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March 8, 2009

Joey Sindelar


PHIL STAMBAUGH: A final round 63 matches your career low in the Champions Tour. You're 10-under right now, one back. Maybe just a couple quick thoughts about the overall round, and then go through the birdies and your eagle.
JOEY SINDELAR: Sure. First of all, it's kind of fun when you play with guys that get out quick. Tom Watson birdied the first four, and Bruce Vaughn birdied I think three of the first four. You know, that just makes the cup look bigger. It seems possible. You'll hear that. If you haven't before, you'll hear it lots of times. It's always a fun deal.
On top of that, Bruce gave me a couple of great teaches. I mean, like three of them. Unusual, just putts that were important and he happened to be right on my line and hit perfect putts, so I knew exactly what was happening.
Out here there's a lot little up and over stuff, and then there's that ocean draw and you're -- unless you've been here a lot of times, and I haven't, you're never quite sure about the speed. Can I be aggressive or is it gonna run away? So when you have somebody give you a teach, it just means so much. I got away with several of those today.
Birdies were second hole, a sand wedge to about six feet.
No. 3, a nice drive and a 3-iron to about 25 feet.
That was it until 10, 11, 12.
JOEY SINDELAR: 10, not a good drive. My one drive -- one of two I didn't like today. I was in the left rough, and just guessed just right and it rolled up there about ten feet away and made that one.
JOEY SINDELAR: That was an 8-iron.
11 was a 3-iron off the tee and a pitching wedge. And that was a long putt, probably a 35-footer.
12 was a 3-iron and a pitching wedge to about 12 feet.
15 was a two-putt. And you'll see guys, when you get back in there and start watching on TV again on 15, it's a hard one because the balls want to finish over where the pin was yesterday, and then you've got to putt through the fringe and there's sprinkler heads over there, so you'll probably see more of that today.
Bruce Vaughan, that was one of the teaches. He was on in two and off in three. That's how hard that was. He putted it right over the green. Because I learned from him, I stopped my about five feet away and made to coming back.
PHIL STAMBAUGH: First putt was about how far?
JOEY SINDELAR: First putt was probably 60 feet, 55 feet.
16, I had a nice birdie try and just missed it.
17, you know, 17 is just one of those awkward shots. It's not a long hole. It's just one of those where there's a lot of places you don't want to be. Most of us are playing from the end of the bottom to get up to the base. If you could climb one up to the top that would be great. The problem there -- you might say, Why can't guys get it to the hole? The problem is once you get pin high or further, the angles, you can't get up-and-down anymore. It's too hard. So we're playing short.
Again, Bruce Vaughan gave me a great teach. He almost made it from 65 or 70 feet, and I was probably 55 or 60 feet and made it. It even had good speed. So it was one of those good putts, lucky guesses, and it went in. I hit a 7-iron and it wasn't enough club. If I had it to do again I would do 6. Somehow it was in the right spot and I didn't know it.
And then of course a little lob to 18. Just missed the fairway, so I could go for it in two, but ended up with a nice little putt and just missed it. It was a fun, fun day.

Q. Talk more specifically about the putting. Is it true that everything curls toward the ocean, the ocean draw?
JOEY SINDELAR: You know what, 25 years later I am still not sure I know that answer. I don't know whether there's actual grain or whether it's the optical illusion of playing golf on a sidehill, you know, because everything probably does drain that way over time. But there's also that optical illusion. It's hard sometimes to know where downhill is.
And then the hard part about the putting these greens, they're poana greens, which is what I grew up on. I call it mutt grass. I don't mean to offend any of the members. When it's good it's awesome stuff. You've got to care for it just right, and late in the day it can get bouncy. That's just what poana does.
Yesterday, I could have sworn to you the hole was moving out of the way. I missed two putts 30 inches or less, and so did a lot of other guys.

Q. What holes were those?
JOEY SINDELAR: Yesterday, 9 and 15. Short ones. But, again, every guy you talk to, this is not the course you want to leave a lot of three and four-footer comeback putts, which is tough.
Again, the greens are so subtle at first glance, but they're like a football field. A lot of them are crowned just in the middle. If your putts are of any length, it always seems like you're going up and then over. You're never comfortable speed-wise. You better watch it, because, again, you don't want to leave 18 inches and more, because they can be -- again, late in the day they get a little bouncy.
But that's the character of this course. The wind and the bounciness of the greens. Some of them are firm and some of them are softer. It's a great, great place to play. The guys love it here.

Q. The putt on 17, you started walking towards it. Is that because thought you made it?
JOEY SINDELAR: No, I was trying to get a better look. I couldn't bend over where I was. Once John took the flag out I couldn't quite see it. We try to walk so we can see the angle of the arc, and I'm going, Wow, well, it's looking like it's not going to be a three-putt. The speed is right. Then it kept climbing closer. I thought, Son of a gun. It's right on line. Sure enough, right in the bottom. Those are fun, and they never happen often enough.

Q. (No microphone.)
JOEY SINDELAR: No. The problem -- this is interesting rough. The part I was in was rye rough, and we call it sticky, where you just lose yardage. No matter how hard you hit it, your 3-iron doesn't go like a 3-iron. It goes like a 4 or 5. I would have tried, but there was just -- like the whole course, there were patches. I got away with a lot of them this week that were clean. That one just kind of went down in the stuff and I just couldn't do it.
Which you know, whenever the pins are way in the back like that, you would rather be up close bumping and running. You don't want to go back into that pin with spin on the ball, because you don't know what's gonna go on. It worked out okay.

Q. Are you surprised at all about the ground that you made?
JOEY SINDELAR: You know, I'm not sure I -- you know, I'm fresh here from the other tour, from the regular tour. Out there, you better shoot 68 or better to stay where you are. Any time you start getting below 4-under or 5-under you're going pick up ground, I really do.
I was starting better than the middle of the pack, so 8-under I would have expected top 10 for sure, and probably around fifth. Again, all depending. Some guys made putts yesterday they won't today. It's not over yet. I could still finish second or third, fourth, or fifth.
But I can tell you that for me to have this kind of round if early March, I'm thrilled to death.

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