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May 11, 2002

Shigeki Maruyama


TODD BUDNICK: Welcome Shigeki Maruyama, your leader at the Verizon Byron Nelson Classic.

Q. Go ahead and give us a comment about today's round.

SHIGEKI MARUYAMA: I wasn't expecting the big score I was going to have today. But I had good birdies, some good putts, and I am very satisfied with my golf today.

TODD BUDNICK: Shigeki never lead before after 54 holes. Have you been in the last group before on the PGA TOUR.

SHIGEKI MARUYAMA: Yes, Buick Invitational and Milwaukee, two or three times.

TODD BUDNICK: Any more pressure now having the lead instead of being No. 2.?

SHIGEKI MARUYAMA: Much more (indicating choking neck) trying to have a good smile at the golf course tomorrow.

Q. How difficult was it battling the wind today?

SHIGEKI MARUYAMA: Yesterday the wind was going in the same direction and all the time, but today it is different. When I was aiming the ball -- when I was hitting the ball, it was coming against - very difficult the direction today.

Q. Was your finish important, the par at 15 and the birdie at 18, to give you more room for air tomorrow, three-stroke lead?

SHIGEKI MARUYAMA: I didn't get any nervous today, played as usual. And biggest point was No. 8 hole. I could have birdied that hole. Two birdies in a row, that made me a little bit confident today playing in this wind, and I thought I could go today as well. I just misjudged a couple of holes with the wind. That's all the bad shots. I was real positive today.

Q. How tough was your lie on 15 by the green? Looked like the ball was buried.

SHIGEKI MARUYAMA: It was buried and I could see the ball is -- only like that much (very small) the reporter said to Shigeki he couldn't find the ball. I said, yeah, it was like a US Open. But I only played once at U.S. Open, but it was like the U.S. Open.

Q. When you won in Milwaukee last year, you got a lot of attention, but the field wasn't as tough and the conditions weren't this tough. How much satisfaction would you have winning a tournament like this?

SHIGEKI MARUYAMA: I am going to have big pressure tomorrow and getting nervous, but I expect good play like a big name player has a good score all the time. So just think about that and concentrate on my golf and like to play my golf as I planned tomorrow.

Q. How will you spend the evening tonight?

SHIGEKI MARUYAMA: Have good Japanese food for dinner, go to Starbucks Cafe, have a grande iced latte, and watch basketball on TV, and then go to sleep as usual.

Q. With KJ winning last week, and now you are in contention to win again, what does this say about the state of golfers from Asian countries?

SHIGEKI MARUYAMA: KJ played in Japan before and now everyone have attention -- KJ won the tournaments, (inaudible) more golfers trying to get PGA TOUR now and in Japan, as I say, Isao Aoki, who used to play on the PGA TOUR, he had good golf. Everyone is trying to catch Aoki and getting over Aoki, that's what he's doing now. I think quite a few more players are coming to play in Qualifying School and trying to get to the PGA TOUR.

Q. Do you smile as a way to help deal with the nerves on the course or do you just smile that much all the time?

SHIGEKI MARUYAMA: I just smile naturally all the time, just cannot keep serious face even a minute. I laugh only little things, smiles, out of the golf course too, so that's the way I live. After that second shot when I walked up to the green, if the ball is close to the pin just -- just couldn't be serious like have to be smiling. I want to do like a Tiger, like serious face with the hand up (and grabs bill of the cap firmly).

Q. Have you tried that?

SHIGEKI MARUYAMA: I tried, but I smiled that time.

Q. Do your cheeks ever hurt from smiling so much?

SHIGEKI MARUYAMA: That's the normal face.

Q. Have you ever had a 54-hole lead not on the PGA TOUR in another event?

SHIGEKI MARUYAMA: That's my first time.

Q. Even in Japan?

SHIGEKI MARUYAMA: Many times in Japan. On the PGA TOUR first time.

TODD BUDNICK: Japan, how many times?

SHIGEKI MARUYAMA: Many, but I just don't remember how many.

Q. To follow-up you said that you were going to try to play your game tomorrow. This is the first time that you have had a 3-shot lead going into the final round. You won't make any adjustments going into tomorrow or during the round tomorrow?

SHIGEKI MARUYAMA: I am not expecting to win the tournament easily. I will do the same routine tomorrow, same shots hopefully and just nothing special. Probably the difference is going to be big many times, that's all.

End of FastScripts....

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