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October 25, 2007

Mark James


THE MODERATOR: Mark James, thank you for joining us. 6-under, great start, maybe before we get questions, just general thoughts on your day and general birdies and bogeys.
MARK JAMES: Yeah, I birdied number -- see, I'm stuck already, can't remember the course. Definitely made a birdie in the front nine. I have no idea where it was, maybe it was the back nine. I made one on the front nine, back nine, 12 to 18 inches. That was nice.
Thirteen, hit it in the rough, chopped it out, hit it to 25 feet, holed it.
Fifteen, hit 5 on to 12 feet, holed that -- fourteen, sorry. About 12 feet.
Sixteen, I hid a driver, 5-wood just short, hit up to 6 inches, and 18 hit drive to 12 feet and holed that, putted well on the backside. I had a couple of great bounces from the rough onto the fairway, nothing punished me too much. I didn't play fantastic but short game putting was good.

Q. Jim talked about the back nine; was it easier than the front?
MARK JAMES: I would say it's probably a little easier, but I think, you know, I don't think that's indicative of what to expect the whole week, I don't think it's that easy. The par 5s are easy. I don't think I can quite make the par 5s in two, so it's not a tough nine but not a pushover. We had the tee up at 14, and they could put that further back on the par 3, so both nines were a pretty good test. You start playing bad, and you're going to hit trouble, without question.

Q. Jim was saying the greens are in great shape. Is that your observation as well?
MARK JAMES: Yeah, they're good. They're very fast, about 12 on the stimpmeter, which is quick, and you have to roll it up there and hope it goes in. It's not a place for attacking with the putter at all.

Q. Jim played in two and a half hours, said how much he liked playing by himself. Have you ever played by yourself? Do you like it?
MARK JAMES: Certainly, you can make your own score! (Chuckles.) No, it's nice to play by yourself, and you can get done quickly. I played one year by myself. I played with Dana today, and we weren't held up at all, really, we were around in 3, 3 and a quarter hours; we were taking our time.
We weren't even trying to get around quick; it was perfect. A joy to play at that speed. There are a lot of tournaments now we play a two-tee start, for whatever reason, so you get around the turn, and the field gets clogged up. And when I first came out on Tour here, we played one-tee starts, and you get around pretty well.
Two-tee starts have slowed down the game a lot, so it's nice to play in twos.

Q. Do you see this course becoming more challenging over the next few days, or do you like it like it is?
MARK JAMES: I doubt it would -- it has hardly dried out in two days. I don't think it's -- I think it's unlikely to be fast-running this time of year, but I don't know the area. I'm not sure what they're expecting; the fairways are pretty wide.
It's a lot easier to cut the fairways narrow, and if it's too fast running, water them. I'm not sure what the theory is with the fairways. Certainly the rough is penal, so you don't want to start flushing it around.

Q. Jim has always done well here on this course as a long hitter. Is it made for long hitters?
MARK JAMES: If you can carry the ball, probably 275 or more, which I think Jim probably does, you can take quite a lot of trouble out of play. I'm just struggling, maybe 265, so I can't quite take stuff out like he can. If you have a 70-yard fairway, you can stay out of trouble -- there are a few holes that -- they don't spring to mind, but it does make a difference.

Q. How has your year been?
MARK JAMES: I started off nicely with a win and threatened to do well in a few tournaments, and should have been done better in the Legends. I missed the play-off by 1. I had a bad patch with the putter and chipping, and I wasn't playing particularly well either, and that lasted from sort of end of May through to probably Baltimore.
And I started to play better, but no reward at Baltimore, and the last two weeks I've had a 6th and 7th, and certainly a couple of putts have dropped in, and I've chipped close and missed the green, and it's small margins; everything has improved a bit. I feel confident now -- I didn't play fantastic today but certainly better.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Mark.

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