June 16, 2001
Q. You've got to be pleased.
BRYCE MOLDER: Very pleased, more so just in the fact that I was able to relax, and just play golf like I usually do. I don't always shoot low scores, I don't always chip in for par. But I really hit some very, very good shots and made some really good putts.
Q. Are you content to stay with being an amateur or do you still want to contend in golf tournaments?
BRYCE MOLDER: My goal was to try to have a chance to win on Sunday. If I got a couple more birdies, I felt like I would have been pretty close. I got a good start at 3-under for 6 holes, so I know it's out there for me. I know yesterday on the 10th hole, I was 9-over at the time, and I said, well, I can still win this thing, but of course things have to fall your way. That's the goal. If I come out and shoot, 2-, 3-, 4-, 5-under on the front side, who knows what's going to happen this afternoon.
Q. The first 27 holes you were something like 8-over, since then a lot better, what's changed in the second half of the tournament for you?
BRYCE MOLDER: I'm not sure. I think starting out I was definitely a little bit -- definitely very nervous, and not really unsure, just getting used to the surroundings. This is my third professional tournament, and being they're separated by a year each year, and so that makes it tough to really get comfortable out here. We're not used to playing in front of all these people. I think that was a little bit. And then just happened to find a swing thought that helped me hit the ball well off the tee. I've been hitting my irons great all week, it was just getting it off the tee.
Q. Ever made a better par than that one on 12?
BRYCE MOLDER: That was pretty good. I don't know how the ball got so far left. I was over there in the rough, and it didn't seem like a bad lie, because it was pretty thin. It went straight left. I looked down, there was a pretty big stick, that may have had something to do with it, it may not, but it's better than hitting it on about 10 feet and 3-putting. I hit a 6-iron.
Q. The roar that you got when you did chip in for par, does that puff you up?
BRYCE MOLDER: It does, I remember going over to my caddy and knowing that it pumped me up, and it was like, "All right, we need to settle down and play." The next tee shot was big, because you get it back in the fairway, when you're scrambling all the time, you never feel like you get the groove. Hitting it there and hitting on the green it felt great. Even though I 3-putted, I hit a good tee shot on the next hole, on the par-3, so I got back in the groove.
Q. Did that 3-putt in any way disturb you or alter you?
BRYCE MOLDER: A little bit, I think that's the golfing gods trying to take it back for No. 12. And it hurt a little bit, because I wanted to keep playing, keep going lower and lower, but I knew there were some holes left that I could get. So it definitely felt like I threw a shot away, but at the same time I made a three- or four-footer for par, so I didn't 4-putt.
BRYCE MOLDER: A little bit, not really, though, that's one of those you lag to make. I had a couple like that that I actually made today. All you're trying to do is pick out a line. When you're picking out 4 to 5 feet above the hole, and you're 40 feet, you're just trying to get it up around the hole. If it goes in, I'll be honest with you, nobody out here is good enough to hit it the way they want to and read it the way they want to.
Q. What does it do for your confidence to play like this?
BRYCE MOLDER: It feels good. I think it reinstates in my mind how I feel as a golfer, coming out of college, I feel like I can play at this level. I don't feel like I am there yet, I feel like I've got some work, but I feel like when I play really well, I can play with any of the guys out here. But it's, more than anything, just kind of some confidence to carry with me.
Q. Still satisfied with your decision to remain an amateur through all this?
BRYCE MOLDER: Very, very.
Q. What about the course, on 16, an 8-footer?
BRYCE MOLDER: I think it was good. I bogeyed 15, and in a U.S. Open -- I remember Pinehurst, I could never make the putt to stop that bogey train. And I think that was a good one, because even though 17 is a short hole, you barely miss the fairway, and you're scrambling again, so I knew that it was key to make that putt, and fortunately it went in.
Q. How difficult will it be to gear down next week?
BRYCE MOLDER: I think more than anything I'll go and have fun. I'm looking forward to playing, I love that tournament, the Northeast Amateur. Other than the U.S. Amateur, it's definitely my favorite amateur tournament. That's probably the reason I stay amateur, is to play one last time. It's a great golf course, so I'll look forward to playing. It's almost a U.S. Open golf course.
BRYCE MOLDER: Just kind of hearing your name, I'm not used to hearing that many people saying my game, so that was fun. But I did notice it. And then once Tiger teed off it thinned out a little bit, which is completely understandable. But I'm from Arkansas, and quite a few people are here from there, and I used to live in Tulsa.
Q. It was obvious people were appreciating you.
BRYCE MOLDER: That means a lot. That feels really, really good. I can't tell you how good that feels. You walk up and you hit an okay shot, and they're clapping out of respect for whatever it is, for the round you have or I guess for being an amateur and playing well or whatever, but it feels great.
Q. In the maturing process are you going to look back later and say you matured a lot in the last 24 hours, say?
BRYCE MOLDER: Definitely. I think that more than anything my confidence has reached another level. If you get confident through the junior golf tour, you can play that level. Then you get knocked down in college and you go back. I know in fall I can carry this with me for when I do turn professional and I try to play out here, I can carry that and know that when I play well, I can shoot some good scores out here.
BRYCE MOLDER: They said we were a little bit behind and I did speed up a little bit. It was tough after yesterday taking forever, and today actually thinking about speeding up a bit, it was kind of tough. That was on 10 green I asked them, "How are we doing on time?" And he said, "We're a little bit behind." But then he immediately said that we were right back on time right after that.
Q. How many holes did you get in the first day?
BRYCE MOLDER: Just four holes, almost four holes. I was on the green.
Q. Last year you missed the cut when you played the Open, what did you take from that and how has that impacted you this week?
BRYCE MOLDER: For one thing you don't play for the cut. And even though last time I went into it saying, "I think I can play well, I think I can win here", one of my goals first was to make the cut. And that wasn't here. That wasn't the case. I felt like if I played well enough to have a chance to win, the cut wouldn't matter. It's unfortunate I played as poorly as I did for the first 27 holes, to where I did have to think about the cut, because I was three shots over the cut. But playing for the cut is tougher than playing to win.
Q. Describe the course for you, how does it play for you?
BRYCE MOLDER: Earlier in the week I was hitting a lot of 2-irons off the tee, it was a lot drier than it is right now and it's drying out quite a bit right now. And then after nine holes my second round I figure out that if I'm going to miss the fairway, I might as well miss it with a driver and get on down there and actually started hitting it straighter than my 2-iron. The course is great because you have to drive the ball straight, and if you don't, it gives you a chance to be -- kind of use your imagination, where a lot of the U.S. Open golf courses, you just chip out. But here it's thinner rough, but then again you're right in the trees, so that makes it tough. But the greens are sloped. You have to really, really be conscious about when you're going to be aggressive and when you're not. And I learned that more than anything from when I played with the guys in the practice round.
BRYCE MOLDER: I don't know what it would do. The problem when you're in the rough, into the wind, you have no clue what's going to happen. It's either going to come out fluffy and go nowhere or you'll catch a flier and go right through the wind. I tried to generate not a lot of club head speed, so it wouldn't fly. I thought it would lie on the edge of the green and bounce off, but it landed and bounced 10 yards further than I thought.
BRYCE MOLDER: From there that's as good as you can hope for, without just getting silly and trying to land it in the rough, just over the bunker. So that's about -- about as good as I could do. I was putting well to where I felt like if I gave myself a chance I really thought I was going to make that one.
Q. Is that normally a strength of your game?
BRYCE MOLDER: Usually I don't get to practice this much of it. And today I didn't, other than a few holes, I really hit the ball pretty well. It's kind of using my imagination, and that kind of is tough. It's fun. I think I do a good job of finding the best spot to get up-and-down without taking too much of a risk.
Q. Are you going to come out and be aggressive tomorrow, and if so, who kind of expectations do you have?
BRYCE MOLDER: If the guys that are 4-under, if they make up a couple more shots, and they're 6-under at the end of the day, realistically my chances aren't that great. But I remember hearing Tiger, this may have been four, five years ago, he was down about nine shots and I think it may have been Tucson or Las Vegas, and they said, "You're just going to practice some stuff for the next tournament", and he said, "No, I'm going to try to win." And his point was, if I play as good as I can possibly play, I can still win. And I'm not going to go out there and try to hit every shot perfect, but you saw how things just can happen out there, and so who knows.
Q. On the third shot on 12, what was your realistic -- did it pretty much come out the way you thought it would?
BRYCE MOLDER: I really didn't think I'd be able to hold the green. I think I hit as good a shot as I could have. Obviously, if it hits in the rough and catches a little bit softer bounce, then it's on the green. But I thought it was going to be on the green, and people stopped in front, I was trying to get in front of them, then all of a sudden it was off the green. I was happy to be in a spot to make a 5 and go on, walk up and make a 4. I shot 73-78.
Q. Just a question about adjusting quickly to the weather yesterday, the conditions?
BRYCE MOLDER: We teed off at 7 o'clock. That's pretty early to step up and hit one putt or two putts and then play a 642 yard hole when it's wet. All of a sudden you're trying to beef up and really hit one there. And I hit it right and then it kind of caught on and I kept hitting bad shots, but I think more than anything I just never got in a rhythm yesterday morning.
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