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March 5, 2009
PALM BEACH GARDENS, FLORIDA
DOUG MILNE: Thanks for joining us for a few minutes here after round one of the Honda Classic. 67, 3-under, are you surprised to see that as the lead at the end of the day? Just comments on your round.
JEFF OVERTON: I played well. I hit the ball low out there in the wind, something I really worked on the last few days here, and just really kept myself out of trouble and gave myself the opportunity to make some putts. I was able to do that. I made a couple, and made a bunker shot and just seemed like everything is kind of going my way.
I kind of lipped out a putt on one of the holes for birdie. And the next hole, it's just the game of golf, next hole you flag it, it air mails the green and you're chipping out of the bunker.
It's one of those days where everything kind of seemed to be right there. It was my day almost a little bit.
DOUG MILNE: How about your history with the course here? You won here as a junior.
JEFF OVERTON: I came here a couple times as a junior. My dad drove all the way down here for my first junior golf tournament down here.
A few years later my senior year, I won my only, like, national junior golf tournament, and that was pretty cool, about two or three months before I went off to college.
I'll never forget, I shot 4-under on the front nine, and then I shot I think 45 on the back.
Q. What was that event?
JEFF OVERTON: It was right here at PGA National.
Q. Do you know what event it was?
JEFF OVERTON: My first junior tournament, I finished terrible, it was called the Pars. I don't even know what it was. But the tournament I won was the Optimist Junior. I think they still play here each year.
Q. How old were you?
JEFF OVERTON: That was my senior year. I finished third or fourth my junior year, and then I won it my senior year.
Q. And that first event, how old were you?
JEFF OVERTON: That was my freshman year of high school.
Q. You said you drove down. Where did you drive from?
JEFF OVERTON: Indiana. Evansville, Indiana. I think it was a 17-hour drive. My dad just believed in me. I was like, "You're crazy, Dad."
I shot 45 on the back nine, but I shot 3- or 4-under on the front, and I was just like nervous as all get-out. Didn't hold up the back nine.
Q. It wasn't your first junior tournament, but your first big tournament?
JEFF OVERTON: It was my first junior tournament. Like the first time I ever went and played in some kind of international tournament.
Q. Is that why it stands out? You've taken three million shots since.
JEFF OVERTON: I wouldn't have ever remembered any other one. I don't remember very many junior golf tournaments, but I remember the first round, coming down. I drove all the way down here with the kid on my high school team with my dad, and he was the best player on our team.
I was just excited as could be to get out there and I birdied like three of the first six holes out here and made -- I don't know, I think I birdied 9 to go to 4-under. The back nine, I got nervous and shot a blue million.
It was cool. It was awesome to have the opportunity to do that, and have my dad drive me all the way down that summer. The Optimist paid my way to come down, because you win the local qualifier and they fly you down here and everything. So that was pretty cool.
Q. When you won the Optimist, were there any names that we would recognize that were in the field that week that you remember?
JEFF OVERTON: You know, I have no idea. No idea who might have played. I don't know.
Q. You like the place, then?
JEFF OVERTON: Yeah, it was great. I'll never forget, because we stayed right here and all of the kids, we would all come here and get on putting green like at nighttime and we would sit there and putt around against each other. Played stymies in the dark and stuff. It was fun.
Q. You've gotten a little better and the place has gotten a little tougher since.
JEFF OVERTON: Yeah, the rough is up. It wasn't like that. I don't believe the wind was nearly as bad. I think it rained every day. Had that four o'clock shower in the middle of summer.
But the golf course is in fabulous shape. Wow, they have done a heck of a job. The overseed has come in beautiful. The greens are great. Just a matter of keeping the ball in play and out of that Bear's Trap.
Q. A lot of high scores; how did you feel is it out there?
JEFF OVERTON: It's playing tough. You really have to keep the ball low and you really have to keep the ball in the fairway on a few key holes and keep the ball out of the water on a few of those par 3s.
Like on 15, I just said, just hit it short left and got it up-and-down. Luckily enough for that pin, you could do that. I'm sure one of the next few days it will be back there in the back left, which you can't really do it then. You've just got to just get lucky and hit a good shot.
Playing into the wind, those par 3s, you're hitting 5-irons. 15 was dead in the wind, a little off the right and same thing with 17. I think I was in between 6-iron and 5-iron on 16.
And 17, I hit a 5-iron, which is really not great, not much room to miss it. If you hit it short right, either one of those shots, you're in the water. It's easy to do when you're hitting it in the wind like that.
Q. What did you hit on 15?
JEFF OVERTON: I hit a hard, low 6-iron with a draw and just camped short left of that bunker and just chipped it up there and made about a 7-footer for par.
