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February 9, 2018

Jon Rahm

Pebble Beach, California

Q. Tied for fifth a year ago here at Pebble Beach, Jon Rahm has put himself in position to improve that come the end of Sunday. How would you assess your Friday here at Pebble?
JON RAHM: Any time you shoot a 5-under par round you should be happy with it, honestly. I had a great day. It's easy to get picky with certain details, but compensated really well, making a lot of good par putts -- like the one on 18. I made a great par putt on 13 as well. So overall it was a great round, hopefully I can keep it going tomorrow.

Q. We talked about on the broadcast almost every week your quick a sent. Two years ago you're getting ready for your final semester at Arizona State, how would you describe since turning professional what you've been able to do?
JON RAHM: Well, I have less homework, that's for sure. It's hard to assess it. It's hard to explain it in words, especially myself. All I can say is I would have never foreseen the way I played, maybe the way I played but not what I've accomplished. I would have never foreseen five wins worldwide -- sorry four wins worldwide, two on each TOUR, be a European Tour member, win two Rolex series events, win the TOUR Championship in Europe. I mean there's so many things I can't think of that I've done. And being No. 2 in the world is definitely not one of those. So it's just been two years, but I've accomplished a lot more than I set my mind to.

Q. You reference being No. 2 in the world, how much do you look at jumping one spot and taking over No. 1?
JON RAHM: Well, hey, if it was something easy, I would be a lot more relaxed than what I have been. I'm looking forward to it, if it ever happens. But at the end of the day it's a consequence of the good play on the golf course. So I just need to focus on hitting good shots and making putts and the rest will take care of itself.

Q. Consecutive rounds of 67. Yesterday's round was 4-under par, today's is 5-under. What's pleased you most about your play?
JON RAHM: Especially yesterday, just staying patient. Those greens are rolling fast, they can get bumpy because it's poa annua grass and some of the footprints are going to be visible. It's easy to get stressed out, but I needed to make sure that I stayed calm and reassure myself that if I keep hitting good shots I'm going to have opportunities and end up making some putts. But I'm extremely proud of my last putt. It was seven, eight feet for par. To have bogey-free round at 5-under is just, it changes the whole momentum going into tomorrow.

Q. Look at this pitch on 14. How much do you work on this sort of thing, because I think you're terrific around the greens.
JON RAHM: Well I work a lot around the greens, but I spend most of my time on ball striking. Lately I've been working hard at trying to improve my distance control from 80 to 150 yards. It's not often that you find yourself with shots from between 30 and 50 yards, that's why most of these are touch. I consider myself a feel player so that's probably why maybe on those shots that we don't practice as much that I happen to manage them.

Q. Bring up 17 for me. Tell me about this one.
JON RAHM: Well that was great shot. I had 171 meters to the pin, a little downwind, so it was just a little off an 8-iron, because I knew it was going to release a little bit. And I hit it about as perfect as you can hit it. It was going right at the pin and I thought that was pretty good, honestly. And then just a little 6-footer down the slope. I started it a cup left and let gravity do the rest.

Q. You said something interesting, you said you don't think it's important the course suit you, you need to adapt to suit it. How much are you adapting to these three?
JON RAHM: I think this is both at the same time. It suits me and I adapt to it. But I do think that you can't expect every course to fit you, you're not always going to play a golf course that's going to fit your game exactly, so you need to adapt to the day, you need to adapt to the conditions, you need to adapt to the golf course. So golf, it's a game of adaptation. If tomorrow we wake up and we have a hurricane coming in, you need to adapt your game to that it's going to be a completely different golf course. So, yeah, the golf course is not going to change, you need to change.

Q. You walked off that second green muttering to yourself about your play on the par-5s. You were even on the par-5s in the opening round, then I know a frustrating par. But you birdied the next two to get your round back on track.
JON RAHM: Yeah, it hasn't been a great year on par-5s. Final round at Stadium Course at Palm Springs didn't make any birdies. Final round in Phoenix I actually I had no more than a 5-iron to all the par-5s, dead center of the fairway, made two pars and a bogey. And again birdie-free yesterday. So I have had a little bit of frustration, but it all went away when I hit those two shots into the green on 6.

Q. You can see the smile on your face. Talk about going over to Spyglass which is traditionally the hardest of the three course rotation.
JON RAHM: Well, for what I've heard is the greens are the best over there. And it's a golf course that really ball striking is, it's key on that golf course. It gets a little narrow, you have trees in the way, and you have very undulated greens with small areas to put the pins. So if you have a good ball striking day you can certainly post a score. We saw yesterday, I mean scores are actually pretty low at Spyglass yesterday, it was Pebble that was the hardest course yesterday. So hopefully I can keep the good play going, especially the driving and set myself up again for a couple birdie options.

Q. This is your fourth in a row. You got enough gas in the tank to finish this one off?
JON RAHM: I do, but I'm not -- I'm going to take a couple weeks off after this and make sure I'm rested for the big events coming up.

Q. How come it was a little tricky out there, especially on the back nine? It looked like you came up a little short with some wedges a couple of times.
JON RAHM: There was a couple on 13, but I was in the rough, it's hard to be very accurate out of the rough, you want to make sure that you're short of the hole. And then 15, yeah, that one I thought it was good. I think I just misjudged the wind. I was just about five feet short of landing on the green and having a perfect putt. So I've been working a lot on my wedges trying to flight it a little more, a little lower than what I usually do, and try to control the spin a little more. It's a work in progress, that's probably why I missed a couple.

Q. Well, No. 2 in the world, as I watch you play, in your mind, what are you doing best in your game right now?
JON RAHM: Each week has been so different. I would say that my usual, I mean, I've been pretty strong off the tee, especially last week and this week. I think my putting has been pretty good this year, especially the last two weeks, my putting stats are a little higher than what I'm used to having so that shows if you're making a couple putts or at least one more putt a round, one shot a round is going to make a big difference. That's why I'm putting myself in contention every week.

Q. When we talk about the really good, the really great players, they grind. You hit a stretch where 11 after the birdie, 12 you grind, 13 you grind, 14 you grind, you make birdie, 15, I mean it was a grind and that's what you guys do.
JON RAHM: Well, I'm not a person who is going to ever give up, no matter what. So I think that helps out a lot. I just grind it out. I'm one of those, kind of like Tiger said once, no matter what day, what tournament, what hole it is, I'm going to give it the same effort as the first shot on Thursday as I'm going to on the last shot on Sunday. So I think that's what helps is maybe make a few extra putts or a few extra good shots or just stay a little bit more situated in a round.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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