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August 23, 2002

Hunter Mahan


CRAIG SMITH: Well, close, but you sort of pulled away at the end there. He gave you a little fight.

HUNTER MAHAN: Oh, yeah. He's a great player. I knew he wasn't going to quit. So I knew I had to play to the very end.

CRAIG SMITH: Sort of remind me of somebody that when you were a junior. Star-studded in terms of potential. He's got that. We're interested to see where his career goes.

HUNTER MAHAN: Definitely. He stepped up all day.

CRAIG SMITH: How did you play?

HUNTER MAHAN: I played well. I hit the ball a lot better today than I have the past couple days. So I was real excited about that. I was able to put the ball in the fairways sometimes and hit some good shots.

CRAIG SMITH: Any turning points?

HUNTER MAHAN: I think when I made the birdie on 11, after he went down to two up. Made that birdie on 11, got it to three up. And played solid from there.

CRAIG SMITH: How far was the birdie putt?

HUNTER MAHAN: It was only --

Q. What did you hit in?

HUNTER MAHAN: I hit a little 9-iron and I had about 8 feet.

Q. I think this week you have gone 2-under, even, 1-under and then today I think were you even again. A lot guys say they will take even par out here. You seem to be living proof right now. Is that your game plan. Just making the pars?

HUNTER MAHAN: Definitely. I mean there's a lot of chances to make bogeys out here. And you just got to keep the ball in the fairway. Keep it on the green, put pressure on the other person, let them hit the great shots. And around even, if you shoot around even, you're shooting even, you got a good chance to win. And you're making the other guy beat you instead of beating yourself, shooting a couple over.

Q. He seemed to kind of do that with three bogeys over a four-hole stretch?

HUNTER MAHAN: Right I was able to take advantage of that making pars and hitting greens. And keeping the ball around the hole.

CRAIG SMITH: They talk about scoreboard watching on the PGA tour, but did you happen to see what was going on in front of you, especially Bill Haas versus John Klauk.

HUNTER MAHAN: Oh, yeah, I was looking all day. It's no harm or hurt. Bill's playing great right now. He's just smoking the field right now.

Q. How does this compare to in 2000 when you went to the quarterfinals? What was -- I mean obviously it's better to get to the semis, but how were you playing then and how are you playing now?

HUNTER MAHAN: I was actually playing a lot better. I was hitting the ball a lot better. I was making a lot of good putts and driving it in the fairway. And this year I just seemed for focused. Not as much bothers me. I'm just very much focused on what I have to do at the present and focused to get to my goal. I think back in 2000 I was kind of just kind of lost maybe. I wasn't really focused on what I was doing. And what I was doing there, I was kind of just happy to be there it seemed like instead of being more driven.

Q. This summer I know it's been busy. Especially you had Palmer cup and then the APL kind of back to back there. How about the last month or. So have you also been pretty busy playing a lot?

HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, after starting with Palmer Cup I played I think four and a half weeks in a row. And I was on the road the whole time. Never went home. So that was tough. I wasn't playing that great so it makes it even harder. But once I got home, I qualified for the Amateur, I had something to shoot for. So I started getting focused for this and really getting prepared.

Q. What did you have to work on? Was there something out of whack?

HUNTER MAHAN: I talked it my coach, Randy Smith, whose worked with Leonard and a few guys and so he's seen this course he said just hitting a lot of fairways is pretty much the key out here. And obviously putting. You just got to -- I mean putting is everything, especially in match play. So my stroke's got a lot better, still not where I want it to be, but I got some speed on the 10, 12 footers, able to curl those in.

Q. Did you miss any 10 footers or anything, it seemed like on the front nine you didn't?

HUNTER MAHAN: Right. I missed one I think on the par -3 13th. I had a pretty good birdie opportunity there. And kind of just fooled by how much it broke.

Q. First hole too, right?

HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah. First hole. That was.

Q. He knocked it in?

HUNTER MAHAN: He knock it's a foot after I knocked it five feet. And I thought I hit a pretty good shot there. Especially where the pin is. He hits it a foot and there's no room for error. I thought that was unfair.

Q. Bray is up over Moore. Have you played him before, do you know anything about Dustin Bray?

HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, I played a few times with Dustin. And he's just a good country guy. Good southern guy. He's a good player. He's playing well right now obviously. And more of a good and we will have a good time tomorrow.

Q. Have you ever played match play against him?


Q. Hunter, you said you were more focused this week it seemed like today when you did get in trouble you didn't seem to show much emotion and when you were doing well you didn't show much emotion. You didn't show much emotion until 16 when you twirled your club there.

HUNTER MAHAN: I was focused on staying in the present. One shot's not going ruin your hole. You're not going to lose a hole with one shot if you stay focused and just try to keep going, keep putting the pressure on him, give yourself a chance for par. It's hard to make birdies on some of these pin positions and these greens are so fast and you just got to try to give yourself a par and make him make the birdie. And the 16th hole has given me trouble off the tee all week. And I finally hit the fairway. And I knew I had to step up there and hit a good shot because he hit an unbelievable drive there. And I did.

Q. Give us a background. How old were you when you started playing golf and anything else interesting like that.

HUNTER MAHAN: I think I was about nine when I started. My dad, the family, my grandparents both played golf a ton and he's, he played golf and just kind of got me involved in it. And just stuck with it from there.

Q. He's a superintendent?

HUNTER MAHAN: No, he's an instructor at Hank Haney Golf Ranch.

CRAIG SMITH: I know we did a little bit about your local caddy, but it seems -- could you just spell his name for us and tell us what it's meant to you to have somebody local reading the greens.

HUNTER MAHAN: His name is Steve Kaiser. I'm not sure how to spell his last name.

CRAIG SMITH: Has he been helpful?

HUNTER MAHAN: It has. It's, these greens have so much slope in them and they're getting so fast and firm. You really need to know where to hit the ball pretty much from the fairway. To be able to control your distance and accuracy a little bit. You can hit it just right of the hole and it will spin off right 20, 30 feet. And if you hit left, 15 feet, it will move right to the hole. So you just, that course knowledge and knowing of the greens, it definitely helps me a lot.

CRAIG SMITH: Here you are again. Here you are again. Let's do two more, okay?


CRAIG SMITH: Two more times here and that will mean you're doing well.

HUNTER MAHAN: All right. Buckle up.

End of FastScripts....

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