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April 12, 2003

Jeff Maggert


RON TOWNSEND: Good afternoon. We're pleased to welcome Jeff Maggert. Jeff shot a brilliant 66 today. He would be happy to take your questions.

Q. So many guys collapsed there on Amen Corner today. What were you able to do to recover from your own trouble there?

JEFF MAGGERT: Well after 11 I would think I was on the brink of collapse making double bogey there. I just tried to kind of collect myself. I hit a poor shot on 12 and really kind of the saving par there was something to kind of gave me a little bit of a boost. And I tried to just hit some good solid golf shots coming in. And obviously I made some putts and the birdies on 13 and 14 certainly put myself in a much better mood after the double bogey. And obviously a few bonus putts at the end and some good golf shots as well.

Q. You noted on the TV that you've been working pretty hard on your short game. Has that been the biggest difference this week?

JEFF MAGGERT: Definitely this week. I didn't hit the ball well the first two rounds. I struggled a little bit today. The short game's been great. Other than a few hiccups here and there and the putting, I hadn't made a lot of long putts until the back nine today. But I certainly saved a lot of pars with some nice five, six, seven-footers this week. And it's nice to be able to shoot some good scores again and feel like I'm not hitting it at my best.

Q. Are you kind of surprised to see you're the leader of the tournament?

JEFF MAGGERT: Yes and no. I thought the golf course was playing into my hands this week. I felt like today was my best opportunity to shoot a low score. With only one guy ahead going in to today, he had a four or five-shot lead on second place. And I just tried to go out and shoot a good score and give myself a chance for Sunday's round.

Obviously Sunday is when it all happens. And I'm pleased with the way I'm starting to strike the ball and definitely the confidence with the short game and putter is probably about the best that I've ever felt going into the last round of a golf tournament and certainly a Major championship.

Q. Why do you feel the course set up particularly well for you?

JEFF MAGGERT: Well, the course is drying out a little bit. I'm not known as a power hitter by any means, so it was nice to see the ball roll a little bit and give myself an opportunity to hit a little bit of short irons into some of these holes. And I still don't think you have to hit the ball 300 yards to shoot low scores here. I've always felt like it's been a second-shot golf course, even before the changes. A guy that can manage his driver well and keep it in play and then you make your birdies hitting solid iron shots and good putts.

Q. You've had a fabulous finish to climb to the top of the leaderboard. People are going to look at the leaderboard and they're going to bring up the Tiger factor. He's making a charge as well. What happens tomorrow to try to keep him at bay?

JEFF MAGGERT: Well, I really felt that Tiger was going to play a good round today. Obviously he struggled the last two days. He was flirting with the cut and all that. And probably lost his focus a little bit more and sometimes when you make the cut on the number you're definitely a lot more relaxed coming into Saturday's round. And I just kind of felt like he was going to play a good round today and obviously he did.

Q. Where do you rank this with rounds that you've shot anywhere. How good was 66 on Saturday?

JEFF MAGGERT: It's hard to say. I'll tell you tomorrow afternoon.


Q. Obviously a lot of people are going to show up tomorrow rooting for history, rooting for Tiger. How do you approach that? Do you have to kind of tune that out?

JEFF MAGGERT: Tiger's going to do so many great things in his career and if he doesn't win a third one this week, he's definitely going to win a few more green jackets. So I'm not really focused in on any of that. If you look at the leaderboard now it would be tough to say that's not one of the players you've got to worry about. But I have struggled so much with my golf game and emotions the way I've handled my poor play the last couple years that it's probably helped me in the long run. It's helped me focus on the golf course. I try to pay attention to what I'm doing, working on my golf game. Trying to hit good golf shots. There's nobody out there that I can control tomorrow except for myself. And I need to play well and hit good golf shots. If I do that, I'll have an excellent chance.

Q. Is it easy to carry the momentum of your finish today into tomorrow with the sleep over, knowing you're going into the final round of a Major?

JEFF MAGGERT: For me, definitely. Because I finally started to hit some good golf shots, especially on the back nine. I hit the ball solid and it's nice to look up and see the ball going towards the pin. And it's something I've been working on and I feel very good with my short game and very good with the putter. So if I hit the ball in the fairway tomorrow and hit some good iron shots I feel like I can shoot another good round.

Q. You've been in a couple positions in Majors before like this going into the final round and as you said have not been able to pull it off before. Will those things you've been doing to help your confidence, will that play into that, too?

JEFF MAGGERT: Well, I certainly hope so. Tomorrow's going to be, obviously, new for me. I have been in a position to maybe win a Major championship, certainly a couple U.S. Opens, but I feel good at where I'm at now. But I have a lot of work to do tomorrow. So I'm just thinking more about the work that I need to do and not about trying to win the golf tournament.

ROB TOWNSEND: Thank you all very much. Jeff, good luck to you tomorrow.

End of FastScripts....

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