Sea Island, Georgia
THE MODERATOR: We’d like to welcome Kevin Chappell to the media center here at the RSM Classic. Kevin, 5-under 65 today in the windy conditions. A very solid round.
What was the key to your day out there today?
KEVIN CHAPPELL: Just give myself opportunities. I hit 17 and 18 greens, drove it fairly well, especially early in the round. So I had a lot of pretty good looks at birdie.
THE MODERATOR: Just one more round or couple more rounds this weekend before the break in the PGA TOUR season. What would it mean to have a solid week this week and have momentum going into 2016 with that?
KEVIN CHAPPELL: Yeah, I mean, obviously I’m in a good position to try and win another golf tournament, or win a golf tournament.
I’ve had some issues in the past in that situation, so for me it’s about getting in that situation and seeing what happens; trying to find a formula that works for me.
It’s another opportunity. If I find a formula that works, it’s something I can take into the next year.
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. Talk about the windy conditions. Did you have maybe one shot that really stood out that either worked incredibly well or didn’t work out well because the wind got crazy?
KEVIN CHAPPELL: So I don’t know about other players, but for me it’s very comforting knowing the wind is going to blow from one direction. We knew today the wind was blowing from the northeast.
So having some control of my ball the last couple days, it’s been easy to send the ball out over a hazard, a bunker, and know that I’m going to hit the right shot and that the wind is actually going to move it.
As far as a shot that I hit that worked out in my favor, I hit a 7-iron on 17 that was on the green. I ended up missing, but it was from 195 yards.
It was like, Do we ride the wind with a draw or hit a straight shot and let the wind move it. We hit a straight shot and let the wind move it and it still flew over the green.
I was thinking I couldn’t get it there. You know, it was a well-executed shot. Maybe just a little misjudged.
Q. On a 40 and 50 yard bunker shot, is pitching wedge a typical selection for you there?
KEVIN CHAPPELL: Yeah, I guess I have a carry number for each wedge out of a bunker. Pitching wedge goes about 36, 38 yards, so I told myself, Hit it a little harder than you want. Especially knowing that if it goes over the back of the green it’s shaved and you can putt it up the hill. Probably easier than leaving it short and then putting it back into the wind up and over the other direction.
So that’s what I told myself: Hit it harder than you want. Came out perfect.
Q. When did you know it was good?
KEVIN CHAPPELL: When it landed on top. So I can only see basically the hill facing me and I can’t see the plateau. It kind of runs away.
So the ball, I knew it landed on top because I couldn’t see the ball. There were a few people around the green.
KEVIN CHAPPELL: Eight people. There was an applause, and I had to look up and Michael and say, Did it go in? He’s like, Yeah. I’m like, Sweet.
Q. You tied for eighth last year on this golf course. Something about the Sea Side that you seem to like?
KEVIN CHAPPELL: Yeah, I’ve been in position the last — I think third year in a row I’ve been near the last group on the weekend.
Yeah, I think for me it’s the sightlines work. The wind tends to blow out of one direction. There are a lot of things that are comforting to me and allow me to play well.
Q. On 15, that eagle, talk us through the shots you hit on that hole.
KEVIN CHAPPELL: Yeah. So waited like 25 minutes on the tee box for the couple groups in front of us. Pretty stiff and not an ideal wind for a cutter on the ball.
Down off the left. Your basic ball is just going to end up in a bunker. The bunker is 305 yards off the tee, so I’m trying get it as far left as I can.
I do a poor job of that and get lucky and the ball ends up just short of the bunker. Had a pretty good lie and a decent number to get to the hole with a 3-wood.
Hit it how I wanted to. Maybe just misjudged the lie out of the first cut. The ball just gets eaten up in the wind and one-hops into the bunker. 45, 48 yards, and it was one of those situations where to get it — you take a good look. That’s all you want is to have a birdie look.
I just hit it as confidently and committed as I could and obviously it worked out.
Q. When you look at your last couple years, they have been fine. Seems like they have been similar in terms of ranking, where you finish, et cetera met cetera. Do you see progress or more frustration?
KEVIN CHAPPELL: There is frustration, but I think there is progress in knowing — being able to pinpoint where I can improve. I’ve taken the time to really look at the stats, and I improved a lot putting this last year. Only my ranking, world ranking stayed about the same, and FedEx ranking was about the same.
So obviously there is some improvement in other areas, if the putting stays improved, we’ll say. So I’ve really going to commit to working on the pitching and bunker play and getting the ball in the hole when I don’t hit greens.
I think that should help push me forward where I want to be.
Q. More golf this year?
KEVIN CHAPPELL: I don’t. My wife turns 30 next week and we’re going to Hawaii next week. Family vacation. So there will be no golf there. A lot of beach time. Tee it up again after the first of the year.
Q. Hawaii or…
KEVIN CHAPPELL: To be determined.
Q. Where did she take you on your birthday?
KEVIN CHAPPELL: I don’t know. I haven’t turned 30 yet.