#CIMBClassic Rd 1 What They Said

Cameron Smith (Aus) – First Round 64 (-8)

CAMERON SMITH:  It was pretty simple really, hit a lot of good shots today and made a lot of good putts.  The putting was made pretty easy actually, ball striking today stood out today for me so it was a good round.

Q.  You’ve got a fantastic record here in Asia.  The humidity, the heat, the conditions, they don’t really seem to affect you as much as others?

CAMERON SMITH:  No.  Well, I grew up in Brisbane.  It’s kind of similar to this but obviously not as bad as this.  But yeah, I enjoy the heat.  I always play well in the heat for some reason, I honestly can’t tell you why.

Q.  This is where it all started for you here three years ago.  What do you love about this course?

CAMERON SMITH:  You’ve got to hit the ball straight and then there’s plenty of opportunities with your wedges as well.

Q.  I know the clubhouse lead doesn’t mean much because guys are going to go low.  Does that automatically mean you know you’re going to go in aggressive the next three rounds?121017_Cameron Smith_(AUS)03

CAMERON SMITH:  Yeah, keep the game plan pretty much the same really.  Just smart off the tee, try to hit the fairways and then really aggressive into the greens was the goal today and it worked so I’ll keep that one.

Q.  It was a great start for you today.  Overall, how are you feeling?

CAMERON SMITH:  Good.  I feel really hot, it was very hot today.  The golf was good.  The golf course is in great condition and yeah, it was a good day.

Q.  So tomorrow, your plan for tomorrow?

CAMERON SMITH:  Same plan tomorrow.  Really smart off the tee and just try and get it in the fairway and then really aggressive into the greens and obviously hole some putts.

Q.  Has this been reflective of the form that you’ve had over the last couple weeks, couple months coming back to Asia?

CAMERON SMITH:  Yeah, I’ve been playing pretty good of late.  Yeah, just had three weeks off so it was a good mental break for me and I feel really fresh.

Q.  This has been a great year for you with that win in May.  Do you feel like you’re settling down on the PGA TOUR now and slowly establishing yourself?

CAMERON SMITH:  Yeah, I feel really comfortable on the PGA TOUR now.  I made a few friends and yeah, it’s just easy.

Q.  Pretty hot start.  How’s that feel after coming over here and what’s the conditions like?

CAMERON SMITH:  Yeah, the course is great.  It’s really hot here.  Just tried to keep the hydration.  I drank as much water as I possibly could.  Yeah, and then the plan from there was just really simple, just hit some fairways and really aggressive into the greens, and my ball striking was really good today.

Q.  You made quite a few putts out there, too.  Were you just reading the greens well, comfortable with the course?

CAMERON SMITH:  Yeah, I’ve been around here a few times before, obviously played quite a bit in Asia, so I feel like it’s just back to what it was a few years ago.  So yeah, it’s pretty easy for me to read the greens and get some putts going.

Q.  Does being familiar with the area help you get off to a good start like this, feel comfortable with this week?

CAMERON SMITH:  Yeah, I love it here.  I feel really comfortable in Malaysia, and yeah, it’s always a good, fun week for us.

Poom Saksansin (Tha) – First Round 65 (-7)

My iron shots and putting was good. I holed a lot of putts today.  I played without any expectations. I just kept playing and the ball kept going in. This is a big event but there is no cut so I’m only feeling 50% pressure. The longest hole here for me is on the 13th hole. The rest is okay for me. I just want to play good here.

121017_PGACC_Xander Schauffele (USA) 03Xander Schauffele (Usa) – First Round 65 (-7)

Q.  Xander, great round, 7 under 65.  First time around the TPC Kuala Lumpur.  How did it go today for you?

XANDER SCHAUFFELE:  It was boring, which I guess is a good thing out here.  Hit a lot of fairways and kind of made an easy day out of it.  The rough has been up apparently compared to last year, that’s what Justin told me at least.  I pretty much tried to copy everything that he did because I figured he’s a good guy to imitate out here.

Q.  What’s the key for you to this golf course, because I saw you do a few plays or make a few plays out there that I wasn’t expecting off the tee.  I thought you would use your length a little bit more, maybe be a little bit more aggressive, but you obviously have a game plan around here?

XANDER SCHAUFFELE:  I’m acting like I have one.  I’m just trying to go with kind of what feels comfortable for now.  A couple of those ones where I hit iron off the tee, I still had wedge in my hand so Austin and I figured we could still be aggressive.  The greens are kind of firm, but I figure with the gap or pitching wedge we could still stop it within a couple feet.  So it might change as the week goes on, but we’ll see.

