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May 9, 2002

Esteban Toledo


TODD BUDNICK: Welcome Esteban Toledo, a first round 64 today, 6-under, 64. Ties his low round for the season which came at the third round Sony Open. Why don't we go through the round first. Looks like you started with a bogey on No. 3.

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: Bogey, I think I feel like I make par. 551 yards; par 4 dead into the wind, I don't think it was much fun. What can I say I played great. Got up-and-down on 1 and missed birdie on two. Missed the putt for bogey on for par on 3. It was about 20 feet, whatever.

I missed birdie on the next one then a birdie. I think everything started on 4 -- 5, I believe. Made a 7-footer for birdie and then about another 7-footer for birdie. And get confidence.

I have been putting terrible last week and even this week in the pro-am, but it was putting that got me confident. So was able to hit some shots and I believe I birdied -- which one is 11.


ESTEBAN TOLEDO: Yeah, made about 15-footer for birdie and then I made a 40-footer for birdie which is on 13, great up-and-down on 14, birdie from ten feet on 15 and same on 16, just missed birdie on 17 and I drained another one on 18 from 20, 25 feet. Got really excited after putting terrible last week and then putting well, in my favorite tournament which is this one, so it's kind of nice.

TODD BUDNICK: Have you been working on doing something with your putting?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: I have been working. I have been spending a lot of hours on the putting green, but still you still go up there on the golf course you still got to play well. Sometimes you lose confidence. I feel like I got it back and I am more excited now that I can go practice and believe I can make those putts. That's what it is all about. It is all putting.

TODD BUDNICK: We will take some questions.

Q. Why is this your favorite tournament?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: It is because I think it is the prestige, whoever the person who won so many tournaments on the PGA TOUR, Byron Nelson, and I think the people are so friendly here in Dallas and obviously the whole staff, the whole tournament, they treat the players one of the best on the Tour. And the crowds are just so excited. The Phoenix Open, there's more people but they are just more rude, not to say that, but just more into drinking. Up here it is more golf, and that's what makes this tournament so exciting (laughter).

Q. Do you have a lot of friends and family here?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: A lot of friends. My agent lives here. He has been taking me to this Mexican food, Dario's, whatever it is, I have been eating Mexican food pretty much every single day. It is always exciting to be here. I guess all the players talk about the Byron Nelson, how wonderful tournament it is, obviously the money too, but it is just -- everything is just so organized. It is just perfect. Perfect location, perfect people.

Q. You had a really good round in Houston the first round and were weren't quite able to follow that up. Did you learn anything there that would help you carry that into the weekend?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: Just experience. I made a lot of mistakes in Houston. Had a lot of problems and now it seems like I am more in control. Then I didn't putt well the last three days and I am looking forward to putt well the next three days here and hopefully I win this tournament for myself and my family, for all my fans, and all over the world.

Q. How is the Church coming?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: It's working. It takes a lot of process to do that. I really hope everything goes okay. I am trying to get organized, everything, up there, and it is difficult because I don't live there much, so it is kind of tough over the phone and trying to deal with the mayor and the city. But it is going to happen. I believe that God is going to give me the power, the time to build a church and I want to do it for my people.

Q. Where is that?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: It's in my little town in Mexico.

Q. Is the progress on that church tied to your winnings?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: No. My wife takes the money. I am trying to get this pro-am up in Cabo San Lucas. I asked Norman if he could help me. I haven't called him up. I am kind of stubborn in that, he wants to help me a little bit. There's another three pros who wants to do it. Myapalace (phonetic) is going to try to help me to build the Church. So they want me to bring four players so I can -- so they can donate money so I something build the Church. So nothing comes out of my pocket, but if I have to I will have to do it, yes.

Q. What denomination is the church?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: It's Catholic.

Q. Because Mexico is your native country is it special to come into Texas and play these tournaments?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: You know, every stop is the same to me. It is the friendly people that I was looking for. The course is set up for me, I think, there aren't too many trees, but my friends, you know, and it's the prestige of this beautiful golf course. That's why all the players come to play. I don't think we come here for the money. I think we just come -- whoever wins -- it's not just about who is winning. It is about competing against the best.

Q. Talk about your putting, what about the rest of your game, has it been --

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: We don't talk about that.

Q. Has it been pretty consistent though?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: Yeah, you know what, I made 10 cuts out of 13 tournaments so I am playing consistent, but it's my putting that has kind of let me down the last probably four, five weeks. But I believe I am a good putter. Today my caddie was giving me a lot of possible things, just keep rolling the ball and don't worry where the ball is going just keep rolling it, and that really helped me. As soon as I make a few putts, I got confidence, and you have got to have confidence in this game. You start missing it and pretty soon you start losing confidence. It takes a lot of practice also. That's what you are going to get on the putting green, I have been practicing quite a few hours, so hopefully it pays off this week.

Q. Any advantage or disadvantage to the change in the wind today?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: For me it kind of works better; not the first three holes because it's -- it was a little bit left-to-right. I am a left-to-right player. I was moving now right-to-left, the shots, like on the last hole, No. 18, I have been keeping the ball low and right-to-left, which is not normal for me because I go left-to-right. But the wind was just perfect for me. Obviously I made a lot of putts that makes the difference.

Q. You played well here last year. Did that give you any good feelings, confidence?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: Definitely. Last year I finished 11th, I believe, and I always play well here.

End of FastScripts....

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