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January 13, 2018

Tom Hoge

Honolulu, Hawaii

THE MODERATOR: We'll get started. We'd like to welcome Tom Hoge into the interview room. He's our 54-hole leader at the Sony Open in Hawaii.

Tom, a 6 under par, 64 today. Excellent play. If we could get some thoughts on your round.

TOM HOGE: Kind of just more of the same, I would say, from the last few days. I started off hitting the fairway on the 1st hole, had a great shot in there, and I didn't make the putt. But to get some confidence going off the start, just good ball striking again.

Kind of the same way in the front. Hit a lot of good shots. Then had to scramble in the middle of the back nine.

THE MODERATOR: One shot heading into the final round over Patton and Brian. Comment a little bit about your mindset heading into tomorrow.

TOM HOGE: Yeah, a new position. It's a good one obviously. I've been close to the lead a few times in the fall. So a little bit to draw on there. Haven't quite pulled it off yet. Just getting a little more belief in myself, and hopefully, tomorrow will be a better day for me.

Q. (Inaudible)?
TOM HOGE: I hit a good drive down the middle.

Q. Not your missile, that missile.
TOM HOGE: I was watching the TCU basketball game at the time, so I was a little frustrated with that. The missile was kind of off my radar on that one. I don't even know what you do for a missile. So I wasn't really freaking out or anything. Some other people were around us.

Q. Where were you?
TOM HOGE: I was in a hotel room down in Waikiki. I don't know. If it's going to be your last day, it's going to be your last day, right? You never know when it's going to happen. To be here in Hawaii and see the beach and everything, I guess it would be a good spot to go.

Q. Can you talk about your experience being in contention. Not so much on the PGA TOUR, but anywhere.
TOM HOGE: Yeah, going back professionally, Canadian Tour, right when I turned professional, my third event I won on the Canadian Tour got me in the Canadian Open the next week. That was a nice one to get started.

Had a round with Tiger there my rookie year on TOUR, where we were tied for the lead at the Wyndham.

And then a few events more so recently. Reno, I was close, where if I eagled the last hole, I would have won the tournament. A couple weeks later, the first week of the first FEDEX, I played the North Dakota Open last year. It was a course I grew up on and won there. That was kind of a nice one just to get back to winning again. It's been a while, going back to my mini tour days. First win in probably four or five years, I think it was. It was nice just to see the ball go in the hole and pull it off there.

Then in Las Vegas in the fall, I finished seventh. So it's been building a little bit here, I would say. I missed a step in there where I had to go back to the Web.com Finals, had to birdie 7 of the last 12 holes just to get back out on TOUR. Things kind of just got going in the right direction in the fall. I didn't want the season to end when we came to Thanksgiving. I wanted to keep everything going.

Q. What was the seven --
TOM HOGE: The last Web.com event at the TOUR Championship. I started the day somewhere around 30th, I want to say. It was the Monday finish, if you recall. I was like 1 over through seven holes or something. I was looking like it was going to be back to the Web.com. Finally pulled off a few good shots to get things going. I got to the last hole, and I saw that I was probably out if I missed the putt, and I got a 15-footer and made it.

Events like that kind of go under the radar. I didn't win the tournament, but to pull it off is a lot bigger playing for your job next year than winning a tournament sometimes.

Q. I was going to get to that. It seems like you've had that clutch moment getting up from the Web.com Tour a few times. Is that a big factor in what you'll draw on tomorrow?
TOM HOGE: Yeah, just the belief you can get it done when you have to. That's the toughest stage, I would say. We're all here. You've got 20 more chances here for the rest of the year to win. So when you had to do it right there, to pull it off was probably the best feeling I've had in golf.

That carried over. I shot 7 under the first round at Silverado then that week. I didn't quite finish off the week as well as I wanted to. But to start to see the ball go in the hole like that for me and to really finish it off was a step in the right direction for me.

Q. And you obviously had the good result in Vegas as well?

Q. You're on a roll. You don't want it to end. How did you keep this form going to make sure that, when you got here, this could happen?
TOM HOGE: It's funny because I played a little bit, and then I got married on December 3rd. So a couple of weeks off. And then I came back after that, and I didn't feel like I knew which end of the club was right. But I had a good week of practice in Phoenix last week before I came out here. It was so cold in Texas, I had to go over to Phoenix. Things felt good. I didn't putt as well as I would have liked to, but I've been hitting the ball really well.

Q. When you've experienced playing for your job, does that give you a sense of calm going into Sunday with the lead?
TOM HOGE: A little bit. It's a lot different circumstance, I would say, trying to win on the PGA TOUR, something you've always dreamed of, versus kind of going through a Q School or a Web.com final. But at the same time, I would say for me, it's just that belief in myself, knowing I can get it done when I have to and make the putts when I have to. It's a big thing for me.

Q. Where were you tied with Tiger? 36 holes?
TOM HOGE: At the Wyndham, yeah, 36 holes. I think that was 2015.

Q. (Inaudible)?
TOM HOGE: No, I think I shot 2 over and he shot a couple under.

Q. It was fun, though?
TOM HOGE: Yeah, it was -- looking back, I started the week 130th in the FedExCup. So I needed to have a good day, and I didn't play as well as I needed to on the weekend. It's all perspective in professional golf. To go through that environment and to play in that makes it easier for the next time.

Q. (No microphone)?

Q. I'm just trying to get basics, but you played out of the conditional status for those two years, right?
TOM HOGE: I had full status for the Web.com category the first two years on Tour. Last year I played 126 to 150 and then back to full status this year.

Q. Did you feel coming in that Waialae fit your game pretty well?
TOM HOGE: Yeah, for me it's always been that, if I drive it well, I can play pretty well. My first year here, I played all right. I think I shot 64 in the second round. For me, it's more so just a matter of where my game's at after taking a few months off and getting away from golf a little bit. We were up in North Dakota, so I've got a little bit of an off-season here. This year was probably the most practice I've done coming into it. So I felt pretty good about things.

Q. I'm only asking about Chambers because I then recall there was at least two guys from North Dakota, maybe three. It was actually three more than usual for this game.
TOM HOGE: Two guys from Fargo. We kind of grew up playing together. Josh is two years older than I was, but to have two guys from Fargo at the U.S. Open is pretty cool.

Q. Born in Carolina, right?
TOM HOGE: North Carolina, right.

Q. How did you get to Fargo?
TOM HOGE: My dad's job. Bobcat was headquartered in Fargo. That's where he worked at the time. It's not necessarily the golf capital of the world, but it was a good spot to grow up playing.

Q. What kind of season did you have?
TOM HOGE: It could vary, April to the end of November, but it could be a few weeks on each side of that.

Q. Still live there?
TOM HOGE: I went to TCU. I live in Ft. Worth now, right by TCU still.

Q. Honeymoon was where?
TOM HOGE: Jamaica.

Q. Right after --
TOM HOGE: We went for three nights to Jamaica and then back home. We've been traveling so much with the fall and everything, so short trip, but it was nice.

Q. She was okay with it?
TOM HOGE: Yeah, we had a good time.

Q. Where do you play out of Ft. Worth?
TOM HOGE: Mira Vista.

Q. Is your wife with you this week?
TOM HOGE: She is with me this week. She's here most weeks.

THE MODERATOR: Tom, best of luck tomorrow.

TOM HOGE: Thanks, guys. Hope to see you tomorrow.

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