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April 7, 2017

Charley Hoffman

Augusta, Georgia

MODERATOR: Like to welcome our leader in the clubhouse, Charley Hoffman. He followed his 65 yesterday with a 75 today, 3‑over par for the day, which puts him at 140, 4‑under par.
Could you start by describing how the conditions you faced today compared to yesterday.
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Yeah, obviously a lot more difficult today. I just wasn't quite in position like I was yesterday. Got off to a great start.
Had a good chance on 4 to get to 9‑under and just didn't capitalize, and made a few bogeys on 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, and it's a tough stretch of holes.
I got out of position. Didn't capitalize. Didn't make the putts. Just wasn't in position to attack this golf course, which in turn, as everybody knows, you can make bogeys pretty quick.
Happy with the way I finished. Closed the last seven 1‑under, and gave myself a chance going into the weekend.

Q. You're walking off 11 after all of that and you go to 12, everybody knows how tough 12 is and seems like you stabilized, what was that like?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Yeah, suck up and hit a golf shot. It was nice going from a tee in short grass. It's a little easier.
No, it's a tough shot. You commit, hit the shot and I was able to do it and did everything I wanted to and obviously I had a good look at birdie and was able to get out of there with par.

Q. I did the math, so far, there's still some guys out there but right now you and Matt Kuchar are the only guys to have played 12 through 18 without a bogey the first two rounds. And I'm wondering, given those holes, regardless of what happened before you got to 12, how difficult is it to play that stretch of holes without a bogey under these conditions?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: I mean, something I haven't thought of but obviously that's a pretty good feat, any time you can get through 12 without a bogey is great.
That's the stretch where I think you can make birdie. I mean, 12 is a hard hole. But if you hit a quality shot, you're going to have a 15‑footer for birdie. And then you have some birdie holes on those par 5s.
17 and 18, with this wind, fit my eye well; I think I can make birdies on those holes. So with this wind, it's a comfortable finish for me, which is good.

Q. Two years ago, on Saturday, you're in the final group with Jordan and I think you were five shots back at the time. Obviously you're going to be in a much better position this time around on the weekend. What do you think the differences are in your mind in terms of your approach going into the weekend versus two years ago?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: I'm going to keep the same mind‑set as I have the last two days. When I'm in position, I'm going to attack and try to make birdies, and when I'm not I'm going to try to just hopefully have a par putt at it.
I've done a good job of that for the most part this week. I have to capitalize a little more on the wedge shots I didn't capitalize on today. I hit a couple a little bit heavy which in turn‑‑ one turned into a bogey and one turned into a par, when I could have attacked those holes and maybe made a birdie. But pretty happy with where I'm at.

Q. Even though you know it's a 72‑hole tournament, was it any different coming out today as the leader after yesterday's round? Did it feel any different for you?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: I mean, it felt like that I was in the lead of a tournament. Obviously I knew that you couldn't win the golf tournament today. You could pretty much only lose it.
I started off great. Hit the ball great. Just the middle of round, just didn't hit good chips and wedge shots, and that's the difference. Didn't scramble that well. Made a bunch of bogeys but that happens out here, and I'm just happy to be in position to be able to win.

Q. How good is 4‑under right now? How do the conditions look to you for the week? In other words, have you done a lot of the work and don't have to shoot a low number?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Well, obviously I did a lot of work yesterday which sort of made up for how I played today.
You know what, I mean, as I said, if you get in position on this golf course, you can make birdies, and the greens are perfect. They are still receptive.
Now, tomorrow, with this wind today, I'm not sure how receptive they are going to be. You're still able to attack them. I'm sure you'll see some low scores this afternoon from guys that are hitting the ball in the fairway, there's no question.

Q. What would it mean to you if you were able to go all the way and win the green jacket on Sunday?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: You know, it's sort of‑‑ it's what you play golf for is try to win major championships. Obviously as a kid, you want to be on the PGA TOUR and play on the PGA TOUR and just win a PGA TOUR event. And as you go a bit deeper in your career, you want to contend in majors.
I've contended in a couple majors and obviously being in position going into Saturday here at the Masters is going to be special. I'm not going to put too much pressure on myself, but I'd be lying to say it's not a great feeling and a great spot to be.

Q. What would you consider more difficult conditions: Being windy of the last two days, but the greens a little more receptive, or a weekend getting a little bit warmer, less wind, but the course firm up?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: I think any time this place firms up, it plays it's hardest personally. Just because it's hard to control your golf ball. If you hit quality shots in the wind, you can still control your golf ball because it will land soft on the greens. With that being said, it's hard to putt in the wind on these greens if you're not in the right position.
So I don't think it's going to get too hard out there. I mean, I'd be surprised but I wouldn't leave anything past this wind, and this golf tournament to firm it up as much as they can.

