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March 10, 2018

Corey Conners

Palm Harbor, Florida

MARK WILLIAMS: We'd like to welcome back Corey Conners to the Interview Room at the Valspar.

First, 2nd and 3rd round leader at 9-under. Shot in front of a pretty good trio of players. Just your thoughts on your round today and what's in store for you tomorrow.

COREY CONNERS: Yeah. I'm really happy with the 3rd round today. Got off to a nice start and got settled in and definitely had a bunch of fun out there; made some mistakes, was able to bounce back and really happy with the result.

Looking forward to tomorrow. It will be a good challenge. But, yeah, feel confident in my game. I like where everything is at and hopefully can keep the good playing going.

MARK WILLIAMS: Let's jump straight into some questions. Anybody willing to go first?

Q. In the gallery, a lot of Canadians. (Inaudible). You were a hockey player, you get a lot of points from the hockey game. You were a gentleman on the ice. Superintendent of golf retired, superintendents actually (inaudible). How much family do you have, cousins and all sorts of things?
COREY CONNERS: Yeah, I guess my grandparents have a place a couple hours south of here, spend sometime in the winter. So they've been here everyday. And my dad and a couple relatives and Director of Golf at my home golf course back home, Brandon Parsons, he joined the crew and some other friends.

So, it was nice to have support but there's a ton of other Canadians out there. Been really cool to feel the love from them.

Q. Must have been interesting, Corey, to be kind of behind Tiger and see the enormity of that gallery moving with him. What was that like?
COREY CONNERS: It was really cool. Obviously grew up watching Tiger and kind of idolized Tiger and seeing that today was really cool. Couple big roars and put a smile on my face.

Kind of just great to have him back and obviously playing well. Really cool to see the people and the roars that he got, it was a fun. Definitely knew what was happening up in front.

Q. I would think when you're one shot behind and getting a lot of roars it wouldn't put a smile on a lot of players's faces.
COREY CONNERS: Something that I just find it really cool. Doesn't -- yeah. I was able to make a nice birdie on No. 9, there's a big roar. Obviously he did something. I was able to hit a sand wedge to tap-in range so that was nice to kind of settle down from that.

Q. Same situation tomorrow, what will it be like tomorrow?
COREY CONNERS: It will be the same thing. You can't ignore it, I guess. But just try to stay focused on my game. I think I've been doing a good job of that throughout the week so far and just keep that going.

Q. Not to harp on the point, when there's very few people in the corner (inaudible)
COREY CONNERS: I don't know. There's a lot everywhere. That was probably one of the more quiet spots for sure. I don't know. I wasn't -- wasn't out there counting people. But, yeah, that was probably the quietest spot back in that corner.

Q. Any kind of momentum you brought from Monday not getting into the qualifier and then getting in as the alternate. Is it all just building off of that?
COREY CONNERS: Definitely. Obviously got into the field late and kind of came in here with nothing to lose, just go and take advantage of a good break and I felt really good about my game for the last little while and just wanted to get another opportunity to play and fortunately able to get that opportunity this week and had a good week so far.

Q. How many times did you look on the leaderboard?
COREY CONNERS: Didn't really see a leaderboard too much, maybe two, three times out there and I felt confident that I was in a good position. I was playing well all day. Got off to a good start like I said before and wasn't really too worried about what was going on around me. I felt good about my round and tried to keep that going.

Q. After the putt on 12 (inaudible)
COREY CONNERS: Yeah, that was a great spot to make a nice putt. I was excited. Pretty good at calming down. A bit of a walk to the next tee, lot of people chanting that had the blinders on. Felt pretty good at that point.

Q. What were they chanting?
COREY CONNERS: Everything. I don't know. I was trying to not worry about that too much.

Q. Given what's at stake for you tomorrow and given who is behind you, is there a part of you that's glad you went through it once today as a way to kind of calm you for tomorrow?
COREY CONNERS: Yeah, for sure. Even the last two days, I think draw on those experiences and yeah, just try to stay calm, stay with the process and be patient like I have the last few days. I think it will definitely help. I was thinking about that when I finished the round, that felt nice to kind of keep myself in the lead most of the day and the same thing tomorrow.

Q. Glad to be playing behind him as opposed to with Tiger?
COREY CONNERS: I don't think it matters, I guess. Maybe a little less chaotic with him in front. Obviously be really cool to be paired up with him but yeah, it is what it is and I'm looking forward to tomorrow.

Q. You seem pretty even keel. What's the most you got excited about?
COREY CONNERS: Probably like you said, that putt on 12, walking up to the green on 13 my caddy like asked me how I was feeling. I was like yeah, feeling pretty good. That was probably the most excited I was. Maybe not that excited.

Q. I think your pulse was 70 at that point?
COREY CONNERS: I don't know. I try to really focus on breathing. Keep it as low as possible.

Q. Big crowds today. Just wondering what are those like at Augusta?
COREY CONNERS: Pretty similar. I don't think they were as rambunctious when I played at Augusta but the amount of people was the same and people close to you all the time.

Yeah, it's nice being inside the ropes and there's so many people, just kind of frames the hole. You can be in your own little world inside the ropes and not worry too much about what's going on outside.

Q. Two more things. I may have three by the time I'm done. The bogies on 6 and 7 and 8 is a tough par 3. Was that a good par?
COREY CONNERS: I was fine at that point. But I was really happy to hit a nice tee shot. Got hit by the wind a little bit more than I was expecting. Came up to the front of the green.

Hit a really solid shot there, yeah, give a chance for decent chance for birdie and hit a good putt. Yeah, I wasn't really too unsettled after those bogies. Could have been avoided but all good.

Q. 16 the dropped shot, nice bunker shot on 17. Were you at all conscious of wanting to stay in the lead? Everything is so close and 18 holes really doesn't matter. Was there anything important to you to at least have the one shot lead?
COREY CONNERS: I guess so. Just trying to get the ball in the hole as fast as possible. I knew at that point that I was one shot ahead. I didn't know what was happening on 18 or with the group in front but yeah, I was really happy to get that ball up and down and make par on 17.

Q. Were your nerves at all just a little bit touchy when the ball moved?
COREY CONNERS: Little bit. It happens. Just kind of getting ready to have some practice strokes and saw it moved a little bit. I knew the rule but I thought I'd make sure to get the official over and make sure didn't do anything silly.

MARK WILLIAMS: One last one.

Q. When you were growing up, were you a Tiger guy or Mike Weir guy?
COREY CONNERS: I'd say both. I really looked up to them. Tiger probably he was really dominant when I was sort of getting into the game and Mike won the Masters in 2003. They were both kind of guys that I really looked up to.

MARK WILLIAMS: All right. Thanks, Corey. Good luck tomorrow.

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