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September 3, 2017

Justin Thomas

Boston, Massachusetts

EMILY TILLO: Like to welcome Justin Thomas into the interview room.

Justin, really nice round out there, 8-under 63, 156 feet of putts made, 12 threes, which is a FedExCup Playoffs record. So obviously you have to be pleased so just talk about your round and your thoughts heading into the final round tomorrow.

JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, I'm extremely pleased. It was a great day. I just felt I had total control of my game. I drove it beautifully. I hit my irons really well and my short game was good if I needed it.

But it's crazy to think I did that and parred all the par 5s. Played them even par. That's a little bit of a bummer; if I could somehow have a downside to the day. But like I said, I'm obviously extremely pleased and put myself in great position to win the tournament.

Q. What changed for you -- you said the other day you didn't have it --
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, I didn't have it yesterday, either. I just have kind of gotten it around. I've just stayed patient. I felt I wasn't far off but I just, I don't know, I wasn't hitting it -- wasn't hitting the shots. I was seeing the putts. I wasn't really making anything or wasn't making as much as I felt like I should have.

I don't know, I didn't really have a great warm up session or anything this morning. I got out there and think I probably got back into more of me golf where I'm feeling it and trying to hit my numbers and trying to hit my shots, as opposed to golf swing. That's something Coach Seawell always said, golf coach at Alabama, "Play golf, not golf swing." I think that's what I did today.

Q. Specifically as you're putting, you didn't do anything special, but does the hole just look different? Do you have a better feel on the greens? How do you explain that?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I just was seeing them a little bit better today. These greens are so hard to read to me. There's just so many times where it's breaking one way and at the end it will go the other way or vice versa. I mean, I had a triple-breaking putt today which is absurd. That just doesn't happen very often. Their the grainiest bentgreens I've probably ever played on.

This week I've tried to get better at going each side, because you can really see the change in the color of the grass, and I tried to do that the last couple days. I mean, today, it didn't too much because it was wet so it all looked the same. But yeah, I don't know, I had it in good spots, putting uphill to where I could be aggressive or I didn't have to be timid, kind of putting from above the hole. It's just one of those days where I was putting well.

Q. Can you speak to the conditions out there today? There were only a couple spots where it really came down. How does that -- it softened up, obviously, and how does it play going forward into tomorrow?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, the course being softer, it's going to play easier. But the ball is going so short. I still am bummed; the hardest probably is rained all day was on 18. It's 260 yards to carry that bunker and I hit a drive right on the screws and I didn't carry it. I usually carry a driver 300 yards, so I think you can do the math.

Gracey and I were in shot when we walked up there and our golf balls hadn't cleared. That was probably the hardest part was just when it was a little into the wind, the ball just wasn't so short, I mean, just so short. I hit a really good one on two today and it went like 276 or something like that.

So that was the hardest part, you know, when you would have 152 yards or something, where I would usually just be chipping a little 9-iron, I'd have to hit a decent 8-iron or something like that. Other than that, if you could dial that in, then it was -- you know, being soft, it was easier.

Q. I'm sure you've been asked about this before, but I just saw that you weigh 145 pounds. You still weigh 145 pounds?
JUSTIN THOMAS: No. About 160, 165 pounds.

Q. I don't know why it listed that. All right. I wanted to ask you about the long putts. Can you just talk about, I think you made like a 49-footer and two 26-footers?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, like I was saying to Rex, I think they were all uphill. Yeah, they were all uphill putts, and I just could see the line. I mean, I had good looks. I got a read from Gracey on 12. On 14, it was -- just one of those, when I got up there, I felt like I could make it or I felt like I was going to make it.

17 was definitely a bonus. That was a really hard putt and kind of one of those, you're trying to feel it to the fall line and I was able to find the fall line. At that point it's just trying to get the right speed and I was able to do so. It's just one of those things where I was just rolling it well.

Q. I just wanted to ask you, what about going into tomorrow, what kind of confidence do you have going into tomorrow? You've won four times this year so you know how to win a tournament.
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, I'm excited. I obviously have a lot better chance going into tomorrow than I did the start of today. That's what I'm most pleased about; the fact that I've gained ground on the leaders. It's going to be fun. I think the conditions look a lot better tomorrow. So it being sunny, soft greens, you have to make a lot of birdies. Hopefully I'm able to kind of keep the momentum from today and just continue to make a lot.

