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February 17, 2001

Paul Stankowski


NELSON LUIS: We'd like to welcome Paul Stankowski. He's at 23-under after 3-under today. Interesting, if we could get your score card here. You started off on the back side at La Quinta Country Club today. Started off kind of stiff and came back strong here at the end of your round.

PAUL STANKOWSKI: I kind of hit the ball a lot today, like I did yesterday, a few sketchy shots here and there, nothing really close early. The birdie putts I did have were kind of -- were fairly tricky, and the greens out here are a little different from the other three golf courses. I believe they are a little slower, but yet a lot harder. So it's tougher to get the ball close. It took me a while to get the speed of the greens down. I made a few bogeys early, and came back strong. I'm pleased with my round. I'm still not hitting like I'd like to, but I'm still getting a lot out of what I shot. So I'm excited, encouraged, and ready for tomorrow.

Q. You shoot 3-under, and it's kind of a funny tournament, and you back up a little bit. Talk about that mind set?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: 4-under is probably par out here, with all of the par 5's. You've got to shoot -- I knew anybody who shoots 6-under every day has a chance to win, to get to 30. I liked my chances at 30 at the begin being of the week, but 3-under, you don't gain ground shooting 3-under. So I was hoping for a little bit better than that today. But after my start, I was 1-over par through the turn, and 1-over through 10 holes. I'm excited that I finished 4-under in the last eight and still giving myself a chance. Anything is possible out here on the Tour. 10-under has been shot at PGA West in the past and David shot 59. So I don't think any lead out here is big enough. It's going to be a birdie-fest tomorrow, and hopefully I'll make more than everybody.

Q. After the years you had in 1996 and 1997, everyone thought you were you one of the real hot young players on the Tour, but the last three years have not been kind to you. Can you talk about that a little bit?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: The last three years have been great to me. I just haven't played very well. But, yeah, after '97, I was -- I thought that I was heading in the right direction. I tried to get better. I tried to work on my golf swing to make it better. I probably worked on the wrong things and my game went the other direction. It's just the ebb and flow of golf, and hopefully, I'm back on the upswing and can get myself back to where I was before, or maybe even better. It was definitely a lot of fun in 1996 and '97, contending every week. I had a good stretch there where I won five times in less than a year, around the world, and that's a lot more fun than missing cuts. I'm really looking forward to getting back there. I feel like my game is in the right direction. Mentally, I'm a lot better than I was back then, and so if I can get all of the little pieces put together, I think I'm well on my way to achieving some of the goals I set for this year and getting back to a place that I think I need to be and a place that I belong.

Q. What's the main thing you feel you've done to get yourself back in that direction?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: Well, I guess in a nutshell, I've gone back to basics. A very simple game. We all know it's not an easy game, but it's a simple game, and a lot of times we tend to complicate it. I think I was guilty of that as well. I know that I've just got to keep it simple and just focus on every shot. It's a simple game. The more I'm going to talk about it, the more it's going to sound complicated. I just aim it, you hit it, you find it, and you go hit it again. It's so simple. Probably not a very exciting mind set or very exciting on paper, but I don't want to complicate it. So I'm just plugging along.

Q. Have you played much with Joe Durant, and is what he's doing surprise you?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: You know, I have not played more than once or twice with Joe. I haven't gotten to see his game up close, and hopefully tomorrow, I'll have a chance see it, but I don't know. How many under is he now? 28? Last I saw, he was 28, when I finished on 18. So that's low. Obviously, he's making a lot of putts. He's probably hitting a lot of good golf shots. You know, does it surprise me? No. Anybody on TOUR can shoot anything at any given time. He's probably playing at his potential or close to it this week, and hopefully I can put a 61 up tomorrow. That makes up shots in a hurry, doesn't it?

Q. What is your goal for this year? You said you talked about trying to achieve your goals. What are they this year?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: I'm not going to tell you my goals. But I have made some good goals, and I have not achieved them yet.

NELSON LUIS: Why don't we briefly just go over your birdies there and it looks like the bogeys on the back side.

PAUL STANKOWSKI: Yeah. 11, the par 5. I hit driver, 3-wood on the green, about 35 feet and 2-putted for birdie. 14, I hit driver, 7-iron in the front left bunker, and knocked it about eight feet past the hole and missed that. I made birdie on 16. I hit driver, 8-iron about three inches. Knocked that one in.

NELSON LUIS: Then back-to-back bogeys.

PAUL STANKOWSKI: Yeah, 17, I hit a driver in the right rough behind a couple trees, punched it out short of the green. Tipped it on about 20 feet and missed it. Made bogey. My ninth hole, No. 18, I hit 3-wood off the tee. I hit a 9-iron in the right bunker. Hit a terrible shot. Short-sided myself and knocked it out to about 15 feet and missed it.

NELSON LUIS: And you came back with a birdie on No. 2?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: No. 2, hit a 3-wood, 7-iron about 15 feet behind the hole. Made it. 5, I hit driver, 4-iron about 10 feet and made it for eagle. 9, I hit 2-iron, 9-iron to five feet.

NELSON LUIS: Keep it up, and hopefully we'll see you here tomorrow afternoon.

End of FastScripts....

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