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April 17, 2008

Ken Duke


JOAN vT ALEXANDER: We'd like to thank Ken Duke for joining us for a few minutes here at the media center at the Verizon Heritage. Good start to the week with a 68.
Just talk about what you did well out there and maybe a little bit of conditions were starting to change as you were finishing up there, especially finishing on the 18th hole.
KEN DUKE: Yeah, the conditions were really, really good, I thought. You had to hit some really good shots. I finally hit some really good quality iron shots. When you do that here, you're going to have some good putts at it. 10, 12 feet, which is really good around here with some of the pin placements.
But it's a good solid round. It's great to get off to a good start. I don't know it will hold up the rest of the day. It's good to get under par.

Q. A couple of years ago you were on the Nationwide Tour, was that a good experience for you, as far as being more prepared?
KEN DUKE: Yeah, I was out on the Nationwide early 2000, 2003. I got on the Tour in '04. I didn't know what to expect out here. After I played and I finished 66th on the money list, I knew my game wasn't at a level to compete, maybe make some cuts but not to win or even top 10. I went back to the Nationwide for two years. '05 was an up-and-down year; we had a little baby, our second baby. And the '06 year was kind of the year I went forward. I started working with Bob Toski and changed my swing. '06-'07 has been really, really good.
The Nationwide Tour is just a great golf tour. You have to play well to win there, as you do here. It's just a tough competition out there. So it's just a very good place to play.
JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Let's go through your birdies and bogeys. You made a birdie on 2.
KEN DUKE: I had a good rescue on there. And made a good two-putt.
And then had a good tee shot on 3, hit a bad 7-iron, kind of short-sided myself.
And made a bogey and kind of pulled a 6-iron on No. 4 and hit it probably six or seven feet left of the pin. If you're out there, there's not much green there. But I made a good birdie there on the par-5 I felt like I could take a risk-reward, and didn't pull it off, made a bogey.
Had some good shots coming in. A good putt on 9 I missed.
And had good putts on 11.
I birdied 12, 13, 14.
I had a good one on 17 that I felt like I should have made. But it was just good. I hit good shots and had some good putts at it.

Q. Did you say conditions were starting to change as you were finishing up?
KEN DUKE: It's getting a little more windy. The greens obviously will firm up a little bit. I don't know how much the wind is going to blow. I hope it doesn't blow nothing like it did the first few days when we were here. It always blows here. It's just a great atmosphere. It's just fun to play here.

Q. Could you have asked for better scoring conditions weather-wise?
KEN DUKE: I don't think so. It was soft out there. Sure, it was a little cool, but the ball wasn't going as far. But still you can go right at the pins. I think the first green was probably the hardest right now. It's right on the front, it was downwind for us. It's going to be downwind right now. You can't really hold it much there. If you hit it short, it goes to the bunker; if you hit it long, you go to the green. It's going to go past by 20 feet or so.
It's there. It was pretty easy, and no wind. You just fire at the greens. A 20-foot putt, and sometimes you can get a good line on it.
JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Did you bring your family?
KEN DUKE: We did. We were here last year. I had a good tournament and the family enjoyed it. So we came out again this year. Our oldest starts school at the end of the year, so we're trying to travel as much as we can right now. It's great. We rented a condo here, right by the beach, and that's what it's all about, having a good time. And playing golf, another thing.

Q. Early in the week several players remarked at how they thought the course was a little softer than it's been in the past. Is that still the case or is it starting to firm up again?
KEN DUKE: I played yesterday in the morning Pro Am and I thought it was firming up then. I think they had some rain here earlier in the week. We came in I think Tuesday afternoon. But it's going to firm up here no matter what, I think, unless we get some rain. I never look at the weather, so I don't know. But the greens are just, they're just so small. They're going to firm up. With the wind blowing, they'll firm up and be really tough.

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