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January 28, 2012

Kyle Stanley


MARK STEVENS:¬† Kyle Stanley, welcome to the media center.¬† You got to 18‑under today, another solid round.¬† If you want to take us through the round, your highlights and we'll take some questions.
KYLE STANLEY:¬† Yeah, I was very pleased.¬† Another really good ball-striking day,¬† drove it pretty well.¬† I think I only had one hiccup.¬† I hit a 5‑iron long on 12.¬† But other than that, I'm really pleased.

Q.¬† Do you like‑‑ well, I should rephrase it‑‑ having a big lead going into the final round, is that comfortable or do you like coming from behind better?
KYLE STANLEY:  I've never had one, especially one this big.  We still have one more round to play.  Like I said, I'm really happy with where I'm at, but I still have to go out there tomorrow and just keep playing golf.

Q.  I think they told us this is the lowest score at this point since Tiger several years ago.  Tiger is obviously playing well again.  Did he influence you at all?  Can you talk about any experiences you had with Tiger and also what it means for him if he starts playing well?
KYLE STANLEY:  Yes, obviously, we need him to play well.  It's great for the game.  His influence on me, I mean, kind of our generation as a kid who you grew up watching.  I remember all through when I was little all through high school, I had his poster above my bed.
So, yeah, I think he's definitely influenced me and a lot of other people too, I'm sure.

Q.  Brandt was really impressed with your length off the tee today.  It's the first time he's said he's played with you.  Have you always been that way as a golfer and how much of an advantage do you see it giving you out there?
Yeah, I mean, for some reason I've always been long.¬† I don't know why, because I'm not the biggest guy in the world.¬† But you take a golf course like this where you're hitting 7‑irons into par‑5s and short irons into long par‑4s, it definitely helps.¬† I mean, it's helped me a lot this week.

Q.  How do you account for your length?  You must have a theory or people have examined it.
KYLE STANLEY:¬† I don't know.¬† I've done some stuff up at TPR where they put the 3‑D on you and stuff like that.¬† But I think it's about moving the right part of the body at the right time. ¬†But that's about all I know.

Q.  You said yesterday your mindset was to play boring golf tee to green.  You must have been pretty pleased with the outcome today?
KYLE STANLEY:¬† Yeah, it was good.¬† Really didn't get myself in too much trouble.¬† I think it was just on 12 where I hit that 5‑iron a little long.¬† It was really maybe the only tough part.¬† Then I had 14, I hit 9‑iron into that left bunker and didn't hit the best bunker shot.¬† I think I probably had 7 or 8 feet to save par, and that was a tough putt.¬† It was nice to make that and that kind of kept the round going for me.

Q.  Steve Stricker, when he was leading in Maui said he was actually more nervous to go into the final round leading with a cushion because people expect you to hang on and win.  Can you talk about how you're feeling going into tomorrow with this lead?
KYLE STANLEY:  I feel good.  I think the biggest thing is you can't necessarily go out there and try to protect it.  You've got to really just keep doing what got you to this point.  I'm not going to be anymore conservative tomorrow.  I'll stick to my game plan off the tee and hopefully just continue to give myself a lot of chances.

Q.  The first time you hit a golf ball, did it go really far?  Did you always just want to whack it like crazy?
KYLE STANLEY:  I don't know.  I guess, when I was younger I maybe swung out of my shoes a little bit.  But I've actually tried to tone it down just to help hitting some fairways.  But I let it go a couple times today.
I think on 13 I hit that one really good and a few other times.  So it's nice when you get these downwind holes.

Q.  Along those lines, Kyle, at what point did you know you were long?
KYLE STANLEY:  Probably high school, late high school.

Q.  What was the indicator?
KYLE STANLEY:¬† I think, gosh, I was probably 17, maybe, and I was doing some fitting at Titleist.¬† My ball speed was‑‑ it was funny because I was actually up there the other day.¬† My ball speed now, they said like in '05 I was averaging like 184, and now I can't get it above 176.¬† I mean, so, I obviously can't hit it as hard.

Q.  So when you were 17 your ball speed was 184?
KYLE STANLEY:  That's what they said, yeah.

Q.¬† And secondly, as a quick follow‑up, on 14 coming out of that rough given what you've gone through yesterday, was there any tentativeness in you?
KYLE STANLEY:¬† I'm not sure about tentativeness, but I wasn't going long.¬† I think we had 160 to the hole.¬† The wind was a little bit in, but sometimes you don't know quite if you're going to get a flyer or if you're not.¬† So yesterday I didn't err on the safe side, so I took a lesson from that and hit 9‑iron today.

Q.  Is there any competition on TOUR among the long drivers?  Is that ever a thing?  Have you had to work on dialing back the distance to get more accuracy?
KYLE STANLEY:  Yeah, as far as distance goes, I think it's probably the least important stat if you're not hitting fairways.  I don't really pay much attention to it.  I think it's fun for the fans to see guys hitting the ball long.  But as far as we're concerned if you're hitting it 340 crooked, I'd rather hit it 300 or 295 on the fairway.

Q.  How conscious are you of the scoreboard when you're in contention?  Can you give us a sense today of how well you knew how much you were leading by, and how that might impact your approach tomorrow?
KYLE STANLEY:  Like I said, I'm not really going to change much.  I didn't really pay too much attention to them today.  I think I maybe saw on the 16 green that I had a nice sized lead.  But, you know, other than that, I didn't really look at it much.

Q.¬† How many times did you hit 3‑wood today and on what holes?
KYLE STANLEY:¬† 3‑wood on 17, 2 maybe.¬† Yeah, I hit 3‑wood on 17 and 2.¬† I hit driver everywhere else.

