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August 3, 2008

Stuart Appleby


JUDE COEN: Stuart Appleby, runner-up, Bridgestone Invitational. You did play some fantastic golf today.
STUART APPLEBY: Yeah, I was a bit quiet early on. I didn't get what you want to do on the second hole. Certainly you get a birdie, get under par. I managed to hit a drive left, I guess probably hit somebody and ended up in not the best spot, make a 5 from there. You need a 4 to really -- because the contenders are really going to be making that.
Next, I hit what I thought was a pretty good drive one, hit it up in the rough, didn't take the best option, hit a tree, banged it down into the water, made a good 5, but then just couldn't really seem to get my momentum back into the round. I had a couple of opportunities but didn't make the putts, didn't get the speed right, a little bit short.
Making pars down 8 and 9, made a good par down 8 and a really good up-and-down from about 85 yards on 9, so that was a good one. Didn't know how important that was going to be, but that really finished the nine off but still over par.
I went down 10, hit a poor shot on 10, good one up and down out of the bunker, but not making any opportunities here.
11, hit it close, knocked it in from about six or eight feet. Just played solid coming in, and just thought going down the 14th, I thought, I've got to try and find three birdies coming in. I didn't know if that was going to get the job done or not.
A long two-putt on 14.
15, a good up-and-down from about eight feet for par on 15.
16, probably a 30-footer there for birdie.
17, probably a three-footer for birdie.
And about 20-foot and change for what I thought would probably put me in a playoff. I guess I hit it as good as I could have without it going in.

Q. Hit a spike mark?
STUART APPLEBY: I didn't see. It looked like it rolled good. It just didn't come left. I've hit it there every day and would have missed it because I hit a good putt.

Q. The replay showed it.
STUART APPLEBY: From what I saw it looked like it rolled nice, but I guess I didn't see what that looked like.
JUDE COEN: The wind obviously would have been perfect, but you really are playing some good golf heading into next week's event.
STUART APPLEBY: I'm playing better. I'm playing much like I started the year but haven't managed to extend that through the year. Now that it's the playoffs I guess I've got a good opportunity now getting into the finals, really gaining some momentum taking into next week, and really turning around a so-so year into a good one, so for me it'll be another five events.
JUDE COEN: What about your golf this week from those first nine holes that were a nightmare for you, just turning it around and hanging in there each day and fighting for it?
STUART APPLEBY: Yeah, there were probably two parts. Some of it was mechanical. I did make some changes and stuff with my swing, but a lot of it was also mental. It was probably both, two parts of it. It's pretty hard to be overly confident when you're 5-over through 9 and almost last, and you're thinking, well, there goes the week. But really just physically changed a few things and mentally got back on top of that and really just -- I guess I got some wind in the sails and just kept going.
JUDE COEN: Where would you put this week's performance on your sort of list of how well you've played this year?
STUART APPLEBY: I'd say with the mixture of a poor start and now this finish, I'd say probably the best tournament I've had this year. Yeah, I'd say so, very much. I had five Top 10s to start the year, so that was very consistent. I think if I can keep playing like this, that's sort of what I'll keep doing. It's just a matter of maintaining my swing and maintaining my thoughts mentally. I'm very sure good things will come from it.

Q. What do you think about Oakland Hills?
STUART APPLEBY: I don't know anything about it, never been there.
I've been around long enough, there's not much of these courses that I haven't seen before. There will be nothing that's new to me or scary. I know the greens have got a bit of movement, but they're not too drastic.

Q. You're three down with three to go, three guys in front of you. That's pretty much the scenario. Do you just go flag-hunting at that point pretty much to have any shot at it?
STUART APPLEBY: Yeah, I mean, I was thinking going down 13, I've got to start getting it near the flag, just really try and get close. I've got to roll the dice now and see what happens. I hit a good shot probably right outside of birdie range on that hole and hit a good drive that didn't end up -- I'm like, I've got to get it closer. I hit it to 50, 60 feet on 14, so I'm sort of running out of cards to play here. 15 is not really a birdie opportunity. I made a good par. Well, that's not going to do it. I'm running out of time. I thought, I've just got to try and find three birdies. 16 was obviously a chance but dicey by the water. Once I hit a good drive down 17 and I saw it spin back and I had a smelly little three-footer, and I thought, 18, rip it down the fairway, get a birdie there, that will be your finish. I wanted to try to sprint across the line at the end of the day. I didn't know if I'd be able to catch anybody or not, but almost.

