April 9, 2021
Augusta, Georgia, USA
Q. I know that wasn't the way you wanted to end the round, but previous to that, how were you feeling about things? Things turned around pretty good.
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, I played great today. I played solidly. I drove the ball a lot better, hit a lot more quality iron shots, had some great up and downs. It was easy. For as tough as this place has been playing, I felt like it was as easy as it could have been, other than the putt that I made on 11. I mean, a lot of my birdies have been pretty low stress or pretty easy.
I definitely have left a lot of shots out there the last two days or two rounds, but I'm in a great position. I need to get over that three-putt pretty quickly because it's over with. There's nothing I can do about it.
Q. Justin, you say you left a lot of shots out there. How much confidence does it give you to play this well and still leave shots out there?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Well, it's golf. It doesn't matter what you shoot, you're always going to say you left shots out there. That's just the way it is. When I shot 59, there's a couple of shots I left out there. That's just the way this place is.
You look at a hole like 13 or 15, and you're on the tee thinking birdie. I mean, I had 8 iron into 15 today. If I hit it a little farther over the green and don't hit a good chip, then it's like I'm playing defense. Things can happen so quickly out here.
It definitely was softer today than yesterday quite a bit, but when it gets like this, you just have to think a lot more each individual shot, I would say.
Q. What was your most satisfying iron shot today?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I mean, that really, really nice one on 12, just kind of a nice little trap flight, a 9 iron. Just a little bit of a cut on it, landed exactly the number we wanted. That and 13 were two really good iron shots. It's so hard to get yourself to aim over that creek on 13 and try to cut for it to draw only 15 yards. But it's so far above your feet that you really just have to trust it.
I haven't hit that fairway a lot in the past, so I haven't probably had as much practice as some others, but it was nice to hit a couple of quality shots out there. But I definitely hit a lot of nice irons.
Q. You and Tony started getting hot around the same time. Is that helpful to have someone in your group that also is putting up low numbers?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, it's definitely better than when the group mo is low. He was making it look very easy as well. He made a couple putts, but it seemed pretty effortless to be, what was he, 6-under through 10 or something. Yeah, we best balled it pretty nicely today.
Q. Not necessarily for this place and this tournament, but why is it so difficult to put two super low rounds back to back? It seems like pros -- Justin went out and shot 7 under yesterday, struggled early yesterday, kind of got back into it. What's the psychological dynamic there just to try to get those two in a row?
JUSTIN THOMAS: It's hard to play that well two days in a row. You know, it's the same reason you don't see guys have 60-point games of basketball back-to-back nights. You could probably see it more so in maybe like a football or just when the sports are spread out a little bit because you kind of have some time to maybe get back in a rhythm, but it's like it happened yesterday, and then it's like all of a sudden everyone's kind of expecting you to do the same thing.
And it's hard for you to not expect it in yourself because you just did it, but in reality, this game is so humbling that you really have to forget about it.
All the good that I had today, it's done with, and I need to go sharpen up everything that I feel like I can, but, yeah, it's golf. I guess that's my answer.
Q. How rare is it to go around this place stress free?
JUSTIN THOMAS: It's very rare. It would have been really, really nice to go a little bit less stress free on 18 there, but, yeah, it would be nice if I could create a little more of that this weekend.
Q. Was the iron play comparable to TPC at all?
JUSTIN THOMAS: No, that was better. Yeah, TPC was some of the best ball striking I've had. I hit a lot of quality iron shots today, but with the severity of the lies out here, it's so hard to not only hit the shot shape you want, but distance control. Those are pretty -- you know, I feel like I should have played the last five holes better than 1 under par or even par. There wasn't a good iron shot on 16, 17, or 18. Those are three more already that I hit poorly than at Sawgrass.
Q. Justin, a lot of big names on the leaderboard right now. Do you feel like, if everyone's sort of playing their best, you can sort of step on the gas pedal and kind of zoom past everyone a little?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I don't know how much zooming past you're going to do out here.
Q. Could you get past?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I don't care how I get past as long as I'm past everybody. It's so dependent on how they're going to set the golf course up and what kind of weather we get. I mean, the course is so much softer today, and the greens were definitely slower, and I had a hard time adjusting.
You know, I'm just going to have to take it for what it is, and I can't worry about what anybody else is doing. I know that I have confidence in myself, and I know that I've gotten it done at high levels and high stages before, but I'm going to have to beat a lot of good players to do it.
I just need to get in my own little zone and my own little game, and I feel like, if I do that well, I should have a pretty good chance.
Q. Any words from Tiger? Or do you think you'll have some waiting for you?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I'm sure I will.
Q. Like throughout a round, just check in with you and let you know how you're doing here?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I don't know. I just got done with my round. I don't know if he said anything. I'm sure he's going to give me some crap for that three-putt on 18.
Q. Justin, the tee shot on 13, kind of shaping that low draw around there, is that a shot you worked on specifically for that hole?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Not really. I've always hit it off No. 10 tee out here and I've always struggled on 13 out here, but it's essentially the same drive that I hit on 2 and 16 at Sawgrass. It's just, I don't know, I feel like, when I hit that spot -- I don't like the shot shape with the normal drive. So I feel like, if I get it on the ground like I did today, if that's a normal ball flight, it's going to fly and go through, but because it's low enough, it's going to take the contours and stay in the fairway. Then if I pull it a little bit, it's hopefully going to be far enough past, since it's a driver, that it could get past the corner.
Yeah, I would love to hit the tee shots I hit the last two days every day I played it.
Q. Along those same lines, with your shot shape ability, what kind of advantage does that give you out here?
JUSTIN THOMAS: It helps a lot. To be able to -- once the greens were as firm as they were yesterday, you need to be able to work it and have some different spins on the ball to get it close to the holes. I mean, yesterday was a little bit more defense as you're not going to make -- everybody but Justin Rose isn't going to make that many birdies, whereas today it was soft enough that you could get it close and make some birdies. It definitely helps.
I mean, you just very rarely have a flat, level, even lie without a crosswind out here. So you're always needing to work it somewhat to keep the ball straight or hopefully try to get it close to the hole.
Q. Justin, you talked about your shot into 12 today. Do you feel like you started to figure out 12?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Had I not figured it out before?
Q. Did you feel like comfortable? I mean, a lot of guys talk about they never can figure that hole out.
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, I've played it decently well in my career. I mean, all I try to do is hit the green. That's the only thing I'm worried about. I don't care where the pin is or what the number is. I'm just trying to flight something and put it on the green.
Q. Justin, when do you know what the course is going to be like? Like for tomorrow, soft today, hard yesterday. Is it a guessing game when you show up here?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I mean, I could tell when I was hitting putts on the putting green. The green was much, much slower, and watching a little bit of coverage this morning, balls were -- it just didn't have that run-out, you know. Putts that were yesterday going three, four feet past were kind of staying in that one, one and a half foot range, and that's a huge, huge difference. I'll have a pretty good idea. When it's this humid, this muggy, and no sun, it's going to be hard for it to get too kind of baked out.
Another thing, with how some of the greens were yesterday, I figured Augusta was going to have to be careful because, if they didn't put any water on them, they were going to be very, very, very dicey come Sunday.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports