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July 2, 1998

Scott Hoch


Q. All right. We have Scott Hoch here this afternoon, shot a five under par; 65. Scott, why don't we start off by going over your birdies. Tell us about it.

SCOTT HOCH: Well, second hole I hit a sand wedge in about six feet, and made that for birdie. Next hole I hit a seven iron and it rolled right by the hole, and then went about eight feet by and made that for birdie. And then the -- I guess the fourth hole, the tough hole, I was in between clubs on the second shot, ended up hitting a three iron, which is too much. I ended up hitting back to the green, still on the green. I made a cross-country putt. I was fortunate, pretty big break. I didn't see what the pin was. I'd say it was probably 60 feet, close to 60 feet, and it broke a good bit, too. I was quite lucky on that hole. Then a par five, I laid it back where I had a sand wedge to the hole and knocked that about five feet, made that for birdie. And then birdied nine from about 12 feet with an eight iron. For the most part I really played well on the front side today and then got a little iffy on the backside. I pushed it on the right, pushed my tee ball to the right on the ten. There's a tree that overhangs the right of the fairway. It hit it and dropped down. I had a long way to the green. If I didn't hit the tree, it would have been in the rough. I couldn't hit the green. I hit the left bunker. The bunker, that's a little wet after the weather. It had been packed down. They're still kind of not crusty, really thick. The sand is moist. I was in the bunker twice today and those are my two bogies I had. Ten was one of the holes I hit. I had a three iron in the bunker. I was trying to hit it on the green, since my drive was so far back. And hit a decent shot about five feet and didn't hit a very good putt there and missed it, I guess, and then the next birdie I made was on the par five. I laid up and hit a sand wedge in there about ten feet and that was a pretty good break-in putt. That got me to 15 under and a good shot the next hole, but I didn't convert. And then I'm probably -- one of the few that laid up on 15, a three iron off the tee. That actually got me up farther than I wanted to. I had hit about 58 yards to the hole. I hit a sand wedge. I would like to have had it back ten more yards where that pin was. That's a difficult pin to get to today from about any spot. I hit a pretty good shot. It's still about 15 feet. I think it was less than 15 feet. I think the pin was five. I was on the front of the green, let's say, 13 feet, made a good putt there for birdie. Next hole par three I was playing left to the pin. I thought I had a perfect club. I didn't want to really go for that pin. I wanted to hit about ten feet left and putt up the hill. I made a birdie that way. I pushed it in the hole. I was kind of licking my chops. Somehow it hit the top of the bunker and came back into really mushy sand. As a matter of fact, it didn't even hit the green. I hit it. The ball came out fast. It rolled about two inches over the green, so then I two-putted from about 15 feet, I guess. I hit a good shot on 17 and missed that one and finally I was able to scramble on the last hole. I didn't hit a very good drive. I hit the edge of the thick rough and landed up to the left side, left of the green, chipped it onto about four feet and made it four par. That was about the only poor shot I had I was able to capitalize on, not capitalize, but not hurt me anyway.

Q. Any questions for Scott? Is it especially satisfying in the afternoon to shoot 65? Was it getting crusty out there?

SCOTT HOCH: The course is in excellent shape. I think the only part that's iffy right now are the bunkers. It's not their fault. You can't do anything about all the rain. The rain collects in the bunkers. That's the only part. The rest of the course is in excellent shape. The greens held up well. I only saw a few spike marks. I remember in the past, it used -- these things used to spike up very good. Now they're a nice putting surface now, even in the afternoon.

Q. Did you feel you lost your rhythm after the front nine?

SCOTT HOCH: I hit good tee balls and good shots, and even when I didn't make birdie. I had good opportunities and made some good putts. It just didn't go onto the backside. I hit a couple poor drives and one led to a bogey. The other one I was able to get up and down, other than that I hit good shots. I mean -- I mean I hit a good shot on 11, didn't make it for birdie. I think it was more or less the fact that I was hitting a good shot. Most of my shots were as good as I did on the front, but I wasn't going for birdie. I was either leaving them on the wrong side of the hole, or not reading them right. 11 I hit a good shot, didn't make it. 14 I hit a good shot, didn't make it. 16 I had a good shot in there, ended up making bogey. 17, a good shot. All these are around 10 feet and I missed right on 17. The backside could have been, you know, maybe a shot or two different. I was making a good putt.

Q. How do you feel about your game coming into the tournament?

SCOTT HOCH: I played good last week except for driving the ball. I was disappointed in that. Normally I'm a very good driver of the ball. For two weeks I have drove it poorly, the Open and the western. And so that was disappointing. I went -- as a matter of fact, I think I was fifth in driving accuracy before last week and dropped all the way to ninth. That's a big drop, golf week. I ranked like 45th to 50th or something for that week. That's terrible for me. I'm usually top ten on a weekly basis of that tournament. We're playing just about every week. Actually, before the Open, I had driven it great for about four or five tournaments, only missed one fairway in the last 45 at the Kemper when I finished second. So that's been a big part of my game driving it well. I wasn't doing that the last two weeks, but then today I drove it better. I miss hit, I drive on 18. Ten, when I hit it, and it caught that tree, it felt like a pretty good tee ball. It felt solid. The 18 I came off and hit.

Q. Is the closeness of the leader board is indicative of the way the course is playing? There are opportunities if you're fortunate enough to capitalize on it?

SCOTT HOCH: I don't know the course makes it with a bunches of players. If somebody gets really hot, they can shook, 62, 63. I felt that if I had been near as fortunate on the backside as the front I could have, and some of these other guys shooting these scores probably could have, too. I think it's in good shape and that's what's good, the course. You hit good shots, you can get rewarded. At least you're in a position to get rewarded. If you hit a poor shoot, you're going to have to scramble. And that's what's going to happen, because guys that for 72 holes, you know, if they're not on their game, that can happen. I mean, anything can happen, actually.

Q. Scott, the strategy you used on 15, is that because of where the pin is?

SCOTT HOCH: That, plus I don't feel I can get it there. I feel I hit my best shot to get it to the front of the green or on the green. I didn't think I can get on the green today with the fairways being soft and the worse place you can probably have it is right in front of the green. As a matter of fact, the marshal was telling me after I putted out and walked over, the people in the front had been using their putters trying to get up the hill. He hadn't seen a good shot all day. That's just a very tough pin placement. Maybe the best placement to have the ball, would have the right edge of the green. Flip it down the hill,

But you are going down the hill. If you hit a good chip shot, it would end up close. Everything else is kind of guesswork.

Q. That's almost like the Sunday pin, isn't it?

SCOTT HOCH: They rotate them. Lots of courses they end up with the same Sunday pin, but most of them they rotate them. It might go back left, move the tees up, who knows. And if the course is dried out by then, that will probably be the place for me to hit driver. A lot of my drives went out and hit and rolling three or four yards. I'm also playing with guys, bombers.

Q. Sling?


Q. Did they go for the green?

SCOTT HOCH: D.J. hit it on the green, it rolled off. He made par. David hit left of the green and he made birdie. He was close, David. He left that green close to the water. I let them go ahead and think they were overpowering the par fives. I chip my little wedge up there and made birdie and watched them scramble for birdie or par. That's what you have to do. If you can't get there, you better had have a good wedge game.

Q. Anymore questions for Scott? Thanks, Scott.

End of FastScripts....

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