Q. The last three years, the FedExCup Playoff events have basically been won by the best of the best, just the superstars out here. Any explanation for that, any rationale?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I just would say that the best are going to win. It's definitely not a format that could show that. I mean, you could get someone that just wins the right events and they are going to win, no matter the year they have had, if they obviously win at the right time. The end of the day, you have to win at the right time -- and if you do, you deserve to win.

I just think that we treat kind of like these four events and Atlanta as a major. We are trying to be peaking this time. We are trying to be peaking come Atlanta. We try to take time off before the majors. I took a week off before the Playoffs to try to get my game ready to get rested and kind of get going. Obviously the PGA changed that a little bit, but for good reason.

I don't know. I would just say that we all want to win but it's kind of like trying to win a golf tournament in four events. We want to win and I guess it's happened to be that way. I don't know.

Q. I think you only have one bogey this week, back in the first round?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, I 3-putted.

Q. Does it feel like you've managed to avoid trouble, basically all week.
JUSTIN THOMAS: I would say the fact that I have one bogey speaks for itself on that (laughs.)

No, I have, but that's the thing, I wasn't playing very well the first two days but I was getting it around and I was leaving it in the right places to get it up-and-down.

It's not an overly-long course. The par 3s are difficult and I've hit good shots on those. I mean, what is it, 3 is a hard hole. 8 is a hard hole. 11 is a hard, long hole.

So if you can -- that 10 through -- well, 10 not so much but the tee shot can get a little difficult. But 11 through 14, really, those are tough holes. You kind of have to play those hard holes well or just make pars, and I've been able to do that. And then the rest of the holes, or most of the other holes, you can kind of feast on. That's just kind of how I've approached the course.

Q. You're 1-under on 12 this week. I think that's picking up a stroke, stroke and a half on the field. On the second day, did you second-guess your strategy going down 13?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, I finally hit the fairway today. That's just a hole I'm not trying to make a birdie. I'm trying to make a par. I know if I make four fours, then I'm probably going to gain two shots on the field. It has to be averaging four and a half, I would think.

But I just felt like if I miss that fairway going left, I can always get it around the green. If I missed -- if I go down the actual fairway, aim up that left side; if I miss in that bunker, you're not getting to the green, ever. There's no chance.

You even have to have a good lie to get it to the second fairway. Then you still can make par, but in reality, you can make six, or you could easily make five, and then if you pull it left, then you're behind those trees, and then the same thing; you're chipping down there. I feel like if you miss that fairway, then you're grinding a lot more for par. Whereas I missed my fairway the first two days, but I was able to hit it around the green and make an easy par.

So that's just kind of been my mentality on that hole is try and make four, and today was like an accident of a three. I made a 50-footer.

Q. Is there more than one thing that motivates you at this time of the year?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I mean, I think winning's just -- winning trophies is motivating enough for me. I really enjoy that.

Q. That's true in February, too.
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, it doesn't matter when it is. It's not -- so I guess to answer your question, it doesn't motivate me more now than it does then. So I guess it's the same.

Q. What do you see as the bigger carrot: The FedExCup or some of the perks that are also out there, whether it's Player of the Year, things like that?
JUSTIN THOMAS: FedExCup pays better, I know that. (Laughter). I just feel like if you win the FedExCup, in reality, you obviously had a great year. You played well when you needed to. I mean, that's a tremendous, tremendous honor, and there's only -- you know, the Player of the Year has been going on for awhile. That's obviously something I would love to win and it would be another tremendous honor.

The FedExCup has not been going on very long and there's not many names on that trophy and it would be really cool to have it part of it.

Q. Have you had any comments from Red Sox fans the last few days?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Like directed toward me? Nothing really. A lot of yelling but other than that, no. The fans here are great. They are very passionate. They are out there having a lot of fun. I've heard a couple, "Boston loves you" stuff like that, which to me, it's funny to think of. I don't know if that was just a guy that had a couple too many beverages saying that or if he really felt that way, but I was glad to hear it, regardless.

Like I said the beginning of the week. I like playing here. I like the course. I like the atmosphere. DJ made a great putt here on 16 today and it was a pretty loud roar. That's stuff that's cool and that's why we play.

EMILY TILLO: Thanks, Justin. Good luck tomorrow.

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