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July 26, 2013

Hunter Mahan


THE MODERATOR:  Please welcome Hunter Mahan to the media center.  8‑under 64 today and 13‑under total through 36 holes, your third 36‑hole lead of your career.  Take us through what's worked so far.
HUNTER MAHAN:  Yeah, I kind of built off last week.  I got some good things I'm doing with my swing and everything, and feel good about that, and I'm just going out there and really trying to trust my game and just allow things to happen and not get in the way of myself and be as present as I can and keep my head up and keep moving forward and just kind of letting my abilities and everything that I'm doing in my game, let it try to come out.

Q.  The afternoon scores today were a shot and a half easier than yesterday.  Did you feel like the golf course was scorable on both ends of the draw that you played?
HUNTER MAHAN:  I think so.  I think the guys yesterday afternoon had it a little windier.  Today was a little bit calmer, which was in our favor obviously.  But the course is in great shape.  Tee to green it's fantastic.  The greens are rolling pretty true.  If you hit it well out here, par‑5s, you can attack the par‑5s.  It's a fun golf course to play.

Q.  Obviously Merrick this morning really set the tone with his clubhouse lead.  Did you feel you had to catch him?  Were you aware that he'd had such a good morning?  Did you feel like you were playing catch‑up?
HUNTER MAHAN:  Yeah, I saw kind of going into 9, I saw he was at 11, and it was weird because I think he was at 7 or 8 or something, and then he was at 11.  62 is a pretty good round.  But I didn't really think I had to catch him.  There's so much golf to be played here.  I think I just wanted to go out there and not try to shoot for a score but just try to play golf.  I knew I was swinging so well and doing everything well, I just wanted to let that happen and not hold on to anything and just play free, and that's what I did, and that's how I think I was able to birdie the last three, because I just kind of kept my head up and kept going.  I wasn't really thinking about finishing strong or anything, I was just trying to finish that hole and stay in the present as much as I could and not get too caught up in the leaderboard or anything else.

Q.  How much does it help who you're playing with, as well?  You guys like to have fun.
HUNTER MAHAN:  Yeah, I think I play better when I'm talking in between shots and I'm not kind of putting my head down and thinking about maybe the last swing if it wasn't very good.  I do better when I'm looking forward, head is up, being in the present, talking to my caddie Wood or whoever.
We had a good day out there.  I've never played with Billy before.  I've just started getting to know him the past few weeks.  He's a good guy to play with.  It does help, but the more I can kind of keep my head up and not worry about anything behind me, it always works to my favor.

Q.  It's great to see the Golf Boys in contention, you and Bubba.  You're north of the border.  Is it time to maybe do something Golf Boys style for your Canadian fans because you've got a lot of stuff to work with material‑wise?
HUNTER MAHAN:  I don't think so.  I think we're focused on playing golf.  This isn't the Golf Boys' arena, this is golf arena.  I think we're both focused on that this week.

Q.  I was following you there at No.12 when that cell phone rang and you had to step back.  You caught a break there with the ball not going in the creek, incredible par save.  Was that a bit pivotal to keep the momentum going on the back nine there?
HUNTER MAHAN:  You know, yes and no.  I hoped it wouldn't stop my momentum if I did make bogey because I wouldn't be a very good player if it did because it's just one shot, and I didn't even make that bad a swing, I just hit it a little bit off the heel but it went right and got a great break.  There's actually quite a bit of area up there.  If you can find your ball you can hack it out of there, but I got a great break and I was able to hit it way up there.
Gosh, it's just a sign of golf.  I'm hitting it so great and hadn't even come close to missing a fairway and then I miss a squirrelly one like that.  You've just got to keep your head up and know that each shot is pivotal and the next one is the most important.  You can't take anything for granted in this game.

Q.  You talked about how much fun you're having out there.  I wonder, is it more fun playing this tournament this week coming off of playing a difficult major championship, Muirfield, last week?
HUNTER MAHAN:  It is.  I think they did a good job with the setup here because they could have grown the rough up and made it really difficult, and it's tough to come back from a major and play the next week, especially when it's a hard golf course.  It's really a mental grind.  But I think the golf course setup is fantastic because it's still playable but it's still difficult and still challenging.  I'm just kind of trying to go out there and play, and like I said, the more I'm relaxed out there and just letting things happen and not grinding away after a missed shot or something like that, being in the past or something, that always helps me.
Just having fun is important because I play my best golf when I'm doing that, and that has nothing to do with score.  My attitude and everything should be‑‑ that shouldn't matter.  How I play shouldn't really affect who I am and how I treat myself and treat everybody.

Q.  If the weather changes, and it looks like it will by tomorrow afternoon, greens could get softer, could we see scores go even lower?  Seems like what you guys are doing out there is pretty good as it is, but could we see it going lower and what do you see it getting to?
HUNTER MAHAN:  I don't know.  Like you said, the weather, if it rains a ton the greens get softer, it'll be a little different golf course.  It'll probably play a little bit longer, too, because I think we're getting pretty good bounces out there.  The ball is jumping up the fairway a little bit.  We'll just have to see.  That's one of those things not worth thinking about because it's not here yet.  But there's a lot of great players up there.  62 today, 64 by me, you just never know what can happen.
THE MODERATOR:  Thanks very much, guys.  Thanks, Hunter, for your time.

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