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HYUNDAI TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS


January 10, 2015


Russell Henley


KAPALUA, HAWAII

JOHN BUSH:テつ Currently tied for the lead with three other players.テつ Russell, if we can get some thoughts on your round today.
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ Felt like I hung in there great.テつ I was proud of my attitude and I fought back there at the end, and got off to a little bit of a slow start, but that's golf.テつ Feel great about my game, so I'm just excited to keep playing.

Q.テつ You talked a lot yesterday about your attitude and kind of keeping your head up when things maybe are not going your way.テつ Is that put to the test on the front nine?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ Yeah, I made some dumb mistakes on the front nine, just mistakes you shouldn't make if you want to not have any stress out there.
So just didn't have my best stuff on the front but was able to hang in there and get up‑and‑down.テつ But definitely kept a good attitude.テつ I tried to, at least.

Q.テつ A lot about this tournament is the extracurriculars and why people love to come here.テつ Who is your crew that you brought, and what have you done, like ziplining or anything like that?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ Brought myself (laughter) here alone.テつ I mean, 25 and single, it's not bad to be doing this I guess.テつ When I'm older and hopefully still playing out here, I'll bring the family.テつ Just hanging out with my coach, Scott Hamilton, his wife, and Adam Hayes, my caddie, and a couple players, Kirk and B‑Todd today.テつ None of them are doing too much.テつ They have got babies running around so just kind of been hanging around the pool.テつ Last year I did a helicopter ride and stuff.テつ This year I've just been relaxing.

Q.テつ I know it's only the second day, but you have four players tied for the lead and five just one behind.テつ Do you feel like the conditions kept everyone playing their best game today?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ Well, there's a lot of chances for birdie out there.テつ The greens, if you hit two good shots on the par 4, you can make a birdie if you're in the right spot.テつ I think just the fact that that's the case out here and it's soft enough where you can kind of attack it.テつ Everybody is able to make a decent amount of birdies.
But also, you know, the guys at the top have been playing really well.テつ Sang‑moon Bae, I just played with him and he won this fall I think.テつ Jimmy obviously had a great year.テつ Zach plays great here.テつ So a lot of guys who have been playing some good golf, as well.
But yeah, I think‑‑ I'm not sure what's going to separate everybody at the end but the weather definitely has not been what I thought it was going to be, a little bit calmer.

Q.テつ What will separate everybody?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ Probably just ‑‑ obviously I think putting will separate it and I think good course management.テつ I feel like if you hit the ball in the correct side of the hole out here, you put yourself in position to make a lot of birdies and at the worst, par.テつ So I think just course management over the course of four days is going to be probably the biggest factor.

Q.テつ Unique course as far as weird lies, weird greens.テつ Anything you can do to prepare for that?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ The more you play it, the more you feel comfortable out there.テつ Like this year on 17 and 18, I'm aiming, what I feel like is up in the houses, trying to hit a draw to the big fairway, and that's not the most comfortable shot, aiming that far right.
So there's a lot of uncomfortable shots, for sure, but the more I play it, the more you get used to it and the more you get a feel for it.

Q.テつ I know you can't speak to this given you're 25 and single, there was a time ten or 12 years ago where you got to this tournament and half the field had not hit a shot or stopped playing early in the season, it was an easy tournament to win.テつ To see everybody on relatively good form, meaning lack of 80s, what's going on?テつ Do you think it's part of just the whole dynamics of golf now, playing year‑round?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ I think it's so competitive.テつ I think the way guys look at it now, it's a great opportunity to have a good finish and also get off to a great start, if not win.
So for sure, I think now that‑‑ for me, the schedule, I ended in China, which is I guess start of November.テつ I get almost two months off completely.テつ After a month of sitting around, I'm ready to start practicing, playing again.
So I try to come into these weeks as sharp as I can and I remember my first year out, coming to Sony, my agent, Thomas, was telling me, let's try to just get you off to a good, solid start.テつ Basically he was trying to say, let's just get out there and be prepared.
If you go out there and make a couple cuts, you're going to be able to keep your card going forward.テつ Obviously I had a better start than that but I came prepared and ready to play.テつ I think it's just kind of the trend of golf has gotten more and more competitive; definitely over the last ten, 12 years, I think it's more competitive every year.

Q.テつ Do you ever come to a tournamentnot‑‑
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ Mentally, yes.テつ I think I played tournaments where my mind has been elsewhere and just dealing with whatever off the course, and because of that, I haven't played my best.
Usually I get the work in and the reps in, but I can only think of maybe one or two where I haven't been‑‑ I haven't gotten the normal reps in before a tournament.

Q.テつ I looked up at the screen just for a split second, and my first thought was, what's Snedeker doing in the field.テつ Maybe it's just the pace of the setup over the ball or the stroke that follows‑‑ did it all look familiar to you?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ I have, I take it as a compliment.テつ He's obviously one of the best putters to play the game.テつ I remember right when, the week after Brandt won THE TOUR Championship, I was in Charlotte and I struggled, I missed the cut the weekbefore in Midland on the Web.com Tour‑‑ I think this is right.テつ I remember watching how he didn't take a lot of time and he just kind of got over the putt and he reacted.テつ That's how I've always done everything.テつ I'm kind of mid‑quick and that's the way I do everything.
Try to just speed up my practice strokes a little bit.テつ I changed my routine, instead of looking down at the ball, I look at the hole.テつ I remember trying to emulate that just because I was searching for something because I needed to play well.
So definitely watched him putt a lot like that.テつ I don't think our strokes are necessarily the same, I don't think, but I think he has a little bit shorter stroke than I do.テつ I think growing up, people always told me I looked just like him.

Q.テつ The pre‑shot routine went from what to what?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ I remember right before I putt, I look down, made two practice strokes and look up, and look at the hole and then put my putter down and then let it go.テつ Now I'm looking out on my practice stroke so I don't really care about my practice strokes.テつ I'm just kind of looking out and seeing the turf and just feeling it and using my instincts.テつ So I just look out like he does and then I step up to it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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