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February 22, 2008

John Merrick


NELSON SILVERIO: Our leader through 36 holes, 2-under today, why don't you start by comparing conditions between yesterday and today.
JOHN MERRICK: Yeah, it blew a little harder today. I think on like my first nine or 12 holes, and then it kind of died down at the end. Our last maybe five holes, it wasn't as bad, so maybe I caught a good tee time today with the wind. But it blew in the same direction.

Q. Does this course just fit your game?
JOHN MERRICK: Yeah, I'm kind of just hitting well and putting it well right now. I didn't get in too much trouble today. I hit the ball fairly well, maybe missed a couple fairways and when I missed a green, I chipped it pretty close.
I'm trying to think of my longest par putt today, maybe four or five feet, so pretty solid day, just kind of a steady day, kind of a day that you want to have out here.

Q. There weren't many low scores, 2-under doesn't seem great after what you did yesterday.
JOHN MERRICK: I felt great about the way I played today. I missed a lot of birdie putts from eight to 15 feet.
So, I had a lot of chances out there. I was hitting it well and it was just kind of whether or not I was going to make the putt or not.

Q. How about having that 36-hole lead?
JOHN MERRICK: It felt good. This is the reason why you play and you practice to get the lead, and you know, I haven't had the lead that many times in my career. So you know, it's a great learning experience and I'm going to try to do the best I can.

Q. What's great about the golf course?
JOHN MERRICK: It's challenging. I think it's set up perfect for the way the wind blows. You know, the course is built for the wind. There's a lot of room out there that they give you, and it's just hard with the wind blowing in your face. You get the ball up in the air curving, it can go in the swamp area or whatever. It's a challenging course. The scores aren't that low, so it's hard.

Q. Are you excited to play in the third round tomorrow as a leader? If you shoot 63, you have a chance to erase what happened last year.
JOHN MERRICK: Absolutely, I have a huge opportunity the next couple days. I'm excited about playing in the last group and I want to get as much experience as I can in the last group. I'm going to try to just stick to my swing keys and putting keys that's been working so far, and see what happens.

Q. How has your driving been, was that the difference today?
JOHN MERRICK: Today, I felt like I've hit the ball the same way the last couple days. I hit it really well and yesterday I made a couple more putts. Today I didn't make as many putts, so that was kind of the difference.

Q. What went wrong for you in the last two round last year?
JOHN MERRICK: I just didn't feel as comfortable with my game last year. I had a solid first two rounds, and then I just didn't have a bearing with my swing and the wind started blowing really hard. Once you started going sideways out here, it can go, you know, pretty south in a hurry.
I think this year, I have a year experience, and I feel like my game is a lot better, more solid. I know kind of where the ball is going a little bit more.

Q. It was more mechanical than mental?
JOHN MERRICK: I think so, maybe both. I think I'm more comfortable now just being out here with the guys and in the position I'm in. I think I'm more comfortable after a year of experience last year.
NELSON SILVERIO: Thanks, John. Good luck tomorrow.

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