David Chung, Runner-Up, Interview August 28, 2010 By USGA

THE MODERATOR:  We'd like to welcome David Chung from Fayetteville, North Carolina.  The runner‑up 2010 U.S. Amateur.  Good, hard run at it, and I guess in the long run I'd rather have you say what you thought the difference in the championship match was against Peter?

            DAVID CHUNG:  You know, I came basically this morning expecting Peter to play really good golf and he did.  I just didn't really come with everything back at him today.  I was a little flat out there, and I couldn't really spark any momentum, so I think that was the difference.  But kudos to Peter.  He played fantastic today.


            Q.  Was it maybe a case of having to give too much to catch up to Ben yesterday?

            DAVID CHUNG:  Not really.  Even after 18 holes, even after 27 holes, you know, I thought, I do this all the time.  I almost all time put myself in a hole and I somehow bring myself out of it.  And I won 10 and 11 there and hit a good drive on 12, so I felt pretty good.

            I said, Hey, if I make a couple putts here I could get something started.  I could pull it back.  2 down with seven holes to go is nothing.  But I just couldn't ‑‑ I couldn't drop the putts when I needed to today.


            Q.  I was struck this morning watching you.  You looked so calm even when you went two or three down after six holes.  Now having watched you earlier in the week I know that's your nature.  But to what extent yesterday having played so well to come back from a guy who was playing brilliantly to begin with, did you just feel so much more time that you needn't get worried just yet?

            DAVID CHUNG:  I agree with you there.  I think that probably played a little bit into it.  It was hard for me especially when I came down the stretch and I need to come out of a hole.  I feel like I can get into a zone and get ultra focussed.

            But knowing there were so many holes today.  This morning it was a little hard to really get into it.  It's been such a long week with so much golf.  It's kind of like I was there, but I wasn't really, you know, a hundred percent mentally there on every single shot.


            Q.  There was some bad and then a really good finish to the 8th hole.  I was wondering if you could recount that for us?

            DAVID CHUNG:  Started off, I thought I hit a pretty good drive.  Got it up a little bit too high.  I try to hit a low bullet off that tee and I hit it down the right side to get a good angle to my second shot.  But I got it up a little bit high and didn't really count for the wind to push it that much.

            Once I got to the fairway, I realized it was pushing the ball a lot more than I thought.  They put that perfectly there on the left side for my ball to land there every single time.

            So that's some thick grass.  My ball was sitting up, and I was like, Hey, hit me with whatever you want.  You'll be able to get it out.  Except it was like this long so I was like, you know, okay.  All right, 5‑iron.  If I open up this thing hard enough it will move.

            I swung as hard as I could, looked up, and the ball was dribbling 3 yards in front of me.  Then I tried to do it again and, you know, obviously it didn't turn out well.

            But I had a feeling on the fifth shot, I said, Hey, give it all you've got here.  You can make this.  In the morning Peter and I almost made our third shots because it funnels back into that hole.  And I said commit to this, give it all you have, and see what happens and it went in, which was awesome.  It was such an ecstatic, electric feeling.


            Q.  How far was it?

            DAVID CHUNG:  I had 118 yard.


            Q.  What club did you use?

            DAVID CHUNG:  I used a pitching wedge.


            Q.  What was going through your head, but you don't strike me as being someone who is terribly disappointed.  Is that a fair assessment?  You've gotten this far, which is great in itself.  You've probably been selected for the World Amateur team championship, so it's all good.  But tell me how disappointed you are in losing this particular match?

            DAVID CHUNG:  You know, it's funny because the Porter Cup, Western, there were runner‑ups and I was fortunate enough to win both of those.  But the feeling of winning is just ‑‑ there is nothing like it.  Winning a golf tournament, there is nothing else like it in life, I think, for a golfer.

            But losing is just a bad feeling in your stomach no matter what.  It's such a small difference between winning and losing.  To come out on the bottom it hurts a lot.  It sucks.  But I'm grateful for the time that I won, obviously.  But, you know, it doesn't feel good.


            Q.  When you made the putt on the 11th and got it down to one of those two holes, did you begin to get a sense that maybe like you've been doing on some of these other matches that you were building momentum and you could really turn the thing around?

            DAVID CHUNG:  Yeah, I did.  If I made that putt on 12 for eagle, I think that I could have made a run at it.  And I would have had huge momentum swing there.  I was counting on that putt.  I read it, and I thought I hit a good putt, but it broke a lot more.  It just wasn't my time to make it, I guess.


            Q.  Yesterday you were talking about how good of a putter Peter is.  Did you feel like throughout the match you were dodging some bullets, because you left quite a few awful short or ran it right by?

