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October 25, 2013

Luke Guthrie


PAUL SYMES:  Congratulations on a fantastic round.  You're getting used to coming in here and speaking to the media, which I'm sure you don't mind, so tell us about another good day.
LUKE GUTHRIE:¬† It was another difficult day out there.¬† Anything in the red was another good number and I was able to manage 1‑under.
I made a few more mistakes out there, made a few bogeys, which was a little disappointing.  It's never fun to bogey the last hole, but it's playing tough.  I hit a lot of good shots, a lot of things to build on.  Made two great swings on 17 and 18 with irons to finish, and build on that going into tomorrow.
PAUL SYMES:¬† Four‑shot lead at the moment.¬† Obviously you came here in good form and playing well, but you can't imagine you would have that big an advantage after two days.
LUKE GUTHRIE:  Yeah, definitely.  I'm playing well.  I was in good form coming here.  Got a tie for fifth over in Las Vegas on the PGA Tour, and been hitting it really well.  Kind of felt the trend going in the right direction.  The putts are going in.
Just kind of getting the timely up‑and‑downs to kind of keep the round going, and here I am with a four‑shot lead.¬† But it's only 36 holes left, so plenty of golf.

Q.  You talk about playing well, going from one tournament to the next, but what were your expectations going from one foreign country to another?
LUKE GUTHRIE:  I still expected to play well.  Been putting really well, expecting to do that.  But honestly, I've never come over here before.  So I didn't know exactly what to expect and things.  That's definitely a big reason why I'm here.  I want to challenge myself, and so far, I've been up for it, and now it's time to play 36 more holes.

Q.  What do you think of the City of Shanghai, and now you've been here for a few days, is it what you thought Shanghai was going to be?
LUKE GUTHRIE:  Yeah, I mean, when I was coming over here, I just kind of Googled Shanghai a little bit just to kind of see what I was coming to a little bit.  But I haven't got down to the city yet.
But Shanghai, yeah, I just Googled it, basically.  I didn't know too much where I was going.  Flew in to Pudong International Airport and didn't really know where that was at.  Took a car ride up here and found out later that I went basically right through the city.  It was late at night, so I didn't get to see too much.

Q.  Now you have an opportunity to enter the HSBC Champions field; is it beyond your expectations before you come to China?
LUKE GUTHRIE:  Honestly I wasn't sure exactly how to get in that field, if a win would do it, but I guess a win does it.  But I was just coming over, like I said earlier, to challenge myself, put myself in a new kind of environment and see what I could make of it.
I'm playing well right now, and like I said, I've got 36 more holes and I'm looking forward to the opportunity and hopefully I come out with a W and get to stay in Shanghai longer.

Q.  Have you ever played a WGC event before?
LUKE GUTHRIE:  I've never played a WGC, no.

Q.  Wonder if you can talk about the significance of 9 to make it through there with that putt and not drop a shot.
LUKE GUTHRIE:¬† Definitely.¬† No.9 is a difficult hole.¬† It's kind of a scary hole, all over water. ¬†If you miss that drive right and happen to hit it in the lake, it's basically a re‑tee.¬† It's a dangerous hole.¬† Whenever you get through that one with how the wind has been, with a 4 on the scorecard, you're happy.
Rolled in a nice putt there.  Kind of didn't hit my greatest chip.  Putter could make up for a lot of things, and it's always great to get through that one.  I think I made a couple other good par saves here and there.
The one on 16 was nice to get in the bag, and yeah, just hopefully I can continue to keep short game and in, that was my strength.

Q.  What was 16?
LUKE GUTHRIE:  16 I hit a really bad iron shot way left, kind of similar to No.18 in a way, long pitch over the hole, more difficult than 18.  But got it down there about six feet and holed the putt.

Q.  Coming all the way over to China the first time, were you expecting to have two other Americans with you in the last group?
LUKE GUTHRIE:  Probably not.

Q.  What was that like?
LUKE GUTHRIE:  It's always great to play with fellow countrymen, Americans, just because you kind of have similar interests.  John is from Arkansas, is a big Cardinal fan.  My dad is a big Cardinal fan.  Unfortunately I'm a Cub.  Have the World Series going on.  Peter is a Red Sox fan.  We talked a lot of baseball and NFL and just the sports that are big in America.  I have my fantasy team getting ready to go, fantasy football.  I don't know if that's played over here.

Q.¬† As a follow‑up, what did you know of John Daly until today?¬† I'm assuming it's the first time you've played with him.
LUKE GUTHRIE:  Yeah, it's my first time playing with him.

