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June 11, 2009

Chris Stroud


PHIL STAMBAUGH: Chris, we'll go ahead and start. A nice birdie putt at the last hole, your ninth for 4-under par 66 and you're tied for the early lead here at the 2009 St. Jude Classic. Couple general thoughts about how you played and how the course played.
CHRIS STROUD: Well, in the past, obviously this golf course has always played very tough, very firm and fast. I think the rain really helped us all out last night.
I don't know how much rain it was, but it sure softened the greens. We were able to fire at the pins and I hit the ball really nicely. I don't know how many greens in regulation. I feel like I hit maybe 14, 15 greens. Really had a lot of good looks and didn't make anything I feel like until my back-9. I started making some 10, 15 footers.
I've really been working hard, like we all do, we always work really hard. Staying really patient with myself, not pushing so hard. Trying to give myself a lot of looks and really patient on myself on the greens, and I started making some putts.
It was really nice. Good round today.
PHIL STAMBAUGH: Can you go through your birdies and maybe the length of the putts, any good saves you may have had.
CHRIS STROUD: I started off on 10. Right down the fairway there on 10. I missed the green to the right and chipped it in. It was a great start. 11, tough par 3. 2-putt, par. Was real happy with that. Actually hit a really good 9-iron into 12, 3-wood, 9-iron, made birdie there got off to a good start. Obviously a great start. The back-9 is really tough. I don't know if there's an easy hole out here.
It's really boring, hit a lot of greens, didn't make any putts. Got to 18. Actually hit the green -- I'm sorry -- on 16 I hit the green in 2 but 3-putted from 70 feet the front right edge of the green. Little bit upset there. Didn't let me upset it too much. Got on 18, hit a shot to the right in the bunker. Had to lay up. Hit a shot up there about 15 feet for par. Missed it. Made bogey on 18.
Got back to boring golf, fairways and greens, and hit 6 and 7, both of them 6, I hit 3-wood 8-iron to about 10 feet. Hit a great putt. 7, straight downwind today, driver, 9-iron to about 15 feet, made that.
Actually had a great opportunity on 8 to make another birdie, par 3. The 7-iron to about 15 feet below the hole. Just missed the low edge there, and 9 is obviously a hard hole. Not really trying to make birdie, just trying to get fairway, give yourself a look and I had about an 18, maybe 16 footer, rolled it right in.
So, Kenny Perry told me this in Memorial last week I played with him in a practice round up there. Really good buddy of mine. Very fortunate to be able to play a lot of golf with him. When he almost won the Masters this year, he started playing his best golf honestly, not even looking at pins, trying to hit the greens, and playing for par. If you start making birdies, you know, don't let it stop. Don't push anything against it, don't push too hard, don't draw back. Let it go.
I feel like I did that today. I hit a lot of greens, lot of fairways, really patient with myself, and I finally made three good birdies the last four holes.
PHIL STAMBAUGH: We'll go to questions.

Q. You're from Houston? Kenny is from Louisville. You're about 25. He's about 85. Can you talk about how this --
CHRIS STROUD: I guess we met in Bible study. Kenny, I've always looked up to Kenny. With all the wins and all the popularity and all the people that just love him to death, he's been so gracious to a young guy like me. I just -- he's a big role model for me. I hope one day I can look back and say, you know, I did everything I could to be like Kenny because he's everything I want to be.

