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June 3, 2000

Paul Stankowski


LEE PATTERSON: Maybe just a couple thoughts about today and heading into tomorrow.

PAUL STANKOWSKI: I'm definitely pleased with the round today. I drove the ball in very well. Hit really -- I missed a few fairways but I really only hit one bad drive. Hit a lot of good iron shots. Rolled the ball really well. Got up-and-down when I needed to, with the exception of once. And I felt really good out there. I knew that -- I anticipated the wind blowing quite a bit today. Looking at the forecast I thought we were going to get 20-mile-an-hour winds, but it never really happened. A little swirly at times, but I felt like I controlled the ball flight really well. Took advantage of a couple opportunities and a couple breaks and I'm pleased with where I am.

Q. Number 15 where you hit your drive left behind the tree, could you just explain that?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: I didn't have the greatest lie. I'm an aggressive player, I took a really, really aggressive play. I should have pitched out. It was something that I think 90 percent of the people on TOUR would have done is just punch it out. It was an easy pin from 100 yards, where I would have hit my second shot. But I just had like 176 to the front. 30 to 40 yards short of the green, it kicks from right-to-left and I had the wind blowing in on the right. I just try to hit a 9-iron, and all I had to do was get it under this little limb and start it 30 yards right of the green, get a little bit of a draw -- I just saw the entire shot perfectly. I knew what I needed to do. I didn't think it would be that difficult to pull it off. But it was just overly aggressive. And I pulled it a little bit, hit the tree and dropped in the rough and I had a crummy lie, hit in the bunker, hit a good bunker shot, hit a good putt, but I missed it. I made double-bogey by playing too aggressively on one shot. My caddie and I talked about it. He thought the play was to lay up. I thought the play was to lay up. I said, okay, either way I would have used the same club, I got over it and I got back in my stance a little bit -- and he's like, oh, gosh, he's going to go for it. So it didn't work out very well. I made double. But I would do it again. So that's happened.

Q. Was it just because you were pumped because you just had a birdie?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: No. I just have a hard time with punching out sometimes. Obviously, there's only one shot; I'm going to punch out. I'm not a stupid golfer by any means, but at that time, it was -- I had to hit a perfect shot to knock it on the green and I just thought I could do it. I felt really good about it. Like I said, I would do it again. I don't regret doing it. But, you know, I wish I had not made double.

Q. You had talked it over with your caddie and....

PAUL STANKOWSKI: We agreed to punch out.

Q. And it was literally when you got over the ball?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: I knew exactly what I needed to do if I was going to go for the green and I had my spots picked out and everything.

Q. What was the club?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: I hit a 9-iron.

Q. The beautiful weather, it seemed like a good day for low round, are you surprised at 10-under that you're only a stroke back?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: You never know out here. I mean, there's a lot of good pins out there today, and there were some -- there wasn't a lot of wind, but it was swirling a little bit. It was kind of hard to read it at times. It would be calm and then the next minute blowing downwind. Early in the day like around 3:00 it was pretty much in our face, go to 4 and 5; and we get on 6 tee box and it's blowing in our face again and that hole was opposite. It was kind of strange. But this golf course, it's not the easiest course in the world, especially when they put pins in some tough spots. That's probably the reason why we are not any lower than we are, which I'm thankful for.

Q. You said you'd do it over again on the double-bogey shot, but you also said you thought it was overly-aggressive. So where are we there? Was problem that maybe you changed your mind as you were over the ball?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: No. I just hit a bad shot. But of all the shots, I only had to hit it 145 yards in the air. It may not have gotten to the green, but it would have looked really good. The ball had to move -- if I hit it where I wanted to, if I started where I wanted it to, all I needed to move it was five or ten feet in the air right-to-left and it would have been perfect. Like I say, I could tell my caddie was mad that I hit the shot because he thought it was a lay-up. I knew it was a lay-up, but it wasn't an impossible shot. I'm aggressive, like I say. I have a hard time playing away from flags at times. That could cost me the tournament. If it does, definitely next time in that position, I'm going to think twice about being aggressive in that circumstance. But I'd do it again. I mean, just -- I'm not upset about it at all. I walked off, I was worried my caddie was mad at me. I go, "Are you upset, are you mad at me?" "No. Let's go." "Fine." "That's fine." I was more concerned that he was mad. If it was on Sunday, I would not have hit that shot. I would have laid up. But being Saturday with a lot of golf yet, if I made a great shot and made birdies; momentum carries, get the crowd behind you -- I just made two good birdies. I felt good. I felt like I was on a cloud just cruising.

