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Schauffele Shines In U.S. Open Debut

June 15, 2017

By Garrett Johnston

Xander Schauffele, a San Diego native who has made 10 cuts in 17 PGA TOUR starts this season, became a household name this weekend after he blazed Erin Hills GC to the tune of a championship total 10-under par, securing him a T-5 finish. Schauffele, who won the 2014 California Amateur, chatted with the SCGA after his impressive first round.

Talk about being out there on this stage. What’s it like for those watching at home?

This is my first U.S. Open. I think it's my fifth or sixth USGA event. I'm still trying to see how it goes tonight, but it's just one round. It's a good start.

Talk about the experience. It's one thing to play a first round in a major championship, but to play it so well and come in one off the lead?

Yeah, I was telling my caddie, my team, that I'm slowly starting to feel comfortable at a regular TOUR event. So I tried to shoot this one like a normal event, even though there's a lot going on. I'm trying to keep that mindset. I'm just excited to be here.

What were you feeling when you stepped on the first tee this morning?

Nervous. Walking over I was fine. They announced my name and I was a little more nervous than usual, but I got the first shot out of the way and I was pretty much calm after that.

How did you settle yourself and decide that I'm going to come out and play?

I mean, I qualified for this event. It's not like I was in it already. To me as a rookie you only get a certain amount of starts. For me to qualify for this event it's like a bonus round for me. I have nothing to lose. The better I play it's good on me.

Can you talk about your team and the preparation you put in?

I played two practice rounds with [fellow San Diego native] Charley Hoffman. He's probably the veteran that I'm closest with. Obviously he has a lot of accolades in his career. I hung out with him and his caddie, saw how they prepared for the course and tried to copy it, really. I think he's probably played in close to ten of these.

This is my first one, so I figured copy what they're doing. I've got to be all right.

If you had started today and were told you would shoot 6-under par at the U.S. Open, what would you have said?

I don't know. It's a great question. I'd be very happy, just like I am right now.

How do you prepare for tomorrow?

Oh, this place is more of a mental grind. If you're hitting it well, the fairways are open enough, and it seems like the wind is down for now. But just try to recover, eat and sleep as much as possible.

What about the fan experience? This surely has to be very different than what you've experienced?

Yeah, for sure. Are you talking about the fans out here?

The theater of the event.

Yeah, it it -- I was playing with Trey and Cameron, they're both great guys and no one really knows who we are, which is kind of nice since we're flying under the radar. We're walking one way and Rory and Day and those guys are going the other, so everyone follows them. So it's just kind of like a walk in the park.

I hit a shot to seven feet on one hole and no one clapped. I thought it spun off the green. I thought, man, it's not a bad shot. Even though it's a big stadium, you don't really have a following. Being in this pairing is definitely easier on me.

What's the mindset overnight? Does it help having a quick turnaround?

Probably. I'd rather tee it up tomorrow morning, wake up and get out here and get the day going than sitting around watching what people are doing. And I can kind of set the bar for high myself rather than having people set it for me.

You'll be in a lot of conversations from golf fans. You certainly put yourself on the radar with your performance today. I'm sure people are going to be butchering your name?

Been happening for the last 23 years, so nothing new there.

You've got a buzz going now out there in the golf world. Just talk about how you were able to do that today.

Yeah, I'm sure. I'm a rookie and this is my first time here. I'm sure I'll hear people say let's see if he can keep it up, or he's got game. Both sides of it. I'll try to be me and hopefully that will be good enough.

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Handicap Index: 5.3
Monday, June 19, 2017

Awesome - good going ! its great SCGA members are doing well at the highest level