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August 4, 2011

Nick O'Hern


THE MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Nick O'Hern into the interview room here at the Reno-Tahoe Open. Very nice start 7-under 65, bogey-free. You just mentioned how perfect the greens were and conditions this morning. Talk a little bit about the round and then we'll go from there.
NICK O'HERN: Yeah, first group out, so obviously I got nine very, very fresh greens, and smooth greens, which is nice. The back nine they started to get a little bumpy. The poana going to crop up later in the day, so those guys are gonna have it a little tougher.
But I played beautiful the front nine. Probably had about 11 putts front nine for 4-under, and then snuck a couple birdies in on 17 and 18 to finish 7.
So that was very pleasing. Can't play much better than that. You know, I hit a lot of good shots. Missed couple putts, but every time I hit an ordinary shot I got it up and down for par, so I kept the round going.
THE MODERATOR: Take us through your birdies. Were you hitting it close most of the day, or any long putts in there?
NICK O'HERN: Yeah, second hole I hit it to about five feet, the par-5, for birdie.
Where we after that? 6, I think. I'm trying to remember this golf course. It's been a while since I've been here. 6, I sunk about a 20-footer. That was probably my longest putt of the day.
And then on 8, about a 10-footer; on 9, about a 10-footer.
13, is the par-5. I sort of the chipped it up to about three feet.
17, about a 10-footer there. I was really just playing for par on the hole, but managed to hit a good second shot. It was a tough 71st hole, that one.
Then 18 I hit a lovely wedge in to about four feet.
THE MODERATOR: Great. Thank you, Nick. Questions.

Q. You mentioned you haven't played this golf course all that often. How does it matchup with your game?
NICK O'HERN: Very good obviously. I think the last time I was here was '01 or '03, I can't remember, to be honest, and I missed the cut that time.
I do enjoy the fact that the ball goes a long way because I'm only a short hitter. So it's nice to get the driving stats up. But at the same time, you do have to keep it in play here. There is a lot of trouble if you're a little bit wayward.
I kept the ball below the hole most of the day and gave myself a lot of birdie chances. So, yeah, I played really nice. I played well last week at the Greenbrier but had a cold putter, and it was nice to finally get the putter warmed up.

Q. First group out, I guess how did that help?
NICK O'HERN: Yeah, nine perfect greens is really good. I mean, the poana -- the afternoon groups are going to have some interesting times when it gets a little bit bumpy and the seed gets up.
But the greens are in great shape. The golf course is as good as you'll ever want to play. It's in very good shape.

Q. You're one of the few guys here headed to the PGA next week.
NICK O'HERN: No. I wish I was. I think maybe if I win this week might get me there.

Q. Can you talk about that? Obviously being able to get into that would help.
NICK O'HERN: Absolutely. Yeah, I mean, I played the Atlanta -- I played the Atlanta Athletic Club was it '03 it was there?

Q. '01, I think.
NICK O'HERN: Was it '01? I can't remember. It's been so long ago. I'm getting old. I really enjoyed it. Very tough track.
But first things first. We've got three more rounds to go. It's a long way yo go. But I would love to be there.

Q. They talked about switching the nines around, you know reversing so you finish on 18. How did you approach that? Did you have a set plan? Did it change during the course of the round?
NICK O'HERN: Not really, to be honest. I love the way it's set up now. As I said, 17 is one of the toughest 71st holes you'll find when it comes Sunday.
18 is a good risk/reward hole. You can make eagle or bogey or double for that matter. I think the way they're set up is much better than how was it before, because the current 8 and 9, they're nice holes, but they're not exciting holes, I don't think.

Q. Did you plan on going for the green in two on 18?
NICK O'HERN: If I could reach, but it was into the breeze. If it's in range, I definitely will, but a lot depends on the pin position and how far I got.

Q. So putting very well. Reading these greens, you don't have any trouble with that? Do you have a technique for the mountain read, or have you always been able to do that?
NICK O'HERN: You know, I don't know actually if it does break towards certain places. I didn't even bother this week to figure that out, because sometimes that can screw you around a little bit.
So I just weren't with my gut. I had some good putts and then some which I probably had that local effect of going towards some mountain, but I'm not sure which one yet. So I've got to figure that out as I go.
THE MODERATOR: Anything else? All right. Nick, thanks for your time.
NICK O'HERN: All right.

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