Q. Still early yet, but have you had a share of a lead in an event recently or --
CHRIS STROUD: It's been awhile. My third year on Tour. I think I've been in the lead a few times. I know San Antonio a couple times. Not this year, but last year, which was '08 in the fall. I actually had the lead after 60-something holes, 60 holes maybe I was in the lead. Made a par putt on 9. It hasn't happened to me very often.
I feel like -- got off to a great start this year. In the past my first two years on Tour I've got off to a poor start and finished strong in the fall. I didn't want that to happen this year. I got off to a great start. Kind of got into a lull again.
But, again, I think I've learned a lot in the last two years prior to this, learned that -- I got to learn how to come out here everyday, hit the ball solid everyday, putt it solid everyday and not get down or up too much. These guys are really good out here.
I cannot emphasize that enough. It's okay to hit two, three good shots in a row, but can you do it about 20 days in a row? That's what I'm trying to build on. I'm trying to make sure I do it on a consistent basis. I am 2, 3 under a day or I am on the leaderboard, you know, nine or ten tournaments in a row. I haven't done that yet.
Guys like Steve Marino, Kevin Streelman haven't won yet, but they've played solid golf. I want to go to a more consistent golf game and just let the wins happen. I think I've been pushing too hard for a win. Instead of worrying so much about that, just stay consistent, try to shoot under par everyday, give myself a lot of looks and let everything else just fall in place.

Q. Memory serves, you were outside the whatever number in the Fall Series and on the leaderboard quite a bit. What did you learn? How did that help you?
CHRIS STROUD: You know, I think the way that I looked at golf in the fall, the last two years was so much different than I did when I first got out here in the beginning of the year for the last two years. I would get out here, I was so happy in 2007 to finally get the PGA Tour card. Didn't know what to do. I was so excited. I don't calm myself down to get serious with golf.
On top of that, like I said, these guys are so good. My first two years out here I was able to play some good rounds, but I wasn't able to do that 20 rounds in a row. Maybe three, four in a row. Then two, three bad ones.
So, like I said, I'm really working on trying to get more consistent and try to keep my mentality like I did in the fall the last two years, which is give yourself a lot of looks, keep up with your work ethic. I've always been happy with my work ethic. We all work hard. Don't push it so much.

Q. If you had your choice the rest of the year, would you rather finish in the Top 20 every tournament the rest of the year, few Top 10s and final groups or win once and sting it up the other tournaments?
CHRIS STROUD: That is a tough answer. Part of me wants to win, but honestly as a golfer, to keep your sanity, I think it's nicer to be able to finish Top 20, Top 10 more often. The win is like a jewel out here. It's a diamond in the rough. If you find a win out here, it's incredible. You get two-year exemption for a golfer. And what I plan on doing out here, I want to be out here forever like Kenny Perry, I want to be out here until I'm 50.
If I want to do that, you know, to keep my sanity, like I said, I need to learn how to make sure I'm in the Top 20, Top 30, Top 10 every single week and worry about that. And if I win, great, but let that kind of be in the background and really work on staying consistent, be a Jim Furyk. That guy is a money-making machine, you know?

Q. Top-10s eventually spill over into a win.
CHRIS STROUD: I've always been able to build on things. If I can get on a really good roll and finish Top 30 maybe three, four, five events in a row, it really gets your confidence going and maybe you can push a little harder one day. For me right now where I'm at, third year on Tour, still feel like a rookie in a lot of ways. I'm still learning. I'm young. I've got a long time to go. Just pacing myself.
PHIL STAMBAUGH: Anything else?

Q. I have another one. When you're in a tournament like this, can you, even though you're minding your own business and getting ready, can you tell when there's stuff going on? Can you tell when people are paying attention to where Phil Mickelson is? And I know you can see what John is wearing, but do you pay --
CHRIS STROUD: Yeah, there's obviously Michelson being here this week, which is awesome for the tournament and Daly, too, could you see where the groups are? There's hundreds of people following them, which is awesome.
But, you know, we all try to do the same thing as far as when we get over a golf shot, really just focus on what we're trying to do and that's it. Try to put all the distractions to the side, which is probably the most difficult thing to do and.
When you get closer to the lead or when you're getting close to winning a golf tournament or something, there's a lot more distractions. If you can just stay in your little bubble, which I'm going to try do all week, like I said for next two, three months ahead. I'm going to do the same thing in and out and try to be as boring as I can and try to make a lot of fairways, lot of greens and see if the putts go in. That seems like the way -- seems like the solution for me.
PHIL STAMBAUGH: Anything else? Thank you very much.

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