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November 7, 2015

Jordan Spieth

Shanghai, China

Q. I know conditions today were pretty good, but 9-under 63, that's very special?
JORDAN SPIETH: Sure, yeah. I struggled to putt really lower than 2- or 3-under together on this golf course in the past couple years, and today was the day to do it. Ball-in-hand, very little wind, and some gettable pins. Yeah, obviously very pleased with the round and getting actually back into contention, which at the start of the day, I was just trying to have a consistent weekend to kind of get in the rhythm of the season.

Q. Yesterday you said you didn't feel right at the start of the day. You said you felt a little bit frustrated. What did you do different today?
JORDAN SPIETH: I just wasn't frustrated. For whatever reason yesterday, I put some higher expectations than what I've said coming into this week. I shot 4-under the first day, figured maybe I could do that again. Yesterday's conditions were tough and I lost a few shots because of it.

Today I came out knowing that it was a gettable golf course. The first two holes, we had a rain delay after the first two holes, I was at even par and those first two were playing pretty easy, so I was pretty frustrated with that and came out and just got it going from there. Once one or two putts went in, a few more did.

I missed four putts inside eight feet today and that's also not normal in a round of golf. So what could have been and what it was, both are special and obviously pleased, because I've got a few longer ones to go.

Q. At the moment, you're three shots off the lead going into tomorrow. What will your strategy be?
JORDAN SPIETH: Kind of like today. Be aggressive. I was aggressive on 18 there, which summed up kind of my round today. Take a few chances, see if it pays off. I think tomorrow, I'm going to have to do the same thing. This golf course, though, there's a lot of water, a lot of trouble. You've got to keep the ball in the fairway.

If I can put some pressure from a group or two ahead, you never know how it will back up at the end and so I'm going to have some patience towards the end of the round and hopefully get off to a good start.

Pretty good round. I'm very pleased with 9-under anywhere. The conditions were favourable. There were definitely some birdies out there. It's all about making the putts. I had a lot of shorter-length birdie putts today. Ones that were inside of five feet, and I've got a couple longer ones to go. For the most part it was ball-striking. I didn't put myself in much trouble. I really only missed one green and so I was able to capitalise.

Q. You said you didn't feel right yesterday. What happened?
JORDAN SPIETH: I felt okay. I was just a bit lazy in my routine for whatever reason, I don't know why. It just came up. I certainly was feeling okay. I just let things get to me a little quicker than normal.

Today, obviously with a better start, it was easier to stay patient and stay in the rhythm. But yeah, I felt a lot better obviously today. Going into tomorrow, smile on my face, knowing that I didn't expect to be in contention any ways, and you know, you just never know what can.

Q. How many times can you answer the same question?
JORDAN SPIETH: Probably a few more times.

Q. Happy with that?
JORDAN SPIETH: Not entirely. I'm still working pretty hard on a couple moves in my swing, and in my putting stroke. But today it certainly paid off. The work I put in the last -- the repetitions I had over the past, now I've been practising for about a week now, from back at home until here.

So it all came together today. In order to continue what I'm doing, I'm going to have to keep hitting fairways. Therefore, I can get the ball on the green and in worst case make par. It was extremely stress-free. The only real chance at making anything other than par or birdie I had today was my save on 17.

All in all, this is a day that you really want to have every time you tee it up, and it doesn't come out that often, so very pleased when it does.

Q. Does your attitude change on a third morning when you find yourself trialing? Do you tell yourself: Got to do it, got to do it, got to do it today?
JORDAN SPIETH: It certainly changes because you almost feel -- you almost like you're out of the tournament. You almost feel like you're kind of playing the golf course. You're just playing for yourself. You have a higher level of trust, and that's going to be my biggest inhibitor tomorrow to success is actually trusting what I worked on and what I what was useful today for the first 13, 14 holes in my swing.

I just felt like it was free-flowing and if it doesn't work out, that's fine. And if it does, that's great. I'm going to have the same feeling tomorrow, playing with house money and see if we can shoot another something, 5- , 6-under and see if it holds up.

Q. I appreciate there's a lot of golf to be played; do you now feel involved in the tournament?
JORDAN SPIETH: I do, yeah, I do feel involved now, and obviously I want my attitude to stay the same as today. Even though I feel involved, I need to almost approach the round like I'm just playing the golf course just like we've been off on the last couple groups on a lot of Sundays this year and had some success and had some failures. I can build on this year with a swing that was certainly capable to hold up today, and if those putts go, then this could be mine tomorrow.

Q. What was the difference today?
JORDAN SPIETH: Just better-ball striking. On the range, I found an easier way to get the club in the position I've wanted it to be in the whole week. I just for whatever reason, I just set it a bit earlier in the position that I want to be in and it freed me up to be able to not think about impact position and just swing through the ball.

Earlier in the week, I was kind of just holding on, and my left hand and my left arm really hold a shot through. Today I was able really to rip through the ball, see ball flights, be able to hit a lot of straight balls, maybe a little fade. And I was able to trust that. I had a shot that I could trust, and with driver, that's really key out here.

