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October 14, 2011

Michael Thompson


DOUG MILNE: We'd like to welcome Michael Thompson to the interview room. Great playing; matched your 5-under 65 yesterday with another today, thanks to another eight-foot birdie putt there at the last. This area has been good to you. Just talk a little bit about the area and your first couple of rounds as you are in great position heading into the weekend.
MICHAEL THOMPSON: Yeah, first came here in 2008 with the Alabama golf team for SEC Championships, and we played here at the Seaside Course. We finished second to Tennessee that year, which was a big bummer, but I finished fourth individually, so I have some competitive success here on the golf course. We came back the next year for SECs at Frederica. That's where we won as a team and I won individually. That was 2009. So getting to come back and play another tournament, I've been looking forward to this for a while.
DOUG MILNE: And now shifting gears over to just a couple comments on what went right today for you.
MICHAEL THOMPSON: Yeah, I got off to a slow start. The wind takes some adjustment, just getting started. And I made a few mistakes early. But made a great swing on 14 with a 5-iron to hit it to about eight feet, made a putt for birdie. And then par-5, 15, was playing dead downwind, hit a great drive, solid 3-iron to about 12, 15 feet and made the putt. So that really jump started my round.
From then on I played really solid, gave myself a lot of opportunities, just playing real steady. Hit some good shots on the front nine except for one tee shot, pulled left on 4, and then hit a 5-iron to two feet and made my par. Got out of there with kind of a bonus, and always nice to finish off a round with a birdie.

Q. I want to get the timing on your -- you said -- the Alabama media guide has the SEC Championship as 2008.

Q. So '07 was when it was here and you finished fourth, team second?

Q. And then you went to Frederica --

Q. And then the team won and you won?

Q. And as I recall, you played in a couple of those events at the Sawgrass Country Club with Alabama?

Q. And you guys did pretty well there?

Q. Historically have you done pretty well on these kind of like open courses near or on the ocean, wind coming in different directions? Is that something you've always enjoyed?
MICHAEL THOMPSON: I've always been a low-ball hitter all my life. I've learned to hit the ball high since I've turned professional. But I've always prided myself on being able to hit the ball as low as I can, and obviously that makes -- that's really good for wind play. And so I mean, I guess I've always done well on windy golf courses, kind of links-style golf courses.
And this week I got my ball flight the way I want it, which is nice, because I haven't had that in a few weeks. On top of me liking the area, liking the golf course and hitting the ball well, it's a great recipe for success. I'm just going to keep it going.

Q. You've been in contention at the midway point a few times this year; Reno and Canada are a couple. Is there anything you've learned from those events that you can apply to maybe get a different result this week?
MICHAEL THOMPSON: Yeah, it's mostly just staying in my process. That's my goal this week. That was my goal starting Saturday of last week. And I shot 3-under both Saturday and Sunday last week to give me some momentum going into this week.
So just staying on top of that, making that my goal, rather than a number or a score, is going to be very important. What I learned earlier in the year being in contention is that it's very easy to become jittery when you're playing in the last group. What I mean by that is being aware of all the different noises that are going on. You have so many people watching you, it's never quiet, and when it does get quiet you can hear every little sound.
So I'm really going to try to ignore everything going on around me, and my caddie and I just stay with our process and enjoy it. Getting to play on the weekend coming down the stretch at the end of the year when I'm on the verge of keeping my card or right on the bubble, that's exciting. As long as I stay in my process, I think I'll be fine. If I can shoot 5-under in this kind of wind today, there's no reason why I can't do it again.

Q. What was different about today's wind than yesterday? Was it gusting a little more or what exactly were you dealing with out there?
MICHAEL THOMPSON: Yeah, yesterday was about 5 to 10, which really isn't that bad. You can still be aggressive on shots, whereas today it was 15 to 20. It felt like 15 to 20. I don't know if it really is. Especially when you get out on 13, 14, out near the ocean, that's when it really is a constant, steady 20 miles an hour.
I bogeyed 13 because I hit it to the front of the green and the pin was all the way back. I had -- we were planning on playing it 158 yards. I hit a 7-iron, and it went about 130. So it's just tough to judge the wind when it's howling. Thankfully I took advantage of the downwind holes, though. I played those very well, and just managed myself on the into-the-wind holes.

Q. Did the rain last night soften things up at all?
MICHAEL THOMPSON: I don't think so. It seems the same as it was yesterday. You know, it rained a bunch earlier in the week and last week, so I think that just softened up the course in general. And that allows us to be a little bit more aggressive, hitting shots into the greens. Yeah, I didn't really -- nothing significant at least.
DOUG MILNE: Michael, we appreciate your time. Best of luck, and keep it up on the weekend.

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