What they said: Zach JohnsonApril 14, 2012
PGA TOUR staff
MORE INTERVIEWS: RBC Heritage transcript archive
Q. Well done, 5 under, 66 and certainly in great shape heading into Sunday. Talk about this round, course conditions, and a little bit of rain.
ZACH JOHNSON: That was a bit of a surprise. I think there was a five to ten percent chance of rain today, but we got it. It didn't really matter, it didn't soften it up, and didn't cause any effect on any shots.
It was a good day. I got off to kind of a slow start and managed to right the ship. And made some nice, key putts.
Q. Talk about this golf course and what it's like, in particular like the 15th, the par 5. If you would have laid up maybe ten more yards to the right, you could go right at the stick, instead you play it out to the right??
ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, it's a difficult layup shot. You have the water on the left and you don't want to run through on the right. It wasn't like I didn't have a shot, but I had a 60 degree wedge and had it shut down. That's the beauty of this course. You can be in the left side of the fairway, right side of the fairway and be totally blocked out. You have to position yourself and know the golf course doesn't know what it gives you. You can't be overly aggressive. Right there I kind of missed my shot right, I took the 40 footer.
Q. Good finish, birdied 16 and nice finishing hole, the birdie at 18.
ZACH JOHNSON: That was a treat. The 18th hole is not any bargain. I was aggressive off the tee. Looking back on it, I should have hit a 3 wood, but I cut a driver out there, and hit a nice 9 iron into about eight, ten feet. That's the one I'm going to try to right tomorrow.
Q. I don't know what the lead is going to be, but as we learn on the TOUR, no way to say??
ZACH JOHNSON: No, no way to say, but seems like those guys have a significant lead, but you never know on this course. I'm going to keep playing my game. What they're doing is very impressive.
Q. Talk about your round today.
ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, I kind of got off to a mediocre, slow start, I guess you'd say. A couple of good saves, three great saves the first three holes. Having to save for par on 2 is never a good thing. I hit a couple of tree limbs with the wedges today that it was hard to you hit it in the right side of the fairway and you're blocked out. But I righted the ship I made a nice bomb on 5 for eagle, and that kind of got me going. And stealing a birdie on 8 and stealing a birdie I think on 18, those are always nice.
My putter is rolling nice and hopefully I can keep it going.
Q. You've got to be excited going into the last day, right in the thick of things??
ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, I'm certainly not I'm not going to get too ahead of myself; I've still got 18 holes. The last four or five holes, if I'm near the lead, we can get after it a little bit. But I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing. You can't go out and shoot 64 or 65, you've just got to play. It doesn't work like that at Hilton Head and Harbour Town. There's so much trouble out there lurking. Smallest greens on TOUR, probably the smallest fairways on TOUR. So controlling your trajectory and controlling your spin is a premium.
Q. Is this about what you expected today, you want to get yourself in the hunt??
ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, that's all you can do on Saturday. I wanted to position myself, certainly, at the same time I wanted to play solid. If I hit quality shots, that's certainly going to carry me. A lot of them went in today, they'll hopefully keep going in tomorrow, but if they don't, I know I'm doing the right thing. I'm happy with where things are.
Q. Take us through the eagle on No. 5.
ZACH JOHNSON: I hit a good drive, I was kind of in, maybe a little bit off the right. Hit a good drive, like 250 to the hole, 251 to the hole, 230 to the front. It's an pin back left where you don't really want to hit it left. You can't hit it left. You're going to make a 5, probably at best. And I hit a great 3 wood that clipped the top of the tree, right in the middle of the green, clipped the top of the tree. Somehow it released onto the green and trickled on the fringe, I had 35 to 40 feet. It was not going to be short, because it hit the back of the hole and popped out at one end. I'll take it.
Q. Why do you think it's been so tough for guys to hold a lead after the third round so far this year? I think like two thirds of third round leaders have lost it.
ZACH JOHNSON: I don't think there's any rhyme or reason to it. Every course is different. Every Sunday is different condition wise. The leaderboard is different. And I think if you can attribute it to anything, we've got a lot of talent, there's a lot of depth, a lot of parity in our sport. If you don't play good golf on Sunday, somebody is going to come up and grab it. You can say that any year. This year has probably been a bit of a has probably magnified a little bit more.
But for the most part, I don't think you can attribute it to anything other than that.