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May 24, 2007

A.J. Eathorne


ASHLEY CUSHMAN: Thanks for joining us today. You shot a season-low 67 in the opening round.
A.J. EATHORNE: 4-under, whatever that is.
ASHLEY CUSHMAN: 4- under. Still a season low there.
ASHLEY CUSHMAN: Talk about your round a little bit.
A.J. EATHORNE: Sure. It was obviously beautiful out this morning at 7:40. Just managed to get off to a good start and had a birdie on the first hole, on hole # 10. Just out of the rough actually and hit it to probably about 5 feet.
A.J. EATHORNE: 7-iron. And parred the next couple. 13, which an a tough Par 4, so you always want to get it on that one. Four rescue into there to about 7 feet, made that putt. Just cruised on up.
A.J. EATHORNE: Had a 5-iron in there to probably about twenty feet and made a good putt. 2, I had about a 195 in, hit a four rescue again to about 8 feet for eagle.
And 5, 2-putted that one. It was -- my putt for eagle was about twenty feet as well. Just 2-putted there.
Bogey on 6. Probably want to know that one. I don't want to remember. Hit into the trees left and tried to putt out and hit another tree and just didn't get up and down. Hit a good putt, just missed it on the high side probably 8 feet for Par.
No. 9 just totally -- my caddie and I both just missed the yardage and it was short of the green. Couldn't get up and down and probably had about 12 feet for par there.
ASHLEY CUSHMAN: We had you down for a birdie on 7 there, too.
A.J. EATHORNE: 7, no.
A.J. EATHORNE: Paige, my playing partner, had one there.
ASHLEY CUSHMAN: Okay. Questions for A.J.

Q. How has your game been so far this year?
A.J. EATHORNE: It's been not so good. I've struggled a little bit. Last year I took half the year off with wrist injuries, so I think at the beginning of year it was a bit tough because I wasn't quite mentally confident with myself. Just been struggling a little bit this year.

Q. Overall, other than a couple of bad holes there, you pretty pleased with the way you played?
A.J. EATHORNE: Yeah. I mean, you never want to end on a bogey, but it could have happened anywhere in the round so I can't kick myself too much.
I'm just happy that I did make some birdies out there. That's usually the key to my game: Make enough birdies to cover up the bad holes. Those Par 5s are playing pretty short, so you want to jump on them when you can.

Q. When you play well do you handle the bad holes psychologically, the fact that you are playing in the next day?
A.J. EATHORNE: Yeah, it might fire you up a little bit. Tomorrow I'll be wanting to birdie 1 and 2 pretty quick, or birdie/eagle again.
But, no, for the most part you just got to look at the whole round. The first ten or fifteen minutes choked, but now I'm okay.
Just got go and practice. Nobody wins it on Thursday they always say, so I got to keep playing and have fun.

Q. What did you learn from this today?
A.J. EATHORNE: We just got a wrong yardage. We missed it by about 8 yards because they were looking at the head. The head number was 100 to the front and we forget that we were 8 yards behind that.
Just missplayed it, and then I think I was still a little bit mad when I hit my shot up and hit it a little bit too far.

Q. This is not the first time you shot well at Corning. Is there something about the course that works well with your game?
A.J. EATHORNE: Yeah. I love it here. One of my best friends lives here. It's sort of a place that feels like home to me because it's a small town and I come from a small town. Tee box and greens are real close to one another. Just a nice comfortable feeling here.

Q. Do you mind telling us who that friend is?
A.J. EATHORNE: Lisa D'Amore now. Lisa Kiggins, used to play on Tour. Married Rob D'Amore.

Q. Looks like obviously you're one of the leaders right now. When is the last time you've been in this position?
A.J. EATHORNE: It's been a few years since I've been anywhere on a leaderboard probably, but I'm not sure. Like I said, I struggled last year with a wrist injury so I haven't really played much. But it's been a couple years at least.

Q. It feels good to be back?
A.J. EATHORNE: It feels great, yeah. I definitely like seeing my name on the board. So it just makes you feel good, and I know my parents at home are probably going, Sweet, we can actually find her. You don't have to scroll down and scroll down. They'll be happy.
I have got lots of great people that visit my website or just friends from home, and they're always asking, Is there anything that we can do? And it's just nice to be able to put a round up there and you can breathe a little easier.

Q. (No microphone).
A.J. EATHORNE: No, I didn't actually.

Q. The temperatures are souring obviously. How much of an advantage is teeing off early?
A.J. EATHORNE: There are advantages to both. It was great to get out this morning with the nice cool temperatures a little bit so we don't get heat exhaustion.
But for the most part, if you play in the afternoon you get a lot drier course so the balls are going to roll a little bit further. But then it's harder hitting into the greens in the afternoon a well.
The course plays shorter in the afternoon, but the greens hold a little better in the morning. So that's sort of the difference. You got it take what you can from both rounds.

Q. Do you feel like you're 100 percent back from the wrist injury?
A.J. EATHORNE: Oh, yeah. My wrist has been great since the beginning of the year. It's just more mentally a trust issue and confidence over -- you don't swing for a few months, probably three months I didn't swing for, and it just didn't quite feel right. Now it feels really good.

Q. I think it's been a while since you've been able to cash in. Sounds like your putting today was quite good. Has that been the difference?
A.J. EATHORNE: No. My putting is usually really good. The problem lately has been my driver, putting myself in bad positions off the tee. So I switched to a new driver this week, a new Calaway one, and it's great.
Found the fairway a few more times today and it's a little easier to the hit the middle of green from there. My putting has been great, and my chipping I didn't have to use too much today, thank goodness. The thing is if you hit fairways and greens you're going score a lot better.

Q. Have you scored at all this well this season or been in this position?
A.J. EATHORNE: No, not at all. This is the best round of the year so far, and it hasn't been this way for a while.

Q. (No microphone).
A.J. EATHORNE: Yeah, yeah, exactly. I keep saying every week, This is going to be my week, just hoping it's going to click in sooner or later.
Like I said, this is like a home week so I feel a little bit more relaxed, and staying with friends. If you can relax on a golf course you're ahead of half the field out there.

Q. Which wrist?
A.J. EATHORNE: Left wrist. I had a frayed ligament. They just went in and scoped, surgery.

Q. The past champions are not here this year. Does that open up the field for players who may not have won before?
A.J. EATHORNE: Yeah, I think Corning's always been a great place for first-time winners because it is a friendly place. Even if you're never won a golf tournament before that crowd really gets behind you. I think that plays a big part in it as well.
Past winners, yes, unfortunately Hee-Won got pregnant so she can't come. I know she's love to be here. It's always a great place at that come. So if you can win here, even better.

Q. (No microphone.) Does that change how you're going to play tomorrow's round?
A.J. EATHORNE: No. I think I'm just are going to go out and hit it hard. I think the butterflies might be there more but it's still only Friday. Just go out and hit it and find it and hit it and find it again, as they say, and have some fun.

Q. (No microphone).
A.J. EATHORNE: That's hard to say. I mean, there are still some low rounds out there to be had, and especially beautiful weather and the greens are rolling great.
They've done an awesome job getting this course ready for us. So the course is ready to go taken down, as they say, and hopefully I can do it again tomorrow and some other girls get a chance to do it, too.

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