May 12, 2022
Clifton, New Jersey, USA
Upper Montclair Country Club
Q. A very good opening round. You've been playing better golf lately. Is it a product of confidence or a lot of hard work?
RYANN O'TOOLE: I think a little bit of both. I definitely think a lot of hard work paying off. I have got a great team right now. I have been with Jorge since 2014. I stuck to my game plans and building. I have a wonderful caddie, Mikey.
First week we worked together, I won, so I just think we really have something good. He keeps me in the right places on the golf course. We work well together communication-wise. I just think we have a really good team.
Q. Let's talk about that win. We were talking earlier on our broadcast about the best player on tour yet to have won. You were in that conversation for way too long in most people's opinions. How much more confidence does that give you, more belief in yourself, getting that first win finally out of the way?
RYANN O'TOOLE: It definitely gave me that belief that I've been grinding towards and hoping at some point you kind of just lose that hope. Not that hope, but you start struggling. You are going, "is it ever going to come?"
It came. I was, obviously, trending, but it came unexpectedly, and it happened, and I think I'm there. It kind of put me in a new realm of thinking for a couple of weeks of I wanted it so badly again. Or I also thought, hey, maybe once I won, it will open the floodgates. It didn't do that, so I had to reset a little bit and go back to what I was just basically doing and kind of just let it continue to grow.
Q. Ryann, a 67 after the first day here at Cognizant Founders Cup. What are you feeling after being on the course today?
RYANN O'TOOLE: I'm very proud about the 5-under. I think the practice rounds definitely played a lot harder with that little slight different direction breeze. A lot of holes were longer in the practice days, so I came out here just knowing that I had to grind. It's a nice, tight, tough course, and I stayed patient. I struck it well, and I'll take the 5-under.
Q. I know one of those keys to the course this week is really accuracy. We're hearing it from a lot of players. How much did you feel like that played into your round today?
RYANN O'TOOLE: I think that my strengths are being a ball striker. I feel like my attribute is iron-striking, and so I think that helps a lot. Driver never gets out of control, so I can find a lot of fairways.
Then being able to place it on the greens has been good. I had a lot of opportunities out there. No bogeys. I kind of feel like there's a lot that I can still get at the next couple of days.
Q. I know you said it's a challenging course, but what do you like most about it because it's definitely suiting your game well?
RYANN O'TOOLE: I don't know. I like tougher golf courses. I like where you have to think. I like where tee-to-green is not just wide open and easy. I don't mind those either, but it's just nice to kind of have this.
It challenges more of the game. You have to make shots off the tee. You have to make shots into the greens. There's a lot of pockets where the pins are tucked into.
Mikey helps me a lot with, "hey, let's end up here," or "hey, let's hit it here and let it feed to here." That helps a lot and takes any of the guesswork out for me.
Q. You had three on birdies to start your day. Like you said, a bogey-free day. Those birdies on 8 and 9 before you made the turn, how much was that the push that you needed to get through to the back nine?
RYANN O'TOOLE: I feel like the front is harder than the back. To kind of shoot what I shot on the front was I felt that I was in a good position. I just stayed patient. I didn't birdie No. 12, which that was one of my only errant tee shots, so I gave myself a birdie opportunity, and I missed it, but hey, that's fine.
It's just if there's a couple of hard holes on either side, and if you play them smart and give yourself a chance to just not make any -- like no stress, and I think that's what I did today. I think all I can do is be pleased with it.
Q. What will you take away from this round as you head into Friday?
RYANN O'TOOLE: I will go eat some lunch, because I am starving and go kind of just reiterate what I was working on prior. I just think kind of keeping those building blocks going. I think, again, patience out here is key.
Certain tight holes, don't try to just pound a driver. Just smooth driver shots. Just get yourself in position because even some areas on the fairways are blocked out by trees, so you have to be really smart and strategic in certain areas.
Q. I know I think Marina talked about it earlier, but it was those low-hanging trees. Sometimes you really have to shape those shots over those even tree limbs.
RYANN O'TOOLE: Shape them or bunch it up, so you have two options. Like the first hole, pin is tucked left. You hit it down the right side; you're blocked out by a tree. So it was kind of a catch-22.
At the same time I'm, like, well, I'm going to flirt with that right side. I end up in the rough. I can punch something right up on the green. I ended up having a birdie opportunity. It's almost trying to think one --
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports