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January 22, 2016

Brendan Steele

La Quinta, California

Q. A lot cleaner round today on the Nicklaus Course.
BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah, pretty good today. I actually played pretty well yesterday. Got in a little trouble on the back nine. But was able to stay out of most of it. Still hit a ball in the water and a ball out of bounds today, so. Overcame those couple things, but pretty good.

Q. First start of 2016. Did you come in here with expectations or how are you approaching the week?
BRENDAN STEELE: Not really. Based off my practice before I got here, but put in a really good week of work this week with one of my coaches, Chris Mason. So by the time Wednesday came around I was feeling really good, which, as you know, is the most important thing. So once I saw what was happening on Wednesday, I got really excited.

Q. And that said, I guess it's a pretty visually daunting golf course these two around here. So thoughts to the Stadium Course tomorrow?
BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah, definitely, I played Stadium a lot kind of as a kid and a little bit mini tours and stuff, but I haven't played as much in the last 10 years. So getting out there again it was fun to kind of see the shots and see what I remembered correctly and what I didn't remember, but there's definitely a lot of water, a lot of, you have to hit a lot of good shots and just really be committed to your lines and stay aggressive.

Q. (No Microphone.)
BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah, definitely. I kind of struggled here my first few years, couldn't really figure out how to get it done. But my game's gotten better and I think that just understanding the format a little bit better and how low you need to go and how aggressive you have to be.

Q. Any of the courses did you have a little bit of knowledge that maybe could help at times during the round?
BRENDAN STEELE: I had a little, not much. My game is a lot different from the last times that I played out here. I hit the ball a lot farther, a lot straighter, got a lot more shots. So, from what I remember, it's not quite as helpful, just because it hasn't been that recent, but I still at least know where the holes go and kind of how to play them.

Q. I read somewhere driving distance is something you've been working on. Are you seeing that kind of tangibly pay off?
BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah, I was, I started working out pretty hard about three years ago and I went from I think 90th on TOUR when I started to 15th last year. So, big increase, I think, from about 290 to about 303. So, which out here is a big jump at this point in my career and at my age. So, yeah, I definitely have seen a big increase.

Q. You finished well last year, it's a tournament that you were really looking forward to coming back to, though the layout's a little bit different.
BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah, this is a home event for me, so it's nice to have a lot of support, friends and family out and until last year I really hadn't had much success, so it was nice last year to give the home crowd a little built of fun coming in and just trying to do that again this year.

Q. Bounced back from that bogey on the par-5 to come back with four birdies coming in, what can you take from that finish to hopefully go over into tomorrow?
BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah, it's something I'm working on really hard right now is just to try to bounce back from those things. It's golf, right? So it just happens all the time. Didn't hit a good shot there, on the par-5, but it hit a tree and went 20 yards left in somebody's backyard. So it's a bad break, it's a bad shot, and have to somehow find a way to get over it and move forward and get back into your routine, which I did pretty well today.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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