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July 23, 2015

Eric Axley


Q. What's been the difference this time around? More knowledge that you have?
ERIC AXLEY: Well, in '08 I was actually leading after two rounds here on the last weekend. And I don't remember where I finished. Somewhere in the mid-teens. Just had kind of a boring weekend. But, no, I've played well here in the past, and I like the golf course. I feel like I've been playing pretty good lately and just not getting anything out of my game. Today I got something out of it.

Q. For those going out this afternoon, what are some of the danger zones out there? You get down in that valley, and there are interesting shots you have to make?
ERIC AXLEY: Yeah, it's tricky. It's hard to read the wind down there. You can't really feel the strength of it, or even the direction. It swirls around down there. But I would say that is the most dangerous part of the golf course, other than the obvious holes where the hazards are.

Q. Talk about hole 1 and the bounce back and birdie and eagle. How were you able to do that?
ERIC AXLEY: I had a lot of momentum when I turned. I got off to an average start. I was even par and then I eagled 16 and 18 the turn before. I got a bad lie on the fairway bunker on 1, wedged it out. Hit a bad wedge and turned it into a double somehow. The bounce back was good to kind of get it out of my mind with a birdie on the next hole, and then just had a perfect number on number 3, I think it was. You never expect it to go in, but when it landed it kind of one-hopped, spun and went in. It was nice.

Q. Your best finish in this event came at this golf course in 2008. What do you like so much about this course?
ERIC AXLEY: I don't know if it's the course or the time of the year. I generally play better in the summer, and I like this type of grass. I seem to read the greens well here. It's nothing in particular that draws me to the golf course. I think it's kind of a combination things.

Q. Coming off a few missed cuts, has something clicked for you right now?
ERIC AXLEY: Well, the missed cuts, I didn't play very well at the John Deere. But I've been putting really bad. Just made a few more putts today. A few of the little par saves early got the momentum, staying even par versus getting a couple over and struggling. I think that's all it is in this game for us is the momentum swings and today they wept my way.

Q. Why were you able to make more putts today? Did you make a change?
ERIC AXLEY: I did. I went back to an older putter I've used in the past, and I feel like I read these greens a little better than most for some reason. I don't know. I think it's a combination of that, I guess and saw the lines today.

Q. Great round today. If you could give us some thoughts about your play this morning?
ERIC AXLEY: Got off to just kind of an okay start with a few, I think, five or six pars early. A few nice five-footers for par to save. Then 16 hit a really nice drive and hit it to about two feet and tapped in for eagle. Then 18 I made about a 20-footer for eagle, 20, 25 feet. So kind of got some momentum when I turned and kind of sunk my toe a little on No. 1. Made a double bogey, and bounced back with a birdie on 2, and I holed my second shot on 3 for eagle, which was nice.

Q. With that double, you got three eagles in a round, you have to be pretty pleased with the start to a tournament?
ERIC AXLEY: Yeah, I mean, obviously that doesn't happen very often, so, yeah, that was a nice bonus. But I played solid, kept it under the holes. Like I said, the three eagles were a bonus. One was a tap-in, but the other two were kind of unexpected.

Q. When the third one goes in, are you thinking, hey, this is not bad?
ERIC AXLEY: Yeah, this wasn't a bad gig. My playing partners, we were trying to hole one more before we came in. But it was good. Like I say it's rare that ever happens. But when it does, you take the good with the bad.

Q. How did the wind change during the course of the round? It was pretty calm when you started out?
ERIC AXLEY: It was very calm when we started. About, I think, when we got to 16 our 7th hole, it started blowing a little bit. So we played our last, you know, 12 holes with a little breeze. Not near as much as we played Tuesday and Wednesday but it's still up there. Have to think about it right now.

Q. Where does this round fit for you in the course of the season?
ERIC AXLEY: It was good. It was obviously good to get off to a good start. I've had some good opening rounds. Score-wise, by looking at the money list or my finishes haven't been great. But it's really been the scoring shots. I haven't played that bad. You're playing against the best players in the world. And if you don't do it all well, it shows up out here. So I guess I'm as surprised at the round as maybe some of you are. But, you know, it's a good round, good start.

Q. Comfortable in the land of the left-hander?
ERIC AXLEY: Yeah, they like me up here.
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