Conversations with Champions: Seamus Power is ‘absolutely over the moon’. Here’s everything he said after winning the 2022 Butterfield Bermuda Championship

“Conversations with Champions presented by Sentry” is a weekly series from Golfweek. This week: Seamus Power, winner of the 2022 Butterfield Bermuda Championship.

Seamus Power was 34 before he broke through for his first PGA Tour win. Now, 15 months later, he’s got another one.

He had 28 birdies over four days at Port Royal Golf Course, breaking the old mark by one. Three of those came on the 16th hole on each of the first three days; his bogey Sunday on the par-3 ended that streak.

The highest-ranked player in the field, he was No. 48 before the action got started. On Monday, Power found himself in the No. 32 spot.

Here’s everything Power said after his win Sunday in Bermuda.

SP: “It was an interesting day. I felt great all day, played very nicely for the first, honestly, for the first 14 holes, played very, very nice golf, but it’s so tough coming in. I was able to hang on somewhere close to Ben there. He made quite a few birdies there through 11, but I was able to just do enough coming in. But it was tough going. It was a kind of day full of all sorts of emotions because, again, same as yesterday, you knew once you get to 12 tee that the next hour and a half was going to be really tough going. So I was able to make a couple birdies on the front and then kind of hang on there coming back in. I’m absolutely over the moon. The first one was amazing but to be able to win again, it’s fantastic. I get whatever, it’s pretty much a three-year exemption and all the kind of cool things that come with it. It’s just you’re kind of so proud and it’s amazing to be able to do it again.”

Q: Three-year exemption, plus you’re now No. 5 in the FedEx Cup and No. 32 in the Official World Golf Ranking. All those things combined, what does this do for you going forward?

SP: “The thing when you don’t have the exemption is like every year is year to year and it’s tough going, so an extra couple years is fantastic. To be able to focus on just practicing and improving and just playing my own game and not really worrying about all that stuff. I noticed that last season having the winner’s exemption for ’21-’22, I was really able to play much more freely like when you’re up near the lead and I think that’s a nice thing to be able to do. That’s also a goal to be doing anyway, but sometimes it’s a little harder than normal. So it’s going to be great. It gets a lot of bonuses. I mean, one of my favorite memories in golf was in Maui last year and being able to go back there year again, and having a three-year exemption is just fantastic. It opens doors as you get higher in the world rankings, all those kind of things are just all positives. So yeah, once it sinks in, I think some of the other stuff will kind of hit me like in probably the next few days, but for now just over the moon, just delighted to get the win.”

Q: You have a pretty solid fan base here, cheering and a lot of people out following you. Give us some info on that.

2022 Butterfield Bermuda Championship
2022 Butterfield Bermuda Championship

Irish fans pose with a flag in support of Seamus Power during the final round of the 2022 Butterfield Bermuda Championship at Port Royal Golf Course on October 30, 2022 in Southampton, Bermuda. (Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

SP: “It’s amazing. I had such a good experience in Bermuda. It’s one of my favorite places I’ve ever been and just I’ve been lucky enough to make some really good friends here. It’s just even at Bay Hill, like I have friends here who also have a house at Bay Hill and like Simon [Keelan, Power’s caddie] stayed with them for there, and we had like my birthday’s around that time and a big group of them were there and had a birthday party. Just really like good friends that I just kind of clicked with. Mick works for Butterfield and obviously he’s connected to the tournament. It’s just been kind of a special, kind of unusual, kind of unexpected thing that I’ve kind of stumbled across. But absolutely love coming here. Simon and I talk about this event like months in advance. It’s one of those weeks you look forward to, there’s something about the island that’s nice and obviously I played decently here before and obviously getting the win now, I just can’t wait to come back.”

Q: How would you describe how the last hour and a half of this tournament played out?

SP: “Obviously it’s very up and down, but it it’s kind of what I expected. It’s the same as yesterday, like once you get to, even 12 today was playing tough. I’m hitting, I have 100 yards to the pin and you’re guessing if it’s a pitching wedge I hit 145 yards or if it’s a gap wedge, and it’s just pure guessing. That goes slightly over and you’re standing on the next and it’s dead into the wind and you’re probably talking about, I thought I hit a good shot and it came up short of the green. It’s a good 30 yards short, probably 25 yards short. Fourteen is tough, the wind’s off the right whipping, and then 15 and 16 are just brutal today. So you know that stretch is coming and it’s just there’s only so much you can do. I think the toughest thing for me in that stretch is trying to putt, you’re trying to putt on 15 and 16. I had a putt on 16 and I’ll never understand what just happened to the ball. Just you’re getting wind gusts, the wind’s up and down. I missed the hole from I don’t know what it was, four and a half, five feet, and I felt like I hit a good putt. I just saw Ben before me do the same thing. It’s tough going out there, but I was able to do just enough. You know, birdie on 17 was nice. Made a bit of hard work of 18, but just did enough. But kind of what you’d expect. It seems it’s reasonably easygoing for the first, kind of the first 11 holes barring maybe No. 8. You’ve got a lot of good chances. I got a couple, not as many as I would have liked, but same as yesterday, you’re just trying to hold on for dear life.”

