RBC Heritage interview: Steve LeBrunApril 19, 2013
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JOHN BUSH: We welcome Steve LeBrun into the interview room, one of our clubhouse co leaders with his second consecutive 3 under par, 68.
Steve, another solid round of golf, if we can get some comments on your play.
STEVE LeBRUN: Sure. Like you said, it was a solid day. Got off to a little bit of a shaky start, a couple of short putts on green 4. I missed like a two footer on 4. I hit a good chip and just kind of had some spike marks. Didn't hit a great putt, so I made bogey there.
After that I kind of made a few good putts for pars. And then started making some birdies, which you don't have to make too many of them out here, but you've got to make a few.
So it was a little bit of a shakier start than yesterday, but all in all it was another good day.
JOHN BUSH: This is your first start here at Hilton Head. To have two rounds in the 60s you've got to be pleased.
STEVE LeBRUN: Yeah. You hear all the stories about this place, and everybody says it's in their top 5 courses that we play on Tour. So, yeah, I was definitely excited to be here and play, and to get off to a good start, it's just a good feeling. We've still got two more days, but you always want to be in position.
JOHN BUSH: Before we open it up, comment on your year up to this point.
STEVE LeBRUN: Sure. Yeah, it's been a lot of learning. I mean, I felt comfortable from day one with the crowds and the golf courses and things like that. I haven't felt out of sorts in that respect. But the shots, some of the shots around the greens, are way faster than I've been playing pretty much my whole life. And it's been a lot of adjustment, a lot of learning, learning new shots, working on new shots. And we're kind of moving in the right direction here. I'm starting to see a few more shots than I did early on in the year. Where I was missing cuts on one or two shots, and I'm saving those one or two shots now. So we're righting the ship.
Q. This may require a long answer, but where have you been and what have you been doing?
STEVE LeBRUN: Let's see, I graduated FAU, Florida Atlantic, in 2000 and turned pro that summer. I played the Montgomery Sports Tour for two summers.
Q. In Alabama?
STEVE LeBRUN: Montgomery Sports Tour. No, it was in South Florida. It was in South Florida. And I had one really good year there.
And then I went out and played the Hooters Tour for a year. Then I played the Golden Bear Tour in '03, which is in South Florida. And then I finally got status on the Nationwide it's the Web.com Tour now back in '04. So I played ten events, then I got injured, had to take a medical. So I had limited status in '05, but I played good early and made a cut, made some money. So '05, and I had a really solid year, probably my best year, '05 on the Web.com Tour.
And then '06 had just a lousy year out there, because I had full status for the first time and just didn't do anything. So lost my card. Lost my sponsor that year, also, which was tough.
So then the next three years played Mini Tour. It was all on my own dime, and that was tough. We were at points where, are we still going to keep doing this? I knew I was good enough, but when it's hard to pay bills, and you're standing over 5 footers to pay rent for the month, it got a little rough. But got through it.
'09 I got status again on Web.com. Had even worse year than '06; just never got anything going. But my first daughter was born that year, towards the end of the year. So that was exciting, obviously.
And then lost my card obviously in '09. I played in tour called Minor League Golf Tour down in South Florida. They're all local events. I could stay at home. They were one day, two day events. And I had a lot of success there. But I knew the golf courses really well. Basically tore it up there and I was able to stay afloat and be able to keep playing.
And then last year I got status back on Web.com, had a solid year. And then we went to finals well, second stage. I had to go to second stage because I made the cut at the Open so I got exempt the second.
And then we had the birth of my second daughter the night before second stage started. And I was playing in Fort Lauderdale, but we live in West Palm Beach. So we had the baby at about 9:00 at night, 8:00 at night the day before and I got about a half hour sleep, drove all the way down to Fort Lauderdale, played the first round of second stage; didn't do anything. Shot 2 over, and then I shot 6 under the next two days, and 3 under the last day and got through fairly easily.
And then we go to finals and I just played it's a dream come true to play the way I did that week. It was perfect. I did some stuff wrong, but there was so much good. And we just had our second daughter and to get through and finish second at Q-school to get my TOUR card, it's just awesome.
It's been a long road to get here, and it's awesome to be here.
Q. You mentioned that a lot of the players think this course event is in their top five. Can you talk about the uniqueness of the course and the event.
STEVE LeBRUN: Well, it's just unbelievable how you can hit it in a fairway and think you hit a really good shot off the tee and you're blocked out by a tree up by the green to get to certain pins. You've got to hit the right shot or you're going to have to maneuver something into the green.
And it's kind of refreshing to play a course like this. I'm a fairly long hitter, but I like courses like this where you've got to really hit good shots. I like it when you shoot two or three under and you've played a really good round.
