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June 22, 2017

Johnson Wagner

Cromwell, Connecticut

Q. Great start, seven birdies. You've got to be very pleased. I thought you were hitting the ball really good today.
JOHNSON WAGNER: It was solid. I'm going to go to the range afterwards. Got a little hooky on me at the end. I haven't shot any good rounds lately. I was definitely want to finish it off and finish strong, so there was some nerves flowing. Man, it's been a while since I've been in the red like this. It feels really good.

Q. The iron play I thought was good, but the putter was red hot, 24 total putts and you hit over a hundred feet of putts.
JOHNSON WAGNER: Yeah, the putter was amazing. Started on the first hole chipping one in from right of the cart path was a pretty terrible second shot. The ball kept going and won and it just kind of kept going all day. Made a couple really big par saves to keep the momentum going and yeah, putter was hot.

Q. You mentioned the bad spell you're going through. But everybody does it and you've been out here a long time. So you know it's just a matter of getting it all back in one week.
JOHNSON WAGNER: Absolutely. I've been out here long enough -- I still get stressed when I don't play well, especially for the length of time that it's been.

But a couple years ago, I shot 87 in San Antonio and lost in Houston the next week, so I know how quickly things can turn around. I put a lot work in with my coach the last few weeks and it's coming.

Q. You don't have a moustache anymore, the Tom Selleck moustache. What caused you to shave it?
JOHNSON WAGNER: It's kind of been hit or miss lately. I think I missed maybe seven of eight cuts with it, so something had to change. It was either shave the head or shave the mustache, and the wife went with the moustache gone. If I do well this week, I think I'll keep it clean for awhile.

Q. Ending with a birdie on 18, what confidence can that give you going into tomorrow?
JOHNSON WAGNER: It was great. I was struggling a little bit. Hit it in the water on 15 and made a good putt and then hit some pretty shaky shots on 16, 17. I made a lot of putts today. It was nice to finish strong. Really keep the momentum rolling for tomorrow. I have a long time off till the next round but my family is here and going to hang out with them and just keep building momentum.

Q. What does having this round in the books mean going forward?
JOHNSON WAGNER: It means a lot. I played a really nice round the first round of the sectional qualifying for the U.S. Open, shot 64, and that was kind of the start of things turning around, even though I messed up in Memphis pretty bad. I've been working pretty hard not getting results and it's nice to finally see a good round on the board.

Q. You've played in this event several times now. What suits your eye here?
JOHNSON WAGNER: I really like it off the tee. It suits my eye off the tee. It's just so much fun to play. If you're in the fairway, you can be aggressive. The greens are perfect and you can have lot of putts. I just feel real comfortable around here.

Q. What happened on 1?
JOHNSON WAGNER: Kind of smoother-hooked a tee shot down the left line and skinny-pushed an 8-iron. It wasn't a shank. I've hit plenty of shanks. I didn't shank it. Hit the cart path up on the hill and I'm like, oh, my gosh, here we go again, what am I going to do today. And I chipped it in from right of the path, downhill 40 yards away. It was a nice way to start and kind much calmed me down and kind of let me know today was going to be my day, and the ball went in the hole.

Q. Looked like the finish was pretty good, too.
JOHNSON WAGNER: The finish was nice. I struggled with my ball-striking coming down the stretch and hit a beautiful iron into 18 and just poured it in. The putts were really wanting to drop today so it was a nice feeling.

Q. Was it a consistent round for you?
JOHNSON WAGNER: Not really. I've been working hard on my swing and I kind of felt like it went away from me there in the middle of the round but then the putter was amazing. So chipping and putting can save your day many times.

Q. I'm sure you'd like to have played better here, but you've shot low rounds here before. Round like this get you going for a big weekend?
JOHNSON WAGNER: Yeah, I've got a stretch of tournaments I traditionally play really well at starting here. So I've just been waiting for this week for awhile. Kind of been practicing, preparing, knowing that come Travelers Championship, I would be ready to go and make a run, and a win can erase a bad year pretty quick.

Q. How big did the cup look to you today?
JOHNSON WAGNER: It looked big. It was funny, I was in Westchester county with my coach at Old Oaks, and their cups looked tiny right now. I don't know what was going on. But then getting here on Tuesday, the cups looked big.

Q. Does this tournament mean more to you?
JOHNSON WAGNER: Absolutely. We moved to New York in the summer of '94 and my brother and I drove over here -- as soon as we moved to New York. This was really the first PGA TOUR event I ever came to. So I've always had a special place for -- that doesn't sound right. This has always been a special place, for me.

Q. What do you think about Graham, he got a beard and you shaved, both of you need it --
JOHNSON WAGNER: Graham can grow a mean beard. I asked him if it was like three or four days and he said it was two weeks. For me to have a beard like that, I think it would take 20 years. He's impressive. He's a real masculine man.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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