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March 21, 2018

Peter Uihlein

Austin, Texas

MODERATOR: We're joined by Peter Uihlein. Peter, you were able to hold off a late charge from Rory McIlroy. What did the victory mean for you today?

PETER UIHLEIN: I was solid most of the day. I really snuck one out on the 1st to tie that hole, was pretty big from a momentum standpoint.

After that, I hit every green pretty much up to 16. And I just kept putting pressure on him all day. And I felt like, especially on the front, I was always having a chance to win the hole with a putt. I think when you're able to do that in match play, you kind of control your fate or control how the match is going to go. You always feel like a guy like that -- really any player seems like out there, they're eventually going to make a run. You're going to trade blows little bit. And he landed some at the end. And I was able to kind of hold him off, which was nice.

MODERATOR: What was your confidence level coming into the day, given Rory's spectacular performance last week? Were you confident that you were going to be able to pull out a victory?

PETER UIHLEIN: Yeah, I felt it was going to go two different ways. When a guy comes off a win, next week out, they're either a little flat or still hot as can be and they're just going to blitz it.

Yeah, when I kind of got control a little bit early, I felt like I was going to -- I was at least going to try to keep putting pressure on him. And I was able to do that. But it's always difficult, I can imagine, after a victory, because you're probably so mentally and physically drained from the week before, that it's always tough getting into it right away. You see a lot of guys who win the next week really have a flat first round or something like that. It's not very uncommon.

Like I said, it was going to go two ways, I was going to get crushed early or I felt like I could get him early, because he may be a hair flatter than usual.

Q. So flat or hot as he can be, basically it was a little bit of both, would you say?
PETER UIHLEIN: Yeah, I would definitely say he probably came out a little bit sluggish at the start, and then he turned it on. And that's what the best players in the world do.

Q. What did you do to get out of position on 1?
PETER UIHLEIN: I hit it over which is really dumb, right rough. And, yeah, just hit it over. Made a really, really good up and down. It was -- yeah, it was definitely -- and he hit it to about six or seven feet and just missed it.

Q. Under pressure?
PETER UIHLEIN: Yeah, exactly. Could have been ugly early.

Q. What were your emotions when he was reeling off those birdies? What was going through your mind?
PETER UIHLEIN: I felt like I needed to keep hitting fairways and greens. I didn't think -- the end of the day, if he birdies seven straight on you, hats off to him. It is what it is. I think he needed -- if he would have birdied in seven straight, that's pretty impressive.

I felt like if I just kind of kept giving myself a chance to at least not let him -- I didn't want to give him any holes. I felt like if I kept giving myself a chance, to at least make a putt or sneak one out, that was the best I could do. He made me earn it, so hats off to it.

Q. You just mentioned this outside, how far you've come the last year. I think you said you were playing India the this point last week. Did you ever sit back and think about that?
PETER UIHLEIN: I did before, probably last year around this time. Just playing healthy and playing well again, I think I did. But now that I'm getting into the bigger events and playing on the PGA Tour, you're trying to always press on and keep pushing forward.

I feel like my game may be -- statistically might not be as sharp, but I feel like it's coming around. I think last week I led the field in greens. So it's getting there. I keep pushing on and just kind of keep believing in myself, that I belong out here, and can hang with these guys. And I think eventually it will hopefully end up where I want it to end up.

Q. Did you have any conversation with Rory? And were you trying to impress upon him, boy, I bet you're tried and flat and all that?
PETER UIHLEIN: No, no. We chatted all day. He's an unbelievable golfer, but he's even a better person. He's always been friendly with me. Yeah, we've been -- I think we played together -- we may have been like 13 or 14 in the Orange Bowl, way back when played together, I think. So I've known him for a long time. And his family, they're a very good family.

Q. Did you beat him then?
PETER UIHLEIN: No, no. He was very good, even back then. I think it was before my growth spurt. I think I was -- to be fair, I'm still about 30 yards shorter than him today. Him and Ollie Fisher I remember back then were really, really good. They were pretty dominant.

Q. How big was 13 for you?
PETER UIHLEIN: Yeah, that was a big birdie. Because -- the last two days, the wind has been the other direction, so I haven't seen that wind. I didn't really know if I could carry the water or not, to be honest with you. I didn't even hit a layup. I didn't really know what the line was or anything. So to make birdie there was nice.

And I did the right thing on 14. I felt like I had about 25, 20-footer uphill. And I was in position there. He just made a really long putt on me.

