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July 9, 2015

Nicholas Thompson


DOUG MILNE: Nicholas Thompson, thanks for joining us after a successful 8-under 63 in round 1, highlighted by your 14th hole, a hole-out from 81 yards.

NICHOLAS THOMPSON: 79 yards, just sawed off a little lob wedge, and as soon as I hit it, I was like, oh, that's going to be good, and it landed about pin high, skipped right past, and probably rolled nicer than any putt I hit all day.

DOUG MILNE: You're making your seventh start here at the John Deere Classic, and just comments on what really connected for you today.

NICHOLAS THOMPSON: You know, I love this place. I've got a good bond with the head of volunteers and the tournament chairman. I played with him in a pro-am a couple years back-to-back-to-back maybe, and we've always kept in contact, and it's great. They treat us great here, and they do a good job. They've done a great job with the golf course, especially after they had three to four inches of rain on Monday, and it's in perfect condition.

Q. Who were you speaking of, the chairman --

Q. Oh, the tournament director?
NICHOLAS THOMPSON: Tournament director.

Q. Does this tournament have different kind of pressure after you know you've got to shoot 4-, 5-, 6-under every day? You can't let your foot off the gas here?
NICHOLAS THOMPSON: No. I mean, every golf course we play dictates essentially what we shoot. I mean, it's just as hard to shoot 8-under out here as it is -- it's probably harder to shoot 1-under at a U.S. Open as it is 8-under out here, so I mean, you've just got to look at it according to the golf courses. A great round is a great round no matter what it is. The numbers are different in different places, but if you play good golf, it's going to be good.

Q. You mentioned the bond between you and Clair and some of the other folks here. There seems to be a commonality among many players with the people who run this tournament. What is it about what they do here?
NICHOLAS THOMPSON: They just treat you really, really good, and they go out of their way for whatever you need, and they're just genuinely nice -- really, really nice people.

Q. I had a question about the course, but building on what you were just talking about, do you think that there are perhaps some areas of the countries that are kind of golf spoiled, they have so many PGA tournaments and they have such great weather they take it for granted, where here they kind of look forward to this every year?
NICHOLAS THOMPSON: No, I don't think that's the case.

Q. Because of the weather and things like that?
NICHOLAS THOMPSON: I mean, honestly, you get January, February, March, into April, and then you get October, November, December. There are only certain places we can play and know that we're going to have a tournament. Yeah, there's some places that we could possibly play, but you can't could you please tell on it because what happens if a freak snowstorm comes in or something like that. With the way the weather has been, you just don't know. No, I don't think that's the case. I just think it's like -- I just think they're good people around here and they really enjoy having us, and we really enjoy coming here.

Q. I kind of wanted to ask you about the golf course. The way this golf course is set up, if you're driving well and connecting, the putts are makeable, you make it look easy on TV but you've got to make everything look right. Can you talk about that aspect of it for the fan and all?
NICHOLAS THOMPSON: You know, one of the most important things I would say today for me was I hit 13 fairways and one first cut, so I mean, it was all systems go at almost every pin. That's huge. So I just had a lot of factors taken out because I wasn't in any rough. I mean, if you're approaching these greens from the fairways, you're going to be -- you're going to shoot good numbers. The greens are really good. Even with all that rain and all of us tromping all over them, they held up really nicely for an afternoon round, and I know they're going to be perfect tomorrow morning because no one is going to be on the first nine before us.

Q. You were 15-under a couple years ago, played really well and finished 12th. What's the number this week you need by Sunday night?
NICHOLAS THOMPSON: There's no number. I couldn't have told you I was 15-under one year here. I mean, you know what, you've got to go out there and you've got to play your game, just hit a lot of good golf shots, roll the putts as best you can and see where the cards fall at the end of the week. Hopefully it's good enough. If it's not, it's a stepping-stone towards the next week, wherever it may be.

Q. Was it the eagle shot that got you going or did you feel that as soon as you teed off today?
NICHOLAS THOMPSON: No, it was the 13th hole. I hit a -- I mis-hit a drive down the middle and had a little bit longer in than I wanted, and I still chose to take on the tougher pin in the corner, and I hit a really nice golf shot, and I gutted a putt that broke about five inches. It just went right in the center, and it was like, I felt really good after that. I hit a perfect little cut 3-wood on the next tee and the perfect lob wedge that went in. I hit a good golf shot on the next hole that -- I mean, six feet further left and I was probably looking at four feet for birdie instead of being just off the green. I mean, it was just stuff like that, I hit a lot of good golf shots today.

Q. When was the last time you were in the lead?
NICHOLAS THOMPSON: It wasn't last weekend, that's all I can remember. Honestly, this is my 10th year of professional golf. I remember golf courses like no other, but I put everything in the past that's been done, good or bad, so I don't have to be like, oh, man, I finished second here one year and been downhill since. Or I missed the cut here 12 times. There's only one place which I will not mention I've had a rough time at in my career, and outside of that, I mean, I feel like I can play good anywhere, so I really don't dwell on the past either way.

Q. How does it feel to sit atop that first-round leaderboard considering who's in the field?
NICHOLAS THOMPSON: You know, that's another one, I don't exactly look who's in the field. I know I chatted with Jordan Spieth for like 10 minutes on the putting green this morning, so I know he's here.

Q. Anybody else you know --
NICHOLAS THOMPSON: Not really. I know a handful of guys and maybe some of the leaderboard guys you've seen, but I couldn't tell you who's really here and who's not, unfortunately.

Q. So what's it going to take for you to stay up there?
NICHOLAS THOMPSON: Just go out and play the same way. Go out and hit a lot of good golf shots. Hit a lot of fairways. I feel like I'm putting good. I put a lot of work on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday on my putting, so it's just going to take some good rest tonight, good dinner, and do it early tomorrow morning.
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