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January 31, 2014

Matt Jones


THE MODERATOR:  We'd like to welcome Matt Jones to the media center.  A 65 today.  If you could, give us some thoughts about your round.
MATT JONES:  Played well.  First hole, got off to a nice start with birdie, and I think I birdied 3.  I think I was 3‑under through 4 and then had a bit of a bogey on 9, which was a bit of a mistake on my part but then played good on the back nine and ended up with 66.
THE MODERATOR:  We'll open it up for questions.

Q.  How are the conditions out there?
MATT JONES:  I was lucky enough to tee off early.  I didn't really notice it.  I mean, 13 we still got home with driver, 4‑iron, and then it started to pick up on ‑‑ on 15, we hit driver, 7‑iron in there.  I noticed it on 15, 16, 17, is when I started to notice it.

Q.  You think that's going to be an advantage for you with the conditions out there?
MATT JONES:  We definitely got the good side of the draw going early.  It's going to be cold and the ball isn't going as far.  It was going a long way yesterday.
It will be going shorter today, and No. 11 will be tough.  12 will be tough with that back pin and that breeze.  There will be a fair few tough holes out there.

Q.  You know, it seems like you just keep getting better and better every season.  Are you working with anybody here?  Do you still live here in Scottsdale?
MATT JONES:  I still live here, but no, I still have my same coach from when I was 15, same guy from Australia.  He was over here a few weeks ago.  He will be here on Monday in Pebble.  Gary Barter, teaches at the Australian golf course where I'm a member in Australia.
No, it's just years of work.  We do the same thing, trying and improve the same areas and they are probably starting to come together.

Q.  What's gotten better?
MATT JONES:  My driving.  I'm driving the ball very well.  I'm not having the misses that I used to have.
My wedge game, took years for me to be able to control the ball, trajectory, spin of the wedges how we wanted.  They're starting to get better.
Then putting is always the one that I need to improve on or become more consistent at, so that's worked a few times this week.

Q.  Where do you play out of here?
MATT JONES:  I play here a lot, actually, and then at Whisper Rock.  I do the majority of my work here.  It's close to home.  I'm just up the street.  With a 20‑month‑old daughter, my time is pretty limited.

Q.  What kind of reaction do you get from the fans when you play here?
MATT JONES:  None, really.  (Smiling.)  On 16, not sure ASU, and especially this week playing with Graham when all of Canada was here supporting him.  Definitely a lot more Canadian support here, which is fine by me.  Doesn't bother me at all.
As long as I'm playing well, it doesn't bother me if there are people supporting me or not.  I have plenty of friends and family out in the crowd I know they are watching and supporting.

Q.  Pat was in here yesterday.  Starting to feel like an ASU alumni tournament.
MATT JONES:  Hopefully it ends up that way, too.  It would be nice to have a fair few ASU guys up on top of the leaderboard.  36 holes to go.  12‑under is great.  But it's a long ‑‑got to shoot another double digits to win.

Q.  Do you practice on the facility or play the course?
MATT JONES:  Both.  I do a lot of practice here, and then I do a lot of playing in the afternoons.  I just drive around wherever I can find a spot to play.

Q.  You mentioned you have never been in this room before, but you've played in a lot of Opens.  Is that just because you haven't played well this tournament?
MATT JONES:  Yeah, I have never played well here.  I was interviewed just before.  My lowest round here with 67, and I would have guessed 69.  I always struggle to break by here for some reason.

Q.  Is it like that when you practice here, too?
MATT JONES:  No.  The golf course is so different tournament week than it is when you play out here regularly.  It's a lot harder, a lot faster.  The greens are a lot quicker.  The pins are a lot more tucked out here.
So it's like a new golf course when you come here for a tournament compared to when I play here during the season.

Q.  Did you leave after your junior year at ASU?

Q.  Was that the same year Casey left?
MATT JONES:  Paul Casey, Jeff Quinney, Jim Park.

Q.  Are you surprised that you never won an NCAA...
MATT JONES:  Well, we had a good team if you look at it in the future.  But we won a lot of golf tournaments, but we never played well as a team in that big tournament.  We always had some good individuals but never as a team in that big tournament.
But we won Pac 10s plenty of times and regionals.  It was a good team.

Q.  How did you feel about your overall game today?
MATT JONES:  Very happy.  I will do a little bit of work this afternoon just to try and tighten up some things, but no, I'm happy with the way I hit it, the way I putted, and chipping was good, too.

Q.  What do you think will be a good score this afternoon out there in those conditions?
MATT JONES:  5 or 6‑under.  I mean, someone is going to shoot that.  There's going to be a few tough holes, but that wind direction, if you get through 11 and 12, you can still get home on 13.  6 will be another tough one.
There's still going to be good scores out there.  It's just the greens are getting firm.  They are going to start bouncing.  They will dry out pretty quick out there with that wind and this temperature.  The ball is not going to be spinning a lot, and the greens will get a bit bumpy, as they already are.

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