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May 21, 2009

Scott Hoch


KELLY ELBIN: Scott Hoch, ladies and gentlemen, in with a 4-under par 66, the leader at this point of the opening round of the 70th Senior PGA Championship at Canterbury Golf Club. Scott, the 66 ties the competitive course record for score here at Canterbury Shared by four players, Bobby Clampett, Bob Charles, Joe Carr and now Scott Hoch. Congratulations on the round.
SCOTT HOCH: Thank you.
KELLY ELBIN: Talk a little bit about -- looks like you had a good start. Pretty good round throughout.
SCOTT HOCH: Oh, I was in a good frame of mind after last night's basketball game, so I felt pretty good. And then after 16 I felt like the Magic did, and then after 18 I felt like the Cavaliers did.
But you know what, it was -- I mean I played well here the last three days practicing. So I felt good about it. I just went out there and I did, I hit a lot of good shots, through 16 holes, I made, I was 6-under and could have been a few more.
But I was also fortunate to make about a 12 or 15-foot par putt on 10 to keep it going. But other than that I didn't have a par putt over two feet, I don't think, the rest of the day.
I did bogey 17 and 18, I was in between clubs, I wasn't in between clubs, I didn't want to hit the other one, so I just hit 3, tried to hit it hard, just didn't hit a good shot.
It was a poor swing, hit it in the front bunker, and with a back pin, it wasn't looking good. And after I hit it out I was just looking for a bogey. Because you have to hit all the way back on that ledge from that front bunker and that's tough. And I didn't do it, so I had to make a good 2-putt.
And then 18 my caddie and I were going back and forth on club selection and back and forth and back and forth and then ultimately I chose the wrong club. And I pulled it, when you pull it, it goes long and that was the longer club that I chose. And it was just a bad decision on my part. And that cost me there. So.
KELLY ELBIN: What did you hit into 18?
SCOTT HOCH: I hit a 3-wood off the tee and then hit a 4-iron. I had 208 adjusted, I hit my 4-iron maybe 190 yards, it was just a poor choice -- all I was trying to do was hit it in the front of the green. And I had like maybe 188 or something to the front of the green. And it was just a brain cramp, so.
KELLY ELBIN: Just do a quick recap on the birdie putts, the length of the six putts, please.
SCOTT HOCH: You got Shot Link or not? So if I don't tell truth they won't know, right?
(Laughter.) Okay.
SCOTT HOCH: First hole I hit sand wedge up there about five feet. But nothing's easy on that hole putting. I was down, side hill putt, downhill.
Next hole I hit a 6-iron just behind the pin, probably about 12 feet.
Then the 6th hole, I made about a 20-footer. Coming down the hill a little bit.
Then we go over to 13, the par-3, hit a good shot in there, just left of the pin, probably 15 feet. Made that.
The next hole, it was a decision, what club to hit off the tee, and I decided to be aggressive. I had been driving it good, hit driver and hit it way down there and just had a sand wedge and hit that about six feet. Made that for birdie.
Then 16, two shots, pretty much exactly 50 yards from the hole. And just bumped up a little sand wedge up about might be about six or seven feet.
And then a poor shot on 17 with a 3-iron and then a poor choice of clubs on 18 for the second bogey.
KELLY ELBIN: Thank you, sir. Open it up for questions, please.

Q. Did the wind, was the wind a factor at all? It looked like it was swirling a little bit, picked up a little bit as the round went on?
SCOTT HOCH: It was definitely a factor. You had to play it. The wind was -- well last hole, the wind is what ultimately messed me up. It was blowing down 17, so that's why I thought I could get a 3-iron there. It was like 230 and I don't hit it that far, but still it was right club, I just hit it poorly.
Then I didn't realize it was as much downwind, it's kind of, it's an odd -- it's an odd thing for me to do is, on situations like on 18, maybe getting uphill, but downwind. So that just, I ended up hitting the wrong club. It was pretty good downwind on the last hole. Right before I hit it, it calmed down a little bit. So I thought that was the right club.
And when I hit, it blew pretty good and it blew and then I saw the flag going a little right-to-left and I pulled it a little bit and it hit and bounced over the bunker over the green and so I'm just playing for my medicine there. I'm playing to the front of the green, because I'm on hard pan where everybody's walked and it's just, you can't get under the ball there. I actually felt good hitting it 50 feet from the pin or however far that was.
But the wind was difficult. I think that's why the scores are like they are. But I drove it good today so I put myself in good position to hit short shots to the green and those are much easier to figure out than if you're hitting a 7 or 8-iron.
KELLY ELBIN: For the record, Scott hit 12 of 14 fairways today.

