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August 31, 2017

Keith Mitchell

Columbus, Ohio

Q. Here with Keith Mitchell at the Scarlet course in the Nationwide Children's Hospital Championship. Leader after 6-under 65 to get things off first round of the Web.com Tour finals. And Keith, great start. What was clicking for you out there today?
KEITH MITCHELL: Everything really. It was a nice round. Pete, my caddy, is always staying positive out there. And I needed that today. I really hit it well and was pretty stress free. Didn't have any par putts outside a couple of feet. So I was very fortunate to get some good breaks and just execute when I needed to.

Q. Any particular memorable shot or putt that kind of stands out from the round?
KEITH MITCHELL: Not really. I made a putt on 16 that I think was pretty big. It was a tough read. I hit it right where I wanted to and it went in. And that was when I knew -- my putter this year was a little sweet, and hopefully it'll stay hot the rest of the three days.

Q. Coming up just a bit short, 26 on the regular season money list, did you have to reorient your mind or kind of take a fresh start? How did you plan for this week after what happened last week?
KEITH MITCHELL: Just motivation. I mean it's really tough what I went through and what Pete had to go through. You know, but that's -- the more you put yourself in those situations, the better you're going to handle them next time. You can't prepare for that. You can't practice for that. So I'm really excited that I got that under my belt, and I feel like we're stronger and tougher now. So hopefully we can use that experience and use it in this Web finals and the rest of my career.

Q. Knowing you have these four weeks here and you have been playing so well, talking about motivation, does that kind of kick you, like let's get this going, let's get this done as soon as we can or are you just thinking about the four weeks?
KEITH MITCHELL: I mean the new system gives us a huge chance. I mean once you finish 26 through 75, everybody starts fresh. That can be a good thing or bad thing, but this week we're trying to look at it as a good thing. We're here, and if we play good like we've been playing the last couple of weeks, I don't think last week is going to matter at all.

We've got a lot of golf to play in front of us, a lot of good courses and there's a lot of guys out here that are really, really good. So we're going to have to play our best the next couple of weeks.

Q. Was it lighter out there today than Sunday? How do you contrast the vibe? I know Sunday you said you couldn't feel your face coming down the stretch. Was it a little lighter today or right back in it?
KEITH MITCHELL: Definitely, but I try to keep the same intensity. Yes, the nerves weren't quite there, but the intensity is always there. So that was good. I thank my caddy, Pete, again, just for keeping the same vibe at all times out there, whether in the last round on Sunday like we were or first round on Thursday, just the same intensity, same kind of attitude, just say we're going to keep that all week and hopefully I can keep playing like that.

Q. Playing with Roberto who got that 25th card, it came up a little bit yesterday. I know you guys are friends, so was there any awkwardness?
KEITH MITCHELL: Absolutely not. Roberto is one of the best guys out here. You know, I'm sure it was just as stressful for him sitting on the sidelines as it was for me watching. Not a better guy deserves to be asked. He's playing great out here the past couple of years, really, really close. And he deserves it. I mean absolutely. And he's a great competitor. We had a great time out there today. He was congratulating me making putts and vice versa. So he's just a great friend, and I'm very thankful for what kind of guy he is.

Q. Keith, last year, Xander finished 26th and then he got his card here in Columbus, won on the PGA TOUR this year. Is that motivating or comforting at all?
KEITH MITCHELL: Yes. It just lets you know that even if you don't finish Top-25 in the regular season, you still have a chance to get your card. So that was really what kept me going this week. I mean it feels like yesterday we were out there pumping ropes. So it's really just -- it's kind of easing a little bit just knowing that you still have a chance. And I mean I'm playing the best I've played in a while coming into this week. So I'm just trying to float on that.

Q. Looking at the past couple of winners here, this is obviously a big boy golf course. You can hit a lot of drivers. You lead the tour in driving distances. Is this a course that fits you pretty well you think?
KEITH MITCHELL: Yes. You still gotta hit good shots. It doesn't matter -- yes, it favors long hitters a little bit, but anybody can win here because if you hit the right shots at the right time, it really doesn't matter what course you're playing, you're going to pull through. And I feel like I'm doing that right now. We're really hitting our numbers really nicely right now. So if I can just keep doing what we're doing, trying to just stay present and not really think about what could happen or what has happened, I think we'll have a really good chance.

