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January 15, 2017

Justin Thomas

Honolulu, Hawaii

THE MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome 2017 Sony Open in Hawaii champion, Justin Thomas. He's the first player since Ernie Els in 2003 to win in Kapalua and here at the Sony Open in the same season. He does so with a PGA Tour record, 27-under, 253. He takes the FedExCup lead. What a dominating week. If we can get some comments, please.

JUSTIN THOMAS: It was a very fun week. I just can't get over how fast these two weeks went by and how much of a blur they almost are. I played some great golf. I'm really excited where my game is and how comfortable I'm feeling when I'm out there.

This win meant a lot because of how I did it. The first wire-to-wire win. I mean, I had a hard time getting focused up there today. I was nervous today for the first time I've felt like that in a long time. To be able to handle that the way I did, I was very proud.

Q. (No microphone.)
JUSTIN THOMAS: All I could hear about from everyone and reading everything is no one has ever blown a seven-shot lead before. A lot of things go through your head when you wake up at 6:30 and you don't tee off until 12:40.

But I've just never done it. I think it's tough no matter what, but that's the main thing.

Q. How big was the putt on 9?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I think 6 was bigger, that par putt. If I missed that, it goes 2-over through six. I think the lead would have maybe gotten down to four. I forget where Rosey was at by then. But if I miss that then who knows what would have happened.

The birdie putt on 8 was really, really big. I had a feeling I was going to make that right when I got up there. 8 and 9 kind of jump started a lot of my rounds this week. Just making a birdie on 9. I didn't birdie 10 today. I had a good look at 11, 12, 14. I just kind of play that stretch well. I would say the putts on 6 and 8 were big for me.

Q. (No microphone.)
JUSTIN THOMAS: Not really. I hit a great drive on 1, just got a terrible bounce. It went in the rough and there was nothing I could do. I played 2 great, hit a really good putt, just misread it.

And then missed the fairway again on 3 and then 3-putted with a bad putt on 4. I felt like I was hitting decent shots. I mean, didn't hit that bad of a drive on 6. It hit the tree and comes back. Usually that's going to land over the bunker and I'll be in the fairway and have wedge in. So things were happening, I was making it a little harder on myself. But I felt pretty comfortable. It was just trying to look forward.

Q. Did you see these two weeks coming?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I don't think anybody can say they necessarily saw something coming, but I felt there was no reason why I shouldn't win them or shouldn't be in contention. I've always felt like I had the game to do so. I have been playing well. I'm just in a good spot mentally right now. I would say, like I said, you can't expect wins or you can't be like, look, I'm going into this event and I should win this. It's more of just like, look, I'm playing well enough, if I manage everything well and I'm smart out there, I should have a chance to win.

Q. Do you expect to win more now than a year or two ago?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I expect to be in contention every time I play. It's I just have more -- I have a four instead of a one now in that win column.

Q. What you said about your nerves, having that seven-shot lead felt like a three?

Q. At what point in the round do you go from thinking winning the tournament to (inaudible)?
JUSTIN THOMAS: The whole day I knew I needed to shoot 5-under. I said that on the car ride here today. I was trying to shoot 7 or 8. I knew 5 was the lowest or the highest I wanted to shoot.

I'd say after 8 and 9 and then birdieing there on 11, I was like this is -- got to get three of these last seven holes. Then the birdie on 12 and 14 helped. The other one on 18 was (inaudible).

Q. (No microphone.)
JUSTIN THOMAS: No. I had a seven-shot lead. But I knew I wasn't going to lose unless I four-putted. I was trying to make it. I wanted to increase the lead like I did each day. I wanted to try to get it to eight or more. I was content. That was nice.

Q. Have you won back to back at other levels as a kid and stuff? What was that experience like?
JUSTIN THOMAS: In junior golf, I won a pretty good amount of times. I don't think -- in college I did. I won SECs and Regionals back to back my freshman year.

But at the other levels, you don't play weeks in a row. You don't play one week and then you play the next week. You have an event, you are home a week and a half, two weeks, three weeks, and then you play again. So I guess you could say it's harder to win at that level in terms of winning in a row.

I was playing last week and then I just got on a plane and came here, and I started a tournament three days later.

It hasn't hit me yet. I'm sure it will on this long travel day home I have coming up.

Q. What's going to be key to managing your expectations that will naturally come after winning?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Just blocking out everything, a lot of the things I hear. I understand that -- you know, looking at guys like Rory or Jordan, Jason Day, they go out there and they finish 10th a couple of events in a row and then finish 20th, everyone is like what's wrong with them. I don't know if I'm to that point yet or when it will happen or whatever. That's the kind of stuff you've just got to block that out.

