Notes and Quotes
Mike Small insists a lot of players are still capable of winning, Lee Rinker explains the difficulty of playing out of the rough, Jerry Haas sets his goal for the final round, Alan Schulte measures his expectations on the greens, and more.
By Bob Denney, PGA of America
What They're Saying on Saturday:
MIKE SMALL, Champaign, Ill. 69-68-70--207 (-9)
The University of Illinois, Champaign, Ill.
(On getting into position to win)
That's what you want. You want to be in a position tomorrow. But, I bogeyed two and three today after missing a short birdie putt on one and I was like, 'Oh no.' And then I birdied No. 4 and eagled five, which righted the ship for me a little bit. Then I played OK, missed a couple of makeable birdie putts and hit one loose shot on the back nine and made bogey, but the putter saved me coming in. So, we'll hope to have a good round tomorrow. But there are still a lot of guys in this tournament.
(On his success at this tournament)
I don't think it's the tournament, per se, I think it's just that I like the challenge to come out and play well and see if I can.
(On the weather, if it holds for Sunday)
Tee times this far apart -- from the first guy at 8:20 to the last guy at 1:30 -- the course changes a lot and it firms up during the day, so you just have to keep that in mind. You've got to miss it in the right spots, and if you don't, you're going to pay the price.
(On his eagle on the par-5 fifth, after a bogey on the hole Friday)
Today I hit it in the fairway and that entire hole you've got to be in the fairway. I hit 5-iron in there and hit a really good shot, probably my best shot of the day. I hit it to about 15 or 18 feet and made it. That turned things around, because I was struggling going into there.
ALAN SCHULTE, Fishers, Ind. 67-69-71--207 (-9)
The Hawthorns, Fishers, Ind.
(On being tentative Friday and an aggressive start on Saturday)
It was the kind of start that really helps you get going. I was actually a little bit nervous this morning, so getting it going early helped me calm down and allowed me to play a little but more aggressive the rest of the day.
(On the 6-iron on No. 2 from the rough)
I had the runway and that's all I could do. The greens are firm, so you've got to take what they'll give you. Luckily, it worked according to plan, I guess.
(On his rough back nine)
I actually feel like I played better than I scored today. I hit one loose shot. I guess I kept adding yardage and laid off it too much, and unfortunately it went in the water. It was just one bad swing, because I was really pleased with the rest of them.
(On playing with Mike Small Sunday)
It should be fun. He's a tough competitor and his record shows it. I know he'll be all business out there, but I'm just going to go out there and try and have a good time.
(On staying consistently competitive and not playing every week)
I think it was the practice from 15 years ago that's just sticking around.
(On whether or not his mindset has changed from being happy to be out here)
Not really, no. I don't want it to change. I am still happy to be here and I'm enjoying myself. I love the position I'm in and hopefully I'll play real well tomorrow.
(On his putting)
Today I didn't really make that many putts. I don't know if the greens were any slower. I felt like I hit a couple of real good, solid ones and I just never really got a putt to the cup. It's hard to make them that way.
LEE RINKER, Bountiful, Utah 76-66-68--210 (-6)
Emerald Dunes Golf Club, West Palm Beach, Fla.
(On struggling through the last several holes)
I just played well. I made some nice putts early on -- I hit a few good iron shots and made some putts -- and then just got off the edge of the green a couple of times. On No. 14, I drove it into the rough. I was trying for the middle of the green and it scooted through the green, to the back edge, and I didn't get it done. Then I had a good birdie putt on 15 and just missed it. Then I left it dead-center short on 16, about an inch. I almost made that.
Then on 17, I drove into the rough again and hit another shot out of the rough where it went onto the green and rolled through the green. I didn't get it up and down. The course is playing great. If you're in the rough, you hit and it scoots like crazy, so it's going to be difficult to get the ball anywhere near the hole from the rough. The fairways here are fairly generous on most of the holes. There are some holes, like 17, that are pretty tight. Even 18, I hit a beautiful sand wedge.
(On what areas he'd like to improve)
To be honest, I didn't play badly on Thursday. I hit every fairway here on Thursday. If I could hit three shots over [again], I'd be six shots better. I hit a 2-iron going toward the par 5 on two into the water, then I hit another 9-iron on 13 where it just barely came out, barely missed the green and rolled into the water there. Then I didn't putt worth a darn. I really, tee to green, I played pretty doggone well. I think I was playing a little tight coming into the greens. Yesterday I got things going a little bit. Hopefully, I can keep things going tomorrow to finish off the round.
