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March 8, 2019

Sam Saunders

Orlando, Florida

Q. 4-under par 68, bogey-free actually your first bogey-free round in 28 competitive rounds here. What's good for you, what's going good for you this week?
SAM SAUNDERS: Yesterday was pretty ugly. I didn't drive the ball very well, iron play was okay, putting was a little shaky, but I just didn't have a feel for the speed of the greens. My best friend and coach we went out on the range last night and he just got me going where I needed to go and then we spent some time on the putting green and he had me do some drills to work on my speed and trying to play more break, because the problem is these greens are so much faster than I remember ever seeing them, so that the lines are so much different from -- I can't hit putts by memory out here, I have to really pick spots and play more break and he got me reading the putts better and getting that speed better and obviously I made a couple more putts today. But keeping the ball in play off the tee today was the key to my success.

Q. Obviously this week is a very special week, not only for your family but the golfing community and what does it mean to see and what these players and certainly the fans do to sort of recognize your grandfather? What does that mean to you?
SAM SAUNDERS: It means everything. These guys go above and beyond. All the players, from top to bottom, they take it upon themselves to make, putting umbrellas all over themselves and carrying bags and really just -- I see it in the way they act this week. I see so many players signing more autographs than maybe they normally would and just doing, trying to embody what my grandfather lived for, so it's really cool.

Q. I know you're disappointed a couple birdie chances there at the end but still got to be pleased with your play so far?
SAM SAUNDERS: Yeah, it's -- people watching and it's like, oh he's got a 10-footer, you should make it. But the greens are so quick that when you get good looks you obviously want to make them but you have to be somewhat careful too and I putted really well today, I hit my spots, a cup of tricky reads on the last two holes there but I feel really good about my putting stroke and what I'm doing on the greens so I think this weekend if I just keep doing exactly what I'm doing, I'll try to get myself a chance on Sunday.

Q. 28 competitive rounds on the PGA here at Bay Hill, your first bogey-free round. All the years you've been playing here, have you ever seen the golf course in better condition and what is the key to getting around here bogey-free?
SAM SAUNDERS: No, I've never seen the golf course in better condition. To go bogey-free out here today I'm pretty pleased with that, you just got to drive the ball so well, you've got to be so precise with your iron shots, and then you got to make some putts. It's nearly impossible to go 18 holes around here and not have at least a couple testers for par and I did a good job today of driving the ball really well and then when I had a couple of 5-, 6-footers I was able to knock them in.

Q. Peter Jacobsen was saying earlier on Golf Channel that you guys spoke and you seem like you're more comfortable out here on the PGA TOUR, you feel you're about to win on the PGA TOUR. As you make your way around this golf course, does it mean more, feel more because of the history you have here?
SAM SAUNDERS: It always has, today I didn't let that happen. I think that's why I just, I told myself, I got a pep talk from my wife last night, you know, it's tough, I put a lot of pressure on myself this week, and I've gotten very comfortable playing on the PGA TOUR, but I have yet to be comfortable playing here yet in this event. I think I just want to do well and I have so many people supporting me, but I'm not trying to make the cut here, I'm not trying to have a good finish, I'm playing in PGA TOUR events to try to win and I need to treat this event the same way. It means the world to me, obviously, and I want to make everyone proud, but the only way I can do that is just stay in my own world out there and just get my job done.

Q. What was the pep talk all about from your wife?
SAM SAUNDERS: Just she's pretty tough, but basically just, hey, go get it done. You know what you're doing out there, don't think about the other stuff, get some rest and just a good attitude, go out there with a good attitude tomorrow and stop worrying about all the things.

Q. What went right today?
SAM SAUNDERS: You were walking with me out there. You know that's --

Q. Perfect answer. Okay, back to you.
SAM SAUNDERS: I got my best friend on the bag this week, Eric, he's my coach and he's helping me out a lot and I got you here talking to me, so it's fun. So, I really just drove the ball a lot better today, I was, I've been struggling a little bit off the tee all year and I made a big progress in my swing last night on the range and I went out there today with confidence and just trusted what I was doing and made the swings I needed to.

Q. This is the third year in a row that people have come up to me and said, we have never seen this plays better. How proud are you of what your mom and dad are doing since your granddad has passed?
SAM SAUNDERS: I mean as proud as you are. We grew up here and this golf course, it can't be any better. We have seen it come so far over the years, it's such a perfect test of golf and I don't think my granddad could be any more proud, as you know, as to what's happening here. This event feels, this feels as major as any PGA TOUR event can get and I could not be prouder of everyone here, the staff just does an incredible job and I'm just pleased to be here playing in it and trying to make AP proud.

Q. What's the plan for the weekend? What do we have to do?
SAM SAUNDERS: I got to do exactly what I did today, I need to stay out of my way, I need to trust the golf swings I'm making, pick the targets off the tee and have fun. I need to go out there and try to win and not think about anything else.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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