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May 2, 2009

Brendon de Jonge


MARK STEVENS: We'd like to welcome Brendon de Jonge to the interview room. Brendon shot a 67 today, and if you'd just start off giving us some general comments about your round today and then we'll take some questions.
BRENDON de JONGE: Overall it was pretty solid. I managed to get off to a good start and then hang on through that brutal finishing stretch.

Q. Speaking of that brutal finishing stretch, can you talk about what it's like when you're looking for your second shot on 18 and the winds are swirling, like how do you decide which club to use?
BRENDON de JONGE: Well, it's a little bit of a guessing game. Obviously I was in that fairway for a couple minutes trying to figure out what to hit. But I think the biggest thing is just committing to whatever you do decide. It's going to be the same for everyone. It's going to blow three, four different directions while you're waiting down there.

Q. Anything in particular that clicked in this week that's not been there every week?
BRENDON de JONGE: I've definitely made a lot more putts. More so putts at the right time, sort of keep a round going, get a little bit of momentum. That's been the biggest thing for me.
I made a good putt for par on No. 6, about a six-footer, breaking down the hill, which definitely kept things going, and then managed to birdie 7 and 9.

Q. Can you talk about how you ended up in Charlotte and how long you've been here and how did you choose to end up being here?
BRENDON de JONGE: I've been here for three and a half years now. You know, it's a great city, great airport to travel in and out of, a lot of Virginia Tech fans here, easy to get back to Blacksburg for football games. It's a very friendly city, and it's a nice place to call home. I make it back to Blacksburg as much as I can. Obviously during the season it's difficult, but if we do happen to have an off week or if I have a week off, it's definitely a priority to make it back for a football game.

Q. Obviously leading would be the ideal situation for you, but could you have asked for much more, being in contention in your hometown?
BRENDON de JONGE: No, it's great. You know, playing in front of friends and family, it's been a lot of fun. Obviously playing well is fun, as well, but to do it in front of friends and family is great.

Q. How often do you play out here, regularly or just once in a while?
BRENDON de JONGE: Once in a while, yeah. I'll play it a little more regularly leading up to the tournament, but other than that, just once in a while, yeah.

Q. As you walk up to 16, what is your mindset? How do you get yourself prepared for that brutal finishing stretch?
BRENDON de JONGE: You know, it's the same thing, just take it one shot at a time. Try and drive it in the fairway on 16 and then go from there, try and hit it in the middle of the green. It's the same old cliché in golf, just one shot at a time.

Q. The middle of the back half you had some very good shots out of the sand, sort of saved yourself. I think there were actually two holes in a row. Have you always done real good with bunker play?
BRENDON de JONGE: I've always been decent. I wouldn't consider myself a great bunker player. I've always been adequate. I hit a couple good bunker shots today to save some shots, but yeah, I'd say adequate.

Q. I know you don't have a lot to compare this to, but do you think it was a little easier to have the kind of round you had today when you were going off a little earlier in the day? I walked with you and heard all the attention and I realize a lot of people knew who you were, but if you had been in the midst of Tiger and Phil and all those people, do you think it would have been harder to keep your focus?
BRENDON de JONGE: Definitely. We teed off, and other than that we played the first nine without much wind, as well, and it started picking up a little bit there when we were making the turn. But no, it would have definitely been more difficult to do it amongst all the hoopla that goes with them.

Q. How long did you live in Zimbabwe, and have you had some interaction with Nick Price?
BRENDON de JONGE: Yeah, I lived there all through high school. I came over here for college. Yeah, I know Nick very well, talk to him on a regular basis. He's obviously a great guy to talk to to pick his brain a little bit out here. You know, and he's a super nice guy.

Q. Do you get back there at all, and can you speak to obviously some of the problems going on in Zimbabwe? Do you have any family there still?
BRENDON de JONGE: Yeah, my parents are still there. I make it back -- you know, I try and make a point to get back once a year, at worst once every two years. You know, the political situation is obviously deteriorating terribly with the hyperinflation and everything that's going on. You know, it's just sad because it was a great place to grow up, a wonderful lifestyle. But my parents still get to lead the kind of life they want to, so it would be hard to just ask them to pick up and move.

Q. How did you get from Zimbabwe to Virginia Tech?
BRENDON de JONGE: I was down in Miami playing junior golf and there were a bunch of college coaches out there recruiting and ended up in Blacksburg.

Q. Was that for your senior year in high school?
BRENDON de JONGE: Yeah, exactly.
MARK STEVENS: Thank you very much, Brendon. Good luck tomorrow.

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