Q. You're off to a little bit of a slow start this year for a player of your ability, how much of that is hand related and just talk about your year so far.
SCOTT HOCH: Most all of it is. I started off not even being able to defend a tournament. And then didn't even think I could defend the second tournament. And it's bothered me. And then it felt pretty good and I probably overdid it. I finally was able to start practicing, I haven't been able -- all I was doing was playing before, not able to work on my game. And then I felt good enough to practice and then broke a driver, so I was trying to find a driver, so that's what really bothers me.
I think I probably overdid it too much. So I got a little weakness in my hand, but when it's nice and warm like this, I don't feel anything. It's not a hundred percent, but it's, early in the year it was very poor. Probably just last month and a half I've been able to finally start playing without any pain.

Q. Did you give any thought to having Damon on your bag again this week?
SCOTT HOCH: Damon is not on my bag.

Q. I said did you give any thought to it.
SCOTT HOCH: Oh. No, he probably didn't give it any either. No, Damon's a, he was a very good caddie, he caddied for me for four years. And he seems to be doing all right. He's got a guy named Zach Johnson now, so he's been doing all right since he left me.
But from time to time he caddies for me, he enjoys doing it when it's convenient. And last year he really helped me, he kind of turned my game around. And then he worked for me about -- well in the team championship, what, a month ago? But, no, he's back on his TOUR and I don't think he needs to play or work too many extra weeks now, I think he's doing all right.

Q. You're one of the few guys in the field that, about a dozen guys, I guess, that played here in '79. Do you remember much of it from then?
SCOTT HOCH: Absolutely nada. Don't remember the clubhouse, a single hole, anything. All I know is I got beat early. I finished second the year before to Cook, and I figured this was going to be my swan song, I was going to go play this tournament, win this, win the amateur tournament, and then turn pro and knock them dead.
And then I got beat early and I finally, I asked one of the locker room guys if they knew about it. And I did look, they did look it up for me, I got beat 6 and 5 in the second round by an old man Dick Sidderoff, at least when we're 20, 40 seems old, seemed old. So, but he put a drubbing on me. He must have been playing pretty good because he beat Payne Stewart the next round.
So, but, no, I got hammered here. I didn't realize I got hammered that much. Maybe that's why I forgot it.

Q. Talk about, did the course play any easier that you thought it was going to after the practice rounds; and what do you think it's going to take into end of the week if things stay like they are now to win?
SCOTT HOCH: You know what, I don't know. I don't worry about it. Some of us were talking yesterday and thinking that six to 8-under. But that's just, we didn't have anything to go on. We just don't know.
I would say that if I wouldn't have stepped on myself then I would have already been 6-under. But I also realize that I played very well today, got the ball in the good position a number of times, and that might not happen the other days. I think when I was coming in here I saw Purtzer might be 4-under or something with some holes to go. But if you're playing well and you guess right, and hit enough good shots, you can do pretty good.
But if you miss a shot or two then you might have to pay for it. And that's why I think it's tough to shoot low. I was really surprised when he said 4-under was the competitive course record here. So it's tricky.
The front -- it's two totally different courses. You don't hardly hit a driver on the front side. I think I hit two. I hit two, I should have only hit one.
The back side is pretty much hit driver on most of the holes. You don't have to, but being firm like this, a lot of the guys can hit 3-woods and run it up there. But since I was playing well, I felt good about how I was swinging, I was being aggressive and I hit driver and I put myself in more good positions to make birdie because I hit driver instead of hitting sand wedge -- hitting a sand wedge to the green instead of maybe hitting a 3-wood and maybe hitting an eight or 9-iron into it. Most of the time when I'm playing good I feel pretty good with my wedges.
KELLY ELBIN: Scott Hoch in with 66 at the Senior PGA Championship, thanks.

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