Q. When you start so early and you have as good of a day as you do, now you have to wait and watch people try to match your number, what is that like for the next 24 or 36 hours till you get back out there and get to go again?
KEITH MITCHELL: I mean it's pretty easy on Thursday. I'm just going to get some physical therapy done, probably eat some lunch, get a little workout in, trying to stay healthy. It's hard to stay healthy when you play this many weeks in a row. So it's kind of nice to get all that time and kind of cool off and get ready for tomorrow.

I mean if it was like Roberto on Sunday at Pumpkin Ridge, I feel like I'd have a little different scenario. But today it's just routine.

Q. I know the weather might be a little bit different tomorrow, especially in the afternoon and evening, they say it could be really windy. Is that something that's on your radar at all? No pun intended. Is that something that impacted you at all today thinking that you might have different conditions tomorrow?
KEITH MITCHELL: Not really. It's something you have to deal with out here. You get rain delays, you get weather delays. I mean we played in Bahamas this year and felt like 50-mile-an-hour winds. So just experience like that you just lean on. If it gets windy tomorrow, we'll play a little bit more club, a little less club.

Q. You mentioned the physical therapy. You've had a great last couple of weeks, back-to-back top sixes. How is the wrist?
KEITH MITCHELL: It's okay. It's pretty unstable, but it's not very painful. So that's good. I have to ice it pretty good and get some needling and some scraping. It's just maintenance stuff right now. When you hit as many golf balls as we do, it just gets unstable. So it's okay. It's not perfect, but it's obviously holding up pretty well on the golf course right now.

Q. Anything you credit to trending so well recently?
KEITH MITCHELL: Yeah, I took a week off, and my trainer, Randy Myers, really got me back with my body where I needed to be. I got some really good physical therapy from a guy in Utah and he's got a friend here and they're coordinating with each other and helping me out. So I got a really good team behind me. I gotta thank those guys that put their time and effort in my career, which is really a huge blessing for me.

Q. I was going to say, that was a new treatment, wasn't it, like a wax type thing?
KEITH MITCHELL: I've had a lot, scraping, wax, needling, cupping. I've had it all. So they all help. But the problem with my wrist is hitting golf balls, and that's one thing I really can't not do.

Q. When you say it feels unstable, what's that feel like? Can you describe that?
KEITH MITCHELL: It clicks and pops a lot. It's just kind of -- I kind of have to stretch it a lot, and just the ligaments are just stretched and pulled. And tendons, kind of just get tendonitis in it. No structural damage. Just overuse really.

Q. And what exactly is the injury? Just overuse?
KEITH MITCHELL: Yeah. No structural damage.

Q. Right wrist or left wrist?

Q. Can you run us through the birdies and bogeys today, if you don't mind, if you remember how long they were?
KEITH MITCHELL: Yeah. So No. 2, I hit it in the fairway bunker. So I couldn't get all the way to the green, hit it probably 20 yards short of the green, hit a great chip. Was probably 8, 10 feet and hit a great putt and uphill, didn't quite get it in the hole.

No. 4, I hit a wedge shot in there about four feet, made that. No. 5 -- 6, I went for the green in two, came up probably six, seven yards short, hit a really nice chip to about three feet, made that. No. 9, I hit a wedge to back left-hand probably 20 feet right of the hole. Great putt. That went in the hole.

10, I hit a wedge to about eight feet, made that one. 11, I hit a 6-iron out of the first cut, probably one of my best shots of the day, to the back right pin, hit a big high cut back in there; probably went to 15 feet. Pete read the putt perfectly. Hit it on his line and went in the hole.

14, hit a 9-iron for about eight feet, had a lot of break in it and just died right perfectly over the edge. 16, hit another wedge in there, probably 10 feet. It was a double breaker.

I really had to trust my line. It was tough because my feet felt like it was breaking a little more than I was playing. But I hit it and it went right in the back. And unfortunately didn't birdie 18. But I got plenty more.

Q. Four of the Top 10 here last year won on TOUR this year and then three of the last four winners have won on TOUR within two years. Do you feel like this is a good preparation for the TOUR? Any kind of a good indicator of who's going to have success out there?
KEITH MITCHELL: I think this is the best tournament golf course, simply because the rough's high and the greens are really, really firm. I feel like you get a lot more of that on the PGA TOUR than you do on the Web.com Tour, just because of the bigger courses, the climates that they are able to play in. It's definitely a tougher test of golf. So your mistakes are really maximized out here.

But if you hit good shots, you're going to get rewarded, which is fair. This golf course is very fair, but it's very hard. So it's definitely, I feel like it's definitely more of a PGA TOUR golf course. We got a few of those. I think last week Pumpkin Ridge was one as well. So I think these golf courses really show the best in your game.

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