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September 14, 2000

Emlyn Aubrey


NELSON LUIS: We've got with us Emlyn Aubrey who shot a 6-under 65 today. Emlyn, great round for you, gets you currently atop of the leaderboard. You started on the front nine. Why don't we talk a little bit about your round and we can go over your bogey-free round.

EMLYN AUBREY: Bogey-free, yeah. Actually the first hole was the only one I was in any danger of making a bogey. Drove it in the rough and I hit my second shot in the bunker short. Hit a very weak bunker shot about 15 feet. Knocked that one in for par. You know, that kind of set the stage as far as feeling good on the greens right away. I just had a good solid putt and went right up the middle. Obviously that felt pretty good. Kind of a wake-up call. On 2, I just hit a 5-iron about two feet so that was pretty easy. First birdie of the day. 4, the par-3 there, I hit I think it was a 4-iron about 15 feet. I think that was a big curler like you can get so many of on these greens and rolled that one in. That was fun. The par 5 I hit a 3-wood just short of the green and chipped that one on about five feet and made that one. So I'm thinking I'm off to a good start. And I curled the next one in on 8. That was one of those that was above the hole where you don't want to be most of the day on this kind of course, on these greens. And that was one where you just kind of guess, all you've got to do is hit it soft and get it rolling and kind of guess as far as the break.

Q. How long?

EMLYN AUBREY: Probably 12 feet straight down the hill. I just guessed correctly. That one dropped in. Turned I guess at 4-under. 11, I hit a 6-iron there about 15 feet. Made that one. 18, I hit a good drive and then laid up to a perfect yardage and hit a sand wedge, whatever it was, eight, nine feet there. Finally had an easy putt there. That was probably the straightest putt all day. Omar putted before me and gave me a good read just to make sure they were straight. It was. That was a good way to finish. I actually missed two short ones on 16 and 17, but again, those were real tricky putts. I was above the hole on both of those. Just kind of a guess when you're above the hole and you've got to hit it so soft; it's pretty much pot luck. So it was nice to get one on 18 after hitting it close on 16 and 17 and missing those.

Q. Were there any other greens you missed besides No. 1?

EMLYN AUBREY: Yeah, I missed the par-5 15. Drove it in the rough there and tried to lash out at a 4-iron and the rough got it. Hit it in the left fairway bunker. Still had 190 yards to the hole. Actually hit a pretty good shot out right in front of the green and pitched it up. Made about a 10-footer for par there. That was the other one that I was in danger of making a bogey. You hate to do that on a par 5, but if there ever is a good par on a par 5, that was it.

Q. Is 65 your low round on the TOUR?

EMLYN AUBREY: I think it is.

Q. You've done that a couple times before?

EMLYN AUBREY: I've struggled this year. I've had plenty of 75s, I know that.

Q. When is the last time you were leading a tournament?

EMLYN AUBREY: I don't know. You're going to have to look that one up. Probably the Nike tour a couple years ago when I won.

Q. I looked on the computer and it looked like you had a bad patch over the summer, it was in Reno I think where you missed the cut - -

EMLYN AUBREY: In Reno I started, well, like I did today. And that was the first of a four-week stretch and that was the first one. I've made the last three cuts. I think you're probably thinking about maybe the John Deere. That was real close. Buick Open in Michigan, I think that was real close. And then the International, I played good there. I forget what was after the International. Might have been another one. Seems like I've been missing the cuts by one shot lately. Fortunately the last couple weeks I made them. Last two tournaments in Canada, I made birdies on the last hole on Friday to make the cut. Hopefully things are turning around.

Q. Can you talk about the course conditions? How were things going out there with the greens?

EMLYN AUBREY: The course was excellent. Greens are a little soft, obviously, because of the rain the other day. I think as the afternoon goes on, they will firm up a bit, and I guess it is supposed to rain tonight. I think unless the greens are really firm or really soft, which they are not right now. They are probably just about right where you can go ahead and just take the yardage you have and hit it right at the flag right now. If it rains a lot and they get real soft, it will be real difficult because you'll hit a lot of shots that you'll hit right by the flag or right yardage you think and spin all the way back off the front of these greens. That will make it difficult. Obviously, if the greens are hard, it's a whole new story. Right now I think they are just about the perfect firmness to shoot low right now as you can get.

