#CIMBClassic Rd 3 - What they said

Sat 22 Oct 2016

#CIMBClassic Rd 3 - What they said


Anirban Lahiri (Ind) – Third round 65 (-7), Total 197 (-19)

CHUAH CHOO CHIANG: 65, four-shot lead, how pleasing is that.

ANIRBAN LAHIRI: It's very satisfying, to finish the way I did definitely a big positive. I was determined today to keep my focus right through the 18 holes, and I'm happy I managed to do that. Just going to try and do the same tomorrow.

I just told myself that I got rid of my double-bogey early in the round today and just tried to focus on what I needed to do. You know, like I said, I feel like I'm hitting it good with my irons, my wedges and I'm putting it good.

So I just told myself to keep hitting fairways and giving myself chances, and made a couple of putts. Hit some close, so, yeah, very satisfying.

Anirban Lahiri of India Anirban Lahiri of India

CHUAH CHOO CHIANG: You talked about how you've been making a lot of birdies coming in from Macau and entering the week, as well, and lots of birdies on this golf course, but what is it that you and Rajiv worked on Monday when you got to TPC KL?

ANIRBAN LAHIRI: Funny enough what we worked on had nothing to do with me making birdies. We worked more on making sure that I get a little bit more confident off the tee. I think that's still an area that I want to improve on.

I haven't found as many fairways with my driver as I'd like, and that's what we were working on because I felt like my swing is not 100 percent. It's definitely better right now than where it was in Macau, no doubt, as you can see.

But I think the scoring aspect is more of a mental thing, and I think I'm quite focused on just what I need to do, which is hit fairways, try and hit it close and then use my advantage of having played here a few times before to know which way it's likely to break. That's what's helped me make putts this week.

Q. Going into tomorrow with a four-shot cushion, what's the plan?

ANIRBAN LAHIRI: It's the same. I don't even consider it -- I don't consider any lead safe out here. This golf course is such that, you've seen guys shooting 63, 61. I've shot 61 before. Justin shot 60 last year.

I have to go out there and I have to do the same exact thing. I have to just keep making birdies, because you can't play defensive golf here. You just have to hang in there and maintain your focus right through.

Q. How important is it for you to finish well in the closing stages?

ANIRBAN LAHIRI: It's very important. Obviously it was on my mind today. It was on my mind since I finished my round yesterday actually. I'm glad that I stayed positive and focused right through.

You know, luckily today it was a little bit cooler. That definitely helps when you're not trying to fight the heat and exhaustion. I played a little bit off the tee maybe yesterday and so I'm making sure that I'm taking enough food and liquids on the golf course so that doesn't affect my focus.

I'm trying my best. I'm doing whatever I can to make sure that I'm still in the same space mentally and physically on the first hole that I am right now after I finish 18.

Q. You said on Tuesday, PGA TOUR hopefully four days --

ANIRBAN LAHIRI: You have to stay positive. The good thing with golf is there's always next week. But right now, I just need to focus on what I need to do. I feel in a good place mentally and physically and with my game, so that's exactly where you want to be going into tomorrow. So I'm not going to think much about where I am but just think about what I need to do.

Q. Surprising to be in another country and to be the crowd favorite, as well?

ANIRBAN LAHIRI: I'd like to think it's a home crowd. I've had quite a love affair with Malaysia, whether it's the Malaysian Open or whether it's the two EurAsia Cups where we've had tremendous support and there's a lot of Indians in KL and Malaysia.

So it definitely feels like home. I've been coming here ever since I was a junior. I played in Malaaca I think in 2004, so it's been 12 years now. I'd like to think that I'm going to have some home crowd support tomorrow, yeah.

CHUAH CHOO CHIANG: What sort of age do you find coming back to where you've won before?

ANIRBAN LAHIRI: I think it's just a boost to your confidence, nothing else I think. At the back of your mind, you know that you've got it done on this golf course, and that helps obviously, because to close an event is not easy.