I've been waiting for this for so long to be on to TOUR, because my coach has been telling me, when you get out there, you shoot two or three under, it's a good score. Playing the Web.com or even Mini Tour, you shoot 3 under, you haven't really done much.
You see it especially on this golf course. Every shot has to be in the right spot or you're going to be manipulating to something around the green, from the fairway, with an overhanging tree or something like that. But it's just an awesome place. We've been here before to Hilton Head but never played the course. And for the first time it's pretty sweet. It's just a sweet course.
Q. When you talk about your year this year and improving to where you were making cuts and getting that extra stroke or two, was that mostly from short game or was it course management or what was the difference that allowed you to just get those extra few strokes per round?
STEVE LeBRUN: No, it's definitely been in the short game. Like just a good chip here, there, an up and down, a fairly easy up and down. I'm getting those up and down now. And I wasn't getting them up and down earlier in the year. And they're easy for out here, but they weren't easy for me. There was just something about them; I was a little off.
So like I said, I've been practicing a lot on those certain shots. And that's really all it is. And I said the first five or six events of the year I was probably giving away three to four shots a round just with fairly easy chips or a shortish putt, 5 footers. And now last few weeks I'm down to only two shots, losing two shots. So there's still even more room for improvement, but like I said, we're on the right path.
Q. Other than obviously being pretty tenacious about things in your life, how do you explain the fact that, as you said, the first time on this course and a course that requires a lot of knowledge to play successfully, and you obviously don't have that background of, say, years coming here and yet you're succeeding so far, how do you explain that?
STEVE LeBRUN: Yeah, I mean, I took last week off. I mean, I'm not going to lie to you, I didn't hit a single ball. I played Valero on Sunday. Masters week I basically sat around with the kids and my wife and watched the Masters, and I didn't swing a club until Monday. I didn't hit a shot until Monday. So I feel fresh. I've been having some back issues. I had a shoulder surgery back in '06, and that still gives me a little bit of an issue. So it's nice for me, I need to take breaks every once in a while. So I feel fresh and ready to go.
I had my coach come this week, Jeff Leishman, and he has a lot of insight for this course. He's worked with guys in the past. He used to work with Carl Pettersson, who won here last year. So he's been here a few times. So he walked with my caddie and I in the practice round. We kind of got some good insight from him on certain things. But it really all just boils down to me feeling comfortable with what I'm doing with my swing, where I can just I can step up to each shot with the confidence that I know what I'm doing with it. And if the shot comes off, great. If it doesn't, you know, whatever. I've hit a lot of bad shots in my life, it's not the end of the world, even though this is a very tight course.
I think the week off was big and I think having my coach out here this week has also been a big factor in playing good here the first couple of days.
Q. You mentioned the difference between the Web.com courses and the PGA TOUR courses, I'm familiar with a lot of the PGA TOUR courses, but not the Web.com courses, except the Valley Course at Sawgrass. Can you give me some idea of just what it is that you mean by that? I know it's called the "Go Low Tour".
STEVE LeBRUN: Yeah. Basically what you said. It is, it's the "Go Low Tour". There's enough weeks out there where it is tough, where the scores are more like this week. It just seems like there's a lot less than there is out here of those weeks where you can shoot 8 to 12 under and maybe not win, but you're going to be close to the top 5. There's a lot of weeks out there where 8 to 10 to 12 is kind of 20th place. But I don't think the courses are that easy. That's the hard part. I don't think they're too easy. I think they're easier around the greens. So on par 5s you can hit 3 woods or 2 irons somewhere up near the green, and the up and down is a lot easier than the up and down on this Tour. That's just what I've seen. And that's basically some of the stuff that I've been working on since being out here.
But the courses are great out there. For me to be out there is a blessing, too. So they're good golf courses. But there's a little something around the greens, I think where some of that extra scoring happens on that tour.
Q. The course is a tough course, but you're out here with arguably one of the greatest fields we've had here at the (RBC) Heritage for a long, long time. How does it feel to be halfway through this event and you're hanging tough with some of the biggest names in golf?
STEVE LeBRUN: Well, I mean, yeah, it's great. Like I always say, any tournament that I play, and you're in a good position after two days, it's great. But, you know, you want to be in good position with nine holes left on Sunday. That's when you really want to be in good position.
But it feels good. It's one of those things I always knew I had the game to be out here. And I plan on being in this position a lot of times. So, yeah, it's great to be playing good this week, but really it's kind of just another week. And I'm ready to keep doing what I've been doing and just try to capitalize on having a good week, which I haven't done this year. Every chance I've gotten where I'm in good position, I kind of falter a little bit on the weekend. But that's fine. We'll get it.
JOHN BUSH: Good stuff. Thanks a lot, Steve. Good luck this week.