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March 14, 2003

Tom Byrum


JOHN BUSH: We'd like to welcome Tom buy rum into the interview room. 8-under par 64 and you're now at 13-under par, 131 for the tournament. Congratulations here at the halfway point.

Can you comment on your round, eight birdies today, no bogeys, obviously playing very well.

TOM BYRUM: Yeah, I'm hitting it well. My swing feels good, which is a change from the West Coast. I've been fighting problems out there, and then not putting that great, or at least not feeling like I was. This is a welcome change, but had to turn around sooner or later. I just couldn't keep going that bad for that long.

JOHN BUSH: Any particular part of your game that you can point to for the success you're having this week.

TOM BYRUM: Well, I've made a lot of putts. I made a lot of saves. I've chipped it well and I've putted well, but again, I've hit it well, too.

So that combination is pretty good. I just feel good. I've made some mistakes, but they have not cost me a bogey. On this course, you feel like you miss a few putts, you go a couple holes in a row and not make a birdie, you kind of feel like you're getting passed. At least I did the first day but today I felt like I was holding my own.

JOHN BUSH: Can you take us through your birdies?

TOM BYRUM: No. 2, I think I hit 3-wood and an 8-iron to about 15 feet and made that.

Next hole, I hit 3-wood again off the tee. I don't remember what club I hit. I hit it past the hole, long putt about 30 feet and made a nice putt there.

The next hole, or in the par 5, I hit a good shot, a wedge shot, it was downgrain downwind and over the green and into a muddy lie, but I hit a nice chip and it went in the hole. That was very fortunate.

JOHN BUSH: How far was that chip?

TOM BYRUM: Eight feet.

The next hole, the par 3 I hit 4-iron about three feet.

No. 10, I hit a sand wedge, not a very good shot, about 20 feet and made the putt.

I hit a good drive down there and a 7-iron about a foot and a half.

14, I hit 7-wood to about 15 feet.

17, I hit 4-wood to the right of the green, chipped it down there about six or eight feet above the hole and made the putt.

Q. When birdies are flying all over the place, the leaderboard is constantly changing, how does that affect you on the course?

TOM BYRUM: Well, I had not looked at the leaderboard yet. It wouldn't have made that much difference because I knew it was happening, because I was playing with Esteban, first of all, and he was having a great couple of days anyway. So I knew he was playing well and a couple shots ahead of me the whole time.

But, you know, you just try to get in a flow out there and keep your swing -- keep doing the things with your swing that you want to accomplish and putter is feeling good, just give yourself chances. You don't have to try to just hit every shot next to the hole. You can hit a little safer shot because you know you're putting well and it can be ten feet instead of two feet with your wedges and things. You just want to keep that ball on the green so you just know you're going to make those putts when you get on that kind of a roll.

Q. Are you thinking that you have to make birdie?

TOM BYRUM: Yeah. You're not necessarily thinking all the time that you have to make birdie. Obviously most of the par 5s you have to feel that way, but some of the holes, you at least have to feel like you have to give yourself a pretty good chance, and if you don't make it, that's different. But at least you gave yourself a chance. You have to keep giving yourself chances.

Q. Do you think a scoring record, 31-under par, is that in serious danger this week?

TOM BYRUM: I don't know if it's in serious danger. I don't know, it depends. It's going to depend on the conditions.

If it doesn't rain and the wind picks up and just plays like a normal South Florida day, I don't think it's going to get there because these greens, there's enough -- there's enough trickiness to them that you can't just keep throwing it right in there to the hole.

I don't know, I am probably not a very good one to predict that. Somebody might go out there and shoot 10-under tomorrow and 8-under the next day and there he is.

Q. How big of a factor is the wind?

TOM BYRUM: On this course, it needs the wind. It's just that one more element that keeps the course from -- otherwise, the rain has softened the greens. You just get it in the fairway, get it and you can fly it right to the hole. The wind definitely helps, even though it won't -- it's not the end-all, but the wind is going to help. Any time you have wind, it's going to add to the difficulty.

Q. Is it fun when there's so many people who have a shot?

TOM BYRUM: I wish they were all ten behind me. (Laughter.)

It was fun just to get out there and just keep scoring, that was fun. Like I said, it's only halfway. This is nothing to get -- I wish it was Sunday and I was sitting here but it's not. So I can't let it get to me too much. I've just got to keep going and making birdies.

Q. Do you think this is a good week to not look at the leaderboard?

TOM BYRUM: It wouldn't be a bad week too, yeah. I think you know what you have to do. If you get on -- like I said if you can get comfortable out there and just keep doing what you're doing, in that flow, you're putting well, what else can you do. Looking at the leaderboard, that's not going to help you.

They just keep making them. The par 5s, there's going to be eagles, there's going to be a lot of leapfrogging out there. It's going to be a good one for me. I probably won't look at it too much.

Q. When would you?

TOM BYRUM: Oh, the last couple holes probably if I felt like I was right in there I might ask my caddie how we are doing.

JOHN BUSH: Keep it going this weekend.

End of FastScripts....

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