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June 2, 2022

Will Zalatoris

Dublin, Ohio, USA

Muirfield Village

Press Conference

Q. How would you characterize that round today?

WILL ZALATORIS: Crazy. Making eight birdies around this place obviously is really nice. I was just saying earlier before I came out here, Monday, Tuesday, if you said I was going to shoot 68 first round, I thought it would be four birdies, no bogeys. I'm shocked at how this place has softened up, with the weather we've had, because Monday and Tuesday was probably one of the firmer practice rounds I think I've had in my short stint out here.

I guess it feels like Augusta. When you get out there Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, it's crazy firm all of a sudden greens keep the same pace, but they soften up a little bit.

Like I said, pretty happy with the round, making eight birdies, pretty wild to come out with 68. But like I said, I did not think 68 with eight birdies was in the cards when I came out Monday, Tuesday.

Q. What was the best part of your game?

WILL ZALATORIS: I think I had 11 1-putts in a row from 11 on. I made some nice par saves to keep the momentum going and had a couple of bonuses in there with a couple of 20-footers. Pretty pleased where my game is at, but need to drive a little better the next few days.

Q. Was it surprising -- were you surprised how soft the greens were today?

WILL ZALATORIS: I was. I think it was on 13 today, I hit a wedge shot that landed up on the flag, spun about 15 feet, which the last few days we were seeing balls warm hop in the bunkers as opposed to kind of sticking and spinning.

So I was very surprised and welcomed, considering how firm it was early on in the week.

Q. Thoughts on Brookline in a couple of weeks. Have you played it?

WILL ZALATORIS: I played the U.S. Am there in 2013. I know they use a different routing since they have gone, I think, 27 holes up there, I don't think they've used the same combination of 18 holes. I guess I was 16 or 17, I guess it was 20th, about 15 or 16, it was the hardest golf course I ever played. It was a big-boy golf course.

You tee off at No. 9 for your back nine, and I think it was like 510, 480, 505, 630, 510, 500, big-boy golf course. U.S. Open, expect nothing different.

Q. When you look at the strokes you gave up, any common theme to those holes?

WILL ZALATORIS: No. I mean, I really I just hit one bad iron shot on 10. Had a terrible lie on the bunker on 1.

Really just kind of one loose swing here or there. Missed a couple of greens, short-sided myself on the bunkers. In reality, make sure I'm missing in the right spots. Had a couple times where I was a little out of it.

Q. Speaking to Brookline being a big-boy golf course, this is as well. Do you feel that little bit of extra length, 10, 15 yards you gained, that you feel you have a better chance on those golf courses now?

WILL ZALATORIS: Definitely. Like this one, I know that they've just renovated it, and I can carry some of the bunkers that some guys can't. But like I said, just getting it out there as far as you can -- like on 1, a lot of guys are laying up off the tee and having 210 in.

And I hit in the right bunker today. If I had a good lie, I could have easily hit wedge on the green.

So just knowing where you can and can't miss it off the tee, I think, is the bigger difference out here than it is in other golf courses. Because most of the time you're trying to figure out around the greens. Out here you could be on one bunker, totally fine; one bunker, ten yards shorter, you could be perfect.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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