TRANSCRIPT | Brad Kennedy, 2020 Vic Open, Round 1

Q.  Another great start.  You must love this place. BRAD KENNEDY:  I do.  It’s nice to come and start the year again really.  I’ve just had six weeks off and picked the clubs up last Monday and tried to see what I could do.  Yeah, I guess the expectations of last year have gone and […]

Q.  Another great start.  You must love this place.

BRAD KENNEDY:  I do.  It’s nice to come and start the year again really.  I’ve just had six weeks off and picked the clubs up last Monday and tried to see what I could do.  Yeah, I guess the expectations of last year have gone and it’s all about trying to see what we can do for this year.

Q.  When you come back here, is it an overwhelmingly positive thing or do you flash back to what might have been?

BRAD KENNEDY:  Oh, it’s positive.  Anytime you can sort of be amongst the leaders and contest in your first event of the year is always great fun.  I guess it was no fault of mine, so that’s just the way things go.  Just nice to come back to 13th Beach and just really enjoy the hospitality down here.  Just going to go for a nice coffee and relax now by the beach and put the feet up.

Q.  Great way to start getting the birdie early on the Creek course?

BRAD KENNEDY:  Well, I birdied the 10th and then I was a bit flat and I might have ‑‑ three‑putted 18 and made a soft par on the second.  Really just couldn’t get any momentum going.  It wasn’t until I holed, what was it, a 50‑foot putt on the fourth for birdie and then made a couple birdies after that.  So it was a little bit soft in the middle, but I just kept patient. 

Again, with no practise, you’re going to hit some poor shots.  Luckily today the shots that I hit didn’t really cost me, but I just wasn’t close enough to make lots of birdies.  It’s definitely out there today, the course is playing great and I’m sure there’s going to be possibly even maybe a 10 out there.  The greens are good in terms of their pace and all the par 5s seem to be down breeze, too, so that gives you an opportunity to make a few softer birdie and then have to be on with your wedges for the rest of the game.

Q.  You told us previously you haven’t got forever to go in your career, but you must be nearly in career‑best form; would that be fair enough?

BRAD KENNEDY:  Yes, I guess it’s just learning ‑‑ continually learning about what I’m capable of and sort of practising in an environment that allows me to perform under pressure.  For me, that’s the biggest gains that I’ve made over the years is seeing the shots that need to be hit, then being able to hit that shot without consequence.  For me, that’s been a huge learning curve in my career.  Once you start to do that and you start to hit those shots, then it just fuels that desire and that passion to keep going rather than feeling a little bit ‑‑ I guess trying to ‑‑ in my early in my career I was very conservative and whether that was through practise or just my own personality, but now it’s just full‑on attack and I don’t stop until the 18th.

Q.  No disrespect, but I don’t think we’re going to refer to you as a young guy.  Is there something about this venue and this style of golf that lends itself to blokes that have been playing the game a bit longer being able to contend and compete?  We don’t see a lot ‑‑ we tend to see in golf these days, it’s mostly young blokes.  Just your thoughts on that.

BRAD KENNEDY:  I think it’s just the breeze.  Playing in Japan for the last 10 years, it’s taught me a lot in terms of course management.  The fairways are very generous and I think for me that’s a negative because I didn’t miss a fairway today but it actually hurts me in terms of Japan courses are really narrow, the fairways are 20 metres wide where here you’ve got some that are sort of 50, 60, and it lends itself to hitting poor shots and getting away with it.  So it probably doesn’t suit me as much, but I just think with my wedge game and putting game, any course, if I can get those things going, I’ll be competitive.

Q.  Your resume speaks for itself, but you do tend to still fly under the radar here in Australia.  Do you have any thoughts on that?  Does that suit you, does it needle you?  How does that sit with you?

BRAD KENNEDY:  I don’t know.  It doesn’t really bother me too much.  Anyone else can have the hype, I’ll just do what I do and I’m happy to be amongst ‑‑ I really just try and let my clubs do the talking. 

Sometimes there’s always the occasion where things can happen and you just feel a bit frustrated, but when you play 20 weeks a year in Japan and I only play four or five events here, it’s hard to really get that recognition, I guess, in Australia. 

I love coming down here, it’s a great tournament and hopefully it can get bigger and better.  I’m not sure how many years I’ll be back here, but yeah, I’ll be trying as much as I can.

Q.  What do you do if you win it?  European Tour card, Japan Tour card, is there a decision there for you to make?

BRAD KENNEDY:  We’ll wait in three rounds.  No, had that situation at the PGA as well.  I finished third on the Money List.  If I would have finished second, I would have gained that exemption as well.  My thoughts weren’t really all about exemptions, I just ‑‑ I’m not sure how many events I’ve got left.  I always tell my wife that end of 2020 I was finished, so that gives me 25 events until my career’s over.  We’ll see how that pans out, but for me it’s all about being in contention and trying to get as many names as I can on the trophies, then I’ll be able to put the feet up.

Q.  Seems like at the start of 2020 that maybe the end of 2020 maybe a bit premature.  It’s a pretty good start this year.

BRAD KENNEDY:  Yeah.  In 2019 I finished ‑‑ started off the year with second and then finished second in Japan both ends of the year and started off again nice.  But I guess for me it’s nice to be able to come out of the box playing how I’m playing.  I think that’s just a lot of experience in terms of trying to manage myself on these sort of courses without having to put myself under too much pressure, and then when I can hit those good shots, then I can start to score and move up the leaderboard.

Q.  Last one, I promise.  You’ve been playing the game a long time.  You get a feel for tournaments and rhythms.  You mentioned you wouldn’t be surprised if 10 under was leading.  What do you expect out of these next three days?  What does Brad Kennedy have to do to be there Sunday afternoon?

BRAD KENNEDY:  Well, I hope it’s windy.  I love the breeze, especially the Beach course, it’s such a fun place to play.  Gives you all the shots, and for me that’s really the key to golf is you need to hit all the shots that need to be hit under pressure. 

I think I’m just going to keep trying to keep attacking without worrying about the lack of practise.  But again, I think the courses ‑‑ hopefully gets a little bit warmer from the Gold Coast, it’s been freezing the last two days.  I haven’t had a jumper on for two months, so it was a bit different this morning coming out at 5:00 to get ready. 

But yeah, I think the same sort of score’s going to win.  There’s a great field, so if I’m there, I’ll be trying to knock it down.

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