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CROWNE PLAZA INVITATIONAL AT COLONIAL


May 24, 2014


Chris Stroud


FORT WORTH, TEXAS

MARK STEVENS:テつ Like to welcome Chris Stroud.テつ Chris, you got to 7‑under to join the lead heading into the final round of the Crown Plaza Invitational.テつ Talk about that last putt there on 18 to get you to 7.
CHRIS STROUD:テつ Yeah, obviously, I was very happy to finish with a birdie especially after bogeying 17.テつ I hadn't hit a great tee shot, almost got back to the fairway and had a bad lie.テつ Hit it where you can't hit it on the left side, and I got up‑and‑down and made bogey.テつ I told my caddie let's make birdie and see if we can get in one or two of the last groups tomorrow.テつ Hit a great drive right in the middle of the fairway.テつ I get down there and the ball was in the divot, so I had to make a decision to either hit a really hard shot with a 50‑degree or hit a chip shot pitching wedge so it wouldn't spin off and luckily I went with a pitching wedge.テつ Put myself in position, and walking up to the green I told my caddie I'm going to hit this putt like I'm trying to win the tournament tomorrow.テつ Just preparation for tomorrow, so to make that was a little bonus.テつ It was really nice, especially to finish off the day like that.
Wasn't a super impressive day.テつ I hit a lot of good shots, left a few out there, but definitely promising for tomorrow.テつ Hit a lot more good shots tomorrow and make a few more putts ahead of two or three short ones I could have made today.テつ But, like I said, I think I only hit one bad putt today, so I was really happy with that.

Q.テつ There are 49 guys within five shots of the lead.テつ Have you ever seen a jammed leaderboard like that, and what's it going to take tomorrow?
CHRIS STROUD:テつ Yeah, it happens on courses like this that are just everybody hits in the same spots, everybody's got to hit the same type shots into the greens, and it's all about the guys that are really, really sharp from 160 to 130 with their wedges and 9 and 8s and who is making the putts.テつ You don't have to have anything‑‑ the greens are receptive.テつ They're not firm, they're not too fast, and still the score is only 7‑under.テつ That has a lot to say about how great this golf course is.

Q.テつ How important is it from your standpoint to get to 7 to be able to sleep with the share of the lead and kind of see it as opposed to being playing‑‑
CHRIS STROUD:テつ Exactly, it makes a big difference.テつ I think I probably, my guess was probably 3, 4, 5 group difference in teeing off and to know that you're starting the day at the same number that everybody else is the best at.テつ So very happy to finish like that, and I love this course.テつ I love this tournament, and I'm going to come out tomorrow.テつ No expectations when I tee off and I'm going to do the best I can and see if I can win my first tournament.

Q.テつ You relied on the putter yesterday, I guess not so much today.テつ Does that give you confidence going in?
CHRIS STROUD:テつ It does, exactly.テつ Like today I felt very well‑rounded.テつ I felt like my driver was really solid off the tee.テつ I have a new Mini driver like a 2‑wood I'm hitting that I'm hitting it great.テつ I've got a new hybrid I put in that's a little longer I'm hitting that great.テつ Everything is really well balanced.テつ I'm hitting my iron shots really nicely.テつ If I tighten it up a little bit more tomorrow, and hit a few more close, I felt like I left a few shots out there that weren't as close as they could have been.テつ That has a little bit to do with my golf swing, but it's very promising for tomorrow. If I come out here tomorrow, nothing special, shoot 4, 5, 6‑under and hopefully win one.

Q.テつ Seems like with so many guys, you might need to be a little bit more aggressive than usual tomorrow.テつ Would you say that's the case?
CHRIS STROUD:テつ I'm pretty aggressive on this golf course myself anyway.テつ Not in any way have I been conservative.テつ Anytime I get inside 150, 160 yards with a good lie I'm going to go right at it.テつ The greens are pretty soft.テつ So I think in general most guys out here, especially guys hopefully that are playing well, they're going to be aggressive.
I haven't played the par‑5s well at all this week.テつ I haven't put myself on the fairway once on one yet to get off to a good start.テつ Haven't birdied No. 2, which I think is a pretty simple hole if you get it in the fairway.テつ So hopefully tomorrow I'll give myself a little bit better chance on the par‑5s.テつ Give myself a couple more chances there, and just really dial in.テつ I'm about to go on the range and work on the wedges a little bit before I go home.テつ But just tighten up the wedges and just give myself as many looks as possible.
My putting just feels great right now, and it's just so nice.テつ You can sleep so nicely at night when you're putting the way I feel right now.

