MORE INTERVIEWS: Valero Texas Open transcripts archive
ROYCE THOMPSON: We'd like to welcome Billy Horschel to the media center. Billy, yesterday you talked about perfection, and right now you're in a perfect spot heading into the weekend. Can you talk a little bit about your round and leading?
BILLY HORSCHEL: Yeah, today I knew there was not going to be very much wind, so you had to take advantage of this golf course. I warmed up really well. Probably hit it the best I have on the range in a month‑and‑a‑half before a round. It felt really good.
I just overdrew shot No. 1 and shot No. 4 which led to bogeys, but overall I felt pretty well with the way I was hitting it, and I just knew if I could just stay patient, give myself some opportunities, I'd turn this round around easily, and I did a good job.
Birdieing No. 5, 6 and 7 were nice, and then I had perfect opportunities on 8 and 9 to close out the side and didn't make them. Made a couple of birdies coming in on the backside. All in all was a good day. Left a couple birdies out there, wish I would have putted a little better. But 4‑under on this golf course any day I'll take it.
Q. Coming in, I know you probably heard the cheers out there and you probably knew what was ahead of you. But you played so well today despite all of what was happening, do you allow yourself to look at the leaderboard at all and say I have four guys who have seven major championships chasing me around here? How do you handle that?
BILLY HORSCHEL: I couldn't care less if they won majors or not, honestly. I know they're good players and what they've done, but I feel I'm a good player in my own right. I think you have to have that mindset. You can't think that these guys have won majors and then you start worrying about what they're doing and you forget about yourself.
You've got to remind yourself, hey, I'm leading this golf tournament after two rounds, I'm that good. I think over time I'm hopefully going to win my fair share of majors and win my fair share of tournaments. I think if I just keep doing what I'm doing, everything will fall into place.
Q. Was there a moment today on the course where you said, boy, it's really clicking? On a course that everybody's been talking about how tough it is, I can manage this thing pretty darn well?
BILLY HORSCHEL: After the two bogeys after No. 4 I hit a flared drive on 5 and was able to get a break and make birdie there. Then I stepped up on 6 and hit a really good drive, hit a good wedge shot in there. Then those last few holes coming into the front side felt really good. Then I made the turn and hit some really good iron shots. I think the big thing was making par at 13. I don't know why that was 250 today into the breeze. I'm not sure what‑‑ I don't criticize our rules officials. They do a great job. But that's a 250‑yard par‑3. Even though it's downhill 10 yards, it's 240 into the wind. That's a long par‑3 today.
I hit a good 3‑iron, and could have hit it a little bit better, could have hit it a little lower. But it was on the green. I two‑putted for par, and that was sort of a big par there. You make bogey there going into a par‑5, you just feel bad. Like I don't want to make a bogey before a par‑5 because you know it's a gettable par‑5.
Yeah, it felt pretty good out there today. We'll see how it goes tomorrow.
Q. You had some putts lip out. How were you able to overcome those near misses?
BILLY HORSCHEL: It happens. I had a couple misreads, a couple of bad‑‑ lined up a little bad. But I'm trying not to overanalyze when I miss putts. I'm not trying to think, well, did I miss it because I did this and then I try something else on the next putt. I'm just committed to the same thing I've been doing the last couple weeks with my putting. Whether it goes in or whether it doesn't, I'm just trying to hit good putts and that's what it really comes down to.
Q. What did you take away from last week's finish? How have you been able to keep that momentum going?
BILLY HORSCHEL: What I took away from last week's finish was being in the final round, being paired with a top 5 player in the world, knowing that I can still hang with him. I can do my own thing and not get caught up in his business and I played my game. I've learned that I found ways to limit the distractions around me. Not pay attention to scoreboards, not always look around with the crowds cheering.
I actually watched the coverage Sunday night after the tournament, and if I would have looked at the leaderboard, I can guarantee I would not have played as well. Because when I saw everyone making birdies and the leaderboard fluctuating a lot, there was no chance I could have put that out of my mind.
But what I've learned is I've learned a couple ways to limit the distractions and I'm pretty happy about mentally what I'm doing.
Q. When did you start putting that type of strategy in play?
BILLY HORSCHEL: Right before the Sunday round. I worked with my sports guy, Fran. He lives in Houston, so he was on the range. We were just talking little bit. He knows I've had chances to win out here, and I've been a little too distracted out on the golf course. I sort of had an idea of what I wanted to do today. Threw it at him, and he threw something back at me, and it was something that we found a way and it worked well. I'm just going to keep on doing it.
Q. Have you slept on a 36‑hole lead before?
BILLY HORSCHEL: A couple times. I'm not sure how many times, but yeah.