May 28, 1998
WES SEELEY: 34, 33, 67, 5-under par for Kirk Triplett, one behind his fellow competitor, Steve Pate at this point. Take this opportunity to tell us how good the greens were in the first group.
KIRK TRIPLETT: Not a spike mark on them. No, the course was -- I guess it just seemed easy because so many years it's been so wet and playing so long. It's playing quite a bit shorter. And if you keep your ball in the fairway, the holes are -- instead of hitting 2 and 3-irons into some of these long par 4s, hit a lot of 7, 8, 9-irons. So made those typically very difficult pins a little more accessible with the shorter irons. So I think that's why you saw more birdies. Probably see more bogeys, too. Guys play a little more aggressively this week. The greens are starting to firm up, but they're not so hard now you can't hit it into the proper section of the green. I'm sure it will be that way by the end of the week if it doesn't rain.
WES SEELEY: Why don't you take us through the birdies, bogeys and the eagle.
KIRK TRIPLETT: Hit a 6-iron about 20 feet behind the hole and made that; bogeyed 3, missed the green just left with a 7-iron, probably a foot or two off the green. And there's a big hump in the middle of the green, had a pretty good chip down there 6, 8 feet and missed that. Birdied 5, hit it just pin-high left in two, and the pin's in the back corner and my chip -- first chip went across the green, couldn't keep it on the green, and just into the fringe maybe 15 feet away. Chipped that in with a little sand wedge shot. And No. 6, I hit a 6-iron about 8 feet behind the hole and made that for birdie.
WES SEELEY: Around to 11.
KIRK TRIPLETT: 11 I hit a sand wedge about 5 feet, made that.
WES SEELEY: And then the eagle.
KIRK TRIPLETT: Eagle, I hit a 2-iron on 15 about 4 feet.
WES SEELEY: What was the club for the second shot on 5?
KIRK TRIPLETT: 5.
WES SEELEY: Par 5.
KIRK TRIPLETT: Oh, 3-wood.
WES SEELEY: Driver, 3-wood.
KIRK TRIPLETT: Driver 3-wood. Two chips, count it as a 4.
Q. How long was that second shot? How far past it had you chipped it?
KIRK TRIPLETT: On No. 5?
KIRK TRIPLETT: About 15 feet.
WES SEELEY: Questions for Kirk?
Q. Summarize how your year has been up until now.
KIRK TRIPLETT: I'm just starting to play a little bit better now. I went through kind of a rough patch. I don't know, Wes can probably fill you in. I'm probably 60 something on the money list, 70th maybe. I played really well on the West Coast, but I didn't make -- my ball-striking was pretty good. I didn't make a lot of putts. I made some money, but the purses have gotten so much higher. I think I made 90 or 100,000 by the end of the West Coast. I thought gee, I had a pretty nice West Coast. There have been some years where that's pretty good, well, on your way to the top-30. But the purses are all twice as much now, so it was like making 50,000, I guess, relatively. But I missed three cuts in a row about six weeks ago around -- I haven't done that in a long time. But I finished about 15th or 20th the last two weeks, so I feel like my game is coming around again.
Q. Did it help having people with you playing so well? Is that an advantage?
KIRK TRIPLETT: I think so. Definitely seeing guys make birdies. Bobby Wadkins shot 1-under as well, and he did that with a double bogey on the 2nd hole. So really from there on, we played quite well as a group, probably 12, 13-under as a group.
Q. You mentioned when I walked in about the greens holding. What are the fairways like? Are they running pretty --
KIRK TRIPLETT: Yeah. They're running just the right amount. So the holes are playing short, but they're not running so much that you can't keep the ball in the fairway. You know, like the 18th hole was -- typically when it gets real firm, it's really hard to get the ball on the fairway there and get it out to where you want to get it to without having it run into the left rough. You can hit a 3-wood or a 2-wood, whatever you want there, off the tee. The last two or three years, you've been hitting drivers as hard as you can and hitting a 4-iron, at least for me.
Q. Can you think of one particular par 4 today where you hit a 9-iron that you might have hit a 5-iron last year?
KIRK TRIPLETT: No. 10. Last year, I probably hit a 2- or 3-iron into that hole every day. I hit an 8-iron in there today, so that's a pretty big difference there. You know, and one of the big differences is you can hit 3-woods off the tee, as you'll listen to Steve tell you how many drivers he hit today probably. He didn't hit many drivers today. 3-wood is probably the club of choice today.
Q. How many drivers did you hit today?
KIRK TRIPLETT: Lots of them. I hit drivers all the time everywhere, unless there's something going across the fairway.
Q. You've been out here long enough to know that the leaderboard on Thursday often doesn't look like it does on Sunday. Coming in 67, how does that set up your round tomorrow and --
KIRK TRIPLETT: I don't know. I never had a decent first sound here. So I'll just do what I always try to do, you know, just, you know, you try to do as well as you can on each shot. And that's, you know, that's the way it adds up to 67. For me, if I go out there trying to shoot a specific score, if I say "Oh, I have to shoot 66 today," that's the quickest way for me to shoot 76, you know. If I get that thought, "Oh, I've got to shoot 66," the thing I have to ask myself, I have to say, "Okay, how am I going to do that? " I'm going to do it by making six birdies and the rest pars. How am I going to do that? I'm going to do it by getting my tee shot on the fairway on the first hole and then try to hit my best second shot I can into that pin, you know. If the greens get firm or hard, I've got to -- you have to have a real plan, this golf course especially you have to have a real plan for how you're going to get the ball around this golf course.
Q. Is it dangerous to feel too good about a 67 or where do you --
KIRK TRIPLETT: No. I feel great about it. I don't shoot them that often, so I have to enjoy it when you do.
WES SEELEY: Anything else for Kirk? All right.
KIRK TRIPLETT: Thanks guys.
End of FastScripts....