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January 17, 2009

Tadd Fujikawa


DOUG MILNE: An incredible round today, 8-under 62 in the third round of the Sony Open in Hawaii. You said all along, your goal is to win, and you certainly are getting a lot closer to it. Just a few comments on the incredible round today and how you're feeling.
TADD FUJIKAWA: You know, I didn't have too good of a range session this morning. I wasn't hitting it as well as I did the past two days on the range, but I guess when you don't hit it too well on the range, you're extra careful on the course. I really made sure I put all my focus and all my effort into every shot that I hit, and I think it paid off. I'm very happy with today's round.

Q. Is this the best round you've ever shot?
TADD FUJIKAWA: Yeah, actually, it is. It is.

Q. I was talking to your mom, we weren't sure.
TADD FUJIKAWA: Best tournament round.

Q. Best tournament round you've ever shot?
TADD FUJIKAWA: I think my lowest tournament round so far was 65. But today it was 62 (smiling).
It was a good round, and my caddie, he really, really helped me today, with all of the crowd. You can really get distracted out there. You can ride the crowd, but you still need to stay focused when you're hitting the shot. He really helped me do that. He really helped me stay focused and commit to every shot I hit, and a gave me a lot of good reads today on the putts and gave me a lot of good distances.
I guess today's round is half me and half him, and it was an awesome, awesome round.

Q. The player you were playing with, Matthew (Borchert) talked about the bogey at 4, I guess it was, and he wasn't sure how you would react to that, but he thought you reacted pretty well. Can you talk about after going on that string of three and then hitting that bump in the road, what you were thinking about.
TADD FUJIKAWA: I got off to a great start. I birdied the first three holes. Most of the time for me, when I get off to an awesome start like that, I end of kind of slowing down.
But I knew that I've been playing well recently, and if I just stayed focused, I'd be okay. And I hit a -- I didn't make a very good swing on that hole. Made a bogey, but I knew that if I stayed focused and played my own game, I'd be okay.

Q. When you go through a pressure cooker like yesterday with the cut line, and then today, and the weather is nice, bigger gallery; is it just kind of free and easy going for it?
TADD FUJIKAWA: You need to be careful, of course, but you can be a little bit more aggressive I think since you already made the cut and you're already in the weekend. So that was kind of our plan. Our game plan was to be a little more aggressive today, but still be smart, not make any careless mistakes. I think we did that extremely well. I hit a few iffy shots, but other than that, it was a very solid round, and very, very pleased with it.

Q. Talk about the difference between atmosphere and just fun of the second round two years ago and today.
TADD FUJIKAWA: You know, I think two years ago, I was just out there having fun. And it was a great experience and I ended up playing extremely well. But this year, I'm out there to win. And I know I can do it.
I'm very confident in what I'm doing right now with my game and I worked hard for it. I'm extremely pleased with the results that I've been getting recently.

Q. You've said that twice now this week; that you're here to win. Do you think it takes a day like this for people to believe you?
TADD FUJIKAWA: Yeah, I think it helps. I think it does help. You know, I think that yesterday and the day before was just kind of play it safe and just make the cut, and then today, I went out there and attacked. That's what you need to do, and I guess that's why it's called moving day.

Q. What was it like sitting in that trailer and putting your signature next to a 6 and a 2, and it wasn't someone else's scorecard.
TADD FUJIKAWA: It was pretty appealing. I think it's my lowest round here so far. Couldn't be at a better time I guess.

Q. Assuming the conditions stay similar to what it is right now, a lot of guys are going to shoot pretty well this afternoon. At the end of the day today, where would you be happy sitting going into tomorrow?
TADD FUJIKAWA: Honestly I really don't care. It would be nice playing with the leaders, but I honestly don't care. Either way I'm going to go out there tomorrow, play my game and stay focused and hopefully hit good shots.

Q. When were you thinking you could get a chance of a piece of the lead there?
TADD FUJIKAWA: I wasn't really think about it. I didn't care where I stand. I want to go out there and hit the best shot that I can every time, and if it comes out well, then good. And if it doesn't, I still have one more shot left.
So it was a good day. I had a lot of good momentum going, so it really helped.

