May 26, 2001
CORNING, NEW YORK
LAURA NEAL: Let's see your score card first, Dottie.
DOTTIE PEPPER: Started out with a good two-putt par at 1, and made a 6-footer for birdie at the second for getting it up-and-down just short and right of the green. Made a two-putt birdie from 24 feet at the 5th after hitting a 5-iron in there. And holed out a 9-iron at the 6th from 110. Followed that with birdie at the 9th; hit 6-iron in there about 25 feet. Last of the day was 5-iron into 11; about 15 feet there.
Q. Dottie, tell us about the last hole there. On No. 18 you put your second shot in the bunker.
DOTTIE PEPPER: Yeah, left bunker.
Q. Did you feel, at that point, that perhaps the concentration had broken down or something?
DOTTIE PEPPER: No, I had a very bad lie in the bunker. I chased the pin, no question. I tried to play aggressively and just didn't hit a very good shot. Smart play would have been to take it to (inaudible) ball and turn it off the right. Unfortunately, I didn't make the swing -- that wasn't what the thought process was. As it turned out, it was a very good bunker shot because it was a very poor preparation for that bunker shot. The bunker was in terrible shape, just mounded up like a pitcher's mound in that right portion of the bunker. So the results, the bunker shot was actually probably even better than the 6 inches, 8 inches that I hit it from the hole which was pretty good.
Q. You started off the day several shots off the lead, right back in contention now. All this year you certainly are a money winner. Do you go out there even if you are several shots behind, do you go out there and tee it up feeling you can get back in contention at any given point?
DOTTIE PEPPER: Absolutely. In this kind of golf course you can do that in the first six, seven holes. I think that's where the majority of the scoring comes. And if you can get off to a good start, you can then chase a few more on the back side and really get a good number on the board. Unfortunately, I didn't do that. I left a lot out there. I think I missed just two greens all day. Frankly, not to make any coming in from 11 was a little disappointing, considering where I put the ball on the golf course. I left a few out there, but it got me back in contention. Just a matter of how much I'm going to have to make up tomorrow.
Q. How do you feel going into tomorrow?
DOTTIE PEPPER: I had a very good ball-striking day as far as I drove the ball extremely well today. I think I might have missed one fairway. It was a better ball-striking round than I had yesterday. The putter felt pretty decent, speed was good all day, didn't leave many putts short. I was being aggressive about it all day. Hopefully won't be too far back going into tomorrow.
Q. Are you surprised by the numbers put on the course so far this year? A lot of low scores, probably one of the lowest cut lines in Corning Classic history.
DOTTIE PEPPER: The quality of the field says a lot for it also. You had very good conditions on Thursday, it was prime scoring. Yesterday afternoon, it was pretty difficult, I'll be honest. 71 -- if you looked at the board yesterday after play finished, I think there were only two players or three players in the top 15 that played in the early/late split. So conditions were much more favorable to have a tee time that was late on Thursday and early on Friday, because of the golf course played soft and kind of long on Thursday morning plus, the rain delay or the fog delay. It played very difficult when you can't see it, it's real difficult. Then the wind came up yesterday afternoon. If you had a late/early split, it was advantageous and the scores showed that.
Q. How are the conditions different today? There are a lot of players scoring well today.
DOTTIE PEPPER: Conditions were a little heavier today. But the winds were much lighter. So the greens are holding. Yesterday afternoon they were very firm. I had wedges hit the middle of the greens and bounce over. They had gotten pretty crusty yesterday afternoon, they had gotten a little dried out. The conditions were pretty well primed today. You got two or three par 5s downwind and are reachable. So it's -- there's scores out there to be had. I just needed to get a little lower than I was even.
Q. Do you have a particular strategy for tomorrow? Did you learn anything from today's round you want to do differently?
DOTTIE PEPPER: I'm going to go out there and do the same thing. I stood up there -- two shots, at 1 and at 10, if you hit the shot that needed to be played, hit it hard cut -- exactly what I did. Set up the whole 9 on both holes. So I go out there, hit the shots that are demanded in each spot tomorrow, and see how low I can go.
Q. Coming back to Corning, would it mean anything to you or anything more to you to win a tournament in your home state?
DOTTIE PEPPER: Well, it wouldn't be the first in the home state, but it would certainly -- any time you can win close to where you are born or relatively close -- not that Lincoln is around the corner or anything. But certainly it would be a highlight. I'm out here trying to win every golf tournament, not trying to put any more emphasis on any one. Certainly looking forward to next week. You know it's the Open, you know you got one more round to make sure you're prepared. And there's a golf tournament to be won tomorrow, so we'll go see what we can do about it.
DOTTIE PEPPER: Short par 5 downwind. I hit driver and 5-iron in there yesterday. Course is getting longer.
Q. When we talked on Thursday, you were not pleased with your game and you were surprised as where you were at and the number you put up. Do you feel where you should be now?
DOTTIE PEPPER: No. I think it's getting closer. My par right now the way I'm playing should be about 68. If you're excited about 2-under, that's fine. But I think I'm playing well enough to lower my -- to raise my expectations and lower the number I'm comfortable shooting in. 66 is great, but it's not -- it's to be expected. I'm out there expecting to shoot good scores. I've put a good score on the board, but it wasn't a great score.
End of FastScripts....