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May 26, 2011

Mark O'Meara


KELLY ELBIN: Mark O'Meara in with a 4-under par 68 here at the 72nd Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid. Mark, talk a little bit about your round today.
MARK O'MEARA: It's obviously a nice score. The conditions were a little trying out there with the weather the way it has been, but credit the PGA, they moved some of the tees up, which obviously was nice, but some of the holes I couldn't get my line off the tee because I am not used to -- well I didn't know kind of where to go on some of the tee shots.
But overall I was pleased with my performance, I think the birdies on 2, 3 and 4 kind of got me going.
My only bogey on 9, I hit a good tee shot and just kind of didn't hit a very good second shot, short sided myself on the right, short of the green on the bank and didn't get it up-and-down.
But came back and made a couple good birdies on the back side and made some putts. That's what you got to do. I'm pleased with 4-under.
KELLY ELBIN: You had back-to-back birdies on 11 and 12. What were the distances on those putts.
MARK O'MEARA: Number 11 it was 170 into the flag, it was a smooth 5-iron because it was into the wind. I figured it was playing about 180. I hit it to about 10, 11 feet left of the hole. And made that.
And I hit a wonderful drive on 12, had 178, hit a good 5-iron just left of the hole and made that from about 15 feet.
KELLY ELBIN: Open it up for questions.

Q. How messy is it out there and how much did that affect maybe the scoring today with some low scores.
MARK O'MEARA: There was some good scores because when it's soft it may play a little longer, but the ball doesn't chase into trouble as much. So that's a big difference.
But the greens were good. They were still fairly firm considering all the rain and they were nice speed. If you hit some nice shots you could make some birdies. But the golf course is still pretty tough.
If you miss some greens it's not easy to get the ball up-and-down. I drove the ball reasonably well, I never got into very much trouble and because of that I was able to shoot that score.

Q. Obviously guys on the Champions Tour have gone through days of disruption like this many times, but does it get easier the more you've done it or is it still you just have to get the right mindset?
MARK O'MEARA: You kind of have to. This happened at TPC a week and a half ago to me. And it is hard to stop and come out first thing in the morning and playing 25, 26 holes, things like that. It's not as easy as you get older.
But in saying that, today was just a long day, I knew it was going to be a long day, you just had to be patient and not get upset if you mishit one here or there and just give it your best on every shot.
I've been doing that pretty well and today was no exception to that. I was up 6 o'clock this morning, so it's 7 o'clock, you know, 12, 13 hour day. You guys are doing the same thing, but you don't have to kind of slop around out there in the wet, so you have it a lot easier, you don't have to worry about making those 3 and 4 footers.

Q. Is it an advantage getting your round in just because somebody else who might have to face more than 18 holes tomorrow?
MARK O'MEARA: Yeah, I think so. I think certainly finishing at least one round and getting it under our belt is an advantage. Now I probably won't play until late tomorrow and I probably won't finish tomorrow. But that's okay. There's still so much golf to be played.
There's a lot of good guys playing up there, playing pretty well, and this golf course can be pretty challenging, pretty penal if you start hitting the ball a little crooked or mishitting shots and not hitting it on the green. It's really important I think on this golf course to try to control your distance and get the ball pin high. That's really important here.

Q. Earlier Trevor Dodds was talking about how it's kind of strange that the greens have held up so well, but unlike most greens you can be very aggressive on these greens with the putts. Did you see that to be the case for you out there today maybe they're not rolling as fast?
MARK O'MEARA: No, I still, I missed a couple putts I left short, but only because I think you have to respect them. There is some slope out there.
But you're correct, Trevor's correct, from the standpoint that with all the rain and everything it definitely slowed down just a little bit. But they're not slow by any means, they're actually a perfect speed to make some putts, to be a little bit aggressive. But you have to be careful out there for sure.

Q. When you came, what was your expectations, I talked to you in Savannah a few weeks back and you felt pretty good about your game. What did you feel like this week in practicing and getting ready for here when you got around the course?
MARK O'MEARA: Certainly shooting a good round the first round of the TPC and I know I didn't play as well on the weekend I hit it in the water on 17, but I imagine any of you guys that played there you probably dunked a few there too.
I practiced on Sunday and Monday hit the ball really well. Bruce Davidson whose been helping me, I felt good about what I was doing coming in. I hit it okay yesterday in the pro-am or on Tuesday, I didn't play yesterday, I just hit balls because I felt like the weather was windy and I knew it was going to be tough, long day today and I figured it was going to be four days, I need rest a little bit, not push it.
And that helped me today. It really did. So I felt like I kept my mental composure out there, hung in there, stayed in the game. The tough holes I hit some good drives and when I hit a bad drive I was just off in the rough not too bad, on maybe some holes where it was a par-5 or whatever to where I could lay up.
Like on 18 I hit it to the right in the rough and hit a 9-iron on the green and had a birdie putt. Didn't make it, but that's what you have to do. The long par-4s you need to drive the ball in the fairway.

Q. Talk about 16. I think it's playing looks like the hardest today. How difficult is that hole and how good is a par on that hole?
MARK O'MEARA: A par's very good. I hit a pretty good drive, I just over cut a little bit and I was just off the fairway about a foot in the first cut. I still had 200 into the wind. And I hit I was probably 40 plus, about 40 by Corey.
So I hit a good 3-iron and got it up there pin high and had a 14, 15-footer for birdie. So I was very pleased with that par and certainly that's a good score on that hole on 16.
And 17 too. It's up the hill, I hit a good drive on 17, I hit 8-iron, but you need to hit the ball solid and you need to get it in the fairway for sure.
KELLY ELBIN: You have three top-10s and no worse than a tie for 14 in seven events.
MARK O'MEARA: I'm playing -- well, I'm pleased with that. I certainly would like to have had a higher finish and possibly a win, but I have a lot of respect for the players that play out here. There's so many good players on the Champions Tour, the scoring is amazing, you just have to put it all together for one week and these Major Championships we play four rounds at the Regions, four rounds at TPC, four rounds here, so hopefully I can get myself into position to have a chance come Sunday. And we'll just have to wait and see.
KELLY ELBIN: Mark O'Meara in with 68. Thank you.

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