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July 11, 2019

Martin Laird

Silvis, Illinois

Q. Marvelous start to the week.
MARTIN LAIRD: Yeah, obviously happy to get the tournament started like that. Played nicely. It was nice being out with the second group. The greens were about as good as you're ever going to see, and played nicely.

Q. What's going well for you? You've been knocking on the door since Arnold Palmer, since Valero.
MARTIN LAIRD: My game is in good shape right now. I've just struggled to put four rounds together this year. If I could drop one round out of every tournament, I'd be right up there in the FedExCup. I unfortunately can't do that. Last week had a nice finish to the week, shot 6-under the final round at the tournament last week, so I was coming in here obviously feeling good, and kind of just continued that today. Played good. Nothing was like exceptional, just everything was really solid, and it's always nice when that's the case.

Q. How about the group today? All three of you in the top 10 currently. Certainly a nice round for you.
MARTIN LAIRD: Yeah, we're all place nicely. As I said, second group out, greens were about as good as you could get, so we were making some putts. The course is in great shape. I have not played here in a few years, but guys are saying it's as good as they've maybe ever seen it. Our early conditions were nice, it wasn't too hot this morning, and we all played nice. It was fun.

Q. This is the first time you've been here since '08. Is it that British Open spot that brought you back?
MARTIN LAIRD: No, this is opposite the Scottish Open this week. I've played that the last 11 years. I remember my rookie year on TOUR, I enjoyed this place, and I played pretty decent, I think. I can't remember but I think I played okay. It was just a clash of dates. It was hard to turn down going back and playing my national open. Otherwise I would have been here almost every year. This year I made the decision a couple months ago or a few months ago to come here this year instead of going back to Scotland, and obviously after the round today I'm happy with that.

Q. Is there any added pressure trying to get that British Open spot that goes with a win here?
MARTIN LAIRD: Not really. I'm not in a position in the FedExCup -- I'm more focused on having a nice solid week and making sure I take care of getting in the Playoffs and taking care of next year. If I finish high enough, I get to go back over to play in the Open, and that's obviously an added bonus. But no, there's no added pressure with that.

Q. Can you talk about the course conditions, how conducive it was for you?
MARTIN LAIRD: Yeah, the fairways are running out pretty nicely, so especially some of the downwind holes you can get it a long way down there, and the greens are kind of the perfect firmness. They're soft enough where the ball is stopping even downwind but they're not so soft where it's zipping back, spinning back. Like I said, it's in good shape.

It's kind of set up for good scores right now. If you drive it straight, the ball is going to kind of bound down the fairways. Like that last hole I hit a little 9-iron in there and in the practice round I was hitting 4-iron in there. With the way the conditions are, you know you're going to have some short clubs with the fairways running, but as I said, it's in great shape.

Q. How conscious are you of your FedExCup number? Is it kind of on your mind a little bit, and is it unusual to be where you are at this point in the season?
MARTIN LAIRD: Obviously I'm very aware of it, yeah. I've not really been in this position for a little while. So it's something different. But as I said, I've been so close to having a really good week for a while. As I said, not just had four good rounds together, and kind of getting in position and having a bad Saturday or Sunday. I've been knowing for a while that I'm close to having a really, really good week. I'm in a position that I just need one solid good finish and I'll be fine. You know, I'm aware of it, but I'm not overly worried about it.

Q. Any key learnings from today, for example, the way you played 14, the risk-reward hole? Any thoughts on your approach the rest of the week?
MARTIN LAIRD: No, I wouldn't really say so. You know, I felt like my game plan was pretty good. Had the pace of the greens down. It wasn't like they were tricking me. As I said, everything was just really solid. Three more rounds like that and I'll be okay.

Q. You had a clean card going until No. 8. What happened there?
MARTIN LAIRD: I hit my tee shot a little right, I thought it was just going to be in the rough over there, and I guess it hit a tree and it kicked back in the fairway, which is a pretty good break, but I had like 196 to the pin uphill into the breeze, and just missed the green with that, and in an average spot, and missed about a five-, six-footer for par. But yeah, like I said, it was kind of the only blemish that there was on the scorecard. But I only hit a couple of shots that were not great today, and one of them was there. But very happy with 6-under.

Q. Other than a blemish on your second-to-last hole, how satisfied are you with your opening round?
MARTIN LAIRD: Yeah, very happy. Played nicely. Played very solid all day, and any time you start with 6-under it's a good start, and looking forward to the rest of the week.

Q. What carried over from the Sunday 65 you shot in Minnesota?
MARTIN LAIRD: You know, kind of everything. My game, I've been hitting the ball really well for a few weeks and struggling on the greens, but we kind of figured something out a couple days ago on the practice green here, putted a lot better yesterday in the pro-am. I was feeling pretty confident going into today in terms of that was the only part of my game that I've been struggling a little bit with, and I went out and putted very nicely today, so I was happy with that, and hopefully keep it going the rest of the week, and I'll be fine.

Q. What exactly did you find with your putting stroke there?
MARTIN LAIRD: My head was moving too much. I was missing too many short putts right, and I taped a few putting strokes and noticed my head was kind of rocking back just a little bit, so we just worked on pretty much -- just my only thought over the putter right now is keep my head as still as possible, and I'm starting the ball a lot better on my line and kind of seeing the lines now. I felt like last week I was misreading a lot of putts, but I probably wasn't, I was probably just not starting them right where I wanted to, so it was kind of nice coming in here knowing my reads probably weren't as bad as I thought they were, and it was more my stroke. As I said, we fixed that a couple days ago and the putter feels really good now.

Q. How about coming back to TPC Deere Run, a course you haven't seen in over a decade? How can you take advantage of this course?
MARTIN LAIRD: You know, it's in unbelievable condition right now and the fairways are pretty firm, so if you hit some downwind holes you can get it out there a long way and you've got some short irons into greens that are perfect. And then with the drivable par-4 and a couple par-5s you can get to with an iron if you hit good tee shots, so there's a few holes you can get, but there's also three or four holes that are pretty hard that you're going to make your pars on and stuff. You can definitely be aggressive around here, but there's definitely a few holes you've got to be careful.

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