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January 25, 2015

Brendan Steele


Q.  Everything seemed to click for you today.  Anything in particular, your putting, anything that stood out for you?
BRENDAN STEELE:  Kind of did the same thing that I've been doing all the other days.  But was able to get really good into a swing key that I've had with Rick Smith keeping my butt back and my chest down, turning through the ball, keeping me from sliding.  Incorporated kind of a little rehearsal at the back nine yesterday and today that he's taught me over the last few years and it was able to really kind of get me in the right position.

Q.  64 for the final round, did you have a number when you were on the range earlier thinking might put you in the hunt?
BRENDAN STEELE:  You know, not really, although my buddy, Dave, last night said go out and get to 20 and you'll give your self a chance.  And I said, yeah, maybe 21.  We knew that you had to get into the 20s somewhere.

Q.  What do you do now, what do you kill some time with?
BRENDAN STEELE:  Player dining.  My wife and family and parents are here.  I'll head up there.  If it's still hanging on, we'll hit a few balls and see where it goes.

Q.  At the very least you'll get something to eat.
BRENDAN STEELE:  At the very least I'll get something to eat.  I'm hungry.

Q.  Is this more meaningful because it's here?  Basically your home tournament?
BRENDAN STEELE:  Absolutely.  You always want to play well, whether it is your home tournament or in Timbuktu, you know, but definitely this one because I grew up coming here, I got a lot of friends and family here.  It's really nice to start the year with their support and to actually play well for once.  I haven't really had a good record here, so it's nice to get it going the right direction.

Q.  Does the course familiarity help or at this level does it really matter with the talent level of everyone here?
BRENDAN STEELE:  I don't think it matters that much.  I didn't start playing these exact courses until I got into the tournament, so I didn't know them growing up or anything.  So, that doesn't really help.
Whereas, when they had the Nationwide Tour event at Soboba, that was my high school home course, so there I had an advantage.  These were unfamiliar to me until 2011.  That was the first time I say them.

Q.  Go through the local ties of how often you attended here and driving down the hill to come play down here.
BRENDAN STEELE:  Yeah, well, I played Desert Junior Golf growing up as well, as Valley Junior Golf down in Temecula and Murrieta.  So would be out here, at 14 years old, carrying my own bag, teeing off at 11:30 in the middle of the summer and carrying your own water and that kind of stuff, so a little less glamorous than this tournament.
We came down to this tournament a few times, me and my dad and my brother came down and got to see Corey Pavin play, he was always one of my favorites growing up.  I think that would have been like 1994.  Somewhere in there.
So, but I have a lot of great memories, getting autographs from Craig Stadler, Corey Pavin, all that stuff, so this was the event that I came to as a kid.

Q.  Any UCR people out there?
BRENDAN STEELE:  Yeah, we have got some of the UCR, some of the men's team out today.  I think I saw four or five of them, so that's cool.  Good for them to get out and see what's going on out here.  Hopefully motivate them a little bit.  Hopefully they learn something.

Q.  When you're out in local tournaments you see more UCR people or more people from the greater San Ysidro valley?
BRENDAN STEELE:  Some of both.  We got some of both this week.  Got friends from high school and friends parents from high school out here this week.  As well as some UCR people, so.

Q.  How different is the mindset when you're in a tournament where the winning score is looking to be about 20 or 25, as opposed to you're only one where five is the winning score?
BRENDAN STEELE:  Yeah, you try to keep the same amount of patience and you actually need a little bit more here.  I know that it sounds kind of backwards, because you feel like you need to step and the gas all the time.  But if you make three or four pars in a row you got to not panic and kind of make sure that you go, hey, it's okay, we're going to get our chances, there's plenty of par‑5s and wedges, keep making good swings.  You never know when that good run is going to come where you make four in a row and you go, oh, we're not actually in a bad position anyway.  So just a lot of patience on these kind of weeks.

Q.  Do you get a sense during around like this maybe early on that, hey, I got it going today, that there's a possibility to really shoot a good score?
BRENDAN STEELE:  Yeah, I've been feeling like that for the last three or four week, actually.  I just needed to get into a tournament as soon as possible.  Because sometimes that feeling fades.  You ride the wave and then it kind of leaves you and then you try to get it back.  I've had it for the last month or so, I've been feeling really, really good shooting good scores at home and I mean I know that doesn't always translate, but just seeing a big difference in my game and feeling like there wasn't really any shot that I couldn't play.

Q.  It could have been even better, the putts on 14 and 15, if those go in?
BRENDAN STEELE:  Yeah, those were really good putts.  I had about six feet on 10, thought I hit a good putt, it broke across the hole and lipped out.  So there were a few, but I made my share, too.  So, no complaints.

Q.  How often are you in Idyllwild these days and when you go there are you almost like a local celebrity?
BRENDAN STEELE:  I see a lot of the people I grew up with.  Same families still live there, so I'll see parents or people that I did grow up with.  I was there for Christmas, I try to get back a little bit, especially in the off season I can get up there a little bit more, November and December.
Playing 27 weeks limits me a little bit, but I get back there as much as I can, for sure.  My parents are still in the same house that I grew up in and I really enjoy getting back there.

Q.  You went to high school in Hemet area, did you think about going to high school in the desert?
BRENDAN STEELE:  No, they have a bus that takes you to Hemet High, so it was really, that was it.  That was the option.  So that was how we did it.

Q.  Your mindset now, round's over, but there's still possibilities.  A bunch of guys still on the course.  How do you handle it?
BRENDAN STEELE:  You try to stay focused.  I'm going to go up and have a little food and then kind of come down and maybe hit some balls, if we're still hanging on.
If somebody gets to 24 or 25, then we probably know we can probably go home.  But with the water on the last couple holes, anybody can make a bad swing at any time, so you just kind of hang out and see what's happening.  The tournament's definitely not over from my perspective.  I can't act like, hey, I did a good job, but it's not enough and I'm going to go home.  I've got to be ready, just in case anything does happen.

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