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April 15, 2017

Jason Dufner

Hilton Head, South Carolina

JOHN BUSH: We'd like to welcome Jason Dufner into the interview room following a 6-under par 65 today. Jason, just an excellent round of golf, if we can get some comments on your day.

JASON DUFNER: Yeah, it was a nice day. Front nine was a little bit of an up and down. I had some bogeys, I had some eagles and I had a birdie. I was fortunate to turn 2-under, but back nine was pretty clean. I hit a lot of good shots. I had a couple of par saves on 11 and 12, kind of held it together. And then threw in three in a row there, 14, 15 and 16. All in all a good day. Obviously happy to be where I'm at heading into tomorrow.

JOHN BUSH: We're still waiting to see what Graham does on the last hole, but you're guaranteed to be in that final group. Just tell me a little bit about what your game plan will be tomorrow.

JASON DUFNER: Much of the same. Trying to play this week with low expectations. And have a trust and belief that my game is pretty good right now. I can compete and play some good golf. Last week was a mixed bag of things for me, but it gave me a lot of confidence in two ways. It kind of told me that my game is pretty good. I made a lot of birdies. It also gave me a lot of confidence going forward at Augusta playing in the future.

I feel like this golf course has always been a good set up for me. I haven't had amazing results here, but I've been pretty consistent. We'll see how it goes tomorrow.

Q. How refreshing is it to play a golf course like this where you don't have to worry about 330 off the tee every time and you can pick your spots?
JASON DUFNER: Yeah, it's a nice change. It's one of the events that we do have that. There are a couple others here. Tampa comes to mind. Oak Hills where I won wasn't a bomber's paradise, so to speak. That's kind of the way the game is going.

Seems like guys that are hitting the furthest are contending more and more. Occasionally we get a golf course like this where being in position, being in the fairway, playing a course that's a little bit shorter, so everybody is kind of hitting the same irons into the holes, I feel like I have a little better chance, maybe.

Q. If you could tell us about the two eagles on the front, and I think they both followed bogeys or you bogeyed a hole right before then. Tell us about the eagles and the mindset?
JASON DUFNER: Got off to a bit of a rough start on the first hole. Thought I hit a pretty good shot into the green, came up quite a bit short, I wasn't able to get it up and down.

But then the next hole played perfect. Hit one down the middle of the fairway, hit a 4-iron to about 12 feet, made it, it balanced it out. You want to feel like you want to go through that first couple of holes at 1-under.

5 I was just playing for position. I couldn't really get to the back left pin, I was trying to play it up to the right so I could be chipping back up the hill and have a little bit of an angle and just hit a great pitch shot. Looked like it had a chance to go in the whole way. A little bit of luck there. You get a handful of those a year, and it was nice to have one on Saturday when you're kind of close to the lead.

Q. You said that you came in with low expectations. Why would you not want to come with higher expectations?
JASON DUFNER: I think expectations are one of the worst things you can have out here. You start thinking about how you should play or how you could play or how you want to play, that really gets in the way of playing well, to be honest with you.

So I think I maybe learned a little bit from the champion last week, where we kind of lowered his expectations, and got out of his way, so to speak, and let his talent and his game plan take it from there.

There are so many things that we try to control out here when we're playing. And I think sometimes you want to let go of control a little bit more than you want to control. That's where I'm at this week. I'm going to go out tomorrow and do the same things I've been doing, and hopefully it will be my week to finish this year.

Q. You talked about expectations, after Oak Hills did you play to different expectations you put on yourself at all?
JASON DUFNER: Probably a little bit. There's a lot of different things going on after Oak Hills, with my life, and what was going on. So I think being a major champion for the first time is a learning experience. I did some things well. I did some things I wish I could do over.

But I think expectations I think are tough out here. I think a lot of different factors are involved, a lot of expectations on yourself. You get it from media, friends and sponsors. And I think it puts you in a tough place. It's tough out here on the PGA Tour, a lot of good players, you have the best courses in the world against the best players in the world. Finishing in the top-10 is a pretty good thing week in and week out. Even in the top-25. Only one guy can win, so that's tough.

I think to be more realistic about where I'm at with the game of golf and just play as good as I can play, if that's winning this week, it's winning. If not, I'm going to go home tomorrow and tee it up in New Orleans in a couple of weeks.

JOHN BUSH: Looks like Graham dropped a shot on the last, so Jason will have a 1-shot lead going into the final round.

Q. I saw you were using a different shaft putter these last few weeks. Did you learn anything new?
JASON DUFNER: Yeah, I've been using it all year, worked with some of it in the off-season. What I found is when I had a putter that I had offset, I wanted to aim right and looked like it was hooked to me. When it looked hooked to me I aimed right. It caused me a lot of issues with my alignment and back.

So we found when I went to center shafted my alignment was a lot better. And kind of my stroke got a lot better and seeing some good results this year with my putting. I've been putting very well, actually. And I would like to think that center shafted putter has helped do it.

JOHN BUSH: Jason Dufner, best of luck tomorrow.

JASON DUFNER: Thank you.

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