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June 1, 2018

Rory Sabbatini

Dublin, Ohio

Q. This round is your best of the year.
RORY SABBATINI: Yeah, there's a premium of putting the ball in the fairway this week. I've been pretty successful for two days of doing that and the rough is quite brutal. So very much U.S. Open conditions. So the course is soft, receptive. So, yeah, you can go out and be aggressive at these pins. We were the first ones out today. Nine holes of pristine greens out there, so we were able it take advantage on the front nine and make some putts and, yeah, going the right direction.

Q. You've been getting in the mix a lot lately. What have you been doing different this season?
RORY SABBATINI: Nothing, really, just unfortunately played four and a half years injured trying to compensate for the injury and then finally healthy again, so it's taken awhile to get back to my true swing. So I feel like I'm starting to get back there and strike the ball on. And I've always liked this golf course. I think Jack has a phenomenal golf course here. I've always loved coming here. And it's in great condition.

Q. How do you do that? How do you get back to -- a lot of video tape? Getting back to your original swing, maybe it's just who you are?
RORY SABBATINI: I'm a feel player. So it's being able to visualize shots and then execute them. So I don't have a natural ball flight. I like to work it both ways and I like different heights. That's just always something I've done. Through the injury I've modified to compensate for that, not being able to do it. And now I'm starting to be able to do it again. So being able to visualize the shots out there and execute them makes it fun.

Q. Did you feel early today it was going to be a good round for you? Did you feel that early?
RORY SABBATINI: I had a very disappointing back nine yesterday, so I came in with a lot of frustration built up. So I was coming out to attack the course today. And I got off to a good start, so birdied four of the first five holes, that's a good start on the front nine and I got things going.

Q. You say you carried it over. I remember Dufner last year said he went to the range after a bad round and got his frustrations out there. It sounds like it helped you coming in ready to bear down?
RORY SABBATINI: I just, I went out very aggressive today. I played aggressive golf. I put the ball in position. Once I got in position, then from there it was aggressive golf. I don't think this is a course you can go full tilt from the tee box because you're going to get yourself into some trouble, especially with the rough that's out there. Put it in the right position on, off the tee and then from there take advantage of it.

Q. Do you think you're going to have to be aggressive the next two days to stay on top the leaderboard or near the top?
RORY SABBATINI: Oh, for sure. I think that the fields are too strong now. There's too many good players every week. If you want to win a golf tournament, you've got to be going from the get-go. So I kind of, yeah, spotted the field a few shots yesterday and so I was trying to make up a little bit of ground today. I know I have a lot of work to do on the weekend.

Q. On your swing, just to clarify, did you get a little mechanical then with the injury or is it -- what did that do?
RORY SABBATINI: I lost a little bit of feel and became a little bit more mechanical because of having to try and find a swing that wasn't putting pressure on parts of my body. Through that I kind of lost my ability to really be able to visualize and create shots.

Q. What were the specifics of your injury?
RORY SABBATINI: I had what's considered a severely herniated disk in C-6, C-7 and was developing nerve pain. So finally had to succumb to it and have surgery.

Q. Where was it?
RORY SABBATINI: I had it done in Orlando. Doctor's name is Robert Masson. Actually I did a corporate deal with the company that makes the piece that's in my neck, so, Centinel Spine.

Q. No stem cell stuff?
RORY SABBATINI: No, I got a straight artificial disk in my neck.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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