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January 20, 2017

Brendan Steele

La Quinta, California

Q. Birdie on four of your last six holes.
BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah, it was nice of them to move the tee times up for us as it starts to rain right now, I was able to get done just in time and took advantage of some good conditions.

Q. What did you find clicking for you out there?
BRENDAN STEELE: Pretty much played the same tee to green as I did yesterday, but holed a few more putts. And as we know, that tends to help the score.

Q. I got to see you play a lot of golf, I thought you were maybe frustrated. A couple years ago you were so close to winning your second tournament and it just didn't happen for you, sometimes, in that final round. How big was the win at the Safeway Open for you?
BRENDAN STEELE: It was huge. It was a little bit of a mental barrier there. You jump out on TOUR and win in your 12th start and you think that maybe that's the way your career's going to go. And then it takes you another 135 or something to get the next one. So it was tough. I had a lot of Sundays that I went home very upset. And it was really nice to kind of break through there and validate all the hard work that I've been doing. There are a lot of reasons, too. It was in California, which was great, and then playing in the rain, which I'm traditionally not very good at, and first win with a short putter as well. So there were a lot of things that kind of came together for that.

Q. Speaking of playing in the rain, we may have more of this. This doesn't feel like California to me, does it feel like home to you?
BRENDAN STEELE: No, not right now. It's normally the best tournament for weather for the year. Everybody comes here because they know the conditions are going to be perfect, going to make some birdies, going to be able to do some practice after the round, but unfortunately, this week, we have had to dodge a little bit of weather.

Q. You got in right as the rain started. Do you think the golf courses will change much? Does it bother your through lines or your targets off the tee?
BRENDAN STEELE: Definitely play a little bit longer. When you're out there playing in the rain it's amazing how much shorter it actually goes. But overall, the greens are really good, they're pretty firm still, so you get out of position, it's hard to hold the green and then they have that nice bounce to them when you're in the fairway, you can really control your distance pretty well.

Q. A couple years ago you were second in this tournament and now you find yourself right in the mix again. Obviously, there's a comfort level here, but that doesn't always translate to good scores. You're just playing well right now.
BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah, definitely. Obviously, I'm from around here and played a lot at these courses, even growing up, but that's been a long time. So there is a little bit of a comfort level, but the first few times I came out to this tournament I really wanted to play well in front of the friends and family, it's the closest thing to home that I ever get to play and this is the event that I came to as a kid, and it didn't translate right away. But had that good finish a couple years ago and everything but a good Sunday last year, and off to a good start this year.

Q. You mentioned in your pretournament press conference you played the Stadium Course quite a bit as a youngster. You get two back to back rounds over there now. Is that a course that feels like it fits your eye or is it one of those things that you go, well, here we go at the Stadium Course?
BRENDAN STEELE: It's a little bit of both. If you're feeling good, feeling like you're swinging well, then you can make some birdies out there. If you get a little bit off or the conditions get tough, it can really make you pay. So, hopefully I continue to strike it the way I have the last couple days and make some of those scary shots a little bit easier.

Q. Had you thought about the rain before the round started, because everybody was saying it was like Armageddon.
BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah, we have all been talking about it all week, because we had perfect weather Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and everybody's like, why can't we play the tournament right now. So I think today we got pretty lucky. They did a great job moving the tee times up an hour, so hopefully you at least get an hour of less weather, but, yeah, it's been a little bit of a distraction and you got to be ready for it.

Q. Wheres else are you playing in southern California?
BRENDAN STEELE: I'll be playing at Torrey next week and at Riviera.

Q. Are you expecting a lot of family and friends out here tomorrow, especially when you're playing well?
BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah, I think so. I don't think it's supposed to rain tomorrow, so I think that will get a few more folks out, which will be fun. And get to go cruise around Stadium Course, so pretty awesome.

Q. When you get out here is it always a stop in Idyllwild or you don't have the time?
BRENDAN STEELE: Not this week, I don't go up there at all, I don't have the time. With trying to get ready for the tournament and then headed to next week. But we were up there for Christmas and try to get up there as much as I can. There was about a foot of snow up there for Christmas which was really fun.

Q. And odd.

Q. How surprised were you that you got through your whole round without really no issue with rain whatsoever?
BRENDAN STEELE: We had a really nice first nine and when we made the turn I was thinking anything after that was total bonus. When we were on like our 11th or 12th hole I was thinking, God, if we could just get through where you only have to play two or three holes in the rain that would be great. And it just started to rain on our 18th tee and kind of calmed down for to us finish. So got really lucky there.

Q. Obviously a terrific total of 12-under par. What's been the key to that so far?
BRENDAN STEELE: Really struck the ball well this week. I missed a few opportunities yesterday to really take it low and then today holed a lot more putts, so obviously I got a little better score.

Q. Let's have a look at your second shot to 9 here. Coming out of the rough over water. Brave shot.
BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah, it was actually a shot where Christian and I were looking at it, it was either 6- or 7-iron. 6 was a little too cautious and 7-iron, if it doesn't come out, is probably going to go in the water. And I said sometimes you just have to hit a good shot and you just have to have a little courage and hit the right club and that's what we did there and it paid off.

Q. We're going to see highlights of your win at Safeway. What did this mean to you?
BRENDAN STEELE: This was huge for a lot of reasons. Second win kind of validates you on TOUR a little bit. And to win in your home state is great, obviously. To win in the rain, which I've never been a very good rain player, so that was really, really huge for me. And then the first win with a short putter for me, too, which was kind of was a long time coming. So I was very happy with it.

Q. I think I'm very envious of you, I hear you get to travel with your nice wife and your dog, you drive around this West Coast Swing.
BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah, we drive everywhere on the West Coast Swing and we rent houses and bring our dog along and it feels like home and make it's really easy and really nice to come back to after the round.

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