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March 16 2011

4:59 PM

Uihlein wants to try and have fun

Peter Uihlein pre-tournament interview

Prior to the start of the Transitions Championship, Peter Uihlein addressed the media and discussed the difficulty of the Copperhead golf course.

Most college kids spend their spring break soaking up the sun on the beaches of Florida. But Peter Uihlein isn't just another weary student who wants to put away the books and chill out for a little while.

In fact, the Oklahoma State junior is getting some on-the-job training this week at the Transitions Championships. Uihlein, the reigning U.S. Amateur champ, will be playing in the PGA TOUR event on a sponsor's exemption.

"obviously I'm happy to get a spot," Uihlein said. "They are great to extend the invitation to me, and it's kind of a home course. I grew up down in Bradenton, which is only 40 minutes away from here.  So to be up here and playing a lot, I know a lot of my friends are going to come out, and it should be pretty cool to play in front of them.

"I'm excited to play the Copperhead Course. It's a great track and I'm looking forward to it."

Uihlein is working toward a degree in economics at OSU, but he wants to play golf for a living. The Transitions Championship is his second PGA TOUR event -- Uihlein shot rounds of 72-74 at the 2006 Buick Championship -- and he's interested to see how his game measures up. He'll be playing in the Masters three weeks from now, as well.

"I just want to see where I match up and what I need to work on and things like that," said Uihlein, who added that he plans to return to Stillwater for his senior season. "I feel like my game is pretty good coming into it, playing okay, and just to try and have some fun and enjoy it and really not have that much expectations."

Uihlein has also been to Augusta National three times for practice rounds, most recently two weekends ago. Interestingly, though, Uihlein -- whose father Wally is the CEO of the Acushnet Company -- has never been the Masters as a spectator. He found the course a lot hillier than he expected when he played for the first time last October.

"I'm getting used to it a little bit more," said Uihlein, who broke par in his most recent practice round. "The greens, from what I keep getting told, are never really Augusta speed until the week of. So you know, kind of limits how much practicing you can do around the greens. But visually off the tee, it's been good. I've been able to work on some things and trying to get some shots there."

According to Masters custom, as the reigning U.S. Amateur champion Uihlein will play with defending champion Phil Mickelson in the first two rounds. He'd love for former Cowboy standout Rickie Fowler or one of the PGA TOUR’s other young guns to complete their threesome but regardless, Uihlein is just looking forward to the experience.

"That will be fun," Uihlein said. "Obviously (Phil's) a pretty good player. He know what is he's doing around there. But you know, that will be pretty good. I'm looking forward to it. I'm looking forward to seeing all of the crowds and how they react to him because he's obviously one of the fan favorites, so I think that will be pretty sweet." – Helen Ross

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