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May 19, 2012

Jason Dufner


THE MODERATOR:テつ We would like to welcome Jason Dufner into the interview room, our leader after 54 holes of the HP Byron Nelson Championship.テつ Jason, windy, great ball‑striking round for you.テつ Comment on the day.
JASON DUFNER:テつ Similar conditions as yesterday afternoon, so probably helped me a little bit, just being comfortable with the wind and how hard it was blowing.テつ Some of the guys who maybe played in the morning yesterday maybe didn't have to deal with that as much, so maybe an advantage there.テつ Good ball striking, hit a lot of greens, a lot of balls many play.
That was helpful today and didn't feel like I was scrambling too much, trying to save pars or out of position, anything like that.

Q.テつ How challenging is 18 right now?テつ The wind and the water, but even the green looks like it's been tough on golfers.
JASON DUFNER:テつ That back right hole location is pretty severe back there, pretty important to get a good chance at birdie.テつ The hole was playing tough with the wind direction.テつ I mentioned yesterday, as golfers, we're not comfortable looking and aiming into the hazards, and that's what you have to do there on 18 to get the ball in the fairway.
So challenging, nice tee shot today, thought maybe it might sneak in the water, but it stayed up and hit a 9‑iron in there and good birdie putt, so one of the more difficult holes around the back 9.

Q.テつ Do you think the pin placement might be in the front tomorrow?
JASON DUFNER:テつ I think it will be about the same where it was last year, if you remember that, in the back left section there closer to the water.

Q.テつ Jason, you said you didn't feel like you were scrambling, and I don't know if you saw the leaderboard but there were guys on top and here at the end of the day you are right where you were yesterday.テつ Talk about the feel for that and to be in the position you're in.
JASON DUFNER:テつ It was a stress‑free round for me, like I said.テつ I was in position a lot off the tee, which enabled me to be aggressive with iron shots and didn't have too many, you know, must‑make par putts.テつ I had one on 15, and 16 I got a little bit out of position, but for the most part it's nice to play a round like that when the conditions are difficult.
The golf course is playing tough, and if you miss a shot or don't judge the wind properly you're going to be scrambling to make bogey.

Q.テつ Given how well your ball striking has been, really, for more than a year, do you want the conditions to be harder tomorrow?
JASON DUFNER:テつ Yeah, I think so.テつ I think that gives me a little bit of an advantage of how I'm hitting it right now.テつ I feel really comfortable with any shot that I need to hit.テつ I'm trying to work the ball into the wind a little bit so I've been able to hit draws with left or right wind, some cuts with right to left winds.
I feel real comfortable out there.テつ I think if it's windy again tomorrow, that shrinks the people that could possibly contend, you know, it's just going to be more difficult.テつ There is a premium on ball striking this week, I think.

Q.テつ You have had opportunities to play with the lead recently.テつ Do you like it?テつ Are you feeling comfortable with it?
JASON DUFNER:テつ I feel pretty good with it.テつ It's been pretty tight.テつ Last time in New Orleans was back and forth with Ernie; this week it's going to be the same thing.テつ There are a lot of guys around the lead.テつ I feel good with where my game is at, what I'm doing out there, getting more comfortable playing in final groups and getting more comfortable trying to win these tournaments.テつ I think the more you do it the more comfortable you're going to be, and the more successful you are, it's going to carry over.

Q.テつ If you could have a one‑stroke lead or one‑stroke deficit and play from behind, which would you choose going into the final round?
JASON DUFNER:テつ I kinda like both.テつ I know that's a bad answer.テつ (Laughter.)テつ Neither one is bad, but there is a little different mind‑set.テつ It depends on what guys are doing and how the rounds are going for everybody.テつ I'm going to try and go out ‑‑ I think the front nine is possibly playing a little bit easier.テつ It would be great to shoot 3 or 4‑under on that front nine.テつ There are so many people around the lead, I'm not sure what the numbers are but probably 10 guys within two or three shots of the lead, so that's bunched up and anything can happen out there.

Q.テつ Jason, how important was winning the‑‑ you said you were comfortable in the lead, but now you got to win.テつ How much better will that be for you heading into tomorrow?
JASON DUFNER:テつ There will be a lot of experiences I can draw from, New Orleans.テつ I've been out here, won an event now recently, so that says that my game is in good form and mentally I was able to grind through it there in New Orleans.テつ It was a tough thing for me to get over that hurdle.テつ Hopefully tomorrow I will have those thoughts in the back of my mind and encourage myself to think about those things and try and close this out.テつ Definitely can't hurt.

Q.テつ Jason, what have you learned about holding the lead?テつ You may not have know a couple of years ago or whatever.テつ Is it not panicking, not looking at the leaderboard?テつ What have you learned over the course of this?
JASON DUFNER:テつ One of the biggest lessons I have probably learned in the last two years or so is patience and the value of patience out here on the PGA TOUR.テつ Guys‑‑ yesterday I bogeyed two of the first three holes and possibly in the past I may have imploded and missed the cut or had a terrible day, but I kept telling myself there is a lot of golf to be played and to stick it out, and all of the sudden I chip in a couple, make a couple of long putts, and I'm leading.テつ Just the value of patience out here and knowing that not every shot is life or death.
You can make up shots, you can make 50‑footers, you have to be patient.テつ It's more of a test of patience than it is anything else, especially in these conditions, because it's difficult to be out there and close one of these in this type of situation.

Q.テつ Your only bogey came on No. 3, and I think you knew right away when you hit that tee shot it was way off.テつ What happened there?
JASON DUFNER:テつ Yesterday I hit it in the water there, so a little bit of carryover from yesterday, not trying to let those things happen, but occasionally they creep in your mind.テつ I was trying to hit a hard cut off that bunker and being too careful.テつ That bunker is almost as bad as being in the water, so tomorrow maybe I'll think of that and play more aggressive and try to hit the shot a little better.テつ Either spot you're dead.

Q.テつ The windy conditions, I can't remember, was it windy in New Orleans?テつ Do you consider yourself a good wind player?テつ The guys you were with today are west Texas boys, and they had a struggle with it, and you seemed to handle it just fine.
JASON DUFNER:テつ New Orleans was a little bit windy, petty much every year you get considerable winds there, similar to here, maybe not quite as much.テつ There is a little bit more room on that course to play; this course is probably tighter off the tees.テつ I grew up in south Florida playing a lot of high school golf there, so got comfortable playing in the wind, used to hit different shots on the range and find different wind directions.テつ I'm getting more comfortable with it than I ever have been, just from the fact that I'm hitting the ball clean right now, so I can use the wind as my friend, so to speak, or hit a lot of different shots depending on what the wind is doing, so that's been a key this week.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Jason Dufner, tomorrow should be fun.テつ Play well.
JASON DUFNER:テつ Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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