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May 28, 2009

Thomas Aiken


RODDY WILLIAMS: Thomas, thanks very much and very well played this morning, a fine start to the week at The London Club.
THOMAS AIKEN: Yeah, always nice to get off to a good start. Thank goodness the weather was better today than yesterday. Yeah, I started off fairly decently on the first nine, and then made two bogeys in the last couple of holes, which always slows things down.
You know, back nine was quite special. Made six birdies and three pars in the back nine. So got a bit of a run going there.

Q. You had a bit of a run going on the back nine, you had a decent run going the past few months, haven't you?
THOMAS AIKEN: Yeah, it's been a fantastic year. I think it all started back at Leopard Creek in December.
I had a really good third round at Leopard Creek. Shot 61 there and put myself in position to win. Unfortunately Sunday didn't quite go my way, but you know, you learned from these things and move on.
And then I was lucky to get a spot in the CA Championship in Miami, and then capitalised quite well on that. I had a great last round, shot 65, which really pushed me up the leaderboard and helped me to get into this position where I am now.

Q. And to finish in that one, in a World Golf Championship event, to get a Top-10, was that one of the things that gave you a big confidence boost?
THOMAS AIKEN: Definitely a big confidence boost. When you have all of the top players in the world playing in the same tournament as you and you manage to finish seventh, not that I am like trying to -- I managed to beat woods by one shot, but it's always a good confidence pull, so I try to take the positives out of that and move on from there and seem to end up doing okay.

Q. What is your status?
THOMAS AIKEN: Well, I went to Tour School last year and I finished 131rd on the money list, so I am Category 12, which is a conditional card. So I'm hoping to get as many invites as possible that I can keep playing. I'm really enjoying myself out here.
I'm fine for next year now, so that's all sorted. But just to keep playing this year, I've obviously got to rely on invites.

Q. Where did you get the invite here?
THOMAS AIKEN: A late one through the Tour.

Q. When did you know you were playing here?

Q. That was a pretty special event, was that the best nine-hole round you've had?
THOMAS AIKEN: This one today? No, I've shot 29 before. I've done it a few times. Not sure when, but it was a great back nine. The weather conditions were good today, so not saying the course is playing easy at all. But yeah, I just held a few putts and score added up at the end and happened to be 6-under, and it was a great nine.

Q. Was that the first event you've played in featuring Tiger Woods?
THOMAS AIKEN: No. I've played two British Opens and the HSBC Champions in Shanghai where he's played there before.

Q. And I can't help notice, you're logo-free.
THOMAS AIKEN: I am and have been for a while, bag-free and logo-free.

Q. Been a struggle out there on that front?
THOMAS AIKEN: Economic crisis. (Laughter).

Q. You've played in the Dunhill Links, how have you done in that event?
THOMAS AIKEN: Last year played well, finished 13th. It was freezing. We are not used to that in South Africa. It was a good week. It's a fun event. You get to interact with a lot of different people.
I had a really interesting partner this year, a guy called Marvin Shanken, he owns the Wine Spectator magazine. He's a great guy and we have a good relationship now. I'm actually going to go see him in the States now. He's a really nice guy.
It's fun. It's a different sort of style, and I like it. It's nice to interact with different people.

Q. You don't mind the six-hour rounds.
THOMAS AIKEN: We used to play in these Pro-Ams in South Africa, because a lot of our tournaments are Pro-Am based, and yeah, it is different. And you can choose to be negative and say, oh, it's six hours or seven hours around the golf course. But you can also take it a different way and go and chat to the guys and have fun. They are actually really interesting people with a lot of things to say, and you can actually learn from them. Yeah, I had fun.

Q. If you had not gotten your card and become a Member, what have you done?
THOMAS AIKEN: I don't know. Probably not much. I haven't really thought about it much really. To be dead honest, I've been having so much fun, I've been really enjoying myself the last couple of months, and it's great. Today was fantastic. There must have been 5,000 or 6,000 people out there today, on a Thursday, and it's great to see crowds like that. They really enjoy their golf and they are really appreciative of what they do.
I'm going to have fun and try and enjoy myself as much as possible, so I have not really thought about much other than just having fun right now.

Q. Can we get your details?
THOMAS AIKEN: I birdied the first and second, 10 and 11.
Driver, sand wedge, hit it to about ten feet and made that one.
And then, I hit driver, 9-iron to about three feet.
Parred 3 and 4. And then birdied 5, 6, 7, 8. 5 was a par 5, hit it on the green and 2-putted.
6, I hit driver, 9-iron and held a nice putt there. It was about 25, 30 feet.
7, the par 3, I hit 5-iron to about a foot.
And then the 8th hole, drove it in the rough, par 5, laid up and hit pitching wedge to about six feet and made that one.
Then parred the last.

Q. Was the CA your first PGA Tour event?
THOMAS AIKEN: First PGA, I played the Nationwide Tour in 2007, so I have been there quite a bit. But yeah, it was first.
RODDY WILLIAMS: Thomas, thanks very much indeed.

End of FastScripts

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