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April 16, 2000

Tom Lehman


JOAN vT ALEXANDER: We'd like to thank Tom Lehman for coming into the interview room. He shot a 6-under, 65 today. Great round. 5-under on the front side. Let's begin with a couple comments.

TOM LEHMAN: Well, I guess I was very pleased with the way I played. You know, I guess I had a bunch of mixed emotions. I'm a little disappointed that I didn't win, but the flipside of that is that I never dreamed that 12-under would have a chance to win it today, considering who was ahead of me and what their score was. In the end, I have to give Stewart Cink a big pat on the back. He birdied three of the last four holes. When you finish that way, it's the mark of a champion. So I applaud him for the way he played.

Q. Was there a point when you began to think -- when did you think you might have a chance to win this?

TOM LEHMAN: Probably when I birdied the 8th hole. I thought if I could get to 14-under, I may have a chance. That was kind of my thinking. And the key -- you know, I think the key holes were 10, 11, 12. Those holes were all playing into the wind a little more difficult today. I felt like if I could get through those holes with pars, I'd have a good chance of making a few more birdies in the last six holes. I bogeyed the 12th, which hurt, and I missed a short birdie putt, an 8-footer on 13, which hurt. I missed a 15-footer on 16, that's a 50/50 proposition there at best. Anyway, I just didn't quite get where I wanted to go.

Q. You said you didn't get to where you wanted to get. You got to where you wanted to get when you started today, didn't you?

TOM LEHMAN: I always want to go as low as you go. Today I wanted to shoot 65 -- it's a good score. But then when you get near the lead, you know, every birdie is critical. And I made one on 15, missed one on 16. And 18, a beautiful putt that looked like it couldn't miss, but it did. That one hurt. I figured if I could make that last putt and get to 13(-under), that would make things a little more difficult for the guys behind. But it wasn't meant to be. And 15 was playing very easy. Even if you hit a terrible shot in there, you could still get it close and make a birdie. So I needed to make that birdie on 18.

Q. What was the difference for you today as far as your game and the first three rounds?

TOM LEHMAN: Not a lot. I played the first day in that, you know, storm, and I was 5-under going into 18 and made a double. In the second round -- made a double somewhere in the second round. I know the very 1st hole, I made a double. It was pretty breezy that morning. Also, if I had played well that day and yesterday, a couple mistakes -- a 3-putt; hit it out of bounds on my 2nd hole on the second shot, but still made par, by the way. Still made some mistakes, but shot 67. I felt like I played very well from start to finish.

Q. When you have those high scores on a few holes, do you look back now and say: If only --?

TOM LEHMAN: On the 18th hole, it was playing like a par 5, and I tried to hit driver, driver which was a mistake. I should have just hit driver, 1-iron and then hit a wedge in there. Try to make a 4, at worst a 5. As it was, I lost one, maybe two shots; that was pretty stupid. If I could do one thing over, I'd do that.

Q. As you were going through your 65, were you surprised that a lot of other guys weren't coming with you?

TOM LEHMAN: Yeah, I saw Ernie get to 14. And at the time, I think I was four back. I just thought, you know, I need to get to 14(-under) myself. And then when he started coming backwards and Davis never kind of showed up at all, it looked like, on the board, Steve Lowery started backing up, and suddenly it was anybody's ball game, which definitely surprised me. But I think other times, you know what happens in the last groups is if somebody is not -- if the guys aren't playing well, you can kind of feed off each other in a good way, and you can also drag each other down in a negative way. And if both guys are struggling, you can get some real negative momentum going out there in your group, and it makes it very difficult.

Q. I don't know if you've ever been in the situation where Stewart was in today where he took the lead early in the back nine and lost it again. How difficult is that to come back, the way he did?

TOM LEHMAN: Well, you'd have to give the guy credit for hanging in there. But the back nine, you know, the first four or five holes in the back nine were the toughest holes, and the last four played the easiest. So he had some easy holes coming in, we all did. We all played relatively easy. You know, but sometimes, when you're leading, maybe you get a little bit nervous and you lose the lead, and you're not nervous anymore, and it makes it easier to get more aggressive. I don't know what's going on through his mind, but he obviously got everything going the right direction again and played well coming in.

Q. Did you have any trouble getting jacked up this week after the Masters hangover thing?

TOM LEHMAN: Masters hangover?

Q. A good round today obviously is a nice direction, but any of that this week, particularly without Melissa?

TOM LEHMAN: Well, I think this week is always a little more relaxed, just the nature of the place; and then added in with being out there at Augusta. But still, it's a golf tournament, and it's one of the best golf courses we play all year on the TOUR. And it always has a tremendous field, so it's not too difficult to get motivated to play. I think you kind of work your way into it as the week progresses. You go out there on Thursday, and you're just kind of strolling down the fairway feeling like Fred Couples by Sunday. You realize it's a tournament again.

Q. Is Stewart underappreciated as a player?

TOM LEHMAN: Oh, I think so. I think most of the guys are. I think most of the players are way better than the average golf fan gives them credit for.

Q. But he's obviously a good player who you don't hear a lot about.

TOM LEHMAN: Well, he's young. He's what? 25 or 26 years old. He's right there with David Duval and guys like that in college. I think if you do your history on Stewart, you know, what he accomplished in college and what he's accomplished so far on the TOUR, you realize that this is an awfully fine golf man. Well, 2nd hole, I used 3-wood from 245 from the middle of the green, and 2-putted from 40 feet. 3rd hole, I made about a 30-footer after hitting a lousy 9-iron. Then the 5th hole was just off the edge in two and chipped up about eight feet, and made that 8-footer. The 7th hole I hit a 6-iron about a foot from the hole and just tapped it in. I hit a 6-iron on the 8th hole about 10 feet behind the hole and snuck that one in; made the turn at 5-under. Drove it into the trees on 12 and made bogey. 15, hit a sand wedge to about six feet. 17, I hit a 7-iron to about 15 feet.

Q. What did you hit into 18 and how long was the putt?

TOM LEHMAN: I had 184. I hit a 3-wood off the tee, 184 and hit a 7-iron just past the hole.

Q. How long was the putt?

TOM LEHMAN: The putt was -- I think it was 9 steps; so it was 27 feet. That was a pretty putt, too. One of those ones where it got to be about five feet short, four feet short, it looked like it couldn't miss. I was briefly excited.

End of FastScripts….

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