May 28, 2013
(THANKS TO GEORGIA TECH SPORTS INFORMATION FOR THE FOLLOWING QUOTES FROM COACH MICKELSON AND JON AFTER TODAY'S OPENING ROUND 61)
QUOTING COACH MICKELSON
"Jon is an excellent player and he plays his best golf on really tough golf courses. So I wouldn't say I saw it coming, but he actually told me this morning that his putting felt really good so I'm not surprised.
Is this the type of course that sets up well for him or does he adapt to whatever type of course it is?
"He can adapt. He's an excellent freshman. This is a course that suits him well because he its extremely long, he hits it extremely straight and he's a hell of a good putter so it sets up very well for him."
Is he a player you can ride this momentum for another good round tomorrow?
"Absolutely. Early in the fall he shot a 64 at Pumpkin Ridge and the next day he shot a 65. He's not going to be afraid tomorrow."
Is this the best round you've ever shot?
"It is. I shot a 64 in the fall at Pumpkin Ridge in the Pac-12 Preview. I honestly feel like I've never played better than that. I didn't play as good as that today, but my putting today was probably the best I've ever putted in my life."
Coach said you felt something while you were practicing before the round, that you're putting felt good. What did you figure out?
"The last tournament I felt like I was hitting good putts, but they weren't going in. Today, when I was practicing, I felt like I was rolling it well, I was hitting the ball where I wanted and I made a couple, so I was like `today could be my day.'"
Was there a point during the round that you realized I'm in the zone, this is happening?
"It probably happened after I chipped in, I think it was my fourth hole, the par-3, I was feeling like, `this could be a really great day.'"
Could you go through your birdies real quick?
"Whoa, there was a lot of them. I don't think the first one was too good of a shot into the green because the pin was off the slope, downhill. On No. 10, I think I had a 9-iron and I was aiming left of the pin but I mis-hit it and it was right and it went right at the pin. I hit it to like six feet and made it. Then I three-putted the next hole. The next one was a par-5. I hit a perfect drive down the middle and 3-wood next to the green for an easy up-and-down. The next one was the tricky one. I missed the green on the par-3 left. It was a really tough chip. I could even see my coach thinking that it was a tough up-and-down. I hit a perfect chip that just barely went in on the last roll. The other ones were pretty much the same. All of them were just long putts. I think I made at least three or four 30-footers. I was feeling it today."
With all the bunkers out here, how well prepared did you feel coming to this course today with your short-game?
"I talked to my coaches here and my coach back in Spain because last week, exactly five days ago, my short game was awful. I was feeling awful and my coach back in Spain gave me a couple tips because he knows me best. He told me a couple things and since then, I've been working on it. I didn't use it much because I was almost always on the green. But when I did have to get it up-and-down, I basically made it.
What was your impression of the course when you came out here on Monday?
"We played a couple courses around here in Georgia and I was asking, if it was the same type of course, it would be my course. It's really similar to a couple of European courses. I love the grass, I love the way its set up, I love the greens. When we came here for the practice round, I thought this is my type of course, this is perfect for me. It's a long course, long holes, and for a long hitter that's even better."
You were 8-under with three holes to play. At what point was that 59 number starting to come up and think about it?
"It was coming up way before. I think it was my 14th hole, I had a nine-footer for birdie and I thought if I play the last holes good, I could really do a 60, a 10-under. I've been dreaming about that, but I missed that putt and then made the really big one on the last hole to shoot a 61. And it was the best round I've ever played."