On a day when par was nearly impossible at Augusta, Stuart Appleby - despite suffering a triple bogey on No. 17 - takes a one-shot lead over Tiger Woods and Justin Rose into the final round of the 2007 Masters. A total of 15 players - including defending champion Phil Mickelson - are within five shots of the lead as play starts.
Here's what some of the top players had to say after the round.
Q. You're either going to have the lead or be pretty close to it, but you probably would have been happier to have a couple more shots. Take us through the only blimp in the day, 17?
STUART APPLEBY: Overall it was very comfortable out there considering conditions were an extreme opponent. Really played decent all day. You know, played smart, did the right things at the right time. 17, I hit a bad tee shot and really was trying to -- from where I saw my lie, I thought, well, if I make a 5, that will be pretty good. And really, the whole day was a bit like that, you know, extracted par sometimes, in really difficult situations where I thought maybe I need to realistically think about a bogey.
Yeah, would loved to have had that sand shot again and not was trying to be greedy but just, you know, look, should have been in the middle of the fairway, no two ways about it, or somewhere a bit more respectable.
Yeah, that was the hole that I let a couple of shots slip or sure. Overall I felt like there was plenty of holes where I could have let more slip throughout the day. I just happened to bunch one hole up and have a triple.
Q. Can you just put into context the temperature played today? You've played winter golf in Australia in your youth, but how cold was it out there?
STUART APPLEBY: Me, I didn't really feel cold until about 15, 16. It was really shady down there in the corner and that was cold. I don't know how the people in the stands -- well, seats, just sitting there, the members, were just -- man, it was very frigid. I noticed that when I had -- when I hit my bunker shot on 17. I hit it thin and that cold, rattly feeling you get in your fingers and hurt for that one reason, fingers were just very cold.
I've played in colder conditions, but with the dryness of the golf course and that, too, normally this team tour is associated with rain or something you would see at St. Andrews. Tough day, I don't think we've seen scores anything like this at Augusta for a long time.
Q. You have not contended in a lot of majors so far, but wondering going back to Muirfield what you took out of there and anything you can bring to the table tomorrow?
STUART APPLEBY: Muirfield, very, very different. I was playing well all week, putting decent but just burning the hole. I just remember thinking, come Sunday -- kind of going back to, I had a great draw on Saturday. I got in before the storm did and made a real run up the leader board there and come Sunday, the putts dropped. Got into a skew of broken-up, four-way playoff which was very weird in itself.
Looking back, I was very pleased, but looking back, you just don't get a lot of opportunities like that to get into contention all the time. Certainly my past has never been flooded with appearances with someone like Tiger and many other major players. But overall, I was happy, but looking back, you know, like I say, you just don't see that all the time. So being that tomorrow is going to be a very difficult day for everybody, you know, we all want to milk the most out of our successful day.
Q. What are your thoughts on the conditions?
TIGER WOODS: It was a tough day with the wind gusts. You hit quality shots and just get absolutely hosed. That's just the way it is here. Hopefully you get committed to hit the proper shot and get lucky at the same time with the wind.
Q. So the wind is the big X factor tomorrow?
TIGER WOODS: We don't know. If it blows like this, you don't know. Putts from two and three feet you got to play a little bit of wind. And that's trouble out here.
Q. How frustrating was your finish today?
TIGER WOODS: Very. Very. I made a mistake at 17 by not playing long, playing into the gallery, or playing 40, 50 yards over the green there. It's an easy pitch coming back. 18, I hit a good 8-iron, but the wind switched. Just got the wrong gust at the wrong time. And that's the way it goes.
Q. How aggressive can you afford to be tomorrow?
TIGER WOODS: If it's like this, you got to be aggressive to your spots. And that's sometimes nowhere near a flag.
Q. How would you describe the conditions out there today?
TIGER WOODS: They were tough. You had to stay patient, you had to hit quality shots, and get very lucky at the same time.
Because you can hit a great shot and get absolutely hosed out here. And a lot of shots that Paul hit today that he got the wrong gusts and vice versa, and I got a couple good breaks there in the wind.
Number 10 was a perfect example. He got a good gust, got to the hole. I got the wrong one and ended up way short. That's the way it is. We all are struggling in it together. We just got to get by.
Q: Would you care to give us a play-by-play?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, obviously I got off to a bad start. Somewhat reminiscent of my third round three years ago, which some people may remember after leading the tournament.
What I was really pleased with today was that didn't really affect me and stayed -- played one shot at a time, managed to create a little bit of momentum on the third by up-and-downing it and holed a good par putt on the 4th and hit a good shot into the 5th. So it really turned my round around over those three holes and then began to feel quite confident.
The birdie I made on 7 was the first birdie I made because I didn't make a birdie yesterday. And 14 was the last birdie I made on day one. So that's quite a run of holes without making a birdie. That began to give me a lot of confidence and I began to play quite nicely from there.
Q. Can you talk about when Tiger's at a stage where he's in contention, right now he's one stroke off the pace, why he is the man to beat, if you feel that way?
JUSTIN ROSE: Sure. I think purely just that he's been here so many times, he feels more comfortable with the situation maybe than the rest of us. At the same time, I think from my perspective, going out there and being in contention to win a major, especially obviously the Masters, is a day where that's the challenge, really; it's not about beating an individual.
Q. You've had some major developments in your life the past couple of years, getting married and losing your father a few years ago and changing coaches; do you see all of that as being part and parcel as what you're able to withstand the pressure here?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I think it helps me puts things in perspective for sure. Some of the changes I've made, I've made deliberately for situations like this in terms of the coach and in terms of the caddie. I've made conscious decisions to prepare for situations like this.
Other situations are out of your control. The passing of my dad, that helps you put things in perspective and helps you realize golf is what you should be enjoying doing.
Q. Talk about your round today.
PHIL MICKELSON: A tough day. One of the most difficult. I've seen some difficult ones in the past. Only one person under par.
Q. The conditions.
PHIL MICKELSON: Tough as I've seen. It wasn't as hard as it could have been because they put water on the greens. Think it's not impossible. I will try to gather a game plan tonight. It's tough to be aggressive at all with these conditions. You have to be patient. It was a fair challenge.
As tough as it is, I didn't think it was unfair by any means. It's a challenge to make pars. You have to fight on every hole to make par here.
I don't feel like it's unrealistic, I've seen people come from seven shots back. It was a very good round for me. I played pretty well and fought hard to make a lot of pars. Obviously I needed to shoot under par to really put myself in contention. I fought hard enough to where at least I have a chance. I was looking at the leaderboard to get a game plan and what I have to do tomorrow. Only two people are under par. Tomorrow, I feel like I have to shoot in the 60s to have a chance. I think I have to make 14 pars and four birdies. That's kind of the game plan.
There are four birdie holes, but you are limited on those birdie chances. Certainly I need to get closer to even, but over par will win the tournament.
Q. No square driver?
PHIL MICKELSON: With it be being windy, I hit the other driver to hit low shots. I used it exclusively today.
Historically in this tournament the winner has come from the final pairing for however many years.
There's a good chance that somebody that goes off early and posts a good number can possibly take the title this year.
Transcripts provided by ASAP Sports.
April 8, 2007
Coming off his thrilling British Open victory over Sergio Garcia in 2007, Padraig Harrington sat down to discuss his game and his chances at the 2008 U.S. Open. "I have spent my last 10 years trying to adapt my swing to play U.S. Open golf," Harrington said. "I'd say the last two years, that and the Masters have attracted my attention more than anything else."
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