Q. Probably happy just to be there.
JEFF OVERTON: Yeah, I told myself -- this is something I learned years ago: If you just hit it right there on the little island and just take the water all the way out of play, just try to get up-and-down every round, you get up-and-down three of the four days; beautiful.
Q. It's like Hogan not aiming at the green on 11 at the Masters.
JEFF OVERTON: Right.
Q. How did you end up doing through the Bear Trap?
JEFF OVERTON: I played it -- I chipped it. The last hole, I don't know what the Bear Trap is.
Q. 15, 16, 17.
JEFF OVERTON: Three pars. I hit a great shot in there out of the fairway bunker on 16 and hit an awesome putt, and right at the end, just did a 360. I couldn't believe it went in, from about 12 feet.
Q. Degree of difficulty for the Bear's Trap today, pretty high overall?
JEFF OVERTON: Absolutely. You know, 16 wasn't playing as hard as it can because of the way the wind it, but whenever the wind is like that, you get 15 and 17 that are just playing monsters.
I mean, you get -- like I said, you're hitting a 5-iron, and some guys are probably hitting 4-irons in those holes. You know, you get that water like it is, and the bunker is left, it's no easy up-and-down if you hit in the bunker.
Q. What's it like when conditions are like today when you step to the 15th tee?
JEFF OVERTON: Today?
Q. Yeah, when you have the wind today, when you stepped on 15, what is that?
JEFF OVERTON: Just got up there, I was 1-under, and I'm like, you know, let just take this 6-iron and try to hit it right of the flag and try to hit it low, and if it goes a little left, all right, just don't hit it right of the pin with a 6-iron.
Because I didn't know if 6-iron was enough to fly the right side of the green, because I was just -- I would not want to hit it to pin-high, because I wanted to leave it short so I could bail out a little left and still be able to get up-and-down.
Q. A lot of the guys who are here -- did you play here last year?
JEFF OVERTON: Yeah.
Q. So you're one of them then. So many the guys who were in the field last year came back. What is the lure of this place to bring so many guys back for such a hard test like this?
JEFF OVERTON: What's the lure?
Q. What's the attraction of it?
JEFF OVERTON: Just the fact that you're right here in West Palm, Florida, one of the best golf spots there is in the whole country. I mean, between here and Phoenix, I don't know if you have per square mile, if you have as many -- there's probably 25 golfers that live, at least, on the TOUR that live in this area; and same thing with Phoenix; and you have the Gateway Tours in this area. Those two, Phoenix and here, it's almost like the capitol in the country of golf, I would say.
And plus, you've got a venue that's super difficult, and I think people enjoy playing hard golf courses that the wind blows. It's pretty fair.
Mirasol, I remember there was a couple of holes, there was a par 3 like 220 and you're hitting 6-iron, and if it landed like three yards too far, it would go all the way over; and if you landed three yards too short, it would stay short. But out here, you have a lot -- it's very fair.
Even if you hit some bad shots, you may be retain it a few times in the Bear Trap, but it's right in front of you and you're seeing what you get. If you put good golf shots on, don't be too aggressive, you can get it around.
Q. The book has always been: It's going to blow harder in the afternoon. Do you go into tomorrow with the same mind-set that you will try to play it the same way you played it today?
JEFF OVERTON: Yeah, it's a four-round golf tournament, and I mean, you're playing one of the probably top-five most difficult golf courses out here other than majors. You know something bad is going to happen somewhere along the line. And it's just a matter of trying to limit those mistakes and try to play four rounds, not really thinking about, you know, being in the lead now or being in the lead tomorrow or the third day.
It's just a matter of continue to play my best game and keep hitting fairways, hit greens and make some putts and just stay away from those big numbers. That's about all you can do out here.
Q. Can you just give us a quick little summary of where your game is at, what the story is with you right now?
JEFF OVERTON: My game is about as good as it was right at the end of last year, last ten or 12 weeks. I had three or four great opportunities to win and just didn't quite do it.
Earlier this year, I missed my first cut in the last 15 starts or something a couple of weeks ago at Riviera. Took last week off.
The game, the swing, I didn't take a whole lot of off-time this winter. I've been working with Craig Harmon right down the road, and my swing just feels really good. We worked on some bunker stuff, and I made a bunker shot today which was cool. It kind of neat. It the first time I've been working with a teacher since college. I like it. It's making me feel a little more comfortable and a little more confident.
Q. Where did you hole the bunker shot?
JEFF OVERTON: On No. 18.
Q. So how far was it?
JEFF OVERTON: It was about probably 25 feet, 20 feet, 25 feet, back left bunker.
DOUG MILNE: Thank you for coming in.
End of FastScripts