February 1, 2009–Las Vegas native Scott Piercy has already won an Ultimate Game event, cashing a check worth $2 million that he shared with his sponsors. But with one round to go at the FBR Open in Phoenix, Piercy was in position to win THE Ultimate Game: a PGA Tour event. "Playing for $2 million and this, it's pretty similar, but there's a lot more people out here," said Piercy, who grew up working with Las Vegas golf instructor Tom Carslon, who these days runs clinics for kids at Angel Park Golf Club. "It's a lot funner out here, too." Click now for LIVE SCORING/RESULTS.
Piercy ended the third round one shot behind Kenny Perry while fellow Las Vegas golfers Ryan Moore and Charley Hoffman were in contention as well. Hoffman was in a tie for third while Moore was in a tie for 6th. Second-round leader and Las Vegas golfer Nick Watney struggled to a third-round 72 and fell into a tie for 13th. Piercy won the 2007 Ultimate Game event that was played at WYNN Las Vegas, a Tom Fazio golf course located on the grounds of the fabulous Wynn Las Vegas resort. He rallied from three shots down with seven holes to play in the big money event, eventually overtaking fellow Las Vegan and Wynn caddie Ken Jarner for the title.
Piercy gained full access to the PGA Tour in 2009 due to a top five finish on the 2008 Nationwide Tour money list. He also won two events on the Nationwide Tour last season. But he still needed to receive a sponsor's exemption to play at the FBR Open, a granted wish that was not lost on Piercy. "A lot of this wouldn't be possible if I didn't get a sponsor's exemption this week from FBR and the Thunderbirds," said Piercy. "I have to tip my hat to them and say thank you, otherwise this wouldn't be possible." Read for Piercy's official third-round press conference notes.
DOUG MILNE: Thanks for joining us for a few minutes after the third round of the FBR Open. We do see three bogeys on the card, but we also see eight birdies, obviously outweighing the bogeys. 5-under 66 today, and I know that's got to make you feel good as you're heading into the final round. Just a few general comments on the round.
SCOTT PIERCY: You know, it was a solid day, hit a lot of good shots. A lot of this wouldn't be possible if I didn't get a sponsor's exemption this week from FBR and the Thunderbirds. I have to tip my hat to them and say thank you, otherwise this wouldn't be possible. I started off the day 8-under through the first 13. You're thinking something special, and I had a couple unfortunate little bad chips, but I'm excited about tomorrow and look forward to playing in the last group and winning this thing.
Q. I assume you realize that you were building a little bit of a cushion at the top of the leaderboard there, and I was just wondering what the feeling was like compared to playing for $2 million.
SCOTT PIERCY: You know, when I played for $2 million I was three back with seven to play and I ended up winning by three. I was just trying to make my lead a little larger if I could, hit the greens, make some putts. The putter was rolling so well today. The hole looked like a five-gallon bucket. Playing for $2 million and this, it's pretty similar, but there's a lot more people out here. It's a lot funner out here, too.
Q. Did you feel you missed an opportunity on those last holes, or just take us through your mindset as you were coming through there.
SCOTT PIERCY: I definitely didn't expect to play them in 3-over par, maybe make a birdie, maybe two. That would have got me to, what, 16 or 15? That would have been a lot nicer than 11. But you know, it's golf. I missed a short one on 16. That just happens. But overall, I think I still have the lead by myself, and that's what I kept telling myself. They've got to catch me right now, and if I play solid tomorrow, my goal tomorrow is to make no bogeys. If I can take care of the par-5s and make no bogeys, I think they'll have a hard time to catch me.
Q. You told me yesterday after your round that you were a little bit tired. Did you get tired down the stretch today?
SCOTT PIERCY: No. I mean, the days are long. We had to wait the last five or six holes — the last five holes we had to wait a little bit, so that maybe threw me out of my rhythm a little bit. But not really. I mean, we were moving at a pace, and I felt pretty good most of the day.
Q. And I guess at the end of the day looking back, as you're feeling now, are you ecstatic that you're at the top of the leaderboard or maybe a little disappointed that you gave three back towards the end?
SCOTT PIERCY: I'm definitely excited. I'd like to be here tomorrow. That's more important. The bogeys, whatever. I look at it as eight birdies; that was awesome. A chip-in, some 20-footers, and that's all positive going into tomorrow.
