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June 1, 2002

Bob Estes


TODD BUDNICK: Welcome Bob Estes back to the press room today. 69 has you a co-leader heading into tomorrow's final round. We got the round started off with a birdie on No. 2, the par-5 today. Can you walk us through it.

BOB ESTES: Hit driver past that right bunker in the right rough, 6-iron in the fairway and hit a 9-iron -- can't remember exact yardage now, it's been awhile back. But I hit 9-iron about five feet behind the hole. Made it for birdie.

The bogey on three, hit a really good 2-iron through the center of the green that rolled over the back edge. And I was on that hill and had a real tricky one, downhill left-to-right. And came up about six feet, actually six feet to the right. I just didn't get it high enough so ended up kind of right of the hole about six feet. And I hit a good putt there, but just didn't go in.

TODD BUDNICK: Then we came down number eight and birdied it.

BOB ESTES: Number eight I hit driver. Kind of over the hill. Kind of on the downslope. I think I had 136 to the hole. And hit a wedge three feet. Made it for birdie.

13 I might have messed up, but I still made birdie. I hit 2-iron off the tee. The fairways are getting so fast and firm I was trying to chase a 2-iron down to my number on top of the hill. But I mishit it a little bit so I left myself further back than you meant to be. And I had, I hit 3-wood from about 267 to the front. And I hit it over there just off the right edge about pin high and then chipped a 9-iron down there about two feet. Birdie.

16 3-wood, down the middle of the fairway. 9-iron from what was that, about 140, 143. Yeah, 143 to the hole. And hit it in there about 12 feet kind of short and left of the hole and made it.

17 I hit a really good 6-iron right at the flag and I was trying to land it short of where it did and I still don't know how it flew that far, but with the greens firming up the way they are and there's a little downslope there, short of that flag, I landed on that downslope and it just shot over the green. It didn't even have a chance. So I didn't mean to fly it that far, but when you're hitting that far downhill sometimes it's tough to gauge the wind just right or hit it just right. It's harder to control your distance. And anyway, I just knocked it over the green in that back bunker and you hit it back in that back bunker and you don't have a chance hardly to get it up-and-down. And I had the kind of lie in the bunker I couldn't even go at the flag, so I played to the right where I had a bit of a backstop and tried to make an 18 footer for par. Hit a good putt there but missed it.

TODD BUDNICK: So looks like we had trouble on the par-3s today but other than that.

BOB ESTES: Yeah, I guess I have to work on that.

TODD BUDNICK: Is that something --

BOB ESTES: No, normally I play them real well. But number three is like a short par-4 out there. You get to that tee and the wind is -- there's two groups. We walk up on the tee on three and the group ahead of us are still waiting on the group ahead of them. So the hole is tough enough. And when you have to wait that long to get to play. So we were on that tee for 15, 20 minutes before we got to hit our shots. And then the same thing happens on number six. You got two group waiting on number six as well. So it would be nice to not have holes like that that are like tough par-3s or short par-5s because that's what happens. But anyway, I mean, yeah, number three is just a hard hole. What is the other par-3 there? Number nine. I almost birdied number nine. That was kind of a standard hole. I hit it in there about 15 feet and just hit a good putt and didn't make it. But I am hitting ball real close to the hole, that's how you shoot low scores every day. It could have been 63, 65, 65. Easily. And I'm putting pretty good, the ball is just not going in the hole as often as it used to.

TODD BUDNICK: Well you got some familiarity with the lead after 54 holes, you've been there seven times and including last year's win at Fed Ex. So what are you looking for tomorrow or what are your thoughts on how your game plan would go.

BOB ESTES: Looking for about a 62.


TODD BUDNICK: 62 would be nice.

BOB ESTES: The course is playing so firm and the greens are so firm and fast and the greens as firm as they are, like I said outside, it's hard to, it's hard to get the ball close to the hole when the greens are that firm. When the pins are toward the front and you're going to see a lot of pins like that on some of these holes. And so sometimes you're going to have to play it beyond the flag, not mess with the hazards and the bunkers in front and try to make a longer putt. But no, somebody just asked me what I thought the winning score was going to be and it's probably going to be somewhere around 13- or 14-under. Somebody's bound to shoot something around 5 -, 6-, 7-under that's up around the lead. You got so many people right there in the 7- to 10-under range, I'll still have to probably shoot something at least 67, 68 to have a chance to win.

Q. Given your accomplishments the last couple years should you be looked at as the player to beat out here tomorrow?

BOB ESTES: No, I don't think so. But only because it's so tight. If I had a three or four shot lead, then based on how I played for the most part going back to last summer you could maybe say that. But with so many guys so close to the lead after two holes the leaderboard could look totally different. So yeah, I mean I would think that I would be one of the favorites just based on my World Ranking and past performance for the last 12 months. But that doesn't mean a whole lot. You still got to go out there and shoot that score.

Q. Not that you've been there that often this week but the rough looks pretty thick out there. I'm wondering if it has been pretty penal for the players?

BOB ESTES: Yeah. The rough is rough.

Q. Can you say something about the trap out there --

BOB ESTES: I thought you weren't going to let him leave?

(Laughter.) I thought he was in trouble. I thought you had some rules in here that I didn't know about. Come back. What was that question again? The rough.