Q.  14?
KYLE STANLEY:¬† Yeah, 14 I hit 3‑wood.

Q.  It's great if you can hit it far, but obviously you have to have a short game.  It seems like you've worked pretty hard on your short game as of late.  When did that become more of an emphasis for you?
KYLE STANLEY:  I started working with James Sieckmann last probably in November.  So I've been with him for a few months, and he's been a huge help with my wedges.  I had to change my technique around a little bit on the greens, but we kind of fixed that.  So now it's just a matter of getting reps in, and Brett and I are working really hard on that.  It's kind of an area of emphasis.
So, yeah, you can hit it as good as anybody, but if you're not solid from a hundred yards and in, it's going to be tough to win out here.  So that's where we're trying to get.

Q.  What would you have rated yourself say three years ago as far as short game versus distance?  Did you rate your short game very highly a few years ago?  Did you see it as that?
KYLE STANLEY:  No, probably not.  Probably not.  It's getting better.  I mean, you're not going to build a really good short game overnight, but we're working hard on it.  It's nice because I'm starting to see some of the results.

Q.  How much attention are you paying to what's going on at the Abu Dhabi Championship?
KYLE STANLEY:  I heard Tiger shot 66 and was tied, but other than that, I haven't watched any of it.

Q.  ShotLink had you at 341 on 13.  That was one of the times you let it go.  Was that the result of lipping out on 12?  Was there a little anger there?  And how's a kid from Washington end up at Clemson?
KYLE STANLEY:  Did you say 13?

Q.  13, yeah.
KYLE STANLEY:  It was just downwind, and I hit that as good as I can possibly hit it.  As far as how I ended up at Clemson, my grandparents used to live on Hilton Head Island and we have some good family friends living down there.  So growing up we spent a couple weeks a year down there vacationing.
So when I was looking at schools, it was far away from home but it didn't really feel like it, and the weather is a little better down there than Seattle.

Q.  Who were you in school with at Clemson?
KYLE STANLEY:  Ben Martin, Sam Saunders.  Those are probably the only two you guys would know.

Q.¬† You seem very matter of fact.¬† Leading the tournament with a chance to breakthrough on the TOUR.¬† Is there a little kid inside of you jumping up‑and‑down that we're not seeing?
KYLE STANLEY:  Yeah, I'm kind of an internal guy, I guess.  But, I mean, yeah, winning on TOUR is something that you dream about as a kid, so it would be certainly nice for it to happen.  But like I said, I still have one round left and we'll see.

Q.  Will you have a hard time sleeping tonight?
KYLE STANLEY:  No, I'll be okay.  Take a Benadryl or something (laughing).

Q.¬† What does it feel like when you hit a ball as far as you can hit it when you have one of those 340‑yarders?¬† Is there a feeling inside you that you can describe at all?
KYLE STANLEY:  I don't know.  I just try to hit it hard.  I don't really feel one thing or another.  I just swing as hard as I can.

Q.  When you connect with those perfect ones?
KYLE STANLEY:  Yeah, it feels good (laughing).  It does.  But if I try to hit one, I just try to swing hard.

Q.  What sports did you play in high school?
KYLE STANLEY:  I played tennis my freshman year.

Q.  130 serve or what is this?
KYLE STANLEY:  No, I have no idea.  I was on the JV squad.  They built me up like I was a junior Wimbledon champ, but, no, I was just okay.

Q.  Mostly tennis though?
KYLE STANLEY:  Yeah, tennis I played like basketball and soccer and all the sports little kids play.  But I could have never really gone anywhere with them.

Q.  Golf was number one?

Q.¬† Secondly, if you have a long practice session, about how much time would you say you devote to that 120‑, 130‑yard in wedge game?¬† What is your practice routine on that?
KYLE STANLEY:  Well, Sieckmann's helping me out with that.  If I have a typical off day, I'll go from 9 to 12:00 and 1:00 to 5:00.  I'd say everything except probably two hours of that, an hour of it is short game.

Q.  Junior world, what are your memories from here?
KYLE STANLEY:  I was thinking about that.  I don't even remember if I played.  I think I did, but it was a long time ago, so I don't remember what I shot or where I finished.

Q.  High 20's, somewhere around there.

Q.  28th or something?
MARK STEVENS:  He did?  Are you saying that?  He did do 28th?

Q.  Tied for 28th.
KYLE STANLEY:  Tied for 28th.  Yeah, I didn't even really remember that.

Q.  Did you have any memories of San Diego that stood out?
KYLE STANLEY:  No, not really.  I mean, I don't even remember playing in the tournament (laughing).
MARK STEVENS:  When you travel a lot, it's easy to forget.

Q.  It looked like from watching you today, it didn't look like you were nervous at all.  Was there any point before the round or at any point during the round that you felt nerves or felt that anxiousness or did you pretty much stay calm all day?
KYLE STANLEY:¬† You know, maybe a little bit on 12 because I kind of had it on cruise control there for a little bit.¬† But once I got it back on the next hole, hit two good shots and made birdie.¬† Then I had that seven‑foot par putt on 14.
A little bit antsy, but got it in there and that calmed me down a little bit, so it was okay.

Q.  What kind of shot did you have on 15?
KYLE STANLEY:¬† I hit 9‑iron.¬† I think we had maybe 160 hole.¬† But my lie was good.¬† It was going with the grain, so I was able to kind of turn it around the trees a little bit.

Q.  The trees were in the way?
KYLE STANLEY:  Yeah, I couldn't hit a straight shot.  I had to draw it.  Fortunately, I had a good lie.

Q.  Kyle, if you're unable to sleep tonight and the Benadryl isn't working, what are the chances you would turn on the Golf Channel and watch the final round in the middle of the night?
KYLE STANLEY:  Slim, slim.  I'd probably watch something else.

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