Kevin Chappell posted a one-under 71 in the third round of the Valero Texas Open, and leads at TPC San Antonio by a single stroke heading into Sunday’s final round.
After his day, Chappell sat down with the media to discuss his round, highlighted by a quite colorful front-nine scorecard which included three birdies, three bogeys, two pars, and a double-bogey.
Here’s the full transcript of the press conference with the 54-hole leader of the Valero Texas Open.
On Strong Finish
QUESTION: How much of those last few holes will influence your play on Sunday, do you think the way you were able to get right back in the fight to this tournament?
KEVIN CHAPPELL: I just needed to find a rhythm. Obviously the golf course hit me in the chin real hard early and I just couldn’t find a rhythm, couldn’t get a rhythm.
To make the turn at only 2-over after some of the places I hit it I was confident that if I could get to 14, 14 tee at 2-over par or better that I think I could post a score, and then to birdie 14, 16, 17, obviously felt sweet and good par saves on 15 and 18 which, you know, showed a little emotion and showed it meant something the me.
On Tough Start
QUESTION: You pushed through the front-9. After the turn, what unfolded?
CHAPPELL: Yeah. The key to really the whole day was salvaging the front-9 and not letting the round get away from me. I knew if I could play 10 through 13 in even par or better and then you have some opportunities 14 through 18, and I knew that if I could salvage those first four holes on the back I would have a good chance and get a decent score and I did. Really took advantage of the finish there.
QUESTION: A drastic difference in the wind from the first two rounds to today. What exactly did you do to adjust?
CHAPPELL: Clearly it took me awhile to adjust the way I started. I just needed to find a rhythm and I have a short golf swing, in the wind it tends to get shorter and quicker and cause me to hit some wayward shots. I tried to find a smooth rhythm and commit to the shot when it was my turn.
On Mindset For Final Round
QUESTION: What’s your mindset for tomorrow now being familiar with the layout of this course, what are you looking for?
CHAPPELL: Have a good round of golf. Really enjoy it. I’ve been there a lot recently and, you know, through the struggles I’ve had this year I’ve learned when I’m in the position I really do need to enjoy it a lot more because you never know when or if it’s going to happen again. I look forward to the battle and look forward to enjoying it.
QUESTION: You’ve been in this position a lot. How much will you be able to take from those experiences tomorrow?
CHAPPELL: I hope a lot. You know, this golf course, I’ve been in that position in this golf course twice and, you know, it doesn’t give me much and you really got to stay patient and take advantage of the holes it does give you.
I’m not sure which way the wind is going to blow tomorrow. It makes for an exciting finish no matter which way it blows, blows from the north or south.
One of the finishing holes downwind, it makes it extremely scoreable and the other one plays very difficult. So, for me it’s going to be about staying in the moment, execute my game plan and hopefully walking up 18 it’s my time.
On Expectations Coming In
QUESTION: Combined with your play at Augusta, coming here, what were your thoughts as this week started?
CHAPPELL: I knew my game was in a good place, Augusta kind of showed you guys that, but I had shown — I played some really good rounds of golf as of late and I really enjoyed a week off last week, my son’s second birthday, kind of got away from the game, didn’t do much. Did enough to keep the feels that I have been having success with.
On Key To Turnaround
QUESTION: Late in the round that’s really windy and brutal weather-wise like today was, a lot of — it’s hard to keep the mental concentration. What helps you kind of click it in for the three birdies?
CHAPPELL: Just finding a rhythm. Once I found it I would be able to hold on to it and carry it with me throughout the day, and around this place you know that you can get it on the finishing stretch.
So, you know, you really got to get yourself there and execute on those last four holes.
On Key Moment
QUESTION: Was there a time maybe around the turn where you talk to yourself, one moment in the round you thought all right, I’m not going to let it get away from me?
CHAPPELL: Make birdie on 8 which is a tough par 5 today and I hit a good drive on 9 and awesome second shot and I think my ball is going to be in the middle of the green, one hops over the back. I make a bogey.
I said, “Let’s not let that be the front-9, be the day, let’s build off of the two good shots you hit” and I set a little mini goal and achieved that and then knew that 14 is going to be reachable and 15 is the toughest hole coming back in and you got 17 downwind and I was able to steal one on 16 and birdie 17 and, you know, that’s what it was.
Credit: Getty Images, ASAP Sports