRANKIE CAPAN: We were fortunate to keep it at 2. I know in Match Play the difference between 2-down and 3-down is a lot. So I think we made a clutch par on hole 6, and kept it at 2-down, and I knew if we kept them there -- we didn't need to really force anything.

We were both playing well. He was striping it and we knew putts would fall. The past couple days we've hit a lot of good shots, and we've been making putts, but we could just feel some putts start to kind of go our way, so we didn't really need to force it. Or that's how I felt at least.

Q. The hole locations were pretty tough today. They were a lot of the same ones used in the 1999 U.S. Open?
FRANKIE CAPAN: I did not? That's so cool. I knew 18. I knew 18.

BEN WONG: Yeah, because today in the morning I got a text from my head coach, which I'm committed to play golf at SMU, he was like Payne's right there. He's watching over. It's pretty special to me knowing that it was a 1999 U.S. Open pins. That just kind of clicked.

FRANKIE CAPAN: I know some of the pins were pretty difficult. I hit a lot of really, really good shots to the right of the pin and opened up a 30-yard chip off the slope. And I was just shaking my head.

Q. Do you guys feel like this was just business for you guys you talked about last year getting knocked out early, and coming back this year.
FRANKIE CAPAN: I feel like it wasn't necessarily unfinished business. It was more just an unfortunate way to end the week. We were playing pretty well at Winged Foot, and it was just kind of a bummer to have it end the way it did. This format is just so much fun. To have it end like that, we were just pumped to get back and get another shot at it.

BEN WONG: Yeah, it's just fun. Having your best friend with you all the way, playing an awesome golf course in the best conditions possible.

Q. How did you guys meet? Junior golf?
BEN WONG: Yeah. We met when we were 7 at a tournament called pars in Florida. I mean, I flew in from China, so I had no clue who this kid was. It was funny, because in that tournament we both shot our lowest score for like the longest time until like two years ago or last year. So he shot a 64 at the tournament when he was 7, and I shot a 66.

FRANKIE CAPAN: The last day he beat he me by two.

BEN WONG: And I beat this guy. After that every summer I would travel here for tournaments, and I would always meet up with Frankie playing the same tournaments.

FRANKIE CAPAN: We played a lot of practice rounds together, junior world as kids.

Q. So you caddied for him in the 2013 Junior?
FRANKIE CAPAN: Yeah.

Q. How did that go down?
FRANKIE CAPAN: I missed it two years in a row. I was 12 or 13 by a couple. And he just tore it up and shot 10-under in California and had really no expectations of any USGA events because neither of us had played in any. And he didn't have a caddie, and we were driving -- I think we were going to my cabin at that time. It was on speaker, and Mr. Wong goes, yeah, Ben needs a caddie. I said, oh, I'll caddie.

So I guess I volunteered to be your caddie. But it was such a fun week at Martis Camp. Oh, my goodness. That place.

Q. Are you living in Texas now?
BEN WONG: Yeah, yeah, I live in the woodlands.

Q. But your parents are still back in China?
BEN WONG: Yeah, my dad and my family, my mom work in China and my little brother is there as well. So I just decided to finish off my high school here.

Q. You made it into sectional qualifying for the U.S. Open. So are you -- that's a couple days from now?
BEN WONG: Yeah, I'm pumped.

Q. What are your expectations? To get out of local qualifying isn't an easy task?
BEN WONG: Local qualifying was fun. I played really good golf. Coming down the stretch my last three holes I was actually 2-over, but I got into a playoff, 6 for 5. Actually, Beau Hossler was in it too. Lucky enough I got in, and after coming off this week, I think I'm feeling pretty good about myself.

But I think the next couple days I just need to get some rest and kind of reset. I can't really expect myself to get out there and just go at pins and make birdies, and I kind of have to press the reset button and go from there.

Q. Where is that again?
BEN HOGAN: Lakewood in Dallas.

Q. Have you guys played together at all this season leading into this or is this the first time this season?
FRANKIE CAPAN: As a partner or?

