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April 19, 2008

Scott Hoch


DAVE SENKO: Another 67 today, 8-under going into tomorrow and looks like everything happened on the back nine.
SCOTT HOCH: Well, scrambled early for some pars on the front. Made some good 6-, 8-footers for par and then all of a sudden I started hitting it good and 6- and 8-footers for birdie, couldn't make one.
It was just a very boring, I guess score-wise, a very boring front nine. And then yes, I started -- I wouldn't say I played any better. I actually don't think I did. But I just started making some putts, and some of them weren't very short, either.
The only bogey I had was on 12, which was ridiculous. I had it just barely in the rough off the tee and hit a poor shot just in the rough, second shot, and then the ball didn't come out like I thought. And hit it and ran around the bunker and came in the bunker and I hit it to six feet and hit the putt and made bogey. I'm thinking I can make birdie on this hole and I made bogey.
Then I struggled getting up-and-down on the other par 5 for a par, and then things really did sort of start happening. Although after I made bogey, I took driver out on the next hole, which would have been 13, the par 4. Drove it way down there, so I just like 55 yards and hit it to up six feet and made birdie. That helps, any time you make bogey, and a especially foolish one you shouldn't make on an easy hole, you would like to get it back as soon as possible.
And then I birdied three of the last four but after I struggled for par, on 14, I'm thinking, shoot, now I'm coming to the holes that are tough to make birdies on, so actually par is a good score.
So I was kind of reserved with the fact that, well, it's not going to be that good of a day. I said, well, let's try to get one birdie in there and luckily I made three out of four.
DAVE SENKO: What did you hit for a second on 15?
SCOTT HOCH: 15, I hit a 4-iron. I hit it actually in the short rough just in the first cut of rough on the right side so I had a little longer shot than I should have, and ended up making about a 25-footer.
17, I hit a 5-iron, good shot, just past the pin and that was probably another 25-footer.
18, I hit a really good shot there. Where the pin it is, it's tough for me to get it close, hit it on the downslope and skipped past the hole and I made about a 10-foot putt there for birdie, but hit a 7-iron just right at it. Just went right past the hole and ten feet by, and hit a good putt.

Q. Two 67s in the first two round, but sounds like you are not overly pleased with the way you played. Does that make you encouraged going into Sunday that you still think you can play better?
SCOTT HOCH: Well, yesterday I didn't feel like I could shoot much worse, because three of my birdies yesterday, two of them were less than a foot and another one was three feet. It was a very easy score yesterday, but I was frustrated because I wasn't making many of the birdie putts like I should have.
Today is actually -- I saved my round early and hit some very good shots and made some good par putts the first three or four holes. When I did start hitting it better, I didn't get anything out of it, so that was frustrating. But then I can look back and say, hey, I'm still kind of fortunate to be where I am, and then things turned around.
So I hit some good shot coming in, but really for the day, that's really the only good shots I played, the only decent golf I played was from 15 in.
So it was just more of a -- I drove it pretty good. And the conditions were such that some of my good drives didn't end up so good, hit them through farther than I thought I could have and hit in some bunkers I didn't think I could get to.
I'm pleased with where I am, but yesterday I played much better. And yes, there's room for improvement, especially over today how I played. Sometimes you cannot hit it that well, but score well. I would rather make it easy on myself tomorrow and hit it well and then see what score I shoot.

Q. If you grind a 67 tomorrow, do you think that would be good enough?
SCOTT HOCH: Don't know. 67 is a good score. Wiebe was 9-under, he's finishing on the front -- well, 9 is a tough hole but it is downwind. So, who knows. He might end up making a birdie or two before he gets in to be even more, and then 67 might not be enough.
But then again, if you look at the scoring, I was really surprised that 3-under -- I think it was 3-under was like 7th on the board, and actually the scores didn't change any really from yesterday and that's kind of odd. That shows that the course is winning more than the players are, and that it's tough. That means everybody is -- it's tough scoring for everybody.
So if that's indicative of tomorrow, scores maybe being a little worse than today, maybe 67 will be a good score. Whether it's enough, who knows. The thing is, you can't worry about the other guy. It's easy to say, it's just tough to do. You go out there and the only one you have control of is yourself, but surely you're going to be paying attention to what the others are doing. But the only one that in control of what you do is yourself.

Q. Tom Watson parred all the holes on the front nine and you did the same. Is the front nine playing a lot differently today than it did yesterday?
SCOTT HOCH: I started on the back and played well yesterday on the back and didn't have much on the front. So far, the front side has not been the very best scoring side for me.
It was tough for me to read the putts today. I hit mostly good putts in the 8- to 12-foot range, and just didn't read them. I think I mis-putted one, but three or four of them, I misread. Good birdie putts I didn't quite read or just didn't have the speed right.
You know, they did have some tough pins. 1 is not easy and 2, that back last corner. They had some tough pins out there today. And without even getting that from me, you can look at the scores. Unless there's really tough conditions, if the scores are not that good, then you know there was some tough pins.

