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February 9, 2017

Sam Saunders

Pebble Beach, California

Q. You have to be pleased, it's pretty raw out there. That's a good round of golf.
SAM SAUNDERS: Thank you, very pleased. Anything under par today is a really good round and I was very fortunate to get finished before they, I think they called play out there right now. So glad to be done.

Q. Talk about the greens, because I thought that a lot of footprints, they're small greens, so a lot of people walking around, that made it tough?
SAM SAUNDERS: Absolutely. And Monterey, those greens, I've played here enough, I know those greens can get a little -- the footprints just stay, and that's just, they're great putting surfaces, they just get a little bit worn out with all the traffic. Today was just a test of patience. You got to hit fairways and try to hit greens and just know that you're going to hit some good putts that may wiggle out, but every now and then you may get one to bounce in for you. So I just stayed patient and hit good putts all day and took what the course gave me.

Q. Were you surprised 2-under. It looks like it's going to be the low score here today.
SAM SAUNDERS: Well, that's good to know. No, I mean, I love playing in tough conditions. I like to play ugly golf. It's kind of my thing. I like shaping shots and not just playing big, high target golf. I like this where you got to really control your ball and get creative out there.

Q. Where is your game right now?
SAM SAUNDERS: It's good. I feel really good. I really worked hard this off season and the winter, being back in Florida now, being able to practice, I really wanted to come into this season sharp and ready to go. I played well in the WEB.COM event down in the Bahamas, which kind of felt like I had justified the work that I put in under really tough conditions down there.

So Palm Springs, I just always struggle there. But I hit the ball well, I just don't putt well on those greens out there for some reason. They're too good, I think. But I try not to let it have a negative affect because I knew I was still playing really good golf and came here this week with a lot of confidence and excited to play.

Q. Given the conditions out there, how good is your score?
SAM SAUNDERS: I'm happy with it. I don't want a do-over. How about that. I 3-putted the last hole there, but it was just survival. The wind was blowing so hard. I hit a putt and the wind just kept it going and it went about eight feet past. But very pleased to get a round under par out there and really was pretty low stress for the most part.

Q. How does your game handle these type of conditions?
SAM SAUNDERS: I like, I really like to be creative, I like knocking the ball down, I like hitting it hard and at the target, so I'm very comfortable in tough conditions, where you're not necessarily trying to hit pretty shots, you're trying to make the ball go where you want it to go. And I'm a big fan of that type of golf, so I enjoy it, I enjoy the challenge, and it's really fun when par is whole value.

Q. Just like a Major, right?
SAM SAUNDERS: Exactly. Absolutely.

Q. Are you in Jacksonville?
SAM SAUNDERS: Yeah. Just south of Jacksonville area.

Q. So you played in that stuff in the Bahamas, this is kind of an easier day, isn't it?
SAM SAUNDERS: Other than the temperature, yeah. I mean, the wind there was like nothing I had ever seen. The fact that balls weren't blowing off those greens, that Paspalum was the only reason we could play. It was unbelievable.

So it's nice. I guess it prepared me for tough conditions, but it's fun. I just, I look at it as a challenge and an opportunity to hit shots that you just don't get to hit very often.

Q. What was the most difficult part about today?
SAM SAUNDERS: Trying to figure out whether or not to keep the umbrella out or just put it away. Holding on to that thing is tough. But putting gets really hard when it's blowing that hard. And the greens have some footprints on them, so putting can be difficult, you really just have to stay solid over them and just try to take what happens.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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