#CIMBClassic Rd 2 - What they said

Fri 21 Oct 2016

#CIMBClassic Rd 2 - What they said

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Justin Thomas
Q. Another fine round today,66, you're making a habit of this at the CIMB, what was the difference between yesterday's round and today's round, because it looked like you had it going again.
JUSTIN THOMAS: Today I didn't play as well as I did yesterday. I drove it better which was good but I definitely had a couple iron shots and a couple wedges that I felt like I should have hit closer, but bogey-free is always good. I didn't hit it very good my first seven holes, so I just kind of managed it around at 1-under and started playing better from there on in.
Q. We always talk about form and a guy liking a golf course. In your case, is it form, or is it the golf course, that you just see the shots around here?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I don't know. At this point I don't really care. If I keep playing well, I don't really care. But I don't know, there's definitely some holes that fit my eye, and there's a couple tee shots on the par 5s where I have a little bit of an advantage over some guys. But you still have to hit the shots. I feel like I'm playing pretty well.
Q. 14-under now, two more days. Do you have a number in mind?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I have no idea. You don't know what the conditions are like or what other people can do. The thing about this course, you can go and shoot 12-, 13-under in a day.
Hopefully I can get it going a little bit this weekend like I did Friday last year and post a couple good numbers. But you never know what's going to happen out there.
Q. Another great round for you today. Can you tell us what it was like?
JUSTIN THOMAS: It was a solid day. It was nothing special for sure. First seven holes, I didn't feel like I played very well. I just was kind of getting into the round and I felt like I missed a couple putts that I felt like I could have or should have made and then I started playing better from there on in.
I drove the ball well and had it in the fairways a lot and had a lot of birdie opportunities. There's definitely a couple shots I'd like to have back, but I mean, going bogey-free and 6-under is always good.
Q. Your first time defending a title. What does that do to you? Does it put extra pressure or does it help you?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I don't think really either. I think everyone handles it differently but I just try to take it like another golf tournament. I still need to come out here and get a good game plan and play from tee-to-green like I want to play and give myself a lot of birdie opportunities because you have to do that out here.
I really try not to think a lot about the fact that I won last year. I'm really just trying to focus on each and every shot that I'm hitting.
Q. What is it about this golf course that suits your game so well?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I think a lot of wedges. I feel like I'm a pretty good wedge player, and you just kind of have to know how far your ball is going. There's not a lot of wind out here, so if you know how far it's going, you're going to be around pin-high all the time.
Justin Thomas of United States Justin Thomas of United States
I feel like I've been hitting it solid enough or hitting it well enough to where I know my distances and I've definitely hit some good iron shots the last couple days and especially last year. But it's just, I don't know, I guess there's something about it that I like.
Q. Ryan Moore has managed to defend his title two years in a row. What would it mean to you to be able to do that successfully, as well?
JUSTIN THOMAS: It would be great. Really don't know how to describe it. Hopefully I'll be able to tell you in a couple days.
Q. You made the pledge for $250 per birdie. Did you know you would make this many birdies when you made that pledge? Starting to rethink that number at all?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Not at all, I planned on making a lot of birdies. I knew I made 30 and two eagles here last year, and I knew Safeway was a birdie-fest and I know it's kind of the same in China.
I intended to make a lot of birdies. It wasn't something like I was doing during the -- wasn't doing it during Augusta or the U.S. Open. I want to help out any way I can, and more birdies wins for everybody.
Q. Looks like you'll be probably paired with Anirban going into the weekend. Obviously he's going to have a lot of popularity here. Have you played with him before?
JUSTIN THOMAS: We've played a couple times. He's a great dude. We've had a lot of fun together. He's fun to be around, fun to play with. It should be a pretty good crowd for us out there.
I've just managed my game really well the last couple days and I drove it a little bit better today. I didn't play as well today as I did yesterday and didn't make quite as many putts, but it was a solid day overall and I felt like any time I got in trouble, I managed to salvage par.
Q. So far tomorrow --
JUSTIN THOMAS: I'm just going to try to do the same thing. Just going to try to hit fairways and from there, I'll be able to attack because I'll have short-scoring clubs. Out here, you have to make a lot of birdies to get closer to the lead or build a lead, so I'm just going to try to keep doing the same thing and make a lot of birdies.
Q. Satisfied with the achievement today?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I'm not crazy satisfied. I'm obviously happy with the round, and I probably would have taken it before the day started but I definitely level some shots out there. But it is what it is and I played well those last 11 holes to shoot 6-under.
