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April 7, 2017

William McGirt

Augusta, Georgia

Q. Currently 2‑under at the Masters. How does that sound to you?
WILLIAM MCGIRT: It sounds awesome. I don't know that you could write this in a script and have it come out any better, unless it was about a 10‑shot lead.

Q. Conditions were a little bit different when you went out. You were the first group off. Talk about the conditions compared to yesterday and how they affected your game?
WILLIAM MCGIRT: Well, the greens definitely picked up a good bit of speed overnight. It dried out some, but it picked up I would say a foot, foot and a half of speed.
The hardest thing today was, yesterday it seemed like all the gusts stayed in the same direction as the wind was blowing in general. Today it seemed like the gusts bounced all over the place. There were a couple of times when it literally flipped 180 degrees, which makes club selection hard and really makes putting hard out here. But if it continues to do that throughout the day I think it's going to play tougher than yesterday.

Q. Seems like conditions are changing dramatically as you finished up. Does it feel good to be in the clubhouse done?
WILLIAM MCGIRT: Heck, yeah, I'm glad I don't have to hit another shot that counts today.
To be sitting on 2‑under par right now, knowing that I'm going into the weekend, I get to play the weekend in my first Masters is huge. The good news is, I haven't shot myself out of the tournament. Unless Charley turns it around and just goes berserk, but there's still two more days of golf, so anything can happen. But give myself a chance is all I can ask for.

Q. And as far as today's round goes. Talk about your high points and low points, especially coming home.
WILLIAM MCGIRT: Well, I had a great up‑and‑down for birdie on 2.
Then the bunker shot on 4 was crazy. We have had that pin in practice, something near that, and I knew I could go six or eight feet right of it and use the slope and bring it back. And I caught it just a little bit thin coming out of the bunker, and it flew up top, but luckily, being that early in the morning, there was enough moisture in the green that it spun pretty good. And by the time I got out of the bunker, my caddie says, "I hope you hadn't given up on that," and I turned around and looked and it was on the exact same line as Rod's ball, he just pitched it in short of the bunker there, right in front of me, and they both would have gone in a Coke bottle, dead center. I mean it just was perfect.
So, those were kind of the highlights. Yeah, I had a lot of really good par saves.
And then the bogey at 18, people don't understand how tough that tee shot is right now. There's not enough room on the left side to be able to work one, and the last thing you want to do is hang it right. But I kind of pulled it a couple yards and it clipped a tree and I'm playing it as a par‑5 at that point. I hit a good bunker shot up there and just caught a gust on the putt, just enough to catch the hole. So, it's not like it was a bad bogey, but it's a bogey nonetheless.

Q. Have you ever played a tournament round in four hours and 15 minutes? You guys were buzzing around pretty good today.
WILLIAM MCGIRT: We played way faster. Honestly, if the wind wasn't blowing like it was, we probably could have played in three and a half hours. It's just, you got to take some extra time. You can't take any shot for granted out here. You just kind of do what you have to do.
The good news is we didn't really have to worry about being on the clock. I don't know how far the group is behind us, but I'm sure we beat them pretty significantly.

Q. How would you describe the difficulty in playing that back nine today?
WILLIAM MCGIRT: The gusts are all over the place today. Yesterday they seemed to stay pretty constant with the general wind direction. Today, there's no consistency, no rhyme nor reason at all.
The shot I hit into 14, everything straight down wind, as soon as I hit the shot it switches 90 degrees to dead left‑to‑right and it comes up 18 inches short of having a 10‑footer and now I've got a 15 or 20‑footer for par. So, that's the fine line out here. The difference between a great shot and just being dead, it's so minute. And something like a wind gust can make a good shot, a decent shot great or a great shot really, really bad. So, you just have to ‑‑ you're kind of at the mercy of the golf gods at that point.

Q. Can you speak to the difficulty of 18, maybe just as a hole in general and what happened on your tee shot.
WILLIAM MCGIRT: Well, the tee shot, there's just, it's so tight. The last thing you want to do is whiff it over there to the right. And I wanted to hit a hard draw off that tee, but there again, you catch a gust and it starts pushing it right, then you're dead.
I probably missed, pulled it three yards, clips a tree, and the good thing is I was able to get it in the front bunker and hit a pretty decent bunker shot. But there again, you talk about wind gusts, the wind caught that putt just enough to get it to the left edge and spin it out. So, it's just, it's hard right now. It is really hard out there right now.

Q. What is it like being on the first tee in that first group, and I think the wind was coming at you, guys are making huge numbers on that hole.
WILLIAM MCGIRT: That may be one of the hardest starting holes in golf. Especially with any kind of west or northwest wind. Ball's just not going anywhere, it's so cold today. The pin was up probably 15 paces from where it was yesterday and I had 153 front, so I think it was on 14, so 167. I flushed a 5‑iron and it landed two paces on the green. So does that tell you how short it was going? How hard it's playing. It's hard to pull a 4‑iron from that distance, but it's just ‑‑ good luck pulling the club.

Q. Did the round have a much different feel today just in terms of being off so early, a lot fewer people, a lot less commotion, kind of going on around you or did you not even really notice that?
WILLIAM MCGIRT: A little bit, not too much. The biggest difference in feel was pace of play. Yesterday it took us five hours, five and a half hours plus and today I don't know, what, 4:15? I mean, 4:15's still bad, in my opinion, it should be more like 3:15. But I mean that, I think a lot of that depends on conditions. I mean, conditions don't warrant zipping around right now.

Q. Your satisfaction level of sticking around all weekend now?
WILLIAM MCGIRT: Pretty cool to get to play the weekend in your first Masters. To be in a position to be able to make a run on the weekend makes it even more special. Yeah, honestly, I couldn't have written a script for yesterday and today much better. Unless I was 12‑ or 15‑under par after two days. But conditions ‑‑ anybody that was 12 or 15‑under after two days is, yesterday and today, go ahead and hand them the jacket. It's tough. It's not unplayable, but it is really, really hard. You have to hit such good shots or you're scrambling. And fortunately, the bad shots that I hit, I've missed it in spots to where I could get it up‑and‑down.
I had a bad 3‑putt on 1 from the fringe, but all in all I played really, really solid for two days.

Q. How will you approach tomorrow, given the conditions are expected to change dramatically in your favor?
WILLIAM MCGIRT: I haven't even looked at the conditions. What are they supposed to be?

Q. Nice.

Q. Like this, only no wind.
WILLIAM MCGIRT: Well I kind of, I'm pulling for more of this. Maybe a little warmer, but more wind. Yeah, yesterday's conditions and even today, the times that I've been down here to play has been a west or northwest wind and at about today's wind speed. So, a lot of my prep work has been done under these conditions. Now, it was much gustier the last two days than what I've been down here for, but it wasn't a shock to me. I know some guys have only been down here when it's calm and they kind of don't know what to expect, but this is what I played under in practice. I don't know what to do when it's calm out here. I have never played it calm.

Q. How important was it to maintain your spot on the leaderboard. Obviously, you would have liked to have gone a few more birdies and moved up a little bit, but maintaining that spot.
WILLIAM MCGIRT: Well, the biggest thing is giving yourself a chance. Obviously, I would love to leap frog Charley today, but there's a lot of golf left and you got to put yourself in the position to make a run. And it is what it is. All you can do is play your best. If somebody goes out and shoots lights out, you can't control that.
So, all I'm going to do is try to play my game over the weekend and hope that I can make enough birdies to do something.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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