Q.  You had a phenomenal rookie year obviously and maybe somewhat unexpected, definitely by us.  You surprised us at the Golf Channel as analysts with what you did.  How have you been able over the last two weeks    heck of an offseason    to reset your goals and potentially reset your standards?

XANDER SCHAUFFELE:  Yeah, I haven’t really reset any goals yet, or I was supposed to make a list of goals before I came out here and I failed to do so, which might be a good thing.  My head’s still in the clouds for the most part and hopefully that will work for me this week.

Q.  You’ve got two more weeks in Asia, this week and obviously Jeju Island next week in South Korea and then HSBC Champions in China.  How important is it for you to get off to a good start these next three weeks on the Asian swing?

XANDER SCHAUFFELE:  Yeah, I’m just excited to be out here.  I always wanted to travel through golf, and the fact that I can kind of play Malaysia, Korea and China is awesome, especially with these events.  No cuts is always nice.

Q.  Coming off a strong year, Rookie of the Year obviously, how does that momentum carry over to these kind of events?

XANDER SCHAUFFELE:  Yeah, it’s just makes you feel just a little more comfortable, you know, finishing third.  Obviously I didn’t realize but I get a lot of good tee times now playing with Justin.  He’s kind of the man out here and that’s only going to help me.

Q.  Do you kind of expect to be in these positions now that you’ve had some success, do you expect to be up toward the top of the leaderboard?

XANDER SCHAUFFELE:  You know, I figured if I can kind of stay relaxed and stay comfortable, my game kind of holds strong.  So I guess I do expect it.  Everyone does at a certain point but this is all still new to me.  I had a two week offseason so my head’s still in the clouds with everything.

Q.  Strong day, though, bogey free.  What’s working for you well this week on this course?

XANDER SCHAUFFELE:  Just kind of keeping ahead of myself    or the ball right in front of me.  Hitting fairways is the biggest thing, so literally first shot on every hole is really important.  The greens are firm and the rough’s up from past years is what I heard, so if you can keep it in the fairway you can kind of play a boring, clean round.

Phachara Khongwatmai (Tha) First round 67 (-5)121017_Phachara Khongwatmai_(THAI)02

Today I didn’t think I could get five-under because it’s my first start at the CIMB Classic. On my first hole which was the par-five 10, I couldn’t hit my second shot into the green, and I made a bogey there.  I was able to control the ball better after that and began to putt better. I’m not thinking too far ahead now. I just want to play like what I did today. I came without any expectations and I just want to play my best. There is less pressure too as there’s no cut for this event.

Anirban Lahiri (Ind) – First Round 67 (-5)

Q.  Anirban, how do you assess 5 under today?

ANIRBAN LAHIRI:  Good score, good start.  A little disappointed, though.  I didn’t have a very good back nine.  Obviously got off to a red hot start and then couldn’t capitalize on the relatively scoring part of the golf course.  Guilty of missing a lot of putts from around eight to 12 feet, didn’t really make anything in the last nine holes, had at least six of them.  So disappointed, honestly.  Feel like I should have closed two or three shots better, but it’s a good score to start and I’ll have to go on from here.

Q.  I was going to say, what was going through your emotions on the front nine here?  You love this course and you got off to the best of possible starts with those consecutive birdies.

ANIRBAN LAHIRI:  Yeah, I think that’s the toughest part of the golf course, 11, 12, 13, and if you can play those holes even par or under par you’re doing well.  So obviously, like I said, I got off to a really good start and then I just didn’t capitalize on the shorter holes.  The par 5s on the front, I only made one birdie.  I didn’t birdie 16 or 17 from the fairway.  You want to hit fairways and then you set up birdies, but I just didn’t make those putts.  So kind of disappointed, like I said, to not have posted a better score, but you can see the scoring is going to be low so you just have to keep going.

Q.  What does this leave you with the strategy going into the next three rounds given you know guys are going to go low on this course?  Do you need to be more aggressive?

ANIRBAN LAHIRI:  No, I don’t think it’s possible to be any more aggressive.  You’ve got to play smart.  As long as you’re on the fairway, we’ve got ball in hand all week so that helps as well because you can pretty much be assured of a clean ball and you can fire at the greens.  Yeah, I think it’s going to be the same over the next three days and just try and make a bunch of putts.

Q.  The guys going off struggling in the humidity, do you think that’s something you’re going to have a bit of an advantage with knowing how well you’ve done in humidity and these conditions?

ANIRBAN LAHIRI:  Well, it’s the same for everyone but I kind of know what I need to do to handle it.  I have my own ways, I know how much I need to hydrate and how much fuel I need to put in, so I think that experience is good for me.  But when you play here more and more often, you’ll find all of us are professionals and we will adapt, so over a period of time we all get used to it.  Having said that, I’m quite comfortable in these conditions so it doesn’t make a difference.