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October 16, 2015

Brendan Steele

Napa, California

THE MODERATOR: Brendan Steele, thanks for joining us again. Second consecutive day. 63 yesterday; 70, 2-Under today. Still right where you want to be heading into the weekend.

Just get some comments about today and the difference between the days.

BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah, did a lot of things similar today that I did yesterday. Golf course played a little tougher. It's getting firm out there. Afternoon plays a little bit harder as a rule too. I think scoring average was probably higher today and yesterday in the afternoon than the morning.

Got to hang on a little bit. Overall really happy with everything I did and good building on what I did yesterday.


Q. (No microphone.)
BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah, definitely. I mean the greens get a little firmer; they get a little bumpier. You know, you get the po late in the afternoon after everybody is going through. Everything just got a little crusty kind of coming down the stretch.

Even the fairways are starting to really firm up. It's really hard to control the ball. If you're not in the fairway, then almost no chance of getting the ball close to the hole. Really tough time just holding the green.

Q. What were you expecting today? When you open with a 63 and birdie right out of the gate, what does that do anything for you? Are you a wise enough veteran to know it's going to be a long 54 holes?
BRENDAN STEELE: Well, I know it's going to be a longest a 54 holes, but it's always nice to start your day with a birdie, especially coming off of yesterday. You kind of feel like you continue the momentum a little bit.

I expected today to be tough, and it's always tough to follow up a round like yesterday with anything even under par. I think we've seen guys over the years follow 63 up usually with something around par, whether it's 1- or 2-under, what have you.

If you can go lower than that you probably have a pretty good sized lead.

Q. (No microphone.)
BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah, definitely. I would love to run away with it. I was hoping to get to -- I was to 12 through 12 today, so I was hoping to grab a couple more on the way in since I had birdied five in a row on the back nine yesterday.

But it got tough. I was lucky to kind of escape just finishing 1-over on those last six.

Q. Seems a trap you could fall into coming off one day to look at the fact not only that you birdied five in a row to end that nine yesterday, but knowing that you finished with two fives.
BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah, definitely. It's nice because you know that you have those chances toward the end. You know, playing into the wind on 16 today and we had a long way to the hole so we laid up, and I didn't even hit the green with my wedge.

And then 18 could have gotten home but hit it in the left rough and then laid up into the rough and missed that green, too. So didn't even end up on the green on the two par-5s, and then was in a divot in the middle of the fairway on 17, so those last three that you think you can score on all of a sudden were kind of a struggle.

Q. Does this course wear you out?
BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah. I mean, any time you're not making putts it'll wear you out for sure. I've been lucky enough to hole my share so far this week.

You know, hopefully that keeps up over the next couple days. The greens have a lot of slope and they can be tough to putt. I'm sure most guys are getting a little worn out by that.

Q. (No microphone.)
BRENDAN STEELE: You know, I actually think I'll handle it really well. I'm happy with the state of my game right now. It's just kind of a process I'm going through. I know I talked about that quite a bit yesterday. It's just something that I can control, which is really helpful in those kind of situations.

Just kind of knowing that if I handle what I'm supposed to handle, then the shots will take care of themselves. That's kind of my idea going into the weekend. Hopefully it holds up for a couple more days.

Q. Along the lines of what you said earlier, get to 12, be looking at 13, 14. Justin described his round of 69 as a 69. Didn't hit it particularly well. How would you characterize a 70?
BRENDAN STEELE: You know, I really felt like I did a lot of things really well. Unfortunately, just kind of couple things towards the end that weren't great. I flew it probably a foot from the cup on 15 and went off the green because it was so firm and downwind and kind of playing impossible and made a bogey there.

Then, like I said, I struggled on the last few holes. I'm happy with it, but I feel like I played well enough to score a little better than that.

Q. You mentioned handling the lead. What do you expect this weekend given that you're in the lead or tied and given the way the course is playing?
BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah, well, I think we saw last year the greens got really firm and fast on the weekend and the scores kind of went up through the week. I definitely expect that. I don't expect to see anymore 63s out there, which can play to my advantage I think.

You know, make it a little tougher for guys to come from way behind. That being said, you have a lot of world-class players that are within even let's say six, seven shots, which over two rounds is plenty close enough to do some damage.

So I expect it to be a shootout and a lot of guys to have a chance. But I don't expect the scores to be as good as they were the first day at least, the first two days.

Q. After your break, how much actual golf do you play and how much do you practice? What's the split?
BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah, I actually played a lot more and practiced a lot less over this break. I was just having a little trouble with my motivation as far as like practice goes. I could get motivated to go play because I enjoy that.

I was having trouble getting out there and doing drills and hitting balls and a lot of chips and wedges and stuff like that that I normally do just because it's such a long year. I got home and was instantly moving from one house to another. Last thing I want to do is go grind on stuff.

But I would go play with my buddies quite a bit. I was still keeping a club in my hands. Wasn't like I was taking three weeks off and then just showing up. Definitely less practice than I would normally do.

Q. (No microphone.)
BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah, I have some good buddies. Well, I played with some of the members at Shady Canyon the other day. I was given a few shots, more than a few, and they kicked my butt.

I'm sure they're happy to see that they can take my money and then I can come out here and play well.

Q. (No microphone.)
BRENDAN STEELE: I was given 18. It was like 18, 14, and 13, or something like that. It was a lot. And then played two tee boxes up in match play. (Laughter.)

It's a rough game for me. Yeah, tough one.

THE MODERATOR: Brendan, as always, thank you for your time. We appreciate it.

BRENDAN STEELE: Thanks, guys.

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