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April 26, 2008

Kevin Sutherland


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Kevin Sutherland, playing in your 12th EDS Byron Nelson Championship. Well, nice round today, 67, ended with a couple of bogeys, but Bart Bryant was just in here and he said that your first 14 holes or so was about as good as he's ever seen on the PGA TOUR. Maybe some comments about that start.
KEVIN SUTHERLAND: You know, I hit the ball terrific. The first 14 holes I really didn't miss a shot. I had a lot of really good birdie putts. You know, just kind of cruising.
You know, the three last holes were disappointing. I had a good chance for a birdie on 16. I didn't really have a club that I liked for the shot. I had to kind of like lean on a hybrid, and I just hooked it. I hit a bad shot. But I still gave myself about a 15-footer for birdie there.
And then on 17, I wasn't really trying to be too aggressive with that pin on the left. I may have hit a little bit further from the hole than I was hoping for, but the three-putt hurt.
And then a bad tee shot on 18 and made two bogeys coming in. I've got to remember what I did before that. I played a lot of really solid golf and feel really good about how I was playing, and just kind of forget about what happened at the end.

Q. Did that little low punch you played at 18 come close to doing what you wanted?
KEVIN SUTHERLAND: You know, it was a risky shot. You know, in hindsight it might not have been the smartest play. The lie wasn't too bad. The problem was I had to keep it low for a long time, and out of the rough that's always a hard shot.
It didn't really come that close. I hit it heavy, I hit it fat. I tried to keep it so down that I never got the ball in the air, so in reality it wasn't even close to reaching the reality I was hoping for.
The other problem with it, too, was that bunker; I had to kind of go underneath that tree and then get over that bunker. I probably had a better chance of making par from just chipping out. The problem with that is I was going to leave myself probably 140 yards. I was probably going to make a bogey either way. The problem is the tee shot was in a bad spot.

Q. I'm wondering, when you're playing in that stretch through 14, when you're playing like that, how do you keep within yourself during that? What do you keep trying to tell yourself? Do you feed off that at each hole? Is that like as good as it gets?
KEVIN SUTHERLAND: I was just trying to keep doing what I was doing. I wasn't really too focused on anything I was doing. I had a good rhythm going, I had a good feel about what I was trying to do, and I just kept trying to do that. I didn't try to do -- really up until the second shot on 16, I really didn't try to do too much with anything, just letting the swing take care of itself. Naturally I tried to lean on it a little bit, tried to get a little extra maybe five or ten yards out of it. It probably wasn't the smart play.
Where that pin was, it wasn't so bad to be short of the green. You could use that backstop because where Bart hit it over the green, it was a tough play. I should have been just happy hitting it short of the green and trying to get up-and-down from there.
As it turned out, I wasn't in a horrible spot and ended up with a 15-footer anyway. But you've just got to keep trying to do what you want to do and stay within yourself. That kind of got away from me at the end. I'll work on that tomorrow.

Q. Forgetting the wind for a minute, with the new greens and the segmentation of them, more birdies out here than before or less?
KEVIN SUTHERLAND: I don't know. It's hard to say. I haven't looked at any stats. It seems to me that there's maybe more bogeys and more birdies than there were before, mainly because the ball will kind of feed into these pins, but if you don't get it in there, you leave yourself a lot of hard putts. I've had a hard time all week with the speed on 40- and 50-footers.
Like the first putt I hit on 17, I really thought I hit a pretty good putt. I was really surprised it came up about five feet short. When I hit it, I really liked the way I hit it.
But when you're putting over knobs and you've got putts that are going uphill and a little bit downhill, it's just always hard to judge the speed. Everybody is getting used to these greens. All the players I'm sure feel the same way or that they're not quite sure exactly how everything is going to react.
But I could see for myself, when I played on Tuesday, I didn't really have a good feel for the course. I wasn't really sure when I got done with it what exactly it was going to be like when we got here on Thursday. And the more I've played it, the better feel I've got for it. I'm sure that's the way a lot of guys feel.