Anirban Lahiri
Q. One blemish on your scorecard but otherwise a fantastic rounds?
ANIRBAN LAHIRI: I've been playing well. Both yesterday and today I've played good. I think I played solid right through. It's just very disappointing to finish the way I did. Both days I think I left four or five shots out there coming in. Yeah, I would have liked to be in a better position the way I've played but it's not over yet.
Q. You hit almost all your greens today. Can you comment on your irons?
Anirban Lahiri of India Anirban Lahiri of India
ANIRBAN LAHIRI: I put some work in with my coach earlier in the week. Last week was a bit of a struggle. Obviously I seem to be finding my rhythm a lot better. I think having played this course a few times, you kind of know what to do.
Yeah, I think if I can keep doing what I'm doing, keep giving myself looks, then I can make a few more.
Q. We keep seeing you make fantastic shots and you still look not happy. What is behind it? Is it a way to get pumped up?
ANIRBAN LAHIRI: Not really. I think me, I expect myself to hit it closer than what I do sometimes. I set myself high standards and sometimes I might look disappointed but it's a way of me pushing myself to get better. It's not in any way disrespectful or arrogant. It's just the way I am. I've always been that way.
Q. You are now very well placed on the leaderboard going into the weekend. What is your strategy now?
ANIRBAN LAHIRI: Yeah, I mean, more of the same obviously, without weak finishes. If I can switch that around the next two days, try and get in the hunt on Sunday afternoon. Like I said, I think I'm playing well. Hopefully I can just keep the intensity through the weekend.
Q. You must take some heart that you made five birdies in your last 47 holes?
ANIRBAN LAHIRI: Yeah, like I said, I think a call just kind of switched on in my mind, like a birdie block before that. I just had not played that much golf. But I'm definitely swinging it better this week. Just feel like I've got to work on the mistakes -- I've compounded my errors. I've not made too many errors, but when I've made an error, I've kind of compounded it this week. So I guess that's unfortunate and disappointing I guess.
Q. Is it down to rustiness from lack of play?
ANIRBAN LAHIRI: Not really. I don't think so. I've played enough now. This is three weeks on the trot, so it's not that. I think it's just I have to manage my decision making a little bit better. I hit driver off the tee on 18 and probably wasn't the right play for me.
If I just hit a fairway wood off the tee, which is what I do normally from the back tee, it makes the hole a lot easier for me. I just tried to be aggressive today because I was feeling good but made a bad swing. And then it was a bit of a disaster on the greens.
I've been pretty solid otherwise. I guess I just have to focus a little bit harder when I'm finishing up.
Q. Has it been a good decision that you made to come back to courses that you've won?
ANIRBAN LAHIRI: Yeah, it's definitely something that I planned. When I sat down with my team, my wife, my coach, my manager, Rajiv, my caddie, we were trying to figure out what's the best plan of action, because I had the choice of playing three different tours.
But obviously for me, it's important for me to work myself back into form. And the best way to do that is to go and play courses that you're comfortable on where you've done well before.
The last three weeks have all been courses where I've won, so when you go back to a course where you won, you already feel positive to start, and I think that's what I needed. It's been so much guesswork for me in America the past season, and I wanted to come back out of injury.
It feels like a softer start. It's just because you don't have to work so hard on the Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, so yeah, that was something that was strategically planned by my team and me to come out ask work my way back.
Russell Knox
Q. Were you expecting to score so well today?
RUSSELL KNOX: Not at all. I thought I could shoot maybe 5- , 6-under would be a great score, and then I just started making putts after putts. Got on a nice little roll there and very pleased with my score.
Q. Not a dropped shot today and you made four back-to-back birdies, how did you feel after that last putt went in?
RUSSELL KNOX: That was a nice par to make on the last hole. I didn't make a bogey all day, so that was always a goal of mine. I got a little unlucky with my tee shot. Was in a bad position. So to make five on the last hole makes lunch taste real nice.
Q. You don't play in these conditions very often, coming from Scotland, so how was it out there for you?
RUSSELL KNOX: It wasn't as hot today. I mean, teeing off second out early and a little cloud cover, it's still warm, but yesterday felt much hotter to me.
Q. You're very well placed going into the weekend on the leaderboard. What's the plan going forward?
Russell Knox of Scotland Russell Knox of Scotland
RUSSELL KNOX: This course, because of the conditions, you have to make loads of birdies. So aim at the pin and try and hole the putts.
