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July 1, 2000

Kirk Triplett


LEE PATTERSON: All right, Kirk, a wonderful day. What do you say about that?

KIRK TRIPLETT: Well, I riding right in with Gumpy, Scott Gump on Wednesday, and they have got that little sign out front, he's giving me the arm: "There's my name up there." He shot 62 or whatever last year, so he was -- he had the course record. So I said, "I'm going to beat you this week." That's what I did. The golf course has been playing great all week. Guys have been shooting up. Greens are still soft. I keep waiting for them to get hard. I think the course is playing a little bit short, because the fairways are firm, and greens are receptive. Low scores, low scores, no wind. Little wind, very little wind.

Q. Kirk, after Thursday's round, you said the reason why you played well was because you didn't have to make any 5-footers for pars, and today it seemed like you had them all for birdies?

KIRK TRIPLETT: Yeah, I had a bunch that length, but I did have a couple of good saves to keep the momentum going. I missed a putt here or there, and I made the lion's share of them, and there's no question. I mean, yesterday was a bit of a struggle all day, a lot of 40-and 50-foot, 30-foot birdie putts. So you're putting for birdie, but you're not really putting for birdie; you're 2-putting for par, and when I did get in trouble I couldn't get out of it. But no question, that was the difference.

Q. Is this your low round on the TOUR?

KIRK TRIPLETT: My low number, 61. I've shot 9-under a couple times at North Course at Torrey Pines. Lee's probably got all that information. But I don't think too many times to know.

Q. How about course records, how many course records have you had?

KIRK TRIPLETT: How many course records do I have? I don't know. Probably two or three now. I got one at Rancho -- no, what's the name of that place, Shandon Hills, San Bernadino, Incline. I've got one somewhere else, but I can't think of where it is.

Q. Are they as low as 61?

KIRK TRIPLETT: Yeah, two of them are 61, but par 72.

Q. Do you think being seven shot back was -- you were going to be -- that was too far away?

KIRK TRIPLETT: I was very discouraged last night after the round yesterday, because it was tough conditions, and I'm playing around the lake down there, and I just butchered it and went and bogeyed 16, doubled 17. You know, I was having trouble believing I was even -- because I was playing very well, and I was 7-under par with about three holes, and I had just played that stretch of holes that's downwind and parred 15, and I was like, how can I only be 7-under par? Well, boom, I wasn't; I was 4-under par. And I was very discouraged about it last night, feeling a little frustrated, because I knew that I was playing well, but I needed to -- I needed to stay in contact with these guys and not let them get that far ahead. It's not very often you go out and shoot 9-under. You go out and play really well and shoot 4- or 5-under, and then I'm at 8 or 9 and chances are, you know, Mark might be 15 or 14 at the end of the day, and you're still 6- or 7- back.

Q. Did you find a groove very early then to get going?

KIRK TRIPLETT: Well, I hit it close on 1. I hit it two feet on No. 1 and missed it and walked off the green just shaking my head. And then I birdied 2, 3 and 4. And then I had -- I felt like I could shoot really low. And I hit a great drive on 6, and standing there about 240 from the green to walk away with a par. And then I drove it in the rough on 7, and I felt like it was kind of slipping away, but I made a really nice par on 7. It was in the rough, I hit it in the green-side bunker, hit a nice bunker shot off an uphill lie, long-distance bunker shot, got in there four feet, five feet; made the putt, and I feel like that kind of held the round together. Hit a nice iron shot on 8. Missed the putt from about 10, 12 feet. Hit a horrible shot on 9, and then made a 60-footer, and I felt like this is going to be one of those days, if I can just, you know, hang in there.

Q. You said you were discouraged after yesterday's round. How did you turn it around mentally today and shoot just such a great score?

KIRK TRIPLETT: Took my kids out to Friendly's and had ice cream. (Laughs). No, I came out this morning, and I was -- I didn't think we had done a good job picking clubs yesterday, between my caddy and I, and I was frustrated. You know, we had a little discussion about it while I was warming up, and I was hitting it good. I don't know what clicked. I just kind of went back to Thursday's round -- I knew I was still playing well, and that was kind of the key.

Q. When you got to 16 or 17, were you thinking at all about the course record, knowing that you had to make a birdie or two?

