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July 13, 2017

Patrick Rodgers

Silvis, Illinois

Q. Great round of golf. Before we get to that, that up and down on 18, I saw a little fist pump. I know it's Thursday, but that's impressive, to go bogey-free?
PATRICK RODGERS: Yeah, yeah. Just wanted to keep the card clean. Got an unfortunate lie off the tee and had to lay it up.

It was really nice to get away with a 4 there on 18.

Q. Presently strokes gained off the tee, you're currently first tied in the field. Regardless, you're going to be near or that category. Really happy with the tee game today?
PATRICK RODGERS: Yeah, that's been a lot of hard work. I've struggled off the tee, to be honest, all year. That's the reason I'm in the position I'm in. Been working really hard, spending a lot of time with my coach, and it's been nice to see to pay off in the last few weeks. Been trending in the right direction.

Q. We talk a lot about this tournament, how you got to be aggressive, make birdies, make birdies, et cetera. Is there a hole out there or any position of any hole today where a guy is going to think maybe different? Center of the green; let's get out of here.
PATRICK RODGERS: Yeah, it's a tricky balance because this course is not that easy. The reason the scores are lower is because the greens are softer and there is typically not a whole lot wind. It can come back and bite you in a hurry, like you saw there on 18.

The rough is up and it's not a piece of cake. You just have to play some good golf and be good with your wedge game when you have some opportunities from the fairway. Did a nice job of that today.

Q. Got to be satisfied with the way you opened your round here at TPC Deere Run. How did you put it together today?
PATRICK RODGERS: Yeah, this is a tournament that's really special for me. It's crazy. It's already my sixth time playing here, so feels a lot like home. Just carrying the positive vibes throughout the whole day. It was nice to have a clean card, especially saving par on 18.

Q. Yeah, take us through the birdie and then saving par on 18. When you're able to close off in that fashion, what kind of momentum does that give you going into tomorrow?
PATRICK RODGERS: Yeah, that's huge. I mean, I think everyone out here takes a lot of pride in a clean card, especially me. I've been making a lot of mistakes this year and it's been frustrating at times.

Having a clean card is a testament to the hard work I'm putting in. It's nice to see. Hope I can carry that forward.

Q. Given your experience on this course, how exactly did it play today?
PATRICK RODGERS: Yeah, with no wind it's there for the taking, but playing the ball down you had some mud. That was a little tricky. If you're not hitting some good shots it's going to penalize you. The rough is thick. There are some spots you can't really leave it.

So luckily I was putting the ball in the fairways quite a bit and had a lot of wedges in my hand so was able to score.

Q. What is it about this course that's become so familiar to you?
PATRICK RODGERS: Yeah, like just playing it so many times now. I think this was maybe my 15th competitive round on it. It's my sixth time being back here to play. Such a strong comfort level. There are no questions about where to leave it to every pin. I've played them all. It's just nice to go around a golf course you feel so familiar.

Q. Talk about the day. Clean sheet. Six birdies, no bogeys. A lot of pars up there.
PATRICK RODGERS: That was really important; 18 was a really important save, more mentally than for the score. Obviously both are important.

Yeah, it was really nice to see a clean card. I've struggled this year putting together good, clean rounds like that. It's just a testament to the hard work I've been putting in. Hopefully I can carry that forward.

Q. When did you feel like this was a round you could put something like this together? Early on?
PATRICK RODGERS: Yeah, this is a golf course you can get if you're playing well. The greens are soft and they're really, really smooth, and so you can make so the putts. I was able to today.

But, I mean, you have to be sharp. On every hole there is a spot you can't miss, and so I just kept my head down and tried to make as many birdies as I could and ended up being 6-under.

Q. Feel like you're in a comfortable spot for tomorrow's round?
PATRICK RODGERS: Yeah. I got to keep progressing, continue to work on what I've been working on. I can still be sharper. Just got to keep improving throughout the week and hopefully be there on Sunday.

Q. As you look at the course, is there an area that you need to work on a little bit more? Is there an area in your game, something you want to work on more, to get ready for tomorrow?
PATRICK RODGERS: Yeah. I think the key all week is to have distance control with wedges. The way I'm driving it I'm giving myself a lot of opportunities from the fairway, a lot of wedges in my hand.

So if I can get at some pins that are tucked a little bit with some good quality distance wedges, going to make a lot of birdies.

Q. Has there been anything holding you back, do you feel?
PATRICK RODGERS: Yeah, the strength of my game has always been off the tee. I hit it long ways and I keep it in play very consistently, and I have struggled off the tee this year. I am just not giving myself chances to score on a consistent basis.

I've been working my butt off, especially the last three or four months, so it's nice to see. I've kind of seen myself turn the corner a little bit the last month or so, so it's nice to put a round together like this.

Q. Finally, when you walk through here playing here so many times, does it kind of bring some positive vibes back?
PATRICK RODGERS: It's the specials it gets. I've contended here as an amateur, one of my first-ever PGA TOUR events when I was just getting my feet wet as a college player; my first summer as a pro. All these memories come flooding back. It's probably the most special event or tour for me. I love coming here.

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