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May 21, 2009

Tom Purtzer


KELLY ELBIN: Tom Purtzer, ladies and gentlemen, in with a 4-under par 66, tied for the lead in the opening round of the 70th Senior PGA Championship at Canterbury Golf Club. Congratulations, looked like a pretty solid round of five birdies and a bogey.
TOM PURTZER: Thanks. Yeah, it was fun. I played the last couple days with -- well, played the practice round with Jay and Tommy his caddie and Tommy's from here and he gave me a lot of good tips and kind of to the point where Jay at the end of the round was going, hey, hey, hey, you know, you're my caddie.
But, no, it was great. And I felt good on the playing the practice rounds, so I kind of had some, you know, I wouldn't say I had too many high expectations, but I kind of felt like I was going to play good today. Felt like I was hitting ball good, just needed to get the putter to work a little bit and I would be all right.
But you know, I just, I had a good feeling coming into today and fortunately it, you know, it paid off. So kind of nice.
KELLY ELBIN: Started on the back nine, just quickly recap the birdie putts you made, starting on 14.
TOM PURTZER: Let's see, 14? 14 I hit a 3-wood down there and hit a pitching wedge about, I would say maybe eight, nine feet. Maybe less than that. Made that one.
Then the next hole I hit it just over the back edge of the green in two and chipped out to about maybe three feet, made that for birdie.
And then the next hole I hit two pretty good shots and it caught up in the short rough just on the right of the fairway, I mean it wasn't off the fairway, but about six inches, but it kind of was in a little bit of a hole on the down slope. So I didn't have, I only had like 60 yards to the pin or whatever, but I had a pretty tough shot and kind of chunked it just short of the green and chipped up and didn't get it up-and-down.
But then came right back and hit a 3-iron to the back edge of the green and made that for a birdie.
And then went around to the fifth hole and hit a good 3-wood and my two wedge about, I don't know, maybe a foot and a half, two feet. So I made birdie there.
And then the 8th hole I hit a 3-wood and a two wedge about, I don't know, eight, nine feet, something like that and made that for birdie.
Then 2-putted from about 45 feet on nine. So that was a nice little save.
But the thing that kind of helped was my first hole, I hit a drive and I hit it through the fairway on the right and hit it, hit a pretty good iron shot, but just left it short of the green and ran that one by about, I don't know, six feet, so I had a 6-footer that broke a cup and a half, two feet. And I made that one.
So and if you don't make that one, now all of a sudden you're 1-over instead of even par and feeling good, you know, because I came off that green feeling good about making the difficult putt. So that kind of settled me down a little bit.
But all in all I hit a lot of good shots, I kept it in pretty good position for the most, for most of the day, because these greens are so tricky, you want to be able to, you know, a lot of times you're better off having a 15-footer in the right spot than you are having a five, 8-footer in the wrong spot.
So and that, I think that's what Jay and Tommy helped me with in the practice round, just this is where the pin's going to be and you try and keep it on this side. And a lot of it was, do not hit it over in this, over on this side. So it was all in all it was a fun day. Beautiful day to play golf, weather was perfect. So, yeah I just feel fortunate in shooting under par today.
KELLY ELBIN: Thank you. Open it up for questions.

Q. Did you play here at all before this week?
TOM PURTZER: I did a Ford outing, I got to play with a real good friend of mine, but it rained all day. And that was one of those days where you had your rain gear on and all you wanted to do was hit your next shot and it was just one of those days, and I didn't remember a thing about it.
But it's a very good golf course. It doesn't necessarily fit my game, but I think that the key is to hit it in the fairway, obviously it's not playing a long golf course because it's, the fairways are real firm, so you're getting a good bit of roll and stuff, but you just have to -- you got to hit it in the fairway. The key is hitting your second shot on the right spots on the green.

Q. You mentioned the weather, this is not the usual weather for this time of year, I think you know that because you're from kind of around here, but it's like August out there in terms of the temperature and the way the ball's rolling. Does that make this course easier or hard? I mean some courses get harder with roll out.
TOM PURTZER: Some courses it does. To me the golf course is in fantastic shape. Tommy said that usually this time of the year it's real soft and spongy and he said that, like you said, this is an August type of condition that we have here. But the golf course is just, it, I don't know how it could get any better. Especially the fairways. The fairways are perfect.
But when you get hard fairways like that it does tend to run off and get you into the, you know, at least the short rough, but I had a couple of those today where I felt like I hit good drives and they just kept going and going until they hit the short rough. But the golf course I think is in great shape.

