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October 3, 2007

Eric Axley


Q. We were just talking about coming in, had a couple good round the last couple weeks. Playing better and better. Struggling to keep it all together for 72 holes.
ERIC AXLEY: Two weeks ago on Saturday I three 3-putted three of my first fours holes and hit ten of the first 12 greens and was 5-over. It's kind of hard to compete when everyone is making birdies. Three-putting your way out of it.
I didn't play any different. I'm still hitting the ball fine and the same last week. I just didn't -- I missed a couple of easy up and ins right off the edge of the greens, you know, shots that you're thinking about making, I'm making bogies.
You know, turned into -- I think I shot 3-over an Saturday but I think I shot 1-under, 1-under on the weekend still finish Top-10.
It's close.

Q. How about coming back here, the place you won for the first time, pretty exciting, isn't it?
ERIC AXLEY: It is. I'm excited getting on the course, see if there's any changes, see how the course is playing. I still have good memories.
It's always easy he when you've played well somewhere because you remember the targets you were aiming at off the tees, you remember the pins and kind of where to be, where not to be. It's always good to come back.

Q. Good swings thoughts in a place like that.
ERIC AXLEY: Absolutely.

Q. You had that high last year, you must have been confident going in, this level go into next year.
Has something happened that kind of --
ERIC AXLEY: I'm still -- you know, I switched swing coaches last year and it kind of materialized to where I had really good swing thoughts at the end of the year after working with him all year. Then in the off-season we put a few more parts in it and it's still a work in progress.
Ballstrikingwise probably no different than the last year, just around the greens scoring. Probably working a little too much on my golf swing versus short game but I've started these last few weeks really honing the short game in. I feel confident it's going to materialize before the end of the year.

Q. Do you like the Fall Series format?
ERIC AXLEY: Yeah. I like all tournaments. They're all giving away paychecks and I like to play golf so it's a good combination for me.

Q. This course in particular, why did it play -- why did it meet your eyes so well last year?
ERIC AXLEY: I putted well last year here. You know, when I had -- needed to make a 5, 6-footer for par or hit a good shot, I made it. I never really had that many bumps in the road.
I hit the ball fabulous Friday and Saturday. I never hit a chip shot for two days. I mean it was just kind of autopilot and I shot 63, 63. Doing that, when you come out Sunday, you're feeling pretty good about the way things are going.
So, you know, when you make the crucial 8-footer for par that you need to make, kind of makes golf easier.

Q. At this level, it's obviously crucial to make those shots because there's always --
ERIC AXLEY: You're standing on the next tee. You haven't backed up and you're looking forward instead of how did I do that again? It kind of slows down your momentum. You may aim at a pin to try to get that shot back that you might not should aim at. Little bity stuff that causes you not to score the way you want.

Q. This course, I know is, over the years, is under some criticism, either it's too easy or too hard a hike, too this or too that. Last year, obviously, you did well.
ERIC AXLEY: The wind changed from Saturday to Sunday last year which made it play very difficult on Sunday. Not many low scores at all, whereas Friday and Saturday, lots of low scores.
Depending on the wind direction is what makes this course, in my eyes, play, you know, harder or where it's going to, you know, really give more birdies.

Q. I know this event has been kind of waffling around the schedule awhile. There's a real thing about going into the conflicts out here, PGA Tour conflicts, FedEx. What about that kind of thing?
Do you see this tournament -- what's your thought about those things out there?
ERIC AXLEY: I don't know anything about it. Obviously people who have played well are going to like it here and the people who haven't will probably say yeah, move it to another course.
It's kind of a Catch-22 on who you ask but it's still golf. You still got to tee it up, hit the fairway, hit the green and make putts no matter where you play, you know.

Q. You talk about the greens here and how well you played last year. How does this course stack up, do you think? Tommy Armour set the scoring record.
ERIC AXLEY: Stack up greenswise?

Q. As a whole with other courses out there, the LanCantera courses.
ERIC AXLEY: I think I won last year what, 16-under, maybe? Lots of courses it takes over 20. The guys are getting so good.
It's all weather-induced. If the wind blows, the golf course plays tough. If the golf course is firm it plays tough. If Mother Nature decides to wet the golf course and the wind doesn't below there's not -- there's no hard golf course for these guys.
You hit fairways and the ball is plugging on the green, I don't care where you play, somebody is going to shoot 63.

Q. Last round of Atlanta this year.
ERIC AXLEY: It doesn't matter where you play. It's always based on Mother Nature, how firm it gets, if you can stop the ball by the hole or you can't.
The shortest of golf courses, the easiest of golf courses can play difficult if it's firm and fast and you can't stop the ball, you know.

Q. This year is a pretty compelling field. Some young Turks kind of coming in. This field is really compelling this year. There's no one Top 50 player here, you know.
Does that kind of add some mystery to this whole thing? I'm not sure you can actually say -- you can probably be a frontrunner.
Certain guys have played well in the past, Justin Leonard. I don't know that there's anybody -- these kind of fields really make it kind of mystery going in.
ERIC AXLEY: I mean, there again, it goes back to how good everyone is getting. If someone plays well, no one -- no one would have ever expected me to win last year. I made 200-something-thousand-dollars coming in here but that doesn't mean I haven't -- I hadn't been playing well for the last five, six weeks.
It's just not getting the ball in the hole. I'm sure there are 50 guys out there right now that wouldn't even think to win the same way. They probably have been playing well. Haven't gotten the ball in the hole. When it's their week, it will happen.
It -- it's not just here. I don't care who is in the field. If someone is playing well, it's their time, they're going to win, you know.

Q. This tournament in particular, I think Tony Piazzi calls it an opportunity tournament. You won. Tommy Armour hadn't one. Robert Gamez hadn't won.
This tournament really seems --
ERIC AXLEY: Yeah. Like I say, you know, it's different than a loft of golf courses we play but then you got to still play golf. It's all about controlling your ball and, you know, depending on how the weather is going to dictate the scores.

Q. I hope we talk again over the next couple of days.
ERIC AXLEY: Thank you.

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