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TRAVELERS CHAMPIONSHIP


June 19, 2014


Brendan Steele


CROMWELL, CONNECTICUT

THE MODERATOR:¬† Bogey‑free round, a 62 to get started today.¬† Just kind of take us through your hot start and your thoughts once you started thinking maybe about 59 or not?
BRENDAN STEELE: ¬†Yeah.¬† Yeah.¬† Well, we got started in the rain this morning, rained pretty good for the first probably 10 holes or so.¬† Normally not a very good rain player, but came out and holed my second shot on the first hole, so I guess that gives me a little better feeling in the rain, I guess, and hit it pretty close on the next hole, so was 3‑under pretty quick and was able to just kind of ride that momentum the whole day.
THE MODERATOR:  And you recently made a change on the putter.  If you want to talk about when that happened and the motivation for that.
BRENDAN STEELE:  Yeah.  I wasn't putting very well coming out of Memorial, hadn't putted very well at Byron Nelson either, and so I made the change in the second round of the U.S. Open qualifying, so I putted really poorly in the morning and then putted well in the afternoon.  So just kind of been sticking with it the last couple of weeks.
THE MODERATOR:  Okay.  Questions.  We got a microphone right here.

Q.¬† You were on 14 and it looked like you had a pretty good shot, 8‑under, to maybe challenge the course record or even go 59.¬† Did that affect your play on the last few holes?
BRENDAN STEELE:  You know, the thoughts crept in, so maybe.  It's hard to say.  If they don't creep in, do I shoot 59, do I shoot 65?  I don't know.  That's hard to say, but it definitely was in the back of my mind, so probably amped me up a little bit more, so made everything a little bit tougher.
But things have a way of just kind of evening itself out, too, out there, so when you're 8‑under after 13, the last five are probably not going to be a bunch of birdies because it's just the nature of the game, you know, it's hard to keep it going.

Q.  (No microphone).
BRENDAN STEELE:  Yeah.  I had a decent West Coast.  Being a West Coast guy it's a little bit easier to do that, I guess.
I've had some of my career‑best finishes at certain place, so like places I haven't necessarily played well in the past, I've played better than I played before, but then places that I played well I haven't played well.¬† I've missed cuts in Texas where I normally play well and then had my best finishes at Bay Hill and Honda and PLAYERS and places that I hadn't necessarily played well in the past.
I felt pretty good over the last couple months, but haven't been getting a lot out of it.¬† Really worked hard with my caddie, with Bobby Brown on getting through the process of the shot and really focusing in on the pre‑shot routine, taking a little bit of extra time, because I felt like I was really playing well at Byron Nelson and at Memorial and missed both cuts, and I think I was just getting a little sloppy, a little lazy behind the ball, not seeing the shot, not getting into it the right way, and so the misses got a little wider.¬† I didn't hit as many good shots.¬† So we've been really trying to focus in on that since the U.S. Open qualifier and this week.

Q.¬† Brendan, what was your previous low score?¬† And also, on 15 there, you hit fairway wood, I believe, off the tee.¬† Can you just talk about that hole and about your chip‑in and about the birdie par?
BRENDAN STEELE:  Yeah.  62 this year in Phoenix, so twice this year.  Before this year, 64, which one of them had been here; I think a couple other times, Phoenix as well.  So couple 62s this year.
On 15, I hit 3‑wood.¬† I didn't really hit a very good shot.¬† I hit it kind of thin, miss‑hit it.¬† I gotta really hit it good to get it onto the green, but driver is too much.¬† So today it was in a little bit of a tough spot.¬† In the past it's always been the driver for me to hit it on the green.¬† I've never hit 3‑wood before this year, but I'm a lot longer this year than I've been in the past.¬† So it kind of puts it into a little bit of a gap, so I need some wind either down or in to make it the right kind of club.
And then hit a pretty good pitch back there to about six feet and kind of misread the putt and then maybe didn't quite get it on my lie.  It looks like it's going left and I don't think it really goes left.