After Macau, I was sitting home and looking, I have seven seconds and four thirds and a few fourths and fifths for my seven wins. It's painful when you don't get over the line, and when you do, you remember it. You remember what it felt like mentally, and I think that's where you want to recall that feeling and that helps you to play better through the week.

Q. Walking on to the practice range this morning, I saw a look in your eye that I had never seen before. You looked extremely determined and focused. Where did that come from and how much did that help you today?

ANIRBAN LAHIRI: Thanks. I think I've been in a good frame of mind just coming in after last week, finishing the way I did. I felt like I let one get away. So I'm going to try my best to improve on that. I'm glad I kept my focus after the round today.

Q. You've won on this golf course before in the Malaysian Open and know it like the back of your hand. How much confidence does that give you going into tomorrow?

ANIRBAN LAHIRI: It definitely helps. When you've played a golf course a few times, you get a lot more comfortable, and I think that's the big difference between me playing on new courses every week and during the year and last season.

So this week obviously feels like home. I've played it few times. I've won here. So good memories out on the golf course.

Q. With a four-shot lead, how will you approach tomorrow?

ANIRBAN LAHIRI: I actually have to do the same thing. You can shoot 63, 61, 60. We've seen that in the past. Everyone is in with a shot. I just have to go out there and keep making birdies. I don't think there's any other way to do it.

Q. 65 today and four-shot lead now, surely you must feel happier today?

ANIRBAN LAHIRI: Yeah, I'm really happy. More than anything else, I finished strong. I think that's been lacking in my game the first two days. I'm really happy I kept my focus through all 18 holes. Yeah, I'm happy.

Q. With three solid rounds in the bag and you're riding a great momentum and you've won on this course; how confident are you moving ahead?

ANIRBAN LAHIRI: I feel like I'm playing well and hitting my irons well. I just need to make sure I find fairways tomorrow. As long as I can do that and give myself a good look at birdie, I'll make a few.

Q. And looking ahead to the Order of Merit, if you win this event, you pretty much secure it. How much is that in the back of your mind?

ANIRBAN LAHIRI: It's not there at all. I'm not thinking about it at all. I think that I have to stay in the present. I have to focus on what I need to do shot by shot, hole-by-hole. There's no point in projecting.

For me, I'm going to head to the range, work on my driver. It's been giving me some trouble. Just, you know, keep my head down and try and play the way I have the last three days.

Q. And finally, what's the strategy?

ANIRBAN LAHIRI: There is no strategy. This golf course, anybody can shoot any score. This is a great field. So I have to go out there and just continue to be aggressive and continue to just play the way I have, and I have to make birdies.

Justin Thomas (USA) – Third round 71 (-1), Total 201 (-15)

Q. Just a ho-hum day?

JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, it was really just terrible golf for the first 13 holes. To be 4-over par out here, it was a very weird feeling. I don't know. I'd been so comfortable and breezed around here so easily, I felt no matter how poorly I played, as long as I just managed everything, I could still shoot 3- or 4-under par, and I just put myself so far behind the 8-ball.

It was great to have that finish. I gave myself a chance, and I know I wouldn't have done that in some of the years past. I feel like that showed a lot of me and I hope that I can ride the momentum into tomorrow.

Justin Thomas of USA Justin Thomas of USA

Q. Is there something you and your caddie said to each other, or something you said to yourself in your brain, just let's go?

JUSTIN THOMAS: I finally started hitting it better. I really was hitting everything solid, other than my tee shot on 11, I was just hitting it left. It was just one of those days where every back break possible is happening; this far a bounce from being in the fairway here or a bad lie there.

I mean, 10 was unfortunate. It wasn't a good drive but I just got so many bad lies on that hole and plugged in the bunker. It's just, I was telling Aaron, that's one of the things that happens when you're playing bad; it doesn't happen when you're 4-under. I started kind of opening the clubface a little bit more going back and I started starting online a little bit better, so going to go hit a couple more and see if I can get it worked out.

