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September 7, 2008

Dudley Hart


JOHN BUSH: We'd like to welcome Dudley Hart into the interview room, 5-under par 65 for Dudley today and a solo second-place finish. Let's just get your comments first of all on what was a tremendous round of golf.
DUDLEY HART: Thank you. Well, it was -- it seemed like a long couple days. We played a lot of golf the last two days. I got off to a nice start today, hit the ball pretty solid on the front nine and made a couple putts and turned pretty well.
Once I made the turn, it got a little dicey for a few holes on the back. I hit some kind of loose tee shots and a couple loose iron shots and was fortunate to make some good up-and-downs and make some pars out of some of those bad swings and kind of survive some of the longer holes on the back and then was fortunate enough to finish real strong and get myself into good position.
JOHN BUSH: You came into the week 67th on the FedExCup points list. You're going to be well inside the top 20 now, so obviously you've got to be pleased about that.
DUDLEY HART: Yeah, I'm very pleased. I mean, that was obviously a goal. I figured starting the week, I'm not a mathematician so I didn't know exactly, but I was guessing that I needed to at least finish fourth solo or better to make it to the TOUR Championship. I didn't think about it every shot by any stretch, but it was definitely in the back of my mind all week.
I was fortunate to have the putter working pretty well for the most part all week and drove it pretty good for the most part. Things worked out pretty well.
JOHN BUSH: Pretty happy about seeing two Gators up at the top of the leaderboard?
DUDLEY HART: Yeah, I'm happy for Camilo. We had a nice day with football yesterday. It wasn't pretty but we won yesterday, and we did pretty well today, too.

Q. After Villegas, pretty crowded, a lot of guys at -11. Could you talk about going to the finish line because it can make the difference between second place and eighth place?
DUDLEY HART: Well, you know, I knew -- not playing real well for those first four or five holes on the back nine and being lucky to make par on a few of them, I knew I kind of put myself behind the 8-ball a little bit, so to speak.
You know, 17 is kind of one of the last real -- pretty good birdie holes out of the last four holes. 18, you know, I didn't know where the pin was. I wasn't looking that far ahead. But 16 is a 240-yard par-3. You're not going to make a lot of birdies there. 15 is a real long par-4. You know, I know you can make birdies and I was trying to think that way, but I knew when I got on the 17th tee I had to try to definitely make birdie there. And then I got on 18 and just tried to get the ball in the fairway and give myself a chance. I didn't hit the best second shot in the world. I really needed to hit a hard 6-iron, needed every inch of a 6-iron for me, and I kind of muffed it a little bit and it didn't get up that hill. I was fortunate to run that putt in.
I told my caddie, I thought that looking at the scoreboard -- I hadn't really been watching the scoreboard a lot to be honest with you. I had an idea where I was, but on that green, I looked over and I saw me tied for third, and I said, "Well," I told my caddie, "if one person passes us, I'm out." That's what I was guessing. So I basically told him birdie or bogey; I said, "Let's try to give this thing a run," and if it goes by then I miss, whatever. It was one of those things where I was going to give it a run and hit the best putt I could, and fortunately it went in.

Q. Did this course fit your eye pretty well? Obviously it was so important to get the ball in play for the first round with lift, clean and place, and then after that very important to be in the fairway.
DUDLEY HART: Yeah, without a doubt. The fairways are -- the zoysia fairways are so good, if you can get it in the fairway it's like hitting off of a mat, so it's a huge advantage. With the greens being soft after all the rain, it made it that much easier to shoot at pins, even for a guy like me whose average length -- I'm hitting a lot of 3-, 4- and 5-irons into greens out there, and it gave me the opportunity to be a lot more aggressive with certain shots that if the greens were real hard, with longer guys hitting maybe 6-, 7- and 8-irons into those greens and I'm hitting 3-, 4-, 5-s, I wouldn't be able to get to certain pins.
So it was a combination of the fairways and the soft greens probably helped out, even though it played a little bit longer, but it still probably helped out an average-length guy like myself a little bit more.

Q. How were the pin placements different today from yesterday? It seemed to be longer but you played better.
DUDLEY HART: Yeah, I mean, I can't really attribute that to pin positions. I think they did a pretty good job, like they usually do, of mixing up pin placements. Some are harder, some are more accessible, some you've got to be real careful with. They had some pretty tough pins and they had some pins you could take some shots at. I think that was pretty much the case every day. I just think today I just made a couple more putts, and when I was in trouble I was able to get myself out of it and save par.
JOHN BUSH: Dudley, thanks for coming by, and we'll see you in Atlanta.

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