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September 26, 2002

Robert Gamez


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Robert, great job today. First round 63. With a new par configuration, 7 under par sets a course record. Great job out there. Let's get some opening comments from you.

ROBERT GAMEZ: I played solid all day. I hit a lot of good golf shots and I started out well. That's what you have to do to shoot a good score. I got off to a hot start on the back nine, which was my first nine holes today. I had some birdies right off the bat and got going. I had a couple bogeys out there, which was disappointing. I hit a couple of good shots on one of the holes and made bogey, and then the other was a 3-putt. All in all a good day.

Q. You've had four top tens this year. You've already surpassed your best year on TOUR in terms of money. What does it mean to you to really come back after having some major problems in the late '90s and really you're coming back into your own now?

ROBERT GAMEZ: I'm finally healthy. Over the last two years I've been healthy from the car accident and I'm able to hit shots again. My short game is so much better than it was back then and I'm putting more consistent. I went to the bellybutton putter back at the Kemper Open. It's just starting to come into its own. I had some good weeks with it, struggled for a few weeks. Figured something out the other day, the reason why I've been struggling a little bit with it. But I putted great today. Except for the 3-putt. I putted really well.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Started on No. 10 with a birdie, coming out of the gate on a hole like that, we're getting a lot of people talking about what a difficult hole it is, that's got to really help you.

ROBERT GAMEZ: I think it was a mistake making that a par 4. I think the green is a little too severe, as a par 4. I think they need to keep the pins on the back tier. The front par of that tier, especially into the wind, when you're coming in with a long shot, it's pretty tough, because if you hit it over the green, it's really hard to get it up and down. I don't think it's that fair as a par 4. Hopefully they'll keep the pin back to make it a little fairer and keep things going.

I hit a 6-iron into it today and it was the up tee. If the wind was blowing really hard, it would be tricky. I hit a 6-iron in there about 10 feet below the hole and made it, or maybe 12 feet. That was a nice start, especially when you get on a hole like that. It was already backed up on the tee when we got there. We were 11 minutes behind teeing off.

Q. After the 3-putt you talked about you came right back with back-to-back birdies. Did you refocus yourself after that?

ROBERT GAMEZ: Well, actually the 3-putt I didn't feel like I hit bad putts. I got over it. I had about a 20-footer down the hill and I didn't think it was that quick. I hit the putt I really wanted, I just looked up and it was going six feet by the hole. Then I hit another good putt. The next putt was really good and I just missed it. I didn't let it affect me because I was putting well all day and it was just kind of one of those fluky things that can happen. I hit two good shots on the next hole, and two good shots on the next hole. I putted extremely well today. I felt like I actually made more putts than actually went in, which was kind of nice. It's been a while.

Q. Talk about the importance of getting off to such a good start today.

ROBERT GAMEZ: I birdied 10, I birdied 11. I had my chance at 12. Made a good par save at 13. I missed the green on 13 and had a really horrible lie. I chipped it by about 20 feet, 25 feet and made it coming back. That kept my round going. 14 -- I liked 14 as a par 5. I think it's a much better par 5 than it was a par 4 when we played it that way. I hit a 3-wood off the tee, because it's such a great driving hole as a par 5, which is what you need, so I hit a 3-wood off the tee and hit a 3-iron to the back fringe, 15 feet from the hole and almost made eagle. So I got off to a real good start today.

The next hole I hit two good shots. I hit a 6-iron that I thought was going to be all over the pin and it came up short and rolled back down the hill off the green. Hit a good chip that went by about eight feet and missed it. I just misjudged it.

I got a real good break on 16, because I hit a driver, hit it just a hair right, but it got by the trees just barely. I had an easy -- fairly simple chip, just to run it up the green, chipped it up there about five feet and made it for birdie.

And 17, a good 7-iron 10 feet left of the hole and made that.

Then on No. 18, I hit a good drive and just skirted it into the right rough. Hit a 9-iron up there about eight feet -- 7 feet, made that for birdie. So it was kind of nice to finish after making bogey, I birdied three holes in a row.

It was a little disappointed not birdieing No. 1. I hit it just in front of the bunker in two and hit a good chip that I thought was going to release out more and it didn't. I had about a 15, 20-footer and ran it by the hole and made it coming back.

Hit a great shot at the next hole and just kind of -- it went a little further than I thought it would and went over the back fringe.

3 is just a great hole. There are so many good holes out here. This is just a good par 3, a 3-iron hole high. It's not one you're expecting a birdie on. You're just hoping to hit the green all four days.

The fourth hole is another good hole, just a good driving hole, especially playing into the wind today, left to right. So two good shots there, just ended up off the green, had to chip. I thought I could make the chip, made par.

Then No. 5, another good drive, and a wedge in there about eight feet, 10 feet, made that.

And then the 3-putt. The 3-putt, like I said, I hit an 8-iron in the middle of the green, because the pin is tough, tucked in the back like that. That's not my favorite type of shot, trying to draw it in there. And I just misjudged the speed of the first putt and rolled it by.

I laid up on 7 with a 6-iron, hit a wedge in there about six feet behind the hole.

And then 8, I hit a driver off the tee, because it was into the wind. It was perfect yardage for my L-wedge and hit it about 6, 7 feet and made that.

And I had a good chance on the last hole, I just misread the putt, had a 15-footer down the hill.

To get off to a good start is key out here. Like I said, especially tomorrow will be key because I'm starting on No. 1. With the exception of No. 1, I mean, 2, 3, 4 are pretty tough holes, and it's nice to get off to a quick start.

Q. Was today as good as you felt on the golf course in quite a while?

ROBERT GAMEZ: I would say Saturday at Quad Cities was about the same. I played extremely well there on Saturday. I felt just as good today as I did then. It's kind of a nice feeling, starting the week this way.

Q. In recent weeks -- you did finish second at the Milwaukee Open?

ROBERT GAMEZ: John Deere, yes.

Q. And then you missed some cuts. Are you preparing a little differently now than you did last month or so?

ROBERT GAMEZ: No, I just struggled with the putter a little bit. My preputt routine got a little bit off. I got a little bit, I don't know, confused with what I was trying to do. It wasn't the same every time, and when you're not doing the same every time, it's hard to be consistent, obviously. So I really worked on it the other day and tried to get my preputt routine, get the way I setup into it the same every time today and I made better strokes. Because that's all that's been struggling. I just haven't been putting very well. I've been putting better than I used to, but just not making putts like I made at the B.C. Open and John Deere, where I finished third and second in two weeks.

That's the only thing that's changed. I've really been hitting the ball well. In Canada on Saturday, the Canadian Open, I had 3 putts. You can't shoot a good round, 77 or 78 with 38 putts, it just doesn't get it done. The same thing the next week in Pennsylvania, I just didn't putt well on Saturday. Just having one round that's just not very good and the rest of my rounds have been pretty good, hitting the ball well, just haven't been taking too much advantage of them.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Thank you very much.

End of FastScripts....

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