Q. Just talk through the finish, clubs, distances on the

last five birdies?

JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, yeah, just hit 5-iron off the tee on 14. And then full sand wedge in there about probably 13, 14 feet and made that one.

Then 7-iron, one of my better swings of the day, I really hit it good. My caddie, Jimmy, and I, we thought the wind, it's the most it's ever blown since I've been here. It was a little swirly and came up just short and I chipped that one in.

I hit 4-iron off the tee on 16 actually. Went through the wind somehow. Went in the bunker and hit a great 56-degree out of that fairway bunker from 99 yards to about same thing, about 14 feet up the hill and made that one.

Then I hit 5-iron off the tee on 17. Hit just a little flatted pitching wedge, same thing, about 13, 14 feet.

Then 18, I just ripped a drive and didn't hit a very good 3-wood. It was kind of a tough pin to get at. Then hit a great chip-in there, which kind of let me down -- my chipping really cost me the first 13 holes or so. And to make that putt on 18 is great.

Q. At least it's a course you know you can shoot 11-under. You've done it before. Is that the mentality tomorrow?

JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, you don't know. Anirban is playing great. I've played with him a handful of times and it's the best I've seen him play. He just made it look so simple. I didn't realize he made nine birdies until we just finished and I looked at his scorecard. He played great and I know he's going to be tough to catch, but I know there's a lot of other guys and anybody can go low. I just need to try to work off this positive finish that I had and try to keep those negative thoughts and things out on the course from happening, and just try to go have some fun.

Russell Knox (Sco) – Third round 68 (-4), Total 201 (-15)

Q. Thoughts on the round for today?

RUSSELL KNOX: Yeah, I shot 4-under, I didn't feel that great over the ball today. So it was a bit of a struggle. But I putted nicely and other than 1 bad swing, 4-under is pretty good.

Russell Knox of Scotland Russell Knox of Scotland

Q. Considering the heat out here, it's a bit of a patience game out here, isn't it?

KNOX: Exactly, maybe that was my problem today, just my body just didn't feel as good as yesterday. So yeah, it is, you've just got to keep going, keep drinking a lot of water and try to eat a little bit. I probably didn't eat enough on the course, and just the last few holes, just didn't quite have the energy. But it's okay. I battled hard and 4-under is still pretty good.

Q. Four shots back, considering how the course is set up and how you've been playing, do you think you're now too far back?

RUSSELL KNOX: No. This is a course where you've got to play great on the last day to win because there's going to be people that do it. So I need to be super aggressive tomorrow and play a little bit more free than I did today.

James Hahn (USA) – Third round 69 (-3), Total 202 (-14)

Q. A good back nine there, especially getting the birdie on 18 keeps you in the thick of things going into tomorrow?

JAMES HAHN: Yeah, it was a good front nine and back nine. Didn't hit the ball all that well on the front. Managed to just make nine pars, and sometimes that's half the battle. Hideki started off well and birdied four out of his first five, so I felt like he's making a move and I'm sitting still. But I managed to make a couple birdies coming in. Finished 3-under and keeps me in it for tomorrow.

Q. Scoring the way it is, a lot of birdies on this course, is that a style of play that typically suits you or do you like it if it's a little more difficult?

 James Hahn of USA James Hahn of USA

JAMES HAHN: Either/or. If I'm playing well, I can make a lot of birdies like I did yesterday. When I'm not playing well, it's tough out there, because you see guys moving up the leaderboard and it makes you want to press a little bit.

But it's not really a golf course that you can overpower. You really have to pick your clubs well off the tee and give yourself a good chance from the fairway. But all in all, it's fair and there's a lot of birdies out there.

Q. Do you like this trip, Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, being here?

JAMES HAHN: I do. I think it's amazing, seeing kids come out and watching us play golf, we get a lot of spectators out here comparable to a PGA TOUR event. So it's good to see that the game is growing.

