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April 20, 2017

Branden Grace

San Antonio, Texas

Q. A solid round of golf. You find 7 birdies out there. You missed one fairway the entire day?
BRANDEN GRACE: It was good. The ball strikes is definitely on. I left a few out there with a couple of shorts ones. I made a couple of decent ones which was nice. Probably calculate them out.

It's fun, nice, like you say to get it into play off the tee and give myself some chances.

Q. We had some rain in the area last week, we had rain on Monday. Did you find the greens receptive or a touch slower?
BRANDEN GRACE: Not really. They're definitely a lot softer than I would think. Even the fairways, we're not getting a lot of run out there. The ball pretty much just bounces and stops exactly where it bounces. Other than that you can be aggressive. The pins were quite nice today. I'm sure it's going to firm up if we get lucky with the weather.

Q. With such an emotional week with you for last week as the defending champion at Hilton Head, you played well, tied for 11th. Were you ready for this week?
BRANDEN GRACE: I felt my game is coming on from Augusta. I made the cut which, for me, was a big thing. I had a good week. I played well the whole of last week, didn't make the putts when I needed to but the game is progressing nicely and I do like this place, that's why I'm back here. I played well here in the past. So, hopefully I can get a few better this time around.

Q. Does it fit your eye?
BRANDEN GRACE: The wind blows a little bit similar to Hilton Head last week. Again, you have to be precise where you hit the ball on the greens. You have to give yourself some chances. There's slopes out there and you have to hit the fairways. I've done well so far.

Q. You got to be happy with the way you were striking the ball today.
BRANDEN GRACE: It was good. I think I missed four greens the whole day and only one fairway. Ball-striking is definitely on today. I gave myself some nice chances out there.

It's nice to make 7 birdies and it's nice just to -- that's the one round I was waiting for. You know, I've been shooting the 69s and 70s but not getting that one low round. This is nice to finally get it.

Q. You say you like this course.
BRANDEN GRACE: I've played well in the past. I think a 13th and 7th if I'm not mistaken around here.

It's one of those stops where, again, they were nice enough a couple years ago to give me an invite. I fell in love with the place. It's the type of shot you have to hit. Little bit firmer than it's playing at the moment. Gives you a chance to play a little bit better.

Q. There was a spot mid round you had like three, four straight birdies. Was there a standout shot that you remember from that stretch?
BRANDEN GRACE: I think one of the good ones on 8 and 10 I hit it pretty close. More a tap-in putt. On 9 I actually -- that was for a birdie. I hit it right in the thick of stuff and managed to get a flyer, I think I hit a wedge from 180 yards. Get it to the back level. Made 25-footer for birdie. That's the best birdie I made all day.

Q. At 9?

Q. It's a tough hole today.
BRANDEN GRACE: It normally is tough and it was tough for me today. I got the flyer out there. It worked out there.

Q. This course is notorious for its wind. How was it out there today?
BRANDEN GRACE: It was good. I think it's supposed to be very similar tomorrow. But, you know, there's gusting. The nice thing about this place, there's not that many trees out there. It's all more bushes.

So you can pretty much judge what the wind is going to do to the ball as soon as it gets over them. It's pretty consistent. It was nice. This is a nice little breeze to what it could be out here.

Q. You've been out here when it's been stronger.
BRANDEN GRACE: Yes, a couple years ago when we could barely reach the fairway on 9.

Q. Seven birdies in Round 1, 6-under with your opening round. What are you most satisfied with on your play?
BRANDEN GRACE: Ball-striking. Around this place to miss only one fairway is pretty special. I hit it very good to the greens as well. Gave myself some short birdies chances. All nice. But I left a few out there but I made a couple of nice ones.

Q. Given your strong finish last week at the RBC Heritage finishing tied for 11th, how much of that success has carried over to this week?
BRANDEN GRACE: I don't think it just started there. It started at Augusta, making the cut was big for me and progressed nicely over the weekend and obviously last week defending is pretty special and you get the positive vibes and the memories.

This is a nice place. I enjoy coming back here. I've played well here in the past. One of the courses I like playing.

Q. Can you tell us what about this course suits your eye?
BRANDEN GRACE: You know, you have to be precise, you have to pretty much work out a plan attacking the greens. There is some severe slopes out there and then, again, the wind blows. I like playing in the wind, I like it more than the normal guys out there. You have to make sure trying to hit the fairways.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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