(On having a come-from-behind mindset)
It's a little different when you're leading. It's harder when you're behind, like I was. I'm firing at everything, trying to make as many birdies as I can, especially yesterday, because I knew if I didn't make any then I wouldn't make the cut. I had nothing to lose. A lot can depend on the weather, too. If you get any wind, this course is going to play tough. Two- or 3-under could be a really good score tomorrow, if the wind blows. If it's calm again, the scores will be pretty good, just like they are today. I think this course has been pretty good today.
You don't have many putts when you shoot 6-under, that's for sure. Today I putted beautifully, other than right at the end. For the first 13 holes I putted really well. I actually had some good putts down the stretch, but I didn't make them. Hopefully, we'll keep the lid open tomorrow. We'll make some more birdies and try to get back in the hunt.
(On moving to Emerald Dunes Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Fla.)
I started there in August of last year. It's been great. They're very supportive of my golf. It's really been great.
RON PHILO, JR., Westchester, N.Y. 68-71-71--210 (-6)
Metropolis Country Club, White Plains, N.Y.
(On overall round)
There're 18 holes left. I made the turn thinking there're 27 holes left, let's see if we can't get into a position to win. Despite the fact that I kind of threw up all over myself coming in, nobody's really out there running away. It's kind of offense on accident. A lot of people are allowing me to be in a position where I can try to win the tournament tomorrow.
(On the three-putt double-bogey)
It's just golf, you know. It just is. I was proud that after making double and bogey that I was able to make birdie on 17. I've just been confused on a lot of second shots to par 5s out here. If you can't get there, the ground is just so, so hard in front of the greens. The couple of greens that I've landed on, the ball has gone way over. The par 5s have been really hard. I think I've only birdied one of them in three rounds. In 12 tries, I've made one birdie. I'm over par on the par 5s. That's the most frustrating thing.
(On his eagle)
It was 114 to the hole and I hit a 54-degree gap-wedge.
(On tomorrow's final round)
My goal [for Sunday] is to shoot the lowest score I can shoot and to play all 18 holes, not 14 or 9 or 12. We've got 18 left, so I'm just going to try to come out tomorrow and do the same thing I was doing today and hopefully be a little bit more successful.
DON YRENE, Scottsdale, Ariz. 70-69-72--211 (-5)
The Golf Club Scottsdale (Ariz.)
(On his play today)
I'm very much in the thick of things. I played very solid. I had it 1-under going into the last hole. I hit a great drive, over the bunker, cut the corner, right in the middle of the fairway and hit a good 4-wood and I landed it just short of the green and it ran through the back of the green. I ended up making bogey on the last hole, so that was kind of disappointing. But I can't be disappointed in the round or the day. I played solid all day.
(On what happened the back nine)
On the back nine, the greens seemed like they were firmer. I don't know if that's because as the day wore on, maybe there was a little more wind. It seemed like the greens were firmer on the back side. The pin placements were tougher, too. It seemed like on the front nine they were right there and very accessible. All of a sudden we went to the back side and the pins were kind of tucked. The greens were firmer for sure on the back nine. It was playing harder because of that.
(On thoughts on finishing in the top 20)
That would be huge [to finish in the top 20]. It would obviously be nice to win the tournament, but I've gotten a lot better mentally as far as not thinking about trying to win, or top 20, or whatever. I've been really good at staying in the current situation and not getting ahead. When the bad stuff happens, I'm getting better of getting rid of that and staying focused on what's in front of me right here and now -- staying in the present. But, with all that said, that's what I'm going to try and do tomorrow. Obviously I would love to play in the PGA Championship, that's one of the four majors. That would be huge. It would be a great experience and I would love to do that, for sure.
JERRY HAAS, Winston-Salem, N.C. 71-73-68--212 (-4)
Old Town Golf Club, Winston-Salem, N.C.
(On his round)
I am 9-under-par on the par 5s throughout my three rounds. I three putted from about 18-feet on No. 16 for bogey, which was kind of stupid. Then I came back and curled in a 30-footer on no. 17 for a birdie to get back to 5-under-par.
(On his bogey on No. 18 -- he then missed about a 20-foot par putt)
I hit a good drive on the last hole, I just can't hit it long enough to get it over the first big bunker. I had a tough lie and I hit it heavy out of the bunker and I had a wood into the green. I went in the right bunker and it was tough with the ball above my feet.
(On making a move in the third round)
No question I made a move. I hit it to about 1-foot away from the cup on No. 5 and tapped it in for an eagle and the made a nice birdie on No. 8. The eagle gave me momentum for the rest of my round. Sometimes an eagle can really get you going and it definitely did in my case.
(On going into the final round)
I feel good about the going into tomorrow. I hit some very good shots today. My goal is to get it to double-digits under par tomorrow and I have a chance, and that's all you want.
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