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May 12, 2007

Peter Lonard


JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Peter, for joining us for a few minutes here in the media center at THE PLAYERS Championship. Great start to the day with that double eagle there. Solid day out there, and obviously in good position going into Sunday.
PETER LONARD: Yeah, I think it was pretty good. Obviously the start didn't hurt me, but all in all, I think I played pretty good for the first 12 holes. You know, the last six holes I pretty much just held it together and unfortunately couldn't hold it together on the last. But that's the sort of hole the last is. If you don't hit it very good, you're going to pay the penalty.

Q. Can you take us through the double eagle?
PETER LONARD: Yeah, hit a driver off the tee. I think I had about 230 to the flag, 211 front edge, a little bit downwind off the left, hit a 5-iron, have no idea where it landed, but it apparently went in the hole.

Q. You didn't see it at all?

Q. First one of your career?

Q. Did you get excited or just kind of go, "agh"?
PETER LONARD: Well, I thought they might be having a bad joke up there by the green, so you kind of play your cards close to your chest.

Q. Who told you?
PETER LONARD: Well, the reaction sort of said it all, I think. But I didn't believe it until I actually pulled it out of the hole (smiling).

Q. Did you know that Hunter Mahan had made the first, I believe, in tournament history yesterday?
PETER LONARD: I didn't. My caddie actually told me on the green. He said, "That's the second in history." I said, "How would you know?" He said, "because Hunter made the first one yesterday. They had it on the telly." So I knew walking over to the third tee.
Do I get a prize for that? Anything?

Q. Is it hard to regroup, get set on the next tee after something like that happens, or after you have a hole-in-one or anything like that?
PETER LONARD: I think the 2 on the second threw me a little bit. I went out there with in idea of hitting a lot of fairways, a lot of greens and making birdie or eagle up the second because that's pretty much a birdie or eagle hole if you hit two good shots. Yeah, it definitely made the heart go a little quicker.
Actually I just tried to look at it as I had money in the bank and I could take a few more risks, and I pretty much did it for the first ten holes. I think I played pretty good. And then I just started hitting it sideways.

Q. Going into tomorrow, there's a lot of people stacked right there. It looks like it's going to be a big finish. How much is experience going to count coming into a tournament like this on a course like this?
PETER LONARD: Well, I don't think it's going to hurt the guys that are there every week. You know, they're pretty used to it. I haven't been there for -- well, since Mexico, I suppose. You know, it's going to be an interesting little test for me. You know, it's like anything, if you're hitting it good, you're there, and usually if you're hitting it good you end up reasonably well. I'll cross my fingers tonight before I go to bed and hopefully I'll hit the first one straight and away we go.

Q. As well as you played on the front nine, did the wind get up on the back or could you put your finger on what was happening?
PETER LONARD: No, I just hit a couple right and struggled straightening it up.
You know, I've got a bit of a session due to me on the range.

Q. Are you excited?
PETER LONARD: Agh, reasonably. I think it's too early to get excited just yet. No, I'm happy with my position, I think I played reasonably well.
One really good golfer, one of the greats, said to me years ago that anyone can shoot a good score when they're playing good; it's shooting a decent score when you're playing bad. I think today I shot a decent score when I was playing pretty poorly.

Q. Who said that?
PETER LONARD: Jack Nicklaus.

Q. He told you that?

Q. You must be very happy with your short game then.
PETER LONARD: Yeah, it was good. My chipping has been very ordinary for a fair while, and I managed to -- I think I got lucky, also, on a couple occasions where I left myself shots that were pretty straightforward. That didn't hurt.
You know, these greens with the runoffs, you're always chipping the ball back up into the grain of the hills, so you've got to roll the ball on the ground a little bit. I got away with it pretty well for most of the day. I think I hit one dodgy one and holed a good putt. It all just depends on your first bounce.

Q. A lot over the last decade has been made about this tournament being the so-called fifth major. What does it feel like to you out there? Does it feel like a major? Is it a cut below? What's the feel of playing out there in this?
PETER LONARD: Well, I think it feels like a major on the grounds that you've got probably one of the best fields in the world, probably the best field in the world. It's our tournament, it's on a great track where your ball-striking is -- you've got to hole putts obviously, but ball-striking every year seems to come up as one of the most important features on the course, and I think that's the way golf should be.
JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Peter.

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