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July 21, 2000

Meg Mallon


RHONDA GLENN: Well, Meg you held on. That birdie on the last hole gave you the 72, gave you a one-stroke lead thus far at 4-under par. Just tell us how you felt about today, maybe compare it a little bit to how you felt about your golf yesterday.

MEG MALLON: Well, yesterday was just, you know, something you'd like to take with you everyday. Obviously, it's not going to happen. Today was pretty different. The conditions played differently. I played differently. But when I missed my first fairway and I hit it in the water, I told my caddy, "John, I just love taking a lay-up club and laying up in the water." But I know if I make bogey, don't make big numbers; that I'll get it back. I ended up birdieing the next two holes and just kind of got back into form. But it definitely played hard today. Everything seemed like it was a crosswind, and I didn't hit it as solid, and if you don't hit it as solid, the crosswinds seem to play with the ball a little bit more. But, I was happy about the way I recovered. My short game got tested today. It didn't get tested at all yesterday, except for the last hole, and it came through for me today so I was very happy about that.

RHONDA GLENN: She hit 13 greens in regulation today as opposed to 16 yesterday.

Q. I don't know what the exact number was, but when you did not make the cut at Toledo, it ended a long streak of Top-10s for you. Can you go through whether you -- were you really lost at that point, or were you just a little off? You reflected a little yesterday on how far away you thought you might have been coming in here, but just on the progress you've made since you've gotten here and how things are clicking for you now?

MEG MALLON: Okay. Well, you know, the cut in Toledo was disappointing, because it's near where I grew up and I had family down there and all that, and they were planning on staying and all those things. So, that was very disappointing. But, I had enough confidence and felt good enough about my game that I didn't really worry about it, especially when I came back to New York and played well and finished 10th, and on a very difficult golf course. I feel like since '97, my game has been very solid consistent, been playing with a lot of confidence and trying to -- as they say, peak for the majors every year. I played well at Nabisco. I played well at McDonald's. But again, you're at this point in your career where it's great to play well in those events, but you'd certainly like to win one. I think I finished second in every one of them since I won the two majors and every one of our majors. You know, maybe I shouldn't feel like that's not good enough, but when you put yourself in position that many times, you'd certainly like to win one.

Q. Could you compare the various elements of your game. Driver, irons, putting from when you won this championship in '91 to what you are at this moment?

MEG MALLON: I think that, you know, Mike and I talked about this, I feel like I'm a better player since then, as far as -- my swing is better. From what we've looked at over the years and things like that, it holds up better. Putting is everything. I think that year, I putted tremendously well. Today, I felt like I didn't put that well. Even though I had seven 1-putts, I felt like it was my short game that got me close enough. So, if I had to evaluate everything, I would say the amount of putts that I made then, as opposed to now, would probably be truly the only difference in my game.

Q. Just in terms of strategy, heading into the weekend, the other names up high on the leaderboard are people with a little experience and can go toe-to-toe with you.

Q. Just a little about how you will play differently, as opposed to maybe players who don't have their credentials, if it were them up there?

MEG MALLON: Well, there's some good names up there. Obviously, Karrie is there and she's had quite a streak going and just playing awesome in the majors, and I know she would love to win this tournament. She is a very aggressive player, just one of the best players I've seen in a long, long time. So, any time that she's up on the leaderboard, obviously, you've got to look at her as one of the favorites. Betsy is funny. Betsy, last week, I asked her if she was going to play the Senior Tour, and she said, "I'm playing so bad, I don't even know if they would want me on the Senior Tour." And here she is, one shot out off of the lead, going into the weekend. So, Betsy and I are very good friends. I know how hard she is on herself and what a great work ethic she has. I know she'll have a good weekend. And knowing that means that I have to go out and play like I did yesterday, and then make some putts on top of that. So, that will -- let's put it this way: I won't get complacent for the weekend, because I can't because I'll get passed.

Q. Have you seen all this course has to offer? Can it change much?

MEG MALLON: All it has to offer? I hope so. (Laughs). You know, I actually hit the driver pretty well, except for a couple of times, and that's been our goal, to at least give myself a shot to hit a green, and I did that pretty well today. The couple times I missed it, I got in trouble, and that's how it should be in a U.S. Open. So, I just have to keep that in mind for the weekend, too. If I just miss a fairway and hit it in the rough and just pitch it out and go from there. So, hopefully, yeah, I've seen enough today. I've certainly spread it around a little bit today, compared to yesterday.

Q. You disappointed all the USGA people who went out to 14 to watch you play today. What was your thinking there today in on 14?

MEG MALLON: It was totally the pin placement, and a little bit of direction of the wind. I felt like off the tee shot, going the conventional way, the bunker was out of play today, because of the way it was playing, it was a little more downwind than crosswind. And because the pin was on the right side, there was little green to work with coming in from the other direction. So, I just decided that's the best. Now, the pin is back left tomorrow, so I'll probably more than likely go over to 13.

Q. Were you surprised when you barely made it over?

MEG MALLON: Yeah, I just came off it a little bit. I was glad I cleared everything. When I saw Betsy and Liselotte almost get up into the rough, that's probably why I just eeked it a little bit, but I got away with it.