KIRK TRIPLETT: I knew what it was, because of that story that I told you. That wasn't the foremost thought in my mind. There's a lot of guys out there that are 10 -, 11-, 12-under par, and I'm trying to get ahead of them and make them get to me. And I'm still trying to make birdies, all the cliches, one hole at a time, and this and that. But you're standing on 17 tee, there's only one thing you're thinking about: Keeping it out of the lake. I can't care what the situation, you can be 10-over par, you're still thinking the same thing: Keep the ball out of the lake. Then we hit it on the hillside and made double. Or if you hit it on in the lake off the tee, you still make bogey. So, no, I didn't really think about the course record until the last hole. I hit kind of a real mediocre tee shot on 1. Had a long ways into that tight pin and hit a very nice iron, I wanted to give that putt a chance, let it roll, just hit the bottom.

Q. You said today's scoring conditions were almost perfect, and was there ever a course that you ran into that was the exact opposite of perfect scoring conditions?

KIRK TRIPLETT: Yeah, pretty much -- I'm not going to say all of them, but a number of them. I remember one time we were in Taipei or two hours outside of Taipei, you always had about a two-hour bus ride to the golf course because they don't build them in the population center. So we took the bus out there. It's raining; I had been there two weeks. It rained every single day, and I'm asking -- I'm standing at the scoreboard I asked the guy, "Where's the putting green?" And that was my first time out there, Lin Kao (ph) was the name of the course. I saw the range and asked, "Where's the putting green at?" He goes like this (indicating pointing down): We were standing on it. Sure enough, there was about three cups cut in there, dirt and grass. We didn't practice my putting a lot.

Q. Do you think that putt on the 9th hole was a real big momentum-booster for you?

KIRK TRIPLETT: Oh, yeah because that was a tough putt. I would have been happy with two putts there, and I make it; and so I felt, well, you know even if I hit a bad shot now, I know I can recover and still potentially make a birdie. And it kind of flipped my switch a little bit, because I had just missed the putt on 8 where I hit a nice iron in there; and 7, I struggled for par; and 6, I felt like I, you know, wasted a little bit there. And then 9, boom, I pick one up right where I didn't think I would. Played pretty good in from there on in.

Q. What are the emotions like now 24 hours after having a lousy time? Does everything just feel differently after having such a good day?

KIRK TRIPLETT: The colors are more vibrant. There's no clouds in the sky. I always like coming to this tournament, because I feel like I have the chance to win this tournament. I mean, really, in my heart, I believe that. I've never done it. I've been in contention a bunch of times on Sunday here. And I felt that way on Thursday; I felt like I'm going to be in contention all week. The way I was playing on Thursday, I just had that, you know, that feeling. And then to lose it on Friday and to regain it today, I feel fortunate.

Q. Why do you have that feeling?

KIRK TRIPLETT: Why do I have that feeling? I think just because I played here quite a bit in the past and am comfortable on the golf course, you know, I have success to build on. Like next week, we go over to that golf course in Chicago, I finally quit going. No matter how good I play, I can't finish better than 40th. I don't know why. I like the course. I like it just as much or better than this one.

Q. (Inaudible.)

KIRK TRIPLETT: There's a bunch of guys that are like that here. I mean, Junior, who else plays good: Stewart Cink Olin Browne, Kevin Sutherland, a lot of guys.

Q. Is there something you learned in L.A. that you're going to take into tomorrow?

KIRK TRIPLETT: Well, you know I probably won't know that until I do it. I learned a lot of things in L.A., and I think probably the biggest thing was to kind of accept the challenge of being in the lead or being in contention, and, you know, things start going the wrong way for you; don't let that determine your outlook. You can make a couple of mistakes and still win the tournament. So I'm certainly going to try and remember that, because I probably won't play a perfect round of golf tomorrow. I mean, I shot 9-under today, and it wasn't a perfect round of golf.

Q. Can you go over your birdies, please?

KIRK TRIPLETT: I birdied 2. I hit a sand wedge in about five feet. Birdied 3, I hit a 7-iron out of the fairway bunker to about 7, 8 feet. Birdied 4, I hit a 6-iron 20 feet. Saved par on 7 from five feet. Birdied 9. I hit an 8-iron to 60 feet. Saved par on 10. Hit a sand wedge, came out of the bunker to two feet, three feet. 12, I hit a sand wedge to eight feet. 13, I hit a 3-wood on the green and 2-putted from 40 feet. 15, I drove it just short of the green and chipped it up there about two and a half feet. 16, I hit a 6-iron three feet. 17, I hit an 8-iron about six feet. That's it. Missed a 20-footer on 18.

Q. That 60-footer, what did you see? What was your line on it?

KIRK TRIPLETT: Just a little left-to-right swing, maybe 18 inches or so. It was kind of up-and-down, up over the hump and then down.

Q. What was the club you hit on 1 to two feet?

KIRK TRIPLETT: Pitching wedge.

End of FastScripts….

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