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August 5, 2000

Ernie Els


LEE PATTERSON: Maybe just a couple thoughts about today.

ERNIE ELS: I felt like I was out there forever. What did it take five and a half hours today? Everything was kind of okay until I got to the 14th tee. We waited for about half an hour there, felt like half an hour. Could have been 15, 20 minutes and I just didn't play well coming in. I might say, the conditions were a lot tougher from that point. It was a breeze that picked up and was kind of hard to get your club selection right and I made actually a bogey on 14 on the par 5 which is a major sin in this format. Didn't think much about that. I had a couple of birdie opportunities. After that point at 14, I played very solid. Never looked like making a bogey. I hit just about every green. I had quite a few birdie opportunity which I took. I played a pretty solid round up 'til there. I had 8 points. Disappointing not to finish with a birdie, par on 17 and 18, but I have got an 8-point lead, so I can look onto the bright side of things again, I guess.

Q. What is your strategy for tomorrow with an 8-point lead? Will you just want to stay aggressive and just try to keep making birdies?

ERNIE ELS: You know, I have got to play well tomorrow. I have got to get a number in my mind and I really got to try and play low tomorrow. I really got to play the way I played the first two days. I have got to just shoot the lights out tomorrow. That is what I got to try and do. I have to be aggressive. I have to know that these guys are going to come -- they have got to try and catch me. I am leading the golf tournament and they have got to play very well to beat me tomorrow. That is what I am going to try and do tomorrow.

Q. So many guys, good players are up on the leaderboard. It is a marquis-leaderboard-type deal. Does this course bring out the best in the best type deal?

ERNIE ELS: Well, I think if you look at the leaderboard they are all pretty long hitters. Guys on the leaderboard, you know, altitude is different, which is helping their games. You see that year in and year out. You normally see a guy that hits the ball high and far do well here. Only because you can reach the par 5s, and you can move it a little bit -- yeah, actually I checked out the leaderboard on the 18 and it is pretty good. Mickelson, past champion here a couple of times, and Greg quite a few other players, so you know, it is a quality field and guys are playing quality golf.

Q. Go over 14 a little bit.

ERNIE ELS: All of a sudden, as I said, there was this wind that just kind of came from nowhere and it was a right-to-left wind as we played it. It was kind of into our faces and all three of us actually missed the fairway left and we all actually had to lay-up short of that ditch about 107 yards short of the green. Greg was first to play his third shot. He came up short and I thought I better stand on his 8-iron a little bit and his ball just took off straight over the green. Stewart actually hit a very good third shot in there. He must have learned from our mistakes. I couldn't get the ball up-and-down. I thought I hit a perfect putt for par and the ball just stayed out the hole and stopped right behind the hole and I had to take a 6 there. But it was a very strange situation. All of a sudden this wind just picked up and -- it just felt kind of weird. Especially the last four holes, just didn't feel like the normal Castle Pines.

Q. Without the wind, I mean, the delay on the tee, wasn't --

ERNIE ELS: The delay --

Q. Frustrating, but didn't cause that?

ERNIE ELS: I think it did. I just -- I didn't feel like I did half an hour before that. It is tough sitting on the tee on a par 5 when you know you got to just rip this drive down there and try and get home in 2. It was just an awkward situation. I think all three of us played the hole very poorly. I guess it was the wait. It had to be.

Q. Did you guys get a chance to talk about anything there while you were waiting?

ERNIE ELS: I can't remember what we talked about. We had a chat.

Q. Was the delay because the people ahead of you were having trouble or what?

ERNIE ELS: I don't know. Just the field backed up. I don't know what happened. It wasn't nice sitting there.

Q. No. 10 in the past few years, you make eagle yesterday and good birdie today, feel like maybe you got revenge on that hole now?

ERNIE ELS: Definitely did. You play that hole with 7 points in three rounds, you have got to feel good about it. That hole is forgiven. I forgive that hole for what it did to me in the past.

Q. Do you have to get off to maybe a quick start to kind of close the door; not give the other guys encouragement type deal?

ERNIE ELS: I'd love to. It will be the perfect situation.

Q. Is that kind of a strategy.

ERNIE ELS: Well, yeah, as I said before, I don't know how I am going to start tomorrow, but I know I have got to play well tomorrow. I just know that I have got to shoot something in the nature of a 67 or something like that, and just play solid; do the things I have been doing and if somebody catches me, then it is good luck to him. They have got to play really well tomorrow then.

Q. You have an 8-point lead. Obviously we know that. Tomorrow you are looking at four birdies, parring the rest of it out. A nice easy round. 16 points. That is almost really difficult for anybody else to pull 16 points in one day especially on a final day. Are you feel a little more comfortable? I know you are talking about you need to shoot them out; you need to make them chase you, et cetera, but in all honesty, you really don't have to do it that much....

ERNIE ELS: You can look at it that way, but just the situation is that I can't go out there and feel relaxed, too relaxed about things. I just -- I don't want to feel that way, put it that way. I don't want to feel like it is in the bag, all of that. I have got to realize I have got one more round to play. I have got to play as well as I can and if a good round is a 68, as you say, so be it. But I'd like to go lower, so I'd like to push myself a little bit tomorrow and see what happens.


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