This is the transcript of the champions interview following the win by Taylor Totland and Alice Chen at the USGA Four-Ball Championship at The Dunes Club in Myrtle Beach.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Q. You guys are officially USGA champions. That’s an exclusive list to be on. You guys will forever have your name in our hall of champions in New Jersey with names like Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer. Give me your first thoughts when you hear that.
TAYLOR TOTLAND: It’s crazy to just kind of be with all those big-name people, so that’s really cool.
ALICE CHEN: Just like wow. I’m just like — I’m just like super grateful to God, again, just for the opportunity and to have it all work out, to be like this, I don’t know. Couldn’t have written a better ending for Tot’s amateur career. So yeah, it was just a lot of little things, just a lot of jokes that were said I think I’ll just always remember forever. Yeah. We’re just kind of like, what?
Q. How much fun was it for you two guys to be able to play in a team event?
ALICE CHEN: So much fun.
TAYLOR TOTLAND: We had a ball out there.
ALICE CHEN: I was like still running like on the 15th hole in the afternoon. I’m just like, I could keep going for Tot for like another 18.
TAYLOR TOTLAND: We were skipping through fairways.
ALICE CHEN: I was so hyped. There’s just still a lot of — I guess you would call it adrenaline or whatever, just a lot of excitement.
Q. And for you, is this basically the final tournament of your amateur career?
TAYLOR TOTLAND: This is. This is the last one, mm-hmm.
Q. Well, it’s quite a way to end it, right?
TAYLOR TOTLAND: Yeah, you couldn’t really think of a better ending. Couldn’t have done it without Alice. So she asked me to be her partner during the north south last year.
ALICE CHEN: She was trying to make me cry during the round. We were walking down 11, the par-3, 11 or 12, and she was like, I’m so glad you asked me to be your partner for this, and at first I was a little hesitant, and I was like, Tot, like don’t make me cry. So yeah, I was just, again, for this to all work out, I’m just like, this definitely wasn’t by my own doing, so I’m just excited. Happy.
Q. Taylor, are you going to try to qualify for the Women’s Open?
TAYLOR TOTLAND: Yes, so I have that on Tuesday.
Q. If that goes your way, your amateur career will be delayed a little longer? Well, no, I guess not.
TAYLOR TOTLAND: I don’t know.
Q. You can probably play that as a pro.
TAYLOR TOTLAND: I guess. I don’t even know how to declare pro.
ALICE CHEN: Make an Instagram post.
Q. Are you turning pro like today officially?
TAYLOR TOTLAND: Probably a couple days. I’ve got to email someone and figure out really how to do it.
Q. But definitely pro?
TAYLOR TOTLAND: Yes.
Q. How happy are you to get a USGA championship out of this?
TAYLOR TOTLAND: That’s something you dream of forever is to have your name as a USGA champion, so it’s really cool.
Q. Were you guys childhood friends?
ALICE CHEN: Mm-hmm.
Q. You’ve been friends since you were small children?
TAYLOR TOTLAND: 10.
Q. And decided to go to college together; did you make that choice together?
ALICE CHEN: Well, she was already there, so she’s a year older, and once I knew she was there, I was like, it’s got to be a good school and I would love to be with her, just knowing how sweet and genuine she was in high school, I was like, um, yeah.
Q. Do you think that your relationship going back as far as it did and your camaraderie, do you think that had something to do with you guys playing as well as you did and eventually winning the title?
TAYLOR TOTLAND: Oh, yeah. I think so. I mean, we had so much fun out there. Throughout college we’ve gotten super close.
ALICE CHEN: Super close in college, yeah. I think it’s funny your dad calls us the odd couple because we are very different in some aspects and super similar in others, so just knowing each other so well and knowing to make each other smile along the way was really great.
Q. Talk about representing for Furman and South Carolina. It’s a school that has a proud golf history and now you guys have just add today that.
ALICE CHEN: Yeah. I’m just sitting here thinking about all the little details. Not only is it Taylor, but it’s like we get to represent New Jersey together. We get to represent Furman together in our home state. So I don’t think you could have written up a better story. And to be co-medalists and then fight it out to win, like that’s pretty much as good as it gets. It’s definitely not by my own doing, so I’m kind of — mind blown.
