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July 9, 2015

Luke Guthrie


DOUG MILNE: Luke Guthrie, thanks for joining us after a successful 7-under 64 in round 1. On the way in you just said, "It's about time." Maybe just pick it up with that and just give us some comments on the solid round today.

LUKE GUTHRIE: Yeah, I really felt like my game has been getting better and better. It's been a little bit of a frustrating year, been making a few changes, and it's been so close, just a little thing here and there each week has been holding me back. Really felt like my short game got sharp a few weeks ago, and that's kind of an insurance policy, you know, and makes you feel good out there. Today was a nice mix of I stuffed a few and made some putts. A couple of early par savers, 3 and 4, were big, and after that, the putt on 7, I made about a 35-footer there that kind of got the round going.

DOUG MILNE: Obviously a tournament that's near and dear to you with your ties to Illinois. All the players we've had in, they've just said how over the top Clair and the rest of the crew goes for the players and how genuine and nice everybody is. Does that kind of echo the sentiment you have?

LUKE GUTHRIE: Definitely. I mean, even if I didn't grow up here, this tournament would be one of my favorites. I mean, it's just -- Clair is just such a nice guy, and Clair and his staff just run an awesome tournament. Every year I look forward to coming back here. I sneak up here in my off weeks once in a while just to come and hang out. I've gotten to know some of the staff here, and even Mitch, who's I think the assistant pro here, he kind of knows I like Mountain Dew, and there was a Mountain Dew in my locker when I got here.

Q. It looks like your game is about where you want it to be and yet you're not seeing the results. How do you keep your sanity?
LUKE GUTHRIE: I mean, that's golf right there. It's hard. It really is. You can get discouraged. I would keep getting better at that as I mature and get older, and I wish it wouldn't have taken six months to kind of get here. But yeah, it's just been a process of some things. I've been working so hard on my swing that my short game got loose, and it's not good when that happens, and I've been working hard on that for a while now, and I'm starting to see the results of it.

Q. Was it a big swing change?
LUKE GUTHRIE: No, it's just little things. I got into some bad habits last year, and just kind of getting that out of the system, and then starting to kind of build the confidence back up, you know.

Q. When you snuck up here a couple weeks ago, were those the things you worked out when you were here or was it just to get a feel for the course?
LUKE GUTHRIE: It was just to practice really, honestly. I was just home in Illinois for the week. I was in Quincy for a little bit, went over to Champaign, I was in Bloomington, and I was like, before we go back to Quincy, let's go over to the John Deere and practice a little bit. Got 18 in with Hugh Botter (phon), so that was a good day.

Q. How big was the putt on 7 to kind of get you going?
LUKE GUTHRIE: Oh, it was huge. I mean, yeah, it wasn't like it was a stagnant round to that point. I mean, I was 1-under. I was feeling good about where I was at. I felt like birdies were going to be coming. It was a little bit of an unexpected one. Honestly, I thought I left it short, and that was kind of nice when I got there. Yeah, from there just -- I didn't really know I was going on such a run there for a little bit. It just was kind of coming a little easier for me and just didn't get in my own way.

Q. Especially following it up on 8 by sticking one as close as you did.
LUKE GUTHRIE: Exactly, I had a pretty good number there for a little wind into me. It was just I had a little bit too much club, which was perfect, I could just throw it behind the pin and hope it comes back, which it did, and then I was hoping it was going to go in.

Q. When did you get your first sponsor exemption here, and how much did that help your career, and what can that do for a young player?
LUKE GUTHRIE: 2012, it was my second PGA TOUR event, and I can't thank Clair and his staff enough for giving me a shot. It's so awesome to see how Clair -- it seems like he puts a priority on helping young players, giving them a shot. There's so many good players out here, you just kind of need to get in the system a little bit, and he gave me that opportunity, and it gave me confidence and helped me believe that I could compete at this level.

Q. I heard he liked the personal touches with the letter. Did you write a letter, and if you did, what did you include in that letter?
LUKE GUTHRIE: Yeah, I mean, wrote a letter, let's see, it would have been right after I was done with college, and just kind of mentioning how I've gone there a few times to watch the tournament and seen some of -- my coach played well there. Being from Illinois, Quincy, I thought I could play well there and just would like to be a part of it.

