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January 3, 2019

Justin Thomas

Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii

Q. 67, 6-under 67, made it look easy but you said it wasn't that easy. What, obviously besides the wind, what else was going on out there?
JUSTIN THOMAS: It was just the wind. It was so, it is so difficult to make putts in this. Billy and I both out there had many so putts that were kind of laughing about. He had some, it just both of us. You're playing for the wind and the wind stops and you can look stupid pretty quickly or if you have the wind going against the hill, you don't know how much of it to play or how little of it to play and then when it dies or picks up. So but everybody has to deal with it. It's just very difficult. I think just around the greens is really where it's the toughest.

Q. Is it a feel situation in those situations as a player or do you have something that you go to in the situation like this that can give you a better opportunity to make birdie putts and par putts when you need to in this high wind?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Well I was fortunate enough where all my birdie putts were short on the back nine. I think the longest one I made was 18 and I was 12, 13 feet, something like that. But no, I had a lot of really a lot of other opportunities, a lot of other putts that I could have made. But I just was staying patient because I know how easily and how you can get hot out here on this course, especially with the finish. But I just was trying to not to let the wind get to me and just kind of wait until when I felt like I could make the putt and I had the correct line.

Q. You love this course, don't you? Because every time I follow you, you always play well here.
JUSTIN THOMAS: Keep following me then. You must not have seen me play too much last year. Yeah, it's a fun track. It's very, very generous fairways, very generous greens, they're all very big. So when it's this windy the ball striking aspect of it isn't as difficult because you know it's not like you need to thread a needle or hit a tiny green. You still have to hit it solidly and you still have to know what the ball's doing. And the hardest part for me out there today was just the greens. It just was really, really hard to make putts when it's this windy.

Q. Yesterday you were in the pro-am, your dad, I know he teaches you, has for a long time, he was in the cart kind of helping you out. That's kind of neat. What does he do? Does he just observe?
JUSTIN THOMAS: No, he does what any other coach would do on TOUR. He watches me hit. If I have any questions I'll ask him or if he sees anything that he thinks I need to change or tweak he'll tell me. It's a very unique and fortunate friendship that us two have. We have gotten a lot better over the last couple years of separating father/son and player/coach. When we're on the golf course, yeah, we're still father and son, but it's not father and son time. He's out here to try to get me better and I have him out here because I want him to get me better. So it's been fun these last couple years, but we have a lot more left to do.

Q. Take a few weeks off before this event. You were down in Florida, right?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Right, that's why I live in Florida so I can practice. It's not quite ideal practice conditions in Louisville Kentucky where I'm from. So it's nice being home. I was home probably the longest I've ever been as a professional. I was home 19 straight nights, which is really, really nice to wake up in my bed that many mornings in a row. So I'm feeling refreshed and ready. But although it goes very fast, the off season, what little off season we have, I was definitely excited to get here.

Q. Nice way to start out 2019. 67. You were 5-under your last seven holes. What momentum were you able to capture in that closing nine coming in?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I just stayed patient really. I played really well the first 11 holes to only be 1-under. I had a bad 3-putt there on 6 and wasn't really able to take advantage of a hole, like I had a good look there on 9 and 10 and 11. I mean it just, it's hard, it's hard to make putts out here and I just was trying to stay patient. And I was able to get some clubs in my hands to where I was able to knock it in there close and make the wind a little bit less of a factor.

Q. You've been working on your game down in south Florida coming into this Sentry Tournament of Champions. What aspect of your game did you arrive here on Maui with the most confidence?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I've been driving it a lot better this off season. I just have tried to stop caring as much and just I feel like when I go play fun rounds with my friends or whatever it may be, I seem to drive it pretty well. I think it's just because I don't care about the outcome. I just have an idea of the shot I want to hit in my head and I step up and try to hit it, instead of all just this left-to-right wind I hate to try and hold it and I'm scared of missing it right. It's, look, if I miss the fairway, I miss the fairway. I've done that plenty of times in my career. I'm going to be able to get it out. I just need to step up there and just be confident that I'm going to be able to hold a draw against it and if it doesn't work out then we'll just go hit it wherever it is.

Q. Do you take that to other aspects of your game besides your driver?
JUSTIN THOMAS: A little bit. Driving is definitely the aspect of my game that has needed the most work statistically speaking. I've been working on my chipping really, really hard. I feel like that's something in my game when I have a chance to win, I'm chipping and putting it very well or at least good enough and getting up-and-down a lot. So as hard as I've been working on that, it's weird, for my driving it just sometimes needs a little bit mindset.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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