            DAVID CHUNG:  These greens are really difficult to read.  No matter how good of a putter you are, you're not going to read all of them right and you're not going to get the speed perfect on all of them.

            So, yeah, he is a fantastic putter.  He sit six putts in six holes and I was like come on, what are you doing, man?  Give me a break.  But he had five putts in six holes because he chipped in once.

            He hit a lot of good putts out there and I had my chances.  Bottom line I had my chances to turn the match around and get some shots back.  But I just I couldn't take advantage of them.


            Q.  Was there something about the front nine here that you couldn't get into, and something about the back nine that you could plug into?  It just seemed there were drastic differences in your scoring on both.

            DAVID CHUNG:  I can't really say there is.  I don't think that either the front or back plays ‑‑ I think the front's definitely harder.  Holes 5 through 9 are extremely difficult.  But it's kind of like when I get in a zone where it doesn't really matter.  I can somehow pull it off.

            Like Porter Cup the last two rounds I shot 31 and 30 on the back nine.  It's just something about the back nine being a little more intense, a little more added pressure having to really have your back against the wall, having to do something.  It just helps me get more into it and play better, I think.


            Q.  You guys have been playing with Peter for almost a decade now.  Can you talk about the difference you've seen in his game, particularly recently maybe in the past year or two?

            DAVID CHUNG:  He's hitting the ball a lot straighter.  He was always long.  He would always scramble, great short game.  But when he hits it in the fairway, he's tough to beat.  He's been doing that a lot more when I've played with him lately.


            Q.  You really do appear to be pretty unflappable regardless of the outcome of any particular shot or any particular hole.  I'm wondering what you tell yourself, how you've trained yourself to sort of keep an even keel?

            DAVID CHUNG:  Yeah, you know, I've never really played well when I'm hot.  When I try to be super intense, when I try to ‑‑ I try to take as much pressure off myself as possible.  You know, I enjoy playing rounds with my buddies at home or going on to play like three hours.  I don't think very much and just have fun, and that's how I try to keep it on the course.

            I have a lot of good things going on in my life.  Golf is super fun and super competitive and it's important to play well, but there are a lot of other things to count back on in case things go bad on the course.


            Q.  How did you and Quinn match‑up?  And how was he able to help you this week?

            DAVID CHUNG:  Yeah, I think Quinn's one of the best caddies if not the best out here.  We're around the same age.  He's a very good golfer.  He's a really, really nice person and he gave me information when I wanted it at the right time.  So can't ask for a better caddy than that.


            Q.  It looks so frequently both of you guys were creating shots using the backstops or giant brakes, and some guys putting with their back to the hole.  How much was imagination a part of playing this golf course?

            DAVID CHUNG:  Oh, you know, imagination's paramount.  It's a trait you have to have out here to play this course, really, and links golf in general.  That's something Peter's really good at and I'm pretty decent at too is seeing a lot of different ways to approach one shot, and then figuring out what you're most comfortable with.

            That's the fun of playing this course.  You have to be creative, you have to be imaginative.  I enjoy it.  I enjoy basically using my imagination on the course.  I think that's what kind of separated us, too, from the rest of the field this week.


            Q.  What one of the knocks on young guys on tour is they're bombers and that whole kind of a thing.  What made you a guy that likes to shape shots and work on that in your pregame?

            DAVID CHUNG:  Ever since I was a kid I was always the one trying to hit huge draws, huge cuts, flop shots, you know.  Unconventional stuff.  I guess I would get bored just hitting it straight.  So I do that stuff for fun.

            I always wanted to hit the cool shot.  I kind of built that into my game from a younger age, and it shows up now in a way.  A lot of times I don't feel like I'm playing weird shots, but some people are like, wow, why did you hit that shot?  You could have hit a lot of other shots.  It just seems natural to me.


            Q.  Can you take us through the final holes off the tee and then the second shot?

            DAVID CHUNG:  Yeah, it's I guess 285 to the pin into the wind.  You have to keep it to the north of the green on the right half so you don't get an awkward angle under that pin.  And you have to key it pretty well off the tee.

            Peter had a nice one that he hit there and on 12, and the first round I did a good job of it.  I teed it low and tried to keep a low trap draw with the driver, and it turned out well in the morning.  Almost hit it up there pretty close.

            But this afternoon I don't know what happened on the swing.  Maybe I got quick or something.  But the trap draw turned into a pretty bad pull, so from there I basically had no shot.

            I tried to go for a hero shot there and somehow I tried to hit the flag or something, because a 3‑wood wasn't going to do me any good.  I would have had to make two because he wasn't going to three‑putt.  I tried to go for broke there but it didn't turn out too well.