Q. How were you able to, like you said, stay in the moment, when you see that red number getting bigger and bigger throughout the morning?
TADD FUJIKAWA: It was tough. Knowing that you birdied the first three holes, you don't want to let it go. So it was tough staying in the moment.
I've got a lot of fans out there, and it really helped me, getting some good momentum. The crowd got really big by the 18th hole and it was a really nice feeling.
I still have one more day, though, and I still want to stay focused and keep my goal in mind.

Q. You shot I think a 66 on the Saturday when you made the cut here, and you didn't have a great final round by probably the standards you were setting; you talk about how you want to stay in the moment and stay focused. How do you approach differently what you did going into Sunday that time than how you're looking at Sunday this time?
TADD FUJIKAWA: I think the other year, it was more of just having fun and getting experience and playing with a crowd and stuff, and it helped.
But this time, like I said, I'm out there to win, and my game feels more consistent than it did last time. My goal is different, and I'm out there to win. I just want to go out there and play golf, and take it one shot at a time. I think I should be okay tomorrow.

Q. Do you have a sense that maybe after last year, people thought two years ago could have been a fluke, and what would a 62 say to people like that?
TADD FUJIKAWA: I don't know. Everyone has their own kind of perception on things. I think it helps in my favour to where I've kind of proven myself from Monday qualifying and then making the cut and then shooting 62 today. It just makes it that much more -- that much better and I think two years ago, it was a really fun time for me. And last year, I didn't make the cut, so I guess everyone was thinking, okay, it must have been a fluke, just have a good week or whatever.
But I knew that I've been working hard and I knew that I needed to just stay focused and keep my goal in mind and I'd be okay, and stay patient and everything will work out for the better.

Q. What made you change your bag?
TADD FUJIKAWA: You asked me that in the locker room.
I was just feeling the bag.

Q. That's a new one, Tadd. Are you inspired by the Turtle Bay, by the process you took getting here, is that it?
TADD FUJIKAWA: Yeah. I had a good day at Turtle Bay and had good vibes with that bag. I needed that going into today and I guess I got it.

Q. Where was that bag on Thursday, that's the question.
TADD FUJIKAWA: It was at home, unfortunately.

Q. What hasn't been asked?
TADD FUJIKAWA: "Are you hungry?" Yes, I am.

Q. What's the cap?
TADD FUJIKAWA: It's Kaenon, sunglasses. He's a big supporter of me, and it's been working. It's been working I guess.

Q. Was that roar that they had on 17 and 18, was that louder than Sunday two years ago?
TADD FUJIKAWA: Oh, yeah. There's definitely more people this time, I can tell you that much. A few years ago, I thought that couldn't be topped, but I guess it is, so the crowds are big today. It was a lot of fun being around it, and it was really cool.

Q. Is that something that you kind of thrived on as the crowds got bigger?
TADD FUJIKAWA: Yeah, I kind of feed off of that, but I think this time, my approach is a little bit different. I wanted to stay focused, and I had a goal in mind. My goal was to hit every shot, not necessarily perfect, but you know, really focus on every shot and commit to it. You know, my caddie today and the past two days has kept me in line, and it's really helped me.
Today I kind of brought everything together, and I feel like I can go out there tomorrow, same way, and shoot an even better round.

Q. Is there a point when the pros that you're playing with you see start to really take you seriously?
TADD FUJIKAWA: Kind of. The effect of shooting good scores kind of speaks for itself. That's always been the thing that my mom has always told me. You don't have to say anything. You don't have to say you're good or whatever. Just go out there, play good golf, and everything will take care of itself. And it does.
You know, everyone says, always listen to your mom, and I guess she's always right. (Laughter) Unfortunately. Sometimes I get really angry, but she ends up being right most of the time.

Q. Was there a point when the guy you were playing with today, you could see it in his eyes, that this kid is for real?
TADD FUJIKAWA: I think after I Monday qualified, I had a lot more respect from a lot of the players. Well, that's the feeling that I got. I can tell you, it's a good feeling knowing that they kind of accept you, and I feel I belong here, I really do. Hopefully today kind of showed it, and I can't wait for tomorrow. It's going to be a big day, and I'm just going to go out there, same way, stay focused, and just play golf, play my game.