Q. The rough?

BOB ESTES: Yeah. It's kind of like U.S. Open rough for the most part. There's places where you get in that rough and the best you can hope for is just kind of advance it down the fairway. So I hit it in the right rough on number 12 today and couldn't even really think about trying to knock it on the green, I was just trying to get it across the creek and just get it in front of the green and then try to get it up-and-down. Which is with what I did. But there's some places where you don't want to be. So you, there is definitely a premium this week in getting the ball in the fairway.

Q. Are you playing that well that you've been that close to such good scores or does this course set up real well for you?

BOB ESTES: Well I think I played, I played good here in the past too. So that kind of answers that part of it. So, yeah, it kind of is a, you know, it's not a golf course where you're having to hit driver off every tee, although I'm driving it longer and straighter than I ever have. But there's a lot of 3-wood tee shots. Two irons. Three irons. Things like that. So it's got a good variety of holes. And I usually play good on golf courses like that. And especially if it's playing firmer and faster. I just hate wet golf courses. A lot of times those tee shots -- I hit a real penetrating ball flight and if the fairways are firm it will roll forever. But if the golf course is wet, then a lot of those guys that are all carry, they hit it as far as I do. When the fairways are firm I can really get it out there. It's just like that last hole today, I hit 3-wood off the tee to keep from hitting driver through the fairway into that left bunker in the rough and I still just had a little 9-iron into the green on 18. I knew back when I was hitting driver, you know, 4- or 5-iron, so I remember that. That's with steel shafts, that's not with graphite. So part of it is the ball but I'm just, I'm swinging better, getting stronger and all that, so.

Q. (Inaudible.)

BOB ESTES: With the driver for sure. And then hitting some three woods, maybe 280, 290, 300. That last 3-wood might have gone 318, I'm not for sure. I can get my book out and check if you want me to. Where did I hit it on 18? Tee was up some. Yeah it was like 290, 295, on the last hole. Yeah. With the 3-wood.

Q. (Inaudible.).

BOB ESTES: I'm not where I want to be yet.

Q. We have been talking to a number of golfers today that are looking for their first win. You're an accomplished golfer with several wins and the Kemper has gained a lot of notoriety for first time winners over the last couple years I guess in its history. Do you have any thoughts on how that will play out tomorrow?

BOB ESTES: Well we need to end that trend, don't we?

(Laughter.) So, yeah, I don't even know exactly, you got guys, Burns is 10? Who is at nine? Jay Williamson is nine. Bob May is at nine. Who is at 8?

Q. I haven't seen the leaderboard.

BOB ESTES: But obviously there are some more guys there that haven't won before. Yeah, I mean, unfortunately, you know, we just had a stretch in our schedule where you had the Nelson, the Colonial and the Memorial and there's a lot of guys that play all three of those tournaments and then skip this one to rest up to play Westchester, the U.S. Open. So I know it's not always like that, but I think in the past maybe guys also hadn't cared for this golf course as much. There's been some, I read some of the articles where they're talking about how Greg Norman had negative things to say about it in the past and it would be interesting to see if he kind of changed his mind somewhat over time. Maybe the golf course is -- maybe it's a better golf course. I don't know what all changes they might have made. But maybe it is a better golf course than it was five or 10 years ago. And maybe you get some more guys coming back to play this week if they knew that.

Q. A few years ago maybe five years ago they talked a lot about the poa annua and the greens and the greens being bumpy and there was some bad comments. How are the greens now?


(Laughter.) Yeah, there's a lot of poa annua in them. And also, you know, we could get a whole soft spike issue, but when you got guys wearing soft spikes and the greens are the least bit soft or you got the poa annua, which can get compressed and get real inconsistent, you're going to have bumpy putting surfaces. And so I mean I just wish everybody was wearing the smaller metal spikes, they don't spike up the greens. And then the soft spikes just make the greens bumpier. You're putting either 11 or 13 indentations in the green every time you take a step. And so soft spikes and poa annua greens are really bad combination. The extreme is Pebble Peach, Poppy Hills, Spyglass. Early in the year those greens are always wet, guys are wearing soft spikes, they're unputtable. At least these are firmer so you got a better chance of having your ball stay on line.

Q. Do you know Bob Burns very well or not? Have you played with him before?

BOB ESTES: Yeah I think I played with him before. I don't know him real well. I know him about as well as a lot of the or guys on Tour. We are all cordial and friendly. And Bob is a great guy. But yeah, he's a -- when I think about it it seems like Bob is pretty explosive. He hits the ball pretty far off the tee and he can shoot a lot of low scores. Not that I have studied his resume or anything like that. He may not be as consistent as he wants to be, but I know he shot some low scores in the past. So seems kind of like a lot of players on Tour that do have the ability to go low, which is what you have to do. And I know he's looking forward to giving it a go tomorrow.

Q. When we talked to Jay Williamson and Bob Burns they were hoping that they would play well tomorrow that's what they want to do. Do you expect to win tomorrow?

BOB ESTES: I wouldn't say I expect to win tomorrow. Because you just can't control everybody what they're doing. I expect to play well. I might go out tomorrow and shoot a real solid 68 and that may not be good enough. So I do expect to play well. I just -- my game is coming together so nicely, any one day you don't know what's going to happen. But I still would hope that I and expect to play well tomorrow. But it's just nice to know that everything I put into it ever since I got out here on Tour at least, it's all starting to kind of come together. I'm hitting the ball better than I ever have before, my equipment is as good as it's ever been, and I'm starting to maybe figure out the putting a little bit as well.

TODD BUDNICK: All right. Thanks, Bob.


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