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August 19, 2004

Chris Nallen


PETE KOWALSKI: Chris, thanks for joining us, congratulations on advancing to the quarterfinals. If you could give us some highlights of what happened in the match, particularly where it turned in your favor.

CHRIS NALLEN: I think it turned on 12. I got a 1-up lead after 12.

10 was big, I was 1-down going into 10 and I was able to win 10, I had a pretty good bunker shot from the right side.

Then I won 11 -- no, I won 12. Just with a par.

13 was actually kind of big, too. I got up-and-down from the right bunker again, that kind of kept the momentum going. And then 13 and 14, I hit really good iron shots in.

14, I hit it about eight feet.

And 15 I hit it about two feet, three feet.

And then 16, 17, I just hit bad drives and put myself in some bad spots. I didn't really feel like I made bad swings. I think I was just a little anxious to hit it. Kind of got over on 16, kind of got over it and pulled it way left. 17, I just came out of it.

You know, I just kind of tried to get those shots out of my head and JD pretty much, you know, coached me around the whole way those last three holes. It's nerve-wracking, that's for sure. He calmed me down and said, "You know, that's over with, let's get it on 18." I was able to buckle down and hit just a great drive on 18, just waited for it right down the middle. And then 6-iron, used the back slope and came to about 15 feet, 12 feet; and maybe got a little unlucky that his ball didn't come down, he had that tough putt and putted after the green.

I'm real happy to advance, and I'm looking forward to tomorrow.

Q. How much was the weight increasing, after you had three chances and then the 16th, it didn't work out, and after the 17th it didn't work out.

CHRIS NALLEN: Obviously it does increase a little bit, but it's hard to try and forget about them. But you've got to do that and just play the shot that's next. You know, that's what we tried to do out there, my caddie and I. I thought we did it pretty well.

Q. I thought the sand saves were huge, I thought the one on 10, sitting there looking at the birdie putt. I think that's where the match turned. Have you been good out of the sand this whole week here?

CHRIS NALLEN: Yeah, that's probably one of my strong points. Any time it's headed for the rough and the sand trap, I'm one to get it in the sand because I'm usually pretty good out of there. I've had confidence this week with. He had a tough putt on 10, I don't know if you guys were up there, but he had to just get it over the ridge and it would have fed down to the hole and he just didn't get over the ridge, so he had another one, same kind of put just a little shorter.

Yeah, that sand save was big. You know, I agree with you, that was definitely a turning point because it got the match back to all-square.

Q. What about the wind today?

CHRIS NALLEN: Yeah, it was tough. My caddie and I had a little trouble picking clubs because the wind was swirling from time to time. You kind of get over it and it would totally change your shot, so I was trying to hit a lot of knock-down and easy shots.

I think 14 and 15 were great examples of that. I hit two pretty good 8-irons that weren't full 8-irons, they were just kind of knock-down, controlled 8-irons and I was able to control the spin and put them pin-high.

Q. How many Amateurs for you now?

CHRIS NALLEN: This is my fourth.

Q. Just sheer difficulty of the golf course, where does this compare to others? Everyone says Oakmont was a bear last year.

CHRIS NALLEN: Yeah, Oakmont was hard. There's no question about it. It was playing a lot firmer. Obviously we've had a lot of rain here. This is playing I think a lot longer because the ball is not rolling out a whole lot. The greens are a little softer and more receptive than Oakmont. At Oakmont, you had to almost land it in the fringe short of the green and let it run up, whereas here you can fly it to the pin.

But this is just a little bit, you know, it's different. Oakmont was a little more open. Obviously the rough was high. But this has more tree, even though they have taken out -- they have taken out a lot of trees here, but it's playing, it's a different kind of hard. It's just longer hard.

Q. That said, a day like today, pretty hot out, 36 holes, how tough is it?

CHRIS NALLEN: You've just got to hang in there and battle through it and bear down. I think that's the biggest thing. Just stick to your guns and grind out as much as you can and that's kind of what I do out there. You know, I never give up.

Q. What kind of an army do you have with you here? What kind of a crowd have you brought with you from Jersey?

CHRIS NALLEN: Yeah, definitely, I'm sure they will be up here tomorrow again. There's a couple people from Florida here. It's great. They are out here supporting me and I want to do my best for them. So it adds a little bit of pressure, but I like that, it just makes me work even harder.

Q. When you're on 16, with a chance to put him away, are you thinking about that?

CHRIS NALLEN: Obviously, yeah, you're dormie, so par is a good score.

Q. Are you thinking you can put him away here?

CHRIS NALLEN: Yeah, I was just anxious I think to hit that drive and I kind of got quick with it and hit it left. He hit his left, and he hit an unbelievable from where he was. I guess he had an opening, I didn't look, he had this big cut.

Q. He hit it over the trees?

CHRIS NALLEN: Yeah, it was a great shot. I tried to punch a 5-iron up and it was sitting down and the club turned and the rest is history. But, you know, that's how it goes and I was able to get rid of those out of my mind and move on.

Q. It seems like you've been kind of buzz sawing through this field well because it's the first time you've had a little speed bump here. Is that a good thing, do you think?

CHRIS NALLEN: Yeah, I think so. You know, a lot of the matches have been going extra holes, I notice, and to kind of get one that you have to really focus and grind out is good. Because you know in the later matches, you never see usually a 6&5 or 7&6. But this morning I hit it really well on the front. Obviously I was 5-under through 7 and kind of got a little sloppy on the back but was able to hang in there and get the job done.

Q. Your mindset, able to grind your way through here in the afternoon and being able to come back tomorrow and be one of the last eight, can you talk about that?

CHRIS NALLEN: I think it just gives me confidence. That's my mindset. Just go out there with confidence that I've been doing, know that I can beat anybody there is out there. I'm just as good as anybody. Just continue to stick to our game plan, just keep it below the hole and give yourself good looks at good putts.

PETE KOWALSKI: Congratulations. Thanks for joining us.

End of FastScripts.

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