Q. You say that the scores suggest the course may be winning. So there's opportunity for a big movement by somebody tomorrow if somebody does get hot and put a good number up there; how many people are in it from X-number under -- if you're within five going into tomorrow?
SCOTT HOCH: Well, just look, earlier in the year, we had some tournaments that had some tougher conditions on Sunday and Brad Bryant shot 65 in both of them to come back getting into playoff from pretty far back.
If I look back on how the course played today, it is tough to shoot very low. If somebody plays well enough and they leave themselves good putts at it, and they read them, yeah, they could shoot -- there could be a 65 or 64 out there. But it would have to be the exceptional round, but it's out there.
It's not unfair by any means, and there wasn't a pin out there that was unfair; it's just some of them were tough to get to, and if you miss it -- what's tough here, if you let a shot get away from you, especially if you short-side yourself, you're dead.
I guess we're waiting on the second tee, Eager hit on the first hole, took him three shots to get back on the green, rolled up and rolled down. Playing with O'Meara on the 10th hole; he hit it left of the green, wasn't short-sided, but I guess the hardpan, couldn't get a sand wedge under it and tried to putt it up the hill and he putted twice; the second one it barely stopped from coming back down again.
So if you short-side yourself, you're going to have some difficult up-and-downs. I think that's what happens a lot, and so you get some of these pins that are kind of tight and in the back of your mind, it says, well, I don't want to hit it to the short-side here, so you've got to give yourself a little more room the other way.
So the end result is, you're probably not going to hit the shot as close as you would have without that big dropoff on one side.

Q. Wiebe has gotten to 10-under; he sort of eased into the Champions Tour and didn't have a big splash before he arrived and now he's won twice already --
SCOTT HOCH: Twice in 12 events.

Q. He's not a name other people -- casual fans might know but you guys, it's not surprising to see him play well?
SCOTT HOCH: Well, he really has not played much in a while. But I tell you when he came out, was it his first event, and won, and that's on a really good course, then obviously something's working well for him.
And actually, he's hurting right now. He had surgery. I played with him at Cap Cana in the last group and he played really well except for one hole. He played extremely well. Manages his game well.
Just because you haven't heard of some of these people doesn't mean that they can't play. Some find a little extra, and once they have not played for five or six years on the regular tour, they are more refreshed or whatever. Hey, who knows, if he wasn't as successful the first time, then he knows he can do it, then it makes it easier the second -- well not necessarily the third time, but let's say second time it makes it a lot easier. And he's playing well and he had knee surgery probably two months ago, so he was hobbling even in a golf cart two weeks ago at Cap Cana but he still won. So leg's not hurting too much.
I would anticipate after playing with him before, two weeks ago, and then him playing well again this week, I don't anticipate him coming back to everybody else. I think somebody is going to have to go after him to do it because he's played well -- when he's played well, he's played real well. That's the good sign of a player -- everybody can play poorly, but when you play good, to keep it going, for the whole week, that's key, and I think he feels good about his game right now.

Q. Who would you say is the best player out here from the other sports, the football players, the athletes?
SCOTT HOCH: Whose out here? I don't know but two guys I played with. I don't know.

Q. Ronde Barber?
SCOTT HOCH: I played with Ronde. He looks good. He looks good hitting it. He has some control issues but he looks good doing it and fans love him and he's fun to play with, really good guy and hit a lot of good shots. He played much better yesterday the front nine. I told him, he's not used to playing games before 12, so that's why he wasn't playing any good till the turn but he hit the ball much better today and yesterday the back nine -- or yesterday the second nine.
But I'm not sure what athletes are here. Quarterbacks tend to be pretty good. Pitchers tend to be pretty good, especially pitchers that are pitching now because they are the only ones that have time to play. They get to play during the season where all the other field players do not get a chance to. Quarterbacks in general probably make some of the best golfers.

Q. Because of their eye and hand coordination?
SCOTT HOCH: And because they have a big head and think they can do it, that might have a lot to do with it -- no, they all have big heads. They are very coordinated and have the finer touches. That's what I find a lot of other position players in football, they lack some of the touch shots and the pitchers and the quarterbacks seem to have some of that, and I guess that comes with the touch of throwing the football and very good hand and eye coordination.

Q. They changed the date specifically to improve weather but also thinking that it would add opportunity for growth; is there a little different electricity out there this time?
SCOTT HOCH: Yeah, it's hardly ever loud when you're clapping with mitts on. (Laughing).
I tell what you, 17, they are getting a little rowdy -- is it 17 or 16? 16. Some of them are getting a little rowdy out there. That's good, as long as they can stay quiet when the players are hitting. Yeah a lot of the people have a few drinks, they like to hear themselves talking.
That's the great part of being out here and as long as they are enjoying it and we are enjoying it, because we feed off of them, and most of us know that they are here to see Ronde Barber or see the local athletes and celebrities. The pros realize that. When we go to play -- when you play the Hope or the Crosby or anything like that, they don't get all these big crowds to come see the pros. They come to see the celebrities, we know that. So it's great.
And it is nice having -- I like having it this time of year, mainly because of the way the course plays, and the greens, you don't have to overseed or anything. I can't remember exactly what they were but I like the way the course plays and I like the weather. The weather can be pretty good in February, but also can be like it was last year. It would be unusual for it to be poor this time of year.
I like the change, and I think the fans do, too. From what it looks like, we have quite a few fans out there today. Yesterday we did; today we had more; and maybe Sunday even more.
DAVE SENKO: Thank you.

End of FastScripts

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