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October 23, 2014

Michael Thompson


Q.  Michael, super start for you.  Looked like the putter was rolling pretty good today.  What was the key for you?
MICHAEL THOMPSON:  Exactly what you just said; my putter was hot.  My speed was just about perfect today, made a lot of good putts; and when I got myself in the fairway, I usually gave myself good chances for birdie.  And when your putter is hot, you're going to make those.
So I'd say probably 60 percent of my shots I was committed to and hit really nicely.  The other 40 weren't so great, but that's how golf goes, and I'll go work on it and try to figure it out for the weekend.

Q.  You've had a lot of success here, collegiately, and you almost won this thing three years ago.  What is it you like about this place so much?
MICHAEL THOMPSON:  I just like the atmosphere, being on the water, having the steady breeze.  The course is in unbelievable condition every time I play it.  The greens are perfect.
Visually it just sets up well for me, and when you play a course like that, you're just going to have fun no matter how you play.  So I always look forward to this tournament.

Q.  Keep it going.  Roll Tide.  After missing a couple cuts, a solid 65 out of the gates for Michael Thompson here at the McGladrey.  How did you get things going out there?
MICHAEL THOMPSON:  My putter was hot today.  I put in some good work the past couple of days on the greens, going through my drills; and my speed was awesome today.  And when that happens, it's fun to play golf because you're making putts, and you know, I just had a few lucky breaks, which kept me in it, because I hit some wayward shots today.  But it was a good day of golf.

Q.  You've been working with Randy Myers this year based out of Sea Island Golf Club.  So you've made a lot of trips up here.  How familiar with the course has that helped you?
MICHAEL THOMPSON:  I've been familiar with this place even before Randy.  I played SEC here my first year at Alabama back in 2007, I believe, and finished fourth in that event and just loved it ever since, and won the SEC the next year at Frederica.  So I just have a lot of good mojo here.  It's a beautiful place, good people, great golf.  You know, there's a reason why Kuchar and Davis Love and those guys all live here.
So it's just a good spot, and I always enjoy coming back.

Q.  It's starting to rub off on you a little bit.  Thanks.

Q.  You've had good weeks here before.
MICHAEL THOMPSON:  Yes, sir.  I like the golf course, the greens for some reason I can read the putts very easily.  And being here multiple times I'm getting used to the conditions, hitting different shots, you know, pretty much seeing every possibility.  So I'm not fearful, not afraid to go after it and hit the shot that I need to, so it's just great being back.

Q.  How much of an edge do you have since you played the SEC tournament?
MICHAEL THOMPSON:  It's a definite advantage, to go back all the way to college golf.  You know, when you're playing under pressure, but not as much as out here, not as many people, there's no TV cameras.  It's just you and the golf course.  And I think that helped me out a lot because I can look back on a lot of the great shots I hit back in college, and even back in 2011 when I was here.  I mean I played three and a half really solid rounds of golf that were almost perfect.
So I just have a lot of good memories, and that helps a lot when you're playing a golf course.

Q.  I could be wrong, but in 2011 you were kind of on the bubble for your card.
MICHAEL THOMPSON:  It did, yeah.  I think I was like 116 going into that event with two left.  And again, I was just excited to come back to Sea Island.  I hadn't been here since college at that time, and you know, talked to Coach Seawell, I think before then and just kind of refreshed my memory about it.  And when I got here I just had a good feeling.  And when you're thinking positive and you got a good feeling, it's hard not to play good golf.
I've tried real hard this week to kind of have that same mentality, and I think I'm doing a pretty good job so far.

Q.  Is this a course where experience matters, knowing the wind direction, knowing the greens, just your way around the course?  Does experience really‑‑
MICHAEL THOMPSON:  I think it really helps with the greens because the greens a lot of them are elevated and they slope off pretty severe.  So knowing where to hit it according to where the pin is on the green is very important.
And also just knowing, I think, what lines to take off tees, especially on that Back 9, you have to hit a lot of really good tee shots.  It's just one of those courses where the experience is going to help, you know, and all the guys playing this week, you know, as years go on, they're going to get better and better.  But at the same time, too, this is a course that just fits my eye really well.  It might not fit everybody's eye, but it fits mine, and I'm going to enjoy that.

