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January 23, 2016

Kevin Na

La Quinta, California

Q. Sum up the day and what you felt like went right.
KEVIN NA: Well, I started out a little slow. I missed a few putts, but birdied the par-5, made the turn at 2-under, feeling like I was hitting it okay, putting okay, nothing great. I figured hopefully I can go to the other side and the front side, my back side and I'm hoping I know 3-under is good, 4-under would be really good. Birdie both par-5s, and get a couple. 66 is still a good day. And I got on this little run. I missed like an 8-footer on 2 and I was a little disappointed. And then on 3 I hit it to about a foot, almost went in. Right on line. Then 4, par-5, I chipped it to a foot. Made it. 5, hit it to about like four inches, made it. Obviously. And then next hole I made like a 15, 16 foot curler. I'm 4-under with a par-5 to come. Next hole I hit a little punch 3-wood up there to about eight feet. Made eagle. Walking off the green one of the spectators goes, oh nice birdie, Kev. I go, well, thanks, but that was an eagle.


So, on the next little par-3, I hit one, never left the flag. I called it mid air, I was like, get in, and it ended up like 10 inches. So, I hit, four of the holes I hit it within a foot. Then I made an 8-footer for an eagle and a 16-footer for a birdie. Then 18, I hit a poor tee shot to the right, it was a decent lie and it was only 170 yards out, I had 5-iron. Thinking it was going to come out really dead. I opened the face up and tried to hit it in the air a little right of the pin. It came out dead, which it's normally a 6-iron, maybe from the fairway a 7-iron. If I hit 6-iron it would have been questionable clearing the water. So I was trying to get it just past the hole and I did that, had about a 12, 13-footer down the hill. It wasn't easy, it was a big curler. Died in there. It was perfect. Nice to shoot 8-under on that nine holes.

It's actually the second time I've done it. Last time I did it was at the Hyundai Championship at Kapalua, on the third round, I believe I shot 8-under. I finished eagle, eagle. Holed out a 5-iron and made eagle on the last hole. But it's par 37, so.

Q. How much did you play this course before this week?
KEVIN NA: A couple weeks ago I came out, I usually spend time at Morningside Country Club. My sponsor has a house out there that he let's me use. It's always empty. He's got a Rolls Royce golf cart that I cruise in. So I came out played with my sponsor once when he was in town. After he left town I was, I played out here a couple more times. I played the Nicklaus once and I played the Stadium two and a half times.

Q. So what did you think of the Nicklaus on that first TOUR?
KEVIN NA: Nicklaus I liked. I played it one time, I loved it. Stadium, I played it the first time I was like, oh, I don't know. Second time, okay, it's a little better. So, it's grown on me.

Q. So what's the explanation for how well you hit it today?
KEVIN NA: I don't know. Didn't start out hitting it great. The last seven holes? That was I striped it. But in the middle it wasn't all that pretty. I up-and-down and scraped it around and just kind of kept it alive without making bogeys. That's what kept my round together. You miss greens and get up-and-down. But those last seven holes I played awesome. Every second shot I hit, iron, whatever I hit into the pin, it never left the flag. It was one of those stretches that I just caught on fire and the nice thing was I was nice and relaxed and that's probably why I was able to convert those putts.

Q. Did you feel like you did at Kapalua when you did it that time, too?
KEVIN NA: No, I think I was pretty pumped at Kapalua. I holed out 17, I was pumped and 18 I was like, I can finish eagle, eagle here. And I was, honestly, I was a little tired. I didn't have enough energy to get all that pumped up anyway. I need a good night rest today for a good day tomorrow.

Q. Was there any specific shot that really kind of got you in a groove?
KEVIN NA: It was the third hole the 4-iron I hit. Nice and high. Flew the bunker landed -- I haven't been putting all that great today and it rolled up to a foot maybe about a foot. Anybody could have made it. So, that's kind of got my day going. I think from there on it was, I just every shot was at the flag.

Q. You're going to be five or six back when the day is over. How does it feel to be in contention again?
KEVIN NA: Yes, I'm kind of in contention, but if I'm five back, you just go out and play. The way -- it looks like Dufner is leading. The way he's playing, he's going to play well. You got to go out there and play your game. If he takes off, good for him. If he kind of backs up a little bit, then you get a chance. But you can't think too much about it when a guy's got a five shot lead.

Q. Stadium is a little bit different finish now than say the Palmer Private, where guys --
KEVIN NA: Yeah, making 4s and 3s there, yeah.

Q. It's a little bit more of a game management hole.
KEVIN NA: Yes, I think so. I think anything in the 60s is a good score out there. Totally different from the Palmer. Palmer, you shoot 5-under, you think you left a couple out there. But Stadium is definitely the golf course.

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