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November 5, 2015

Aaron Baddeley

Jackson, Mississippi

An Interview With:


THE MODERATOR: All right. Aaron Baddeley, thanks for joining us for a few minutes after a great start, bogey-free 8-under 64. Just looking at a few of your stats, you had 11 one-putts and just 23 overall on the round. I know you holed out on 15, I think, for an eagle. So obviously off to a great start, your first time here at Country Club of Jackson. Obviously it worked well for you. So with that a few comments on what was going right.

AARON BADDELEY: Overall it was a good day. I hit a lot of good iron shots and putted well. Even the putts that I missed I thought they were going in. So I was really reading the greens well, had the speed down.

Yeah, just a couple of tee shots that just weren't perfect, but you're not going to hit every shot perfect in the game of golf. So I'll just work on that a little bit, but overall very pleased and feeling very comfortable with where I'm at.

THE MODERATOR: Speaking of your comfort level, what are you kind of hoping for? I know last year wasn't everything you had hoped for. As you're starting this new season, what is it you're working on; what's kind of going right for you, and what are you most comfortable with as you are heading into this season?

AARON BADDELEY: Yeah. Last year was a disappointing year. Didn't play well. Just really struggled with my ball striking. I started with a new coach, Scott Hamilton, the weekend of the John Deere, and he really changed things in my game completely.

THE MODERATOR: Is he out of Scottsdale?

AARON BADDELEY: No, he's out of Cartersville in Atlanta. And he worked with Harris English. So I went with him the weekend of John Deere, and he's really changed things like where last weekend I was home practicing, hit 18 greens for the first time in my life.

So just things like that where I'm able to now have more birdie putts. So that's kind of getting up-and-downs for pars, and Scott's really simplified things. And with him I've only worked on like three things, and now it's just like amazing. It's been great. He's been really great.

THE MODERATOR: Okay. With that we'll take a few questions.

Q. 15 you holed out; didn't drive the green?
AARON BADDELEY: I hit it just short of the green, maybe 10 yards, not even, short of the green and then just hit a perfect pitch. I hit a bunch of pitches from there in the practice.

I was really surprised how much the ball released on that green. So I knew that the ball was going to keep rolling all the way to that back hole location. So it landed right where I wanted, and it kept trickling and kept trickling and disappeared, ^ so I was pretty happy.

Q. How far?
AARON BADDELEY: I think it was on 23, say 30 yards, maybe 33 yards.

THE MODERATOR: Yeah. ShotLink said 38. Take that for what it's worth.

Q. From 13 to 16 you went 4-under right there, really had a good stretch. I mean when you have that good of a stretch early in a round, is it hard not to press too hard and say I gotta go lower or what's your mindset at that point?
AARON BADDELEY: I mean it's really just being patient. You know, even like last week at home I started to -- I was playing nicely, and I started to shoot some good scores, because I really felt like I'd been in sort of a rut of just shooting 1-under, evens, even though I was playing really nice. And ^ I started shooting some good scores last week, and it was just being patient. It was never like pushing issues.

So like today when I was 5-under through seven, I think it was, I wasn't trying to push the issue. I was just like just cruising along, trying to just stay in the moment, hit the shot and stay patient, because the last thing you want to do is like force an issue and then you make a bogey or you just hit a bad shot when you didn't need to.

Q. (No microphone).
AARON BADDELEY: Yeah. It's definitely been a bit of an up-and-down period. I changed my swing a couple of times and looking for consistency with my ball striking, because I've always had a good short game. I've always been one of the better putters on TOUR. So really just trying to get my ball swinging to start matching up with my putting and short game. And I guess I was on sort of a search for that, and I found little spots of it and then it would disappear.

But now, I feel like with Scott he's really just simplified it. He's definitely not one to like -- he's like, man, you just gotta keep doing the same thing and just get better at doing this and that's it. You don't need to do anything more.

And I've seen the results. I'm not in a position now where I feel like I'm waiting, if I be patient, the results are going to come, results are going to come. Like I can see the shots, the ball's flying great, the ball's doing what I want it to do as opposed to not going right, but it looks good on the camera.

So I guess career wise I feel probably the most relaxed, comfortable, positive I've been with my golf in five, six, seven years. So I'm just in a real nice spot right now. I'm pretty comfortable.

Q. I'm sure you've seen the weather forecast. It could get a little sloppy over the next couple of days. I know it's always important to get off to a good start, but do you think it's even maybe more so in a tournament like this with the rains coming?
AARON BADDELEY: Could be for sure. It's always nice when you're up front early so you don't feel like you have to push the score, shoot a good round in the middle of a tournament. So now like you can go ahead tomorrow, and if you shoot another 8-under, then hopefully you'll be around the lead again.

Again, it's not really trying to shoot a number, just going out -- I didn't start today thinking I was going to shoot 8-under. I started the day just thinking, just play solid, keep doing what I'm doing. But the weather could dictate the patience levels.

Q. Did you play here last year?

Q. So you hadn't seen the course. Did you play a practice round?
AARON BADDELEY: I played nine holes Tuesday and the pro am on Wednesday.

Q. So when you hit all those chips on 15, was that in the practice round?
AARON BADDELEY: Yeah, in the practice round, yeah.

Q. And what club do you use for that kind of shot?
AARON BADDELEY: That's a lob wedge. Just knew how fast it was. I felt like any less lob was going to just take off and roll off the back of the green, so it was just a lob wedge, just to get the ball on the green, moving toward the pin.

Q. When you make a shot like that, what does that do for you as a player? You practiced it, you said, hey, I think I understand this shot and then when you actually do it in a competition, like see the ball disappear, what does it do for your game moving forward?
AARON BADDELEY: Certainly adds confidence, just knowing like you executed the plan and you did what you set out to do and instead of in the back of your mind like questioning your judgment or thinking it's not going to release. And off the back of the green, like trusting what you saw, trusting the practice that you've done. So it's definitely rewarding when you do that. Whether you're winning or not. You know, even when it's like a couple inches, still happy with it.

THE MODERATOR: All right. Well, Aaron, great start. We thank you for your time.

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