Q. You talked about when you went through your shot by shot a lot of 3-woods. Have you pretty much left the driver in the bag? Are there a certain number of holes where you are using it or do you wish there were more holes where you could pull out the big stick?
TOM PURTZER: Normally driver is part of the, probably the best part of my game, so maybe it's a little disappointing, but there's about, I think I hit it about four or five times today. And the fairways are, they're pretty narrow.
On the holes that you're hitting your drivers, like the fourth hole, it's, the fairways kind of crowned a little bit, so if you hit it a little bit left, it kicks left. If you hit it a little bit right, it kind of works to the right a little bit. So it's a tough drive, it's a tough fairway to hit for us.
But all in all I wish I could hit more drivers, but I think, like I said before, getting it in play is the key here. And I hit my 3-wood far enough to where I don't feel like I'm losing a whole lot, but you know it's just one of -- it is what it is. You play with what the golf course gives you.
KELLY ELBIN: Tom hit 10 of 14 fairways today.

Q. You say driver is the best part of your game, but you only had 25 putts today. Could you talk about that?
TOM PURTZER: Well, I had 25 putts, but I mean I'm this far off the green (Indicating) a lot of instances. Like I only, in my mind I only missed maybe two greens because all the rest of them I was this far off the green (Indicating) or this far off the green (Indicating). So most of those were 2-putts. And like I said, the only -- the biggest putt for me was my first hole of the day.
I putted better today. I'm probably not known as one of the better putters out here, but I keep working on it, trying to get things better and stuff, so but I had an adequate putting day today. But it didn't feel like I made any real long ones.

Q. You mentioned going around the other day with Jay and his caddie, can you give us an instance of one or two things Jay's caddie gave you that perhaps you would not have picked up on your own in a practice round?
TOM PURTZER: No, I almost could go every hole. He helped me -- I'm sure he helped me as much as -- whatever he told Jay, he told me. So that's pretty cool that he would do that. But I've known Tommy for a long time, great guy. Jay's as good as it gets. So it was just very helpful, the first hole, they said, he said the pin will be here, here, and here, and they won't put it in a certain place. He said, you got to make sure you get it up on top because it will spin all the way back.
Second hole he said the only place you can't play from on the second hole is left. He said you can anywhere right even if you miss the green to the right you're okay, you can pitch back up the hill. You miss it left, it's coming straight down hill, you're done.
So and it was stuff like that every hole. And I saw him when we got done and I said, thanks, you know, you really helped me out a lot. And he said, he said, unbelievable how many pins we got right yesterday, isn't it? And they were. He said the pins will be here, here, here, because he's been around here his whole life and he's seen where they played tournaments and stuff like that. And he helped a lot.

Q. Wondering how is your back and is the weather a plus here when it's this warm?
TOM PURTZER: Yeah, I definitely like -- my back's been good for quite awhile, probably last two and a half, three years. Haven't had any problems with it. So knock on wood, that it stays like that. But this weather definitely helps. Last week we played in that cold wind and rain and I felt that at the end of the week last week. So I'm all for days like today.

Q. Not suggesting Firestone South and this course are the same course, is there some similarities, old school, tree lined, but you won there, and you're obviously off to a good start here. Is there something about that kind of golf course that fits your eye, fits your game. I'm not saying that they're the same course, but?
TOM PURTZER: I love old style golf courses. Growing up in Phoenix, we never saw this. Phoenix Country Club has it, but I didn't get to play down there very much. But I basically had to learn how to play these type of golf courses out here. But these are my favorites. My favorite golf courses are Inverness, Southern Hills, Winged Foot, all the old style where short par-4s have small greens, long par-4s have big greens, tree lined, those are my favorite golf courses.
Obviously with the change of equipment and stuff golf course design is different now, but when push comes to shove, these are my favorite courses. You have things you can work shots off of. Just, it's just easier for my eye to pick targets out when we play golf courses like this.

Q. Does it mean anything to you at all that a course like, that there are parts of this course that really haven't changed substantially since it opened in '21. You know, you got 88 years out there. Does that register on your radar screen or not as a player or somebody who is a fan of design?
TOM PURTZER: I didn't quite hear that.

Q. Does that register on your radar screen that the course, parts of this course really haven't changed substantially since it opened?
TOM PURTZER: To me that's kind of what's neat about this, about us playing here, is that I'm sure they moved some tees back, but from what I gather from a lot of the people that know, that like you said, nothing has really changed and we're still, even with the, even with technology that has got the ball going too far and the metal woods and all that stuff where basically they should have done something a long time ago to kind of bring it back, but that we can still play a golf course like this. It's pretty amazing.
KELLY ELBIN: Tom Purtzer, in at 4-under par, 66. Thank you, Tom.
TOM PURTZER: Thank you.

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