Q. Can you talk about your struggles this year and what was different about today?

EMLYN AUBREY: Well, I had a back injury last year that started the 4th of July. I was playing real good up until then. I had to sit out six weeks and try to rehab a little bit. Probably came back a little too early. I tore some cartilage in my ribs. Tried to come back probably too early and played three weeks in August and it happened again, and I couldn't play the rest of the year. So, really, I had about six or seven months off that I didn't play competitively and just rehabbing and letting the thing heel up. It was a slow process. Finally when this year came around, I had a medical exemption where I could play. Ended up being 10 tournaments that I could make up the difference of the Top 125 was last year, which was only $11,000 at the time. You know, any time with an injury, I think most guys will tell you, it is not only -- the first part of coming back is getting the physical part ready in your game and making sure the injury does not reoccur. And then after that, when you think that's all right, then you go ahead and work on the mental side. You know, it was just a lot more difficult than I thought. I felt like the physical side was ready to go after a week or two, but if it's not, you know, you have several weeks where you play bad and then your mind starts losing confidence and you're struggling that way. That's what I did, pretty much the first half of this year. Finally began to slowly come back. First it was -- my iron play was a lot better, started improving, and then started putting a little better. And finally the last part is my driver, and I've still struggled a little with that. Drove it well today. But I still hit a couple off-line, and that's what I've been doing lately, just three or four drives around. Not just five or ten yards off-line; 40 yards off-line. You can get away with it sometimes, but eventually it's going to catch up, and that's what's held me back this last stretch of tournaments. I've been making cuts but I have not put four good round together. Again, slowly, the driver is coming back to where I'm feeling confident with it, and today was really the best day I've had in a long time off the tee.

Q. You have some connections to this area. Is it more special to play well or does not matter and you want to play well wherever you are?

EMLYN AUBREY: Oh, you obviously want to play well anywhere, especially the way I've been playing this year. But if I can hold on to this and have a great week this week, it will be a little extra special. I know the area, and just flying into Philly the other night, you know, I just love this place. I miss it. Got to go to a Phillies game the other night. I haven't been in Veterans Stadium for 15 years. I've obviously come back to visit my parents. Spent time in Harrisburg a lot. For me, it brings back old memories for sure. We spent a lot of time going to sports in Philly, just great, eat some cheese steaks. It is great coming back but it is really special to play a tournament here.

Q. Having come from this area, does it seem fitting that Philadelphia finally has a tournament again, in a major city like Philly?

EMLYN AUBREY: I'm glad it does finally because when I was a kid what really got me started on golf, they had the IVB Golf Classic, and I think I got to see the '72 Open at Merion. You know, that was -- I was six, seven, eight years old at the time and that's what really got me juiced on golf. I don't know how long ago the IVB hasn't been, but ever since I was on TOUR, the only time I've ever played Pennsylvania was the Open in Oakmont in '94. I played fairly well there, and, you know, it's great to come back and finally have a tournament, especially in this area. And I guess they are going to switch it back and forth from eastern to western Pennsylvania; so I kind of hope this market takes off a little better and they keep it over on this side.

Q. Did you ever play this course when you were a kid? Any junior events in this immediate area?

EMLYN AUBREY: I played some junior events down there but I never knew anything about this course. I've heard of the town of Waynesborough and New Town Square, Paoli, but I never new anything about this golf course.

Q. Did you think the $11,000 that was needed --?

EMLYN AUBREY: That was in New Orleans this year back in May.

Q. Was that the toughest 11,000 you ever had to make?

EMLYN AUBREY: Really, there's several steps -- several things that I could have played in if I'd made it earlier. One of them being the TPC Championship in Florida which is, I think, obviously our biggest tournament, especially money-wise, so if I'd made it up before then, I could have played then. The first cut I did make was the Honda Classic right before that. So, again, it just took longer than I thought. And at that time, you're missing some cuts and then you make one and only make half of it, then you are going like, well, just make one more cut and I'll be all right, instead of just going out and playing hard and playing good golf. There's a time in there where I was thinking about trying to make the cut so I could get over that 11,000 that I needed, and anybody will tell you, you can't play golf like that. So it was getting a bit frustrating and I finally just relaxed and I played a good tournament in New Orleans. I think that was the first week in May. Took me four months to do it. I thought that was going to be a big relief. I did struggle for quite a while after that, too. I don't think it was all -- it was all my mental part. Once you get over that and you want to start over and work on the Top-125.

Q. You have a history of getting your card late in the year?

EMLYN AUBREY: I don't like myself for doing that.

Q. Does that give you some positive thought coming into the end of the season?

EMLYN AUBREY: Yeah, even though I don't like to play this time of year, kind of getting a little burnt out, it seems to make me focus a little harder, maybe. You know, if I'm tired of playing, maybe I'm just kind of not into it quite as much and maybe relax a little bit. Like I said, I don't like myself for doing that every year, but it seems to be what I do best. If I'm going to play good, it's at the end of the year. That's why last year was a bit unfortunate because I played real well up until my injury. Would have been interesting to see how good a year I might have had if I had not gotten hurt.

Q. Do you have a contingent of friends and family out here today?

EMLYN AUBREY: Yeah, I sure do. My parents came down, plus several other people. Ticket requests are kind of hard to fulfill, but it's fun to see everybody.

Q. We have heard so much about the greens, are any holes tough driving holes for you guys?

EMLYN AUBREY: The rough is a little spotty, but for the most part it is pretty deep, and any time you hit it in the rough, you have trouble getting it on the right part of the green that you need to be to have not necessarily a birdie putt, but a good chance at a 2-putt. There's spots on these greens where you may not be able to 2-putt this week, especially if they get a little faster than they are now. But there's some key holes. 10 and 16 are real good driving holes. You know, short holes like 12 and 13, even though they are irons off the tee, they are real important to get in the fairway so you can have a short iron in and control it and have a good chance to make birdies. Not many opportunities out there like that.

End of FastScripts...

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