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May 12, 2017

Jon Rahm

Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida

Q. Give us a quick overview; obviously in pretty good shape at 4-under?
JON RAHM: Even par is probably a score I would have taken before teeing off. I started probably with the best three holes I could have played, didn't miss a single shot, a par and two birdies. My confidence got really high. I hit really good shots. Towards the end I just wasn't able to capitalize out of those. Great drive on 16, had a 9-iron into a par-5, didn't make birdie. 3-putt 17, and just the dynamic kept going bad. A bad wedge on 1, was able to make birdie on 2. But after that I felt like I was real close, like yesterday, in some spots, but I wasn't hitting the shots. If you start missing greens on this golf course, you are going to pay the price. But overall good finish on birdie, great up-and-down. That's going to put a smile on me the rest of the day for sure.

Q. What have you learned about this course in the short time you played it?
JON RAHM: It is very tough. I'm playing some of my best golf and I'm only 4-under par. When you have the best players in the world and the cut's over par it shows that the golf course is very tough. You get rewarded if you hit good iron shots like it happened to me yesterday. If you hit a bad one, you're going to be penalized. That's a Pete Dye design. If you miss a shot you're going to have to pay the price and work for a par and today was great proof of it.

Q. What are the conditions like though? Six of the last eight years the leader after 36 has been 10-under or better. Nobody's getting to that today.
JON RAHM: Well I would say I haven't played before so I wouldn't be able to tell you, but being brand new greens I think they're a little firmer than they might have been in the past. It's hard to hold on. I don't think I've seen a ball spin back and there's been a couple times like we hit full wedges in and we usually see it check or spin a little bit and that's the difference. These new greens are a little harder to hold on, a little harder to chip on and a couple strokes a day is going to be the difference.

Q. What do you think you were doing a year ago when the PLAYERS Championship was going on?
JON RAHM: This time of year? Well I was probably getting ready for regionals. More likely, yeah, just finished finals, getting ready for regionals that's what I was doing last year.

Q. Did you watch it on TV?
JON RAHM: Oh, yeah, I watched it on TV. I love watching golf on TV. I can't do it anymore.

Q. (No microphone.)
JON RAHM: I didn't think about it. All I know is that I hit two of two of them on green and there was another one I could have hit on the green and I should have with a 9-iron. So it shows that I was driving it properly, I was driving it on the spot and then hitting the strokes. Really, the par-5s, I feel like it's not a course where you talk that much advantage of, like maybe on Augusta or other places. There's a lot of par-4s where if you hit good shots you're going to make birdies, it's hard to make eagles out here. So obviously you want to take as many strokes as you can, but they're really extremely hard. You can get penalized and make bogeys really easily on par-5s. It can happen. But hopefully I can keep it going. Obviously I'll take 3-under on par-5s every day from now on.

Q. Some frustrations there on the back nine for you? Given this is your first PLAYERS, given you are so young, can you cut yourself a little slack there?
JON RAHM: I don't usually do that. It's gone pretty well for me so far. I'm not a perfectionist, but I expect a lot of myself. And I just hit a couple of bad shots in a row and/or when I hit a good shot it didn't do what I expected. Maybe it got the best of me, but I did get frustrated, but that frustration got me to focus more on my putt on 7. Maybe got the best of me on 8. I don't cut any slack for me, that's probably why I played the way I played this year.

Q. From having some good results early and I'm going back to Quicken Loans that far back, has that done anything to your expectations?
JON RAHM: No. Well it's different. My mindset at that time of year was just to get my TOUR card. That's the only thing I had on my mind. I still compete to win, my mindset doesn't change. I'm a lot more experienced, I make less mistakes, I feel like I find myself more comfortable every day in this position and I don't think anything's changed. I just see myself trying to win tournaments.

Q. Has your confidence ever been shaken?
JON RAHM: Not really, no.

Q. From the time you were five?
JON RAHM: Oh, yeah, well I mean it goes up-and-down, but that's the first thing you got to have. If you don't believe in yourself, nobody's going to believe in you for you.

Q. Has it gone up-and-down this season at all?
JON RAHM: No, I think it's just gone up. Consistently up. Luckily. Really that's what I was trying to say. I try to keep my confidence high. I try to have full confidence in my abilities and that's probably partly why maybe when I haven't been playing my best golf I've still been able to score because I have full confidence in I myself and try not to doubt it.

Q. But you have to have results to feed that, too, right?
JON RAHM: Well I think I've had them.

Q. You have. I know.
JON RAHM: Well I like to think that it's happened because of me being positive about my abilities. If I doubt myself it's when I -- if you doubt yourself you're not going to hit good shots. Maybe luckily you hit a couple good ones, but not consistently. So, that's what I like to do and that's just being confident that I'm going to hit the right shots.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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