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March 11, 2016

Justin Thomas

Palm Harbor, Florida

Q. Justin, solid round of golf. I know you're a little disappointed with the finish maybe. That is tough golf course in the breeze.
JUSTIN THOMAS: It is. It's a tough golf course with no breeze blowing. When you put in 20, 25 miles an hour wind, it's really tough.

Yeah, I played really well. I'm really disappointed with that finish and those last five holes but luckily I was 6-under when it happened. It was bad.

Q. The greens aren't that fast. How hard would this be if we were looking at greens that were 12 and not 10 1/2, maybe?
JUSTIN THOMAS: It would be very difficult. It's unfortunate with, you know, them not coming in, I'm sure, how they would have liked. But it is what it is, they'll still crown a winner at the end of the week.

Q. Just patience because it's so hard?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah. Yeah. I need to do more of what I was doing those first 12, 13 holes, just, you know, hitting fairways, trying to hit greens.

It's hard if you're salvaging for par all day out here. It wears on you and it's just hard. Trying to give myself as many looks as possible and make some birdies.

Q. I'm here with Justin Thomas.
Before we get to today's round, here is my question: 3-over through 6 yesterday and you're 3-under through 36. Where are your mentally because of that?

JUSTIN THOMAS: I probably take more out of that than I do being whatever, 6, 5-under through 10 or whatever I was today. I just -- just been staying patient and it's a tough course.

It's not a course where you need to make a lot of birdies to hang. You just need to make a lot of pars and sprinkle in some birdies. It was really nice to be where I am now after the start yesterday.

Q. You speak of the birdies. You made 6 of them today. How do you manage to scratch out 6 birdies around here?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I made a couple putts to start the day. I made the one be, whatever, 15-footer on 11. I just was playing really well. I made a 12-footer on 15 and then a 5-footer on. Tap-in on 1.

So, I was hitting it good enough to give myself some chances. I had some good opportunities coming in that I would like to have had. It is what it is.

Q. And the course, tell us how she's playing.
JUSTIN THOMAS: It's tough, very tough. This wind makes it -- makes it difficult. The fairways are firm so you really have to be shaping it the right way coming into those fairways. Most often than not the wind is going in the opposite direction. You have to hit some good golf shots out there.

Q. With that being said, you were very comfortable with the driver. Did you feel like that's kind of the outlook for the weekend?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I don't feel great or don't feel bad with any club. I feel kind of confident. Moreso than anything, I'm just trying to make sure I'm always on the right sides of the holes and I played this course so many times between junior tournaments and amateur events that I know on certain holes the left rough is better than, you know, the edge of the right rough and those little holes where I just really hone down on being on the right side.

Q. Justin you got to 6 at one point. Get in with a 67. What do you take away from that?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Definitely more positives than negatives. Pretty disappointed with the finish but it is what it is. I was very fortunate to get off to the start that I did and hit some good shots and had some good putts and saves.

I felt like I had a good chance to go bogey-free, shoot 7, 8, 9-under today with some of the holes I had left but just a couple rocky holes here and there. Good position going into the weekend.

Q. You were able to crank out 6 birdies. How are you able to be aggressive and what's the approach in that sense?
JUSTIN THOMAS: There's just a lot of holes you have to just be so cautious out here I feel like. The par-3s are tough. You're trying to find the green and two-putt, get out with a 3. There's some longer holes you're trying to hit the green in two and two-putt for a 4.

I made a couple birdies on those holes today. I hit some actually good iron shots into 15 and 3. Those are holes I take par all day. I made two birdies on those holes. Trying to keep it on the right sides of the holes. Make pars when you can. When you have a good number try to attack.

Q. 3-under par, lot of times that's scraping to make the cut. Here it's the leaderboard.
JUSTIN THOMAS: I think it's fun. We don't get to do it too often. When you have conditions like this and a golf course like this, it's hard to be anything else.

The past shows that it doesn't necessarily take a birdie-fest out here. You just need to be patient and kind of scrap around.

Q. (Inaudible).
JUSTIN THOMAS: No, I definitely putted better today than I did yesterday. I had some nice up and downs for some pars yesterday. I did today as well.

I really, really played well that first 13 holes and hit some really good shots and kind of hit my windows and could go down when I wanted to. Definitely made more putts. Just an all around better day.

Q. You played here a bunch as a junior and amateur?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Played two, I think -- I played three junior events here, Southern Amateur here and last year.

Q. Actually one of the more familiar ones that you go to on Tour.
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah. It's one of those -- I didn't get here till Tuesday night. I didn't feel like I needed to play anything other than the Pro-Am and I just needed to kind of see how the course was different with some of the bunkering and the redoing of the greens but, other than that, it's a familiar and comfortable spot for me.

Q. Justin, what kind of advice did Jordan give you coming into this tournament.
JUSTIN THOMAS: None. I didn't ask for any.

Q. Did he ask for any?
JUSTIN THOMAS: No, he didn't.

Q. Doing any Augusta prep so far?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I went Monday, Tuesday the week of Torrey. I'm going to go Monday, Tuesday of Houston week. There are shots here and there, probably a couple tournaments where it will be -- where I'll say something to Jimmy, "This will be like a tee shot at 11 at Augusta."

I feel like it's always in my mind although obviously I'm focused where I'm at. It's definitely very important.

Q. Did you ever play there during your amateur days?
JUSTIN THOMAS: My freshman year in college. Mr. Knox and Sonny took Bobby and I out there. It was sweet.

Q. What were you looking at coming out of the trees on 10? What were you hopeful of?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah. I really -- my straight path, I was at the left trees and lucky I was on some firm ground, that dirt where I knew I could curve it a long way.

I was trying to cut it and just slice it and get it in the left bunker if I could. Somehow maybe get it on the green or right where I could chip it.

Q. What was your aim?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Probably 40 yards, 30 yards in the trees. Just felt like if I got it curving with the wind, it was going to curve even more and it came out. This might be pretty good. Went up on the green and made it and Duf was giving me some crap about that.

Q. Shocker. What club was it?

Q. Do you know the distance?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I think I had like 150-something to the hole. I wasn't worried about that. Trying not to hit a tree.

Q. How to keep it down?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Decently. With my stance I didn't need to worry about it getting up as much as I needed to curve it.

Q. How hard is it to turn the tide when you start a tournament like this?
JUSTIN THOMAS: It was tough. I was pretty bummed yesterday especially on 1 and 2 or, with the wind directions I would say the easier holes and I have an 8-iron into 1 and plugging it in the bunker and making par and bogeying 2 is just kind of like I felt like a big step back to start the tournament instead of taking one, two steps forward.

I just kept looking at the leaderboard and telling myself I needed -- obviously two holes into the tournament, it's two holes into the tournament, need to be patient and just try to make as many pars as I could and sprinkle in some birdies for the back-9 yesterday was big.

Q. That's a goal, but how much did 5 set you back momentum-wise?

Q. It stunk.
JUSTIN THOMAS: Sorry. It stunk. I was walking off the green with Jimmy. I've had a hard time with that one in the past. Something about it, the seconds shot, the tee shot and the wind direction, it's hard for me.

I told Jimmy, "Man, I finally did the hard part, hit the good tee shot and good lay up and screwed it up from there." It's just a tough par 5 and yeah, I mean it was a horrendous wedge shot but it was unfortunate because I'm looking at hopefully a good birdie look there and I like the tee shot on 6 and then I got this hole and to play 2-over coming in was a bummer.

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