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May 21, 2009

Ken Duke


DOUG MILNE: Ken Duke, thanks for joining us for a few minutes here at the 18th Byron Nelson Championship. Great 5-under-par 65 in round 1. Obviously off to a great start. I think it was 2007 you had a Top 10 finish here. Talk a little bit about the round today and kind of how this course, this tournament suits your game.
KEN DUKE: Well, this tournament is special, just because I'm from Arkansas and I've been to Dallas quite a bit growing up and stuff like that. It feels like home to me. Just really enjoy it. The people here I've gotten to know really well and have really supported me. It's been really fun. The golf course is in really good shape this year. Last year it was new, and this year it's really good.

Q. So you came up just a couple inches short of another stroke, huh?
KEN DUKE: Yeah, I was thankful that I got it where it was. I didn't hit a very good tee shot and had a decent lie and got up to the front, and that's where we wanted to, and just tried to get a two-putt and get out.

Q. As far as your year is going, how does a round like this help you out?
KEN DUKE: Yeah, it's good. I think sometimes you try too hard when you're out here, especially if you have a few good years. You really try hard, and you think you should do better than what you're doing, and then you press the issues and don't just let it come to you. I guess that's kind of what I've done.
I had a good week off last week, and having two kids and catching a little cold here and there, sometimes that slows you down, as well, and that helps sometimes.
DOUG MILNE: If you could just run us through your birdies and get us some clubs and yardage.
KEN DUKE: Yeah, No. 4, I hit a sand wedge in and hit it probably about 12, 15 feet and made a good putt.
The bogey, I just misclubbed there and hit it long on the par-3 and didn't get it up-and-down.
9, I hit a good 9-iron in there about 145 and made about a 15-foot putt.
Same thing with 10; I had a good number in there and just an uphill putt. I think that was the key most of the day; I had some uphill putts and could be aggressive. I did hit a couple close on 11 and 13, a couple feet, which you love to have those tap-ins, and I got it up-and-down on 16 for birdie. You've really got to get the par-5s out here if you can. There's only two, but you think that you have to get those.
Made a good two-putt on 17 and got it up-and-down on 18. It was a good, solid day. I'll take it.
The year I've had, I'm just trying to gain from what I did well and did bad, and we'll go from there.

Q. When you talk about your year, you sound disappointed. Is there any reason why?
KEN DUKE: No. You know, I've had three good years in a row. Like I was telling these guys, I think sometimes you press a little harder, and I think that's what I'm doing. I'm thinking instead of really preparing yourself, you're just coming out here and going through the motions, and it doesn't work that way. These guys are good out here, so that's the logo of the TOUR and the saying with the TOUR, and you've got to be ready to go when it's time to go.

Q. A good putting round for you?
KEN DUKE: Yeah, it was good. It was good. I was very consistent with my putting today, and that's been kind of holding me back. I haven't been making those 10- and 12- and 15-foot putts. I felt really good today with the putter, and it's good to see a few go in early, and it helps your confidence. You just go from there.

Q. Do you like this course? Does it fit you well?
KEN DUKE: Yeah, it's good. I think any course fits you well if you're hitting it good. It's a lot of -- I'm a left-to-right player and there's a lot of left-to-right holes out here, so that helps. It fits my eye, and you just have to be careful where you miss it here because it's tough to get it up-and-down. You've got so many mounds on the greens and they're getting faster obviously as the week goes on. There's not much rain. It's going to be a good test as the week goes on.

Q. 5-under it seems like is a very good score out here. Is it harder to go much lower than that do you think?
KEN DUKE: You know, it's hard to say because any guy out here can shoot a 10-under par at any time. I don't know if it's today or any other day. So it's kind of -- I mean, I'm glad where I finished, and I did the best I could do. You just never know. Some of the guys might have those days and might have 5-, 6-, 7-, 8-under. There very possibly could be a round like that out there today like that. The greens are a wonderful speed. There's some pins that you can really be aggressive with the putter. There's a few holes out there that you have to be careful what you do. You cannot fire at the pin.

Q. What's the best way to play those mounds? Is it with a lofted pitch?
KEN DUKE: It all depends. It all depends on your lie, the yardage, obviously. It just depends as you come in. Sometimes you can use the slopes to help you, and you just have to adapt as you go along.

Q. As you said a minute ago, you've had a couple good years and you press. What about when you have a good round and you're the first round leader? How do you set your mind to not press going forward just this weekend?
KEN DUKE: I think for me I'm a little under the weather and that's going to help me. I've worked hard Wednesday, Thursday, Friday last week with my teacher Bob Toski and took off the weekend and just been with the family. But coming in here Monday I worked hard, and I'm just going to get away from here.
I've always been told if you don't have it when you get here, it's hard to find it. I'm just going to get away, take the positives, don't go out there and try to hit a few balls, hit some putts. I have some good momentum today, and I'm just going to get away from the golf course and come back tomorrow and see what it gives us.
DOUG MILNE: Mr. Duke, thanks for joining us. Congratulations on a great round.
KEN DUKE: Thank you.

End of FastScripts

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