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An Interview With: Justin Leonard

JULIUS MASON: Justin Leonard, ladies and gentlemen, in at 6-under. Justin, some thoughts on your round today. We'll go through your card and we'll go to Q&A, please.

JUSTIN LEONARD: Watching Darren and K.J. birdie the first hour that we played, and K.J. decided to add another 13 or 14 minutes onto it, it was fun. It was fun to watch those guys. I think they were playing so well, I kind of got sucked into it on the back nine. I think we all definitely fed off each other, and it was just a fun day, a fun group to be a part of.

JULIUS MASON: Birdies and bogeys real quickly.

JUSTIN LEONARD: Birdied 2, hit a 5-wood just left of the green, pitched it to about six feet and made that.

Bogeyed 3, hit a 7-iron about 40 feet, left that about eight feet short and missed that putt.

Birdied 7, hit a 4-iron just short of the green and chipped it in from 30 feet.

Birdied 10, hit a pitching wedge to about 12 feet.

12, hit a 7-iron about three feet.

13, hit a 6-iron about 25 feet.

14, hit a sand wedge about six feet.

16, hit it up near the green in two and had a nice pitch shot to about five feet.

Q. Is there one factor -- as hard as this course was expected to play, is there one factor that allows guys at your level to shoot 65, 66 on layouts like this?

JUSTIN LEONARD: Well, I think the greens are still relatively soft and very receptive and they are in perfect shape. You feel like you're going to hole a lot of putts. We had a little bit of wind today, and it changed directions towards the end of our round.

But, you know, in general, I think it's because the greens are in such great shape and they are still a little soft.

Now, I think this is the way they should play because there's so much undulation out there. I think a lot of times, especially on a golf course like this, the more times you play, the more confident you get. I know that's the way I felt this week, and I'm sure a lot of the other guys, because when you first step up on the tee, you see everything. Because there's so much peripheral stuff, I think guys are getting more comfortable and they are kind of figuring this golf course out.

Q. There's a lot of Ryder Cup talk this week, and yours is one name we haven't really heard a lot of lately. As a former Ryder Cup hero, are you looking at all to make a statement this week; hey, don't forget about me?

JUSTIN LEONARD: I think the only statement I could make that would catch Hal's attention would be sitting in this chair Sunday afternoon. Beyond that, I'm not too concerned about it.

Right now, I have plans on playing San Antonio and watching the Ryder Cup on television. Unless I do something wonderful these next three days, that's exactly where I'll be.

Q. Did you do something different in preparation this week before you came to this tournament?

JUSTIN LEONARD: I didn't. I played The International last week, and probably the only difference is that I actually played pretty well at The International, which I haven't done in a while.

No, I haven't done a whole lot different preparing for this week other than just playing last week.

Q. You went through a pretty rough stretch before the last couple of tournaments. Can you talk about, has the year been tough for you? What have you struggled with? What have been the issues?

JUSTIN LEONARD: The first half of this year was difficult on the golf course. I mean, off the golf course, I can't imagine being much happier. But just not playing well, and I think I lost some confidence and it crept into areas of my game. I feel like I've been swinging pretty well this whole time, but you know, just try to simplify things the last few weeks, and since the Open, I've been playing pretty well.

JULIUS MASON: Justin Leonard, thank you very much.

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