Q. When you were trying to battle your way onto the TOUR a while back, I came across a quote where you said, "It really only takes one good tournament out there to change your life." Is this that tournament, or do you have to not look at it that way? Do you have to look at it just as a round of golf?
SCOTT PIERCY: Well, back then when I was Monday qualifying, I didn't have next week. The difference between now and then was I have status as a member of the PGA TOUR, so I have next week. So yeah, I mean, winning would kind of change my life so to say, but it would definitely have been a lot different back then. You know, I can play next week. I mean, that's huge, so I have the whole year to keep my card, try to win. I can almost try to win every week.
Q. Does that change the way you play, that maybe you can be a little more aggressive in situations?
SCOTT PIERCY: You know, I think — I don't know if it's more aggressive or less aggressive. You know, instead of a sprint you're doing a marathon. Hopefully I get to play 30 events this year, give or take, where when you have one and that's all you know of, you might be trying to force things. You don't have to force things when you're out here. The greens are hard, the rough is deep. If you start firing at flags and being silly, you're going to make bogeys.
Q. On 15 how far down was your ball buried behind the green? It looked like it was pretty —
SCOTT PIERCY: On 15?
Q. The par-5. I think your second was behind the green into that real thick — this was right before the stadium.
SCOTT PIERCY: No, I hit it in the water, then I laid up, then I knocked it in the middle of the green and two-putted.
Q. Sorry, I'm thinking of 14. How far down was it?
SCOTT PIERCY: I thought it was a great lie, to be honest with you. I thought it was going to come out nice and, I guess, quick, so to say, and it just came out really soft. I was thinking I could almost chip it in, to be honest with you.
Q. Given that you have a pretty good number of starts coming into this year, do you feel like a rookie or do you feel like you have a little more experience than that?
SCOTT PIERCY: I don't feel like a rookie, but I am a rookie. A rookie with experience, maybe. Playing 20 events before getting status definitely helps. It kind of makes me see if I belong in my heart of hearts, seeing the guys out here for 20 different weeks. I think I belong.
Q. Do you have any particularly memorable stories from money qualifiers, any near-misses or great finishes or anything like that?
SCOTT PIERCY: I think in 2006 I Monday qualified here and finished 15th, which was my best finish Monday qualifying. It was just really exciting. There's tons of stories Monday qualifying, chipping in on the last hole, making an 80-footer for birdie to get into the tournament.
Q. Did you really make an 80-footer to get in?
SCOTT PIERCY: No, not that week.
Q. When was that, though?
SCOTT PIERCY: That was to get into Chicago, the Western. That was a driver, 3-wood, and I chipped it in from like 80 feet.
Q. And did you know you needed to chip it in?
SCOTT PIERCY: Yeah, it was a playoff, actually (laughter).
Q. How did you do that week after that?
SCOTT PIERCY: I finished 24th that week, I think — no, about 40th, I think.
Q. Is there anything from that Ultimate Game experience that you can draw on in this situation, or is there enough of a comparison in that?
SCOTT PIERCY: I think the thing I'll draw from is the fact that when the pressure is on, I know I can get it done. When it's hot in the kitchen, I like to be there. I just have a knack for being around the lead. When I get there, I really enjoy being there and thrive on it.
Q. Your caddie after that, I think he said you often played better in PGA events than you did the Hooters Tour because you like the pressure. Is that a fair statement?
SCOTT PIERCY: I mean, I'd say so. I've always been able, whatever sport it was, to kind of rise to the occasion. I feel that I'm able to do that, and that's what keeps you coming back.
Q. What other sports did that come into play?
SCOTT PIERCY: I played soccer, I played basketball, I played a little bit of tennis. When you had an opponent that was better than you and you could raise your game and beat them, it was always kind of another feather in your cap.
DOUG MILNE: If you wouldn't mind running us through your birdies and giving us some clubs the best you recall.
SCOTT PIERCY: No. 1, I hit a 3-wood and a sand wedge to about a foot.
No. 3, I hit driver, 5-wood to about 30 feet and two-putted.
No. 5, I hit driver, 9-iron over the green and chipped it in.
No. 6, I hit driver, sand wedge, made like a 15-footer.
No. 8, I hit driver, pitching wedge and made probably another 15-, 20-footer.
10, I hit driver, lob wedge to about 12 feet, made that.
And then 11, hit driver, lob wedge to maybe like 20, 25 feet, made that.
13, I hit driver, 7-iron and two-putted.
Those are my birdies.
DOUG MILNE: Thanks for coming in. Appreciate it.