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November 1, 2015

Justin Thomas

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

THE MODERATOR: We would like to welcome our 2015 CIMB Classic champion, Justin Thomas.

Justin, this is your first PGA TOUR victory here in Malaysia. You had seven top-10s last year. Came pretty close a couple times, and actually came pretty close earlier this year.

Today you made a double bogey on 14, but, obviously, right after that, battled back. Talk about the whole day as a whole, but also that stretch.

JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, it was a grind today. It was very good scoring conditions like it's been all week, so I knew I needed to make a lot of birdies again.

And I got off to a sluggish start, but nobody really pulled away. I was fortunate. Kevin got hot a little bit there.

I kept telling myself to stay patient and keep doing what I was doing. I gave myself a lot of good birdie looks.

I was hitting good putts, I just wasn't matching my speed up. And I tend to do that a little bit as you can see on 18, when I get nervous.

But it always comes with the learning experience. So, it was really nice to make those birdies after that double on 14. I'm probably more proud of that than winning the tournament.

THE MODERATOR: Open it up to questions.

Q. How do you rate the course?
JUSTIN THOMAS: How do rate it? It's great. It's unbelievable how -- obviously, the ball doesn't roll very far, but still it's got a firm ground to it. It's not like it's -- you're not slopping around. We don't have mud all over us. We're not splattering everywhere.

The greens still have a decent firmness to them, which is really unbelievable when you think about it with the amount of rain that it's received here. So it's great.

Q. What did you tell yourself after hitting the shot into 14? You mentioned outside that you've --
JUSTIN THOMAS: I've been struggling a little bit on those downhill lies this past, I don't know, six months or so. That was my miss, is I've been chunking them. I didn't really think I was going to do so when I had 114 yards. It was a great scoring opportunity, great chance to make a birdie and get another stroke on the lead, but it was unbelievable. I, mean, really the only thing you could do is what I did, just laugh it off, it was that bad of a shot in the circumstance.

But yeah, I told myself to -- I had four holes left, that I was leading at that point, fortunately, and if I was tied or one back when that happened it would have been a huge deal.

But to really, to hit that -- that shot I hit on 15 may have been the best shot I hit this week. It was kind of between clubs. It was just tough to squeeze it back there, and I just kind of stepped up and knew I needed to hit a golf shot. And I hit probably the best shot I hit all week, so that kind of calmed my nerves.

Q. This is the first event in the wrap around TOUR and the first two events are won by 23-year-olds and you're 22, so what's that say about the TOUR?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, they're both really good friends of mine, too. We have all played against each other since junior golf and amateur and college golf. We played so many times against each other.

And, yeah, seeing them win was a little bit motivating. Obviously, I had a great chance in California to win where Emiliano did, but that's how it goes sometimes.

So, there wasn't really a lot I could do about it. I just needed to realize why I didn't win and just kind of -- I went back home last week, and I got to work to join them. So, it feels great.

Q. Did you expect yourself to win your first title so soon.
JUSTIN THOMAS: I expected to win a lot sooner than this, honestly. I always had high expectations for myself, and I definitely played well enough last year in some events to win. I understand that wining is difficult, and it doesn't happen that often.

But I feel like with my game and if it's -- if I put the preparation in, and I'm -- my -- I'm doing the right things with my body and my rest, then I really feel like I can get myself there pretty good amount of times, just a matter of if I capitalize or not.

So, obviously, it's a win, whatever, just a couple tournaments into my second year is great, but it would have been nice to win a couple last year, too.

Q. Could you talk about coming down the line and knowing that it was quite crowded at the top.
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, I really felt very calm and great all day, which is honestly, I think, what I learned even back to the WEB.COM TOUR, or even last year on PGA TOUR, my rookie year.

It was just all the experiences and all the times I put myself in contention with a chance to win the tournament, I just kept referring back to those and realize that I've been here, I've hit these shoots I hit a shots, I know I can do it. Even though I hadn't succeeded in times past, I knew that I could do it, and I was very calm.

The only time I really was nervous and jittery was on 18 probably hitting that bunker shot. And obviously the putt, if you couldn't tell by how far past I hit it. But, yeah, I felt very comfortable all day, so that was a great feeling.

Q. Could you tell us about the week in general and what your experience was like playing here in the conditions.
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, it was awesome. It just all went by so fast. It seems like it was just yesterday, or whatever it was, I was getting in on Monday morning. I didn't even know where I was, I was so jet lagged. I'm still struggling a little bit with that. I'm going to sleep pretty early, waking up at five every morning.

But it's been an awesome week. We got so lucky with the weather. I couldn't have been drawn up any better for all of us. Obviously, a great venue, and it was a very exciting tournament as well. So it was a great experience.