Q. Obviously defending champ next week. You going to move to Asia?
RUSSELL KNOX: May be. I'm really looking forward to next week. This week was all about gaining some momentum for next week. I've never had a chance to defend a professional tournament before, so next week will be a thrill. That was great today. It put me -- I knew after 2-under, I needed a super round in order to get back into it as the conditions will probably be pretty amazing all week. I needed that.
Q. You mentioned it's a little different than your typical PGA TOUR event. Do you have to change philosophies at going at every pin? Do you have to talk yourself into that, or just knowing that you have to get seven birdies to contend.
RUSSELL KNOX: There's still four or five like hard holes out here, so you've got to be patient on those ones. You just have a lot of wedges on the par 5s. You have to take care of the easy holes, so to say. You have to birdie the par 5s and you have loads of wedges, so you know you're going to have lot of birdie putts. You've just got to kind of believe that you can make six or seven, eight, nine birdies.
James Hahn
Q. With nine birdies and one dropped shot, not bad?
JAMES HAHN: Not bad. Played well today. Started off a little shaky. Birdied the first. Bogeyed the second. Made a good bogey putt on 2, so that kept the round going. Overall played a lot of good shots. Got up-and-down a lot from inside 100, 110 yards, so definitely helps.
Q. You started at minus three today. Were you expecting to play the way you did today?
JAMES HAHN: Absolutely. Every day I expect to play this way. No, it's a gettable golf course. You keep it in the fairway. You're going to have a lot of short irons into the greens and if you can judge the speed well, you can make a lot of putts out here. I made a lot of putts today.
Q. Were the conditions vastly different yesterday compared to today or did you do anything differently?
James Hahn of USA James Hahn of USA
JAMES HAHN: It felt like the round took about an hour longer yesterday. I don't know why. It just felt like we played in about five hours.
Today it was -- fairways were always clear in front of us, so it was easy to keep the momentum going. Yesterday just felt like any time I had something going, we were waiting on the tee box for the second shot or on the very next hole.
So today I had a very good rhythm to it and it helps when I'm playing with a couple guys that are also playing well.
Q. When you look ahead to the weekend, do you expect that you have to keep up the standard to win the tournament?
JAMES HAHN: I think so. I think there's a lot of birdie opportunities out there, and Justin Thomas is playing well defending this championship, so he's definitely going to make a lot of birdies out there and take advantage of the par 5s. I feel like mid, high 20s is going to win it again this year.
Gavin Green
Q. Tough day in the office?
GAVIN GREEN: Surprisingly I played a lot better than yesterday. I hit 17 greens out of 18 greens. And I putted horrendous. Man, I just couldn't get the putts started on line. Just couldn't get it going, and thankfully I was 2-under my last three.
Thankfully a couple putts dropped for me. I was trying hard to stay patient all day. Man, it was tough out there. Maybe I won't work this time -- clearly it didn't work.
So I don't know, it was just tough, but I stayed patient. I stayed patient. I was positive, and you know, thankfully some putts dropped for me the last couple holes.
Q. You had that stretch at the turn where you dropped three shots in four holes. What was going through your mind at that moment?
GAVIN GREEN: It kind of hit me because on this hole, I had ten, 15 feet for birdie, and missing a 3-putt, I missed a short putt and it kind of shook me a little bit.
No. 2 I 3-putt again, and I just couldn't get the speed right for the long putts. I think I was a little bit through the Safeway last week and still trying to get the long putts down.
Distance control has not been very good this week and I think that's something that I have to work on. I probably won't do anything today now and just come early tomorrow and kind of do something on it.
But other than that, I'm pretty pleased. I'm hitting it good. So just keep going and keep staying patient, and you know, hopefully just hopefully some putts drop for me.
Gavin_Green of Malaysia Gavin_Green of Malaysia
Q. You had the par 5s figured out --
GAVIN GREEN: I birdied one, I know that. I hit the greens and was close enough where I wasn't in the 3-putt range, which was good. I think, yeah, I'm getting a little better. The jet-lag is getting over me, so it's good.
Q. Obviously there's no halfway cut this week, so going into the weekend, what's the thought process like?
GAVIN GREEN: Try to make as much birdies as I can. Obviously it's a big event and obviously I really want to do well. It's a really big event for just Malaysia, and it's for everybody, and I'm just going to attack, attack and make as much birdies as I can, but smart. Obviously don't make, not smart mistakes. I'll be good.
Q. Playing in a big event like this, feeling any nerves at all?
GAVIN GREEN: Not anymore. Not after last week. It's a lot better. It helped me with my composure, with just maintaining my -- just my level and keeping kind of calm, which is good. So I'm good, yeah. I'll be good tomorrow.