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August 15, 2019

Rory Sabbatini

Carmel, Indiana

Q. If I told you at the beginning of the day I'd give you a 67 before the round started, I think you probably would have taken that one, but pars in after the great start for you. How would you assess the round?
RORY SABBATINI: Well, you know what, I'm not going to lie, it's a hell of a golf course. Maybe a little bit more than I'm capable of in my old age. I'm kind of tired. Yeah, I think if you would have offered me 70 before I teed off, I probably would have run for the hills with it quickly. I think I shot 82 in the pro-am yesterday, so I'll take it.

Q. When you look at this golf course, you get here and you think you've got to hit it big to get around here, but you kept the ball right in front of you and could take advantage when you could early in this golf course.
RORY SABBATINI: Yeah, obviously this is a combination of definitely tough holes out there and a couple scoring holes, so what you know is you've got to make the most of them out there. It's a tough golf course. I'm kind of surprised with the scores the way they are, but the greens are receptive, and we played early so we had very pure greens. It's going to be a different story tomorrow, but really it's a golf course that's going to challenge every part of your game.

Q. You talked about your form and getting into this spot in the Playoffs. What do you carry confidence-wise into a golf tournament like this on a course like this that you know is going to be so taxing on you?
RORY SABBATINI: You know, obviously the latter part of the year I've definitely driven the ball very well. I think this is a golf course that's going to put a lot of premium on hitting the ball in the fairways. And I was pretty successful at doing that today. If I can continue to do that, from there it's playing chess, put the ball in the right spots and give yourself opportunities.

Q. 5-under, nice start. Can we get some comments on your play today? A little surprising I hear.
RORY SABBATINI: Yeah, I think my amateurs yesterday felt like I was the amateur in the group playing this golf course. It's a tough golf course. Going out there today, I knew it was going to be a battle, and I got off to a great start, and from there it was just kind of, yeah, try and plot my way around, try and give myself opportunities, which I did. It's hard to get around this golf course and see 5-under and say you left some out there, but I did. But I honestly got some good breaks and made some good par saves out there. It's a tough course, and it's going to be four days of battling.

Q. Can you talk about, you got into the TOUR Championship the first year of the Playoffs. At that time did you think, oh, this is going to be a regular occurrence for me, and obviously you haven't gotten back there since?
RORY SABBATINI: It's been a long time since I was at the TOUR Championship. Obviously this is the best opportunity I've had in quite a while. No, you know, I didn't think -- I don't think you can ever assume getting in the TOUR Championship is something that's going to be a regular occurrence unless you're maybe one of five or six guys out here.

But it's a challenge this week, and I know there are some guys that are right on the cusp and they're going to be stressing, and I'm kind of in that nice little slot where I can kind of be aggressive and try and make a move and let them stress over it a little bit more than I do. Yeah, it's a good start, but I've got three days of hard work to do.

Q. The season that you've got to this point has been fairly phenomenal. How would you describe the season and your play to get to this point where you've got a chance to get to East Lake?
RORY SABBATINI: The way I'd describe it, I'd say this is probably the first time in many years I've actually played to my potential. I've made a couple key changes over the last three years. I completely rebuilt my putting over the last three years to try and make it more consistent and be a better putter. It always seemed to be a lacking spot in my game. When I've putted well, it's gone well, when I haven't putted well, I've struggled, and I've definitely made that a lot more consistent, and I think that's taken pressure off the rest of my game and allowed me opportunities to kind of be a little bit more aggressive in certain circumstances.

Q. And you're healthy?
RORY SABBATINI: Well, I'm back to being healthy. It took a good three years to get back to full strength, but I feel like I'm finally getting there, and I feel like I've got to make the most. I don't have that many more years left out here.

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