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January 19, 2011

Jhonattan Vegas


JOE CHEMYCZ: We welcome Jhonattan Vegas in with an 8-under par 64. Rookie on the PGA TOUR and, Jhonattan, excellent playing today, talk about your round and what worked so well for you.
JHONATTAN VEGAS: It was, the start of it was a great round, obviously, but like I said, my game has been in pretty good shape. I made sure that throughout the break I practiced a lot, I stayed on top of my game. Because I knew this year was going to be important for me.
I didn't want to come here rusty. And last week I had a fairly decent tournament in Hawaii, unfortunately I didn't get to play on Sunday, but I feel like I was playing good golf.
And I went out today and hit the ball great and made some good putts today. That was the key for today. I really putted well and I hit the ball fairly well, just like last week, and, you know, 8-under.

Q. Must have been frustrating to make the cut last week and then still not get to play the last day.
JHONATTAN VEGAS: To be honest, it was. Because, I mean, first tournament of the year, rookie season, all you want to do is play, make the cut and play on the weekend. Just test yourself against the best players in the world.
And that's what I really wanted to do. On Saturday I fought the whole day to try to get it to 2-under and make the cut on play on Sunday, but I missed it by one.
It was a little frustrating, but it's another week this week and we are here, we're excited and playing well.

Q. Obviously get to play four rounds here, was that part of the appeal of coming here or were you just going to play wherever you can play right now?
JHONATTAN VEGAS: Right now, beginning of the season, I'm going to try to play as much as I can. Hopefully play well and set myself for a good rest of the 2011 and that's the plan.
I feel like that it's going to be a great year and we're going to keep playing and play hard.

Q. It's been a long time since you walked that course with that one shoe on.
JHONATTAN VEGAS: It's been a long, long, long time.

Q. Talk about that long time. Does it feel like it was yesterday or does it feel like it was a long time ago?
JHONATTAN VEGAS: I would not say that it was a long time ago. I guess it was a few years ago. Like what, no, it was like what, seven years ago?
It's been a long road. It's been exciting. I think I've been fortunate enough to be surrounded or I surround myself with great people that have helped me get here and, but like I said, it's just been a learning experience, that's how I'm taking this, as a learning process. And I try to learn as much as I can from these guys and keep getting better.

Q. When you grow up in a place where there has never been a PGA TOUR player, who do you look up to when you're a kid and say, I want to be like that guy?
JHONATTAN VEGAS: I would say not like I want to be like someone, but I want to be the first one of being there representing my country, have somebody in the biggest stage of the world in golf and represent, do my best, and try to show the world that people from Venezuela can still play golf.

Q. What did you do Sunday? Did you get another practice round in or just relax? Do you feel like you have a little bit of advantage to not have to do that 36 holes and fly over here?
JHONATTAN VEGAS: To be honest, I guess it was a little advantage from not playing on Sunday, I guess. Because I was able to get a flight Saturday night after I played, get here on Sunday, and play actually this course on Sunday. So I actually got to see all four courses, which I think is huge for a rookie.
Four golf courses, to try to play in three days is tough. And I was fortunate enough to take a look at every course and I think that's kind of what helped me play so well today.

Q. Was there anything you learned in that Sunday round that you used today?
JHONATTAN VEGAS: You do, you learn things every day. Don't hit it here, don't hit it there. But I got a plan that Sunday when I came here, and I stick to it and it turned out pretty good today.

Q. Someone who hits it as far as you do did you ever have periods in your career where it was tough to control, because you hit it pretty straight now.
JHONATTAN VEGAS: I've always felt like I can hit it pretty long, but very straight too. Sometimes the stats don't show that, but I feel like I can, when I'm swinging it really well I feel like I can hit a lot of fairways. And I did that today. I hit a lot of fairways today and -- but I feel like I'm pretty, fairly straight for a long hitter.

Q. Also, you were down six strokes going into the last round in the Nationwide Tour event that you won last year, do you remember how that unfolded and what your mindset was going into that day?
JHONATTAN VEGAS: It was an exciting day, to be honest. The last year, before the year before I won, I had the lead of that tournament and I lost it on Sunday. And I went with the mentality on Sunday to give my best, play hard, play as strong as I could. And things turn out your way. When you're going to win things, you get good breaks, make good putts. And that Sunday I started really, really, really well and I end up with some birdies the last few holes, which just gave me that win. But it was exciting.

Q. From your country and going to Texas, baseball is big and football is big in Texas, is there anyone that you looked up to in those particular sports growing up or was it just golf all the time?
JHONATTAN VEGAS: It was mainly golf all the time. My parents, they always been around golf and we as a family has always been, have always been around golf.
So I've always kept golf in my mind. I played baseball growing up, when I was eight or nine, and, I mean, I like it, but it was mainly golf. And thank God for that, because it's a great sport.

Q. No big baseball or football hero?
JHONATTAN VEGAS: I have, I mean I have, I mean I got some favorite players, like Omar Vizquel, which he played, I think he is still playing and Andres Galarraga, who was a big hitter too. And you see that and they have success and you think that you can relate yourself to that and they did it in that sport and it can be done in some other sport.
JOE CHEMYCZ: Jhonattan, thank you.
JHONATTAN VEGAS: Thank you, guys.

End of FastScripts

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