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American Century Championship
Friday, July 10, 2020
John Smoltz
Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: John Smoltz in the media room. Take us through your round today, opening round today.

JOHN SMOLTZ: I played a perfect nine holes. And I missed a couple of birdie putts to get 4-under, but 2-under through nine. I lost my swing the last seven holes. I was kind of hanging on. 18 is not a friend of mine. It’s going to be a friend of mine the next two days.

But all in all, 20 points, I never really have good first rounds. But I’m a little disappointed in my swings coming down the stretch. I had some putts slip out. But all in all it could be worse. I think being in the final group or second to last group, one of those, it looks like, see if I can take care of the par-5s I didn’t do a good job of today.

Q. You tied for second after one day after a so so round for you. I think you are in the hunt.
JOHN SMOLTZ: I’ve learned from tournaments, when things aren’t going so well, you can still grind out some pars. And I did grind out a lot of pars down the stretch. My driver left me. And normally when it leaves me, I haven’t found a way to get it back.

I made some really crucial errors when I had easy birdies, like driving No. 11 to the front of the green and an easy chip and don’t make birdie. Had a hard time letting that go. But all in all, right within the striking distance that you want to be.

Q. I heard that before the round that the grounds crew double rolled and double cut those greens. What was the speed? I heard 13; is that accurate?
JOHN SMOLTZ: Yeah, they weren’t quite as fast as I thought the practice rounds had gotten them. So I don’t know if they put some water on it. But I was concentrating all day in trying to be below the hole and that helps. I think for the most part I was below the hole on a lot of my putts. I literally had four or five touch the hole.

Here they don’t lip in very often. So I didn’t 3-putt, which is a win on these greens. And for the most part, like I said, the first nine holes I thought I was in position to have a fantastic 28, 29 points and the back nine was disappointing.

Q. As far as the putts itself, how many birdies did you have?
JOHN SMOLTZ: Only had two. And two bogeys. That’s not the kind of round you want, especially going forward. I need to get more aggressive and have six birdies and six bogeys is better than 2 and 2 because the point system just doesn’t reward you for shooting par.

That’s the difference out here. And that’s one thing that I’ll have to work on tomorrow is be a little more aggressive. It’s one thing to try and make a 4-footer for par, you’ve got to be cautious. But five-, six-footers for birdie should never come up short, but if you 3-putt it, so what.

Q. You have Kyle Williams, as he joked when he came in here, a 300-pound defensive lineman, we’ve never had a 300-pound defensive lineman in the hunt in this event. So he’s trying to stand up for the big boys as he said. Does his performance surprise you?
JOHN SMOLTZ: Not really. He did this last year. He’s a really good player. Nobody kind of knew what to expect last year from him.

He was right there and I think finished kind of like I finished. I finished really poorly, and I think he tied me or he beat me last year. So that’s -- I knew going in that he had the capability of throwing up 25 points. My goal was 25 points.

So five short of it, I’ll have to pick that up tomorrow.


FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports