#CIMBClassic Rd 3 What They Said

Sat 31 Oct 2015

#CIMBClassic Rd 3 What They Said

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Brendan Steele (Usa) – Third Round 66 (-6), Total 196 (-20)
THE MODERATOR: We would like to welcome Brendan Steele to the interview room following the third round at the CIMB Classic. Brendan is 20-under par and tied for the lead with Justin Thomas. The total of 196 through 54 holes is a tournament record. Brendan is looking for his second win and first since 2011. 6-under par, bogey-free, 66 today. Obviously you're playing well. Talk us through birdies on the day, please.
BRENDAN STEELE: Okay. I made birdie on No. 5. I hit driver, 7-iron. Didn't really hit a very good putt, but had an eagle putt from like 40 feet, ran it by 10 feet, made that coming back. So, the first one of the day.
Then, hit driver down there on 7 to just a short shot in. I got it on the top shelf on the back of the green where the pin was. Made a 15 foot putt there.
Then, 9 was a little bit unlikely, kind of pulled my approach long and left, made like a 35-footer out of the fringe down the hill. So that was a bonus and kind of gave me a little bit of momentum.
Had a good up-and-down from way short of the green on 10 for birdie.
Then hit one way left on 12 that I thought was out of play. Hit a provisional. Ended up with an open shot. Hit it to like three feet. Made birdie there.
Then a good shot on 16, 15, I guess, to about 10 feet there. Made birdie there.
THE MODERATOR: Talk a bit about your mentality when you hold a lead through 54 holes. Obviously, you've gone through it recently. What's your strategy when you sleep on a lead? Obviously, you don't hold it alone this time.
BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah, I have had an interesting career, I guess, the way it always goes for guys out here.
But when I first got out here, I kind of won two in a row when I had the lead. Nationwide TOUR Championship in 2010 and Valero was really my first chance on TOUR. And I was thinking, man this is easy, this is no problem.
And then I was pretty comfortable at Frys and then it all started kind of spinning out of control for me and I didn't have a very good final round.
Learned a lot from it. Feel like I'm in a better place now, mentally. Trying to be a little bit more patient and a little bit more positive, not kind of put so much pressure on myself and just enjoy it a little bit more. Because it's not like it's going to be, hopefully, not the last time that I have a chance to win. So, you can't really look at it like it is your only chance. So that's kind of the problem.
THE MODERATOR: Give us some overall thoughts on the golf course. You played the par 5s very well this week so far.
Brendan Steele of USA Brendan Steele of USA
BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah, you really have to. There's four of them, which is a little bit rare for us on TOUR these days.
With two of them being really reachable, 3 and 5 being two holes that you feel like you really have to get.
10's a little tricky on the tee shot and tricky around the green.
And 18 they moved us up today, but normally it's a three shot hole for everybody. But you definitely have to try to grab a few there, two, three, four in a day, if you want to have a chance to have a really good round.
THE MODERATOR: Open it up to any questions.
Q. You talk about being patient. How have you managed to stay focused in the heat?
BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah, it's tough. You have to do a little bit of preparation, you have to kind of hydrate before you get out there and make sure you eat enough before you get out and while you're on the course, which is always tough. It's tough to eat when you're out there more than drink. So, that keeps your energy level up, keeps you a little bit more focused. So try to just stay on my normal eating regimen and try to get hydrated before I get out there and just always be drinking.
Q. What's the game plan for tomorrow?
BRENDAN STEELE: The scores are going to be low, as we have seen. Tournament record kind of scores so far. So you're going to have to shoot a really good round. There's still a lot of guys that can win, so just go out and keep doing everything that I've been doing and stay aggressive. I need make a lot of birdies and stay aggressive and patient, which is kind of a fine line, so just try to walk that line the best I can.
Justin Thomas (Usa) – Third Round 67 (-5), Total 196 (-20)
Q. So, great finish to the round. Two birdies. What was the importance of after that bogey, making those two birdies?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, well even the bogey was pretty big. I just hit it the one place you couldn't hit it.
