MORE INTERVIEWS: John Deere Classic transcript archive THE MODERATOR: All right. Like to welcome Kris Blanks. Kris, great finish. You finished on No. 9, but you finished with five straight birdies. If you want to talk about that and then we'll take some questions.
KRIS BLANKS: Yeah. It was a good day today for sure. Obviously it was fun to see some putts fall, which I've been struggling with all year. So it was definitely a positive, you know, after making that bogey on 4 after hitting a poor 9 iron and burying it in the lip of the bunker, I just tried to get back to hitting some greens, and I made a real big breaking putt on the next hole. And then just finally made some putts. It was nice.
THE MODERATOR: If you want to go through real quick those five and tell us your clubs that you used.
KRIS BLANKS: Yeah, I hit a 9 iron into 5, probably about 20 feet, I guess, and had a lot of break to it and was uphill and really made sure I got to the hole, and then that one was great going in.
And then on 6, I had a little gap wedge from probably 113 to 14 yards and then had another 15 footer there that I made. And you know, my speed was real good all day. I worked real hard yesterday afternoon and evening, and went to a heavier putter to kind of get the ball rolling. The greens here are a little slower than what we played last week.
You know, 7 I hit a 7 iron to probably 20 feet right of the hole straight down the hill. You know, just kind of started in the middle and never left the hole. And hit a wedge from probably 139 or so, 137 into 8, hit a pitching wedge, you know, again, 15, 16 feet just left of the hole. And you know, I kept having similar putts. They were 15, 16 feet that were just barely outside the hole and was able to get that one going.
And then 9 I had I was right in between clubs. My caddie wanted me to hit 6 and I wanted to hit a hard 7, so I won that battle, and hit a good shot. It landed right up top and just got past the hole, and I had you know, if you're going to have a putt to do something, obviously you don't want this putt a little downhill, a little right to left. And went through my new routine and was able to get that one going, too. So just a great day.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you. Questions.
Q. Normally in the early rounds the morning guys have so much of an advantage. It's fairly rare that an afternoon guy comes in and blows past the morning guys. What worked for you today to overcome that??
KRIS BLANKS: I think the greens held up a lot better today than they have been. This is the first year I've ever played here where it's firm. We haven't had a lot of rain, and so the greens were a little less bumpy in the afternoon than they had been in the past. So it wasn't surprising to see some low rounds this afternoon.
I think Marino played pretty good also. You know, so the greens definitely held up. It wasn't a huge disadvantage being one of the later groups as it normally has been in the past here just because of the usually it's real soft. Greens will get a lot of heel prints and footprints on them, and the greens just held up real good today.
Q. Is that new routine on the greens??
KRIS BLANKS: Yeah, on the greens. Yeah. I mean that's where I've been struggling this year. I haven't looked where I am officially
KRIS BLANKS: Yeah. I don't know where I am statistically in putting, but it can't be good. And I've just been struggling with it. I mean I think I was one of the worst putters out here last year and kept my card, so I hit it great last year.
We kind of figured out that the way I was stepping into the ball was creating my shoulders to be open, which creates inconsistent putts, especially left to right ones are difficult. So I just changed my routine to where I don't grip it the same way.
So it was a little awkward, but at this point I kind of needed some awkwardness. If it felt comfortable, it meant I was back to my old tendencies which I've proven weren't good.
Q. Are you slowing down on your swing??
KRIS BLANKS: I don't necessarily slow down. I actually try to speed up a little bit because once I get in there I'm trying to get after it a little faster and not think about it as much and try to make I mean I was a great basketball player as a kid. I can still shoot to this day, and I'm trying to make you know, you don't sit there and think, okay, to make this free throw I've gotta shoot it at this angle. You just shoot it.
And that's kind of what I'm trying to do on the greens, trying to make a little more reactionary, make a little more athletic in something that I've been making very mechanical.
Q. When did you make that change??
KRIS BLANKS: Last night about 8:00 probably. Well, we figured out last night through, you know, me trying me doing some drills and struggling with them, and there's nothing worse than going out and trying to work on something and you're not doing good at it.
So we were trying to figure out why. My caddy's like, dude, your shoulders are open. And I was like, well, I'm trying to close them. And when I step into them with my right hand on the putter, obviously it opens you up; and when I put my left hand up, my left shoulder never comes in. So I did spend probably a half hour in front of the mirror in my hotel room last night trying to figure out a way I could walk into the putt and not create my shoulders being open.
And I came out early today and talked to my caddie and showed him kind of what I kind of figured out last night. And I didn't know if it was going to work or not, but again, where I was at and what I needed to do I kind of needed to change.