Q: When things kind of started to go a little bit south for Ben [Griffin], are you just kind of focused on what you’re doing? Do you see what’s kind of going on?

SP: “It’s a bit of both. You obviously are trying to focus on your own thing. Ben was in some trouble [on 14] on the left and before I kind of get into my routine, you just have to give a conscious effort to get back into your own thing. I hit a really good shot and made the putt for birdie and that ended up being a big birdie. It’s tough, but he didn’t do a ton wrong. It’s just, as I said, he hit a shot on 16 on the wrong side of the wind and it’s the only ball I’ve seen go left on 16. I didn’t think he hit that bad a shot, but it’s just one of those days, it’s so exposed and it’s just a little small golf ball floating around there. If you get a wrong gust, you’re in trouble. I hit a really good shot I thought into 16. Three-quarters of the way through the flight you get a huge gust, it gets stood up and it’s a good 20 yards short. But you couldn’t convince me to hit one extra club on the tee. It’s difficult. You know it’s coming and you’re just kind of trying to do your best. But that birdie on 17 was nice. It was playing really short, but still to get one there, give myself a (indiscernible) up the last.”

2022 Butterfield Bermuda Championship
2022 Butterfield Bermuda Championship

Seamus Power plays a shot during the final round of the 2022 Butterfield Bermuda Championship at Port Royal Golf Course in Southampton, Bermuda. (Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Q: Getting that first win, was it harder getting the first one or chasing that second win? Now you have that second win, do you maybe have an answer?

SP: “I thought it was a little easier today. It’s never going to be easy, but I certainly felt very comfortable right from the get-go. My three shots on the first hole were three of my nicer shots this week and I think that showed I was in a very good place mentally. Certainly a little easier even down the stretch even though I didn’t kind of play that way, but I felt more comfortable. So I think it’s probably a little bit easier. Knowing that you’ve done it before just helps.”

Q: You didn’t take the lead in the final round until the 14th hole when you made birdie and Ben made bogey. Did you feel like an experienced veteran out there compared to Ben’s experience and playing with him, and what was that dynamic like for you?

SP: “Yeah, I just kept reminding myself I know this course well enough. I wasn’t making many mistakes and I was very confident. He birdied 10 and 11 to get two ahead again and I had a couple chances there that I just missed. But again, I just kept reminding myself if I could just stay in there. I knew that that stretch, there’s very few people not going to drop shots there. I knew if I had a chance standing on 12 tee, I thought a little bit more experience having been there before, having played this tournament a few times before, I thought it would stand to me and it just about did in the end.”

Q: You were coming in this week 48th in the world ranking. With this win you get that likely invitation to the Masters. What’s it kind of feel like to get that, to come here, get that win, take care of that and not worry about the top 50?

2022 Butterfield Bermuda Championship
2022 Butterfield Bermuda Championship

Seamus Power hits his first shot on the 17th hole during the final round of the 2022 Butterfield Bermuda Championship at Port Royal Golf Course on October 30, 2022 in Southampton, Bermuda. (Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

SP: “Yeah, it’s really nice. It’s kind of a funny thing. I didn’t really pay attention to world rankings until I got into like the top 10 in the world and now it becomes very, very relevant. Even close to the match play and then obviously the cutoff for some of the majors starts approaching. So it’s nice, as you said, to be able to kind of get a bump away from that 50. It’s nice. It opens up so many doors. All of a sudden like you’re looking at changing your schedule and you’re going to add Maui and tournaments like that, and even knowing that you’re going to be in the Playoffs and all this kind of stuff. It makes things a lot simpler, that’s for sure. You’re not looking — not as if you’re doing it all the time, but you’re sometimes looking over your shoulder a little bit, especially because I was up maybe in the 30s and just hadn’t played great since like the middle of the summer. So, as you said, just slipping down, down. And you know the cutoff for the top-50 is coming up soon, there’s not much golf left in the year, so it’s nice to get away from that, for sure. It’ll definitely like clear your thoughts, clear your mind going forward.”

Q: On 14, what did you hit off the tee and what did you hit?

SP: “2-iron.”

Q: And what did you have left in and what did you hit?

SP: “I had 148 or 9 yards, 148 yards. I hit gap wedge, landed about pin high and probably just rolled to the back edge maybe 25 feet past, yeah.”

Q: Simon said you guys were talking about how you wanted more wind when you were here Friday. Was it ever a case of like be careful what you wish for?