Q. Yeah, as a partner.
BEN WONG: Yeah, I hadn't seen him in a while. Well, we played practice round -- kind of played practice round at AJGA.

FRANKIE CAPAN: No, we played together.

BEN WONG: Oh, we played together the first two rounds. He came in second. He played really well. He's been just striking it, obviously.

FRANKIE CAPAN: I mean, our partnership has always been like just ham and eggs. That's the perfect phrase. Just ham and egg. Somehow that just happens, but we're ham and egg. I guess we haven't been competing in any tournaments together, but we've been playing in tough matches against other people and just smoking them.

Q. Do you know how long the exemption is that you just won?
BEN WONG: Is it ten?

Q. Ten years. Can you imagine what you're both doing ten years from now?
FRANKIE CAPAN: We're stuck together.

BEN WONG: I guess we can't turn pro anymore (laughing).

FRANKIE CAPAN: I guess we've got to wait for ten years to turn pro.

BEN WONG: Yeah. That's pretty cool.

Q. The sequence, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 there, you kind of turned the match around there. You had the shot, I don't know if you were all the way on the 13th fairway or close, and you actually had whatever it was, an eight-footer on 11 that missed between the birdie. It seemed like you guys really took control. Did it feel that way to you guys?
FRANKIE CAPAN: It did. It did. I knew 2-down on the back we weren't in the perfect situation. But two, like I said earlier, two is definitely doable. And I knew the par-5s favored us. So going to 10, it was key that we both got two tee shots on the fairway, put a little pressure on them. Then he hit his right next to the green, and I hit a really nice chip shot up there to six, eight feet. Then he happened to roll in a 20-footer, and that kind of got us -- kind of hit the reset button for us. We, I don't know. For us, when we're down, we don't really feel down. We know we can turn it on and get it back. That might seem a little overconfident, but we just felt good about our games.

Then, 11, we halved the hole, but on 11, he hit a phenomenal shot in there. Happened to maybe a little mis-hit, but then he hit another great shot in on 12 and was forcing it to roll that one in and kind of reset the match and we get back to all square and then go into 13 we felt good because that was drivable for us with the 3-wood. We halved the hole.

But then 14, I hit a really good pitching wedge 157, high draw from the sand over the trees to about eight feet. Then they got in a little trouble on that hole. But it was good to kind of get up, I guess. Because we were never leading since the beginning. They had two six-footers for two holes and just stuffed it. Couldn't really do anything about it.

Q. 17, was there much in that?
FRANKIE CAPAN: 17, we read that perfect. It was curling.

So there is an old cup like three or four feet out, and if you rolled it right over the right edge of it, it was perfect. I was standing like way off to the side, and I saw him hit it, and I saw him roll right over the edge of the cup, and I knew it was in at that point. I knew. Just his body language and everything. I just knew it was in and then it was dead center. It was dead center.

BEN WONG: It was dead center.

FRANKIE CAPAN: It was one of those, you just kind of feel it out. You can tell them. It looked like it was more speed.

BEN WONG: It was money all the way. Then 17 hit a really good shot. I was actually going to hit 6. And then Frankie's caddie Bradley was like, dude, hit 7. You're jacked. You're amped up right now.

FRANKIE CAPAN: Give a shout out to Bradley. He's the best caddie out here.

BEN WONG: Yeah. Shout out for that. He told me to hit 7. I flushed it, like absolutely flushed it, and I was in the zone. I had about 15 feet down hill. I mean, both of them were kind of close. I knew they were going to make par, so I just had to close it out. With Frankie, I thought Frankie's chip was definitely in the center of the cup.

I mean, looking at perfect speed, perfect read maybe. It just fell off a little bit at the end. Then when I stepped up to it, again, I was super -- I was actually really confident because Frankie was already in the hole. It was going downhill and we read that putt like three, four times. Checked it, triple checked it. It was just like put in a good stroke like we always do. We all hit these putts. Like we've hit these putts millions of times. Just happy to go in. Good catch by the hole, so, yeah.

FRANKIE CAPAN: Yeah, that was it.


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