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April 17, 2009

Brian Gay


MARK STEVENS: Like to welcome Brian Gay to the interview room. Brian followed up his 67 yesterday with a 66 today. And is top of the leaderboard after the second round of the Verizon Heritage. Brian, talk a little bit about your round today.
BRIAN GAY: Obviously very pleased. The front 9 was awesome, got hot with the putter and made five in a row there on the front. And played real solid on the back. The wind was tough and swirling a lot, and hit a lot of tough shots, just lucky to get it close to the hole.

Q. You were pretty close here a couple of years ago, you played two great first rounds and then couldn't finish it off. Are you a more complete player this time around? You think you're better suited to have a good weekend?
BRIAN GAY: I'd like to think so, yeah. Since then I've played pretty well. I guess that was '06 -- I was top 10 in '06. '07 I think is when we had the wind delay and all that. I think I started good but fell back. Yeah, I think I'm in a better position now than I was then.

Q. Is this maybe the product of you getting your first win last year, maybe you feel like you're a better closer now?
BRIAN GAY: That was a big springboard for me winning last year, and having my best year ever after that. I got off to a good start this year doing the same things.

Q. What did you learn from that win?
BRIAN GAY: Well, I finally realized I could do it. I knew I could do it all along and finally got over the hump and won with a big lead there. It was a tough day but got through it and realized I didn't have to do anything different than I was capable of doing. In a sense it was much easier than I thought, even though it took me so long to do it.

Q. 293 starts, I think. Does that make you more anxious going into this weekend, being in the position you are in now and you're so close to getting the second win? Two days probably seems like nothing out there?
BRIAN GAY: No, I'm not anxious. Heck, I just got done. I've just got to chill out and I look forward to it. It's one of my favorite golf courses. I always thought I'd do better than I had. My record here is not that great. Here and Colonial have to be my two favorite golf courses.

Q. Similar courses, tight and small?
BRIAN GAY: Yeah, it's a shot-maker's course. You hit the ball straight, you have to hit all the shots out there.

Q. You mentioned your struggles here, not making the cut. Settle any aspects of your game that have changed that have produced better scores, any aspects of your game?
BRIAN GAY: No, not really. My game hasn't changed. I think here it's a case where you catch a week where you're not putting well, you're not going to do well here. I'd like to think most of the time I putt pretty good, but you don't always make putts.
I guess it's important here that if you can just hit the ball on the green. And a lot of times you have to just forget where the pin is, if you get it on the green you're going to have some sort of look at it, because they're so small.

Q. When you're making five birdies in a row, what are you thinking about? Do you feel like you're along for the ride a little bit, let's see how long this goes? Or pushing the accelerator more and more and more?
BRIAN GAY: No, I didn't really push the accelerator. I kept thinking the same way and just trying to pick good targets. It was really tough. Heck, I was as surprised as anybody that I did it, because we were standing on the 5 -- par-5 was straight into a 20-mile-an-hour wind. 16 should be right-to-left and I hit it down the right side and it went to the right, and then in the bunker. Then it was going straight downwind, somehow I hit it four or five feet out of the bunker there. It was hard to pull a club.

Q. When you got that first win in Mexico, maybe you were seeing people second guessing your ability, because it was opposite match play. Would it be more validating to win an event like this with a deeper field?
BRIAN GAY: Yeah, it would be validation to win again. And obviously this is a stronger field than Mexico was last year. And in a sense I think -- I don't know that it changes the scores or what you've got to do when you're out there. I don't think the field really has that much to do with that. But you've still got to do all the right things to get it done.

Q. Can you just take us through maybe your mindset on 13. You were a couple feet in front of the bunker and all the options you considered?
BRIAN GAY: The bunker shot, weren't really any options there. I had to get it up quick over the board there, the lip in front of me. The problem there was the second shot. I thought I had a good tee ball and had ran too far down the right side and it was kind of hooked behind a tree. I couldn't cut the sand wedge and carry that left side, and the wind didn't push it to the right. I saved par, but looking back I should have taken the pitching wedge and made a big cut, but I thought it would be too much club.
MARK STEVENS: Go through your birdies and the one bogey today.
BRIAN GAY: Birdie on 2. I hit it in the greenside bunker, just pin-high. I probably wasn't 25 feet from the hole and knocked it out to like a foot.
No. 4, the par-3, I hit a 5-iron about 15, 16 feet.
No. 5, I made about a 20, 25-footer just off the fringe there, pitched it short and it didn't bounce on the green and I had a tough third shot there.
6, I had an 8-iron from the fairway bunker to about five feet.
7, I hit an 8-iron, nine, ten feet.
No. 8 I hit a driver and a 7-iron, landed right by the pin, made that coming back down the hill.
And 10, I hit a driver and 6-iron, the pin was cut right on the right edge there, and the wind was left to right. I hit it solid, just drifted, hit on the right edge of the green, kicked right and rolled down the bunker, and didn't have any green to work with, and it was straight downgrain. I hit it out, 8 or 10 feet past the hole.

Q. You just had to grind a little bit on the back nine. You go from five straight birdies to kind of grinding it. Did you have to make an adjustment there in how your mindset is?
BRIAN GAY: Yeah, it felt like a grind all day, even though I made five in a row on the front. Like I said, I can't say it enough, it was tough to pick clubs and figure out where to aim and where to pick targets based on the wind. You had to back off a lot with the wind changing. I had a great shot on 11, the pin is on the corner, I hit it just under the hole on 12 and hit a good putt and just off the left edge.
14 the pin is right on the front over the water into the wind, you have to play past that pin.
Made it close on 15, didn't make it.
16, I hit it on the front edge and it rolled off the green.
17, if you hit it on the green it's a great shot.
Like I said, I felt like I played every bit as good on the back as I did on the front, and just didn't make all the birdies.

Q. Does your caddie have a lot of input on club selections?
BRIAN GAY: Yeah, we talk about everything. He reads putts and we discuss pretty much everything, targets and club selection.

Q. A day like today where there's a lot of second guessing, was there ever a time he told you no, hit this, and it did work out or it didn't work out?
BRIAN GAY: A couple of times where I waited and waited for the wind to come in the direction it was supposed to be going. I don't think we really switched clubs too many times. We just usually wait on the right wind that we're looking for.
MARK STEVENS: Brian-s thanks for taking the time and good luck this weekend.
BRIAN GAY: Thank you.

End of FastScripts

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