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June 27, 2019

Bob Estes

Notre Dame, Indiana

Q. Good day for you?
BOB ESTES: Yeah, it was a good day. I didn't have a very good warmup, and that's usually when you play pretty good. I made a couple par putts early in the round to kind of keep it together and then birdied 17 and 18. We started on the back, and so -- yeah, that kind of got me going. Made a couple more birdies before I bogeyed the ninth hole. But where that pin is and the wind is kind of blowing sometimes, it made it a little bit difficult to pick a club, and I just mis-hit it and left it in a bad spot to get it up-and-down. Almost made the putt. Lipped out.

But it's only my second tournament back. I've been out for three months. I certainly wanted to play this week, and of course I'd like to play a tournament before, so I played last week, and I've been getting some good therapy and a couple of Advil and get taped up in a brace, and I'm good to go. But keeping all the practice and warmups to a minimum, just trying to get over this.

Q. What exactly --
BOB ESTES: Oh, I had golfer's elbow, and then I hurt myself at the Austin Golf Club a little over three months ago, playing a short par-3, stuck a wedge in the ground and the ground didn't give and my elbow did a little bit, so then I was done. Been done for a while, but then started back up last week. It was good to play some rounds, and I learned a few things, so it kind of got me ready for this.

Q. Are you tired of being hurt?
BOB ESTES: Well, yeah. I feel it a little bit, but it's not too bad. It's nothing like Tiger on a broken leg at the U.S. Open. It's not that big a deal. But yeah, it's something that you want to get over and don't have it nagging you all year long. So last week was the first week that I really could play. Prior to that, probably not.

The week prior to that, I just practiced for about an hour and a half three days in a row kind of building up testing my elbow to see what it could handle, so it seemed just good enough, so I decided to play Am Fam last week to help me also get ready for this one.

Q. We've had a ton of rain in the last couple of months. Did the overnight range change the golf course from yesterday?
BOB ESTES: Yeah, it was really wet out there. Yeah, you had to definitely account for less roll than what we were getting in practice rounds. I mean, I only played nine holes in the practice round actually. I walked both sides, but again, still trying to keep the golf to a minimum, not put too much stress on the elbow.

But yeah, definitely softened up quite a bit. Yeah, there was a lot of casual water out there. I never had to take a drop. Some of the guys probably did from some of the low areas. But definitely was making good pitch marks in the fairway where it landed.

Q. Overall impressions of this Coore Crenshaw layout?
BOB ESTES: Oh, it's a great course. I'm a member at the Austin Golf Club there in Austin, which is Ben's baby, that's where he spends all of this time in Austin when he's home and not designing courses. But it's a lot like this. Different on grass in the fairways, but the greens are real similar. So when I'm on these greens, I feel like I'm back home in Austin at the Austin Golf Club.

Q. Will a Texas guy keep a Notre Dame jersey with his name on it?
BOB ESTES: Well, I will. But -- yeah, the only thing I can think about is the last time we played, we won 50-47 in Austin. But yeah, I'll hang on to the jersey. It's pretty cool. They gave us a little miniature helmet keepsake. And that was pretty cool to see the jersey with your name on it in the locker room when we got here. Yeah, I like souvenirs. I'll keep it.

Q. If the score had been reversed, you might not have felt as good about it?
BOB ESTES: Maybe not. But we split that last home and home. They beat us badly here, and then we beat them double overtime in Austin in 2016. I was at that game. It was a lot of fun.

Q. Probably won't be seeing one of those A&M jerseys if they gave you one of those?
BOB ESTES: No, hopefully the U.S. Senior Open won't be going to the Traditions there in College Station. I don't need an Aggie jersey. But I'll keep the Notre Dame jersey, though.

Q. Anything else about today or leading up to today that surprised you or made you pretty happy about where your game is?
BOB ESTES: No, for the most part, like I said, I learned a thing or two last week to kind of help me this week. A little bit with the putter, a little bit with the grip and full swing.

But for the most part, I'm just trying to not overdo it and -- yeah, hit most of the fairways and most of the greens today, so it was kind of a stress-free round. I did have to make a couple par putts early, like I said, but for the most part it was -- should, but, yeah, I whiffed one on 15 and ended up over in the deep rough and had to just kind of pick that one out.

That's one of the ones where I could have hurt myself. It was really deep. Most of the rough you can hit out of here and get it up to the green, but on that particular shot, I wouldn't -- I maybe could have tried to get it up just in front, but with it that deep and the elbow and the hazard on the right, it made the most sense just to kind it pitch it out in the fairway and hit sand wedge on the green, and made about a 12-footer for par.

I guess I played that hole right, whiffing the tee shot. Boring, stress-free round. It was kind of nice. I like clean pars and bogey-free rounds, but I messed it up there at the end and bogeyed the last. But that was about -- maybe even better than I would have expected with as little as I'm practicing. Just trying to keep it to a minimum, like I said, and keep the warmups short and sweet, and the few swings I make, the quicker this will probably heal.

Q. I think I'm reading into that that practice is overrated?
BOB ESTES: I think I'm finally earning that at 53.

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