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May 21, 2009

Bernhard Langer


KELLY ELBIN: Bernhard Langer in with a 2-under par 68 in the opening round of the 70th Senior PGA Championship at Canterbury Golf Club. Bernhard, three birdies, one bogey. Looks like a pretty solid start to the championship.
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, I was pretty happy with my game overall. I hit a lot of fairways, hit a lot of greens, and kept the ball in play, out of trouble. Left a few putts short, I need to work on that.
But otherwise it was pretty steady. As you said, I made three birdies and had the one bogey when I drove it in the rough and I had to chip it sideways pretty much. I had a couple of up-and-downs somewhere, but or all it was pretty steady and it was fun to watch Scott play very well.
KELLY ELBIN: Hit 10 of 14 fairways and 13 of 18 greens in regulation. Obviously pleased with your ball striking?
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, I'll take that most days, especially on a course like this where it's not that easy to hit the fairways and the greens. So pretty pleased with that.
KELLY ELBIN: Thank you. Open it up for questions, please.

Q. Did the course play any less difficult today than you thought it would going into the practice rounds?
BERNHARD LANGER: Once you get to know a course more and more you get a feel for it, I think. You understand it better. You know where to go, where not to go. And then we also had the same wind conditions for the last three or four days, so that helps too. I think if the wind would switch around totally, then it would present itself very different again.
But I think we just get used to what club to hit off certain tees and get to know the greens a little bit better, so after three or four rounds you get the hang of it and you get a bit of a feel for how to play the golf course. But it's definitely not easy out there. And I think the scores reflect it. There's not too many scores under par, I would imagine.

Q. Where did you have to hit sideways? Which hole?
BERNHARD LANGER: No. 12. I drove it in the left rough and it was really deep down. I could only hit it about 50 yards. So I chopped it out, hit it on the edge of the green and 2-putted for bogey.

Q. How did you find the rough on the golf course in general?
BERNHARD LANGER: Well in general it's pretty even. Pretty consistent. Some areas you can get a 6-iron to it or something like that or 5-iron, even if you get a good lie. But other times you just got to take the sand wedge and pitching wedge and hack it out.

Q. I know you're not a cocky guy, but when you show up as well as you're playing this year, do you feel like you're the player to beat?
BERNHARD LANGER: I would like to think that I'm one of the players to beat. I've had a pretty good season last year, I was one of the best players on the Champions Tour, and I had a really good start this year again. So I would like to think of myself as being one of those guys that has a chance to win. But I wouldn't single myself out. You have a lot of great champions playing in this tournament and not just in this, but in every week out on the Champions Tour. It's never easy to win.
KELLY ELBIN: As a remainder, Bernhard was runner-up at the is Senior PGA Championship last year at Oak Hill.

Q. Yesterday you were mentioning that it was difficult to judge how to play your second shot on the 16th hole, the par-5. Have you been able it figure it out any better or is it still going to remain one of the more difficult par-5s you try to play?
BERNHARD LANGER: No, my strategy now is to just get as close to the green as I possibly can. So I hit a good tee shot today and just tried to hit a 3-wood as far over the hill and down there as close to the green as I can. And I pulled it a little bit, so that was one of my bad shots today, but again, I was only about 60, 70 yards away, so I was able to hit a sand wedge on to the green from there.

Q. You have -- this is Sunday, you have a one stroke lead, you're going into 16, 17 and 18. Does that cause concern and worry for not only yourself but everybody else?
BERNHARD LANGER: No, I would like to be in that position, I think, to have a one stroke lead and obviously knowing that there's a three difficult holes there and there's no guarantees. But the holes are just as difficult for the second and third place guy as they are for the leader, so there's not much of a difference. I would rather be ahead than behind.
KELLY ELBIN: Did you keep the ball below the hole on a number of holes which was kind of the comments going in?
BERNHARD LANGER: You like to. You try to, but it's not easy. It's like No. 1 was a prime example. I hit a beautiful hybrid down there, had a perfect yardage for a sand wedge from the middle of the fairway and hit a great shot and pitched about three yards behind the hole and took one hop almost into the fringe. And I thought, well that, if it comes back a little bit it's perfect. But about 10 seconds later it's running off the green, 10 yards down the, 20 yards down the fairway and into the rough.
So I've just hit two as good a shot as I can hit off the tee and for my second and I'm 20 yards short of the green, 35 yards away from the pin, facing a difficult chip shot. And I chipped it by about 12, 14 feet and had to make a downhill putt to save par after hitting two great shots.
And on that hole, if you try to leave it short of the pin, you definitely suck it down the hill, because the green goes up and then it goes a little less up. So you can't really land it short because it will come back at you. Anyway, yeah, so it's just some greens are severe and you have -- I probably should have hit a shot that has less spin instead of hitting a full sand wedge I should have chipped a little pitching wedge with less spin and tried to hit the perfect shot. But we live and learn.
KELLY ELBIN: Bernhard Langer, thank you very much.
BERNHARD LANGER: All right. Thank you.

End of FastScripts

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