Q. We're proud you chose Malaysia for your first victory. Your compatriot, Jordan Spieth, always talks about, "we," as in a team. How about your team?
JUSTIN THOMAS: It's huge. You have to have the team, a very solid team and everyone needs to be contributing and in their certain, I guess, aspect or whatever, they need to do. And it's, it is a really team effort. It doesn't look like that when we're out there playing and hitting the shots, but if we're told the wrong things by our caddie or not the wrong things, but not necessarily the right things, you know, things that will kind of put us in a bad mood or just get us thinking about something else.

Without working out and doing the right stretches before this week, my body wouldn't be feeling as well to be able to hit the shots I need to.

If I don't have these certain drills that I can work on with my putting and ball striking, then it's the same thing.

So it's a lot, a lot of work that goes in outside of the ropes before the tournament begins that really does make a big team victory.

Q. The final hole. Why did you go for it?
JUSTIN THOMAS: It was a number to where if I hit a solid 3-wood, I was going to fly it in the middle of the green. And I felt like my bunker game is good, and if I got it in either one of the bunkers, I knew I was at least going to hit the green.

I understand that front bunker wasn't, I would have rather been in the left bunker than the right bunker, but it looked like I was only maybe five, 10 feet from covering up on top and rolling up there.

So, I just felt like if I tried to lay up or hit like a 2-iron or something in front, I would get in the rough, I get a bad lie, it was just, who knows what could happen. Obviously making par from there is very, very reasonable and very easy, but I just felt like for me I hadn't been in that situation before and I said, I said to Jimmy, what do you like? And he said, 3-wood. And I loved that, because I'm always very aggressive and don't like laying up.

So I felt like if I hit a good shot and hit it up on the green then I could just stumble my way in. I still almost did, but that was just my thinking behind that.

Q. Would you like to share with us who you're going to share this win with?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Who I want to share this win with? I mean I would say like we talked about, with my team. My parents, my mom is often at these events. This is a pretty long trip for them, so I talked to them already on the phone. They're very excited. I guess it's, what? It's the middle of the night there, so they were up watching and I mean honestly just everybody I get support from. It's really cool. I'm getting chills just talking about it. The amount of people that really honestly care. Not just myself, but how a lot of guys do out here. Whether it is your friends and family, trainer, caddie, parents, whatever it is, it's a lot of people that want us to do well. And the support I've gotten from everybody, and agents, everything, it's just, it's been great. So, I'm definitely thankful for my support system.

Q. What's the best experience been this week?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Best experience? It's pretty hard to argue with this guy right here (Indicating). I didn't venture out very much. I'm not -- I'm pretty lame and boring when it comes to that. That's something I really want to get better at, but honestly, I've been so tired I really don't want to do anything, I just want to get in my hotel room and lay on the bed and watch TV or watch movies.

I went to Chinatown one day. That was pretty cool. That was an experience. That was a lot unlike anything we have in the States, so to be able to do that, it was a cool way to spend an afternoon. But other than that, no, I would say this guy takes the cake.

Q. (No Microphone.)
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, it's, I was fortunate to where I put myself far enough up in the rankings with a, whatever it is, to where it doesn't make too big of a difference.

Honestly, I'm extremely excited about going to Hawaii before Sony. I think that's going to be awesome. Being a small field and the few guys that are there, I think that's really going to be a lot of fun and I've heard a lot of great things about it.

Obviously the Masters is a great goal that I've had my whole career, too. But the thing is I could play my way into the Masters with good play before April and I only had three more tries to make it to Hawaii to Kapalua.

So this is, I'm really excited about that. So I think that it changes a little bit with some of my schedule, but otherwise, I'm just going to enjoy a little bit tonight and get back to work for next week.

Q. How bug a role does your caddie play in all this?
JUSTIN THOMAS: It's huge. I'm very fortunate to have him. He's worked for Steve Stricker, he really had, he had been in a lot of situations and a lot of scenarios very similar to today. I mean, a situation like today was pretty normal or common. Obviously, I'm sure he's still feeling it like a little bit less than I was, I would say, but he had been there a lot. And that was huge for me today.

Like 14? Obviously, I was pretty bummed and upset I hit it in the water and made double, but we both knew we had four holes left and he was like, you know, just step up there, you hit your shots and give ourselves some opportunities, we'll be fine. So, he really kept me calm and kept me relaxed, not only today but all week and has all year. So I'm looking forward to the things that are coming ahead for us.

THE MODERATOR: Congratulations again, Justin, on winning the CIMB Classic and your first PGA TOUR victory.


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