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October 25, 2007

Bob Estes


DOUG MILNE: Thanks for joining us. Congratulations on a spectacular opening round: 9-under, 64. Looking at your scorecard there's certainly a lot of circles on here.
If we could get some opening comments. Obviously you're coming in feeling pretty good.
BOB ESTES: Uh-huh. Let's see. Last week I shot 64, which I think was my low round for the year, so I knew I was playing a little bit better. Didn't hit the ball all that well overall last week. So I, you know, had a pretty good practice session on Tuesday afternoon. Made some adjustments and started playing better, and obviously putted pretty well. So yeah.

Q. You're currently ranked ninth in putting, so it's obviously no big surprise that you putted well today. But another interesting one is 17 of 18 greens in reg, which is better than what we've seen out of most today. Obviously you had that going for you as well.
BOB ESTES: Uh-huh, so which one you want me to address, the putting or the hitting?
DOUG MILNE: How about both.
BOB ESTES: I'm too tired for all those general questions. Come on. The putting, a lot of the first half of the year I think I was ranked first in putting. I don't keep up with the stats that much so I don't know when I drop from one to two or two to five or whatever.
So I definitely been making some changes, different things at different times, trying to figure out what works best for me. I've gone back and forth from left-hand low to conventional. I was putting with the left hand below the right at the U.S. Open at Oakmont, and even though I made the cut, putted very poorly.
Those greens at the time really exposed my putting, but they were so difficult. Every since the U.S. Open at Oakmont I've spent more time putting conventional.
Last week I kind of got fed up with that, too. I mean, I'm built to putt with the left hand below the right, so I knew I was pretty much going to be putting that way this week as opposed to conventional, like a reverse overlap like a lot of guys use.
So I, you know, went a little putter search and got some different putters and found one that worked pretty well. Yeah, felt comfortable with it and I was able to get the ball online, which was what I was looking for, and then my speed control was pretty good too so, made a bunch of putts.
DOUG MILNE: Okay. Questions?

Q. When was that putter search?
BOB ESTES: Tuesday and Wednesday. Yeah, so...

Q. So this one is sticking around?
BOB ESTES: At least for this week. I'm not saying it's perfect. It may not be exactly what I need, but it's -- I can make putts with it.

Q. You came in this week at 118th on the List, so you knew essentially that 125 was more or less secure. How much in a week like this where a lot of guys are chasing to get there, how much does that allow you to relax and your just worry about playing and blocking out all the extraneous?
BOB ESTES: Yeah, I mean, obviously I'm aware of where I am on the Money List. You can't help it. They keep posting it and putting the projected Money List up on the board all the time. I'm really not too worried about it.
I haven't been, you know, thinking about it when I'm out there playing. Just trying to get better, so that helps. A lot of guys I know are in a little different position than me and probably a little bit more stressed out with it, because I have the status of being a past champion and some guys, if they don't finish the top 125, then that's going to make it real difficult for them next year if they don't make it to the TOUR School to be back on tour in 2009.
So I'm in a little different position than some of the other guys. I'm haven't been -- obviously I want to finish at least top 125, but also know what a win could do in the last couple weeks also. But that stuff kind of takes care of itself if you're doing the right things to play better golf. That's all I've really been trying to do, just try and improve my golf swing and my putting.

Q. Talk about the 6 birdies in a row on the front 9. Looks like you were hitting a lot really close shots there.
BOB ESTES: Uh-huh. I birdied the Par 5s on the back to start with, so I was 2-under. Then I'm just trying to -- sometimes -- we're still learning the golf course, so sometimes I got to get my head back on the correct nine.
But, yeah, if you get the ball on the fairway on those first three holes -- and actually they played probably a little bit easier obviously because we were playing with a north wind today.
So those holes with the south or southeast wind: 1, 2, 3, 4 could be brutal. But the holes starting out were easier than -- you know, I knew there was a cold front maybe pushing though. I guess that's what it was, the one that came through Texas on Monday when we got a deluge.
Yeah, those holes played easier and I hit some iron shots close and was able to get the ball online like we were just talking about with the putter. It was easier for me to line up and getting the ball online and knocking them home.

Q. What's it like when you go through that stretch?
BOB ESTES: It's not -- the game is never easy for me. I'm always struggling or fighting something. Until I just get my mechanics more sound, I guess, the game is still always a struggle.
So even if I'm making 6 birdies on a row, or like when I was making 7 birdies on a row in Memphis couple years ago and people were like, Man, you must have been on the zone. But I mean, I'm still pretty relaxed but I'm still working pretty hard. It's not like I step up there and it's automatic. I'm still very focused on what I'm doing.
Yeah, I just kept trying to make birdies. The fourth one was a really good one because it was 225 yards, and I hit a 4-iron on there about 6 feet I guess. And then Daniel Chopra showed me up and hit it on there about 5 feet.
But we had a really good group. We made a lot of birdies between the three of us. Bob Tway got us off to a great start birdieing the first four holes on the back 9.
So I mean Chopra, shot 6-under, right?
DOUG MILNE: Yeah, finished at 6.
BOB ESTES: Bob had a couple of bogeys in there. But, yeah, we just had a really good group. When you got a good group like that making lots of birdies -- I mean, obviously it was easier to hit fairways because the fairways were wet. Then when you're hitting more fairways you're able to, you know, hit more greens and hit it closer to the hole.

