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April 18, 2009

Tim Wilkinson


MARK STEVENS: Like to welcome Tim Wilkinson to the interview room. Tim shot a 65 today and is currently alone in second place at the Verizon Heritage. Tim, start off and give general comments about your round and then we'll take a few questions.
TIM WILKINSON: I don't know, I played pretty well. I'm not sure -- I missed one fairway today. I played I made some good putts. You have to do that to shoot a good round. I don't know how to explain how you go through the holes. But I went with the guys from TaylorMade this week and hit a driver and feel like I'm hitting my woods pretty well. New putter, as well this week, and I putted quite well. So that will stay in the bandage.
I start off a bit scratchy today. I pulled my first tee shot and I hit one of the trees and kicked out in the fairway and then I think I hit a 5-iron just on the front right of the green. I didn't have a shot, really, couldn't hold the green. I made a really good par there.
Hit driver, 3-iron on the front edge of No. 2 and two-putted for birdie.
No. 6, I had a driver and 9-iron to about ten feet, I think, just next to the hole made birdie.
The next hole 6-iron to about 10 feet and made birdie there. So made a couple of nice putts.
Driver and 7-iron on No. 8, about 15 feet and made that.
And then laid up with a 4-iron down No. 9. I pitched it to about five, six feet and birdied that.
No. 16, I've been hitting 3-wood all day, sorry all week, and for some reason my 3-wood went like 40 yards further than I normally hit it down there. And I was sort of behind the tree and hit a good wedge shot to about three feet, four feet, and I made that for birdie.
Nice up-and-down on the last for par, which was good.

Q. You mentioned that first hole, I saw that. Did you kind of think this is going to be a good day after that?
TIM WILKINSON: Not really. Pulling your first tee shot, hitting a terrible shot is not good. Then you obviously have a few doubts on the next hole. I put that behind me. And just sort of one bad tee shot down 10, and that was pretty much it. Pretty much the middle of every fairway, so that was good.

Q. You mentioned making some adjustments to the driver. Anything specifically that you did that you think is helping out this week?
TIM WILKINSON: Yeah, just changing the shaft and just made sure everything was good. Not a huge amount, but I just changed the driver, and I think it's better for my game. Even though I haven't played well this year, I've driven the ball better. So that's a start.

Q. Tim, you just said you haven't played that well this year or as well as you wanted. Do you have an idea that this week some good things would be ahead?
TIM WILKINSON: Yeah, I started playing a bit better in Houston. It wasn't a course that suited me, 7,500 yards. And I'm not short but I'm not the longest hitter out here. A course like this where you have to position your ball and things like that, it suits me a lot better. It's nice to play well on a course like that, as well. You still have to play well, even though it might suit you.

Q. Can you take us through 18 and the finish that you almost had on your round there.
TIM WILKINSON: On the 16th I had a 3-wood to about 290 yards and I normally don't go that far. 18, I think it's like 294 to run through the fairway, so I was a little bit skeptical on hitting a driver down there. I took a 3-wood and it didn't run out at all. I had a little under 200 yards to the hole. I thought I had a pretty good shot, but the wind is moving on the back nine, it's moving around and switching. So I might have just got a gust in. So I thought I hit a shot pretty well, but it just came up short.

Q. Between yourself and Gay and Baird you guys have one PGA Tour win between the three of you. You have guys like Lehman and Janzen behind you. What do you have to do tomorrow to keep those guys at bay? Is it intimidating that you know you have Major champions nipping at your heels, so to speak?
TIM WILKINSON: It is, but I don't really think about other people. You're just trying to control what you're doing. Obviously if they play really well, you can't do anything about it, obviously. You've just got to do as well as you can and really just focus on your own game, because these are things that go around. But I think if I just focus on my game and hit shots, it sounds simple, but that's what you try to do out there.

Q. What specifically tomorrow do you think you have to do and maybe even improve upon what you did today, if you can, to put yourself in a position to win tomorrow?
TIM WILKINSON: If I keep driving it how I am and I just -- I'd like to just hit a few -- I hit a couple of bad iron shots today early on in the round and I made some good up-and-downs for par. If I could just really focus on committing to some of those shots. It's really hard sometimes, you feel the wind going round and around, it's hard to commit to the shot you're hitting. So I think if I can do that a little better tomorrow, then I feel that will help.

Q. Brian kind of took control yesterday on the front nine and then you did the same on the front nine today. And you mentioned the wind is really swirling on the back. Do you feel like the way that is you really need to make some birdies on the front to really get your round going?
TIM WILKINSON: You have a few more good birdie shots on the front nine. You have No. 2. 1 if you hit a good tee shot is definitely a good birdie, as well. So you have 1, 2, 5, 6 and 9 are really good shots at making birdies. The others if you have good shots, the greens are so small you won't have a long putt. But there are a few opportunities out there.

Q. Is it especially important that you do that knowing that when you get around the back, the wind is going to kick up a little?
TIM WILKINSON: It is, but every round is different. Sometimes your rounds start off slow and you make unexpected birdies on holes that you wouldn't think that you would and you do. So I think, yeah, I think this week, most of the time I've birdied holes that I feel I should have birdied. So it's always a sign that things are going well.

Q. Have you had as good of a birdie run as you had there on the front nine this year? When is the last time you had a run like that?
TIM WILKINSON: This year? I don't know, I can't remember. Maybe three or four this year in a row. On the Nationwide Tour I made eight in a row. And a smaller Australia-Asia event I made nine birdies in a row. I don't really think about it. You just keep going with your shots. After a while you do start thinking about it.

Q. The fact that a lefty has never won here, is there something about this course that you think doesn't suit them? And if so, how are you able to play differently?
TIM WILKINSON: The first I heard about it was just before, actually. But I think sheer numbers of right-handers versus left-handers has something to do with it. And Phil hasn't played here.

Q. I was looking up some stuff about your hometown, and it looked like wind power is a big industry there.

Q. Does that mean you grew up playing in the wind?
TIM WILKINSON: It doesn't swirl.

Q. Did you grow up playing in the wind?
TIM WILKINSON: Yes, I grew up playing in the wind.

Q. One more question about playing in the lead group: When is the last time you've been in the lead group?
TIM WILKINSON: Sony Open last year, I played with K.J. Choi on the last round.

Q. What did you learn from that experience?
TIM WILKINSON: Just a lot. Just watching obviously one of the best players in the world win a tournament in tough conditions, and just -- it looked like he was just focusing on his own game. And that's what I'm going to try to do tomorrow.

Q. That's something that you can take --
TIM WILKINSON: Yeah, definitely. He just stayed really composed the whole day. He started off, if I remember rightly, it was tough. The first few holes were tough, he started off a little bit scratchy, but he composed himself really well on the back nine.
MARK STEVENS: Thank you, Tim, and good luck tomorrow.

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