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August 25, 2002

Hunter Mahan


KEN KLAVON: Well, Hunter Mahan, 2002 US Amateur runner-up. Hunter, it's always tough to lose, so talk about the round and your day and your experience.

HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, it was, obviously, a tough, long day. Ricky made it tough because he hit so many great shots and never really put himself in trouble. He just played great. He just played like he wanted to win. And he just -- I think he would have beat anybody today, the way he was playing. And the putter, I just didn't have it going early. And through the front nine and the second 18 and just couldn't do it. But I tried to, I just tried to never quit and just keep on going. And try to make as many putts as I could.

KEN KLAVON: When you went into the break, you were two down. So what was your mindset at that point?

HUNTER MAHAN: Oh, I just needed to be patient and just try to win some holes. Really pretty simple.

Q. Where do you think the match turned?

HUNTER MAHAN: Probably I think two. I needed to make that putt on two. I would have stayed two down. But he went to three up. And on eight, I think I bogeyed eight in the second round. And he went four up there. And that was pretty, that was a big lead, the way he was playing. He was hitting so many great shots. And I think that when he birdied 13, that was really a big birdie for him. When he made that long eagle putt, he came back and made a great putt there and a great birdie.

Q. How did the crowds compare to other tournaments you've played in, and did it affect you at all with the big amounts of people that were watching?

HUNTER MAHAN: Definitely a ton of people out here. More than you get at a usual tournament. And so to have them running in the fairway after each shot is pretty crazy. It's tough to get to the ball sometimes. They're so excited about seeing the next shot. But they just want to watch golf and you can't blame them for that. They were a lot of fun.

Q. Could you talk about 16, 17 and 18 this morning? You lost those three holes and you can make the argument that perhaps you gave him those holes more than he went out and won them.

HUNTER MAHAN: Right. 16, I just gave it to him. 17, he hit a great shot in there. I just couldn't make a putt. Missed that putt. But he hit a great shot in there, made a birdie. And 18, 3-putted. I mean, just -- definitely, if the match kept going I think it would have been really tough for me to catch up. But he played solid. He didn't make hardly, I think, two bogeys in 34 holes. Pretty impressive out here.

Q. It looked as though, at least from my vantage point, that he gave you a little bit of the line at 18 this morning. Is that accurate, and were you maybe a little confused on how high to hit your putt?

HUNTER MAHAN: He was steeper up the hill. He was more up the hill than I was. So I didn't have a great angle of what he was coming at. I just totally misread it. I had a tough time reading these greens. With those huge mounds they have; so many big mounds in the middle of these greens that it's really tough to get the speed right when they're coming down on the hole. But I just misread it and hit a good second putt. I just didn't play enough break on it.

KEN KLAVON: Number 12, which was actually hole 30, you hit that long putt, about a 50-footer. That got it down to -- you were two down at that point. What were you thinking as soon as you hit the putt and talk about that a little bit.

HUNTER MAHAN: I thought it was a good putt. I mean, it was about as good as I could hit it, I thought on a pretty good line. And it got over that slope and had really good speed and was tracking and just went in.

Q. How long do you think that putt was?

HUNTER MAHAN: It was probably 40, 50 feet.

Q. How much break was there on that putt?

HUNTER MAHAN: Man, well, it was breaking left and it was breaking right. I mean it was breaking left six, seven feet and then it came back right and right into the hole. But it was probably, yeah, it was just breaking a ton.

Q. What was your yardage into that hole and what did you hit?

HUNTER MAHAN: I was like 254, I think, and hit a 2-iron.

Q. What does this do for you confidence-wise as you head back to another college season?

HUNTER MAHAN: Good. I'm excited about the college season, and about how much I've learned here, and how much I showed myself on how to never quit and just look forward to the next few tournaments I play.

Q. You mentioned on TV you were not surprised so much by Ricky's short game but by how long he was.

HUNTER MAHAN: I knew Ricky was long. That was not a shock to me at all. I was surprised how straight he hit it. He hit it so straight off the tee with his driver, his irons, I mean, just everything was right down the middle and always in the fairway.

Q. You said you had to be patient after the first 18. At what point did you decide that maybe patience wasn't what was necessary, you needed to do something different? Or did you?

HUNTER MAHAN: Just playing those first few holes, I was hitting some good shots. I had a good opportunity on four, I think, to go back and miss that and I was frustrated there. On five, I missed another putt. And six, I missed another putt. And after those holes I really wanted make those and I just couldn't get it in. And that was definitely frustrating. And after that I was like, I'm going to need some help here because I'm just not playing solid. And he just never gave it to me. And on the back nine I was just, he gave me a break on 10. I knew I had to just ride the momentum and just keep it going.

Q. What did you have at 16 this morning? This morning when you hit it in the water? What club?

HUNTER MAHAN: I was trying to hit a wedge out of the water there. I mean out of the rough.

Q. And then from the ball drop?

HUNTER MAHAN: I think I hit another wedge.

Q. When does school start for you?

HUNTER MAHAN: I'm a week into school actually. So that's not good. Oh, well.

Q. Will you get tested on this week?

HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, by my coach, I'm sure.

Q. Were those about 25 foot putts you had. You lipped out one?


Q. And then you made one on the next. They were both about 25 feet?

HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, they were both about 20, 25 feet.

KEN KLAVON: It was really a tale of two putters as your putting game came around later. What was going through your head? Were you more frustrated that you didn't hole some more putts.

HUNTER MAHAN: No, after I made that short par putt on 10, I think I got some of my confidence back where I got some feel back in my hands and the greens because I just had some problems with the speed. I think I was hitting it a little bit too firm. But I just never gave up and I just had confidence in my putter that I could make some putts.

KEN KLAVON: Any other questions? All right. Thank you.

End of FastScripts....

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