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August 11, 2016

Gene Sauers

Columbus, Ohio

GENE SAUERS: Yeah, Joe, he talked about his back surgery. I remember, when he first came back, he couldn't hit a 7 iron 130 yards. He's coming around now, though.

Q. So how was your day?
GENE SAUERS: My day was good. I made a bogey and three birdies. I bogeyed the long par 3 on the back side -- was that 14 or 13? Tried to hit a 4 iron in there and play smart in the middle of the green. I pulled it left in the bunker and didn't get it up and down. Other than that, hit a lot of fairways, a lot of greens. Made a couple of good putts, but I left a couple dead in the heart.

So that's my game plan this week, fairways and greens, and give yourself opportunities and don't try to force things and don't go at the flags and just play to the middle of the green and just have an opportunity. That's all.

Q. You're one of four under par rounds in the afternoon wave. What maybe goes into why the afternoon wave has been maybe a little bit tougher?
GENE SAUERS: The wind was swirling all different directions today. I don't know what it was like in the morning time, but the wind was really brutal this afternoon. I think that's probably part of it. Like I said, maybe the greens kind of get a little drier because the wind was drying them out.

They held okay. They were puttable. They were good. So the golf course is really in spectacular shape.

Q. You came close two years ago. What is it about Senior Opens that kind of brings out the good golfer in you?
GENE SAUERS: Well, I guess a lot of people say I hit the ball really good. I'm a good ball striker. So I guess I've got to try to believe that too. Just kind of -- like I say, I hit my long irons pretty good. I hit my driver good.

My downfall has been the putter over the years. I switched to left hand low. So who knows? It's working for me. I switched back in -- probably a few months ago in Houston. So that's been working. Hopefully, it keeps going.

Q. Had you ever tried that before?
GENE SAUERS: Never have. I've got a putting green at home, and my wife tried to get me to change two, three years ago, and I could not do it, could not do it. One day I was on the putting green, and I hit something back like this, you know, back to where I was hitting, and I said, actually, that felt all right. I said, I'm going to go do it, and, bam, I hit it and made it go where's it's supposed to. Hey, I'm going, and I'm going to do it next week, and I haven't changed since. Pretty wild.

Long putts are kind of -- it's tough to judge a long putt, but I'll tell you what, it's a lot more solid than it used to be.

Q. What birdies on the incoming nine. Were they from distance?
GENE SAUERS: On No. 1, I hit a 9 iron probably 12, 15 feet. And then the short hole, I hit a sand wedge in there 2 feet. And the par 5, I had to lay it up, and I hit sand wedge in there probably about 12 feet also. And I made some good pars coming down on 7 and 8. So lucky to be right under par. I'm just glad to be around that par area.

Q. If you're under par after 72, would you take it?
GENE SAUERS: Yes, I would. Yes, I would. I don't think it will reach double digits. I don't think it will go 8 under par. Depends on what the wind does, I guess. Of course, Vijay, he shot 4 under. He can bomb it. He can probably get onto all the par 5s. Still, you've got to drive it in the fairway.

Q. The one thing you learned from Oak Tree National that's going to help you the next three days?
GENE SAUERS: Just to stay patient, positive. Don't try to force things. You know, just -- I think Jack Nicklaus said it well. The years he won all his majors, always shot from the middle of the green, middle of the green. You can attack the corners. Just don't do anything stupid. Stay in the middle of the green and have opportunities.

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