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February 28, 2019

Billy Horschel

Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

Q. I know there were some frustrating moments out there, but you can get that on this golf course, and I think you handled the test really well today.
BILLY HORSCHEL: Yeah, this course is going to challenge you from the first tee shot to the last putt. I did a really good job of hitting a lot of good golf shots, put myself in some bad spots, and at the same time got some unlucky breaks with some mud balls on 10 and 11, but at the same time, I did a really good job just staying patient, hitting shots, and knowing that par is a really good score around here, and I can make a couple birdies, that would be fabulous, and I did that coming in.

Q. Does it feel a little bit sweeter to get 15 and 16 coming in the way you did, hitting those good shots in there?
BILLY HORSCHEL: It does. Those holes are the toughest holes we play here this week, especially coming in. If you can just play them even par for the week, you're going to gain a lot of ground, and to make a couple birdies on 15 and 16 is good, and unfortunately I just hit a really bad iron shot on 17 and made bogey unfortunately. But still, if I play that stretch 1-under par every day, I'll be a happy man.

Q. If we can get some comments on your opening round.
BILLY HORSCHEL: Yeah, today was a really good day of golf. Coming out, I didn't know what was a good score. Obviously I saw what some guys did, so it sort of let me know that 2-, 3-under par is still a really good score here this week with the new greens, and I did a really good job of just staying patient, hit a couple shots that I wasn't very happy with, but I knew par is a good score if I could just keep committing to what I want to do, give myself some opportunities on the greens. I knew I was going to make some putts.

Q. When we talked yesterday you weren't quite sure how the changes were going to play out because of the firmness of the greens. What are your thoughts on how it's playing now compared to maybe last year?
BILLY HORSCHEL: Yeah, I think it's playing exactly how I thought it would play. I wasn't sure. I wasn't sure if it was going to play tougher or easier. I didn't think it would play tougher. I was curious to see if it would play a little bit easier. But the course is playing exactly the way it's played the last several years, even with no wind. 6-under par is leading. A lot of guys shot 2-, 3-under par. I'm happy with what I shot. I think if I can do that the next three days, I think I'll be in a good spot when the tournament is over.

Q. You had a nice marquee pairing; how did that play out with the galleries today? What was that grouping like?
BILLY HORSCHEL: It's great when I get to play with Rickie and Justin. It's funny, Rickie and I, we probably haven't played together in the last three or four years, maybe five years. We played together last week the third round in Mexico, and we were sort of joking that, man, it's been a while, and then lo and behold, we get paired together this week for the first two days.

Rickie is someone I've known for 12, 13 years, and Justin is someone I've known for six, seven years. Really good buddies, really good guys. They like to have a good time out there on the golf course, and then when it's time to hit a golf shot they get into it. So you knew we were going to have a good group, and if someone could get going, it was going to carry the rest of us to play well, and that's what happened.

Q. I would imagine I would have had one of the larger galleries out there. It's early Thursday, but what was the 17 atmosphere like today?
BILLY HORSCHEL: Yeah, 17 was pretty tame today. It's Thursday. We came through, seemed like a lot of the fans may have left a little bit early. There was still quite a few in there, and the fans were great. They saw two really good golf shots and two birdies from Justin and Rickie, and they saw a bogey from me. So they saw exactly what they needed to see.

Q. Is 17 playing better for you guys then? Is it going to work out?
BILLY HORSCHEL: You know, I think it is. We always say that -- I know that hole doesn't play over 200 yards, but when you add in the wind is always coming into us type deal, it's a longer hole. Even hitting 7-iron into a pin that was somewhat accessible today, it's still a tough shot, even though Rickie hit it to two feet, Justin hit it to 15, I decided to put it in the bunker. It's still a tough shot, still a shot you've got to get up there and commit, and like I said, it doesn't need to be the back tee to be a challenge.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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