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April 7, 2017

Fred Couples

Augusta, Georgia

FRED COUPLES: Because I have been hitting the ball very solid. Really the idea is not to miss many shots. And I didn't do that for two days. There were a couple of shots that didn't work out well, and I made bogey. But overall it was a good two days. I really know the course very well. But that doesn't mean you're going to have two great days of golf.
I feel like my age is still okay, because I can drive it far enough. But I'm not long like I used to be on this kind of a course, but it still plays where I can still reach a lot of these greens with shorter clubs to make the ball stop around the hole.

Q. Got a little wobbly on 16 and 17, and hit maybe the shot of the day on 18. Talk about it?
FRED COUPLES: On 18 I had what I thought was really good yardage, and the only problem was that I made two really bad bogeys in a row. So I was kind of thinking where do I want to hit this. And it hit in the flat part of the green and went up the hill and was circling back toward the hole, and the crowd was kind of going crazy. Very nice to finish with a birdie.
The only tricky thing is my second shot on 17, I kind of misjudged it. But I had a wedge and made bogey. You can't try and compete on these bogey holes with a pitching wedge.

Q. Can you keep it going for the weekend?
FRED COUPLES: Yeah, I'm a competitor, so I like to believe in myself. I like to think that I've had a lot of good finishes here, and my goal is to keep fighting with these guys. And I think I'm three behind, I don't know if I'm four behind. But tomorrow, it's a tough day. And I'm not thinking winning this tournament, but I'm thinking continuing to play well and see what happens.

Q. What have you been doing so well?
FRED COUPLES: I putt well here, even though sometimes I'm not considered a great putter, I putt very well here. And I feel the greens, the speeds from yesterday, to this afternoon, they were way faster. And I just played so many times that I kind of feel like I'm not going to make many mistakes.
On 16 I hit the ball in the wrong spot. I was very lucky my first putt stayed on that ridge, otherwise it will roll down, I probably would have made double there, too. But things like that are going to happen.
But for me, I don't really think about driving the ball far or hitting great irons, it's just knowing the course, and I think for me it helps that it was windy for two days, because I knew I was hitting the ball solid. And in the wind that's what you want to do, hit it solid and make some putts.

Q. We're at the halfway point, is it too early for you to think about winning?
FRED COUPLES: Well, there were a couple of times where I was first or second a few years ago. And going into Saturday, yeah, you think that. I was playing with Jason Day and struggled a little bit on Saturday. I'm not going to be thinking about winning the tournament until Sunday or the back nine on Sunday. But I've got a long way to go before I worry about that.

Q. You have a pin here that your friends brought to you in recognition of you winning here 25 years ago. What does this support mean to you, and are you thinking about what happened 25 years ago when you made the walk here?
FRED COUPLES: The thought of walking around here 25 years ago, I haven't thought of much. We were laughing because I don't even know a lot of the shots I made here in 1992. I just don't remember them. I know there were some good ones, I know one stayed on a bank. And I know I hit a few really nice shots on Sunday.
But I've got guys that come every year, and all the boys have a great time. A couple of years ago I missed the cut, so it was kind of a sour Friday night. And this year we'll be pretty excited to talk a little golf. But they brought all these pins and that's kind of fun. They know I can still play well, and it's very nice of them.

Q. How did you feel about that shot on 18, it was pretty close?
FRED COUPLES: Yeah, I needed that. I needed a really good shot. I kind of misplayed an iron on 16. I hit it way too far back into the green.
And then 17 was a beautiful drive and I had a wedge and pulled it in the bunker.
So 18 was just a good shot. I wasn't really thinking about birdie. But where the pin was, if you hit a good one you're going to have a shot at it. So it was nice to finish with a birdie.

Q. Looking at the names on the leaderboard, does it get you fired up?
FRED COUPLES: I see some of my buddies up there and I see some really, really good players that always play well. Yeah, I got off to a good start and Rickie really got off to a good start and hung in there. He played very, very well. And Charley Hoffman‑‑ I'm glad I'm up there. I'm looking right now, Jordan Spieth is 1‑over, with a nine on a hole, so he's still in grit, great shape. So it's out there. Someone is going to win Sunday. And if I play well enough maybe I'll have a shot at it. I have to make a few more putts, even though I feel I putted well, the shots on 14 and 15, if I could make one of those, maybe I don't bogey 16. But in that wind I'll take 1‑under every time.

Q. Looking forward to the changing conditions tomorrow?
FRED COUPLES: I don't know, is that what it's supposed to do? You know, the conditions are pretty firm. So the wind, to be honest with you, it might help me if it still blew really hard. If I play like I do and shoot that score, I shouldn't lose much ground. If it's calm and I shoot 73, I probably lose a lot of ground. But I think we've had enough of this. This gusting 30 mile an hour winds, give the guys a break. It's really hard out there. I was in the flow all yesterday. People told me all day long the greens were soft. Sure it makes it easier. But all your stray shots now are hitting firm greens and they're running away from the flags. And it will be very tough tomorrow.

Q. Do you remember when you really understood this course? When you felt like you got it?
FRED COUPLES: You know, no, I don't even know what year I really felt extremely comfortable on it. I just knew that I could drive it a long way and listen to everyone tell you that it's the perfect course from you, because you can have wedges and 9‑irons. Now they've made it so long you don't hit many of those.
I don't know before '92 if I ever really‑‑ I have no idea. I do remember the first time I made the cut I was playing with Tom Watson, I think I shot 80 or 81. And he shot 68. I learned a lot about the course that day. And I watched him play and I listened a little bit to him and Ray Floyd, how to play the course.
But I honestly don't know the very first year I thought, wow, I have this course down. It's not very easy to figure out.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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