Q. Anything in particular you'll do tomorrow?

JAMES HAHN: Probably thinking 24-under is going to win tomorrow, so about 10-under, course record would be nice. And then make a hole-in-one and get a BMW.

Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn) – Third round 69 (-3), Total 202 (-14)

Q. Can you sum up your round for today?

HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: I didn't play real well today but looking forward to a better round tomorrow. Still have a chance and so I'll do my best.

Q. You got off to a fast start and then the birdies sort of dried up. What happened after those run of birdies?

Hideki Matsuyama of Japan Hideki Matsuyama of Japan

HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: Really I wasn't hitting the ball that well and got lucky on the first five holes to get it to 4-under for the day. But coming in, it was a struggle.

Q. You've played well on this golf course. Obviously this golf course suits your eye. What do you think you need to do tomorrow to sort of like get yourself back into contention?

HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: Mainly, most importantly, get off to a good start. Hit the ball like I did yesterday and score like I did yesterday and I may still have a chance.

Q. Still playing like how you played last week when you won in Japan, as well?

HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: No, I played a lot better last week.

Scott Hend (Aus) – Third round 63 (-9), Total 206 (-10)

Q. Quite a different performance today from the last two days.

SCOTT HEND: Yeah, finally feel like I'm getting over the food poisoning from last week. Body is starting to feel good, starting to feel strong in my swing again and could actually swing the golf club like I know I can, which is quite nice.

Q. Was there any point in the round you could break the course record today?

SCOTT HEND: No, because we've got lift, clean and place anyway, so it wouldn't be a course record. I was just trying to catch up and go off the first tee tomorrow. That was my goal, instead of teeing off on 10. Like I said, I felt a lot stronger today and I felt a lot better. So it's just a shame it's come a little late in the week.

Scott Hend of Australia Scott Hend of Australia

Q. And how much was the Order of Merit in the back of your mind today?

SCOTT HEND: Look, if Anirban wins, there's no chance. I've just got to try to secure second spot. I need to try and get as many World Ranking points here for my World Ranking and just play as good as I can. I can't control what Anirban is doing. He's playing great golf this week, and if he wins, it's a fantastic effort.

Q. Now that you are so well placed going into the final day, what's your strategy?

SCOTT HEND: Same as today. Hopefully make some birdies. Don't make any bogeys and climb up the board.

Miguel Tabuena (Phi) – Third round 66 (-6), Total 208 (-8)

Q. Two eagles on the scorecard, one double-bogey, so how do you feel about your round today?

MIGUEL TABUENA: Pretty good considering the bad start on hole No. 11. But I hung in there. I know that I'm playing really well, playing really solid, and I had a few good breaks today with the eagles. Hopefully I can play the same way tomorrow and climb the leaderboard.

Q. Did you do anything different today from the last two days?

MIGUEL TABUENA: The first day, I have a tendency to pressure myself a bit too much in the bigger events. But I told myself starting yesterday and today, just treat it like any other Tour event you play in, because you know that you're playing well, and it's just a matter of timing and good breaks.

Q. And to finish with a good result here, although it's just the third round, must give you a lot of confidence. This is your second PGA TOUR event?

MIGUEL TABUENA: It is, yeah. I have an outside goal to earn about 150, 160 FedExCup points to get me into the Web.com finals, four of the last tournaments, which -- and then if I play well there, I could get into the PGA TOUR.

I've just got to keep playing the way I'm playing and I know it will happen soon.

Miguel Tabuena of Philippines Miguel Tabuena of Philippines

Q. Besides getting on the PGA TOUR, the Order of Merit should be in the back of your mind this week?

MIGUEL TABUENA: For sure, yeah.

Q. How much are you thinking about it?

MIGUEL TABUENA: Like I said, I can't pressure myself too much. I've just got to make my game do the talking, and the way I'm playing right now, it shouldn't be a problem. But I saw Scott Hend on the fourth tee, and he was 9-under for the day. And I was like, oh, what a round, props to him.

