Interview with Sam Stevens | Corales Puntacana Championship

Q. Sam, great round today, birdies to get you to 10 under and a shot off the lead after the morning wave finished. Just that round must have been pretty satisfying?

SAM STEVENS: It was a really solid round. I got off to kind of not a slow start, but hit it on the green on 12 and three-putted for par and just kind of felt like I was stuck in neutral. Then I hit a nice shot on -- hit really good shots basically on 14 through 18, got some birdie looks and just kind of got my round going a little bit. Then missed the green on 1 just barely right, pretty straightforward chip and was able to chip it in and I was like OK, now we're rolling because you get those kind of -- the first half of that front nine turns back downwind and there's a lot of birdie opportunities, to be able to take advantage of that. Hit a few nice shots there at the end and made a couple birdies.

Q. A couple birdies to close out is always nice.

SAM STEVENS: Yeah.

Q. I was looking at your season, you're a PGA TOUR rookie, kind of sort of a mixed start I guess, but the last few weeks you've posted a couple top-15s. Have you felt some momentum coming to get to this point?

SAM STEVENS: So I missed the cut last week in Tampa. I played pretty well the whole year, kind of just haven't had those little hot runs that you need. So I kind of just put myself right on the cut line every week. Played well in Puerto Rico, played well at Farmers.

Honestly, the difference in those weeks is just getting off to a little bit better start and kind of playing a little freer second round and kind of just opening it up a little bit, which is nice. I feel like I've played fine. It's hard to get your feet under you out here and I'm definitely feeling more and more comfortable every week.

Q. Those two tournaments you mentioned, Farmers and Puerto Rico, where you had those finishes, what did you learn on the weekends when you played there where you at least finished in the top 15?

SAM STEVENS: So both weekends were actually maybe a little -- I played well Saturday in Puerto Rico, but I kind of faltered a little bit on Sunday there and then didn't play great the weekend at Torrey Pines.

I mean, you have to stay so patient. Even when you play a course like Puerto Rico and you feel like you should be making birdie on every hole, but that's the way golf is sometimes. You kind of miss a few opportunities and you just have to wait for those, like I said, the little bit of hot stretches that kind of get you through maybe your lackluster rounds.

There's a lot of golf left this week, but hopefully I can kind of just stay patient and let the birdies come to me.

Q. Growing up in Wichita, Kansas, and going to Oklahoma State, those are pretty windy places. When you come here and the wind is howling, do you feel pretty comfortable?

SAM STEVENS: I would say that I feel very comfortable playing in the wind. It hasn't been crazy windy this week, but I'm sure the guys that are from California or Arizona think it's super windy. This is just a light breeze in Wichita, so yeah, I feel very comfortable.

Q. You have a lot of golf genes in your family. I was reading that your grandad played PGA TOUR events and your dad played a few Korn Ferry Tour events.

SAM STEVENS: Yeah.


Q. What have they passed on to you and what have you learned to help you get to this position that you're in now?

SAM STEVENS: I would say they taught me everything. They've been my only two coaches basically my entire life. It's hard to even say what they've taught me because I can't think of anything they haven't taught me.

It's awesome to have a lot of golfers in the family. I've got a couple younger cousins who are really good players, too. It's a good little vibe that we have. It's easy to -- I think that's a good culture just to learn how to play and learn how to compete. Yeah, they've taught me a whole lot, that's for sure.

Q. Do you ever get sick of golf, and if you do, what other things or areas would you try?

SAM STEVENS: Sick of golf is maybe not the right phrase. It's definitely frustrating at times. But I've got two little ones at home, so they keep me plenty busy. Actually, a third one on the way. Yeah, there's plenty to do off the golf course for me.

Q. This dad thing is a trend right now.


SAM STEVENS:
Yeah, I know. There's so many little ones running around it seems like.

Q. So that perspective you got from being a dad?


SAM STEVENS:
Yeah, for sure, for sure. I think that those days are -- I mean, you hear everybody say this, but when you're frustrated about golf, and it's very easy to be frustrated about golf, it's so much better if your family's there or you FaceTime home and see your kids and your wife. It's like OK, life's going to be OK, there's worse problems to have than not playing good golf.

Q. And finally, you've put yourself in contention heading into the weekend, you're going to be up around the top, maybe the last few groups. What do you anticipate or look forward to with that challenge?

SAM STEVENS: I'm super excited. Obviously this is the position you want to be in and it's nice to be able to kind of take advantage of this week. We're super lucky to have like an off-field event and glad that I'm putting in a few good rounds so far.

Like I said earlier, you just have to stay patient. It's so long, 36 holes and we're only halfway there. Yeah, I'm looking forward to the weekend and hopefully I can keep doing what I'm doing.

Q. I spoke to you at the time when you got your PGA TOUR card and you were very emotional, excited. So is this everything that you expected?

SAM STEVENS: It's been awesome. I would say yeah, definitely a dream of mine to play the Tour. You know, it's weird because you think you're just going to have success right away. It's like that in everything. You go to college, you think you're going to be the best player. You come to the Tour, you're like, oh, I'm going to win for sure. Then you struggle and it's like, golly, this isn't everything it's cracked up to be maybe.

But the PGA TOUR's awesome, it's a great place to play. It's the best place to play for sure and they take care of us. Yeah, it's definitely a dream for sure. Having my family travel with me, too, is awesome. They're coming to San Antonio next week. It's been really cool and yeah, I'm glad to kind of get to experience it with them, too.

Image Credits: 

https://www.si.com/tv/golf/2023/03/22/sam-stevens-corales-puntacana-championship-pga-how-to-watch-online-live-stream-free

https://padraigharrington.com/2021/03/25/corales-championship/

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