Q. How much are you driven by -- it just seems like you have, I don't know, a real focused attitude. How much does that kind of guide what kind of decisions you make on the golf course? It seems like you're a very emotional player.

PAUL STANKOWSKI: Typically, I'm really not an emotional player. I try and keep my emotions on an even keel. Today, though, I did feel it was fun, because I've got -- I know a lot of people in the area out here I stay with a great family. I've got my cousins from Pennsylvania that come down. It was cool. I was kind of, I guess, playing with the crowd a little bit, and I'm not a fist-pumper, but I caught myself pumping my fist a few times today when I made putts. But to say that -- I typically will hit a shot that I feel comfortable hitting. I don't go against myself a lot. I felt comfortable hitting that shot. It was very aggressive. But, you know, sometimes that doesn't scare me being aggressive. But sometimes I enjoy when the pins are tucked right next to water and I enjoy cutting it off the water towards the flag. Just something within me that I enjoy the rush of a really aggressive, really difficult shot. And sometimes they come off good and sometimes they don't and that time it didn't. But, you know, I've got a lot of golf left; so I'm not too concerned.

Q. But after that didn't pay off, you had to be heartened by 17, you come back with probably one of the best shots of the round today?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: That was the best swing I had put on the ball -- it's a funny thing about making a hole-in-one or a perfect golf shot -- hole-in-ones are made from half-shanks, half-rat shots, but that shot, that was perfect. It felt perfect. My balance was perfect. I just -- it was great. I really enjoyed that shot, actually.

Q. Did you think it was going in?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: I thought it had a chance. When it landed on top -- I see it's a really difficult pin. The second time they have put it there this week. I don't understand why. The green is huge, and we've had two pins within five feet of each other in this little bowl. If you catch the downslope, it's kicking over the greens and you're in a deep bunker or you're dead. If it hits into the upslope, it's going to kill it and you've got to putt it from over that thing. And my ball landed right on top. It was perfect. I was trying to hit it there, and I happened to hit it there. And that's what I mean. Just one of those shots that came off exactly like I wanted to. It felt really nice. 6, I hit driver, 6-iron about 25 feet. 2-putted. 8, I hit driver, off the tee. I hit driver -- sand wedge about 15 feet left of the pin. 13, I hit driver, 5-iron, hit a little heavy -- was actually in the hazard, and I flopped it up there about 15 feet and made that for birdie. 14, I hit 2-iron in a divot. Hit a little blast sand wedge to about six feet. 17, I hit a 7-iron. 18, I had about an 18-footer on 18. Hit just a perfect putt and gave everybody a thrill, but it didn't go in.

Q. Could you talk a little bit about tomorrow and the fact that this leaderboard is very bunched up right now?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: It will be an interesting day tomorrow, because the leaderboard bunched up. (Laughs).

Q. As far as you're concerned what does that mean for you?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: It doesn't mean anything. Whether it's just me and Steve Lowery or whoever within one or two, it's going to be a long day. I think we're going to get some good weather. The golf course is in great shape. If I can go out there and play within myself, take advantage of opportunities. It's simple. I play well, I'm going to have a chance to win coming down the stretch. If I don't play well, I don't have a chance. I see no reason why I don't play well. I feel good about it. I'm hitting the ball well. I'm confident. But anybody can win this thing. There's what, eight -- I don't even know, five, six guys within two shots of the lead. And then a few more that are within three or four. You know, anything is possible. A low score could be shot tomorrow. Someone could shoot 63 out here in a heartbeat and come from behind. So I'm not going to put any thought into that. I'm going to go out there and play with the guy I'm playing with and just enjoy the day. Hopefully things will work out.

Q. Are the greens a little less crusty today?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: Yeah, the greens were -- they seem to be a little better. They were getting a little scary there in the afternoon on Thursday when I played. I think after Friday, there was some bumpiness going on. A little rain last night, cooler dry weather. They were nice.

Q. Is it safe to say that tomorrow you will not try to take it to another level?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: Tomorrow, I'm just going to go out there on the 1st hole and hit it where I'm aiming and we'll take it from there.

End of FastScripts…

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