Q.テつ You were obviously very confident after yesterday's round when we talked.テつ It sounds like it's the same place.テつ Just talk about your confidence level, even though you haven't won a TOUR event, you sound like a guy that feels like you've got maybe a heck of a shot at it tomorrow or a date with destiny or something?
CHRIS STROUD:テつ I do.テつ I feel very confident with where I'm at.テつ Somebody told me once, I don't know if this is true or not, but somebody told me that Ben Hogan said he always won his tournaments in between sure and unsure, right in the middle is where you want to be.テつ If you're too sure, you're too confident, you get lazy.テつ If you're really unsure, you don't have any confidence.テつ So I'm right in the middle, I feel like.テつ If I can stay there, for the rest of my career, I would love that.テつ But that's hard to do.
But mentally I'm in a great state of mind.テつ I'm really happy where I'm at, and like I said, being able to just simplify my putting, I've got a really great putter I feel good with, and just getting into every shot tomorrow and just mentally committing to my target and doing the best I can on every shot, that's all I can do.テつ Hopefully that puts me on top tomorrow.

Q.テつ You're kind of moving up the board here at Colonial, T 13 the year before, and last year.
CHRIS STROUD:テつ Something like that, yes.

Q.テつ How much confidence have you gained being on this course and what have you learned over the last few years?
CHRIS STROUD:テつ Yeah, there are a lot of great memories on this golf course.テつ I can think back to almost every hole I've hit some great shots on every hole, so it's really great to have a memory like that.テつ There are a lot of shots that fit my eye, and just the last two years ‑‑ I played with Boo Weekley last year in the final group when he won, and watching what he did.テつ He didn't do anything special.テつ He just made a few more good shots at the end and made a couple putts and then he's the winner.
I think last year boosted me into playing well a few more times and almost winning Travelers.テつ Like I told a couple guys this week, I feel like I won Travelers.テつ Even though I don't have the title in my name, I played absolutely almost as good as I possibly could on Sunday mentally, and I could have made a couple more putts, but I couldn't have done anymore.テつ I'm happy with that.テつ You know?テつ Like Joe Durant told me, sometimes you play the best golf you can possibly play and you finish top 10.テつ Sometimes you play average golf and you win.
I'm just going to do the best I can tomorrow.テつ Put myself in position, and hopefully coming down the stretch have a few, maybe even have a three, four shot lead.テつ It depends.テつ I'm sure a lot of guys are going to shoot some good numbers tomorrow.テつ The greens are fabulous.テつ Golf course is in great shape.テつ I'm sure the winds will be dying down tomorrow too.テつ The wind has been very mild here this year.

Q.テつ How much did that experience with Boo kind of help you?テつ It sounds like you took a lot from that?テつ Just, hey, it's not some magical formula here that gets you across the finish line.
CHRIS STROUD:テつ That's exactly right.テつ I learned a lot last year, and Boo and I are very close friends.テつ I feel like I can hang out with him anytime I want.テつ A lot of guys feel that way.テつ He's just a great guy, a great guy to be around.テつ He just makes you feel comfortable even when you're playing with him, and he was playing great last year.テつ The only difference between my score and his, coming down the stretch he hit a couple iron shots a little closer than I did, he made a couple more putts on the last five or six holes and he wins the tournament.テつ I was like, wow, it's not that far off for me.テつ That's what I feel like boosted my confidence for the rest of the year last year and I went on to finish 43rd in the FedEx and almost won the Travelers, and I almost won the CIMB this last fall.
My game's really coming together.テつ I feel very confident.テつ Like I said, I'm just trying to maintain this feel and this confidence and not work too much.テつ My tendency is to overwork and overthink, and a lot of us get into that trap.テつ I'm just trying to pull the reins back a little bit, relax, and enjoy it, and do the best I can every day.

Q.テつ Why all the equipment changes?
CHRIS STROUD:テつ What's that?

Q.テつ The equipment changes.
CHRIS STROUD:テつ Yeah, I normally don't do that, but I definitely with the last month my wedges have been very poor.テつ I got some new wedge shafts, they were the same, but they weren't the same.テつ They didn't feel the same.テつ Then I went home this last week.テつ I took Byron Nelson off last week, and I was home in Houston, and I worked with my coach at home.テつ We hit a bunch of wedges on TrackMan, and I found out my old wedges I was playing had better shafts than the new ones, and we couldn't tell why.テつ But just the distances weren't going as far as I wanted.テつ So I put the old ones back in play and immediately the wedges were sharp, and they were going how far I wanted them to go.テつ That was the first change.テつ Then I came here, and I was thinking to myself, I only hit three or four drivers here max, and the only drives you need to hit need to go high left over bunkers, so I got a new driver made.テつ TaylorMade made me an awesome driver, but it goes a little too far left.テつ So we'll tweak that next week.テつ I'm putting the old driver back in.テつ It's an anti‑left driver.テつ It goes a little right, if anything.テつ So that was the change, and then I put the little Mini driver, the little 2‑wood in.テつ So a few changes, which I normally don't do, but I felt confident enough to do it.

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