Q. That puts you into a virtuous circle and that then putts the mind in the right place as well as the club position.
JORDAN SPIETH: 100 per cent. When I feel like I have a shot that I can trust, you're a lot more confident over the ball. You see the shots coming together and then all of a sudden you're able to make more putts. That's just how it works with golf. It's just a momentum game, a confidence game and we'd certainly built a lot today.

Q. When the Masters and U.S. Open Champion fires a third round like that and sticks his name on the leaderboard, people notice; the rest of the field will notice. What does it do for you?
JORDAN SPIETH: Well, that's ideal. For me, I've got to just look at tomorrow the way I looked at today and just say, it's me and the golf course, we'll play the golf course, trust your swing as much as you can. I trusted it more today than I had the who he will week. It paid off in ball-striking because I know where I need to get to but sometimes it's harder to do that when there's trouble around or you know that you're in a position where you can win the tournament.

So hopefully I get off to a good start, get into contention and then we'll see how that trust holds up, and I certainly hope it does.

Q. How much better could it have been?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, the only one, the only stroke I felt like I really -- I felt like I stole maybe two strokes: And that was the putt on 12, the par 3, from range, and then the putt I made on 17, I could have made bogey there. I obviously got a very good break hitting my tee shot, it hit the rock and went out of the hazard into where I could get up-and-down.

But man, to miss four putts inside of eight feet, typically means I'll shoot a round, if I'm hitting the ball well, miss four of them inside eight feet is normally around 3- or 4-under. So ideally, those would have gone in. I was just tentative. The greens were slower today after the rain last night and I left two putts from inside ten feet short, which is unusual.

I'm not going to complain about the round but I felt like the way I played could have been ten or 11 for sure.

Q. Of the shots that you hit today, there were several brilliant ones. Which one did you really love?
JORDAN SPIETH: I loved my shot into 15. I hit a 6-iron into 15. I didn't catch my drive but it was a straight one in the fairway. And that pin's tucked over there in that front left corner which isn't a tough pin on the green but you can get into some trouble, and I hit just a laser 6-iron right at it and it stuck to that far.

And at that point, I had birdied 10. I missed a short one on 11. Birdied 12, missed a short one on 13, birdied 14. I knew I was in a rhythm. I knew where I was at and what I could get to.

And with two more birdie holes coming up after that, I'm sitting there thinking, you know, I can get this to 10-under or even better. And so that was a nice, solid shot. Best swing of the week I think.

Q. Given the timing, where this tournament falls, you must be pleased to be in the tournament.
JORDAN SPIETH: No doubt. No doubt. Very pleased. This will be the first and only time I would say this, but I was not expecting myself to be in this position come Sunday when the week started. I came in with very little confidence in my trust of what I'm trying to do in my swing.

It's a very difficult move for me to do, getting my face back to square. And it's something that I struggled with through the Playoffs, and the poor ball-striking through the Playoffs; came together a little bit at East Lake but that was all putting. But yeah, I'm extremely pleased just to be in contention.

Q. How have you done it?
JORDAN SPIETH: Just with one round, honestly. 4-under for the first two rounds, I was the middle of the pack. I was the last of the 4-unders. Just one round, one sparked round. I don't know exactly what to expect from tomorrow but I developed a lot of confidence and an easier way to get the club in the position I want it to be in and I found it on the range. I'm getting it set a bit earlier.

I was trying to do it fluidly through the swing rolling the face open and trying to get depth but I just took care of the face earlier in the swing today and it really freed me up. I didn't have to think too much about the rest of the swing and I was able to hit straight balls or little fades. So I had a shot I could trust.

Considering we were there with two or three delays, I had a bit of extra time, but it was something that I kind of found in my wedge, 9-iron range and then I took it through the rest of the bag. It was the first time where I was hitting 3-wood and driver on the range consistently where I wanted to this week.

Q. How did you come up with that idea to set it earlier?
JORDAN SPIETH: Every tendency I run into, everything I'm working on is something I've worked on in the past. So I can kind golf back and think back to what made it easier for me to do. I use this -- there's a tool that I've used in the past when I've struggled with this called the swing guide and it just kind of sets the club right here and it sets it earlier.

I was using a different one for whatever reason. Cameron give me a different one trying to overdo it some because we were trying to get ready so quickly. I just tried to do exactly what the swing guide would feel, and if it didn't work out, then I would just go with what I had but it really felt a lot better.

The classic thing that sets along here -- and it stays there throughout the backswing.

Q. The weather is starting to close in, the wind is getting up. Do you feel they are not going to get away from you, the guys in front?
JORDAN SPIETH: I think I'll probably be four back. What am I 13-under? Someone will be at 17. I think I need to shoot 6-under tomorrow to win in my mind. But yeah, I think we got a bit lucky with the break, teeing off exactly when we did.

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