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June 8, 2000

Dennis Paulson


NELSON LUIS: Dennis, great afternoon round for you. Very few guys shooting low, and you were able to overcome some things out there. Why don't you talk a little about your round.

DENNIS PAULSON: Probably the most solid round I played all year. When I didn't get it in the fairways, it was on holes it didn't really matter too much. I missed the fairway on 18; so it was tougher to get home in two. I missed fairway on 2 and I only had a sand wedge into the green. I went for the green on 7 and hit it in the rough. No big deal. I didn't get it up-and-down and that was a tough pin to get at. I dropped in the rough on 5, the par 5; I was in the first cut. I drove the ball really well when I had to and I hit a lot of really good iron shots today. I hate to say, I didn't putt very well. I made a lot of 6-footers, but the longest putt I made all day was an 11-footer. I hit a lot of shots close. I missed it probably five times outside of 15 feet; one of them was about five feet. So, it was a solid round of golf today.

Q. You and Duffy seemed to have picked up where you left off here last year.

DENNIS PAULSON: I would like the result to be this way instead of where it was last year. I can't say enough about Duff. He birdied the last three holes last year. I didn't lose the golf tournament; he won it, and that's what it's all about. I have not lost one bit of sleep over what happened last year at this tournament. It's the only tournament on the PGA TOUR last year where a guy shot a low round and posted it and didn't finish on top. You know Pernice did it and Olin Browne did it and four or five other guys did it, too. And Duffy is the only guy that did it last year where he was able to get it into the house and take it away from someone who posted a good round earlier in the day.

Q. Anything that led to your good play this week? Just showing up at Westchester automatically means you're going to go low?

DENNIS PAULSON: I really like this course. I really do like it. I pride myself -- most shots were pin-high and you've got to be precise with your irons, and I love fast, slopey greens. That's kind of what I grew up on, and although they were not that fast today, it's nothing like the golf course that we played last year on Sunday. But, it's drying out pretty quick. It could end up that way on Sunday if we don't get anymore rain, for sure. I just like the go course. It's a real fun course. I think the first day at Augusta is the only round that I've played solid this year. Maybe Phoenix I played good in the first rounds. I've been shooting 73, 74, 75 the first day and shooting myself out of the tournament, which is nice that I didn't do that today.

Q. Were you starting to wonder about that?

DENNIS PAULSON: It's just kind of weird, you know, I've been telling my caddie, Drew, let's just try to make a couple birdies before we make a couple bogeys. It seems like I'm always 2- or 3-over after four holes and you're battling back. I've been making most of the cuts from -- maybe a good last nine holes and you play solid on Friday, but you just feel like you're beating yourself starting the tournament and already being 3-over par and being in seventh or eighth place after the first day. You really don't have much of a chance to win unless you shoot three great rounds of golf. And if you're shooting 74s or 75s, you probably don't have three good rounds of golf in you. But I'm playing a little better. I've seen a lot of improvement over the last month or so. Still, it's disappointing today; it wasn't great putting. But it definitely wasn't bad putting, that's for sure.

Q. Does one bad start come to mind, like this year when you were a couple over , a bunch over after three, four, five holes?

DENNIS PAULSON: Where did I play the last tournament? In Memorial I think I shot 40 in my first 9 holes. Dead. I've got to shoot 60-whatever I shot to make the cut. The cut was 1-over. I think I shot 68 or 69 on Friday to make the cut. It's like, well, you know, that would be nice to shoot 67, 68, 69 tomorrow, and, you know, have a little more fun on the weekend. It would be nice sleeping in.

Q. Did you learn anything at the Masters?

DENNIS PAULSON: Leading the tournament the first day totally, you know, just like I said a little while ago, it's like kissing your sister; it's no big deal. It doesn't matter. What matters is not shooting 75, 75, 76, something like that the first day. Anything in the 60s or under par the first day is a bonus. And most of the courses that were played for the next few weeks, especially, you know, for the last month, anything under par the first rounds would be fine, put you in the hunt. We've got some hard golf courses. Next week is not going to be that different. Shooting 1- or 2-under at Memphis is not that exciting because 20-under will win the tournament. We've had some tough courses here, and you just need to keep it around par. Last year I wasn't doing much. I barely made the cut. Shot a decent round on Saturday and shot the low round on Sunday and it was only a 67. This is a tough golf course. I don't think I learned anything. You know, I've been playing this game long enough, enough tournaments that it doesn't matter until Sunday. It really doesn't matter until Sunday.

Q. Did you find your recognition factor greatly increased just there leading the first round at Augusta?

DENNIS PAULSON: Oh, yeah. Especially at home. I got a lot of press at home. Also just going to the airport, dropping my car off on Monday morning at Augusta. We drove our family to Atlanta and I dropped them off at the airport. You know, at the airport there, you've got to go off-site and drop off the car. I'm in the -- you know, in the big bus going back over to the airport and everybody is looking at me like I've got something on my shirt or something is hanging off my face or who knows what's going on. "You sure look like Paulson." "Well, I am." It's like, oh, no and then everybody is throwing stuff at me getting me to sign and stuff like that. It's fun. But, you know, got to win it. Leading doesn't mean anything. You've got to win it.

Q. So was there anything hanging off your face?

DENNIS PAULSON: No, I guess not.

Q. Did that little delay bother you at all on 9?

DENNIS PAULSON: You know, it took us 15 minutes to get it done, more than that, maybe. And I finally chimed in there to Ed and said, Ed, can you just get relief from that, don't try to take relief from the cart path, but can you just get relief from the fence. They get you near the cart path, near the end of the cart path and you at least have a swing on the path. And he jumped at that option, because Mike didn't offer it to him, I guess. They were thinking about going over the bushes over on the 10th tee to get his nearest point of relief because of where it was tied in because it was all one big -- I don't even know what it was, some big area. I think the bushes behind the green on 9 there might be a weather -- weather siren or something in there. So the whole thing is kind of a free drop zone, I guess. So he took the drop, and the first ball looked like it was okay, and Mike said it closer to the hole and he had to drop it again and went up against that piling that holds up all the cables. I know you get relief from that; you can't move that. And I'm going, "Oh, no, he's going to have nothing." He can't play the shot, but it turned out, I guess the ball was far enough away from it because he could chip it on the green pretty easily from there. But no, it didn't bother me. It was part of the game. It bothered him more trying to figure out what was going on and that it took him so long.

NELSON LUIS: Let's go over your birdies and bogeys.

DENNIS PAULSON: No. 10, I hit driver off the tee and put it 10 yards short of the green and chipped it up to about 7 feet and made it. 13, I hit a 3-wood off the tee and hit a pitching wedge from 140 to about five feet and made that. Hit a 9-iron on 14 about six or seven feet; made that. Hit it 11 feet on 16, the par 3 with a 4-iron; made that. I laid up on 5 and hit a sand wedge from 73 yards, I think I had, to about two feet; made that. And then I 2-putted about 45 feet, I guess. Missed about a 5-footer on 4. Missed a 12-footer -- a 9- or 10-footer on one. Missed maybe an 11- or 12-footer on 2. Missed about a 10- or 11-footer on 15. You know, hit some pretty good shots. 3, I hit to 20 feet. 6, I didn't hit it close. 7, I didn't hit it close. 8 is the only green I missed. Actually, I might have missed the 17th green. I was right up against the column and I didn't mark it. And I hit it on the bunker on 8. Only bad iron shot I hit all day, with the exception of some wedges. And hit a bunker shot out to about three feet, I guess; made it for par. Really good bunker shot because I was up against the front face and I had about, I don't know, probably 50-foot bunker shot. Really close.

End of FastScripts….

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