Q.  What was your perception or thinking of John, and what did you learn about him today?
LUKE GUTHRIE:  I briefly met him a few times last season, ran into him at the Sony, but never really got to talk to him very much.  Obviously, you know, '91 PGA, I forget when he won the British and stuff.
Basically it was great to play with him.  I learned that he's a very nice guy and honestly we are pretty similar out there on the golf course, our thinking a little bit kind of.
It was a fun day, just to talk to him; it was a very comfortable pairing for me.

Q.  What's your impression of Chinese golf, and when someone mentions Chinese golf, which player will come to your mind first?
LUKE GUTHRIE:¬† Obviously Chinese golf is up‑and‑coming and getting stronger by the year it seems like.¬† With facilities like this being built, I believe this is only 3 1/2, four years old or so; it's only going to keep getting better.¬† It's a fast‑growing game over here.
That's a tough one.  The person I've known from China, I believe Mu Hu is from here.  I played junior golf against him.  Played him in a match in the U.S. Junior in Florida, so I knew him decent coming here.  Besides that, I played with the Chinese player the first day, he was a great player I thought.

Q.  How do you play in tough conditions like this?
LUKE GUTHRIE:  The key is basically to control your golf ball.  It's easier said than done.  It's pretty difficult to keep the ball in the correct spots on the golf course.
I mean, if you're going to miss, you've got to miss in the correct spot.¬† I missed left on 12 today, short‑sided myself with a downwind bunker shot.¬† That was a bad miss.¬† If you're going to miss, blow it way right and get up‑and‑down.
But just kind of thinking your way around.  Mistakes are kind of magnified on days like this, so you have to be prepared to kind of grind.  I did grow up in Illinois, and Illinois is pretty flat back in the U.S. it's a lot of farm country and the wind whips around.  I still live in Champaign, Illinois, and it's like this about every day it seems like, so I have a lot of experience with it. 

Q.  You mentioned that you played some golf with Mu Hu and you know him quite well, and from amateur golf in the States, what do you think of him?  And when you play in tough conditions like the last couple days, if you have maybe a bad hole, how do you control yourself on the next to not get a big number?
LUKE GUTHRIE:  I knew Mu Hu from college golf and junior golf in the states.  I played him in like I said the U.S. Junior Amateur in the first round of match play. 
So kind of got to know him through that.  We played similar tournaments, so I've seen him everywhere and he's got a great swing.  He's always had a great swing.  Really strikes it well and is a very good player.  It's only a matter of time; I haven't seen him in forever and it was good to see him and catch up real quick.  We saw each other I believe on Wednesday at the range.
When you have a bad hole, it's almost inevitable to have a tough stretch on a hard day like this.  Hopefully you can grind out a par on the hole, like I did on 9, or something like that.  That's a big momentum putt.
But if it happens, you have to somehow just kind of not‑‑ just let it roll off the back.¬† It's hard to do.¬† If anything, that's kind of my weakness.¬† I get a little fired up out there on the inside.¬† You try not to show it.¬† But you've just got to get back into that next shot, because like I said, mistakes on a day like this are magnified; if you carry a bad hole with you and make a bad swing on the next tee, it could get out of hand pretty quick.

Q.  Would you like to introduce some background like playing in AJGA tournaments and why do you set up your mind to be a pro golfer, and also, like I think you play with Rickie Fowler, and you are almost the same age like Rory McIlroy, but now already he's a superstar.  So what's your pursuit in golf in the future?
LUKE GUTHRIE:  My background in golf, I've played golf my whole life.  It's been my life, basically.  I started golf when I was like two in my backyard.  I started playing tournaments when I was three.  My parents never like really pushed me to play golf.  I played a lot of sports but I just always came back to it, really loved it.  Really loved kind of being out there by myself and it's all on me and I like that.
I started playing AJGA tournaments my junior year in high school.  What age is that, 17, 16 about; I had a little bit of success.  Kind of got noticed nationally and went to college in my home state and just kind of kept getting better every day and that's what I tried to do.  Had a break out there in the Web.com in my first year in 2012.  It's happened quick honestly.  It seems like yesterday I was still playing with the team trying to win NCAA titles and Big Ten titles and stuff.
But here I am in front of you guys, and I'm happy to be here obviously.¬† But my goals in golf are basically just to get better every day, meet that challenge head‑on, and sky's the limit, see where it takes me.¬† It's kind of exciting to think about.

Q.  So what did you study in the university?  What's your major?
LUKE GUTHRIE:  In college what was my major?  General management, business.

Q.  What were you doing in short sleeves today?
LUKE GUTHRIE:¬† I didn't know‑‑ should I have looked that up about Shanghai before I came here.¬† I didn't know exactly what the weather was going to be like.¬† I only have one sweater here.¬† It kind of‑‑ I'm wearing blue and pink today, so I'm kind of out there already.¬† I didn't want to put a green sweater on top of it today.¬† So I just dealt with being a little cold.
PAUL SYMES:  Thanks a lot, Luke and have a great weekend.

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