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May 22, 2015

Tom Lehman


BOB DENNEY: Ladies and gentlemen, we're joined by Tom Lehman, your second round leader at 4-under par. 67 today here which is his lowest round in his six appearances at the th Senior PGA Championship Presented By KitchenAid. He's the 2010 Senior PGA champion. He is the 36 hole leader by one stroke. Tom, just go through your round for us today and how you held it together.

TOM LEHMAN: Well, it was a beautiful day to play golf. Much nicer than yesterday. A bit breezy to start, but I was very fortunate, had a great pairing playing with Jay Haas and Colin Montgomerie, two great guys and extremely good players. They were both playing well. I was playing well. So it was a very comfortable round. We seemed to kind of pull each other along the whole day making birdies and some pars and shooting good scores. So it was good, but I hit the ball very well. I was looking at the stats, I hit 16 greens today as opposed to yesterday where I think I hit one green in the first 11 holes. So it was quit a bit different today than yesterday.

BOB DENNEY: Questions?

Q. I think you birdied three of the first four. How much does that help to get you going on a tough course?
TOM LEHMAN: Well, especially that 10th hole. That's a tricky, tricky, tricky hole. That little green up there is so perched up. And to come out of the box and hit a really good 9-iron in there to about eight or nine feet, that was a nice way to start. Then to make the putt. The next hole was playing relatively easy. Made a birdie there. The par-5 was playing short. Hit a good tee shot and got green side in two. So then the next hole, par-3, hit a really good shot and made a birdie there. But the course with the way the wind was blowing to start the round, the wind was helping quite a bit the first several holes. And then it kind of gives you a chance, I think, to get off to a good start. As opposed to playing right off the bat straight into the wind on every hole.

Q. Generally does this course fit your eye off the tee and into the green?
TOM LEHMAN: You know what, Pete Dye courses in general I enjoy. I happen to really enjoy his style of architecture. I like the way he thinks. I like the way he makes the player think. And I seemingly over the over my career have played his courses extremely well. I mean, TPC Sawgrass was one of my favorites. I had a lot of good tournaments there. There's something about the way he designs that appeals to me.

Q. Coming off a few top-5 finishes, where do you feel like your game is right now and do you feel like you're kind of ready for that break through this season?
TOM LEHMAN: Yeah, I've had two seconds in the last three tournaments. Lost one in a playoff. So, I was fifth at the Tradition, so my game is good, obviously. I'm doing enough right to be in contention and just enough wrong to not win. So, there's still a long road to hoe here. There's a lot of really good players all bunched up. But my game is good and I'm feeling confident. My putting feels pretty good. If I -- there's no change to my game plan, I'm just going to keep on doing what I've been doing. Golf is golf and a swing is a swing. And whether it's here on French Lick on a Pete Dye course or Shoal Creek on a Nicklaus Course or Houston at the Woodlands, I mean it's all the same. So, just keep on swinging.

Q. After yesterday when everybody struggled, did today feel more like golf that we expect, because there were a lot of 60 scores today?
TOM LEHMAN: Yeah, well the course was set up, I think, very fair. It played a lot shorter. I mean, it was nice to see a ball roll finally. We have been here for five days and I think we haven't seen a ball roll more than five yards on any shot, ever. So it was nice kind of seeing the ball kind of doing some scooting today. So it played shorter. You have to kind of pick your poison out there. Are you going to try to lay it back in the fairway but give your self a longer iron shot or are you going to take some chances off the tee to shorten up those iron shots. I think that's really the choice you have out there. So to watch a ball roll in the fairway today and get some run, kind of shortens the course up and made for some shorter shots.

Q. A lot of the caddies have been preaching to their golfers patience. How do you balance patience with being aggressive out there to get those easier putts?
TOM LEHMAN: Well, I think there's a number of greens where I have a number that I'm hitting to, no matter where the pin is. There's probably three or four greens where I have a number written on my yardage back and so I figure out the yardage to that spot. And I don't care where the pin's at, we're hitting to that spot. From that spot we can make a par or birdie all day long, I think. So I think that's kind of what the patience thing is all about. Knowing when to go for something. There's some back pins today that if you had a 7-iron in your hand, I would never think about going at that back pin. But if I had a wedge or 9-iron, then I probably would. So that's what I'm talking about, in terms of where are you going to take your chances. And I kind of feel like a lot of times taking more of a chance off the tee, leads to a much easier approach shot which is the way to play some of these courses, play more aggressive off the tee, more patient with the irons.

Q. Is that why you played your chip out to the right on 18? You just didn't want to take a chance?
TOM LEHMAN: No, I looked at it, I walked up there, I felt like if the ball got up into the green it was going to go straight sideways all the way down to the hole. But the grass has grown so much today that the ball just didn't run. And even the putt wasn't very fast. So I just kind of got fooled. Yesterday I hit a shot where the pin was back left that just barely trickled to the edge where it starts to fall and it ran all the way down to where pin is today. So that's what I was thinking, hey, as quick as that was yesterday, I'll just put that chip up there and it will run back down to the hole. But it didn't. So, it's late in the day, grass is growing, greens slow down, so it's unfortunate.

BOB DENNEY: He is our 36 hole leader, Tom Lehman. Thank you.

TOM LEHMAN: Thank you very much.
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