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June 30, 2006

Darron Stiles


JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Darron, for joining us for a few minutes in the media center at the Buick Championship. Well, everybody was trying to stretch it out to 7, 8. Finally someone came in late in the day and did it. You were in this position earlier in the year. I'm sure you learned a lot from it. Hopefully it will help you this weekend.

DARRON STILES: I think in Memphis I got ahead of myself and my brain. And since then I've realized that you really can't do that, especially out here, because all it takes is one or two shots that you're not 100 percent focused on and your round is done. I think going into tomorrow that's my key, is to stay right there in the moment on that specific shot and not get too far ahead.

Q. It looks like you made a career here, a couple great round, good finishes. Why do you think you've had so much success here?

DARRON STILES: From the day one I stepped on the course back in 2003, I felt very comfortable here. I can't say it's one particular thing, whether I've watched it so many times on TV as a kid that I felt comfortable being here. Just something clicks when I get here.

Q. How do you avoid getting ahead of yourself tomorrow?

DARRON STILES: The simple answer would be, think about my kids, that and the second one on the way. As I just told Johnny this morning, I said, "Daddy has got to play good. We've got another one on the way."

My caddie and I, he'll just keep me loose and upbeat throughout the day. And if I hit a bad shot, just let it go, don't worry about it, I still have a lot to do.

Q. Do you talk about things with your caddie during the round other than golf?

DARRON STILES: We'll talk about baseball, football. Right now we have a running banter about his Reds and my Braves, and neither one is doing too good. That's always a good topic for us to discuss, who is going to win first. A couple of weeks ago they were both on a losing streak. I got to the course one day. He said, "I win." Because the Reds won first. I said, "That's all right. We lost in the 12 again." He keeps me pretty loose, and tomorrow he'll try even harder to do that.

Q. What's his name?

DARRON STILES: Mike Mingo, M i n g o.

JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Let's go through your birdies and bogeys.

DARRON STILES: I started on 10. The first birdie came on 13. Drove it right down the middle, had 250 to the hole. Hit 3 wood in the middle of the green and 2 putted.

18, kind of made a loose bogey. Drove it right down the middle, hit a week 5 iron short right of the green, just into some thick stuff. The ball came out a lot better than I thought it would, across the green, chipped it back across the green and made it from the fringe. That putt was probably key to the round, making bogey there instead of double.

Then making the turn on 1, drove it down the middle. Had a little 8 iron to about 10 feet.

2, driver down the right center, just a little chipped sand wedge to a tap in distance.

And 3, driver down the middle and 8 iron to a couple of inches.

I made a couple good par saves throughout there, one on 4. Drove it in the right rough, got to the front of the green and made about a six or seven footer for par. That was the other key putt to kind of keep the momentum going.

And then didn't really do anything ugly or spectacular coming in until 9. Drove it through the fairway in the first cut, sand wedge to eight feet and made it.

Q. (No microphone.)

DARRON STILES: I knew once I birdied No. 3 to get to 7, I knew then I was either, A, leading by myself or, at worse, tied. And then I saw it on the board at the next hole that I was actually tied then. I saw the boards the rest of the way through. I knew the putt on 9 was for the lead.

Q. A few years ago with your cancer situation, did it give you perspective on life?

DARRON STILES: That what we do out here is really not that important. Spending time with people you love, your family. The golf part of it is something to do. We're actually my mother in law is going through cancer right now, and it's just been a tough battle for her, but she's been doing well. And I'm sure this will lift her spirits even more. She's in good spirits, but it's just golf is secondary to what goes on in life.

Q. What's the hardest part going through that ordeal?

DARRON STILES: Not knowing if I would ever be able to play again. A 16 year old kid, sophomore in high school, and the only thing I wanted to do was be on the PGA Tour. I had surgery on May 11th, played golf on my birthday, June 1st. I was that determined to get back to it.

Q. You obviously wanted to do it for a long time or at one point did you think you could do this?

DARRON STILES: Once I found out my vision wasn't good enough to be an Air Force pilot, I figured I needed to do something else.

Q. How old were you then?

DARRON STILES: About 12 or 13. I played baseball as a kid, too. I made a decision when I turned 13 to stop playing baseball. I could hit and I could throw, but I wasn't real quick. That doesn't get you anywhere in baseball.

This is my third year out here. Maybe I should have been out here a couple of years earlier than I was, but maybe not, too. Maybe I was supposed to be here my first year in 2003.

Q. (No microphone.)

DARRON STILES: September 29th.

Q. 75 guys within eight shots of you with 36 holes to go (no microphone.)

DARRON STILES: I'm not playing those 75 guys either, I'm playing the golf course. Whoever beats the golf course the best over the 36 holes is still going to win.

End of FastScripts.

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