Q. I suppose playing in the last group tomorrow, you won't have to worry about hitting any players?

MEG MALLON: That's a good point. That's true.

Q. Did you know that Pat and Beth played that --

MEG MALLON: Actually, I did. I was on the putting green before I teed off and the caddies and everybody came off the 9th green and said they had done it, and I had heard it before. I guess that-- one of our officials sat out on that hole all morning to make sure that everything went smoothly, and they said that only two players did it. And I said, "Well, I'm not surprised, because nobody else has the yardages -- and Carrie Summerhays, those three players are the only other three who have even a yardage from over there." And I said: "The other players won't do it because they will have no idea how far to hit the shot." And I guess both of them made pars on that hole and they were happy about it. And the wind was different for them, I guess, in the morning. So, it was fun.

Q. Can you tell us about your par putt at 14, the length? Go through -- you said your short game was good today. Can you run through some of your other nice saves?

MEG MALLON: Sure. No. 9 comes to mind. I hit it in the right bunker short -- short of the green and hit it up there about two feet, saved par there. Oh, No. 11, again on the right side, hit it up there about five feet and made that for par. And then, of course, on 18, that was a hit or miss shot right there. If I take a big swing at it, I could be over the green. But fortunately it came out the way it did. I was hoping it would come out that way and hit it up there about two feet. So, a couple of saves.

Q. If you get to 14 Sunday, in the lead, will you take the Mallon shortcut, or will you play it safe?

MEG MALLON: Actually, that is playing it safe. (Laughter.) It's just a matter of strategy for me on that hole, as far as where the pin is and what the wind is doing. I feel like that's a safer drive going over there. But, it depends on where the pin is. If they put the pin on the right side of the green, then it's not a high percentage shot for my second shot, because I'd have to, you know, hit it perfectly over the trees and land it straight down on the green, and, you know, it's just not as high a percentage shot as going the conventional way.

Q. Did you get a sense that Betsy, after having played this course so many times has a comfort level on this course?

MEG MALLON: I would think -- that's a good question. I was thinking about that myself and I actually asked her how she thought the course was playing. And she said, "Well, I knew how they would toughen it up. First of all, this is the fastest the greens I have ever been on and the highest and thickest of the rough has ever been." And I thought, "Well, she hasn't played it this difficult." But, certainly, as many times as she'd played it has to be an advantage, for her to know the subtlety of the breaks on these greens. I thought Betsy just putted awesome today. She had the speed of the greens down so well, and I kept trying to hawk her putts and I could not follow along. I was not making my putts at all today, I felt. But she made a couple of good 30-footers today; that she just looked very comfortable over the putter, and that's probably because of how much she's played.

Q. And after the kind of year she had last year, after the worst year of her career, what do you think has been the key for her as far as coming back and having a big year?

MEG MALLON: Well, again it's her work ethic, and she's, you know, changed teachers, bound and determined to come back. Last year, she felt like, "Okay, I'll just tone down my career and just play a few events." Well, a great player like that cannot just play a few events -- not just come out and play a few events. She has to work hard at it to be good about herself, and she rededicated herself this winter to come back out and work hard, and it's paid off for her.

Q. Name of the game the first couple of days has been conservatism, just making a birdie here and there. Do you think being closer to the finish now, only 36 holes away, that you'll open up the throttle a little bit, maybe whereas on a cold Thursday, you played it conservatively?

MEG MALLON: Well, it's more patience and more strategy, I think. Conservative is not always good, because I have to be -- feel solid and aggressive with my golf swing, not necessarily the strategy I take aggressive-wise, but I have to be aggressive with my golf swing. Today, I felt like I was not that sharp with it. So this weekend I would like to go out again and just hit good solid shots, depending on how the wind is, and be aggressive that way within myself, but, again, still play smart, conservative golf as you say.

RHONDA GLENN: Let's go over your card, Meg if we may. Four birdies today. Tell us about the bogeys as well, the first one as on No. 3.

MEG MALLON: Yeah, No. 3, I hit -- again, I laid up a 4-wood into the water on the right. And then I hit -- took two shots to get it in the green. Hit it the high, right fringe and putted down to about a foot and a half for bogey there. Then I came back on No. 4 and hit a 5-iron to probably six feet and made that for birdie. And then No. 5, I hit a 6-iron to 15 feet and made that for birdie. And then No. 6, I hit it in the left rough and just pitching out. Hit a pitching wedge up there and 2-putted from oh, 18 feet I guess. I used a 9-iron to pitch out of the rough. Then No. 8, the par 5, hit a gap wedge to, I guess, two feet and made that for birdie. No. 13, where I made bogey, I hit it left just into the hazard. I had a shot out of it just a good pitch-out, just used a sand wedge to pitch out of that there. Hit a pitching wedge up to about eight feet and I missed it, for bogey. I made bogey there. And then 15, I hit a 7-iron out to 25 feet, and fortunately, hit my first putt about eight feet by and I missed the putt coming back. So, I 3-putted that. And then 18, hit a little sand wedge -- well, I hit 7-wood up to the green and hit it just over the green, and sand wedged it up to about two feet and made that for birdie.

End of FastScripts....

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