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January 14, 2016

Ricky Barnes

Honolulu, Hawaii

RICKY BARNES: You're right. It was a back left pin and I was hitting 5-irons. One was a really good 5-iron in the morning, and I think we hit a 7-iron into 7. But you're right. Not taking advantage of them, but holes, like you said, that really aren't huge, huge birdie holes, especially with the trade winds and they're straight into you and you're hitting 4 and 5-irons and 6 and 7-irons into the holes perspectively. And we got on to 9, and it was downwind, and I hit a really good drive and hit a 9-iron in.

So you're almost disappointed, in a sense, if you don't have an eagle putt inside of 20 feet. But getting off to a good start where the wind wasn't up on the Back 9 was probably the biggest key, and then just to kind of parlay it into the Back 9 with no bogeys was kind of the gravy.

Q. Not a whole lot of wind early today. Did you kind of come out thinking that the course was there for the taking?
RICKY BARNES: Yeah, I was saying that earlier, if you're in the fairway out here and there's not much wind, there's not much guessing when you get to a shot. I just feel like you should be comfortable. You're not playing a lot of crosswinds. And the greens aren't too slopey. When in doubt, be under the pin, and you can hit an aggressive point. And case in point I did that on 18. I was able to at least be aggressive. I know it was 20 feet. But you still felt like you were aggressive.

Q. Was there momentum within your group?
RICKY BARNES: Yeah. Absolutely. Seemed like our best ball would have been close to 15-under, something like that.

Q. (Inaudible)?
RICKY BARNES: There were a lot of birdies. I can tell you that.

Q. When you were first turning pro and first coming out here and Vijay was winning nine times a year, I don't know how old you feel right now, but does it make you feel older or younger when someone like that is still playing?
RICKY BARNES: Older, yeah, because I shouldn't say kids but the guys that I'm playing with that are getting on TOUR and playing now, I feel like they should be saying they're 29 and 30 and they're all 21 to 25.

But I think it's a good thing for me, too. Obviously it's not great that you don't get on TOUR right away, but I felt like I was able to mature and find out the time frame and management of my time to come out here and feel secure.

Q. On 17, (inaudible)?
RICKY BARNES: Yeah. I actually hit an okay tee shot on 17. The last three holes are playing tough. Usually you get the opposite and you're hitting shorter clubs in. But it wasn't that tough of an up-and-down. I didn't have a great bunker shot, so it was kind of nice to, like you said, keep the momentum going in to 18 bogey free.

Q. What keeps your patience the way it is in terms of getting your first win? I'll be honest with you, Ricky. Here's when I was thinking of coming in. I bet in the last couple of years whenever you've done well, you probably can't get to an interview without somebody asking something like that.
RICKY BARNES: No. Actually, like I said, I've been close and gotten to that point in majors and golf tournaments and stuff like that, but for me it's more getting toward the mental side of the game and trusting the stuff that I've been working on. And I knew I needed to make a big change about eight months ago, and I did and I struggled the first six months of it with my coach.

And I think I reached the benefits of maintaining a good short game, ball striking and mental game getting better and trusting, and I benefited from the last probably three events on the PGA TOUR last year, the four Web-dot events and then the last five events of the 2015-16 season.

Q. That's gotta be the hardest part, I would think, those first six months.
RICKY BARNES: Absolutely. Yeah, fortunately it wasn't a huge grip and all that stuff change. But yeah. And I needed it and I was the one who reached out. It wasn't like someone came to me and told me, you need to do this or whatever. I just knew it was time. I was getting some injuries because of the way I was swinging, and I knew I needed to make a change, so I did.

Q. What was the main change?
RICKY BARNES: My problems were my legs were coming out under me, seemed like to hit the shot as opposed to kind of using my big, tall muscle frame to be able to just repeat a golf swing instead of just trust your athletic ability. That's kind of how I explain it. But more retreatable now is what I'm doing.

Q. (Inaudible)?
RICKY BARNES: Steve Graham who is in Nashville, Tennessee.

Q. How did you hook up with him?
RICKY BARNES: His brother has actually been the Wilson rep out here, Ron, for the past however years. And I kind of got lucky. I went and saw two or three teachers a couple, multiple times. I sat back, kind of took a lot of notes, mental notes myself, and then we went to work, kind of hired him.

Q. Before you got to Steve -- I hope your stomach is not grumbling. Before you got to receive were you looking or going to other coaches?
RICKY BARNES: Yeah, I went and saw a few coaches. I asked a few guys around and just kind of asked a few buddies who were they working with and talked to my manager and just people in my camp who they thought, and we wrote down a bunch of names, made some calls. And at the end of the day this is the one that made sense.

And like I said, I knew whoever I went with it was going to be a while. Some things would click for a round and then they did. And then they would kind of go away. But I felt like the stuff that we are working on now is here to stay.

Q. (Inaudible).
RICKY BARNES: I mean hopefully it will translate to every course really because you're just kind of working on the same thing as opposed to adapting to a golf course.

But I've been fortunately playing here since I was a freshman in college because we had a host here and still good friends with him today. So I've actually probably played this course 12 times more before I even played my first Sony Open round here.

Q. (Inaudible)?
RICKY BARNES: Yeah. That 20, 25-footer, straight uphill. No, actually it was right at it. But like I said, you felt like you should hit it closer. But I had a great look, straight uphill into the green.

Q. (Inaudible)?
RICKY BARNES: Oh, 18. No. 14, 15, 16 and 17 and 18. Yeah, because I hit a wedge 148 yards downwind, and then we hit 5-iron 180 into the wind on like 17. It actually played good.

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