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March 23, 2016

Jordan Spieth

Austin, Texas

CANDACE REINHEIMER: Jordan, you finished 3-2 today over Donaldson. Tell us a little bit about your round.

JORDAN SPIETH: Started out I played the first seven holes or so perfectly, 3-under at that point. Up to I think a three or four shot lead through seven holes. That's pretty commanding. I was very pleased with that.

I didn't back down. I kept hitting driver, I kept on going for stuff, almost too much to an extent. When I got to 11 and 12, fortunately got away with only losing one of those holes in 10 through 13, when I was out of position on just about all of them.

A couple nice four-foot saves where he almost potentially flipped holes, because he's a very tough match play player. I knew that was going to be the case. There wasn't going to be any give up after 4-down.

I was just making pars from there. I ended up shooting around 3-under, which if I'm trying to beat the golf course on a day like today it's really, really solid and I'm very pleased with day one.

Q. What were you happiest with? Your swing?
JORDAN SPIETH: Everything is kind of coming together. Very pleased with the way we knocked in those four to eight footers, but I drove the ball well, struck the ball very nicely. My swing is really starting to come together. I need to get my speed and line matching up more on my mid range putts. I had a few of them today that were very makeable putts that I'm just not at a perfect comfort level yet, but it's getting there.

Q. Did the course play much different than you remember?
JORDAN SPIETH: You know, not really. The green complexes have changed on quite a few holes and it makes it I think a bit more challenging. With this wind, that's kind of the dominant wind, I think the way the course is supposed to be played tomorrow, it's going to flip around. So the holes will play the exact opposite than they did today.

I really maybe played a dozen rounds here. I practiced out here quite a bit, because it was convenient going to the airport for us. But I didn't play it a whole lot, given we were only out here maybe once a week. But it's a course I thoroughly enjoyed playing. And the similarities off the tee, you know, having hit a bunch of shots off these tees, just more than kind of everyone else, being able to trust some of the lines, I think that's my advantage. But other than that, it's as new to me as a lot of other courses.

Q. Do you think when you got up by four, did you lose a little bit of focus?
JORDAN SPIETH: No, not really. In fact we like to play like we're 2-down when we take a lead. I have a lot of good history with Michael in match play, a lot of good history with Michael in match play. Our strategy is to play as if we're 2-down pretty much at all times. Hopefully we're ahead when we're playing like we're 2-down, but it means stay aggressive. I was too aggressive. I overdid it today on 11 and 12. I hit too much club on both shots. It was just brain dead. Very, very simple decisions is to put me in good positions to be putting or chipping for birdie and eagle inside of where his was. Just to have the advantage on the hole, it wasn't going to take too much, and I tried to do too much, and I got away with tying those two holes somehow.

But that's not going to work the whole week. I've got to really understand the middle ground of playing 2-down, but don't take too many chances.

Q. I know you try to stay in the moment. But did today's round feel any different, were you able to take a moment and listen to some of the support or see some of the galleries? Did today's round feel any different?
JORDAN SPIETH: It felt like a round in Dallas and Fort Worth, which is home. It felt like a home crowd. It felt like everybody was on our side today. I almost felt like a home Ryder Cup match. And Jamie, I'm not sure what he would say about it. They weren't cheering when putts were missed. Everyone was very respectful, but there was -- every single step I took somebody was yelling at you, hook 'em Horns, or go, Jordan, we're rooting for you, which is really, really cool.

Q. Are the emotions different in trying to manage them in a situation like this, where you're coming home, so to speak?
JORDAN SPIETH: I don't think so. No, at this point we're used to playing in front of crowds and fortunately a lot of people are on our side each week. And they're just about on everyone's, that's the beauty of golf. You're rooting for each other, you hope that you play a little bit better. I don't think the emotions, no, I didn't notice much different.

What is different emotionally is you feel invested as if it's a 18-hole to win a tournament. There's nerves on a lot more shots than you would have on a Wednesday, Thursday, on a first round match. The nerves were there from the get-go just because you're kind of trying to get a feel for the match on how you're playing, how he's playing. And I think that's different. You feel the nerves more often than you do in a normal event.

Q. When you're in this format, is it even more important to start well on the first day and get a win on the first day than maybe your typical stroke play tournament?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, if you don't win the first day, you're definitely not controlling your own destiny. I control my own destiny. It's huge. You don't want to lose a match at all. I don't believe Rory did last year. He went 3-0 in group play. You don't want to rely on a playoff at all. You never know what happens.

Victor had a great victory today over Justin. Didn't really see much of it. They were right behind us, but couldn't really tell how they were playing. But Victor is very tough in this format, he's the runner up here to Jaidee.

And really, really tough matches coming the next two to keep it that way. Yeah, I mean, a win is massive on the first day.

Q. The idea of playing as if you're 2-down, is that something that developed out of a certain experience or is it something you and Michael kind of worked out or was it from a certain match?
JORDAN SPIETH: Going back to U.S. Junior days, the USGA Junior, kind of realizing in certain situations that I would play too conservative and just not my own game and it left me behind on the hole and gave just whatever it is, a half stroke advantage to my opponent, versus playing my game and trusting that that game is what got you 2-, 3-up, just keep it going. Yeah, it's just kind of something that we've always done.

Q. What are your best memories, you played a lot of golf here in Austin, I'm wondering what are your best remembrances of matches you played here, one or two that stick with you?
JORDAN SPIETH: I remember the qualifying. I remember the grind of qualifying for the team. I was always trying to beat out Dylan Frittelli, he and I would alternate as the No. 1 spot on the team my whole freshman year. Our team won eight times that year. So our qualifying matches felt like tournaments a lot of times. It was very intense. We played a few different places. We traveled to Houston to qualify. We'd do a lot of UT Golf Club. We'd come out here; Spanish Oaks. We'd go to Lakeside. So those kind of matches, the ones where you finish with class and everyone is shooting out at the UT Golf Club at the same time and you figure out what the groups are going to be, playing games with each other, and playing nine holes each evening, just good memories.

Q. I think as a freshman playing in high school, you played for the state championship and were penalized a couple of shots, am I right about that?

Q. I talked to your brother and he said you were very down about it. But then you go out hit balls and got through it. Do you remember that experience?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, I received a two stroke penalty for giving advice to a guy who is now my roommate. And he was on a different school and he was a senior. I played against Alex Moon. He was giving me crap. I can't repeat everything that was said. But we were already friends at the time from even before that. And he was committed to Texas and he's a senior, I was a freshman. I must have weighed, you know, 130 pounds. And he out drove me by a football field, and let me know there was a Wal-Mart in between. Then I busted a 3-wood up to the front of the green on the par 5 and I called back over to him, something like, I hit -- try and get it closer than my 3-wood or something. Well, there's an official standing right there in the woods that feels like I said 3-wood, so I told him the club before he hit from 45, 50 yards in front of me. And I got two strokes, and came on to the next tee box and he told me I got stroked two strokes. I was not happy. I told him I wasn't happy. And I told him after the round I wasn't happy. And it's just funny how things turn. I ended up being his teammate here and now we live together.

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