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February 22, 2018

Justin Thomas

Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

Q. You're used to playing in conditions because you play a lot, but it never makes it any easier. How tough was it out there with this wind?
JUSTIN THOMAS: It's very difficult. This course presents such a challenge in itself with just the amount of hazards out there, the amount of difficult holes. It's a place for a handful of holes, if you drive it well, you have some birdie opportunities. Some of those holes, you're just kind of holding on for dear life.

Q. Starting on the back nine, does that make it easier knowing you'll get the tough part out?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, I hit probably one of my better shots in the Bear Trap, the shot on 17 that just ended up in a horrible lie. That was unfortunate to make a bogey there. But to go out on that back nine and start with 1-under is great.

Q. Let's take a look at some of the highlights this is at 18?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I hit a great 3-wood in there, only a couple yards of getting up on the green. I thought it was going to go in for a second, that bunker shot and to end the nine to shoot under par was nice.

Q. And you get on a really good run. Birdied 1, and 2, and the other par 5, pretty salty here.
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, it was nice. Being on that pine straw, had to decide if I wanted to play an explosive shot or just pick it and being into the wind like that, I felt like if I got enough spin on it, at least land it on the green, it's going to top and it came pretty close.

Q. At 7, a little chip-in over the green.
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, this was nice. Hit a great, great 6-iron in there, 233 hole and you're trying to land it about 20 short and somehow goes over the green. It's 240 back edge and 6-iron going that far is never going to enter your mind. So I felt like it was a little bit of a reward for how good that tee shot was.

Q. Do you feel like those are the keys, that you have to take advantage of the par 5s, the legit birdie chances?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I guess so a little bit but at the end of the day, 18, it's not like that is an easy birdie by any means. It's a weird, awkward lay-up with the crosswind and short iron and you're trying to hit one into off the right wind. It's always hard to control your distance on your wedges which makes the scoring opportunities a lot less slim. So you're really just trying to somehow pick them off whenever you can.

Q. Plan for the afternoon?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I'm going to relax. I've had two straight mornings waking up at 4:45 and that's enough for me. I'm going to chill.

Q. Nice to have a home game this week?
JUSTIN THOMAS: It's nice. It's definitely a little better feeling going to sleep and waking up in your own bed.

Q. Got off to a slow start, but you turned it on as you made your turn. What was the key for you?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Definitely wouldn't call that a slow start in these conditions. Any time you're even or better on this course on a day like today was definitely positive. But now, I played really well the first 12 holes and then I didn't drive it very well at all those last six or last four or five or whatever it was. All my birdie putts were inside six feet, so it wasn't like I was doing anything crazy out there.

Q. What's key for you on this golf course?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Off the tee. If you get it in the fairway, you have a lot more birdie opportunities. But if you hit it in this rough, this rough is so penal, so long, it's tough, and you can get some very squirrely, iffy lies around the greens. Just try to hit as many fairways and greens as possible.

Q. I thought off the tee was beautiful to start. Held on to it there at the end but the end of the day you have to be really happy with the number?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Absolutely. I'll take a 67 every time I play this course for the rest of my career and I'll do just fine. It was a very tough day out there, very windy. Tough crosswinds. That makes it a little difficult to judge, and just trying to keep it all in front of you, trying to minimize the mistakes.

Q. You made a lot of birdies out there but when you get that one up-and-down for your bogey at 6 --
JUSTIN THOMAS: I hate that tee shot, it's such a hard tee shot. I got screwed off the tee. Obviously I hit a bad drive but anywhere over there -- I've hit it over there a bunch to where you can usually get it on the green or around the green. You couldn't pretty much drop that thing anymore behind the tree, and it was a tough chip to get it out in the fairway. I'm not going to lose very much ground making five on that hole, so that was big.

Q. Best thing you take from today into tomorrow?
JUSTIN THOMAS: All the birdies I made. On a day like this, to make seven birdies, is great. I think I made six birdies. If I can just eliminate those bogeys and some of those mistakes and just continue to play well. I've been playing well all year. Just haven't had much to show for it. I feel like I'm close to reeling off a couple tournaments here. I just need to stay patient.

Q. Thursday, 67, your lowest score in nine career rounds here. How would you grade the effort here on the opening day?
JUSTIN THOMAS: It was great. I played really solid. Played really well. Had a couple more mistakes than I would have liked but to go around this place with six birdies on a day like today is good.

Q. You talked about how difficult this golf course with the wind, how does that mind-set change throughout the course of the day when you see the morning and it's blowing?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I was a little bummed to see that the weather showed a little bit more wind in the morning than the afternoon. That usually means for a tough day. But at the same time it just means that you have to be more patient. Half the field is going to play in the same conditions I'm playing in, and we don't know what's going to happen in the afternoon. I just have to go out there and try to stick to our game plan and hit as many fairways and greens as I could.

Q. What's the most positive thing you take away from a day like this?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Just how well I played. My three bogeys, I didn't -- I mean, my bogey on 8, the 17th hole wasn't that bad. My tee shot is three yards from the fairway, and just picked a flyer and just misjudged the chip.

Then I hit a great shot on 17 that just somehow, if it carries another yard, I have a 15-footer for birdie and end up making bogey. Those two right there, I turned those around, and saved two shots.

Q. What did you make of the day?
JUSTIN THOMAS: It was good. I played really well. Played solid tee-to-green for the most part, till probably those last five holes. I had total control of my game, and all my birdies were very easy. I was hitting it in there pretty close, which was nice.

Q. Your awareness looks perfect when you moved this branch. What did you see --
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, I don't know. It was tough out there, and you know, some of those holes I had, some of the bogeys I had were what they were. Are you talking about No. 6?

Q. The branch.
JUSTIN THOMAS: The branch, I didn't really have a shot anyway. I had a tree in my way. It doesn't really matter.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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