Q.  What part of your game was really working today?
MICHAEL THOMPSON:  Putting.  Just felt like I was making everything.  I really only missed one putt that I felt like I should have, and that was on, I think, 13.  I had like six to eight feet for birdie to a back, left pin, which was, you know, don't normally have that close of a birdie putt back there.  So I felt like that was one I let get away, but I rebounded on the next hole, made birdie, and made a dumb bogey on 16, the par‑5, but again, rebounded with another birdie.
So I can't be too disappointed.  I gotta focus on the good shots.  But putting was definitely‑‑

Q.  Have you been putting well?
MICHAEL THOMPSON:  No.  I have.  I've been working a lot the past couple weeks just getting used to the speed.  I haven't been able to practice on greens that have been as fast as this week or the past couple weeks while I'm home, so it's nice to get on greens that are really good, and so I've been working really hard on my putting, just focusing on starting my ball on the line that I see.  And when I do that, I'm usually going to putt really well.

Q.  Bama has owned this place the last few years.  Do you have recollections of the first time I played it I guess in '07?
MICHAEL THOMPSON:  Yeah.  Yeah.  I mean I really enjoyed it.  You know, I remember preparing for SECs my first year at Alabama, and I didn't know what to expect.  You know, guys on the team talked about it, and coach tried to prepare our practice facility accordingly because we have some runoffs on the putting green there.  So he shaved those down trying to get used to maybe putting up from off the green.  And I just remember when I got here, I saw the range and just how beautiful it was.  I mean it's just hard not to like this place.

Q.  You'd think that Georgia might have an edge because it comes back here every year, but other teams have won it to where it's not necessarily a home‑field advantage that much for Georgia.
MICHAEL THOMPSON:  Right.  It's just a special golf course.  You gotta play well.  You gotta strike your ball well, because you're going to experience wind at least one day, if not multiple days, especially this week they have the rough up a little bit, so it's even more important to hit the fairway.
But Alabama's done well.  They have a good track record here, and I think that's a testament to Coach Seawell how he prepares his team for the SECs, because as we all know, in the SEC, the SEC championship is really more important than anything else, so we want those bragging rights for a whole year.

Q.  How much slower are the greens for the SEC championship than out here?
MICHAEL THOMPSON:  Really not much slower.  They get them pretty, pretty close.  I don't know what these are running right now, probably between 11 and 12, and they're at least 10, if not 11 during SEC.  So they prepare the course as close as they can, I think, to this event.  And it's really, really good.

Q.  Given the dry weather lately and everything, are those greens as fast as they could be?
MICHAEL THOMPSON:  I don't think so.

Q.  Any more if over the edge?
MICHAEL THOMPSON:  I think they could probably do that.

Q.  Don't let them know that, though.
MICHAEL THOMPSON:  Yeah.  They're not terribly firm right now.  You can‑‑ where your ball flies is pretty much where it's going to stop, you know, from like say an 8‑iron down.
So they're good, and it's‑‑ I think that's the way it needs to be, just because they're so mounded, there's so many run‑off areas.  I think they're really good right now.

Q.  What years did you play SECs here?
MICHAEL THOMPSON:  '07 and '08.  '07 here Seaside.  '08 was at Frederica.

Q.  Where did the team finish that year?
MICHAEL THOMPSON:  Finished second.  We lost by two to Tennessee and I think we were tied, if not had a one‑shot lead coming down the stretch.  So that was a good learning experience for us, because it was the first time we'd had‑‑ really been in contention in SECs in 30 years, and then the next year we came out with a little fire under our butt and went out and just took it.

Q.  So you won at Frederica?
MICHAEL THOMPSON:  We did, yeah.

Q.  What did you take away from the finish you had here?
MICHAEL THOMPSON:  Yeah, it was really just patience.  The biggest thing coming down the stretch was routine.  I missed a birdie putt on 16, had to be five feet to I want to say take the lead, and didn't even hit the hole just because I rushed my routine.
But throughout the week I was‑‑ I mean I felt like I couldn't miss a shot.  Just hitting darts at everything.  So ball‑striking wise, it was spot on.
Coming down the stretch, you know, I get a little nervous.  The hands start sweating a little bit and when you get nervous, you want to rush through everything.  So that was the biggest lesson was just to kind of slow down, take your time, focus on your routine and do that.  If you do that, then you can't be upset with the outcome.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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