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July 7, 2005

Hunter Mahan


PHIL STAMBAUGH: Okay, Hunter, 8 under par 63, and right now you're in the first round lead at the 2005 John Deere Classic. A couple thoughts about the round and then go through all your birdies if you could.

HUNTER MAHAN: Boy, it was a pretty easy round. I hit a lot of fairways and a lot of greens. I just had the green speed on the greens so I just had to worry about the lines and be aggressive. It was pretty easy, didn't have to worry about too much out there.

PHIL STAMBAUGH: Take us through your eight birdies, any good saves you may have had.

HUNTER MAHAN: Boy, just started on 10, hit it in the fairway, decided to lay up and hit a nice wedge about eight feet, made it.

Hit it about five feet on 12 straight up the hill, pretty easy putt.

Hit driver on 14 just short of the green and had a chip up there about five feet and made that.

15, hit the fairway, hit it about eight feet away, broke a little left to right, pretty simple.

Birdied 16 with a 9 iron just above the hole. That putt is a little tricky, it goes toward the water. It looks like it wants to go left but it goes toward the water. Made it.

Hit on the green in 2 on No. 2, two putted for birdie there.

5, hit the fairway with a driver, just hit a wedge below the hole, good read, uphill, pretty easy putt there.

I hit a good drive on 8, hit 9 iron to about five feet uphill and made that one.

PHIL STAMBAUGH: I noticed you tied for 21st last week at the Cialis Western Open which was your best tournament since earlier in the year at the Phoenix event, and then you played very solidly today missing only two fairways and one green. Anything change in your game? Have you done anything different.

HUNTER MAHAN: No, just been working hard at it, trying to get better. My teacher came up this week. He saw Harrison Frazar and I, Randy Smith, and we decided to talk, talked about a few things I wanted to do, what I was trying to do, and found a real good thing to work on and just kind of did it today and trusted it.

Q. What was that?

HUNTER MAHAN: Just trying to quiet my lower body on the way back and kind of shorten it up, make it a little bit tighter, make sure the ball starts on line or if anything a little left so it can kind of cut out there. It felt good today, and I just trusted it all day. I didn't really worry about too much else.

Q. How long have you been with Randy?

HUNTER MAHAN: Boy, probably around ten years now, ever since I moved to Texas. So for a long time.

Q. A lot of the players out here says this is a shot makers' golf course, and obviously missing two fairways and one green, you had to feel that you made the shots you needed to make?

HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah. You know, a lot of holes, tee shots move left to right or right to left, so you've got to put the ball in play. I was just hitting a lot of 3 woods, hit a 5 wood, just not too aggressive on the tee shots. They will run out and they will run out in the bunkers, so putting the ball in position for your second shot is important. You can't just hit driver everywhere. You have to be a little smarter off the tee, just keep it in play. The greens are a little soft right now so you can be aggressive with your approach shots.

Q. There's still a spot in the British Open. How much do you think about that, and if you would happen to get that, would you go over there next week?

HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, absolutely. You know, it's a nice package deal. You know, you win here, then you get to go over there. I went last year, qualified last year, and it was awesome. I'd do it again in a heartbeat if you could.

Q. I don't know if you've heard much about the attacks over there today. Would that give you any kind of thought or concern, the attacks on the subways in London?

HUNTER MAHAN: Man, you know, I didn't really think of that. You know, the tournament is in Scotland so I'd probably have to fly through there maybe. I'd probably try and fly to Glasgow, but that puts things into perspective for sure. I think they just got the Olympics, too, 2012, so I'm happy to be here in Moline right now, that's for sure.

Q. You talked about being easy today. It's not supposed to be that easy, is it?

HUNTER MAHAN: Not at all. Not at all. Some days are just like this where it's just you can see the ball where you want to hit it and you just hit it there. The putts were easy. I didn't have too many hard reads, I was able to just pick my line and strike it. Golf is never this easy, believe me. All year long it's been hard. This is a tough game. Sometimes you get days like this and you've just got to take advantage.

Q. Has it been harder this year than last year?

HUNTER MAHAN: No, it's been easier. I've just been able to control my emotions the last few weeks and make it a little easier on myself, not take it tougher than it has to be.

Q. The playoff last year, did it help you, hurt you?

HUNTER MAHAN: It definitely didn't hurt me. It was great to be in contention and have a chance to win. There was so many guys in that playoff. Someone was going to make a birdie on that hole you have to figure, so it was kind of a crap shoot who was going to win, but that was a great experience, absolutely positive, and that was good. From there I played extremely well after that.

Q. What did that tell you to be that close?

HUNTER MAHAN: Out here you just never know when it can be your time, so you have to keep working and keep a positive attitude, and you never when your game can turn around.

Q. What were your expectations coming out, and did it take a while to meet them?

HUNTER MAHAN: This week or just in general?

Q. Coming out of amateur.

HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, I had high expectations. I thought I was more prepared than I actually was I think is what it was. It's taken me a little time to mature and get to the player that I need to be to be successful out here. It's taken a little bit of time, but it's been a positive. It's just on the job training. There's nothing like it. College doesn't prepare you for being on the Tour; nothing does unless you're out here.

I've gone through my bumps, but you just have to persevere and keep working hard.

Q. Is that the hard part is when you get out there with the high expectations, and you realize, hey, maybe I'm not as good as I thought I was, and to adjust to that?

HUNTER MAHAN: It's hard to get up that high because you're going to get knocked down a little bit. Very few guys have come out here and just walked right through the door. You just have to work on the things that you need to work on and not be afraid of the work and just trust yourself and trust the people around you and just work hard and hope for the best.

Q. Something about this course work for you?

HUNTER MAHAN: It's good. It's in great shape right now. It's getting firmer. It's been a little soft, but with the sun today and how warm it was, it's getting nice and firm, which is good. It's playing fair. It's not considerably tough or anything. There are a lot of birdies possible out there, I've just got to keep doing what I'm doing right now.

Q. 8 under a reasonable expectation every day?

HUNTER MAHAN: I mean, it's possible. I mean, it's out there. You've got some you can make some eagles out there. If you get your putter rolling, I think you can make a lot of putts out here. I'm just going to go from this and just trust what I'm doing.

Q. Are the greens slow?

HUNTER MAHAN: No, they're not slow. There's quite a few quick putts out there. You know, they're getting a little brown. They're definitely not slow. There's quite a few putts that are extremely fast, on 18 going toward the water.

Q. Are they consistent?

HUNTER MAHAN: They're pretty consistent, yeah. I had a putt on 18 that was quick, and on 9 it was downhill, too. There's not too much guesswork. It's not like it changes, so it's pretty consistent and you can count on what it's going to do.

Q. Did you notice that 1 under by the amateur out here?

HUNTER MAHAN: She was a few groups ahead of me on the front, so we heard the roars and saw the people following her. I saw she was when I got here like 2 over through 7 or 6 and played extremely solid down the stretch. I mean, it's pretty obvious she's a good player and knows what she's doing. I wouldn't put it past her to put together another good round tomorrow.

Q. Any advice you'd give her for next week having been to the finals?

HUNTER MAHAN: What's next week?

Q. Public Links.

HUNTER MAHAN: I sucked at the public links. I don't know why (laughter). She was extremely mature for her age. She acts like she's 15 off the golf course, but when she's on the golf course she acts like she's 25 and knows what she's doing out there. I think it's just playing solid and hope you don't run through a bus out there because you can play great all week and then get knocked out, make a lot of putts. Match play is tricky.

PHIL STAMBAUGH: Hunter, thank you very much. Good luck tomorrow.


End of FastScripts.

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