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May 24, 2019

Esteban Toledo

Rochester, New York

Q. With the way this place is playing, to be 3-under and right now tied or basically where you are, what's your thoughts?
ESTEBAN TOLEDO: Tough golf course. It's all I can say. I hit the ball pretty much on the fairway all day long. I bogeyed the first hole. I three-putt. Little bit of bad break on -- I believe on No. 17. I just missed it about three inches from the first cut. And I had a good lie, just I had the branches right next to the fairway, I couldn't go for it.

But beyond that, I made a lot of putts. But I don't know. It's a tough golf course. And the way I played, the way I handle all the shots coming down the stretch, it was exciting for me. My caddie kind of kept me relaxed a little bit and pretty much make the difference for me. Not like -- I like to get to tense, but he kept me loose a little bit.

And I never saw the leaderboards. So, be honest with you, I had no idea what was going on. But I'm pretty close to a 1-shot lead. I don't like to see the leaderboard. It make me nervous.

But, you know, it's halfway. So a lot of things can happen the next two days. And I just got to go out there and do whatever I got to do. Hit the ball in the fairway, keep the ball on the green. Put them in the right place. And we'll see what happens on Saturday and Sunday.

Q. Can you recap just real quick the birdies you made and the putts you hit in and the distance?
ESTEBAN TOLEDO: I birdied I believe -- I birdie 2. Hit driver and a sand wedge maybe, what, 54 straight down. I birdied the other tough par 4 over the water, 5, hit driver and a 9-iron 12 feet, made putt. The par 3 I believe I hit a 7-iron on the right side, made a 12-footer for birdie.

And I had it going. I birdied the kind of easy par 4, but it's tough because the position of the flag on the left side, cannot go over on that hole, and I hit a 3-iron and a little 111 yards. And I played pretty aggressive, and I made a birdie from like six feet. And then just pretty much --

Q. (Indiscernible)?
ESTEBAN TOLEDO: Oh, yeah, I loved that one. Yeah. I kept the ball in the fairway, just a little bit on the left side, and I hit a 5-iron, 9-iron on the green. I read perfect and made a, what, 12-footer for birdie.

But overall my game was solid. I mean, I never got in trouble. And that's what I've been hitting. I've been practicing a lot the last probably two weeks up in the Woodlands in Texas.

And what an exciting golf course. You can't look back at every hole because it's right in front of you. There's no tricks. There's nothing. You got to hit it in the right place when you miss the green. And that's the key.

But pretty much on the fairway, on the green. I got a lot of confidence. You know, I've been here before. It's going to be a lot of fun. A lot of guys right behind me. They have a chance to win it. The scores are now very low. So it's better for me. I don't have to shoot, you know, 5-, 6-under every single time to go, I think, with the other guys.

But I'm excited. I finished second at the PGA before, and, you know, I learned a few things, how to pretty much handle the last two days. It's going to be a good experience for me in the next two days. But I'm having a great time so far.

Q. Does it surprise you or maybe impress you the fact that you were able to keep things together when others were faltering and you know how impressive this course is?
ESTEBAN TOLEDO: Well, I talked to my caddie, Luis, and he said just keep the ball on the fairway. That's the big key in here. And then from then on it's -- the course is not real long, but it make it long when you're in the rough. And I -- like I said, I go to the range and hit a lot of golf balls, a lot of 3-woods and drivers, and the wind really helped today. It wasn't really that much like yesterday afternoon. So it kind of helped me a little bit. But anything can happen on Saturday or Sunday. But I just got to go down there and practice a little bit.

And I just want to say thanks to all the fans, really. The fans are making this tournament just amazing. This is probably the best PGA I've played in the last six years. This Oak Hill, it's just unbelievable. I watch it on TV, Shaun Micheel winning back in those days, and it's just amazing that I'm here walking up these wonderful fairways. And the members, they treat us great. What the PGA of America is doing, it's just fantastic. Really fantastic.

Q. Did you think you had a 3-under in you on this course?
ESTEBAN TOLEDO: No, actually, I -- I was thinking if I can shoot par today, that would be great. But then when I started making birdies, I was relaxing and I hear some people are cheering for me, it was just kind of exciting, instead of Bernhard all the time or Fred Couples. But it's -- looking forward for Saturday and Sunday.

Q. Much has been made of the conditions over the last two days. The weather, the rain delay yesterday, the wind. How do you feel that has impacted your round through these --
ESTEBAN TOLEDO: Not at all. I mean, most of the time these guys are -- they're -- we're ready. It's been raining for the last five weeks. So what happened yesterday is nothing. I stayed patient. I stayed focused on the shots that I got to make. We stay, what, maybe two hours, an hour and a half. It didn't bother me at all. And I'm pressure it didn't bother the other pros.

So it's going to be exciting finish Sunday, and I hope I come up on the top, but if it doesn't, you know, what, I'm not afraid to finish second. So it's always nice, and the crowds seems like are responding to the PGA of America, and beautiful golf course like this, I wouldn't be in another place right now.

Q. You were a boxer early in your athletic career?
ESTEBAN TOLEDO: Yeah, probably could kick your butt (laughing).

Q. How does one go from that sport -- I know you had the complication from the appendicitis I believe or something. How does one go from boxing into taking up golf and just being as successful as you are after all these years?
ESTEBAN TOLEDO: It's the determination that I had from boxing to golf is nothing whatsoever, but it's the mind that is set up in boxing. When I was boxing up there and hitting all these guys, and here I don't dominate the sport, and I don't think nobody has dominated, even Jack or Tiger. But basically nothing. It's just a mind, a determination.

And the discipline, it is huge in golf. The discipline that I have through the years and to use it in golf, it's just amazing what I have done through the years to play golf for money. It's just amazing. I don't think I ever made probably -- I don't think I would have made money in boxing really, to be honest with you.

But I like golf. And I like to entertain the people. That's my job. And it's just amazing what the last few years, how well I handle myself with the crowd, and I haven't changed. And the most important thing for me is I'm real humble. And that's what keep me going. In boxing, it was the same thing. So that's the only difference.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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