September 8, 2023
St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Norwood Hills Country Club
Q. You shot 64, tied the course record, currently top of the leaderboard. Takeaways from round 1 today? Your first start was last year at this time, you started at this tournament, just playing this course again, as well.
TIM O'NEAL: Well, yeah. I didn't know it was a course record, but I'm really happy about that.
But yes, second time, second tournament here, so being able to see the course again this year -- anytime I can get a second chance to see a course, we just get used to the course.
I played well today. I did pretty much everything well. I drove it well, putted well, hit my irons well, and therefore I was able to shoot a low round today.
Very pleased. 36 holes to go, and looks like the scores are low, so I'm going to have to -- I think the scores are going to be low, so I'm going to have to keep going low.
Q. Do you think this continues to give you the confidence and validation that -- just continually playing well, a few top 10s this year, as well, just heading into the remainder of the season, what is going through your mind with that and what have you been working on?
TIM O'NEAL: Yeah, like I said, it's a process. I know that I have these rounds in me. It's just a matter of me just believing and not getting too distracted with other stuff going around. Guys are really good and playing well.
Yeah, this definitely helps with confidence. I've had some good rounds this year in tournaments.
But yeah, just being able to shoot a low round, and hopefully the plan is just to keep the foot on the gas and try to get a win.
Q. Name on your hat is the name on the tournament. What's it mean to be an Ascension ambassador?
TIM O'NEAL: Yeah, Ascension gave me my first exemption, so it means everything. They gave me an opportunity last year, and for me to actually get status and be back here again as an ambassador and then play well, it means everything.
Hopefully I'm doing them proud.
Q. We talked yesterday about seeing a course for the second time. You've done that. Did it play easier because of that?
TIM O'NEAL: Yeah. You know, last year, first time here, didn't know what to expect, different emotions, first Champions Tour start.
Now being back here, going back to a course that you've played, you know the holes in your head, so it does make it easier. Like I said, my first top 10 was Atlanta. I had played there before.
These courses, 95 percent of these courses are new to me, so being back here and seeing it for the second time has definitely made it a little bit easier.
Q. Adding confidence?
TIM O'NEAL: Oh, absolutely, just adding confidence, and like I said, you know shots that you hit from last year, and so definitely more confidence. Hopefully this continues.
Q. Anything in particular you've been working on in your game?
TIM O'NEAL: Mainly just short game and then just trying to stay in the shot, stay in the process, not get ahead of myself, all the stuff that you hear all the time. That's for me not trying to get ahead of myself.
Q. Is the key for the remainder of the week just being patient with yourself and taking it one shot at a time?
TIM O'NEAL: Absolutely, just staying patient, not thinking about the outcome, just playing one shot at a time.
Q. What were your two yardages on 8 and 9 and what did you hit in?
TIM O'NEAL: 8, the par-5, I hit 3-wood off the tee and I had 226, and I hit 4-iron in there.
Then 9, 3-wood off the tee there again and I had 130, pitching wedge in there about four feet.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports