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July 31, 2009

Rickie Fowler


JOE CHEMYCZ: We welcome Rickie Fowler in, Rickie with a 5-under 66 today, 7-under par total, lots of birdies out there for you. Maybe just talk a little bit about your round, what was good today, and we'll go from there.
RICKIE FOWLER: Similar to yesterday, except I hit a few more greens. Hitting the ball well, keeping myself in play, staying away from making big mistakes, and just taking bogey when I really have to and trying to stay away from the doubles.
I hit the ball well, kept it in play and went for pins when I could and fired away when I had to and took par when birdie wasn't really an opportunity.
JOE CHEMYCZ: How often is there an opportunity to go for pins?
RICKIE FOWLER: When you get a good yardage or when you have a short iron or wedge in your hand. It's tough to go at pins with 4- and 5-irons.

Q. Some of the guys earlier talked about greens spiking up as the day went on and it getting in the way of making putts, but you're 7-under par, so obviously you've made some putts. What's that been like on these greens?
RICKIE FOWLER: Well, they were a little bumpy yesterday by the afternoon. I'm last group. This morning wasn't too bad, but I definitely noticed that they were getting pretty spiked up towards the end there, and they seemed like they were a little bit spiked up all day since we were at the end of our wave. With the greens and the course being so soft, that's just going to happen.
I had a few bumps, and maybe it caused me to miss some. But if you keep hitting good putts, something is going to go in.

Q. Having become more consistent in your game, how does your mental part of the game help your confidence, or how are you on the mental aspect of it?
RICKIE FOWLER: I feel like I'm pretty good on the mental part of it. I know I'm a pretty good player. I know I can play with these guys if I play well. It just shows after two days that if I play well, I can hang with these guys out here.
I feel like I'm playing well, and I feel like there's no reason why I can't win. I mean, that's the reason why I'm here is to try and win. I feel like I'm strong mentally, just going to go try and stick with the same game plan and see how it works out after Sunday.

Q. How many more amateur events do you have before you turn pro?
RICKIE FOWLER: I'm playing the U.S. Amateur at Southern Hills and then hopefully Walker Cup, if they pick me for the team, which I hope they do. And then after that I'm actually looking forward to starting out here on the Nationwide Tour. I know I've got two spots secured so far with Boise and Soboba I'm really looking forward to Soboba since it's close to my house down in southern California. I know we're going to try a get a few in a row to hopefully work my way out here with these guys, and looking forward to that.

Q. When you said before that you know if you play well you can play with these guys, when did you know that? When did you realize you were that good?
RICKIE FOWLER: Well, my first TOUR event was Verizon Heritage. First day I shot 1-under and felt like I left some out there and I was in a decent position. I didn't play so well the second day and missed the cut.
And then I shot 1-under at last year's Open, the first round. I think I was tied for 7th, so it was pretty cool to see my name on the first page of the leaderboard there.
So two good starting rounds there. I knew if I was ever able to put together three to four good rounds that I could see myself being near the top at the end of Sunday.

Q. And that was Heritage a year ago?
RICKIE FOWLER: Verizon Heritage would have been '08.

Q. So is this your first pro event this year?
RICKIE FOWLER: No, I played the FBR at the beginning of this year, made the cut, and then I missed the cut at the Open this year and missed the cut at Travelers Championship the week after.

Q. How many times have you -- I know you've been here for qualifiers. I'm not sure about college tournaments. How many times have you played this golf course?
RICKIE FOWLER: We played one college event for regionals, which was last year. I believe we played one practice round, three tournament rounds. I played a practice round for Open qualifier and then the tournament round, and then I played two practice rounds last year, played the event here and made the cut, so I got six out of that and then this week one practice round. So I've got over ten rounds under my belt. So I've been here quite a bit.

Q. Do you think that's obviously helped you?
RICKIE FOWLER: Definitely.

Q. In these conditions?
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah. I've seen it kind of in all conditions, firm like it was last year and in Open qualifying. Regionals it was fairly soft and this week is soft, so I've seen it play just about every way it can. This is probably the most scorable I've seen it besides regionals last year.

Q. Obviously two years ago Daniel Summerhays won this event. It looked for a while today like Morgan and you might be paired tomorrow. What is it about this -- it can't be because it's a college course, but why do amateurs seem to play well in this tournament?
RICKIE FOWLER: Well, normally you only get usually one to two amateurs in an event. I mean, they're not -- an amateur is not always going to play well in a Tour event, and the percentage with having -- there's over ten guys I think this week that are here as amateurs, or were amateurs and turned pro from college. So just increasing percentages.
The guys now in college First Team All-Americans are good players, so if you get ten there's going to be one, two, three, possibly four that make the cut and show them that the college guys can hang.

Q. Success at this tournament at the Nationwide level, how does that turn into what you think towards the PGA TOUR? Guys come from college programs and have some success and then this is the next steppingstone. Is that the mindset now of more college guys?
RICKIE FOWLER: It may be. I'm not sure. I know for me I feel like this is a good steppingstone. It's like what I did, went from junior golf to amateur golf, then to college, and I succeeded at each level. I didn't jump ahead before I thought I was ready. So I think this is -- with those starts that I'm trying to get, starting September, I think that this would be a really good steppingstone to possibly working my way on the TOUR. It could take a few years, could be next year, but I definitely think this is the right place to go first.

Q. You said you hit a lot of -- you had a lot of opportunities today. You made six birdies. Anything of size?
RICKIE FOWLER: I'm just trying to think. Nothing was too big today. I think yesterday I made a couple -- like maybe two putts outside 20 feet. Today everything was a little closer. I hit my irons a lot better today. I struggled with irons a little bit yesterday. For that I hit more greens. I think I hit 16 greens today.
And then I also made a few good putts for par that kept the momentum going.

Q. Talk about the birdie at 8.
RICKIE FOWLER: The birdie at 8, easiest one all day. Coming in, had a good number, the pin was just tucked right over the bunker there, and I think I had 169 to carry the bunker and it was about 173 hole, and I thought it was just a perfect 8-iron, and it ended up being a perfect yardage, hit it to about six inches and just a kick-in birdie.
12, par-5, drove it in the right trees, hit it down to a lay-up spot and hit it up short of the pin, which was front right, and just made about a 12-footer, something you would expect yourself to make probably half the time.
13, par-3, I hit it maybe four feet with a 5-iron. Again, it wasn't that big of a putt.
16, I hit a good wedge in there about eight feet.
17, hit a cut 4-iron about 15 feet below the hole, easy putt, just straight up the hill, broke a little left.
4, par-5, that was probably the worst one of the day. I drove it in the right trees, I didn't really have a shot. My back was to a tree and I couldn't really get a full swing at it so I had to kind of chip out in the fairway and lay up. From there I had about 185 yards to the stick, which was front left kind of sitting on a little ridge, and it's not really accessible with a 6-iron, and I hit it in there about 20 feet right of the hole and made a good putt.
Bogey at 5, we had a bit of a wait on the tee. No excuses, but I came out of the shot a bit, and worst shot I hit all day. I ended up in the right bunker and pin was all the way on the left. I hit a good pitch out of the bunker to about ten feet and just pulled my putt. Took the 4 and walked away.
JOE CHEMYCZ: Three birdies on par-3s.
RICKIE FOWLER: See, the irons were better today.

Q. With the way the fairways are holding, the greens are holding, when the wind came up today, is it much of a factor or not?
RICKIE FOWLER: Wind is always a factor. It's definitely going to play harder this afternoon, and I think you'll see a bit of a difference if not a big difference in scores. I'm just happy I finally got the good side of the tee times. I got a little bit of a bad break at the Open. You're going to get bad breaks and good breaks, and it looks like this might be the good break week.

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