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February 22, 2020

Jon Rahm

Mexico City, Mexico

Q. When you get off to a start like that and then you have an ace, what sort of numbers start popping into your head? Does 59 ever come into --
JON RAHM: No, I had to hole out at 18, and with that pin it was really, really difficult. You have to go right over the tree, land it in the right spot and spin it back and get lucky again. I know Justin Thomas holed out on the 18th hole, but two in a row, yeah, I didn't see that happening today.

I actually was trying to hit it 15 feet pin high to the right. But with the start I had today, the only thing in mind was trying to get as close as possible to the leaders. I thought I had started hot, and when I kind of cooled down a little bit, actually I made a few bogeys, so that kind of gave me a little bit of hope where maybe they finish at 13-, 14-under and if I had a good finish, I was going to have a chance tomorrow, and that's kind of what gave me a second wind on the back nine.

Q. When did you start feeling something pretty good could happen?
JON RAHM: After 4. I basically had tap-in, tap-in, tap-in and 10 feet for birdie, I thought, today could be a really special day, and then backing it up with a great birdie on 6 and 7 and a great tee shot on 8, which it's a difficult tee shot, I thought it could have been the day it ended up being. I had a little bit of a hiccup, a three-putt on 8, and it's just a difficult hole, but everything balances out.

I think a lot of us like to talk sometimes about how unlucky we get, and I think today was one of those days where I got fortunate. I hit the right shots and I got the right bounces, and I took advantage of it. There was a couple of holes where I could have gotten a little more unlucky like 11. After hitting the tree on 14 I ended up having shots to the green, and then obviously making that hole-out on 17. That was definitely today my lucky today, combined with really good golf, and today happened.

Q. The leaderboard, you're chasing a lot of big names up there. Can you just talk about that and maybe just how the cream has sort of risen here this week?
JON RAHM: Well, it's a World Golf Championship. You would expect to compete against the best in the world. I haven't looked in a while, but I know Rory was up there at 11 or 12, JT was at 14, Bryson was up there, 13, 12, so there's a lot of great players up there. I'm just really happy that after the first two days I'm going to have a legitimate chance tomorrow without needing to shoot 59 or something like that. So luckily I took care of that today and hopefully tomorrow I can just put a solid round together and have a chance. But it's really unique. I think we all compete and want to win tournaments when everybody is playing their best, and if you win one of those stacked fields, it's a lot of fun, and it's a great accomplishment, so hopefully I'm the one on top tomorrow afternoon.

Q. You've shot a lot of really big rounds on the PGA TOUR. What's the challenge of following up a round like today tomorrow?
JON RAHM: Well, the last time I did this was at Palm Springs at LaQuinta, and I think I followed it up with 4- or 5-under, I'm not sure. A little bit easier golf courses than this one I would say, but I did end up winning that tournament, so hopefully it works the same way. I think the main thing, I just need to stay focused on what I have to do, know that I'm not going to get as lucky as I did today, and maybe know that I'm not going to make every putt I look at. Just stay confident that I'm under control of my golf swing and keep hitting the right shots and hopefully get a decent start and give the leaders something to think about.

Q. We'll get to the hole-in-one in a second, your second one in your career on the PGA TOUR, but you started off so hot. Yesterday you were 4-over par with nine holes to play. What changed for you?
JON RAHM: Honestly, yeah, I doubled 16 and 18. I wasn't the happiest camper, but I had a couple minutes to sit down and relax, and I said, let's just put a couple solid rounds and see if we can get to even par, and made two good putts, 1 and 2, and that kind of got things going. I've been hitting really good putts, they just haven't gone in, and starting yesterday on that 10th hole they started going in, and it kind of carried on today.

Q. Let's talk about the hole-in-one. What did you look at from that vantage point?
JON RAHM: Well, 123 meters, I had just hit a three-quarter 52 119, so same thing, same shape of shot, and yeah, it landed perfectly exactly I'm pretty sure. It's exactly the same shot I hit at 16.

Q. The 2016 Safeway Open the last time you had a hole-in-one on the PGA TOUR. That was your first one, so this is No. 2. The age-old question in golf: How do you follow up a crazy low round the following day and perhaps do this again to catch the leaders?
JON RAHM: I don't know. It just depends on where they finish. Justin still has 15 coming up and still has a couple chances coming in. It all depends where they are, but three shots you're doable, and I just need to get off to a hot start and try to finish strong. It all depends on what the leaders do today.

Q. You said this felt a little bit like a home event at the start of this week. Well, today you delivered a 61, your lowest round as a professional, and you tied the lowest score in a WGC. How did it feel to achieve that in front of these people?
JON RAHM: Well, obviously I'm not aware of all those things when I'm playing. The only thing I did know was that 62 was the course record, at least in this tournament, because somebody told me that some local shot 61, so at least I tied him. I was just trying to get obviously the lowest round possible, and I wasn't thinking of any records. I was just trying to hit that ball on the ground and give myself another chance to finish with a good birdie and got lucky, a little bonus at 17, it went in, and now thinking about tomorrow, it depends on how the leaders finish up, three, four, maybe five-shot difference that I'm going to have to make up. Hopefully I can start as hot as I did today with a couple birdies in a row and I give myself a chance.

Q. Just before we look ahead, let's look back. With so many good moments out there, talk us through this shot on 17.
JON RAHM: So 123 meters. I had just hit on 16 a three-quarter 52 that landed 119, so I told myself let's hit the exact same shot, and it landed three short, so I hit it 120 and it bounced in. I don't know what to say, it's just one of those lucky moments where you have the exact same shot afterwards and muscle memory to back it up with.

Q. For the folks at home who maybe will get to sense what that's like in this environment, what goes through your body when you achieve something like that?
JON RAHM: I don't remember. I can't tell you. It actually was quite unique. The only thing closer I've gotten to that was at the Spanish Open when I holed out from the fairway. Not quite as many people, but like I said, they really take care of me here, they hold me here, so it was a great reaction. It was really fun to just walk down the fairway of the hole just high-fiving everybody. They really loved it, and I'm just glad it was me who made it.

Q. Obviously there's still 18 holes to go, a lot of work still ahead, but the opportunity to win your first WGC but also potentially to move to the top player on the planet. What would that mean to you?
JON RAHM: Like you said, there's still a tournament to play, 18 holes. Becoming No. 1 in the world would be a complete -- it's a consequence of playing good, so I have 18 more holes. If I do my job tomorrow, we'll speak about that tomorrow.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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