13 was nice. Rory made a really good birdie on 12. But those were two big holes for me to at least tie him, and I feel like I still had the momentum going into 14.

Q. What were your expectations coming in and how have they changed?
PETER UIHLEIN: I don't know. I didn't really have much expectations, really. I was just going to kind of go out and play my game. Like I said, I feel like my game has been coming around. I feel more comfortable and confident each week I feel like. And I think I've always been a pretty good match play player, I guess, and I feel like this is a pretty good format for me.

And I like playing in Texas. It reminds me a bit of Oklahoma where I was in college. And I like playing kind of down in the Texas wind a little bit. I felt like everything was kind of lining up. Like I said, I didn't finish well last week, but at least statistically I felt like I was improving. And that was the most important.

Q. You played quite a few PGA Tour events before getting your card, do you feel that's sort of accelerated your learning process? You seem more comfortable than maybe a lot of first year players?
PETER UIHLEIN: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I think anytime you get a lot of reps. It is funny that I'm still, I guess, technically classified as a rookie. Because I've probably played 30 or so -- I think I am. You might want to look that up.

Q. I think you are listed as a first year player.
MODERATOR: First year member. With the number of events you played before this year --

PETER UIHLEIN: There you go. I didn't know that.

Q. Could we get an answer out of that?
PETER UIHLEIN: PGA Tour is always cryptic, aren't they?

MODERATOR: We'll check on it when they're finished.

PETER UIHLEIN: Yeah, so I think it helps. The West Coast Swing was kind of the first time I'd seen it. So I wanted to play as much as I can, and play all the events. I ended up playing a lot more than I probably would have liked. But I just kind of want first year out, see what I like, see the courses, towns, where to stay, things like that. I'm just going to try to play as much as I can, where I can and see where it goes. And probably build more of a schedule next year where I pick and choose where to play.

Q. Why do you like match play? What is it about it that you enjoy?
PETER UIHLEIN: I just think you make double, you're not dropping about 40 spots, it helps. I think it kind of frees you up a little bit in a weird way. It's different because you're -- obviously in match play you're playing the golf course. But you're really not. You're trying to play your opponent. You're just trying to put pressure on them as much as you can.

And a guy like Rory who is obviously going to be a lot longer than me, I can kind of come in the greens first. I felt like if I executed and put some pressure on him that would eventually kind of maybe go more towards my favor. But I think I'm playing Harmon tomorrow, it will be the total opposite. He'll be coming in first on every hole.

Yeah, I think you kind of mix and match your game plan based on your opponent or the situation, really. If I was in Rory's shoes on 13, I would probably dry to hit driver on the green. You definitely change based on where you're at in the match, for sure.

Q. So your dad retired?
PETER UIHLEIN: He's retired.

Q. Does that mean you don't get free golf balls anymore?
PETER UIHLEIN: I'm under contract, so I can get as much stuff as I want.

Q. You feel good being a rookie? You feel that's an advantage that you're a rookie and nobody knows you? I'm kidding.
PETER UIHLEIN: I don't know. You've got to ask them if they don't know who I am or not. I don't know. It seems like I know who a lot of the guys out here are, so --

Q. Two things. Did Rory hit 5-wood off the 16th?
PETER UIHLEIN: Going for it?

Q. You were passed him, Mr. 30 Yards Behind Him?
PETER UIHLEIN: I think he kind of hit a nice little fairway finder. I hit a pretty good one.

Q. What did you hit for your second, and what were you aiming at?
PETER UIHLEIN: I hit a 2-iron. I was trying to turn it off the bunker, ball by my feet, I got a little stuck on it and just pushed it, just spun on it, pushed it to the right. I felt like getting it short of that hole was going to be kind of the place to be in the fairway, pitching up the hill.

I thought long was going to be a tough up-and-down. Rory did it anyway. So I felt like the front was always going to be a good spot to make four.

Q. Secondly, how many of the either Paul Lawrie match plays or world match plays did you do on the European Tour?
PETER UIHLEIN: I played two. I played -- I don't know, I guess the first year they did it. And I won twice, lost to Tyrrell.

And then the next year was my first event back from surgery. I hadn't hit a driver going into it. Tried playing, lost in extras to Ollie Fisher. So I probably shouldn't have played that one. Hindsight is a beautiful thing. So I've played a couple over there now.

MODERATOR: Anymore questions for PGA rookie, Peter Uihlein(laughter)?

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