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March 1, 2019

Keith Mitchell

Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

Q. Keith, good yesterday, great today, good position.
KEITH MITCHELL: Thanks, it's been great out there. I was a little struggling yesterday, wasn't hitting it perfect, but we were managing my mistakes really well, and then we found something a little bit better today and started hitting a little bit better iron shots into the greens and were able to capitalize.

Q. What did you find?
KEITH MITCHELL: Just I wasn't -- it's kind of windy here, and I wasn't covering the ball well. When you're hanging back and you're hitting high balls just trying to hit them soft into firm greens, that's what you're supposed to do, but they just get lost in the wind, so we were just hitting a little more flighted shots.

Q. I always admire your perspective, your outlook. You're a laid-back guy. How does that help you out here when you know it's going to be such a grind? It's a hard golf course.
KEITH MITCHELL: This golf course you've got to stay so patient. I played Q-school here in the final stage and I played last year, and Q-school on this golf course is probably the most stress there could ever be in your career because either it's all or nothing. I mean, just having that experience in the back of my mind out here is good, and we know -- and I know a couple holes out here you've just got to -- you don't even look at a flag. You just hit it in a certain spot on the green, and it doesn't matter where the flag is, you'll be all right. That works when you're hitting it well. So thankfully the last couple days I've been hitting it pretty good.

Q. The putter has been cooperating, too, numbers look good there. Nice to be back on Bermuda?
KEITH MITCHELL: I love Bermuda. I'm sorry, I hate poa annua so much I can't even see straight. Thankfully the first event back on Bermuda. I'm playing every Bermuda event we've got this year.

Q. Aside from the changing grass, coming down to Florida after missing the last two cuts, what's been the difference maker this tournament?
KEITH MITCHELL: Well, it's definitely the grass. It's Bermuda. I grew up on Bermuda. I know how to putt it. I know how to read it. It's definitely helped a lot. I've worked pretty hard with my putting coach Paul Vizanko, and he really helped me with my stroke, and out on the West Coast it looked great but I wasn't making anything, and I just have a tough time reading poa annua greens, and here in Florida it's just a lot better for me.

Q. What exactly were you doing with your putting coach to try to rectify things, just my backstroke was a little bit inside, and it felt good all West Coast. It was frustrating. That was the problem when I got frustrated on the greens it compounded every single putt. This week I've got a new putter in play and got back on my old greens, and it's feeling good?
Q. These greens in particular, completely resurfaced. What do you think about reading them when they're brand new and the firmness and fastness of that?
KEITH MITCHELL: Well, the grain is still there. It's not perfect because they're still growing in a little bit, but the majority of the grain is still there. Once I have a decent read on the slope, you just double check the grain, and it either confirms it or makes you hit it straight. When you've done it your whole life, it's a little bit easier.

Q. When you're putting better, how much does that affect the rest of your game?
KEITH MITCHELL: It frees up your second shots into these greens because these greens are so small and so firm that you just pick a spot and you just hit it instead of trying to get cute with it, trying to get close to a flag because I was happy today hitting it 20 feet because I knew I had a chance to make it.

Q. Did you feel this coming?
KEITH MITCHELL: I knew I was making strides putting, and once I got back to Bermuda, I knew I was a little bit more comfortable. My ball-striking has been above average on the West Coast, but my scores aren't there. But the last great tournament I had was Sony, and I was in the last group on Bermuda greens. I don't want to say my game is winnier on Bermuda greens, but I've just got to get better on the West Coast and poa annua.

Q. Is there any better confidence builder than seeing the ball go in the hole?
KEITH MITCHELL: Yeah, it makes everything easier because you don't get so frustrated when you hit a bad drive or a bad second shot because you'll have a better chance to make a putt for par or for birdie.

Q. Has that historically been the case for you, where you putt so much better and play so much better on Bermuda than poa annua?
KEITH MITCHELL: Yeah, it's as simple as that. Yes.

Q. That is pretty simple.
KEITH MITCHELL: It is. I grew up on it, so I learned how to putt on it. And bent, too, but Bermuda is a lot better surface for me. I'm just more comfortable on it.

Q. Was there a feeling of relief yesterday and also today that there was a continuation of playing well, that a weight is lifted off your shoulders, like yes, I'm finally back on these greens, I feel more comfortable?
KEITH MITCHELL: It's just nice to kind of feel like you're in contention and playing well and you're out there actually trying to make birdies instead of trying to salvage and trying to make a cut. There's a big difference of pressure on a Friday afternoon when you're coming down maybe one or two back from the cut and you're trying to make a birdie and force it, whereas today we were just out there trying to hit good shots, trying to make birdies. If you make them, you just keep moving on.

Q. What's the mental shift there because it's way different, like you said, between making the cut and looking up and seeing your name at the top of the leaderboard?
KEITH MITCHELL: It's a lot easier when you're on the top of the leaderboard because -- I don't want to say you have a cushion, but you definitely have some room for error, so it frees you up a little bit more, trying to make more birdies. When you're coming down the back nine trying to make the cut, if you hit one bad shot, you might be out.

Q. I assume there's a difference between trying to not mess up and trying to just hit good shots, correct?
KEITH MITCHELL: Exactly, that's the -- if every golfer can do that every time, I think we'd all be better.

Q. Is this a place you would pencil in and say, this is my kind of place?
KEITH MITCHELL: I'd like to say all of them are, just because if I'm hitting my driver well, it doesn't really matter the length of the golf course. It's going to be an advantage. I hit my driver decent, but any golf course with Bermuda is definitely going to be a little bit more to my advantage.

Q. A lot of the guys were kind of concerned about this being the first year for these greens. You seem to be finding them just fine.
KEITH MITCHELL: Well, putting they're fine. The second shots are the tough part when they're so firm. I think they definitely still have time to grow, and I think they'll get better as time goes on, but it's definitely the second shots that people are more concerned about.

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