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April 20, 2002

Heath Slocum


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: I'd like to welcome Heath Slocum to the media center. Great round today, 66, 5-under par, and you're 12-under for the tournament. If you could, just start us off a little bit with how your day went and in general how it's playing, and we'll open it up for questions.

HEATH SLOCUM: I appreciate it. I played really well today. I got off to a real good start on the first hole. I hit a wedge in there like a foot for birdie. And second hole I hit kind of a 3-iron just a little past the green, and tried to put it on the fringe and left myself a 10-footer and made it.

And after that I kind of just stroked some good pars together. Had a couple of opportunities, didn't really make anything there. And hit it about five feet on No. 9. And I made that.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: What did you hit in there.

HEATH SLOCUM: Hit a sand wedge. And I made a couple of pretty good pars on 10, 11. And just made -- good solid pars, hit some good shots in the center of the greens until 15 ,I made about a 20-footer. And I missed about a 15-footer on 16. And I hit a 7-iron into 17 just short and right and chipped in there, which was nice.

And then 18 I just 2-putted from just off the back of the green.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: On 15, did you a hit driver and what else?

HEATH SLOCUM: Hit a driver and I laid up with an 8-iron, actually, and hit a sand wedge just behind that hole, really not much -- I couldn't stop it there. I was just trying to take my medicine and made a real good putt there.

Q. How important was it to make a move today with a good round?

HEATH SLOCUM: I think it's always important Saturday, especially in the position I was in. Like I was only five or six back, I don't remember, but I knew if I put a good round in today, and at least give myself a chance on Sunday to shoot a good number and maybe catch the leaders.

Q. I know you had a 6th place finish earlier in the year. I don't know how far back you started that round. Is this really kind of the first time that you've been in maybe the last three groups or so on the PGA TOUR?

HEATH SLOCUM: Actually, in Tucson I had the lead going into Sunday and shot even par on Sunday and finished 6th there. So it was a little disappointing finish there because of the situation I had.

Q. Do you feel like you've learned from that experience, being able to handle it a little better tomorrow?

HEATH SLOCUM: Yeah, actually, I think the experience from Tucson will definitely help me with all my golf, and especially including tomorrow.

Q. Who did you have in the final group there at Tucson?

HEATH SLOCUM: I played with Andrew Magee and Brandel Chamblee.

Q. It looks like you're going to be paired with either Phil Mickelson or Davis Love or Justin Leonard, somebody like that, no matter how it shakes out. Is that going to have an effect playing with one of those guys on Sunday?

HEATH SLOCUM: I hope not. I'm really good friends with my caddy. I've got somebody to talk to. And we kind of stay to ourselves anyway and do our own thing. And the better I do that I think the better my results will be. So I'm just going to go out tomorrow and try to have some fun and enjoy it and play a good round.

Q. Given the way the course has been playing this week, are you surprised that you're as close to the lead as you are at 12-under right now?

HEATH SLOCUM: Well, after seeing the scores after the first day, I really didn't think that the 12 would be anywhere kind of close. But also with golf, the conditions may harden up and the first round is usually real low round shots. So I knew if I just stayed steady and shot some good rounds that maybe I could get myself into contention come Sunday.

Q. How much more difficult is the course playing now compared to -- it was pretty hot?

HEATH SLOCUM: It was hot out there today. I think the first day I teed off early and I think that the conditions were a little better. There was not much wind. I played really well that day. I just didn't hit my irons as crisp as I'd like. But today I really struck it solid and continued to make some putts.

Q. You had a nice career with the Buy.com Tour. Of course other guys are coming off that Tour every year. How much has that helped prepare you for this? What does it not prepare you for?

HEATH SLOCUM: I think it prepares you for pretty much everything, because you're playing against really good competition, and it's just like the PGA TOUR on a smaller scale. So I think that it prepares you pretty much for the PGA TOUR very well, actually. And I'm not so sure what it doesn't prepare you for.

The courses out here seems to be a little tougher from week to week, but for the most part it's not that much different.

Q. Is there maybe a higher level -- I was talking to Jonathan Burton, who is up this year, struggling a little bit, and he said it's the concentration, you're required to focus so much longer and so much more.

HEATH SLOCUM: I didn't find much of a difference in the concentration level, because I feel like if you're going out there and preparing to play golf, whether at the Buy.Com or Mini Tour or PGA event, if you treat it the same, sometimes it's easier to block out the galleries, who you're playing with and all the surroundings. And sometimes it's not. I guess it just depends on the person to whether you let it all get to you.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Thank you very much.

End of FastScripts....

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