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June 21, 2018

Jordan Spieth

Cromwell, Connecticut

Q. Given what unfolded at the U.S. Open, coming back to a place that you obviously have a lot of good memories stepping on property, how big was that for your game to post a number like you did today?
JORDAN SPIETH: I wouldn't say it was big or necessary or anything. I've been sticking to the process. I've been very positive about making progress from how I got pretty off earlier this year. So it's good to see a good score. Those are obviously nice to see, but still a long way to go. It's round one. Just glad. The first rounds have been kind of detrimental to me, so it's nice to be in the thick of things.

Q. I know we had talked in length early in the week about the issues you had set up with your putter. How would you characterize your putting performance today?
JORDAN SPIETH: Putter was great. The last two events I missed the cut, and I actually putted really well, beat the field by at least a shot. It's just I put so much time into putting that my ball striking fell off. So kind of evening things out now.

Striking still has a little ways to go. But the putter feels fantastic. I'm seeing my lines better, and it's a matter of time, I think, before it gets to the level I've seen before.

Q. What a day, 12 of 14 fairways. Missed only three greens, 26 putts. That had to be one of your better rounds of the year.
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, definitely. It was probably -- I would probably call it third best of the year, behind the first and last round at Augusta. I had a good one at Houston I remember. But, yeah, this golf course I played it really smart today. It was probably the smartest round I've played this year, really the last couple years.

I just didn't feel great coming off the range. I've been working on some things on the swing, just decided to play toward the center of the greens and let the putter do the work because it's starting to come around.

Q. You drove the ball really well and long at times?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, it didn't feel great, but I kind of made it work. It was one of those days where over the ball you don't necessarily know exactly the motion to get it to go where it needs to go, but sometimes that's even better. You just kind of focus on face of impact instead of anything else. So it was nice. It's a lot of 3-woods out here, and I feel very comfortable always with my 3-wood, so that was nice with this north wind to be able to hit it on a lot of holes.

Q. Talk about eagle 6, another spectacular bunker shot.
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, hit a good drive there. Hit a 5-iron just a little too far left. It was a pretty tough bunker shot. A little bit of a down slope, I had to get close to the ball and nip it. Obviously a bonus for it to go in.

But when I struck it, I was excited about the way that I hit the shot and the real commitment to the shot which was what it required to get it close to the hole.

Q. Jordan, just a minute ago you talked about sticking to the process. Obviously that worked today.
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, I mean, first rounds have been tough for me, trying to do a little bit too much. Trying to get shots back when I drop one and trying to have to birdie easy holes. I just had played toward center of greens today and let the rest take care of itself.

The putter is starting to look better to me, so I can play a little bit more conservatively tee to green and still get a lot out of the round, and that's nice to be back in that kind of condition.

Q. Comfort level and familiarity with the course from last year, how did that help you today?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, I do really enjoy playing this course. You have to shape it kind of both ways off the tee. Today was perfect conditions, but a north wind. So kind of not exactly what the course is designed to be played at, so it kind of makes you think a little different on a few different holes. But certainly good memories here and some good rounds. These are probably the purest Poa Annua greens I've ever been on late in the day today. They really held themselves nicely, so that's obviously great surfaces make for happy golfers.

Q. It looked like you were bringing Michael in on a lot of the reads on the greens. Is that something new you're doing a little bit more?
JORDAN SPIETH: Where I did bring him in?

Q. Yeah.
JORDAN SPIETH: I thought I brought him in less than any round this year, to be honest. I had him come in on four, maybe like three or four times today max. Normally I bring him in on kind of a lot of putts just to kind of, hey, if I start at right edge, it's in the middle, yeah. Just that extra voice. Not really necessarily for the reads, but more for gaining certainty as I step into putts, a little extra confidence boost.

Q. 16, rebounding on 16 with the birdie there.
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, I thought that was a really good example of where I may have made a mistake any other time this year where Michael did a great job of on the tee saying, Hey, 20 feet long is fantastic right now. It's got to land at least pin high. Just sticking to our game plan and not trying to get the stroke back that we lost at 15. I just played a safe shot, and from there was able to have a look at birdie.

I might have tried to kind of slice a little wedge in there to try to get it close, and who knows, if you mis-hit it where it ends up. So that was a really good team work there to get the two back and end up getting a shot back.

Q. I was going to say as defending champ you got quite the warm reception on the first hole. How would you describe the atmosphere here?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, it's great. The golf course allows for a lot of amphitheater settings as you get to greens, and that's somewhat unusual, but really, really cool for us to see people just kind of having a good time sitting up on the hill. I felt great support here all the time. There's plenty of guys yelling stuff that you just ignore, but for the most part it's a fantastic welcoming.

Q. The beginning of the week, you made another great memory at the 6 hole today, eagle from the bunker. What is it about you and the bunkers here at Travelers?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, I don't know. They've got some kind of magnetic sand for me. It was actually a pretty tough shot there, almost a little down slope and I had to hit close to the ball, which you just have to commit to it. I just hit the shot that was necessary. It probably would have gone four or five feet by, but I couldn't hit it any better than I did. It was obviously fortunate to hit the pin and go in.

Q. Was it much of an exhale coming off of last week?
JORDAN SPIETH: I don't feel like much of an exhale at all. Like I said going into the last few weeks, my game's in a good place, scores aren't reflecting it. As long as I don't beat myself up over that and just stick to the process, then -- it's certainly a testing year for me, and it's a building year. It's one where I can actually come out stronger. I've kind of looked at it that way the last couple months.

Q. Along those lines, at the beginning of the week you said you weren't quite sure where your game was at coming in here. This is obviously just one round, but is there a certain point to rounds like this in terms of that?
JORDAN SPIETH: It was good to see, I walked off the range not necessarily feeling great about the ball striking, but feeling really good about the putting. It was good to kind of come off the range not necessarily feeling like I had my best stuff but stick to a game plan because of that and see a low score.

So to be able to post 7-under feeling like I didn't quite have anywhere near the control I had of the ball last year at this time, it was nice. But at the same time, I'm going to work hard to gain control as each day goes on.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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