SP: “No, I was absolutely fine with the wind the last couple days because I’ve been lucky enough to play here a few times and I’ve seen this course in a lot of different wind directions and I’ve seen how — just a bit of experience. Even on 16, like I hit a very, very good shot aimed at the left hazard line. I’ve done it before here and it ended up online with the pin. It’s having a little bit of extra confidence knowing that my ball was going to come back and do what it’s supposed to do versus other guys, it’s hard to aim in the ocean and hit a shot. When you’re not used to doing it, you haven’t done it before, it’s hard to trust that it’s going to come back, but I’ve played it before. I played here last year and the tee was back and you’re hitting a long iron starting out into the ocean, same thing. You just learn to trust it a little bit more. Same with No. 8 today, you’re very sheltered on that tee box, but I’ve played in that westerly wind before. Once it gets out past the tee it gets hammered and it gets hit hard and it goes left. So I hit a very confident shot starting to a right pin, starting probably 10 steps right of the pin, which normally I wouldn’t be comfortable doing, but I’ve been able to do it before here and just I knew the ball would come back if you just kind of trust it.”

Q: Back in Ireland, you play a lot of junior golf with Simon?

SP: “I would have, yeah. Simon’s from like an hour away from me so we would a played, yeah, a bunch of different like championships and all that stuff. More so against each other, more junior golf and championships and stuff like that, yeah.”

Q: When you turned pro, were you one of those guys that said, ‘Okay, I’ll give myself three years, four years, five years’, or were you in it for no matter what?

SP: “I don’t know, to be honest. I always said like if I thought that I was good enough to win on the PGA Tour, I was probably going to keep playing. If I thought for a second I wasn’t, I would have stopped. Honestly, if I thought it in six months, I would have stopped in six months. That was my mentality going into it. I didn’t have any interest in playing not at the highest level for a long time. I wanted play at the highest level and I thought if I didn’t think I could win, I would have stopped probably early on.”

Q: A lot of Irish players have been playing really well lately.

SP: “Yeah.”

2022 Butterfield Bermuda Championship
2022 Butterfield Bermuda Championship

An Irish flag on the bag of Seamus Power during the final round of the 2022 Butterfield Bermuda Championship at Port Royal Golf Course on October 30, 2022 in Southampton, Bermuda. (Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Q: Rory recently and Shane in…

SP: “Wentworth, and Padraig. Yeah, it’s been great. You know, it’s one of those things that you just, you know, whatever there’s some sort of once you see like other guys you know win, it just gives you a little bit of a boost knowing that you can get back there yourself. Yeah, it’s huge. Like Rory and Shane have played amazing golf this year. Rory’s play since this summer has been incredible. And then like Shane as well, he didn’t get the win out of Wentworth but he was up there at a lot of big tournaments. He was high in the Masters, he played well in so many other big tournaments. So it was great that both those guys got the win. Padraig, yeah. I mean, Padraig absolutely smashed his way through Champions Tour there. It’s great for Irish golf. We have Leona Maguire on the LPGA as well. It’s a good time for Irish golf and hopefully, you know, you’re always hoping it’ll kind of inspire some more junior golf in Ireland.”

Q: We talked earlier in the week about the Ryder Cup and Luke Donald. Did you get a chance to chat with him this week at all?

SP: “I did briefly on Wednesday night at that party in the hotel. Yeah, we just chatted briefly. There’s a new event, he was just telling me some of the details about it, GB&I vs. Europe team event and just some of the options I might have. As I said to him, like my, before this week, like how I played in that was going to affect some of my schedule, so obviously this helps a lot, gives me more flexibility going forward. So something I’m going to talk to him about it again now that I have a little bit more freedom to play where I want. So it’s going to be, yeah, I’m going to talk to him and see what he recommends. You might as well see. You know, if it doesn’t match up, it doesn’t match up, but I certainly want to ask his opinion and I don’t want to come next September and finding out if I would have done this, I would have been on it. So it’s something, this certainly helps, but I’m going to talk to Luke and see what happens.”

Q: You had 28 birdies this week, which set a tournament record.

SP: “Nice.”

2022 Butterfield Bermuda Championship
2022 Butterfield Bermuda Championship

Seamus Power putts on the 16th hole during the final round of the 2022 Butterfield Bermuda Championship at Port Royal Golf Course in Southampton, Bermuda. (Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Q: Can you comment on that?

SP: “As I came here on Tuesday, it’s the best I’ve seen the greens. I was excited because I putted well here in the past and as soon as I’d seen the surface, I knew I was going to be able to make some putts and that’s what I did. I felt my wedge play was good, I had some easy putts, and you kind of do, I did the things that you need to do to make birdies. I putted well, hit some wedges close and I played the par 5s well.”

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek