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July 13, 1995

Val Skinner


LES UNGER: Well, 68 is becoming a popular number for the day. I am sure you are happy with it.

VAL SKINNER: Yeah, I played solid. I sort of got off to a little bit of a shaky start, but was able to grab a couple of birdies there before I made the turn and sort of get on solid ground to go into the back 9 and hang in there.

LES UNGER: Give us details, please, on your birdies and saves and others.

VAL SKINNER: On the 1st hole, I hit it in the rough and played what I thought was a good shot out of there, left it quite a ways short of the pin, probably 30 feet and 3 whacked. I had a pretty tough first putt and didn't get to the hole. 3-putt there. On 3, drove it in the left rough and that hole, they had moved the tee back there today and that hole was really difficult. It was into the wind; with the water, I just went ahead and laid it up to the water because it wasn't worth trying to get over it. Wedged it there with the sand wedge and lipped the putt out. 4, hit 9-iron to about 5 feet and made that for birdie. Cruised along and then on 9, I hit 2-iron in there about 3 feet and lipped it out for eagle and tapped it in for birdie. And 11, I hit sand wedge; I had about 60 yards sand wedge 4 feet right before the hole. Made that. Went along, made a good putt on 14 and 15 to save par. I hit the green, but misread the -- I lost the shrine momentarily is what happened - forgot - and then 16, I gave it too much credit. I had about a 30-footer there and left it 8 feet short. Then left that one about 2 inches short, 3-putted there. 17, I hit 3-iron into 17. Just caught it in that left bunker and hit a sand wedge up to about, I don't know, maybe a foot. Made that. Then hit a putt on 18, went all the way around the hole, but it didn't drop, so -- it was accurate to say that was a paint job. It was a good solid round and basically I just tried to hit the second shot where it needed to be and respect the break of the greens and just stayed patient. That was really the key. You really can't go after a lot of pins here. You just get creamed.

LES UNGER: This is your first Open since 1990. Have you been --


LES UNGER: That is what this says.

VAL SKINNER: Not true.

LES UNGER: Okay, I will throw this book away. Next question.

Q. With sort of an iffy start, did you kind of take a deep breath and try and settle yourself at any point right after that?

VAL SKINNER: I took a few. Yeah, it was -- I really respect The Open Championship a lot. Sometimes maybe a little too much. And you get a little nervous and you get a little bit -- which I think is very normal. You got to settle yourself down. Fortunately, I did that early enough; got a round under my belt. I am sure I will feel better tomorrow and every day as it goes on. I had a little trepidation whether or not I was prepared for the golf course and whether or not I needed to know what I needed to know. As the day went on, I felt more comfortable and felt I knew what I needed to know.

LES UNGER: Do you think morning, afternoon is going to make some difference today?

VAL SKINNER: I think it always does. I think some -- I was glad to see the USGA was considerate this morning with -- they had put some water on the greens and they were holding fairly well. With the greens having as much slope as they do, it will be really scary to think how quick they could get, and they actually they would be unfair, but they held better than maybe I have seen a Thursday round in a while unless there had been rain the night before. I thought that was very smart. I thought that was a compliment to them, because in the past I think sometimes they get a little quick a little bit early. That was definitely an advantage. I think in the afternoon, if the wind blows a little bit, you are going to see people struggle a little bit more and figure out where to leave the ball and what have you, but they were good. They were good at 9:40.

Q. How far were your saving putts or second putts at 14 and 15?

VAL SKINNER: 14, was about 8-footer. And 15 was about a 4-footer. With a whole bunch of break, so they were really good saving putts.

Q. You said you had to play with patience. Any more, any less than you play anywhere else?

VAL SKINNER: Well, you know, you'd like -- I guess probably because of the fact that -- I don't believe -- I have not played an Open where the element of greed doesn't beat you. So that was really a goal today for me. I tend to be really aggressive and you know, I really backed off a lot and it helped. So I think particularly at a tournament such as this one, it is -- that element is even more in the forefront.

Q. Does the way the course is set up cause you to be that way?

VAL SKINNER: That, too, I mean, yeah because the roughs are long and difficult and the greens are so fast that if you hit the ball on the wrong side of the hole here you really -- as in many USGA -- U.S. Opens, that is the case, but particularly, I think, with the Broadmoor's greens.

LES UNGER: Were you hitting the ball, the percentage, longer that people were predicting?

VAL SKINNER: It is kind of fun, you know, -- yeah, there is about, you know, I guess a club difference on the driver; probably a little bit more. I am sure Laura is just "well, should I had hit a sand wedge in or flip sand wedge." You know, she is probably -- I'd like to just watch her play, you know, hopefully you know, I will get to, but I am sure she is hitting the ball really long here.

LES UNGER: What else? Okay. Thank you very much for making the trip.

VAL SKINNER: Thanks, guys.

End of FastScripts....

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