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February 26, 2011

Chris Stroud


NELSON SILVERIO: We welcome Chris Stroud again to the media center at the Mayakoba Golf Classic. Chris, everybody asks you what your thought process, what might be different going into tomorrow, so I'll ask that question. Anything different you'll do tomorrow?
CHRIS STROUD: Nothing really different. I mean, today was a struggle off the tee, especially the front nine, so I'm going to go to the range and try to straighten that out a little bit. But the same thing, same swing thoughts, same goal tomorrow. Just give myself as many chances as possible. I really felt good over the putter today even though I didn't make many. I made some great pars early. It's just nice to be able to free it up a little bit and know that I am putting well.
I'm pretty happy with that, and tomorrow I've got to go play well. You know, I'm not going to worry about anybody else unless maybe the last couple of holes I need to make a birdie and force it or something. But I'm doing my best every hole to make birdies and give myself chances and see if I can win this thing tomorrow.
NELSON SILVERIO: How would you describe today's round?
CHRIS STROUD: You know, it was slow, slow and hard for the first 10, 12 holes. I didn't really hit a really good shot until the 10th hole today. It was just a struggle. I mean, I never really hit it on line. I kept drawing the ball left, and I was just staying patient. I made a great par on the 1st hole, made like a 10-footer for par. You know, I just hung in there. You're never really far off, and I knew as soon as I could hit a couple good shots and get some confidence, I'd be fine, and sure enough, I did, I hit some good shots on the back nine.

Q. What exactly was going on on the front nine that wasn't going on on the back nine maybe? Is there something you could pinpoint?
CHRIS STROUD: Golf swing-wise?

Q. Yeah.
CHRIS STROUD: Yeah, I was a little bit over the top, and it just really had more to do with timing. Timing is so crucial in a golf swing. You have to have it timed up just right. I've really -- for this week I've got a certain shot I'm trying to hit; I'm just trying to hit it as low as possible. Typically we're always trying to hit it really high. With me trying to hit it low, there are some different things that I'm having to deal with this week. Basically I was just a little bit over the top and hitting them left and almost falling back on it a little bit on the way through.
So I really just tried to stay steady, and the back nine I really got the club more out in front and I was able to hit some straight shots.

Q. Were you feeling any pressure maybe on the front nine?
CHRIS STROUD: No, you know, I really was calm today. I knew what to expect. I've been in this situation a few times, maybe not the lead group -- well, I think I've been in the lead group a couple times. But I knew I was the guy to chase today. But when I got out there, I just calmed down. As soon as I got on the range I started calming down. I was really calm today. I felt really comfortable. Like I said, I just physically was not swinging at it very well, and I just hung in there. I didn't want to make a bad shot into a double bogey or something like that. So I hung in there and just stayed patient, made some pars, and then sure enough, ended up shooting under par, which was pretty good.

Q. Is there anything on the golf course that stands out to you more than anything else, whether it be the vegetation or something in the design that might catch your eye?
CHRIS STROUD: You know, it's a beautiful golf course, like I said yesterday. It's actually one of my top ten on TOUR that we play. I think we play 40-something events out here, and this is one of my favorites.
You don't have to have -- it's good proof that you don't have to have a lot of length to have a great golf course. The layout is awesome. It's very unique, lots of wind and short trees. The mangroves are very short, so the wind, the breeze is always right there. So you've really got to flight the ball well. It goes to show you that the winners here are very straight ball hitters. Hopefully I can join those guys tomorrow.

Q. Unlike maybe other years on this event, we're pretty bunched up going into tomorrow. What do you expect to happen tomorrow, being that the leaderboard is so jammed up?
CHRIS STROUD: Yeah, somebody is going to have to shoot a good number. There's a lot of guys there. Today was my chance to really get away from the crowd, and I just didn't do that. So tomorrow I need to shoot something low. Somebody is going to shoot 5- or 6- or 7-under from behind and win, and hopefully that's me. I know I need -- 1-under tomorrow is not going to get it done for me. I've got to shoot, I think, minimum 4-under for me to win this tournament, and I'm going to go home and think about that strategy and do whatever I can to maximize my opportunity.
But I need to really get after it tomorrow, and I'm going to do the best I can. From the beginning of the week my goal was to get to 20-under, and it still will be tomorrow. 8-under is a lot, but I did it Friday, and that's what I'm going to be going after, give myself a lot of opportunities and see if I can start making some putts.

Q. You've put yourself in contention in the past. What have you learned from those tournaments that you can apply to tomorrow?
CHRIS STROUD: You know, mainly you've got to stay patient. You've got to calm the nerves. Everybody is going to be -- I was more nervous this morning when I woke up than I was on the golf course, and I probably will be tomorrow, too. So calming the nerves and just sticking to your game plan, and I feel like I've got a good game plan.
It comes down to the putting. You know, I mean, today I left the last few holes I left two putts -- the last two holes I had a 10-footer and a 15-footer, left them right in the jar short, and same on -- actually the last three holes. So I had a good opportunity, I could have shot 4-under today, and same thing tomorrow. So everything is going to be the same tomorrow. Hopefully I can just get off to a better start.
These are very unique greens. It's called paspalum, the grass is, and we don't play paspalum very often. They're grainy, like Bermuda. It's Bermuda really that I grew up on in Houston. I'm very comfortable on them. I can read the grain pretty well. I feel very comfortable.
But they're very tricky to make putts. Even if you have a perfect read sometimes, the grain or the slope, the greens are very tricky and it's hard to make putts. That's why the scores aren't in the 20-unders every year here, because it comes down to the putting, who's going to get hot. Like yesterday I made eight in a row because I made -- four of those eight were putts outside 10 feet.
It comes down to putting. You've got to be able to hit some really good putts, and for me, my focus is hitting every putt as solid as I can hit it and don't worry about them going in, because if you're hitting good putt after good putt, they're going to start going in. That's what my focus will be tomorrow.

Q. So putting is the key tomorrow?
CHRIS STROUD: Absolutely, it always is. It always comes down to the putting. That's just the way it is. Especially right now, tomorrow, there's probably -- I didn't look at the scoreboard very closely, but there's probably 10 or 15 guys within a couple of shots, two or three. It comes down to the putts, being able to save those par putts and making a couple of 10- or 15-footers for birdie and just getting the round going. There's probably 15 guys that are playing really well, and it just comes down to making those putts.

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