I've always expected this of myself. It just hasn't happened yet. Now that it's happening, I continue to have the same expectations. I just need to continue to put the work in and just be ready every time I tee it up.

Q. Last week you said that you guys had specific goals. Will you reassess now?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I don't know. I haven't thought about it yet.

Q. (No microphone.)
JUSTIN THOMAS: The winning. You can ask me about that one, I've already done it three time.

Q. (No microphone.)
JUSTIN THOMAS: Not really. I love this course. A few years ago, I played my rookie year, I said that I love it. It's just a course that I like when it's firm fairways. Fairways are a premium. You've got to shape it to kind of match the fairways. It's a lot of grinding. The greens weren't as firm this year. I wouldn't have shot 27-under if the greens were firm, that's for sure.

But it's just the place I like off the tee. There aren't very many shots that aren't comfortable to my eye. And I played well. It all worked out well.

Q. (Inaudible) are we getting closer to it?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, I'm obviously playing great. I'm not going to sit here and tell you I'm playing okay. I mean, I am, I'm playing really well. There's always parts of my game that I can improve. The things that I'm doing well are the things that are giving me success. I need to continue to finely tune those and keep those intact and then work on the things that are the reasons I'm making bogeys or the reason I'm not birdieing easy holes and stuff like that.

I would take the golf I played the last few weeks every week I play.

Q. The nerves you felt today, were they different from last week?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I was more nervous teeing off today then I was in the other events. Just like I said, all I heard from -- I guess I didn't necessarily hear it, but yesterday I remember hearing no one has ever lost a seven-shot lead.

Two hours before my tee time today -- or two hours before I started to warm up, I couldn't look anymore. It was just like, no one has ever lost a seven-shot lead, no one has ever lost a seven-shot lead. I'm just like -- I go out and play okay, a bad break here and there, if someone shoots 9-under, I lose. That's how I was thinking. Someone is going to go out and shoot 8 or 9-under today. I need to go post a good number. I just tried to block that out that I kept hearing in my head. All morning it was tough to keep my mind off things. I probably listened to music five hours or four hours. I do that most mornings to try to keep my mind off that.

Q. You mentioned negatives a couple of times today. What negatives did you work on outside of driving? Is there anything else?
JUSTIN THOMAS: The driving was a huge one. Pitching and chipping I felt like could improve. That was going to keep my number of bogeys down. If I can bring my average bogeys around down three-quarters to a whole bogey per round, I think this year could be pretty dangerous.

I think that's kind of what I tried to look at if I was driving it better. Then if I was in a better position from there, then I would have more control to put the ball where I wanted. Then the few times I was in trouble because of maybe a bad drive, then I can get it around the green and rely on my short game more. Whereas when I was dropping or I was hitting it in the place that I didn't even know existed on the golf course, and I was grinding to make bogey and making doubles. Those wear on you more than anything that hurt your scorecard.

Q. Adam Scott won early. Jason Day had his run early. How do you think you were able to (inaudible)?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I have no idea. That's the thing about this game. You can play well for two months and not have anything to show for it, not at the top five or anything like that. Obviously, you don't plan on doing that. You just don't know with this game. I'm going to continue to work at it and continue to work on the things I need to work on and just my whole game and stay rested.

And, yeah, like I said before, I'm so, so excited for the Masters. I love that course. A lot more confident going into it this year. I understand it's a couple of months away and who knows where my game will be at. Just mentally and me as a person and a golfer, I'm excited for the rest of the year.

Q. In the direction of personal satisfaction for the week, what is better the 27-under or the margin of victory?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Probably the margin of victory. I was thinking about it kind of coming up 18. The fact I just won a lot of different ways which is huge to me. It's one thing if all four of my wins were I was hovering around a one or two-shot lead and then I won by two or I bogeyed the last and won by one or whatever. But I mean, I had to make a putt in my first win to win by one. The second time, in Malaysia, I had to maintain a two-shot lead most of the back nine. And last week it was five shots and then I got down to one. So then again, it's different. I'm just trying to fight off (indiscernible) and make birdies. This week was something different. For me to win by seven is a huge, huge deal to me. I know if I get there again in the future, I will be able to have this to look back on.

Q. In terms of your name in a record book, kind of fun, do you know where else it is?
JUSTIN THOMAS: No, not really. I don't know. I'm lost.

Q. You hold (inaudible)?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I think I hold couple of records, I'm sure. I'm just worried about this win I just had. I don't really care about anything else.

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