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August 12, 2019

Spencer Ralston

Village of Pinehurst, North Carolina

Q. 1-under today, first round of the U.S. Amateur. That's got to be something you're pleased with. Give me a review of how you thought you played today.
SPENCER RALSTON: I thought I played great. I drove the ball in the fairway most of the day, so like I was telling them out there, if you drive the ball in play out on No. 2 you can give yourself some opportunities to the green, because it's long but you can't be playing out of the waste area because it's inconsistent with how your lie's going to be. But when I did hit it in there I felt like I got a fairly decent lie. So I was fortunate with that, I got some good breaks.

But I think it just all started off the tee. I got some confidence early driving it in the fairway.

My speed was really good on the greens today.

Q. How about any recoveries? Did anything stand out, because when you miss greens you got a lot of challenges.
SPENCER RALSTON: Yeah, so holes, hole 2 I chipped in from just short left of the green. Which was good. I hit a decent iron, I just didn't hit it far enough and it rolled back down the slope. Ended up chipping that in.

Then I hit it in the waste area on 4. Hit it just short of the green, got up-and-down there.

So those were two big momentum savers going through the round.

5, I hit it in the waste area on left and then hit it into the waste area on the right and then hit long left of the green and had like 42 yards and it just kept on rolling down the slopes and got that up-and-down.

Q. Nice.
SPENCER RALSTON: Which was probably the best shot of the day. So I think those three holes and then, let's see, headed to 7, the short dogleg right par-4. Hit it in the greenside bunker short-sided on the right, got up-and-down. So I think all of those just helped keep the round together.

And then made a great swing on 8 but it went to the back bunker, which you don't have a whole lot from there. Ended up making bogey.

But made a good putt on number 10, the last hole, for birdie on the par-5. So that was good to kind of end the round.

Q. So when you're in the fairway and you're looking at your approach shot, you know in your head that there's really a small target, the greens may look big and they're undulating, but really where you're trying to hit the ball is not very big and you got a hard surface to deal with. How do you manage that?
SPENCER RALSTON: I think you just kind of take into account kind of this is the shot that I want to hit but if I don't hit that perfectly, where is my best place to get up-and-down. And I think today, other than hole number 8 when I hit it long in that back bunker, didn't have a great lie and didn't have a lot of green to work with, I think other than that I did a great job today to kind of manage my game from there. Which was kind of what me and my caddie talked about. We were like, we just, you're going to hit bad shots, but if I put myself in the right spot to get up-and-down, not being short sided, as fast and firm as the greens are, that can compound errors, which is kind of big out here because you're not going to make them up, you're not going to make a whole lot of birdies out here.

Q. Especially in stroke play.

Q. 1-over today is the second best score on No. 2 today. Obviously you got to be pretty happy with that. Tell me about how you're feeling after the round.
SPENCER RALSTON: Yeah, so I drove the ball in the fairway most of the day, kind of last few holes were a little squirrely, but I was in the fairway most of the day and I think that's key out here because the fairways are kind of tight. Once you get off of them it's probably inconsistent with how the lie is going to be with the waste area.

So I think giving myself some looks from the fairway was big. I chipped it really well. You can still hit some good shots out here and the ball will roll off if you don't have the right distance control. So got up-and-down a lot today. Made one swing on 9, the par-3 that went in the back bunker, just kind of messed that up, but other than that I was really happy with how I played.

Q. Are you feeling that you -- were you relieved to get No. 2 out of the way today and go to play No. 4 tomorrow? It seems like 4 is playing relatively easier than 2 in terms of the scores today.
SPENCER RALSTON: Yeah, I think it was, I think that I was kind of excited when I saw I got 2 in the morning. It's firm in general, but I think getting it a little bit softer in the morning helped out a little bit because later in the day it's been so hot it will probably get baked out a little bit, greens will get a little faster. So I think getting 2 in the morning was definitely an advantage.

Q. Have you played Pinehurst many times before?
SPENCER RALSTON: I have played No. 2 one time before I came here. I had been here a couple times for the U.S. Kids tournament and played some of the other courses during like the Donald Ross Junior Championship, so I've been in the area a few times, but haven't had a whole lot of experience on No. 2.

I think I played No. 4 during the when I was 12 in the U.S. Kids, but they have redone that since, so. There's still a couple holes that are relatively the same but they have changed kind of the makes up of the golf course and stuff.

Q. What's the mindset going into tomorrow now?
SPENCER RALSTON: I think the thing I really stressed on this week is the speed of the greens. And my speed was really good today, so I think I just got to stay consistent with my speed, because the greens are so fast that if your speed stays consistent -- you don't want to have 4-, 5-, 6-footers all day for par and stuff like that. So I think when you just have good speed and put it on a decent line -- I made a couple today -- but if I tap them in I'm still happy, so that's key.

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