But, yeah, those two birdies were huge. I felt like I played really well for some stretches.
I had some holes I didn't hit it well, but I hit a lot of good putts that didn't go in. So, it was nice to get that putt to go on 17 and finish on 18, finish on a good note.
Q. Talk about that chip on 18. That was pretty sweet --
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, it was. I was fortunate. I didn't think I hit my 4-iron that far. I had 242 hole, and I just kind of just barely caught it a groove low and it knuckled and went over the green. Being in the rough you never know what kind of lie you're going to get.
It was good to where it just kind of had to get the speed right and I did, so that was a nice chip.
Q. Now tied for the lead going into tomorrow, what is your overall thoughts heading into Sunday?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I feel great. This is where you want to put yourself at every event. I'm just going to use my past learning experiences in the other events I've played in and just try to go out there and hit a bunch of fairways.
I'm not driving it very well this week, even though I'm playing well. So, I feel like if I can hit more fairways, I can attack a little bit more on a couple holes where I'm not.
So I'm just going to focus on that and try to go make as many birdies as I can again.
Q. And would you say that you're starting to slow down now after a year on TOUR and being in contention?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, this is what I plan on doing and this is what my expectations every event I play in.
But the first year went by fast. It was a good year. A couple events here and there from a great year.
But it's over with, and I've got to use those experiences to learn from to go forward in the events on days like tomorrow.
Kevin Na of USA Kevin Na of USA
Kevin Na (Usa) – Third Round 64 (-8), Total 197 (-19)
Q. Just your thoughts on your round of 64 for today?
KEVIN NA: I played very well today. I got off to a hot start, made some good putts. Couple missed putts at the end, but overall, very pleased with how I played.
Q. And you've been playing well the past few weeks as well. What's been the key for you so far here?
KEVIN NA: Well, making some putts and then hitting it well, so it's a good combo.
Also, I don't know, I feel pretty comfortable, which is nice. I got a little -- I keep getting a little tired at the end of the round from being jet lagged a little bit, but besides that, the last three weeks I felt very comfortable, very confident and I think that's been a big key.
Q. Finish here tied second as well, so obviously you must like playing on this golf course.
KEVIN NA: Yeah, last year, I was right up there until the end. Losing that ball on 17 that kind of cost me the event.
But it was a great week. I love this golf course. Malaysian fans have been very nice to me. And also, from my first win being here when I was like 19 at Kota Permai, so I have some great memories at Malaysia and I can only thank Malaysia for that.
Q. (No Microphone.)
KEVIN NA: Eight times. Eight times in my career I finished second. Well, I got to keep the streak alive, don't I?
(Laughter.) Worst case, I win, right? If I don't keep the streak alive. That's the attitude I'm trying to have.
Q. Do you know what's been holding you back since your first win in 2011?
KEVIN NA: I've had some tournaments that I threw away and I have some tournaments that I feel like I got beat. I don't know, I've been unlucky a few times. But you know what? The last few weeks I've never felt so comfortable coming down the stretch. And I don't know if the viewers were able to see that, but I've been getting a lot of compliments from my friends and coaches and family members, friends, saying that how comfortable I looked. I think that's been the difference, but comfortable, but still finished second. Maybe I'll feel comfortable finishing second or worst case, I win.
Q. Talk us through that birdie on the 10th hole.
KEVIN NA: Yes, I haven't probably missed a shot all day until on 10. I was trying to hit a cut off the tee with a 3-wood and just came over the top. It was still going to cut, to the left edge of the fairway, maybe just left rough. But the tree's there. So I caught the tree and second shot pulled it again, hit the cart path, I was in the trees, I had nothing.
Before my caddie even said anything, I pulled a club out I said, back off, I'm going to hit this. And I hit it through the trees and I figured I get up-and-down here it would be a good five and flew it right in the hole.
Q. What club did you use?
KEVIN NA: 60 degree wedge. It's one of those things, when it is your week, things like that happen.