Q. You mentioned a couple loose wedge shots. I wonder, especially the shot on 8, is that a byproduct of the wind kind of maybe those in‑between shots? Does that rear it's head more on those shots?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Yeah, you know, it's tough. I mean, those wedge shots, you want to nip them perfect, but it's a little bit soft underneath from the rain that we had and if you don't catch it just right, you can fat it, and I did. I then came back with a great wedge shot after that and I actually hit a great putt there and it didn't go in.
But it can happen. I won't be the last guy this week to fat a wedge shot. But it's tough to hit a good, quality wedge shot sometimes when it's a little bit soft underneath.

Q. You lipped‑out on 8, which you could have saved par there. As things kept going, I know you're an experienced player, with an experienced caddie, what were conversations like going through that stretch?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: A lot of holes left. It was only Friday. So a lot of holes to make birdie. Obviously the bogeys kept coming, unfortunately. But my attitude was good. My game plan was still fine.
I didn't make any real mental errors. I just didn't execute. I can live with not executing, as long as I've thought through the process and just stuck to my game plan. I can live with making bogeys out here. Just as long as I'm mentally strong and stick to my game plan.

Q. Did it feel like a round that was ten strokes worse than yesterday?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Well, everybody was talking about how great that round was yesterday, but it was pretty easy to me, playing, making putts, hitting good, solid golf shots. Today I think I sort of felt how hard it was for everybody else in this wind when you sort of got out of position.
So yeah, I guess it did feel like ten shots worse because I just didn't make any putts. But the reason why I don't think‑‑ I couldn't be aggressive, seems like I was always just above the hole. I couldn't get the ball underneath the hole to be aggressive with the putter. Out here, if you can't get the ball underneath the hole, you're playing defense, putting down those hills.

Q. Compared to two years ago here, in what ways are you better prepared for the weekend and be in contention, either mentally, or in what ways has your game improved the last two years?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Just building off what I did two years ago is that I know on the weekend, I got tentative with the putter. I don't think I'm going to get tentative with the putter on the weekend this year. I learned from that. You learn from your mistakes.
When you get in position, you've got to be aggressive. I've said that. But when you get downhill sliders, you're going to have to just creep them over the edge. The last couple years ago, I got tentative even on the uphill ones, and you can't be afraid to hit a putt three or four feet by at Augusta National because if you don't, you don't really have a chance to make a putt.
But I've learned, I know tee‑to‑green, a couple years ago, I was as good as anybody and this week. I feel pretty solid with everything. When I get out of position, as I said, I've just got to get back in.

Q. I was going to ask, you said how soft the ground was. Obviously there was so much rain on Wednesday. Even with all the wind, are you surprised that 4‑under is leading right now?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Am I surprised that 4‑under is leading? No, not really. I think 4‑under is pretty darned good. I don't know if you were thinking that more under par or not under par but 4‑under is pretty good around this track, no matter if it's calm or windy. I'm obviously happy with where I'm at.

Q. Would you go into the weekend with any kind of target score?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: No. I'm not a target score guy. You play the golf course and what the golf course gives you, and obviously if you get behind, you may have to get more aggressive here and there coming on Sunday. But this golf course, you can't try to bite too much on Saturday for sure, because it can bite you pretty quick.

Q. And do you see any way the score gets to double digits?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: I mean, that's all weather‑based. If the greens somehow stay soft, which I don't think they will, and the winds die down, this golf course is receptive to birdies on the back nine and everybody has seen it. So it could, definitely, get to double digits.

Q. Can you talk us through how you'll spend the morning preparing for your third round?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Yeah, you know what, I like on my late rounds, to probably come out here and hit a couple chips and putts to just kill some time and more kill nerves. Sitting around, I'm not real good at that.
I've got kids in the house. I'm sure I'll hang out with them in the morning. Have breakfast, fix some breakfast for them, and then come out here and practice a little bit. Then take it easy and go back to the house for a little bit for a longer, take it easy.
But that's something that's not‑‑ everybody says at the Masters, you might ‑‑ coming out early. But it's a 3 o'clock tee time. I like to just practice a little bit, knock the rust off. I don't do good just sitting on the couch doing nothing.
MODERATOR: Well, we wish you all the best this weekend. Thanks.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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