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June 27, 2014

Ricky Barnes


Q. Second round of 69, your thoughts on that, please?
RICKY BARNES: I had some bad swings on the back and fought through it. I had some good looks coming in. That was kind of my M.O. recently that I get in that and just ride the train. It was a good finish. Hit a lot of good quality shots coming down the stretch after a bad lay up on 6 and I was actually happy. I almost thought I early walked the one on 8 but any time you can go out and shoot 3-under on the back nine, it's a good start to the week.

Q. Conditions changed almost through nine holes. It really seemed to firm up.
RICKY BARNES: It did. We didn't have much wind the first six or seven holes. When we hit 17, 18 and the turn, the wind started picking up a little bit, a little bit from a couple different directions and the greens firmed up. Ball was starting to bounce a little bit more, especially in our last five or six holes.

Q. Very successful outing at Bethpage Black in the U.S. Open, similar-style U.S. Open conditions.
RICKY BARNES: Yeah, you play from the fairway, you can make birdies, and you play from the rough like I did on two of the three holes that I made bogey, and you can make bogey. Just keep doing what I'm doing. I'm swinging well, hitting a lot of fairways, a lot of greens and a lot of good looks, and I'm taking advantage of the good looks by making putts.

Q. You may have a reputation as being a grinder on the PGA TOUR but ten birdies in two days on a very difficult golf course. What has been working so beautifully for you this week?
RICKY BARNES: Playing from fairway, playing from under the hole, getting some aggressive putts in there and taking advantage when I do hit the good shots. You can hit good shots in there and waste them, but putting well and grinding out there and getting up-and-downs to keep the rounds going. Ten birdies in two rounds; I'll take ten more on the weekend.

Q. You have also a reputation for playing very difficult golf courses very well and being in contention. What makes you such a good, hard golf course player?
RICKY BARNES: I think like you said, grinding out pars. Some weeks when you grind out pars, you're losing shots to the field. I feel like if you do drive it in the rough, I can maybe muscle out something near the green, and then trust your short game to sneak out a par and keep the round going. So I made some early birdies, had a good up-and-down or two, and like I said, I played from the fairway. I played from the rough two of the three bogeys that I made and paid the price but then came back out and hit the last four fairways coming in.

Q. You put yourself on the first page of the leaderboard heading into the weekend. What changes for you mentally?
RICKY BARNES: Unfortunately on tough golf courses, not much. Depending where the pins at, you still want to hit to the center of the greens and you're just trying to put the ball in the fairways. It's getting firm out here so you don't need driver off every hole. You just need to put it in the fairway. I played solid today. Obviously got off to the great start and would have loved to finish it on the back nine. Made two bogeys in a row, but I didn't kind of go down that path. I hit a lot of good shots after that. I gave myself four good looks at birdie coming in after those two bogeys and hit all the fairways coming in. That was kind of a good end of the round where it could have gone a little bit sour, and making five birdies out on this golf course each and every day is not going to hurt you. Playing from the rough here is tough. If you hit it in the rough a lot, you're going to make some bogeys, when I did hit it in the rough. When I hit it in the fairways, my iron game is pretty good. I'm hitting good shots in there, keeping it under the hole which allows me to get some aggressive putts up the hill and I'm taking advantage of that and putting well.

Q. Being close so many times on the PGA TOUR, what do you draw on this weekend from past experience?
RICKY BARNES: You just said it, past experiences. I've had some success on tough golf courses. It's not one of those golf courses where I need to go shoot 8-under on the weekend. You go out here, play solid golf, hit a lot of fairways, greens. Like I said, if I can make ten birdies on the weekend, I like my chances. But it's a course that the course going to firm up, and like I said, hitting the fairways is going to be a premium. When the greens get firmer, the greens get faster and there are a couple pins out there that will get your attention.

Q. Why do you play well on tough courses?
RICKY BARNES: Like I said, if I do hit it in the rough, I feel like I can muscle it up near the green and trust my short game to get up-and-down and keep where I'm going, where some tournaments, you need to shoot 3- , 4-under just to make the cut. Here, you shoot 3- or 4-under you're in the Top-10. I wish I had a recipe and put it to use every week but I'm glad to be in the position I'm in right now and ready for the weekend.

Q. Nine greens in regulation; does it take resolve to play the course like that?
RICKY BARNES: Yeah, like I said, guys that hit the fairway out here are going to probably play well, and guys that hit a lot in the rough are not going to play that well. Actually I had a few holes where I was just off the fairway. Actually I think three of them I was just in the first cut, so that's darned near 12 fairways out here, or 12 greens. But I'm swinging well, I'm bouncing back if I do make a bogey really well. Today I think I -- well, I know one of the bounce backs was a birdie and then I had four good looks after my two bogeys on the front.

Q. How much more different did the course play?
RICKY BARNES: Yeah, it's starting to firm up, especially on the back nine. Front nine, somewhat similar. Back nine, definitely a change from yesterday morning. We were second off, so that was about as soft as I've seen Congressional's greens, considering I didn't play in the Open a couple years ago.

Q. You've been in and around the lead over the course of your career. Do you gain each time you're there?
RICKY BARNES: I feel like my game's good. Sometimes you go into some weeks where you may not feel like you're swinging that well and you throw up two good rounds, but I feel like I'm playing well and short game is coming around, and you know, I'm starting to see some results. I could tell everyone that I'm playing well, but until I keep backing it up with good scores, they are not going to believe me.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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