February 24, 2023
El CamaleĆ³n Golf Course
Q. Jason, tell us a little bit about your day.
JASON KOKRAK: Yeah, I started off on the tough 12th, made a nice drive, got off to a little bit of a rocky start with the errant tee ball on 14, but I ended up chipping it in for par there. Made a couple nice long putts, got into a nice groove on 17 and 18. Hit a nice drive on 1 and kind of kept it right in front of me the rest of the ground. Very pleased with the bogey-free round.
Q. Were you looking at the individual leaderboard, the team leaderboard or both today?
JASON KOKRAK: A little bit of both. It was kind of hard to -- I think the boards didn't switch fast enough, so by the time I was walking by, I didn't get to see everything, but the only thing I could do is control what I can do on the golf course, and that's just to help my team. I think I achieved that. I don't know where everybody finished today, but we're looking for another good weekend.
Q. I think you had a couple of birdies from off the green?
JASON KOKRAK: Yeah, one birdie from off the green. It was a long putt on I guess it was No. 2. I made a long one from off the green.
I birdied the second hole of the day with a chip-in on 14, was kind of a nice boost early in the round. Yeah, I hit a lot of quality golf shots, a good up-and-down on 16 and then hit one close on 17, made a nice putt on 18, and kind of felt a nice little groove there. Actually I did make another one on (indiscernible).
Q. (On his form.)
JASON KOKRAK: You know, I drove it really nice in the Middle East for two weeks. Problem was I was in the simulator on Sunday before I left for here, and the face of my driver popped out. I had a backup, but the backup was not quite the same as the one I was working with.
I worked the last couple days to kind of fit some different things, tweaked a couple things with the driver, a little bit more open and a little slide away at the bottom that I felt pretty good movement. Kind of tweaked those, but I drove it really nice.
Been putting very well. David gives me a lot of good reads, a lot of confidence on the greens. If I take care of the ball-striking, we're going to be right in the mix.
Q. Did you come into the round not really knowing what was going to happen with the driver?
JASON KOKRAK: Well, I mean, I had three good days on the golf course. The first day was pretty horrific, hitting it left. But I knew I was hitting it well because all the other golf clubs I was hitting were right on target and quality golf shots, so I knew it wasn't the golf swing. It was just something small with the driver. Hopefully we have that figured out and we'll drive it good for the rest of the week.
Q. You had a bogey-free round. What are your thoughts on El Camaleon?
JASON KOKRAK: You know, it's always fun. I came down here quite a few times while the PGA Tour was here. I think this time of year, the golf course is in spectacular shape. A couple of changes, a new tee box I think on 12 is a new tee box, a couple new bunkers on 13. A couple small changes since I've been here last, but the golf course is in great shape, and looking forward to the weekend.
Q. A bogey-free round is --
JASON KOKRAK: Yeah, with my type of game, I don't always get the chance to have a bogey-free round. With that chip-in from 4 on the green was a nice bonus. Always pleased with a bogey-free round.
Q. Were you sort of gearing up more this year to try to get yourself in contention more, even win, and how do you think the first season went?
JASON KOKRAK: For me personally, I don't think it went overly well. I was not in great form. I wasn't bad, but I thought I could have done a lot better. I think the team aspect has kind of drawn me into taking care of a couple more things that I probably wouldn't have personally, so I've got myself in the gym, worked on my body in the off-season. Speed is back to where it was maybe five, six years into my PGA TOUR career.
My body feels good. I started working with -- Bruce Beckman (phonetic) and David have been with me for a long time, started working with a couple different guys that work with Team Smash. Body feels great, golf game feels good, and I hope to continue the good form.
Q. You played well in the first round here with a non-traditional driver. Do you think maybe this is a premonition?
JASON KOKRAK: You know what, I love that premonition. You know, it was a backup driver for me. It was designed to be exactly the same as my old one, but it was very hard to fit a driver for a TOUR player the exact same. It was just slightly different. Maybe the CG might not have been exactly the same. A few tweaks, and I thought I drove it nicely today with just one errant swing that was my fault. It wasn't anything questionable or anything like that. It was definitely my fault.
Q. This is a stacked field out here. 48 players, 24 major champions among them, and you are on top of the leaderboard and medalist today with 65. What does that feel like?
JASON KOKRAK: Well, considering that I've been working really hard on myself and my health at home, working hard in the simulator but definitely working a little bit harder out here, the short game, kind of the touch and feel shots over in the Middle East were definitely sub-par, so I worked hard on that, tried to get a little more shallow. I'm very pleased with the round I had. I had a couple bonus long putts today, so a little bit lucky there, but the practice is paying off, and looking forward to the weekend.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports