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May 27, 2010

Bill Loeffler


KELLY ELBIN: Bill Loeffler is joining us here in the media center at the 71st Senior PGA Championship here at Colorado Golf Club. PGA club professional of nearby Castle Rock in with a 3-under par 69 in the opening round. Bill, you are three shots out of the lead held by Robin Freeman right now. You were first off on the first tee this morning. Congratulations. General comments on what had to be a very special round.
BILL LOEFFLER: It was very special. It was fun to be the first ball out, being from Colorado, kind of starting the whole event here.
I played above my expectations today, obviously. I'm very grateful that it happened that way. The course was great. Beautiful. They prepared it and set it up I think in anticipation of what hopefully will not come, which are the high winds. But they set it up great, the greens were a little bit slower than yesterday's practice round. I would say maybe even significantly slower.
It was a little -- first off, it's always a little softer out there, so -- but it was just fun to play the golf course. I love the course. And I had a blast.
KELLY ELBIN: If you would go through your card. You are four birdies and the bogey on 10. Starting with the birdie on number 8, what you hit in there and the length of the putt, please.
BILL LOEFFLER: 8 was a short four. I had about 1 -- I laid well back and more so than I wanted to, but I had about 110 in there and I hit a three quarter pitching wedge to 10 feet below the hole. I got that in.
I hadn't made anything coming to that. I think I had had one up-and-down on 4 before that. Other than that I had hit every green.
Then parred 9.
10, I drove it in the fairway, but behind trees on the left side. You just can't hit it on the left side there. And I hit a good shot, just over the green and failed to make about a 6-footer for par. So that put me back to even.
Then hit a poor shot on 11, left. And I thought with 12 coming up, which I think is the hardest hole on the golf course, I'm like, good God, I could bogey in, you know.
So, but I hit a really good chip shot and made about a 5-footer for a par on 11.
Then on 12 I just hit my, as good a 4-iron as I think I've ever hit in my life, about three feet from the hole and made birdie.
That got me going there. Because once you get past 12, I think that, knock on wood, that the scoring holes start. 13, 14, 15, 16.
I was able to birdie 15 with a two foot putt after a 100 yard wedge shot.
And 2-putted 16 for birdie.
So it was pretty, nothing verging on disaster and nothing, no three eagles in a row type of thing. So it was kind of fun.
KELLY ELBIN: For the record Bill hit 12 of 14 fairways today. Open it up for questions, please.

Q. Sounds like the wind's starting to pick up. Do you have any thoughts on being part of the early morning group and how does that affect your thinking for tomorrow's expectations as well?
BILL LOEFFLER: Yes. That's a good question. I think it's going to blow this afternoon, which means it's probably going to blow tomorrow afternoon. I'm glad that I got my round, a good round in this morning, because if I would have shot 75 or something or 73 this morning, then I'm looking at starting at 1 o'clock or 12:50 tomorrow with possibly 40 mile an hour winds. It's kind of hard to shoot 68 in 40 mile an hour winds out here.
So it was important for me to get off and play well and fortunately I did that.

Q. You said you played above your expectations. Wondering if you could elaborate why you would think that.
BILL LOEFFLER: Sure. I don't play in many tournaments. This is my first four round event, hopefully four round event since last October. The Senior Club Pro Championship. So I probably play in three or four maybe four round events a year.
So, yeah, I would like to say, boy, I'm going to go out and shoot 12-under and win this darn thing, but come on, you know, I'm 53, reality, nerves, and all that.
So my expectations were, yeah, I can probably shoot, if I play well, I can get around par a couple times, make the cut, maybe be the low club guy, and that's great. Home cooking and everything, and everybody's happy. And it's great. Even though she doesn't cook.
So my expectations were that. But now that I'm, I'm 3-under, am I going to raise my expectations? Hell, yeah. No, I'm just kidding.
KELLY ELBIN: For the record Bill qualified to play here by finishing 20th at the Senior Club Professional Championship.

Q. I couldn't help but notice you played some practice rounds, you played with a lot of good players over the years, so it's not anything real big, but you did play with Ben on Monday, in the wind and Fred Couples yesterday. Was that part of your, does that help get you geared up in your thinking?
BILL LOEFFLER: You know what happened? That's a great question. In the Majors that I played in before I've always been not -- okay, intimidated a little bit -- but I'll go with the people I know I'll play practice rounds, blah, blah, blah.
So I had the opportunity to play with Crenshaw, who designed the course. And I said, I'm just going to do it. I know he's famous, I could shoot a 100, but I'm going to do it. Unfortunately, we got blown off the course. But it was a blast. I learned a lot how he plays.
But then yesterday Butch Harmon's brother, Bill Harmon got me in a group with Jay Haas and Fred Couples and Bobby Watkins. And I was more nervous teeing off yesterday than I was today on that hole. So, but I got to watch those guys play. And not only are they just great guys to play with, but I saw shots and things in their swings that I think really helped me today. I just kind of hopefully carried it forward and hopefully I can tomorrow too.

Q. How often have you played this course and did you have local knowledge of any sort?
BILL LOEFFLER: Before a few weeks ago I hadn't played it very much. And then I got a letter from the membership here inviting me to play as much as I wanted. And they were so gracious.
So I came out one day I carried my bag, it was 38 degrees and snowing, and I played and it was, I had great time. And so I played here 10 times in the last maybe, no, it's six, eight times in the last three weeks. But I've been able to come out and roll balls on the greens and so I appreciate their generosity there.

Q. How about local knowledge. How much did that help you?
BILL LOEFFLER: Local knowledge is good. The altitude, I think walking this course a bunch of times has helped me. The local knowledge of what, I don't really, yeah, I guess I have some local knowledge of this course now, but it's key. It's big. I played with two really good players today and I think they, one or two shots, could have used a caddie.

Q. How much pride is there actually in being low club pro?
BILL LOEFFLER: Good question. That is really a good question. I would say I can answer it for just me personally. I would -- I believe that the club pros playing in this are really really good players. So if I could be low club pro and beat all those guys, then I think there's a lot of pride in that for me.

Q. Can a club pro win it though?
BILL LOEFFLER: What a great question.
I would say highly unlikely, but possible, sure. Why not?

Q. What did you hit into 16?
BILL LOEFFLER: 219 to the front, 247 or something to the pin. I hit 4-iron. To the back. And it just, you just got to hit it 30 yards short of that green and high and then it just tumbles down. It's a great hole. It's a great hole.

Q. Besides the U.S. Open qualifying you played fantastic there, had you been playing okay?
BILL LOEFFLER: I played pretty good there. I had one bad, I had a triple and missed it by three. But I putted, I didn't putt well. I had played -- I didn't play as good, I didn't hit it as good as I did today. But I hit it pretty good up there. I wasn't actually all that mad that -- I shot 74, I think, and 71 made it or played off, but I was kind of encouraged by how I played there.

Q. In general had you been playing okay coming in?
BILL LOEFFLER: Yeah, I haven't played in anything. I played in one pro-am in Greeley and shot 68 and won it. And I thought, well, hey, that was pretty good. And then the U.S. Open qualifier, those were my two warmups, the two one-day events.

Q. You've won the U.S. Mid-Am, you've won the PGA Assistant Championship, you've won the PGA senior Club Pro Championship. It's not like, you're not a total stranger to fairly big events. How do you draw on that experience when you're in something like this?
BILL LOEFFLER: Well, I think that's, it's -- you just have to -- I don't know, you just fall back on, I've been there before, I've been in this situation, what do you do? Okay, you take two deep breaths. Okay, you don't try to go to that pin, you go over here. There's just so many things that have occurred in those tournaments that have, that were necessary for me to win that have stuck or come out. It just seems like sometimes they're right there at the right time. And that's the only thing I can think about it or think of how those helped me is that, hey, I've been there, I've been fortunate enough to win, why not just keep it going. It's in there, come on, come out.

Q. Your last 72 hole tournament was in October?
BILL LOEFFLER: I think so, yeah.

Q. And where was it? How did you hold up?
BILL LOEFFLER: That was at Port Saint Lucie and it was, that was the Senior Club Pro, the qualifying for this.

Q. At sea level?
BILL LOEFFLER: That was at sea level. And I had won there two years before, so I knew the course pretty well. But I was playing awful. I just played, I was hitting it all over. My wife said she had never seen me hit it that bad. And I said, thanks a lot, that's great. But I shot 66 the last day just hitting it all over the lot and got into this because all the Colorado guys, our local guys, they all wanted to get in this, including me, and we're just grinding it out hoping to God we could get in this thing. And I played terrible there, but I managed to get to 20th, so I'm pretty darn lucky.

Q. Played terrible and got in here anyway.
KELLY ELBIN: PGA Club Professional Bill Loeffler of Castle Rock in with 69. Thank you, bill.

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