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August 4, 2011

Chris Riley


THE MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Chris Riley into the interview room; just the one bogey on the card today, 6-under 66. Just maybe a couple opening thoughts on how the golf course played.
CHRIS RILEY: I mean, I love coming back to Montreux. It's such a great place to play golf. I've had some success here, and it's always nice to come back to where you've played well.
So started off I think -- I made seven birdies and a bogey today. I birdied my second hole, which was a par-5. I hit wedge in there about four feet; made that.
On the next hole, the par-3, I hit an 8-iron about 13 feet; made that.
And then on my bogey on No. 5, I hit a good 3-wood, 9-iron, and a good putt, and then I missed three-footer. It was a bad putt; I came out of it.
And then I birdied No. 7. I hit a 9-iron to about 12 feet; made that.
Then on No. 9, I hit a driver, sand wedge to about 10 feet; made that.
Made the turn. Birdied 10, hit a driver about -- driver out there and hit a wedge about eight feet and made that.
Then number -- I get the nines mixed up because they switched it. No. 13 is a -- if you hit a good drive there it's an eagleable hole, par-5. I hit a 5-iron in there and clubbed the chip and kept it together and made about a 12-footer. It was an easy chip, too.
And then I birdied -- what other hole? Oh, my 17th hole. Hit a good 3-wood, wedge, to about 20 feet and made that.
Then on 18, I almost 3-putted, but I didn't, so it was good.
THE MODERATOR: Great. Thanks, Chris. Questions.

Q. Talk about how the course differs with the two nines? Did you approach it any differently? Does it change the way you attack things?
CHRIS RILEY: You know what? I guess it's the way Jack Nicklaus designed the course. This is how the members playing it, which is really exciting. No. 17 now, I mean, you can make anything on there. The guy leading the tournament come Sunday, he can make birdie or he can make a 7 or 8.
Same with 18, the par-5. If you thread a driver then you can get home in two. But if you don't hit a good drive there you can make a 7 easily.
So I think it's great that the tournament changed the nines. It's going to be a more exciting finish, because a lot of strokes can change within those last three holes.
So the course doesn't play any different. It's always nice. And the ball goes forever.

Q. How big of an advantage to be in one of the first two groups today?
CHRIS RILEY: Absolutely. There was no wind; the pace of play was unbelievable. We didn't wait at all. The greens were perfect.
So to be one of the first couple groups off is definitely an advantage compared to being, you know, today at 1:28. So if someone gets hot I can see a 7- or 8-under out there. Well, someone did shoot 7.

Q. Nick shot 7.
CHRIS RILEY: Yeah, Nick shot 7. In the afternoon I don't see it getting any lower, because some of the pin positions on the front nine are on shelves. And if the wind is blowing and the greens get a little harder, it's going to be pretty tough.

Q. Do you in a way have to kind of figure this as two different golf courses, your morning day and your afternoon day? Tomorrow does it differ?
CHRIS RILEY: Yeah, absolutely. I think in the morning, I mean, it's not a big difference, but it's definitely a shot or two, in my mind. With nobody being on the greens they're not as bumpy.
Tomorrow afternoon I know it's going to be a lot harder because there's gonna be -- the numbers are going to be posted. Tomorrow the guy who tees off first or second is going to have an advantage tomorrow.
So, yeah, definitely I just feel like I got one in the bank, so to speak. I'll play tomorrow however it comes.

Q. Obviously you've had a lot of success here. What about this course suits your game?
CHRIS RILEY: I don't know. Might be the state of Nevada. I went it UNLV. I don't know. At the International they used to have a - Colorado - it was a different format, but it was similar to this where you have really elevated tees and you're hitting down to -- and I played well there, too.
So I don't know. It's weird to think about it, but sometimes you just play well at different courses and in different places.
I love the greens and I know what they're going to do. It's just a fun place to come to.

Q. Do you come in here playing pretty well?
CHRIS RILEY: My results this year haven't been that great. I've had good rounds and my game is really close to playing really good, like I did today. I played well.
It's mostly I've just got to get out of my own way and play golf. I know my game is there. The older I get the more I think about it, and that's not a good thing.

Q. I don't believe you're in the PGA right now. That's got to be something else that's a nice little trinket with this tournament.
CHRIS RILEY: Absolutely. This is a great opportunity for all the pros like myself that have been there, done that, and then for the young guys trying to get their first win. These opposite events are very important for us.
It was kind of funny, I was watching the Golf Channel and they don't even mention this tournament. All they talk about is Tiger.
I promise you the guy who wins here on Sunday is gonna have a big smile on their face and it will jumpstart their career, like I did in '02 when I won. It elevated me to the Ryder Cup in 2004.
So don't ever underestimate the Reno-Tahoe Open. It's a PGA TOUR event and it's a great field. You can see the numbers speak for themselves.

Q. I don't know if this is probably consistent with pretty much every TOUR stop, but the leaderboard has four former champions on it. What does that say about familiarity?
CHRIS RILEY: Oh, yeah. There is definitely -- if you've won or have played a course several times, you do have an advantage over the younger guys that have never seen the golf course or don't know how far the ball -- I mean, some holes the ball's going -- if you hit it solid, you can hit a pitching wedge 170 yards, which we don't do very much at other places.
So my attitude here is it's fun, and you can hit a wedge anywhere from 135 to 175. So I try to have fun with it. You know, it's playing grass on a mountain, so it's kind of fun.
THE MODERATOR: Anything else? Thanks, Chris.
CHRIS RILEY: Thanks a lot. Appreciate it.

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