ACE Group Classic interview: Jay Don Blake

February 17, 2013

MORE INTERVIEWS: ACE Group Classic transcript archive

PHIL STAMBAUGH: Okay, Jay Don, a final round 68, you come up one short of Bernhard Langer. Good tournament nonetheless. Just maybe take us through the day. At one point you guys were tied early on the back nine and you started fast today with three birdies in your first four holes.

JAY DON BLAKE: Yeah, I got off to a good start. I mean, even on the 1st hole I had 80-yard sand wedge and couldn't hit the green on the 1st hole but ended up making par. And then from then on I hit a good 4-iron to No. 2 and had about 20 feet just left and, you know, 2's a pretty tough hole just to even make par and to knock that in for birdie on No. 2 is pretty much a bonus.

Then the next hole is a par 5, which is downwind. I hit driver, 3-iron just to the right fringe and putted it to about a foot away and made another birdie.

The next hole I took a little gamble and drove it, tried to funnel down through the bunkers and had a good drive down there and had about a 110-yard wedge into the hole, so ended up hitting it about three feet and made birdie to get three in a row right there.

Then I hit some good shots on the par 3, missed about a 15-footer, and then had some decent birdie chances to make and wasn't quite capitalizing on them.

Then I ended up hitting a 5-iron into No. 8 probably about 18 feet just left of the hole and made that for birdie.

And then the next birdie didn't come until the par 5 13th. I knocked it on the green in 2 on the far left side, probably had 60 feet and ended up knocking it down there about two feet and made birdie.

Then the only bogey made was on 16. I kind of tried to get too cute with my iron shot on the par 3 and hit it a little heavy, hit the lip and kicked down to the bunker. I hit a good bunker shot to about three feet and hit a horrible putt and missed it and made bogey there.

PHIL STAMBAUGH: What club did you use there?

JAY DON BLAKE: I hit a 6-iron, tried to hit an easy 6 in there and I kind of chunked it. I had some birdie putts on 17 and 18 that I hit good putts on, couldn't quite get them to go in.

PHIL STAMBAUGH: Can you talk about your putt at 18? It looked like it was going right in.

JAY DON BLAKE: Yeah, from about three, four feet it just started to break and looked like it was turning, and you can kind of see how it all works right towards the hole and it looked like it was going to be a pretty good putt to have a chance of going in and it got just a couple feet before the hole and just flattened right out. I actually thought I had made it, gave it a good effort but just wasn't good enough.

PHIL STAMBAUGH: Okay. We'll just go to questions.

Q. How much are you following what Bernhard is doing, or what hole do you really start looking and seeing where you're at?

JAY DON BLAKE: You know, there's not really a whole lot of scoreboards really out there at all, so you really couldn't see a whole lot. You know, the conditions were still pretty tough today, and being cold, I just had to stay in my own game and hit my own shots. I probably didn't see anything until I got right around 14, 15, I think. There was a leaderboard on the back of 14 green I think is where I had seen at that time I think I was tied, but then I seen he posted a birdie on 13 to go one up. Then I hit a pretty good shot on 15, I had a good chance at birdie there. So I wasn't really watching a lot until about the last four holes.

Q. How did you deal with that part of it? Did you have a number that you wanted to get to where you thought you had a pretty good chance?

JAY DON BLAKE: With Bernhard, you never know what number you can shoot. He's played in some conditions that he'll shoot low like he did the first day, so you can't really post a number. You go out there and try to make the birdies you can and save the pars you can and post a score and hopefully it's good enough.

Q. So just so I'm clear, I believe you had a lead briefly today, which a lot of us thought wasn't going to happen. We just thought Bernhard would just kind of run away from people. So you weren't even aware that you had a lead briefly?

JAY DON BLAKE: I did not know.

PHIL STAMBAUGH: You birdied 13, he was on the tee.

JAY DON BLAKE: Oh, okay. Yeah, I didn't know I had taken the lead. I didn't see anything. There wasn't a board around at all to see it. I wasn't really paying attention. I was just trying it make birdies. You wouldn't think, you know, what did he have, a four-shot? He had a five-shot lead on me. I didn't think with Bernhard, the way he's been playing, pretty tough to kind of pounce down on him, but he must have struggled out there and I played well early, but I didn't see that.

Q. So even when you were playing well early, your thought was just, okay, let's keep grinding away here?

JAY DON BLAKE: Yeah, I knew I had to make birdies. I knew being five shots back, you know, I guess with me making some birdies I felt like well, there as some birdie holes out here so other guys are going to be making birdies. And I hit some good shots, so I guess that made it feel like it was more of a gettable course to make some birdies. I just kind of thought he would be making a bunch more and I guess he just kind of plugged along with some pars for a while. I was just trying to make as many as I could. That's what we do out here, you can't birdie them all but you wished you could.

Q. With that in mind, you made a run today. Are you frustrated that you couldn't send it to a playoff or are you happy with the run you made, or what are your thoughts?

JAY DON BLAKE: You know, to be honest, I'm probably pretty frustrated because I had some opportunities out there to really make some good birdies not from very far away. I had one on 10, 12. The par 3 I hit in there about seven, eight feet. Then 15, I hit it in there about 10 feet. Then I missed a short one on 16, and 17 and 18 I hit good putts for birdies. I felt like I had some pretty good chances to make. I even had some on the front side that I missed also. I probably had five, six birdie putts inside 10 feet that I missed that I really felt like get some of those in order to put some pressure on him and it didn't happen.

Q. On 16 on the putt, did you hit it poorly or did you misread it?

JAY DON BLAKE: Yeah, I hit a poorly. I had some bad thoughts. A lot of the putts I started missing I was kind of missing out to the right, and this putt broke left to right and the wind was blowing left to right, and I just watched Mark Wiebe's putt come up that same line and it really broke right. So my thought's well, you're pushing them right, wind blowing right, everything's going right. I mean, I never got a good, confident thought in my head to hit a good stroke and I just pulled it, terrible putt.

PHIL STAMBAUGH: Okay. Have we got anything else? Jay Don, thank you very much.

JAY DON BLAKE: You bet, thank you.