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January 18, 2019

John Smoltz

Lake Buena Vista, Florida

Q. What worked today that didn't yesterday?
JOHN SMOLTZ: The putter. The putter was good yesterday too. I hit -- I only hit three bad shots, and they happened to be three bad drives. Those were the three bogeys I made. Everything else felt controlled.

I've been working on -- as I said, working on my game for the first time to make the proper swing. I'm getting closer and closer to trusting each and every one of them. So in tournament play, hopefully, the more competition I play at a different level will translate.

Q. When you're playing in an event like this, is there a particular aspect of your game you're focused on? Putts getting it into the hole, just making fairways and greens. What is it that you walk into this with the mindset to try to do?
JOHN SMOLTZ: The biggest thing I found that I fall into is to protect. There's no reason to protect. Just let it go. Hit it and let it go. That's what I'm trying to work on, and it's actually working now. The 10th hole, unfortunately, the driving area is so big, and I haven't come close to making a good swing on that, and it's a par 5. So I probably left -- I left five points easy, six points out on that hole. So I'm going to try to make that adjustment tomorrow.

Q. In normal competition, if your name was John Smith and you were out here doing this, you'd be focused on this. You've got guys out here yelling at you the whole time, and it's a distraction. So how difficult is it to bear down and be focused on the game?
JOHN SMOLTZ: I'm used to it from the crowd noise of baseball. I would prefer, as long as it's not quiet and then a sudden yell. If people are talking -- I play with a bunch of guys back home. They've got music playing. We're six-somes. And so I'm used to that. It's not a problem. If I can't execute a shot based on that. The only thing you don't want is the surprise yeller or a surprise bang.

But, gosh, I am -- my round started today with birdie, birdie, and I had a chance to make birdie on 3, but I had a lot of birdie putts today. That's all I can ask for. My goal is every -- in Tahoe, I've had 18 birdie putts before and made 2. So the difference is making putts.

Q. When was your last four-day competitive match?
JOHN SMOLTZ: I haven't had one. Oh, last one would have been five years ago in the Georgia Open. I made the cut on the number. Maybe seven years ago. That one I had 16 birdies and 2 eagles and shot 1 under for four days.

Q. Today you shot 65?

Q. Was that one of your lowest tournament scores?
JOHN SMOLTZ: I think so. I think I've shot a 66 in the tournament. That's a big hurdle for me because sometimes you feel like, okay, I made my birdies. That's enough. I really didn't think that was enough today because the way the guys play here. Today was my day to get back in it and take advantage of it.

The shot of the day for me was on 17. I hit that rescue out of the bunker. I was 0 for 3 out of the bunkers with a rescue going into that shot. So that was the biggest shot for me because it was a big turning point because I wanted to be aggressive. I didn't want to lay up, and I certainly didn't want to hit it in the water.

Q. Did you have a number going into the round?
JOHN SMOLTZ: I told my caddie this morning I was going to shoot 66. He said, no, no, no, just shoot 68. That's all we need. I said, no, I'm shooting 66. I feel it. And I bettered it by one.

Q. That's got to feel good?
JOHN SMOLTZ: It feels nice.

Q. You mentioned some up and downs on 10, wanting to improve there. Are you going to pull a different club?
JOHN SMOLTZ: No, I'm going to absolutely eliminate the water on the right.

Q. What did you think of Lexi's game?
JOHN SMOLTZ: Lexi has got one of the most -- it's hard to describe how powerful her shot is through the ball, like the divot pattern, the way that she -- I don't think -- I don't know. I haven't played with a lot of female pros that go after it the way she does. It's pretty impressive. The thing is because she's been playing now -- gosh, nine years on the LPGA and she's 23? Going to be 24.

Really -- it came down to today she just didn't make some putts. This round for most people could have turned into an over par round, and she still managed to get 3 under or something like that. So it's fun to watch.

Q. You don't see many women play bomb and gouge, but she can do it.
JOHN SMOLTZ: Yes, it's amazing. Again, she's hitting some irons I wouldn't hit, literally. Like she had a 5 when I'm hitting a 4. I mean, that's --

Q. Really?
JOHN SMOLTZ: Yeah, because she knows where that ball's going, and she knows she can attack at the zone, and it's going to go right to left about five yards.

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