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March 2, 2002

Peter Lonard


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Welcome, Peter Lonard, to the interview area. Thanks for coming in Peter. 70 today, minus 9 for the tournament, you are currently tied for second. If you could just talk about your round today and maybe a little bit about playing with some leader groups.

PETER LONARD: Well obviously I haven't really sort of played many leader groups over here in the past. Australia I have played -- well, most of your top players come out to Australia, I probably played with them in the past. There's nothing new there.

Today obviously was pretty windy, it was one of those days where you had to just make pars and minimize your mistakes.

I started reasonably well -- birdied the first like basically everyone I would have thought. Probably the turning point was about the third; I hit a pretty poor shot off the tee, got it up-and-down to make a par; then hit it close on the fourth, which I think everybody was having trouble with it. Birdied there, that pretty much set up my whole day.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: You've made five cuts so far in five appearances on the Tour this year. What has been the difference this week so far?

PETER LONARD: I don't think I am doing that much different. I think possibly the wind plays into my hands a little bit more. I don't mind hitting the ball in the wind if I have to. Obviously playing in Europe and definitely Australia, we play hard and fast courses with a lot of wind, so, it's not that different to playing than home. Also I played well - this is probably my 7th week or 8th week in a row, I am definitely well-done. So everything is just improved week-in and week-out.

I made a few changes to clubs this week, which is probably just for this U.S. tour. I think you have really got to stack your short game a bit and go at the pins and get up-and-down out of some smelly positions. So far it has worked.


Q. When did you split your decks?

PETER LONARD: 3rd hole here comes the (inaudible) pins the rest of the day.

Q. Marking the ball?

PETER LONARD: Yeah, just marking the ball and being lazy. I will go on a diet.

Q. What did you hit on No. 4? I saw your two playing partners both hit it in the water, you were about six feet away.

PETER LONARD: I hit a 3-iron in there.

Q. You said you played like seven weeks in a row. We only have you as playing four before this. Did you play someplace else in between?

PETER LONARD: Hawaii then went back to Australia and played the Johnnie Walker in Perth. Then I played the Heineken in Melbourne. Then I flew back and played San Diego, L.A., all the way to here. So it has been a pretty busy start to the year. Have to go home to support my home Tour.

Q. How did you do in those two events in Australia?

PETER LONARD: Finished about -- don't know, about 20th, I made the cuts, but finished in the middle of the field, I suppose. Nothing exciting.

Q. Can anyone catch Ernie Els tomorrow?

PETER LONARD: Going to be hard work. Obviously just depends on the front nine, someone has got to make a lot of birdies and he's got to make a few mistakes to catch him. He has got to be 6, 7 -- 8 in front, so, I don't know (laughs), I will be trying, but I don't think I will hold my breath.

Q. In this kind of situation is a battle for second place like is that the next tournament, the secondary tournament, is that the tournament you want to win now if he's out of reach?

PETER LONARD: Yeah, if he's out of reach definitely for me, I made the decision last year to leave Europe, a place that I am pretty comfortable in and I had a reasonably nice living, it's all right to throw it all the way when you are 25 but when you are 34, 35 you don't want to come over here and stuff it up. That is a little risky. Obviously I want to get my card as early as possible and then have a real go.

Q. Why do you decide to do that?

PETER LONARD: I have a lot of friends sort of pushing me towards coming over here and having a go. I have a good friend, Paul, he got his card last year, and he has been all over me for a long time trying to get me to come over here even too play the BUY.COM Tour. I figured I am probably at that age where I have got to go over here and have a go. It is a good year if you are good enough; it's not so much, if you are not good enough. So I figured it was worth a go.

Years ago I dreamt of being here when I was 24, 25 but things didn't work out that way with illness and stuff. Had the opportunity and so far I am still here.

Q. Can you talk a little bit for those of us who have no idea what Ross River fever (ph) is, like did you contract it through a mosquito bite?

PETER LONARD: Yes, a mosquito virus sort of thing, I don't know what you compare it to. But it basically was just like an arthritic virus where you get arthritis and I had that for probably three, four months and made the mistake of thinking that it wasn't -- it's a recurring sort of thing, so once it was gone, I went back to the (inaudible) as you do when you are 20-odd years and unfortunately caught up with me and knocked me out for probably a year or so. One of those things.

Q. So that sort of derailed you at that time, it sounded like you were playing really well, maybe had your sights set on coming over here at that point before the illness?

PETER LONARD: Yeah, definitely. 1992 was when I caught it. I was planning on a couple of years in Europe then coming over here, a lot of the Australian guys in those days suggested go to Europe, learn to play different courses and then once you feel comfortable doing the travelling all that, go to the States and try and get on the Tour over there. So that was obviously the plan, and when I came back didn't play that good, I had to get a club job. I worked in the club job 'til probably 1997 and the club let me go out and play four tournaments and things went well and the members got interested and they sent me back out and that year I won the Order of Merit and ended up back in Europe and here we are.

Q. Through all this did you follow the U.S. tour? Did you keep up with players just sort of maybe advanced scouting for the future or did you just concentrate on your own world?

PETER LONARD: No, '93, '94 golf was pretty much out so I didn't really -- obviously I watched the golf on TV when it was on, but you know, nobody else was -- golf is a pretty individual sport and nobody else really helps you out as far as that goes. If you are good enough, there you are and if you are not, you are not. Obviously I dreamt about playing again. I have been lucky enough to have things turn out pretty good so far.

End of FastScripts....

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