Q.  Brendan, could you talk about the conditions that you played in this morning, how they affected your game and what you think the sun coming out might do to the course the rest of the day and affect the afternoon rounds?
BRENDAN STEELE:  Yeah.  I mean it rained pretty constant.  You know, it never really rained that hard today, but it rained pretty constant for the first 10 holes or so.  So we're putting rain jacket on, rain jacket off, umbrella, towels, trying to get everything sorted out.  You know, I'm whacking my caddie in the head with the umbrella when we're trying to get clubs out of the bag and stuff.  So it's just a lot of extra stuff that you have to deal with, and really need a good caddie on days like this because there's just a lot of extra things to do.
I think the sun coming out it's going to obviously make it hot, so the guys are going to have to really like watch their hydration and that kind of stuff, but I think the course is going to play really well.  I think the scores are going to be low.  The greens are holding up really nice, but they are receptive.  So I think it's going to be perfect storm for good scores this afternoon.

Q.  (No microphone).
BRENDAN STEELE:¬† Not much.¬† Just because I hit a good shot off the tee there.¬† And you kind of know there's going to be a backup there always.¬† There's at least one group there I think every time that I've gone through, which is tough because it's‑‑ you watch guys there and sometimes they don't hit the best shots and then you start getting kind of bad thoughts in your head.¬† But the groups in front of us hit three good shots, so it was easy to kind of see that.¬† It's so easy playing with Robert and Bryce, too.¬† They're such good guys that we were just chatting and relaxing.¬† So I don't think that had any effect on it.¬† I made birdie on that hole.¬† I think it really started on the 14th.

Q.  And then kind of off of that, I was talking to Robert's wife out there and she said you guys are pretty good friends.  Having that type of pairing does that make it easier to kind ofhave a great day like that?
BRENDAN STEELE:¬† Yeah.¬† Always.¬† I mean when you have guys that you really like and that are easy to play with‑‑ those guys are both really good guys and easy to play with, which it doesn't always go hand and hand.¬† Some of your best friends maybe aren't guys that you want to play with or vice versa.¬† You know, some guys you like to play with, maybe you don't really like that much.¬† But those guys fall into the category of guys that I really like that are fun to play it and easy to play with.

Q.  I just noticed in your profile that you're a huge LA Kings fan.  Jonathan Quick is from right around here.  Do you know him at all?  Will he come see you play?
BRENDAN STEELE:  You know, I don't know him at all.  I know a decent amount of hockey players.  A lot of guys spend summers in Orange County where I live.  So I play golf with a lot of those guys from teams all around the league.
But I don't know Jonathan.  I was at Game 5 when they just won the Stanley Cup.  So while I was home the last two weeks, I went to game 1 and game 5, so that was a lot of fun.
THE MODERATOR:  If you could go through your eagles and birdies.
BRENDAN STEELE:  Yeah.  Eagle on the first hole, holed a pitching wedge from 131 yards.
Second hole, hit a 58‑degree from like 65 yards to about four feet.¬† And then let's see.¬† Come around to 7, hit a pitching wedge to about three and a half, four feet on 7.¬† Hit a 5‑iron on 8 on the par‑3 to kind of the back of the green, maybe about 30 feet and made that.
And then came around to 11, 9‑iron about 20 feet short of the hole, made that.¬† 12, let's see.¬† Hit driver down there.¬† Had just a 58‑degree.¬† Actually, sorry.¬† 52‑degree in from about 110 and hit that to about a foot and a half probably.¬† And then hit the green in two on 13, driver, hybrid to about 35 feet, something like that, two‑putted.

Q.¬† Could you just elaborate quickly a little bit more on your putter switch and when you started thinking about that and how it kind of changed your‑‑
BRENDAN STEELE: ¬†Yeah, I mean I always kind of work with it, and I just‑‑ I made the change because I had nothing to lose at U.S. Open qualifying because I shot 74 in the morning.¬† I shot 2‑over.¬† I knew the number was going to be 2, 3‑under par.¬† And just had nothing to lose, so it was a good time to do it.

Q.  And is there any difference I guess in long putts versus short putts that you see?
BRENDAN STEELE:  Speed control is a lot better.

Q.  Coming into a week like this when you know you're going to have a lot more wedges into greens, does your practice routine change at all?  Do you hit certain shots more often than others?
BRENDAN STEELE:¬† Yeah, I mean I actually‑‑ I haven't felt like I've been wedging the ball very well over the last couple of months, so I've been trying to spend more time on it while I was home.¬† I had two weeks at home, so a little bit more time to practice than normal.
I don't know that I practice my wedges as productively as I could or should or can, but I don't really know what else to do other than just hit more of them.  But I've been hitting more of them, and it seemed to work out today, and hopefully it kind of keeps working like that.
THE MODERATOR:  Okay.  Pretty good?  Thanks, Brendan.  Good luck tomorrow.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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