Q. What's going through your head after the first three holes?
TADD FUJIKAWA: Don't blow it. (Laughter).
I was on a good roll and got off to a good start. Most of the time, for me, when I get off to a great start like that, I kind of blow it and kind of slow down, and it's not really a great round. But today, my caddie helped me stay focused and just play good golf and hit solid shots, fairways and greens. The putts were falling today. I hit a lot of good putts and honestly it could have been a 59. I had three lipouts, but I'll take 62 any day. I'm going to go out there the same way tomorrow, and it should be a fun day.

Q. You said your lowest round was a 65, is that on a par 72 course?

Q. Where did you and your caddie, Shakil (Ahmed), get together, how did you guys hook up?
TADD FUJIKAWA: Well, he's a member here. And we played quite a bit of golf together. We have our gang that we play with over here, and I guess he really enjoys golf. He's a golf fanatic and a really, really good guy and really smart. We get along really well, and we work together as a team.
I think this week, we just have a lot of momentum going and it's going well.

Q. Has he caddied for anyone else?
TADD FUJIKAWA: He's caddied for others in the Monday qualifier but not in this tournament.
DOUG MILNE: If you wouldn't mind running us through your birdies and your clubs, as best you can recall.
TADD FUJIKAWA: First hole hit my drive down the middle and I hit a 3-hybrid from, I don't know what my yardage was, but I played it about 215. I think it was a little into the wind. I hit it to like 12, 15 feet long, probably about 15 feet and made the putt.
I think that kind of kick started my good round.
Second hole, I hit 3-wood off the tee. I hit 7-iron to 12 feet maybe, and made the putt.
Third hole, I hit driver off the tee. I hit driver and then I hit an 8-iron, just a three-quarter 8-iron and had good distance on that one and made the putt.
6, I hit a great drive. A lot better than yesterday. It was in the fairway. Hit, I think it was a 9-iron. I think I hit a 9-iron to 15 feet or so right of the home, a little downhill putt right-to-left and I made it.
And then No. 9, I hit my tee shot a little bit further left than I wanted to. I was in the rough, caught a decent lie. Wasn't that great but wasn't too bad, and hit a 3-hybrid. I kind of had to hit a draw around a tree off a sidehill lie, and it's not a very easy shot to hit. Came out perfect, landed on the front and released to the back, and almost made my eagle putt. I hit it a little bit too firm, and went through the break, but made birdie.
Then on No. 10, I hit a driver, hit my wedge shot to, I don't know, eight feet or so. Made the putt.
No. 11, I hit a 4-iron, and actually that was a really good swing. I just hit it a little bit too far left and went over the green. What happened was I guess it was resting against the leg of the chair, and when they removed the chair, the ball rolled into the depression, and so I got to place it, and it was like a perfect lie. I was like, okay, this is -- it went from a bogey to a birdie. And I chipped it in. I hit a good chip, though, and it was perfect.
And I birdied 17. I hit a 4-iron. It was kind of in-between clubs. I had a 5 and a 4, and Matt hit it before me, and he hit it over with a 5. I was like, maybe I should hit a 5. But we already had committed on a 4, and I said, you know what, I'll just hit 4 and hit it smooth. I hit it perfect, just a little right of the pin, and it was drawing in. The distance, it couldn't have been any better, and I made the putt.
So that was a good booster after six holes of pars, or five holes of pars.
Then the last hole, we had a good target off the tee shot, and then I miss-hit. I hit it a little left and clipped the tree. Luckily it got into the bunker, and I had a pretty good lie. It was a little bit -- we thought it was going to go downwind, but then I said, you know, I think it's cross. So I hit a 3-wood and I just hit it smooth and didn't want to hit anything too hard. Then I hit it on the green and it was 60 feet and 2-putted.

Q. For two smooth shots on the last two holes, those were pretty aggressive plays, weren't they?
TADD FUJIKAWA: Kind of. The swings were smooth, though. But the plays were pretty aggressive. It worked out well, and we made a lot of good decisions today.
DOUG MILNE: Congratulations and best of luck tomorrow.

End of FastScripts

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