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August 18, 2006

Steve Stricker


Q. You were not kidding about taking something good out of that bogey 17 yesterday?

STEVE STRICKER: You know what, stuff like that really can turn your round around and get you going for the next day.

I got off to a good start today. Just kind of kept it going all day, made a couple bogeys, but I made a lot of birdies today.

All in all it was a good day. I was around the hole all day on all the greens, had a lot of good putts at it and got a few to drop today.

Q. Did it feel like a 67, like you could have gone better?

STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, it could have been better today. But you know, as a player, you're always thinking it could have been better. But really it could have. I lipped out an eagle putt, I lipped out a couple of the birdie putts, and that's what I meant; that I was always around the hole today. I made a couple good putts, but you're always looking at the ones you don't make I guess in our game.

But yeah, it was a good day and I actually got myself back into this tournament which is always a good thing.

Q. Which putts did you lip out?

STEVE STRICKER: I lipped out an eagle on No. 5. Lipped out a birdie on 8. And I know I had another one on the back side there somewhere, I can't think of it, but I was just around the hole. I had good speed on my putts and it was a solid ball striking day, too. So all in all, I played well.

Q. Will this make it easier going into tomorrow, take some of the pressure off, or is it just a whole new thing tomorrow?

STEVE STRICKER: First of all you always want to come out and try to make the cut. So there's a little bit of pressure on a Friday. Starting out at even par I was right on the cut line, so it was important for me to get off to a good start and get some birdies early, and once I did that, then coming in, you know, my focus was more on trying to get back into the tournament.

I got a little more aggressive on a couple holes where normally I wouldn't have and it paid off. You know, so my frame of mind went from trying to make the cut early in the day to trying to get myself right in contention at the end.

Q. How do you think you're playing compared to when you were going into the Open, you made that good run to get into the Open? Are you better now, or right about the same?

STEVE STRICKER: You know, it's about the same. I've been striking the ball fairly similar all year. Whether I get some of the putts to go, kind of the question of the week.

I've been putting well, but some of them I've just been hitting a lot of edges on. I think I went through a little down period, a little lull after the Open and after the Booz Allen, that stretch where I kind of played well and starting to get that fire again.

Obviously playing in a major always helps. It gets you motivated, gets you fired up, just gives you another reason to try a little harder.

Q. Dennis said you have a spring in your step again. What's he talking about?

STEVE STRICKER: Probably because there wasn't one more a long time.

You know, it was a long time where I wasn't playing very well and I didn't have any confidence.

And, you know, it's tough to play sometimes. People from outside the ropes can probably see that new more than you can obviously when you're not playing well, you feel bad, but people can see your demeanor and see how you react on shots. And now it's changed.

Obviously I'm playing well and even my bad shots don't affect me as much anymore. I just have the confidence that I can stand up on the next tee and hit it good. A little more confidence hitting into the greens, and you know, people can probably sense that or see that from outside the ropes.

Q. There's a lot of golf to go obviously but are you playing good enough to win this tournament?

STEVE STRICKER: I think so. I think I need to continue doing what I did today. I hit it real well today. I missed only four greens I think. I had a lot of opportunities. Always it comes down to hitting the ball well, but the guy who can make the putts.

If I can do that and make a couple good saves which you're going to have to do around here, we should have a decent shot at it.

Q. How long were the birdies?

STEVE STRICKER: Starting on the back, that's where I started, I birdied 10. I hit it about 12 feet with a 3 wood just in the left fringe, 2 putted.

Birdied 11. 7 iron from the right rough about 15 feet.

Birdied 14 with a lob wedge to about four feet.

Birdied 17. Hit a 6 iron to about 15 feet there.

Made the turn and made a few birdies, 5, 7 and 9. 5 I hit the green in two with a 3 wood and 2 putted. That's the one I lipped out.

7, I drove it like a foot in the left rough and had to hack it down and I hit an 8 iron to about ten or 12 feet.

Then No. 9, I hit 3 wood and 8 iron to maybe eight, ten feet.

Q. All of your bogeys were on the back nine; there something about the back nine that's tougher?

STEVE STRICKER: No. You just have to hit it in the fairway. If you don't on any of the holes, whether it's the front or the back, you're going to struggle getting them to the green.

Some of the rough was getting matted down a little bit. You get in a lie where you're hacking it out, trying to get it in the fairway, so first thing is first. Again, it's just like the U.S. Open, you have to get it in the fairway. Once you do this you know, shots into the greens probably are not as tough as the U.S. Open. They kind of give you a little bit more room to get the ball on the greens, they are a little bit softer. First thing is get it in the fairway here.

End of FastScripts.

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