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June 15, 2007

Paul Casey


Q. How good did that round feel today? How good was it? Can you put it into perspective?
PAUL CASEY: That round probably ranks as one of my finest ever, as long as I've been playing golf. A shame to have a blemish on the card with the bogey on 18 but I consider the U.S. Open to be the toughest test in golf and Oakmont could possibly be the toughest golf course I've ever played with the setup today.
So I feel very fortunate to walk off the golf course with a 66. I don't want to build it up anymore than that, because, you know, the USGA might start putting pins in places we can't get to.

Q. Snedeker shot a 73 and felt like it was 68 and he said it would take miracle golf to get a sub-par number.
PAUL CASEY: Yeah, and a little bit of luck, as well. My round started off with a good break. I holed a putt on 10, quite long, probably 45 feet or so, which if it had not gone in, would have been eight feet, ten feet by the hole.
And you need breaks like that. That boosted my confidence, made another birdie on 12. I got a couple of fortunate breaks. But the rest of it was good ball-striking. I played aggressive golf to sort of the safe areas, safe-ish areas out there. 9 was a good example finishing off, I went straight at the pin and missed the green right and had an easy chip. Stewart Cink who played to the center of the green had an almost impossible putt. So you have to know when to fire at pins and know when to hold back and that's what I did well today.

Q. You missed one fairway, if I'm not mistaken?
PAUL CASEY: It was a complete turnaround because I prepared thoroughly for this championship, and yesterday was very disappointing. I played here on Monday, after Memorial with Peter Kostis. We came down and worked on the swing very hard last week, and on aspects, certain shots that I thought I might need for this week. And yesterday was disappointing because I just didn't strike it very well.
So you know, the short of it is I spent a lot of time on the range yesterday after the round, which is rare for me. You know, I said to a couple of guys earlier, Vijay was surprised to see me out there. (Laughter) I'm sure I was out there longer than he was.
And I left the range not particularly happy with the swing and it just clicked this morning. So I'm ecstatic.

Q. Is this 66 almost as close to say the magical number of 59 somewhere else, would you go that far?
PAUL CASEY: Well, the 60 I shot in college was a great round of golf, but it's not at a U.S. Open golf course. Not quite the same sort of pressure.
However, today, the crowds were fantastic. I had a lot of support out there. You could sense people wanted to see a low score and I was just trying my heart out to try and get it into the house with a round in the 60s, which is what I did.

Q. Did you speak to Nick after his round?
PAUL CASEY: I didn't. I waved at him. He sort of pointed at me and gave me the thumbs-up and I acknowledged him.
A bunch of Englishmen on the leaderboard there for a while. Nick's round was tremendous. I played with him in practice. I thought he was swinging it great. You know, he is a tremendous player. He has not fulfilled his potential yet, but when he does, he'll be -- well, he might fulfill it this week, you never know, I hope he does. And the other guys, Poulter and Rose were up there as well, so it's good to see the Englishmen.

Q. Were you tempted to pull out driver on 17?
PAUL CASEY: Not with the pin position. With the pin position at the front, yes, I would be tempted. The pin position at the back, I didn't feel that I could get there.
And having practiced thoroughly in the rough short and left of the green, it's not a nice place. So I thought I'd take my medicine. I thought if I hit driver, I could bring bogey or double into the equation, and if I hit iron off the tee, which is what I did, I could make birdie as I did, but not do any worse than bogey.

Q. How down were you last night, and what did you do to relax after you finished?
PAUL CASEY: Last night was very -- it was a short evening. I spent a lot of time on the range. I was there till probably 7:30, maybe later and by the time I got back it was dinner and off to bed.
So -- (phone ringing) great ring tone. Thank you.

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