Shell Houston Open interview: John Rollins

March 28, 2013

PHIL STAMBAUGH: 7-under, 65 today, John. The low round of the afternoon. No bogies and it's your best round to par with 65. You had a couple other 65s on par 70 and 71 courses. Just talk about the day, breezy conditions and you had a nice day.

JOHN ROLLINS: Yeah. I played good. I hit a lot of good shots. Putted well. Just really stayed -- just stayed patient with it. Knew that the conditions with the kind of the breezy conditions were going to be tough out there. Knew the greens were fast so that makes it tough as well, but just kept the ball in front of me and gave myself a lot of opportunities and got a solid round out of it.

Q. Can you go through your birdies and any good saves you might have had?

JOHN ROLLINS: Yeah, No. 1 I got off to a good start, I hit about 118, hit a wedge in there to maybe a couple feet. Made that birdie there, then we birdied No. 3. Hit a 9-iron to about, I'd say, maybe 12 feet, made birdie there.

No. 5 was probably the save of the day. Hit a driver right in the hazard, took a drop, hit a 5-iron to about 6 feet, made par. That kept the momentum going. And then let's see, I birdied the par 5 8th, hit it in the fairway bunker, had to lay up. Then hit a 7-iron to probably 4 feet or so, made that one for birdie.

Then I birdied 11. I made a long putt, hit a wedge behind the hole probably 30 feet or so, made that putt. 13, almost chipped in for eagle, just short of the green, chipped it up to a few inches, tapped it in.

Good up and down on 14 out of the right bunker to save par and 15 laid up, had -- I think we had 80 yards to the hole, and I hit a sand wedge in there to a couple feet again, made birdie. And then 16 we hit 7-iron to about 9 feet, made birdie there and then parred the last hole.

PHIL STAMBAUGH: Okay. We'll just -- any questions here.

Q. So, you know, you played a pretty good round. So 8 and 14 are about the only holes that you had any little difficulty at all?

JOHN ROLLINS: Five, you mean. 14 really was a close shot to being good on the par 3. Kind of leaked a little right and it kicked and then just trickled down into the bunker. It wasn't a bad shot, just kind of -- I didn't have it far enough left and really had a good lie in the bunker, not much green to work with but slightly on the up-slope. So I just hit it out to like a foot and a half and tapped in it for par. Those two holes were the only two that I kind of had some scrambling that I was doing.

Q. Was the wind blowing right from the start?

JOHN ROLLINS: Yeah. I mean, 12:30 tee time, even in our warmup, we're hitting balls dead into the wind on the range there. It was fairly breezy in the warmup, you know, and not quite as bad as it seemed like yesterday. I played in the afternoon. But, again, it was still there, so you kind of knew that this place is traditionally the wind is blowing out here all the time anyway, so you kind of expect it.

But it was just again one of those things where I just went out and hit some good shots and the round just sort of took care of itself.

Q. Did you feel like it gives you a leg up. Early tee time tomorrow, won't have to deal with it so much theoretically.

JOHN ROLLINS: Obviously the greens are going to be really fresh, at least the first 9 holes for sure. These greens are so good anyway that -- even this afternoon they were still perfect, so -- but, having a 7:30 tee time, there may not be much wind, perfect conditions. We'll see what happens.

Q. Kind of beat me to it, I was going to ask you about the condition of the golf course. Is it just that good that guys are scoring like that

JOHN ROLLINS: Yeah. You know, I would say it's probably the best conditioned golf course we play all year. I mean the greens year in and year out have been traditionally the best putting surfaces that we've putted on. You know, obviously in my opinion, but I think it's -- yeah, I think it's one of the best manicured courses we play.

Q. These conditions, where does 18 rank as far as difficult finishing holes on the TOUR?

JOHN ROLLINS: It's up there, it's got to be -- a lot of it depends on the wind direction, you know, but it just -- it's just a hard hole. There's really no -- there's no bail out. You bail out in the right bunker off the tee, you're not left with an easy shot to the green. So there's -- you know, obviously the challenge, the left side of the fairway is tough to do when you got water staring you in the face all the way up to the green. So it's just a hard hole, you know, and you just got stand up, pick your target, trust your swing and let the ball, you know, just let it go and see what happens.

Q. Where was the wind, across today

JOHN ROLLINS: Today it was down slightly out of the right, down right to left. It's a pretty good wind. You'd like it downwind, but down right to left is still in the back of your mind, you know that water is left, so it just makes the tee shots tough.

PHIL STAMBAUGH: Anything else?

Q. One question. You know, teeing off in the afternoon with the way the conditions are, was there a certain number that you were like kind of looking at to shoot before you teed off or anything?

JOHN ROLLINS: Not really. You go out and -- you know, obviously you saw that D.A. and Cameron had both played really good rounds. You saw the scores were pretty good from the morning wave, but, you know, honestly Thursday nobody has ever gotten a check on Thursday that I can recall or any trophies or anything. So, it's just one of those things where you just want to play a solid round of golf, get the tournament started off well, and then, you know, see what happens, and today I just happened to get a good one out of it.

Q. Where is this headed if we get a little bit of rain like they're thinking early tomorrow, early Saturday

JOHN ROLLINS: The only thing there would be it will soften the greens up. They'll still be very good. The golf course is playing really nice right now. I mean, it's got some firmness and it's fast and, you know, but with some rain, depending on how much we get, I would say there won't be a lot of change in conditions other than just the greens will be a little softer. It may help the scores a little bit because you can fire at more of the flags than you can right now, but I wouldn't think it would change too much.

PHIL STAMBAUGH: Anything else?
John, good luck tomorrow.

JOHN ROLLINS: Thanks, guys.