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THE HONDA CLASSIC


March 2, 2013


Rickie Fowler


PALM BEACH GARDENS, FLORIDA

Q.  Were you expecting that number when you teed off this morning?
RICKIE FOWLER:  Yeah, I mean, being the kind of competitor that I am, it would have been nice to go out and try to compete but definitely happy with the way I finished, and where I posted and where I'm at going into tomorrow.

Q.  At 17, you were plus two at the time.
RICKIE FOWLER:¬† Yeah, it was a pretty good number just to kind of hit a soft 9‑iron, it came out right at it, and I was just looking down at the green and saw it from right down the stick.¬† It was nice to have a tap‑in.

Q.  Your second 18?
RICKIE FOWLER:  Second 18, hit a good drive, just stayed online, wind didn't touch it.  Had a nice lie in the rough.  Chopped a hybrid out of there and I actually just put that Cobra hybrid in at the Match Play.  Gave me a good luck at 3.
Putt was fairly straight.  That was probably the hardest thing about it, so I had to trust it and hit a good putt and it was on line and right in the middle.

Q.  We have seen you play well in difficult conditions, notably in the British Open a couple years ago, what is it about your game that you like to play in windy conditions like this?
RICKIE FOWLER:  I just love using my imagination, coming up with different shots, using the wind kind of as my friend.  Kind of tricks up the golf course a little bit and making you play a little differently.

Q.  Finishing with a beautiful 69, you bogeyed 16 and you came to 17 and had a wonderful bounce back birdie.  Can you walk us through that?
RICKIE FOWLER:¬† Coming through the tunnel, we said‑‑ let's finish it off.¬† He was all for it.
Coming down the stretch there, 17, had a tap‑in, too, a hybrid in out of the rough on 18.¬† Had a good luck at 3 and hit a good putt, too.

Q.  How difficult is that 17th hole?
RICKIE FOWLER:¬† Well, luckily the tee was up.¬† They did a great job on setting that up.¬† I hit 9‑iron.¬† Gives you a chance, tough little pin.¬† There's not a whole lot of room to miss right or left.¬† Just happened to hit a perfect shot.

Q.  You made a lot of laps around the Bear Trap on this golf course, but when it's windy like this, do you think about the upcoming holes a little more?
RICKIE FOWLER:¬† Yeah, I thought what was playing the hardest today‑‑ 15 was mainly just off the left, so kind of keeps you away from the water.¬† 15 was definitely the hardest.

Q.  Where was the wind the toughest?
RICKIE FOWLER:  10, 11 and 14.

Q.¬† And was it because it was the cross‑winds?
RICKIE FOWLER:¬† No, those are in and off the right.¬† But those are some of the‑‑ 11 is not that long of a hole, but 10 and 14 are both two pretty long par 4s.
So, yeah, I had 3‑wood in on 10, 4‑iron and then I hit one left on 14, which actually was like a little short cut.¬† I only had 6‑iron in.¬† But made some good up‑and‑downs on 10 and 14.¬† I mean, par was kind of irrelevant out there.¬† I mean, you're just trying to get in as few of strokes as possible.

Q.  Players always say when you finish with a birdie, dinner tastes better that night.  Finishing birdie, eagle, how do you think dinner will taste?
RICKIE FOWLER:  Really good tonight.  Sitting in there, not in a great spot coming in, knew we could at least have a chance at birdie, and just tried to make good swings.  I was coming through the tunnel with Jeff, if we could finish with two birdies, would be nice.  Made a good swing to start off on 17 and capitalized making 3 on the last.

Q.  Right back in contention to win.
RICKIE FOWLER:  Yeah, first three days, Thursday is just about getting off to a good start, not taking yourself out of it.  Then Friday, Saturday, you're just trying to put yourself in a position going into Sunday.  Biggest thing is being within a few shots going into the back nine tomorrow.  That's where the tournament really starts.

Q.  What do you have to do?
RICKIE FOWLER:  I haven't looked at any of the forecast or anything, but I know it's supposed to be pretty similar.  Same game plan, just come out, get a little practice in the morning, get some food in me, warm up and head to the tee.  Nothing different.  I've been hitting a lot of good putts, hitting my lines.  Just got to try to keep the ball in the short grass.

Q.¬† In these conditions, what does 1‑under realistically feel like?
RICKIE FOWLER:  Well, I mean, with the way 10 and 14 were playing, those were almost like par 5s in a way, a few of those holes.  I'm definitely pleased a lot more after I finished.  Up until there, I was kind of getting around, making some nice pars.  Making pars there, you're jumping in front of people.
So it's hard to really put a number on what par was today, but definitely comparable to the way I came out with 65 the first day.

Q.¬† On 14, just in the middle of trying to hang in there, could you have imagined being T‑5, which is where you are now, obviously didn't foresee the eagle‑‑
RICKIE FOWLER:  Obviously you can't really plan ahead too much.  You're just playing one shot at a time.  No, I mean, going into the day, that's pretty much where I wanted to end up is having a shot tomorrow.  You know, without 17 and 18, I wouldn't be in as good a position obviously.

Q.  What happened yesterday?  Were you just a little off yesterday?  Conditions weren't as tough obviously.
RICKIE FOWLER:¬† I got off to a rough start.¬† My second hole I made double, so I was a little behind the 8‑ball quickly.¬† I think I turned at 2‑over, came back, and made some better swings, missed a few putts, but you know, save it for Sunday.

Q. ¬†What did that do for you, you look at an event like this, obviously when you're going to be second, third‑to‑last group‑‑
RICKIE FOWLER:  Well, I definitely haven't played in a final group in a while, but I've had some final group pairings, Thursday, Fridays, playing with Tiger the first two days in San Diego.  So it's not like crowds or anything like that are going to freak me out.

Q.¬† In terms of jumping up leaderboards the way you did today‑‑
RICKIE FOWLER:¬† No, that week, confidence‑wise, it was huge, because after the first day, a lot of people would think‑‑ I had a lot of comments, whether it was Instagram or Twitter, how bad I was and missed the cut.¬† Well, 65, you're right back in it and finish T‑6.
Took a lot out of that for sure and moving forward, I knew I was swinging well.  So nice to finish well there and like I've been telling people, even though missing the cut in Phoenix, losing the first match in match play, match play is whatever, but excited to be home, staying at my house and see if we can get a good finish here this week.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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