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May 29, 2021

Steve Stricker

Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA

Quick Quotes

Southern Hills Country Club

THE MODERATOR: Welcome back to the 2021 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship. We're here at Southern Hills Country Club, Tulsa, Oklahoma. We're with Steve Stricker. 3-under par 67. He is currently leading, will be leading the championship at 6-under par going into the last round. Steve, really solid play today, looks like five birdies, a couple bogeys, but in a tough, on a tough, tough golf course. I imagine you're probably feeling good about how you played overall.

STEVE STRICKER: I did. I struck it nicely today. I putted it nicely. Couple bogeys I made just kind of some wrong clubs. I hit a 4-iron at the 6th hole and kind of just flagged it, penetrated right through the wind, went over the back, didn't get that up-and-down. And another one too, I hit it in the middle of the green and 3-putted. But, yeah, it's a tough place and it's, it gets your attention on a lot of shots. So it's a great test and I feel good about what I did today.

Q. You drove it really nice today, you hit a bunch of fairways. Do you think playing from the fairway was a huge advantage for you today because those pins seemed to be tucked out there and with this wind obviously distance control is paramount.

STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, for sure. You start driving it in the rough here and it's a big challenge just to hold some of the greens because you're usually catching a flier out of the rough and the pins are in these corners. I actually feel like these pins are tougher this week than they were in Kiawah Island. There's some real tough pins on the edges, in, up above the tiers. Yeah, so it's a great test and you got to be playing from the fairway.

Q. Take me through your shot at 16, bunker shot. It had to feel great to steal one right there.

STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, and that is stealing one there for sure. You're just trying to make four there. It's a tough driving hole. I've been just sending it down the right free line every day, I just don't want to go in that bunker. Weirsy hit it in that bunker and it's just basically a chip out. So I'm just doing everything not to hit it in that bunker and I'll take my chances over there in the right trees. It came out a little left on me out of the rough, but in that bunker was fine, there was a lot of sand and I was shooting right up the hill at it. I was just trying to get it close, you're not thinking that you're going to make it or anything. But just trying to get a 4 and move on. It happened to go in. So it is, like you said, it's stealing one there for sure.

Q. You almost holed another one on 10 today. For a birdie and then Mike started having troubles on 12 and that was kind of indicative of what can happen out here if you're just a little bit off and the bogeys just start to mount.

STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, for sure. Any hole it can jump up and get you. So you have to just manage your emotions, your game, all the way around this place. I've gone for the green two times on 17 the last two days when they moved it up and I played the thing 1-over. So even when you think that Kerry is giving you an opportunity to make a birdie, it's still difficult. So yeah, you just have to know where to hit it, know where to miss it and like I said manage your game all the way around.

Q. Mr. Cejka, obviously you played with him just a little while ago in the Regions and lost in a playoff I believe, so what do you think of his game and his --

STEVE STRICKER: He's been playing great. Yeah, I'm going to have my hands full tomorrow. I mean he's been playing great and I'm going to have to take care of my own self, my own game and hopefully put up a good score, just because I know how well he's been playing and the confidence level that he has must be high if he's right up there again this week. So it's good to see him out here, he started Monday, as a Monday qualifier and wins a major and he's in contention again here this week, so it's a great story.

Q. You have to hit the shots, obviously, but is this one of those places that's as much a mental test as physical test?

STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, you need the mental side for sure here. I keep thinking about next year too when the young guys come get to play here and we're playing up a tee probably on most all of the holes and I keep looking back and some of these are, there's some real length here. So next year you're going to have to have it all and we need it all this year too. You need to have the length, they're taking it easy on us for the length part probably but, yeah, you need every part of your game here. The fairways are a little bit, I think a little bit wider in the redo. But it's so much a great second shot course and then once you get on the greens it's a real challenge.

Q. Looking through your scorecard for the first three rounds you played the holes 1 through 5 at 6-under, only one bogey being No. 1 on the first day, including birdies on 3, 4 and 5 today. Is there anything about that five stretch of holes that a pieces to your eye because a lot of players in the field have been playing it pretty tough?

STEVE STRICKER: No, I just stand up on each tee and try to get it in the fairway and then I go from there. And, yeah, there's nothing specific about those holes that I'm feeling like I need to get off -- well today I told myself, all right, let's get off to a good start. We're see's four shots ahead and I didn't want to drop any shots early and give him a little bit more cushion. So there was a little bit more pressure on myself to get off to a good start and I did. Three birdies early on and that helped. But there's nothing particular that in those stretch of holes, I'm just trying to take one shot at a time.

Q. Traditionally when someone has a lead or, for example, go out tomorrow and you get a bigger lead, the kind of mindset is to aim at the middle of the green. On a lot of these greens you can be in the middle of the green and be in a really tough spot. So kind of what is your mindset on like, for example, if you get out to a multiple shot lead on the back nine how would your course strategy change or vary?

STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, I don't think it will change. I've been playing pretty conservatively here all the way around, I think. Trying to miss it in the correct spots. It's easier said than done, but yeah, I have just been really grinding on where the proper spots are to hit it on the green and sometimes you just have to stand up there and hit the shot too.

And just like 18 here today it's just there's nowhere really to hit it, but you know right and short is probably not so good. Long, where Weirsy was, is, if he had a better lie, it wasn't too bad, but you just got to know where to give yourself the next opportunity.

Q. I wanted to ask you about the wind tomorrow. It's supposed to switch back to the southeast is there a wind you're more comfortable on this course or does it really matter?

STEVE STRICKER: You know I only played, I played the practice round in that south wind and we only played seven holes with the south wind and the rain delay happened. So we never really got to see the course in that south wind, except the practice rounds. Yeah, no, I, every course designer usually sets up a course for a west or a southwest or a south wind. So any time the wind comes out of the north, it usually makes the course a little bit more difficult and this is, with this wind. But I think it's going to be difficult tomorrow with a south wind too, so it's just one good test.

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