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July 13, 2017

Ollie Schniederjans

Silvis, Illinois

THE MODERATOR: Ollie, great round today, round one of the John Deere Classic; 8-under 63. Birdied half your holes. Just one hiccup at the 18th hole today. Career-low round.

Just a few comments on is this a round you saw coming? Have you been feeling this? Things just kind of connect for you today?

OLLIE SCHNIEDERJANS: Yeah, I been feeling really about good about stuff. Maybe haven't quite shown in the last couple weeks, but my body has been getting back in a good place. I had a little bit of a hiccup with my back.

But my game also as well, being able to kind of work on that again. Had something click actually last week on Friday. I didn't putt good, but I hit it nice and I felt really good about things heading into this week.

THE MODERATOR: With that, we'll jump right in and start with a few questions.

Q. You haven't traditionally been a great starter, but you've done that today. Is that pleasing for you?
OLLIE SCHNIEDERJANS: Yeah, that's what I was just saying. I haven't had a great start really all year on the first round. I have had some decent first rounds and good Fridays, but this is the first really goof round I've had on Thursday.

It's nice to get off to a good start and hopefully keep it going and keep the momentum going throughout the week.

Q. Can you run us through a bit more in detail about what was wrong with the back and what it was that was holding you back?
OLLIE SCHNIEDERJANS: At Colonial on Sunday I woke up and felt a little achy and tight. I was doing my warmup and I just went into like a sort of a lunge/twist too quick, a little snatchy, and it pulled my muscle in my mid-right back.

It kind of lingered and I tried to play through it, and then ended up taking like 15 days off without hitting a ball and still is sort of there.

It's still kind of --kind of have to have maintenance, but it's good. It's been fine the last three weeks, but my game has been, you know, getting better as the days have gone on, too.

Q. I guess that's partly my question. How confident can you be in your back? That's the bane of all golfers.
OLLIE SCHNIEDERJANS: Oh, very, yeah. I know exactly what happened. You can't be tight in the morning -- I sat around all afternoon in a cold hotel room and woke up, and it doesn't matter who you are, if you do a lunge and twist too hard and you're locked up, it's going to pull your back; that takes a while.

I was a little careless, and it's so easy to do that. I think little stuff happens to all of us like that. Just have to -- that's why you have to be careful with your body. Little nagging things can happen on a long year of golf.

Q. Based on the scoring you've seen here on this layout, what does it mean to get off to such a good start today?
OLLIE SCHNIEDERJANS: I think it's really important for sure. It's tough if you're too far behind on Thursday.

But you can go shoot 8-under like this on Friday after a 2-under round and you're probably right back in the mix.

It's always good to get off to a good start. I'm happy to kind of on a Thursday put myself in a good position.

Q. What did you learn out there today?
OLLIE SCHNIEDERJANS: If anything, just with my putting kind of got a little bit -- changed a little bit of my routine midway through the round. Made a little adjustment.

I would say that's all I learned really. And getting another day on the golf course.

Q. Usually when you shoot 8-under you might only need a couple under the next day to sort of be in there, like you just said, 10-under. Do you feel like you'll have to come out aggressive?
OLLIE SCHNIEDERJANS: Yeah, I don't think 2-under is a good round really out there, but you know -- I think for me, I think I need to shoot 5- or 6-under every day to feel like I'm putting together four good rounds. I think 5-under is very doable for me daily, and another 8 would be good, and even better. Who knows?

Yeah, we're just going to attack the course the same way and try to make a lot of birdies.

Q. Are you a momentum guy? The great stuff on 8 and 9 there to finish, is that going to kick you into early morning tomorrow in good frame of mind?
OLLIE SCHNIEDERJANS: I don't know. I think tomorrow will be a new day. I will wake up on a different side of the bed and we'll try again. It will be at 7:30 instead of 12:30. So every day is different.

I feel very good about what I'm doing and I like my chances.

Q. (No microphone.)
OLLIE SCHNIEDERJANS: Just with my ball striking. Kind of find my ball flight again. I was getting a little under it and just kind of covering it better now without getting into too much detail.

Yeah, must a little thing with my ball flight that helped my golf swing.

Q. As a former No. 1 amateur and one of the young guns out here, seeing what all the 20-somethings and even 25-and-under guys have been doing, how hard has it been to be patient where your game and progress in the sport?
OLLIE SCHNIEDERJANS: I think it's been pretty easy for me because I'm able to look at it as a long-term, with a long-term focus. If we're going to be doing this for 15 more years, I'm not too worried about the first couple years.

I've got plenty of time to win tournaments and do things. I'm just trying to stick with my process of getting better at what I do, and I feel very patient.

Q. Would you talk about your decision not to wear a hat? People see you on television and they have come to know you and see this guy pop on their screen doing really well in tournaments. I would think there are a lot of manufactures out there that would like to see you wear a hat, and this crowd probably would like to see you tip a hat if you have a successful round, but you don't wear one.
OLLIE SCHNIEDERJANS: Yeah, I didn't wear a hat when I was in college or high school. As soon as I quit baseball when I was 12. I didn't like seeing the lid. Actually used to wear the hat like this when I played baseball.

Just kind of became my thing and my look. I kind of wanted to continue that into professional golf. Didn't want to change just because I was turning pro. Wanted to kind of stay true to my look and my feel and myself, so just kind of kept that going. Callaway has been extremely supportive of that. They have the rights to my hat if I wear one. They were. From the beginning, all in on me being me, and they have been a great support of that.

Q. Just a round in, but it's got to be very exciting to be at the top of leaderboard. What's the excitement level for you?
OLLIE SCHNIEDERJANS: Not too high. It's Thursday. We got 54 holes left. I got five hours of hard work tomorrow and I got to get up at like 4:30. Not too excited yet. Got a long way to go.

Q. Speak to that approach into nine and then finishing it off with the putt. Looked like you were staring that approach shot down.
OLLIE SCHNIEDERJANS: Yeah, that was the best I could possibly hit that shot. Kind of set up nicely and was just able to hit it hard and cut it off the bunker, so it was -- I was pretty decisive with what I was trying to do.

As soon as I hit it I knew it was good. Came off exactly how I wanted.

Q. To finish it off with a putt, obviously that's one of the toughest holes out here. That's a good feeling I would think.
OLLIE SCHNIEDERJANS: Oh, yeah. Yeah, for sure. Really nice to finish a good round with a birdie on a hard hole always, so that was great.

THE MODERATOR: Ollie, congratulations on a great start. Appreciate your time.


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