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August 10, 2017

Tony Finau

Charlotte, North Carolina

Q. Did you see this coming?
TONY FINAU: Had a good Finnish Canada a couple weeks ago. Took a few weeks off. Yeah, felt good. I know where my game's at for the most part, and I've played some pretty solid golf all year.

So yeah, I think a golf course that I like, that I have some pretty good history on and look forward to the week.

Q. How much different is it?
TONY FINAU: It's a lot different. Playing the true bermuda compared to the bent that we used to play, it's a lot different. The shots around the greens, you've got to be so much more precise. If you're not hitting the fairways, it seems like you're just trying to scramble somehow to make par.

Fairways are a premium for sure this week. But the golf course plays so different when it's true bermuda like this. You've got to think about the grain more. More undulation in the greens. The putts downhill are really, really fast. So all those come into consideration when you're playing on bermuda, true Bermuda.

So the golf course plays quite a bit different but the cool thing is the views off the tee are all -- the lines are pretty much the same. So didn't have to adjust too much of that.

Q. Speaking of undulations, what's your take on the fourth green?
TONY FINAU: Yeah, fourth green is a little dicey. I think you have a forced carry on the front and the back kind of slopes away. Not my favorite green.

I think that's -- out of the changes they have made, that's the only hole I probably don't really like, just because of that. You've still got to hit a 6- or 7-iron it seems like to that green and tough to hold. But I made a three there today, and I think a three is a great score there just because of that green, the way it's set up. You can only put the flag, it seems like, in so many places because of how the green is set up. But we've all got to hit to the same flag, so I was happy to make three today.

Q. Where did you land it at?
TONY FINAU: I hit it right to the middle of the green. Kind of front middle right. Hit a pretty good shot about 30, 35 feet left of it just past pin-high and was able to 2-putt that for par. But from the tee box, it looks like it's in the bunker, so it's not -- visually, it's hard to hit at that hole.

Q. We've seen your name up there before, near the top of the leaderboard in the majors. How important have they become to you and how do those experiences shape you and help you in this tournament?
TONY FINAU: I think it gives me just some assurance. I've been there, been there before. I've had a good finish in majors before maybe just relaxes me a little bit. You know, just know that I can come out and just play and see where the chips fall from there, but I have the game I think to compete.

So you know, I was happy with the start today. A lot of golf to be played. But you know, you can't -- you can't win it on the first day but you can definitely lose it, and so I put myself in a good position after the first round, which is nice, with a few rounds to go.

Q. Is this season better than last for you?
TONY FINAU: It's hard to say better. I don't know if -- how you describe what better is. If you win in a season, it's a great season. I haven't won yet this year, but I definitely know this is my most solid year that I've had, most consistent.

This calendar year specifically, I've played some really good golf and put myself in contention a couple times. Unfortunately not able to capitalize on that but for sure my most solid year.

You know, when you talk about better or best, whenever you win, it's a great year. So it will be hard to say, you know, that this year is better than last because I haven't won yet.

Q. I think there's rain in the forecast on Friday night, Saturday. If the course kind of moistens up more, is that more of an advantage for you, do you think?
TONY FINAU: Yeah, I wouldn't mind the course softening up just because off the tee, it's all carry and then you've got to hit it soft into the greens, which are a couple things I feel like play right to my game.

So yeah, either way, whether it starts to firm out or rain and get soft, I'm fine with it either way. The golf course plays long. Like today, 16, No. 1, No. 2, those holes played so long today. You know, mid-iron to long irons into those greens. So I don't mind it playing like that because I could hit it with some length off the tee. But either way the golf course is going to play tough no matter what.

Q. Is that the difference with the setup in May, you're hitting a lot more irons?
TONY FINAU: Yeah, it's not nearly as firm. The golf course plays -- 12, I think most guys are hitting driver there. I remember hitting 3-iron and pitching wedge to that green because you get something running down there, at about 240, it's going to go 280, 290. Not the case this week.

I'm still hitting driver and 8-iron, 9-iron. It's different in that aspect. Having had experience in the past, I'm hitting a lot of different clubs off the tee. Where I'm usually hitting 3-iron or 3-wood, I'm still hitting driver this week. So a lot different but still trying to use my length off the tee to an advantage.

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