KRIS BLANKS: I don't know. I'll let you know tomorrow if it's something that you know, obviously it was great today. It was definitely a needed switch. You know, I hope I can keep it going. I enjoy this golf course. I've never made a cut here, and I think I will this week hopefully.
And you know, it's just something that I needed to make a change and to try to build, because I'm a little outside I'm outside the Top 125. I need to have some strong tournaments, and I couldn't do it the way I was doing it before.
It was just very frustrating. I was hitting a lot of quality shots and getting nothing out of it, and there's nothing worse in golf than doing that. So I needed to do something, and so far so good.
Q. How do you like the change going into day two when you're sitting on top as compared to if you were in the middle??
KRIS BLANKS: I don't know. I've never been in this position, so I mean who knows. I'll go back to the room tonight and take my half a Tylenol P.M., so I'll be sure to get some sleep, and wake up tomorrow and try to play golf.
Fridays are notoriously my worst days. You know, when you're struggling on the greens, you're always around the cut line, unless you're hitting it bad. Then you're nowhere near the cut line. So Fridays are notoriously difficult for me. They're probably the hardest day of the week because that's the day you basically decide if you're going to make a check that week or not.
And you know, being out here for three years and playing golf professionally for five or six, you think you'd get over that type of mentality, but it's just difficult when you're not fully exempt and I don't have a job for this year. I've gotta play my ass off this year to keep it.
So that's what I'm trying to do and have some good play under me and really just having some confidence now that I feel like I'm onto something that I can continue to build, and hopefully it'll get more and more comfortable as I go on. And I'm looking forward to playing in the morning.
Q. Tomorrow is it going to be more of a reactionary approach to try not to overthink things??
KRIS BLANKS: Sure. And that's been the hardest thing. I've been working with my instructor VJ Trolio, and we've been trying to figure it out. There was just always something that was missing. I could sit on the putting green and make putts all day and get on the course and be totally different.
So I always equate a golfer to NASCAR. We're always making tweaks, and every time we try to do something, you know, sometimes we make a change and it doesn't work. I just needed to do something to change it up, and that's what we did, and it worked good today. I mean I hope it comes out tomorrow and it's still there. If not, I'm going to I kind of like what I've got. I feel like I'm on to the root of the problem. So if I come out tomorrow and don't putt good, I'm going to stick with it and give it a shot over the next couple weeks and then if it's still not good, then I'll try something different.
Q. What did you learn about your game, about anything being in the Top 10 at Crown Plaza??
KRIS BLANKS: That one's kind of funny because when I walked off the golf course I was in 21st place. I played a great round of golf from tee to green, didn't make anything that day. I felt like the course was playing difficult, but not super difficult. And the way I hit it, I apparently made it look a little different because, you know, we were done for the tournament. We had no where you know, I was staying there that night, and by the time I was, you know, had showered and changed clothes, I was in 15th place, which I was like, cool, I get to come back next year.
And then by the time I was halfway down the road to the next hotel I was in 10th. So it wasn't like I birdied the last couple holes to pass a bunch of guys. So you know, we call that a little back door Top 10, you know, so it's not like I, you know, was in the third to the last group and played great and you know.
So obviously the strong finish is good. I love that golf course, and because it is a ball striker's golf course and you can hit it good around there. So I'm not sure anything was plus, I mean that was a month and a half ago.
Q. Is this a ball striker's course here??
KRIS BLANKS: To me this is a putting contest here, and that's because I mean I don't know what the winning score is every year, but it's always around 20 under. Anytime you get that you know, it's a ball striking golf course in a way that you can give yourself a lot of good looks because you got a lot of 9 irons, 8 irons in your hands.
The par 3s aren't overly long. You've got two par 5s that are reachable for pretty much everybody in the field even though I didn't birdie either one of them today. So I mean I guess every golf course is all you can do is sit up on every hole here and bomb it. You do have some holes that you hit hybrids off the tees and 3 woods for placement. So you do have to kind of mind your Ps and Qs a little bit going around here.
Q. Kris, did you switch putters through your putting woes and what are you using now??
KRIS BLANKS: I went back to a Scotty Cameron putter. I've been with Scotty Cameron for the last three and a half years, so everything I've used has been from there. You know, wonderful hands there. But I did go back to a putter that I used in the past that was a little more face balanced that had a little less
Q. Is it a different blade??
KRIS BLANKS: No. It's called a Delmar. It's a little more of a mallet, but it's got a custom slant neck to it that makes it hang a little more towards the sky. Most putters will hang at a quarter. This one's a little more face down so it doesn't rotate as much through the hitting zone. So, so far so good.
THE MODERATOR: Okay. Well, thanks a lot. Good luck the rest of the week.
KRIS BLANKS: You got it.
Transcript courtesy of ASAP Sports.