Q. The only bogey on number 14. Did that distract your rhythm?
KEVIN NA: Was that 14 or 13?
Q. One of those.
KEVIN NA: Yeah, you know, I hit a decent shot in there, it's a tough hole. I left it about somewhere around four feet and there was a little bit of a distraction, you get that, you're going to get that close to the end of the week, but you got to forget those and move on.
Hideki Matsuyama of Japan Hideki Matsuyama of Japan
Hideki Matsuyama (Jap) – Third Round 68 (-4), Total 199 (-17)
Q. How important was that last birdie on 18?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: The birdie at the last hole was really important because it still kept me in the tournament. I still have a chance to win.
What really hurt was the missed putts at 15 and 16 and 17. I wish I could have those back. But at least I'm in striking distance.
Q. You're No. 1 in greens hit in regulation in the first two rounds, and you hit all the greens again today. Talk a little bit about the putting. Has that been holding you back a little bit this week?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: My putting hasn't been that bad. I missed some key putts, though, along the way, and -- but it's nothing that I can't turn around for tomorrow's last round.
Q. Just a few shots back of the leader right now. On this golf course, I think we have seen a lot of low rounds. Is there one low round in you this week?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: Yeah, somebody's going to shoot, tomorrow, 7-under or better, maybe 6-under, 7-under or better, and hopefully, it will be me, and I'll have a chance to win.
Adam Scott (Aus) – Third Round 66 (-6), Total 200 (-16)
Q. Strong finish. Do you like where you are?
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, just a slow start today, but then I played well the last 14 holes or so, so need to put 18 together tomorrow. A fast start would be good to get in the mix.
Q. Did you feel like you missed a chance on the front nine which seems to be the easier of the two nines?
ADAM SCOTT: Well, yeah, yesterday I got off to a fast start, and I had the same score as today. So I just got to put 18 holes together.
There's just a few holes somewhere out there where I go backwards and that's why I'm going to be four or five shots behind the lead.
Q. After three days here playing, do you feel like you're fighting a little bit more in terms of the greens and stuff like that?
ADAM SCOTT: I think the greens I've been really good with all week. I can't complain about that.
I think I putted nicely. I made lots of putts. I'm very happy with how that's going.
Adam Scott of Australia Adam Scott of Australia
So if I can just get it in there a bit closer and get all the wedges up-and-down tomorrow, have a low round, 61, 62, we have seen it out here this week.
Q. Do you feel that there's a low one in there for you this week?
ADAM SCOTT: Absolutely. I played enough good golf that it comes down to just 18 only, I can find it.
Q. The heat isn't an issue for you, is it?
ADAM SCOTT: Not too bad, it's just like home, almost.
Anirban Lahiri (Ind) – Third Round 67 (-5), Total 204 (-12)
Q. It's an interesting last five holes for you.
ANIRBAN LAHIRI: Yeah, I'll take it. I haven't been finishing very well, so that was good to at least finish with a few birdies, obviously.
17 was not fun. I misjudged my club and didn't make a good swing. But it was nice to make birdie.
I haven't -- I've been playing good but I haven't made birdies in bunches. It's just been bogey-free or one bogey and three, four, five birdies. But it was nice to -- I think I made eight birdies today. So that was nice. Because you have to be in a birdie mood on this golf course, otherwise you're not going to catch anyone.
As it is, I don't think a 67 is going to gain much ground. So I'm going to have to make as many or more birdies tomorrow and try and keep a clean card.
Q. But overall are you still in a good position for the last day?
ANIRBAN LAHIRI: Yeah, I would have liked to have been in a better position, but having started weak, I think this is not a bad place to be. Like I said, I feel like I'm playing well, so hopefully I can get a really deep round.
Q. Energy level is good?
ANIRBAN LAHIRI: Yeah, it's good. It's surprisingly good. Malaysia has been good. It's not been as bad as it can be. It's nice. Go have a shower, go get some needles in my leg and release some tired muscles, but, yeah, I'm fine.