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April 9, 2016

Hideki Matsuyama

Augusta, Georgia

THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon. Hideki Matsuyama carded an even par 72 for a three‑day total of 1‑under par, 215 total, currently tied for third. Following a career best fifth place finish in the 2015 Masters, was the low amateur at the 2011 Masters.
Hideki, what is it about Augusta National that brings out the best in your game?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: To answer your question, I wish I knew, but I did prepare hard and well for this week's tournament, and it's paid off so far.
THE MODERATOR: Could you give us a general impression of your round today, and then we'll open it to questions.
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: I scored well for the first 15 holes. I ended up bogeying two of the last three holes. But hopefully we can turn that around tomorrow.

Q. You were within one shot of the lead twice on the second nine. Did you know you were within one shot of the lead? Did you see that?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: I did look at the scoreboard a couple times during the round, but I didn't realize I was one back.

Q. Your only swing coach has been your dad. Is that still the case or have you employed a full‑time swing coach now?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: No, it's just‑‑ I don't have a full‑time coach now.

Q. Looks like you're going to need a pretty good round tomorrow to catch Jordan. Does the 66 that you shot last year give you the confidence that that round is in you?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: You know, it's probably going to take a 66 tomorrow. But when you think about the conditions of last year and this year, it's much more difficult this year. But if I think too much about trying to shoot a 66 or shooting 66, it's not going to happen. So I just need to focus one shot at a time.

Q. The putt on 14 for birdie, moving very fast, could you describe that putt and how pleased you were that it went in?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: I was really surprised it dove in. I'm glad it did, because if it had missed the cup, it would have been 30 feet, 33 feet by.

Q. What did you learn from last year's experience that has helped you get into contention this year?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: Even though the conditions are quite different this year from last year, my experience last year gave me things to work on which I have this past year and I've been diligent in that. And again, it's paid off this week.

Q. And what were those things?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: I learned last year, I just have to get better all around, especially my putting. And I worked hard on putting, and this year I've had success and putted better than I had last year. Except from 15 on in today, it sure didn't show. Hopefully we can putt better tomorrow.

Q. You've been working on your swing every day on the driving range, but what worked today to make your score under par?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: There are very few scores under par today, and it was difficult. To be able to keep my score at even par, I'm satisfied. The shots‑‑ and I hit the ball very well today. So my swing was solid. I hit a lot of greens.
I was working on the range this week, again, hopefully that's paid off.

Q. How important is it for to you ultimately learn to speak more English? And also, how comfortable are you living in Orlando; do you feel at home there?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: Yes, I do need to learn English, and I'm working hard on that. But it's just for some reason, it's just not sticking in my brain right now. But I'm working on it.
And it's great to have a home here in the United States. I enjoy the Orlando area. It's nice to have a place to call home to go to during the off‑weeks.

Q. How much do you think it would mean to your country, the significance, if you could pull off a major championship?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: Right now, the women's tour in Japan is very, very popular. Hopefully a major win would give more popularity to the men's tour, and hopefully some day we can do that.

Q. 2009, Shingo Katayama had a fourth here, equalling the best finish by a Japanese player. Did you watch him do that that year, and was that something that motivated you?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: Yeah, I didn't see Shingo Katayama when he finished. I didn't watch television that week.
But I did‑‑ there's another Japanese player, Izawa, in 2001, that I did watch. That was an inspiration for me.

Q. Looks like you'll be playing with Bernhard Langer tomorrow. Do you know him at all?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: I do know him.

Q. What experiences have you had?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: Again, my English is not that good, so we haven't had a good chat. But we do cordially greet each other and always say hello.

Q. How much more confident are you and in what ways have you grown the most since that first Presidents Cup and your first win at Muirfield Village?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: My confidence has probably stayed the same, but I have grown a lot, being comfortable playing with the world's best players and being on the same stage with them.

Q. Do you find yourself at all under the radar among the American fans, or do you think you get the proper attention from them?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: Hopefully the more English I learn, the more popular I can become (smiling).

Q. What do you like doing besides playing golf?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: I like to play golf (laughter).

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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