Q. Being in New Jersey, you’ll be able to go to the USGA Museum and see your name in there.
TAYLOR TOTLAND: Yeah, I didn’t think about that.
Q. About today, you got off to a real hot start, two birdies in a row to start the tournament, the round today?
TAYLOR TOTLAND: She balled out today.
Q. You guys won the first three holes?
ALICE CHEN: We did. We did.
Q. Alice made birdies on 1 and 2 and then won with a par on 3. So you just came out with a vengeance this afternoon.
TAYLOR TOTLAND: I mean, she totally — she was the glue.
ALICE CHEN: Tot has been playing amazing all week. I just keep on telling her it’s a team event, and just did it together the whole week, just to be able to cover each other when the other one wasn’t doing so hot, and that’s why it’s called four-ball. It’s been such a blast.
Q. Talk about the hole-out from the bunker, just go straight to that. Where does that rank among your moments?
TAYLOR TOTLAND: That was pretty cool. All week, we’re like —
ALICE CHEN: There’s got to be a chip-in.
TAYLOR TOTLAND: And I hit it, and I was like, that sounds pretty good. Normally I don’t really look at my shots, especially in a bunker, but I peeked up.
ALICE CHEN: It was right at my eye level, too, because I hit it into the hazard and I was about to chip out, and it was up at my eye level, and I was like, oh, my God, it’s looking good, and it hits the flagstick and comes back down into the hole, and I was like, yeah.
Q. That was a huge swing, too, because Sammy was in and she had a look at birdie going in, and it looks like they could take that hole and cut your lead to one —
ALICE CHEN: Yeah, she hit it to six feet or something and she missed it.
Q. And it was just a massive swing after that.
ALICE CHEN: Uh-huh.
Q. Alice, you made the long putt on 12?
ALICE CHEN: Yeah, it was like 25 feet, and it was looking good the whole way, I was like, get there, get there, and then it dove into the heart, and I was like, okay, we’re good.
TAYLOR TOTLAND: Her game was perfect today.
Q. You only missed one fairway on 15.
ALICE CHEN: Uh-huh, yeah. That worked out okay.
Q. You still made birdie, right?
ALICE CHEN: Yeah, that was a sweet last putt. It was fun. Been working on those left to right footers, seven, eight feet, and it worked.
Q. When the putt goes on 12, did y’all kind of feel like you sort of had it in —
TAYLOR TOTLAND: It’s kind of hard to ever really think you have it until it’s done. Literally if you take your foot off the gas you can lose a whole or two and you’re right back where you started.
ALICE CHEN: And I like always having the mindset of just expecting them to do well. If they have like 30 feet, if they’re off the green, expect them to chip it in, expect them to hit the putt in, expect them to make the tough five-foot par save so that you’re never caught off guard. So it never feels like we were really up I feel like, and I also just feel like I just do better when I feel like I still have to grind for it.
Q. When you talk about playing together, is it kind of the ideal end for you to end your amateur career, playing alongside Alice?
TAYLOR TOTLAND: Oh, yeah. I mean, I wouldn’t want to spend it any other way. Having Alice as a teammate and friend has been such a blessing, and to be able to have the honor of being her partner this week is just something unimaginable. So it was really a perfect ending.
ALICE CHEN: I was like, I get to be your partner. She’s like, no, I get to be your partner. I was like, no, I get to be your partner.
TAYLOR TOTLAND: Yeah, we had a lot of fun out there, and I wouldn’t want another partner other than her.
Q. What are you going to do next year, Alice?
ALICE CHEN: I don’t think I can play in it because of the timing.
TAYLOR TOTLAND: Oh, it’s in April.
ALICE CHEN: That’s the thing. We were really eyeing down this tournament. I even asked Rachel, so what’s the deal, you guys don’t want college players playing in it, and she was honestly like, not really. So yeah. So I think this is kind of like a test run of when we do allow college players to play, like what happens, because it’s still during in season, so it’s really tough to like have that work out. There have been college players in the past play in it, but that’s because their season has already been done, meaning they didn’t make it on to regionals and nationals.