Q. Did you kiss your wedge in the middle of the 17th fairway?

Q. Are you sure about that?

Q. Or did you blow something off the club face?
STUART APPLEBY: Yeah, I did. I was about to hit the ball and just a piece of grass on the face, so I don't know how --

Q. It looked like some sort of weird good luck gesture.
STUART APPLEBY: Well, it sounds romantic, doesn't it? If I had won the tournament they'd be talking about it 50 years from now, well, he kissed it. That's how stories go.

Q. They were talking about the putt on 18 that it kind of had a trough to the hole or something?
STUART APPLEBY: Really the most unusual pin you'd ever see on an 18th hole. It's a very difficult section. It's a whole other part of the green in your mind. I thought what I had was very makable considering its length. I felt very confident, really had this feeling I was going to make it.
I liked it all the way, I guess until I saw it stop. That's good. I guess the last thing you want to do is hit a putt and know it's not going to go in. I was rooting for it all the way.

Q. Were you surprised what was happening to your player partner during that exact same stretch?
STUART APPLEBY: Yeah, they were opposite. He was driving it really strong and straight, brilliant. He was playing well and doing everything right, really. There was nothing really wrong with what he was doing. I guess 15, hitting it in the trap for him was not going to make an easy up-and-down. You might get up and down half the time there if you're lucky. And 16, he just didn't hit it hard enough. I guess he was a little bit too cautious.
And 17, that's the way it rolls around here. This course can yield you birdies, but it will also make you drop shots just as easy. For me, it worked fine for me and not for him.
And then 18 is not an easy driving -- probably easier for him because he cuts it into the fairway and hit a decent drive that was too far left. Any other pin on that green, that shot he hit off the tee would have been a lot more manageable. But like I said, it's just another Zip Code altogether back there.

Q. I just wondered your state of mind after the third hole, and what was the decision about the club there?
STUART APPLEBY: Yeah, well, I was wrong. I mean, I thought I was -- I don't make decisions to prove a point to be wrong, but I tried to hit a high hard 9-iron out of the rough and it long and I clipped the tree, like clunk, bang into the water. Probably should have tried to punch a 3-iron as hard as I could right into the crowd at the back or into the tower, which was the line I should have been looking at and tried to make a 4 that way. I would say that was -- I took the 40 percent option when I probably should have taken the 60 percent, which was the 3-iron.
I made a good 5, but it didn't really inspire me from the point of view that I had just made a poor decision and I'm sitting at 1-over par and just finished the second hole and now there's very little -- there's no par-5s left for a while, and all the holes coming in are good. You know the pins aren't going to be knock them stiff. So it's just a matter of hanging in there, I guess.

Q. It would seem that you were not troubled by that ball position thing from the 10th hole in the first round on; am I correct?
STUART APPLEBY: Not bothered? I wouldn't call it bothered, but really got to focus on it. It's sort of an inherent weakness I have where I don't like the ball subconsciously that far forward. I wouldn't call it abnormally forward, by no means. Any coach or whatever wouldn't say, oh, my God, look how far he has it.
I think the way J.B. Holmes plays his ball I could never get it there, but he has a totally different action and makes it work beautifully. For me, I just work on that, and that's a good thing for me. My misses become a lot better, and that's obviously all we're trying to do. My good shots will always be great.
Yeah, that's the thing I've been fighting for a while. I've just got to really get on top of it. I've got to wrestle with it at times.
JUDE COEN: Thanks for coming, Stuart. Good luck next week.

End of FastScripts

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