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June 20, 2020

Joaquin Niemann

Hilton Head, South Carolina

THE MODERATOR: Joaquin, 8-under 63 in your round today. Can you tell us what went well for you?

JOAQUIN NIEMANN: Yeah, I've been playing good the last two weeks. I've been hitting the ball great. I've been driving the ball well. I was waiting to make some putts, but, yeah, I'm feeling great. Today was a pretty good round. I couldn't make a lot of birdies the last two days too, so, yeah, I'm really happy with my round today and looking forward to Sunday.

THE MODERATOR: This is your first time making your debut at this tournament. What do you like about this course so much?

JOAQUIN NIEMANN: Yeah, it's my first time here. I really like it. I don't know why I haven't been here before. I think it's a course that really fits me well. It's a lot of fun to play in. You've got to hit every shot. So I think I like that.

I grew up playing like the same type of course, pretty tight to the tee and moving the ball around. So, yeah, it fits me well.

THE MODERATOR: Looks like putting was the big difference for you today. Have you made any changes in your putting?

JOAQUIN NIEMANN: No, just doing the same, just got to be patient. The first two days, I hit really good putts that just didn't go in. Just getting used to Bermuda. Last week was a different type of grass. Here is much different. It's a little slower. I think I was struggling a little bit with the speed. So I think that was the big difference today.

THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up for questions.

Q. Joaquin, how much more comfortable are you today on the golf course as opposed to the very first time you got here? Is it a course you have to get more and more comfortable with?
JOAQUIN NIEMANN: Yeah, I was really confident this morning. I knew that I could go low. I like playing the morning. Greens are really good. There's no wind. It's perfect conditions.

So, yeah, I woke up this morning. I was feeling great. I was hitting the ball good. So I think I have a lot of confidence at this moment.

Q. What were you most happy with today, and what were you a little bit disappointed with today, if you were disappointed with anything?
JOAQUIN NIEMANN: No, I don't think. I was pretty happy with everything. The only thing I didn't like was the putt on 18. I just left it short. I was too worried about the line and didn't worry about the speed, but that's all right.

Q. Joaquin, congratulations on your round. Clearly, the stuff that happened with Nick yesterday didn't affect how you played today. Was there a different feeling in the air, and has any of that changed the way you behave in regard to the protocols that the PGA TOUR has put out?
JOAQUIN NIEMANN: Yeah, I think I've been taking good care. The PGA TOUR is doing a great job. I hope Nick is doing well, he gets well soon.

But, yeah, we've been taking our distance all the time on the course. I think we're doing a great job, and hopefully, everybody stays safe during all this week coming up.

Q. Did you take the charter option to get to this tournament?
JOAQUIN NIEMANN: Yeah, I was on the charter. So, yeah, I'm going to take the charter again, so it's easy. Easy to go.

Q. Hi, Joaquin. What have you been doing for dinner?
JOAQUIN NIEMANN: There's a really good Mexican restaurant here. It's called Java Burrito. I've been there almost every day like at 5:00 because at 7:00 it gets too packed, too many people. So I don't want to be there. But, yeah, just grab food and take it to my room. It's a good burrito, good bowls. It's kind of cheap there.

Q. Secondly, as far as your golf goes, your form, I think you missed a couple of cuts in a row through Bay Hill. Did this break come at a good time for you? Was it helpful to just kind of take a break?
JOAQUIN NIEMANN: Yeah, I think it's good. At the beginning, I was like, oh, yeah, we're going to take a little break. I never thought it was going to be that long, and after two weeks, I was like, I've got nothing to do. I want to go back to practice. I couldn't do anything for two months because in Chile everything was locked down. I couldn't leave my house for, I think for two months.

It was hard, but it was good. I spent a lot of time with my family, which is good. Yeah, I think it was a good break, was positive.

Q. Where do you stay when you're here?
JOAQUIN NIEMANN: I got a place in Jupiter, Florida, but after the THE PLAYERS, I went straight back to Chile to spend some time with my family.

Q. What's the difference between the way people are approaching the virus in Chile compared with in the states?
JOAQUIN NIEMANN: Yeah, we're going through really hard times in Chile. There's like 20 million people in the whole country, and last couple months we've been getting like 4,000 a day of the virus. So it's pretty high. Yeah, I think it's getting bad there because right now it's winter, and they say that the winter is not good for the virus. So, yeah, we're staying safe. My family's staying safe, which is good.

Q. Joaquin, was it difficult for you to get back into the United States? How was that journey?
JOAQUIN NIEMANN: No, it was pretty easy. I got the special Visa for work or sport, I don't know. Yeah, I mean, just coming here was pretty easy. They knew that I was coming for a golf tournament. Yeah, it wasn't any trouble coming here.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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