Q. You talk about remembering what you did before those last two holes. How difficult is that because what's fresh is how you ended?
KEVIN SUTHERLAND: Yeah, it would be a little different if I bogeyed the first two holes and birdied the last two holes obviously. But right now you kind of stew a little bit on it, but tonight and tomorrow morning I can't remember it. I really need to move on and be ready to play tomorrow and just got to try to keep doing what I was doing in the early part of the round. Naturally that's all you can do. You can't change what happened already. All you can do is go forward.

Q. What was carrying you earlier, ball-striking?
KEVIN SUTHERLAND: Yeah, I had a lot of good birdie putts. I felt like I had a good putt on numerous holes early in the round. I made some, made the eagle putt on 7 from about eight feet, and I made about a four-footer on 5 for birdie. So early in the round, those were my two -- I was 3-under par on the front and I had a couple good putts on 3 and 4 and 6 and 9 that for whatever reason didn't go in. But I was giving myself a lot of good opportunities. I had about a five or six-footer on 10 that I didn't make. So I was in a good rhythm, hitting a lot of good shots.
And one thing I was really proud of myself is that I wasn't getting too frustrated with the fact that I wasn't making any of these putts. I just kept playing. That's what I need to do tomorrow. I've got to feel the same way about that as I did the last two holes.

Q. You talked about place on Tuesday and not knowing what it would be like on Thursday. You've played here a dozen times, but do you feel like you're playing a brand new course? Do you almost feel like you're playing a different golf course than you used to?
KEVIN SUTHERLAND: Absolutely. This course, I've said this before, too, that for a course that seems like it's exactly in the same place that it was before, every single hole, the course seems to play completely different. Like I said, I got done with it and I wasn't really having a real good feel for how I wanted to play the course and how the course was going to play. It seemed like I wasn't really sure about where I wanted to land the ball on some of the greens, and I've played -- I played in the Pro-Am on Wednesday which helped, got a better feel for it. And then obviously you kind of work your way into it in the tournament.
But you're right, this course seems -- it's funny, for a course that's in exactly the same place, every single hole, it plays completely different.

Q. The 18th tee shot, even if you hit a good one, there's not a good margin for error. Could you talk about that, going into tomorrow, the strategies and the circumstances that could come into play if you're in contention?
KEVIN SUTHERLAND: Yeah, right now it's playing a little bit downwind, so it's actually playing a little bit short. I hit a 3-wood off the tee. I probably would have had a wedge into the green. If you hit a good tee shot, it's not too bad. I mean, the hole is -- I'm not sure how long it was before, but it seems like it's playing shorter this year than it has in the past. I remember always hitting 4- and 5-irons in there, so it seems like -- maybe it's the wind.
But it's a tough tee shot. It's not a very big fairway, and obviously left is not where you want to go. The reality is the right rough is not too bad if you lose it a little bit right, as long as you don't get it in the trees like I did. A good spot there would be right on the right edge of that fairway because you'd have a really good angle at all the pins from there. I think most of the guys are trying to hit it right center, right edge, and that's a perfect angle into the green.

Q. It seems like yesterday we were on the West Coast and we're halfway through the season. Can you kind of talk about your first half of the year and how you feel it's going?
KEVIN SUTHERLAND: I feel really good about the way my year has gone so far. I feel like I've played some really good golf. I played really well on the West Coast, and it just seems like it's kind of -- I've continued that. I played well in Florida, which anybody that knows my past, playing well in Florida for me is kind of a stretch. I played well there. I had two really solid tournaments. I played very well at Tampa, and I played well at Houston, finished top 8, I think.
I feel really good about how I've been playing. Early in the year I played very well, and lately I've been hitting the ball very well. I feel good about all aspects of the game right now.
JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Thank you, Kevin.

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