TAYLOR TOTLAND: But April is when we (indiscernible) conference.
ALICE CHEN: But we’re still in season, and I think the next two years are still around that date in April. I get one four-ball run, win it with Tot. That’s great.
Q. Talk about the course.
ALICE CHEN: I loved it.
TAYLOR TOTLAND: The course was amazing, people were amazing. Yeah, it’s a perfect playing for a USGA event.
ALICE CHEN: It is so sweet. Loved the fairways, loved the short rough, loved the perfect rolling greens, love the chips, loved the bunkers, loved my Charlotte in the locker room. Oh, it was great.
Q. The hot starts, we talked about it after your semifinal match. Seemed every match in stroke play you guys killed it, and the first few holes, was there something about those holes specifically that just fit your eye? You always seemed to get off to good starts.
TAYLOR TOTLAND: It just kind of happened. I just liked being in the present, just keeping it shot by shot, so had a really good drive, put it to four feet, knocked it in, made a good putt on 2, and just — yeah.
ALICE CHEN: I think I tried the same as much on every shot, and I think having a partner, I never want to feel like I’m going to put half into this because my partner has got me. I think it’s just great like whenever the two of us are doing our best and our best will make each other better, so it’s just been — that has been really fun. I think it really kicked up my game to another notch, just having really great competitors throughout the entire week, having Tot to like, all right, I want to hit it like her, I want to putt it like her. I don’t know if it really has anything to do like right from the start, but it was certainly exciting from the start.
Q. What’s the rest of your summer look like? Are you doing Women’s Open qualifying or Amateur qualifying?
ALICE CHEN: Yeah, qualifying, so I have my Open qualifier on Monday.
Q. Which site are you going to?
ALICE CHEN: Georgia.
Q. And you’re going to try the Women’s Am, too?
ALICE CHEN: Uh-huh.
Q. Are you going to play in the last Women’s State Team?
ALICE CHEN: I don’t think college players are allowed to.
Q. Oh, that’s right, you can’t. Good for you, you have another year. What are you going to do next year without your co-champion?
ALICE CHEN: I know. Just going to enjoy all of Furman, all of the girls on the team, enjoy my time here, be faithful to every opportunity that’s there. So really excited to make the last year really great.
Q. Specific memory from this week that’s going to stick in your head, on the course or off the course, anything?
TAYLOR TOTLAND: So many I feel like. It’s hard to pick one.
ALICE CHEN: I think there’s a lot of golf moments, and there’s a lot of just funny in betweens. We got like — we got really good at —
TAYLOR TOTLAND: Like the knuckles just fit like puzzle pieces. We got really good at that.
Q. I think we got it on Instagram quite a bit. How did you guys spend your time off the course this week? How did you stay relaxed, stay focused?
ALICE CHEN: The beach helped.
TAYLOR TOTLAND: Beach, Netflix if we got done late.
Q. You had the early tee times all week long.
ALICE CHEN: No joke, like keeping hydrated was a lot.
TAYLOR TOTLAND: I’m always going to remember her last putt. That was a sweet putt.
ALICE CHEN: Little seven-footer left to right, right in the heart. It was great.
Q. You conceded their putt on 14; was there a part of you that wanted to win on your own instead of win on a miss?
ALICE CHEN: Yes. Yes. I was like, I mean, that’s just — like 90 percent chance she was going to make that two-footer, and I didn’t want it to end like that, on a miss from her. And I think it was also just like — honestly, I don’t know if respectful is the right word to like — I mean, if I was just like in their shoe, I would expect them to know that I would make it.
Q. How many college tournaments did each one of you win?
TAYLOR TOTLAND: Three? I think three. Yeah.
Q. You’ve won three?
TAYLOR TOTLAND: Yeah.
ALICE CHEN: One.
Q. Was it the Southern Conference?
ALICE CHEN: I actually tied for first but lost in a playoff. I don’t know if that counts. I won one this year at the Port St. Lucie Golf Trail, something like that.
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