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May 11, 2006

Steve Lowery


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Steve Lowery, thanks for joining us here, tied with Adam Scott at 5 under par 65 after the first round. Still some players on the course, but you certainly have to like your position heading into the second round.

STEVE LOWERY: Yeah, absolutely. I played well today, and it was tough out there, a lot of crosswinds on Cottonwood Valley. I played good.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: A couple Top 10s this year including a T6 last week at the Wachovia Championship, which has one of the best fields of the season. Maybe just talk about the state of your game right now. Pretty good.

STEVE LOWERY: Yeah, it's been coming on pretty hard this year, and I played well. I had a 2nd and then a 6th last week. So I'm starting to play well. I'm feeling a lot better about most of my game.

Q. Anything in particular?

STEVE LOWERY: You know, I think I've been putting better the last month or so. That's always the reason I've been playing a lot better.

Q. You talked a little bit about the tough crosswinds. Where did they come up, and how difficult was it pulling clubs out there?

STEVE LOWERY: It was tough. I mean, I think this is maybe my 15th year in a row to play here. I don't remember ever playing with a north wind. The 1st hole on that course on the 2nd and 3rd hole the first three holes are just brutal. A lot of adjustments just trying to from where you normally drive the ball, and trying to figure out how to get your ball going the right distance, fit it in the fairways, that kind of thing. Most of the drives were tough over there. They've got rye grass or whatever it is, and it's tough to get the ball to stay in the fairway with the wind blowing like that.

Q. You birdied 1; is that right? Did you feel that you were kind of stealing one there?

STEVE LOWERY: Absolutely. They had the pin on the left hand side there. I hit as good a drive as I can hit and a 5 iron in there with the wind blowing 25 miles an hour. I don't know, I don't think there will be a whole lot of birdies on that hole, so absolutely, I picked one up there.

Q. I think you won a skin there today.

STEVE LOWERY: I believe it. It was a tough hole. I had a wood as good a drive as I could hit on 3 and hit a wood into the 3rd hole. Those holes are playing tough. It was playing 245 on the second shot.

Q. What did you hit in there, a 3 wood?

STEVE LOWERY: It's like my 5 wood, like a

Q. Like driver and a utility

STEVE LOWERY: Driver and a 5 wood, yeah.

Q. Now, you said is this your 15th year in a row. Obviously this tournament means something to you. Talk more about the shirt, too, if there's any significance there.

STEVE LOWERY: I started wearing the Byron Nelson clothing line this year, and it worked out well here to be playing well. Byron Nelson has always been such a class guy. I've been around him a lot in the last 20 years. It's good to always see him out here at this tournament.

Q. What do you expect tomorrow at the TPC course?

STEVE LOWERY: Typically that course is harder than the Cottonwood, so more of the same if the wind keeps blowing out of the north. It's going to be a different direction over there, too. It's just playing tough. It plays tough even when it's out of the south, but it's just a different type wind than normal for this tournament.

Q. Did you have to change everything after you practiced this week and then here comes the north wind? How different is that?

STEVE LOWERY: Well, just the holes. I mean, obviously some of them are playing easy, but we normally play I think the par 5, 16, 17 and 18 are normally into the wind. I think they're probably downwind today.

So some of the easier holes will play hard, some of the harder holes will play easier. It's just going to be different, hitting different clubs into the greens than we've been hitting most of the years. I saw it's going to be 90 something one day here, so it may switch back to the south.

Q. How did 3 and 4 play? There are some differences there, aren't there, course changes?

STEVE LOWERY: On the Cottonwood course? Did they change the greens a little bit over there?

Q. Yeah.

STEVE LOWERY: I didn't notice a whole lot of dramatic changes there on the greens. They're in good shape, probably the best greens that they've been over there since I've been playing here.

Q. You said you're putting better. Is there anything unusual that you're doing that you've latched onto?

STEVE LOWERY: You know, not really. I think I switched back to a putter that I made some putts with here a couple years ago, my Two Ball putter. I've been putting with a Scotty Cameron type putter and switched back to a face bounce putter. It seems to be a little bit more consistent on the shorter putts, so we'll go with that for a while.

Q. What was your kind of mindset going into this year? How were you feeling about your game and kind of what's been your points of emphasis to get things on track for you?

