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March 14, 2008

Kim Hyung-Tae


Q. You had a very steady round, would you like to tell us more?
KIM HYUNG-TAE: My caddie and I took a very cautious approach reading the lies. Because there was a strong wind, I tried to score pars and after that gave me more chances for birdies and that led me to good scores.

Q. Did you feel the crowd support giving you a bit of an advantage?
KIM HYUNG-TAE: My score says that I'm quite strong with the cold weather and also the tough course. I think that this course really fits me well.
So I'm satisfied with my performance up to today and I will do my best for the next few days, as well.

Q. Can you share with us a little bit more about your background?
KIM HYUNG-TAE: I started golf, my father asked me to try. When I was in high school, I won several matches and then I became a member of the national team when I was 19, and I was there for four years.
And then from eight years ago, I turned pro and I had two winning records in the Korean matches although I had none in the foreign. This year I focused more on the Korean Tour and this year is to be No. 1 in terms of the Order of Merit ranking.
Last year actually I had some different schedules in that it has been eight years since all the years that I turned pro and I take a break during the winner time and I try to relax.
Last year I traveled with my wife and actually that helped me a lot build up my strength and also gave me some confidence, and I believe that was the secret of my success to that because I tried to build up my strength. So although there was very strong wind, I could overcome strong wind and I could shoot quite strongly.

Q. Any plans to follow in the footsteps of K.J. Choi to venture out and play the US Tour or European Tour?
KIM HYUNG-TAE: This year my goal is to be ranked as No. 1 in terms of Order of Merit in Korean golf. So I haven't thought about going to the US PGA. At least I think I should first accomplish my goal for this year first, and after that -- actually my ultimate goal is to advance to the US PGA. So after I achieve my first goal, then I will think about more how to advance into the US PGA.
Actually the reason I was so much involved in the Japanese Tour over the past years was because if you are within the Top-10 in terms of the money leader in the Japanese Tour, then you will be able to enter Q-School for the US PGA.
And also I want to play in various tours as much as possible, like the Asian Tour and The European Tour, but my ultimate tour is to advance into the US PGA and have a championship there.

Q. Today was very windy and K.J. Choi said that in order to overcome strong winds, I changed drivers. He used different drivers today and yesterday, different drivers. Do you also do the same or do you change your swing?
KIM HYUNG-TAE: I would rather change my swing today but there was a head wind against me that I tried to have -- I rather tried to move the ball in the middle and have the shot. Actually this year, I had a lot of muscle training, so I was strong enough to be up to the shots that Tiger does, as well. Although I was not really up to the level of Tiger Woods, but I practised the stinger shot and I thought that I could do that shot quite well.
Also during the practise round when there were a lot of strong wind, I succeeded in those kind of shots. I believe that this is really good, but especially when you face windy weather.

Q. You had birdies on three holes, how did you do that?
KIM HYUNG-TAE: On the 13th hole, I hit a drive with a 4-iron and the ball went to quite a sloppy area and I see that there could be a break and there could be a slice or hook off the ball. I discussed it with the caddie and thought the slice would be a good approach and I made birdie.
On the 4th, it was a par 3 hole and there was 200 yards and there was a strong tailwind there and I used a 6-iron for a 180 yards and it came very close to the hole and I was able to make a birdie.
On the 15th hole, I hit 4-iron for a drive and there was a mountain Dane break and it looked very straight and I wasn't sure whether it would hook or not. I thought that it would be a hook and it was right and made birdie.
On the 16th hole, it was a very long hole. So there was a strong wind and there was a bunker but there was a strong follow wind so the caddie and I thought that we would be able to land the ball on the green in two shots. But I thought that if I was too greedy and tried to make it on in two, I could make some serious mistakes. So I would rather pitch the ball on the third shot, and the shot was very good and I successfully made birdie.
On the 17th hole, it was 216 yards, and there were very strong head winds, so I rather tried hitting a control shot and I was able to make a birdie.
On the 18th hole there, was a strong left wind and the wind was actually much stronger than I expected. So the ball flight was to the right, was much more to the right than I expected and it was about to hit in the bunker and I was a little bit nervous. But I thought the confidence would be very important in this kind of situation of such difficulty, and luckily I made a birdie again on the 18th hole.

Q. Would you please speak more about your caddie?
KIM HYUNG-TAE: His name is -- [] and completed my military service and since then I started to work with him, so I was with him when I recorded the second in the [] championship, which is an event held in Korea in 2007. But he's also an amateur golfer and he's 27.

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