Q. 2012 tournament year was pretty special for you. What can we expect from you here the rest of the week?
LUKE GUTHRIE: I expect from myself just to go out there and focus on each individual shot, and my goal right now is really just not to get ahead of myself because I feel I real good about where my game is at, and if I can just kind of plot my way around the golf course, don't try to shoot 7-under on the first tee tomorrow, just let it come to me.

Q. How did the course hold up this afternoon?
LUKE GUTHRIE: It held up really well for the amount of rain that they've been getting here. It's been a rough start to the summer, I know, lots of rain around here, and obviously foot traffic in the afternoon, they get a little spiked up, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. It was pretty good. The course is in great condition.

Q. Can you even put a number on how many times you've been here?
LUKE GUTHRIE: I mean, it hasn't been --

Q. How many rounds you've played here?
LUKE GUTHRIE: I mean, not a lot. I've probably played maybe -- before 2012 maybe one or two rounds before, so it's mostly been --

Q. Did you play WB6 here one year?
LUKE GUTHRIE: No, my brother played here. I actually played the practice round with him when I was like 10, shot like 89. I was pumped.

Q. Where did you play --
LUKE GUTHRIE: We never played WB6 here when I was here.

Q. When did you win it?
LUKE GUTHRIE: Galesburg maybe, Soangetaha, I think, and then maybe at Highland Spring. I don't know.

Q. Out of the rounds that you've played up here, this has got to be your best round, period. I mean, you were pretty close to --
LUKE GUTHRIE: Yeah, the bogey on 18 stinks. It is what it is. Just hit a pretty good drive, it just didn't cut and just kind of trickled in that bunker, didn't hit a very good shot and didn't have a great lie, but the rough is thick and juicy. You can't expect to get a good lie out of it. Yeah, I mean, I really feel like I'm a better golfer than I was last year and the year before that, and just hoping more rounds like these are going to be coming out.

Q. You talked the other night about -- forget FedExCup standings and all that, have fun with it?

Q. Am I saying that correctly?
LUKE GUTHRIE: Yeah, it's hard not to have fun out there with everybody out there cheering me on and stuff. I was a little nervous on the first tee. It always gets me, the first one, when everybody -- you kind of hear the big cheer. It's the biggest cheers I get at this point, and it's cool. Yeah, just go out there and have fun. Like I said, I haven't had my greatest year. It is what it is. It's not like I'm putting it out of my mind. There's a sense of urgency here, but it's not going to help me if I'm thinking about it on the course, so why do it.

Q. How tough is it, you're still a youngster out here, seeing all of the other kids in the field fresh out of college or still in college and what they're doing? How tough is it for you to keep your perspective on what you want to do in your career moving forward?
LUKE GUTHRIE: Well, it's exciting first of all, because I've been playing against them my whole life. If they can do it, I know I can do it, so it just gives you -- just fuels the fire even more. What Spieth has been doing is amazing. It's really cool. He's playing great golf. Unfortunately I wasn't in the U.S. Open, but I can tell you I was practicing hard that week. He was firing me up. (Laughter.) So yeah, it's been frustrating kind of sitting on the sidelines a little bit, but there's processes you have to go through, and I've been going through that, and I've come out the other side a better player, I believe.

Q. Are you comfortable where you are at this stage in your career?
LUKE GUTHRIE: I mean, obviously I want a couple wins, you know, ideally, whatever. But yeah, I'm proud of the way -- when I first turned pro, I mean, I just got one start on the Web.com at Columbus, and I didn't go there -- I didn't know what I was doing. I didn't know where to go register. You just play golf and all of a sudden I'm on the PGA TOUR. That's pretty cool. And to keep my card and to keep going, I think that's a positive thing with how quick it happened. Now I kind of didn't play my best golf. I wasn't -- and I still managed to stay out here, so I took that as a positive, really.

Q. Who was your good luck charm today, grandma or girlfriend?
LUKE GUTHRIE: Well, Grandma hasn't been out here for a while, so it was nice to see Mima back out here. She told me last night she wasn't going to walk up No. 3 hill. That's a little rough. But I saw her walking up it today. Hard-headed. I don't know where I get it from.

DOUG MILNE: Luke, we appreciate your time. Best of luck tomorrow and the rest of the week.
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