STEVE LOWERY: You know, it's been a transition for the last year or so. At the end of last year I played really well. I think I had three or four Top 10s at the end of the year. So I kind of carried that momentum into this year and finished 2nd at Phoenix. I've been playing more consistent this year. Maybe it's just confidence. I don't know if I can exactly say it's one thing, but I'm playing with a lot more confidence than I've had the last couple years.

Q. Last year after the first round you had a 65 and you weren't able to keep it going. Do you build off of that this year?

STEVE LOWERY: I was thinking I was in contention here last year but I couldn't remember. I shot 65 last year?

Q. Opened up, yeah.

STEVE LOWERY: I did not remember that. You know, I've always liked this golf course. I always feel like the golf course suits my type of game. I've never really done anything that dramatic here, but I've played some good rounds. I think I shot a 62 here one Sunday or something like that, but I think the golf course suits me well, just haven't been able to put all four rounds together.

Q. Have you usually played well on the Cottonwood side?

STEVE LOWERY: Yeah, I think I've played okay there. Not 65 I don't think.

Q. I was wondering if that was one of your better rounds over there.

STEVE LOWERY: I think so, yeah.

Q. Life is pretty good when you start forgetting 65s. Is that a matter of old age or is that a matter of you playing too much golf?

STEVE LOWERY: I did play a lot of golf, so it's probably a little of both. I'm probably twice most of these guys' age out here. I don't worry about it. I just keep playing and not worry about it.

Q. It's interesting, you talked about you've played here 15 years, haven't seen this kind of wind before. Scottie threw up a 65 the first time he's played here in competition. Is it kind of like a fresh experience for everybody here today with the unique wind?

STEVE LOWERY: It was. I don't ever remember the wind blowing like that here. I remember it being hot and I remember it being windy and thunderstorms, but I don't remember the cool north wind. Just a new deal for everybody. The golf course plays difficult no matter what when the wind blows, but you get used to certain holes playing easy and certain holes playing hard, and today they were just all switched around.

I've hit wedge to the 1st hole here and I've had wedge to the 3rd hole and had a 5 wood and a 5 iron today. Just a lot different.

Q. If you win this week, do you expect Byron to wear a Steve Lowery shirt?

STEVE LOWERY: You go tell him that, would you? No, I probably wouldn't expect him to do that. That would be quite a thrill for me, to be able to win the tournament with him. That would be great.

Q. Do you wear those shirts every week on Tour?

STEVE LOWERY: Yeah, I've been wearing them all year.

Q. Do you know of any other players that do?

STEVE LOWERY: There's about five or six guys. I think Byron Nelson and E. McGrath is the same company. I think guys wear a mixture of shirts. Dean Wilson, I think, may be in them. Joey Snyder, I think. I don't know.

Q. Obviously you like the golf courses here. Is there anything else about this tournament that keeps you coming any other perks about it or reason that you like this week?

STEVE LOWERY: Well, they do a great job. The guys here just do a great job organizing it throughout every week, promoting the tournament, come out, come up to you, take care of everything. It's always been done well here. I enjoy coming here. I think the golf course is the huge thing that I feel like I can play well here. That's why I keep coming back. Obviously there's a lot of other things they do really well to organize the tournament.

Q. Has Byron seen you in that shirt yet?

STEVE LOWERY: I don't think so. I'll have to go up to him. I don't know if he's on the 1st tee today, but I'll have to go talk to him.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: If we could touch on your round, the 65, then take one final question. You birdied the 1st hole right out of the gate.

STEVE LOWERY: Driver, 5 iron about six feet there, made the putt.

7, hit a driver and an 8 iron to about 12 feet, kind of uphill putt.

9th hole, they had the front pin there, they normally don't. I think I hit a 9 iron into 9. I normally hit about a 5 or 6 iron. I made about a 15 footer there for birdie.

14 was playing downwind. You could drive it up by the green, but I just wasn't sure with that wind. I ended up hitting a 3 iron off the tee and hit a wedge in there and made about a 15 foot putt.

16, I had a great break there. I hit the ball left and was down left of the fairway and was down in some bad area and got a drop there and was able to hack it out of there 20 feet and mate the birdie putt on 16, so that was a nice break. And then a couple pars coming in.

Q. What was the question on your ruling?

STEVE LOWERY: I guess there was an ant mound is what it was, an old ant mound. The ground was all broken up and there was a couple of different ant beds there. It wasn't something I could make the ruling on, so I had to call. That's what he ruled, the ant mound is there and interfered with the ball and the swing, so I was able to drop it.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Steve Lowery, thanks.

End of FastScripts.

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