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March 4, 2004

Joe Durant


JOHN BUSH: Joe, thanks for joining us. 6 under par 66, just one shot off the lead, and you birdied No. 18. That's like picking up a couple on the field today.

JOE DURANT: Yeah, I was glad to kind of sneak away with a birdie there. I hit probably the best drive I hit today, i hit 5 iron today to 15 feet and made the putt right under the hole. I'll take three 4s the rest the way out of here and tip toe out of here.

JOHN BUSH: Let's go over your card.

JOE DURANT: On 1, I hit a poor drive that barely got through the fairway bunker and hit a 5 wood in the green side trap and blasted out, didn't hit a very good bunker shot, had about a 15 footer and made that.

2 I birdied. I hit driver off the tee and just had a little 50 yard pitch shot. Hit that about eight feet and made that.

The fourth hole I birdied. I hit a 4 iron about 30 feet and made that.

11, I hit a good drive and a poor second shot in the left bunker and it buried. I was lucky to get it out. It hit all the way through the green, and I had a 2 putt from about 40 feet for bogey.

Then 13, par 3, I hit a 4 iron behind the hole about 15 feet just on the fringe and made that for birdie.

14, I hit driver, sand wedge about 15 feet and made that.

15, I hit 8 iron, had about a 30 footer there probably at least and made that one.

18, driver 5 iron to about 15 feet and made that.

Q. Looked like you had good pace on the putts, if four of them were from 15 feet and two from 30.

JOE DURANT: My pace was very good today. If it had not gone in, it wouldn't have gone a foot, foot and a half by the hole. I rolled the ball the best I've rolled it in two years today.

I was very happy with my putting. My hitting wasn't particularly great but I kept it in play. I hit the ball solid enough to put it on the green and made some good putts.

Q. How similar are the conditions today to when you won here two years ago?

JOE DURANT: I would say today was similar to the last round when I won. The first day, it seems like the year that I won, the first day was relatively calm. There were a lot of low numbers that day and it just got progressively more difficult as the week went on.

Q. Did you have any flashback from when you won in those kind of conditions; it hasn't been windy the last two years?

JOE DURANT: Yes and no. The golf course has changed a little bit with the addition of some new fees and things. You get good vibes when you start hitting it solid on courses you've played well in the past, and that may have been what happened today.

I'd like to hit it a little more solid and straighter than I did today the next couple of days.

Q. Your play this year, has it been more up and down than you would have liked?

JOE DURANT: Yeah, I'm not a particularly fast starter typically. The West Coast was pretty typical. Played okay but nothing to write home about. I really struggled other than Hawaii where the greens are very similar to Florida, I really struggled on the greens in San Diego or L.A., anywhere where we have poa annua. I don't putt poa annua very well at all. It's nice to be back on these greens, bermudagrass. I'm much more comfortable over here.

Q. Chris late in the day was up five and now he's up one, is that the way it is this week, a lot of the ups and downs?

JOE DURANT: Yeah, it very well could be. You'll have some stretches on either nine where you could make two or three, four birdies in a row, but you have some holes where you have to hit some really good shots where you could easily make a bogey or a double. It could have a lot of ebb and flow like that this week.

And it depends what the wind does the next three days. If it's anything like today, it's going to be a tough test the rest of the way out.

Q. You're one of five birdies at 18 today. Is that like an eagle almost?

JOE DURANT: It's a birdie and a half, that's for sure. I don't know what the stroke average is.

Q. 4.8.

JOE DURANT: I was thinking, 5 is probably not necessarily a bad score there. 4 is a very good score and 3 is like stealing one. I hit the two best shots today that I probably hit back to back.

It's just you've got to step up there and just it's a very demanding tee shot. There's not much room to bail out and if you do bail out, you're going to have to lay up. It's a very important tee shot.

JOHN BUSH: Thanks, Joe.

End of FastScripts.

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