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January 22, 2011

Jhonattan Vegas


MARK STEVENS: Jhonattan Vegas, welcome back. We should put your name on this chair, but you have a share of the lead going into the final round. If you want to talk about today. And you've got 32 birdies through the first 72 holes, which is about tied for second in TOUR history. So not too bad. Talk about that, and then we'll take a few questions.
JHONATTAN VEGAS: Well, good seeing you guys again.
No, it was a pretty interesting day today. The round started really, really slow. I started hitting some really crazy shots out there. But stayed patient, stayed really positive throughout the round and was able to hit some really good shots in a row.
Especially on my front nine, made three birdies in a row, which got the momentum going on my side, which was good. It was really positive. And then made another bogey on 12, par 3, so it kind of slowed down a little bit. But I knew I had a few par-5s in front of me, which I took advantage of and made two birdies.
And then I saw the leaderboard and saw that Gary was at 24, so I really tried to push it a little bit and things went my way. I made five birdies, the last five holes actually, so that was great to finish that way.
MARK STEVENS: Take questions.

Q. What were the problems early? Were you just not hitting fairways today, like you did yesterday, or not hitting greens?
JHONATTAN VEGAS: Well, it was a little bit of both. I wasn't just swinging it the right way. Just one of those things that happens to a golfer, that you get off form with where you're not hitting it the right way. So you got to get to know the greens and make some putts, which that's kind of what I did. I didn't feel great the whole day, compared to yesterday. Yesterday I hit it absolutely great.
So I didn't feel comfortable, but I just found a way to get it on the greens and I made a few putts, so that's always good. And as a golfer, you got to find a way to do that sometimes.

Q. What change would you fix, would you tweak before those last five holes?
JHONATTAN VEGAS: I just kept going to basics. I just kept going to finding a good balance, finding the targets that I really wanted, and did that. And I hit some really good shots after, what, after seven holes, I think. I hit a really good shot on 8 to about three feet, and then after that, I hit a really good shot. I kept hitting really good shots into the greens.

Q. Seemed like there was very little wind out there all day. Can you comment on the conditions?
JHONATTAN VEGAS: Yeah, they couldn't be any better, I think. Especially for all the courses, which is good to have same conditions every where.
But, yeah, the course, the La Quinta was in great condition. Absolutely perfect. As all the other courses are too. So it's good, it's good to finish the way I did, tied for the lead and here we are.

Q. It's obviously a little early to watch scoreboard, but did you know that you had slipped back four or five shots from the lead and did it bother you at all?
JHONATTAN VEGAS: No, it didn't at all. Because I was watching the scoreboard and I saw the guys not really making the huge move. I think Gary, when I was making those bogeys, I think that he was like around 20, and I was at 17. So I was only three shots back. And I knew that I had a lot of birdie holes in front of me, and I just had to stay patient.
And like I said yesterday, that's a huge key for me, because sometimes you get out there and get anxious, and sometimes that's not good. But it was great and I just loved the way I finished.

Q. How does it feel to be in the zone?
JHONATTAN VEGAS: Man, it feels great. I really wish that I could be there a little more often. It's hard to find. But once you find it, to maintain it is hard. But I've been able to do it off and on. And especially it's hard to do it during this pro-am days because it takes so long, and so you got to try to get off of it. Because you can get really tired if you stay on it the whole time.

Q. How does a golfer from Venezuela make it all the way to the PGA as you have, and what tips do you have for Latinos that are trying to become golfers?
JHONATTAN VEGAS: Hey, man, I would say that you got to find that thing that you're passionate about, just give it everything you have. And as long as you're doing everything you love in life, things are going to be going the right way. And things are fun with golf. Thank God I found golf. He led me here.

Q. Those final five holes, tell us the club you hit in and the length of putt?
JHONATTAN VEGAS: Yeah, it was, what, 14 or 13, what is it? 14 was the par-5. Just kind of hit a good driver, just the ball didn't really fade to the fairway. Hit it in the left rough, had to punch it out from the trees to about 830 yards and hit it to about four feet and made a good putt.
Next hole, good drive. A little left in the rough, hit it out to the front of the green, chipped it a little too hard and to about 15 feet and made it coming back, which was huge.
The next hole was a par-3, I hit a 9-iron to about six feet. I made that one.
17, I hit a really good driver and a really tough narrow par-4 there, hit a wedge to about 10 feet and made that one.
Then a good tee shot on No. 9, which was my 18th hole, hit a wedge to about 15 to 18 feet and made a huge putt to finish the round, which was a good position to be in for tomorrow.

Q. Late tee time tomorrow obviously. You have family here, obviously, anything you guys do in the morning, any special breakfast, anything like that?
JHONATTAN VEGAS: No plans right now. Right now, it's just sleep in, try to relax, and have fun. I'm having a great time. This is my second tournament as a member, and I'm loving the way things are going right now. So I just got to keep having fun and let everything just happen.
MARK STEVENS: Good luck tomorrow.
JHONATTAN VEGAS: Thank you, guys.

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