Q. What does making that putt on 9 do for your confidence going into tomorrow and for the rest of the week?
BOB ESTES: That was huge, because I had none before I made that long putt. I'm just joking. The 6 birdies in a row helped. I know, I know. The two pars where I was losing it on 7 and 8. No, but after I birdied, you know, the first four I knew things were going to be a lot tougher turning back into the wind.
4 was pretty much a straight left to right, and 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 almost all just straight back into the wind, so I knew it was going tough. Yeah, I was just trying to birdie every hole on the front 9, but I had to stay focused to try to get that done.
Thought I made the birdie putt on 9. Then on No. 8 I got a little over the top of a tee shot and pulled it into the left rough so it didn't -- I mean, I was almost debating whether just to pitch it out to the fairway. The wind was kind of at times blowing a little harder than I wanted it to to try to take a shot over the hazard and onto the green.
But I finally caught it when it wasn't blowing quite as hard and knocked it on there and 2-putted.
Then the putt that I made on No. 9, I read it right and I was just trying to roll it down there close to the hole and sometimes they go in. It's only Thursday. That's the deal. It's not -- if you're doing that on a Saturday or a Sunday, you know, things are a little bit more intense.
But when you realize it's only Thursday you just keep trying to make as many birdies as you can.

Q. When you played the practice round did you notice that the front 9 could be easier, or did you kind of judge both 9s the same?
BOB ESTES: Actually I didn't play a practice round. Just went out and walked the golf course on Tuesday. I was at home on Austin on Monday, flew in Monday night, was still pretty tired from the last three weeks, and especially that Sunday round which was so tough at Grayhawk when the wind was blowing so hard.
So practice rounds at a new golf course can take a long time with guys trying to learn the golf course, and I knew it was going to be like that, so I just went out and took my yardage book and walked the golf course so I could get it done a lot quicker.
Then had a good practice session later that afternoon on Tuesday. Also I knew I was on the Pro-Am on Wednesday morning, so that was basically my practice round after just walking the course on Tuesday.
But we're still getting to know the course. There were a couple places where I was like, Oh. I didn't quite remember it being like that. It makes it easier to know the next time you're out there.

Q. On your front 9, No. 15, it was playing hardest today. Par 4, 460. Could you talk a little bit about that hole and why you thought it might have been playing difficult today?
BOB ESTES: Yeah. So the wind was pretty much right to left off the tee, so it wasn't an overly tough tee shot. Some guys might have hit 3-wood, but I think we all hit drivers. The second shot is back into a wind. It's somewhat playing in from the right, you know, and you've got the hazard all on the right side of the green.
So I think I hit 4-iron in and Bob Tway did also, and Chopra was up past where were because he hits it a little bit further and probably hit a 5 or 6. And the pin back on the very back for the most part, so it was just a real tough hole because of the length and the wind.
I'm sure a lot of the guys probably bailed out left trying to avoid the hazard. And Bob Tway and I both did that a little bit. We were kind of left of the flag, and then it kind of rolls off the side.

Q. Can you give us a ballpark on how many putters you may have tried Tuesday or Wednesday?
BOB ESTES: Maybe five.

Q. No huge number?
BOB ESTES: Well, no, no. Maybe just five or so.

Q. Okay. Knowing how well you played the front 9 today, when you go out tomorrow it'll be your first 9 which was your back 9 today, will that affect how you attack it tomorrow knowing that you've played it so well already?
BOB ESTES: Well, it's always nice to know that you have shot a score like that for 9 or 18 holes or whatever. But, no, when we get out there tomorrow morning, I don't know what the wind is going to be doing and I haven't seen the forecast. Could get some more rain possibly and be even more wetter and sloppier.
DOUG MILNE: 60% percent all day.
BOB ESTES: Okay. Which is what they said about today. So more great weather men and women. So, yeah, as far as tomorrow, it's just Friday. Just got to keep going.
DOUG MILNE: If you could just run through and give us some clubs on some of the birdies, if you remember those.
BOB ESTES: Okay. That was a wedge on 1 to about 4 feet.
No. 2 I hit driver 3-wood up there kind of pin high left of the green, so it was just a flop shot up there about 5 feet and made it.
No. 3 I hit 5-wood, wedge about 10 to 12 feet right of the hole.
No.4 was a 4-iron, about a 6-footer.
No. 5 was a 5-iron. That was probably the best shot I hit today. So that was -- I guess I ended up about 8 or 10 feet just past the hole and to the right.
No. 6 was 9-iron about 12, 13 feet left of the hole seems like. A lot of times I'm not paying too close attention how close or how far away.
No. 9 was a 9-iron out of the right rough and then however long that putt was.
Birdies on the two Par 5s.
No. 11, let's see, laid up and, so that was a wedge.
I don't remember all the exact yardages. That was a wedge to about 18 feet, 15 or 18 feet.
And 16, I hit driver 3-wood on the green and 2-putted for a birdie.
DOUG MILNE: Okay. Congratulations again on a great round, and good luck tomorrow and the rest of the week.
BOB ESTES: Thank you.

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