But it's not over. Still have one more day left and we'll see what happens.

Q. You obviously have a lot of goals in your career, winning majors and playing the PGA TOUR. How important is winning The Asian Tour Order of Merit?

MIGUEL TABUENA: It's up there. This is the most prestigious tour in Asia and a Filipino won it a few years ago, Juvic Pagunsan, and I hope I can put my name on that trophy, also, one day.

Q. A good result here should --

MIGUEL TABUENA: Should seal it, yeah. But like I said, there's plenty of golf and I can't get ahead of myself.

Q. You played with Ernie Els today?


Q. What was the experience like playing with him?

MIGUEL TABUENA: It was one of the best experiences I've had on the golf course. Such a nice guy. He's super down-to-earth. And you can just see why he's a multiple Major Champion and hopefully I can have half the success he's had in his career.

Q. What sort of advice did he give you?

MIGUEL TABUENA: Quite a lot actually. About different stuff about my game, management, my schedule for next year. I made a new friend today, Ernie Els.

Q. Just want to get your eagle details.

MIGUEL TABUENA: On 18, my ninth hole, I hit driver, 3-wood to about 40 yards and holed it. It was good.

On No. 3, I hit driver, and then I had about 250, 255, 260 yards to the pin. I hit 5-wood, drive the green and then got on the green, caught the slope and I had a 5-footer for eagle and knocked it in.

Gavin Green (Mas) – Third round 75 (+3), Total 217 (+1)

Q. Your thoughts on a very tough day today?

GAVIN GREEN: Man it was tough. I struggled the whole day. Couldn't get anything going. I tried hard and I just -- I mean, I tried hard. I just couldn't get anything going. When I pulled it in the rough, I had the worst lie. It was the longest putt of the whole fairway. One of those days I guess.

Still, 3-over, it's not very good on this course. I'm not happy with it at all and I'm pretty disappointed. Putting is a little better but it's nowhere close to what I'm capable of doing.

Q. Is it a case of trying to push yourself a bit too hard?

GAVIN GREEN: Definitely trying to push a little bit too hard but I'm trying to make a charge. When you overtry it, this is what happens. It's a learning curve for me. You know, me and Ernie, we were talking about it, he said, kind of just stay patient. It's a big word for me to say, patient. It's a huge word. But to do it and actually do it under these circumstances is huge. I think it's a big learning curve and I've just got to move on and see what I can do tomorrow.

Q. You played with probably the smoothest swing in all of golf?

GAVIN GREEN: Oh, man, it's smooth and he hits it pretty long for a smooth guy. Ernie is always nice. We still go back to times in Iskandar and all that kind of stuff. It's nice. He said, you know, it's just a start. It's only just a start. So it's okay.

Q. After three days, how close are you to your goals you set earlier this week?

Gavin Green of Malaysia Gavin Green of Malaysia

GAVIN GREEN: Not even close honestly. But I feel like tomorrow, I'm only 1-over for the tournament. This course, if my driving is on and my putting is on tomorrow, I can go pretty low, you know, and 8-, 9-, 10-under is not away from me. I'm capable, four par 5s I can reach, and tomorrow I feel like they are going to push up a couple tee boxes.

14 they are going to push up to be drivable. 16 is going to be drivable. 18 is going to be two on. 10 is going to be another par 5, a couple of par 5s off the front, and I think I've just got to keep it in play and just do the best I can.

Q. Your friends out supporting you?

GAVIN GREEN: Crowds are great. Crowds are really nice. Hopefully I can put on a good show tomorrow, yeah.

Q. When someone like Ernie gives you advice to stay patient, what does it tell you?

GAVIN GREEN: It tells me I have to stay patient. (Laughter) But it's tough under the circumstance. You know, I know I just started out but it's tough. When you're playing bad and to stay patient, it is tough. But it's something that I've got to learn and I've just got to move on.