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October 6, 2001

Esteban Toledo


JOE CHEMYCZ: A birdies, two bogeys. 3-under par 68 today. In those conditions you have to be very, very pleased with the way you played.

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: I was very lucky today the way I played. I had a great start, birdie 2 and 3 and I believe 5. I have been playing good all week even though in the pro-am I played decent, but I was making a lot of putts. I was hitting a lot of fairways and I was playing my game. I had a plan from the beginning and to come over and shoot some birdies, said that's what I am going to do for the weekend.

Q. How were the conditions out there?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: The first five holes it was kind of tough, but after the 6th hole everything came down to normal. I was very surprised the wind died a little bit right on the back nine. I guess all these guys had an early tee time from like 7:30 to 11 o'clock, they probably had the toughest time. I think we just talked a Vantage of the situation there.

Q. Is it kind of odd to get back into wearing full weather gear? You haven't been doing it very much lately.

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: No, actually we have been having great breaks in the weather. I was very surprised when I got up this morning and it started raining, I called my caddie, I said, what is going on outside. I take a look at TV, I prepared myself. I brought my rain gear and everything. I was able to use it. All these guys were in the clubhouse when it was pouring and I was practicing my putting. Kind of remember what Michael Jordan used to say, he goes before the game and he practices for quite a few hours. That's what I did today. While those guys were in the clubhouse I was hitting balls in the rain so it kind of helped me a little bit.

Q. You are not the first guy who has come in and said that it wasn't so bad. With the greens so soft are you surprised there aren't a lot more low scores?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: Yeah, kind of. I mean, it wasn't that easy in the afternoon, don't get me wrong. The greens were soft, but you still have to hit it. It was a little bit chilly and I took my jacket off several times but my caddie kept telling me: Put it on. Just kind of follow the routine.

Q. Seemed like a lot of guys were doing that sweater on and off and jacket as well?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: I did, but I just realized that I was swinging the same swing with my jacket on, so I put it on three times.

Q. Will you allow yourself to think tonight about what a victory tomorrow might --

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: No, not at all. It hasn't crossed my mind that. It would help if I win. But I am not going to put pressure on myself. Tomorrow I am going to go and just fire it up there in the beginning just like I did in the Mexican Open last year and just score from the beginning the first nine holes and then just attack, I guess, because if I let those guys from behind me get me, they are going to get me. I am going to try to put it together from the first nine holes and see what I can get out of that and then I will take it probably a little bit more aggressive on the back nine. I guess that's the only way you can win. You got to play very aggressive.

Q. Where you are right now there might not be that many guys behind you.

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: I probably looked a little more maybe three times today. I wasn't looking at it at all. But it kind of helped me when I won the Mexican Open I didn't pay attention to anything. I was just playing my own game. I am going to try not to look at leaderboard tomorrow. All I know if I can get two, three birdies from the beginning and give me confidence, and just going to go and just play my own game on the back nine and hopefully I will put it together.

Q. Does the front nine set you up mentally for the back nine?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: Yeah, kind of. There's only one par 4 that it kind of bugs me all the time, is No. 9. It is too long for me. Especially when it is raining but the rest I can get there easy. I can hit a 4-iron, I can get there. But No. 9 is kind of little long for me. But this golf course set up for me, you got to hit it straight. If you look at them, I haven't missed a lot of fairways. Some, but you know, I just have the mentality tomorrow that I am going to play my own game and just shoot some birdies and that's going to be the key for me tomorrow.

Q. Were you leading going into the final round of the Mexican Open last year?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: Yes, I was, by three shots. It was a lot winning the tournament in my own country. But I always dream to win a tournament on the PGA TOUR. It has always been on my mind. I think if I really try tomorrow it might not happen, I am just going to let it happen.

Q. Do you consider yourself a bad weather player, a good, bad weather player?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: I have great golf tournaments in the bad weather. I think I probably am a very good player in the wind, very good player in the wind because I am very patient. I don't lose it that quick. I play better when the conditions are very difficult.

Q. So you are hoping for lots of wind and rain tomorrow?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: I prefer the wind because I hit the ball pretty low, lower than some other guys; I can hit into wind. I didn't come here for second, but I am going to try 100% to give it my best shot because it might not happen again and tomorrow I am going to go at it because that's the only way I can win. I am not going to back off.

Q. I don't know if his score will hold up but right now David Toms is in the lead. Does a player's perception of another player change when that player wins a major like since the PGA people look at David Toms differently?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: No, I just think he's a great player, obviously everybody is great, but it's not going to bother me if he's in the lead or not. I think like I said, before, it's going to be a strategy tomorrow for me to play my own game. That's going to be the key for me. I am not really bothered by who is in front of me or right behind me. I am going to play my own game. I think if I can do that like I did in the Mexican Open - I was very focused; I never gave up; I always believed I was able to win it. Then when I set up my mind it happens. It can happen here. I know I have it, but I haven't played well the last maybe 7, 8 tournaments, but this is my chance to win it. I am going to give it my best shot.

Q. You have never won on the PGA TOUR?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: No, I'd love to win at least once. I don't really care much about two. Not like Tiger, but I guess every golfer on the PGA TOUR would love to win at least once. That would be one of my dreams, my goals in my life.

Q. You are coming to the end of a second consecutive season with 30 or more appearances. You get to this part of the year is your swing holding together pretty well, your stamina holding together pretty well?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: It's a great question. I prepare myself. I don't know how the other guys are, but I jog and I do my exercise and I go to sleep early and that's one of my keys that I have been here on the Tour for five years, I just take care of myself very well. And that -- I sleep well so my mind is all clear and just ready to go the next day. I am not into drinking and smoking or whatever. I think that's one of the keys for me that I am able to play well and I am not tired. A lot of people say well, you have played 32 tournaments. But I am ready to go every single week. I am healthy. I am strong. I have the great support from my wife and that's basically what I need. My mind is just strong.

End of FastScripts....

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