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July 7, 2018

Xander Schauffele

White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia

Q. I have Xander Schauffele here, defending champion, great defense you've put up so far. How excited are you now for that position for what lies ahead tomorrow?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: Very excited. Obviously, the eagle on 17 sort of lifted my spirits.

Q. Talk us through the shot?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: Yeah, first bunker shot of the week. Excited to have it. I haven't been chipping too well, so I was excited to see it in the sand.

Q. Those are always exciting bunker shots.
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: Exactly, took advantage of that.

Q. In terms of belief, confidence, your first appearance here last year and you win. It just seems to get the adrenaline and juices flowing for you out here.
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: Yeah instead of getting nervous, I've been trying to relive some of those moments last year and remind myself that I do play well here, obviously, and sort of keep that on the forefront versus getting nervous.

Q. Before we look at some of the earlier action, how important was it to get off to a decent start, this the first birdie of the day?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: Yeah, it's moving day. You look at some of the scores, some guys are moving up. It's just good. I mean, we had a steady start and made a few birdies early, and kind of hit a wall in the middle. But, yeah, it's always important on Saturday to make some birdies early.

Q. With that score, you get to 13-under and heading in today 14 was the winning score last year. Any idea on the number that might get it done tomorrow?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: Got to wait to see what Kelly finishes up at. He's playing incredible golf.

Q. You could do with him putting the brakes on a little bit.
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: I'm never going to wish poorly on any of my opponents, so we'll see where he finishes.

Q. What would it mean to you if you could defend this title here this week?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: It would mean a lot. It would feel a huge sense of accomplishment, you know. Some of the other guys in my class have been able to repeat, and I'd love to join them.

Q. Defending champion, you put yourself in a position now to kind of get it done.
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: Yeah, I mean, all you can ask for as a player, so we'll see what tomorrow holds.

Q. You've had seven winners. No one has come from the top. This is actually a good spot to be trailing maybe, huh?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: Yeah, that was a mean stat the TOUR put up for Kelly last night. But he had a funny comment on there. Yeah, it's a good spot to be in.

Q. What is your -- anything you're going to draw on from last year? Are there any similarities whatsoever?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: I'm trailing, and I've won a few times now, and a couple times now. I'd like to add to that. So there might be a little more pressure, but just looking to have some fun.

Q. I saw you on the range a long time last night working on a few things. This golf course was different than you played yesterday. It really changed, didn't it?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: Yeah, it was way firmer. Sort of what I remember from last year. I think that's why the scores have been a little lower, the greens have been a touch softer. So hopefully it keeps drying out, and it will be a tough one tomorrow.

Q. Obviously the course got a little firmer because it dried out. How different did the course play from round one, two, and three?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: Yeah, I mean, you said it. It was much firmer. Fairways were running again, greens were sketchy, I think. The par-3 on the back side, 14, 15 was, like a stint 15. I saw three people hit it ten feet past, and I did the same. So it's firming up nicely.

Q. 17, there were plenty of birdies out there, but you eagled the hole. What did you see on that hole?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: I had a nice argument with my caddie on the fairway, 3-wood or long iron. Didn't want to go over the green. He talked me into an iron, and still hit it over the green, so we had a little laugh about that, and managed to hole bunker shot. So I saw four, but happy to take a three.

Q. Never easy to defend, but I saw you working on the range for a while yesterday. What exactly were you trying to fine tune?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: I mean, nothing, really. I had a couple weird swings at the end, and I just didn't want to go to sleep with that feeling, so I decided to hit a small bag of balls.

Q. What is the approach heading into Sunday. You've been told the stat, nobody has ever won after leading. You know what you did last year on this very course. So what is the mood heading into Sunday?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: I mean, just try your best. I've been in this spot. I've never led. So I'm used to coming from behind. Just do the same thing I've been doing really. I hit a small bag of balls right now, eat dinner, wake up, eat breakfast. Everything's going to be the same, and hopefully it will work.

Q. First off, 65 today, and you're in a very good position. What are the emotions right now just in the last few minutes since you finished?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: Good. It's all good. Just waking up, I didn't have a number in my mind, but I wanted to be in one of the last three groups. That was sort of my goal, and it looks like we're going to be there going into tomorrow. So all good vibes.

Q. Compared to the last month of your play, is there a certain comfort you have on this course? What is the difference in play?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: Yeah, just something about this place, I think. I've been doing everything okay, but haven't been putting as well as I did last year, and this week, I don't know what my stats are, but I'm assuming they're pretty decent. So the putter is rolling nicely, and, yeah, like you said, it is a certain level of comfort I have out here, and I'm trying to use that to my advantage.

Q. You said that's one of the reasons some golfers have relied on one big round, but you've been able to keep it consistent, 66, 66, and now 65.
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: I'd love to have a big round. Still waiting for it. But, yeah, I think just being steady. A low round is out there, but it's easy to shoot even or 1-over, so patience is good, and I think we've been doing that really well.

Q. Can you walk us through the eagle?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: Yeah, the eagle was funny. I got in an argument with my caddie on the fairway. He said, "Going long you're screwed." His words, exactly. So I had 3-wood, he talked me into an iron. I hit it over the green long. And we laughed, because he swore it was going to be in the rough, but I managed to hole it and make him look a little bit better.

Q. The course is playing different every day, it seems like?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: Yeah, the first two rounds were about the same, I feel like. It was about a hundred percent humidity, it was hot. Today was perfect and dry. So two rounds versus today were very different. So I'm assuming tomorrow will probably be a little bit closer to today.

Q. Are you worried about the speed of the greens tomorrow?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: I'm not. I don't mind. 15 was lightning. I watched, a lot of people hit it high, and I did the same after seeing it all happen. So if every green was like 15, I think the superintendent would be a little worried, but all the other greens are pretty good.

Q. You weren't kidding about joining your buddies as two-time winner of the same tournament. I would imagine you'll get a little ribbing from them in the next 24 hours.
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: Yeah, I mean, I don't know them too well. We're all friendly, but, yeah, it's definitely some company I'd like to join.

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