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THE HONDA CLASSIC


February 27, 2014


Russell Henley


PALM BEACH GARDENS, FLORIDA

JOHN BUSH:テつテつ Like to welcome Russell Henley after an opening round 6‑under par 64, if we can just get some comments, obviously a great start out of the gate, birdies in your first six holes, can I just get to you comment on the entire round.
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ Yeah, getting off to a good start here is pretty important.テつ Every hole is challenge, always have to decide what to do with the wind and where it's coming from.テつ I got off to a great start by hitting fairways and hitting greens, giving myself some chances, and just kind of‑‑ hitting a lot of fairways and gave myself a lot of chances, made a couple of them and that's pretty much it.

Q.テつ Obviously you went to the range after your round, was it something you were working on or trying to ingrain?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ Both.テつ You can never practice too much when you're playing out here.テつ Everybody's so good, and you've got to do the work.テつ I'm trying to do that and at the same time keep it simple and not get too technical about anything in my game.テつ Just trying to hit good shots and stay comfortable.

Q.テつ Talk about the decision to take off your shoes and socks to get in the water on the par5.テつ Obviously you felt like you could do what you did which was good around the green?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ Yeah, felt like I could get it in the bunker at least.テつ Half of it was under water and half of it was above water.テつ I just felt like at worst case, I could at least chunk it into the bunker and that would probably be better than taking a drop on the hill.
I watched Bill Haas, everyone has seen that video so many times at 17 at East Lake, and I just tried to just stay aggressive and hit it hard and see if it came out.テつ I hit it and kind of lost it and looked up and it came out way higher and softer than I could ever imagine, and it was pretty cool to have a birdie putt after that but I definitely doesn't deserve it.

Q.テつ What is it about this course that you feel favors your game?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ It was really windy last year and the greens were a little faster.テつ I think college golf has something to do with that, going to Georgia and those courses you play, are pretty difficult, where you play the highest‑ranked teams in the tournaments are pretty tough courses.
I'm not going to say I'm used to it because I don't play well at every tough course, but I think I'm just comfortable on the greens.テつ I kind of accept before I tee it up that it's going to be a tough grind out there.テつ I think that might take a little pressure off myself for some reason.テつ But I like places that are really warm and I tend to play golf a little bit better when it's a little warmer.

Q.テつ Did you make any significant changes coming off the West Coast Swing?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ Yes, I did.テつ I've been working really hard on my swing.テつ I felt like the last half of the year for me wasn't a terrible half of the year for my rookie year.テつ Didn't feel like I was playing too technical. I kept doing that on the West Coast, really grinding on my swing and I think at L.A. after I was almost in last place after the first round, I told myself, I can't keep doing this, this is not how you got here, you didn't get here because you were technical with your swing.テつ I was just thinking on the course, trying to hit the same shot every time, trying to, almost not playing the game.テつ I grew up playing the game.
And that's kind of a weird answer to say, but the next day, I shot 66 at Riviera and I had a putt on the last hole to make the cut and barely missed it.テつ That day, I just said, screw it, I'm going to play golf today and I'm going to swing hard and I'm going to go chase it.テつ I told myself I'm going to do that from now on, make a conscious effort in the next however many tournaments I play in a row here on the Florida Swing.テつ Just going to try to play golf.テつ I had a good round, not going to happen every day, but when I feel like I'm just playing the game and not grinding so much and getting technical, I feel like I've played better so I'm going to keep doing it.

Q.テつ You're closer to him than anybody but what's the reaction to seeing Rory at the top of the leaderboard?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ What's the reaction?テつ I mean, he's won two majors and he's won here, so you know, the Top‑10 in the world, and doesn't really surprise me.テつ You kind of go into events like this expecting somebody to go low.テつ He's got so much talent, it's not really that surprising to me.テつ I'm just happy to be in a good position.テつ It's only been one day, though, so got a long way to go.

Q.テつ You talked about the greens a little bit.テつ A lot of players particularly from the morning group are talking about the greens and the difficulty reading it.テつ Can you just talk about that a little bit?
RUSSELL HENLEY:テつ Difficulty reading the greens?テつ Yeah, I mean, I think I almost made a bunch of putts today.テつ There's some subtle breaks out there, not too much undulation on the course.テつ They are a little bit flatter, sometimes it's hard to see just a little bit of break.
But they are rolling nice.テつ They don't‑‑ even this afternoon in the late holes, they weren't bouncing very much, even if there were spike marks or whatever, they roll really smooth, obviously not as fast as last year but really smooth.テつ I don't know, I mean, I grew up playing a lot of bermudagrass in Georgia, so I'm a little bit more comfortable on these than, say, poa annua green.
JOHN BUSH:テつ Russell Henley, thank you, sir.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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