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May 27, 2011

Kiyoshi Murota


KELLY ELBIN: Kiyoshi Murota, the leader after 36 holes of the 72nd Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid. He shot 67 today, he's at 11-under par through 36 holes and has a four shot lead. He will be assisted tonight in translation by his interpreter. Would you ask him about his thoughts today and how he played today and how it feels to be leading this tournament by four shots.
KIYOSHI MUROTA: Today I felt really great. The course conditions was excellent. The wind was at a minimum and I tried to do my best and I've been successful. And I'm so gratified.
KELLY ELBIN: You have 20 holes where you've had just 1-putt on a green. Have you ever putted that well before?
KIYOSHI MUROTA: Yes, I have played well like I did today. My best score, tournament score, in the past was minus 24. For four days.
(Laughter.) 24-under par.
KELLY ELBIN: If it were 24-under for one round we would have another conversation. Let's open it up for questions for our leader. Let's get the holes where you made birdie and bogey today and how long the putts were on the holes, particularly where you made birdie. Starting on No. 1, you made birdie on No. 1 and 2. How long were the putts on No. 1 and on No. 2.
KIYOSHI MUROTA: Five meters. That was No. 1.
No. 2, one meter. The putt on the No. 2 hole was about three feet.
KELLY ELBIN: Number 5 and number 7.
KIYOSHI MUROTA: The hole number 5, the putt was about 18 feet.
Number 5 -- did we talk about number 5? Yeah.

Q. Number 7. You made birdie on number 7. How long was that putt?
KIYOSHI MUROTA: The number 7 hole, hole number 7 the putt was about less than three feet.
KELLY ELBIN: Birdie on number 10.
KIYOSHI MUROTA: Hole number 10, the putt was about six feet.
KELLY ELBIN: Number 13.
KIYOSHI MUROTA: Hole number 13 the putt was about the same length as number 10.
KELLY ELBIN: Then you birdied 17 and 18. How long was the putt on 17?
KIYOSHI MUROTA: The hole number 17, the putt was about a little, about two feet.
Number 18, that was about a foot or between one and two feet. Slightly less than two feet. Oh, about one foot.
KELLY ELBIN: When you're playing well, you don't have to cover a lot of ground, obviously. For the record, Mr. Murota birdied 18 both yesterday or both in the first round and in the second round. Let's open it up for questions, please.

Q. How did the course play differently today than it did yesterday and are the greens fast?
KIYOSHI MUROTA: The conditions of the course was about the same. However, the condition of the greens were about the same, so the green is, as far as the greens were concerned, they were not wet either yesterday or today.
So as far as my putting was concerned there was no difference.

Q. When you saw some of the scores before you went out to play, how important do you think it is now that you were able to play so well? Were you thinking you were going to have to go real low considering the names?
KIYOSHI MUROTA: No, I did not feel any need to compare myself with the other players.

Q. What does it mean to you to be leading by four shots heading into the weekend of the Senior PGA Championship?
KIYOSHI MUROTA: It's only four strokes.

Q. We asked you yesterday about the earthquake in Japan. Do you feel that there are a lot of people back in your homeland who are following your play closely here?
KIYOSHI MUROTA: My answer to that question is no. The earthquake, tsunami and the radiation leak, it's far greater problem than the golf score achieved by a little guy like myself.
If this were a performance by Mr. Aoki or Ozaki, they would be really interested in my performance, but I'm just an average golfer.
So I really feel that we need to help those Japanese victims of the tsunami and the earthquake and help them recover from this disaster. That is far more important than my performance here.

Q. Are you at all surprised that you're playing so well this week?
KIYOSHI MUROTA: I'm not surprised at all. The golf course is excellent and as a matter of fact the conditions of the course are improving, so I think we can expect better scores, not only myself, but also everybody else.
KELLY ELBIN: For the record, Mr. Murota birdied all the par-5s today and has played all eight par-5s in 7-under par in the first two rounds.

Q. If you were to win this week, would this be the greatest accomplishment of your golf career?
KIYOSHI MUROTA: In America. It's an important victory, it would be, yes. In America.

Q. What is your greatest accomplishment so far in golf?
KIYOSHI MUROTA: Two. There are two -- three. One is I achieved the 24-under score in four rounds. That's one.
And also I won the Pro Senior, Senior Pro Circuit twice in Japan.
The third one is I won the Pacific Masters tournament. So those are the three major achievements.

Q. Does it mean anything extra that you look on the leaderboard and that there are famous names like Tom Watson and Hale Irwin and Nick Price that are behind you on the leaderboard?
KIYOSHI MUROTA: Right now I have no particular thoughts about the fact that I have achieved a better score than those big name golfers, because we have two more days. Tomorrow and the day after tomorrow.
And then so let's wait until two days from now before making any kind of a judgment or assessment as to how well I have done.

Q. You've had a lot of fans and following a lot of fans that were cheering and yelling for you on birdies. First of all, what does that mean to you and do you think that anybody knew who he was before this week? The gallery.
KIYOSHI MUROTA: Whenever the spectators applaud my performance and give me encouragement I am deeply, deeply touched and I'm most appreciative and it gives me a greater motivation to try harder and do my best.
KELLY ELBIN: Did you think anyone really knew who you were before, coming into this tournament?
KIYOSHI MUROTA: I don't believe anybody knew who I was and whether or not I existed.
KELLY ELBIN: They certainly do now.

Q. Can you tell us a little bit about just how you came to play the game of golf as a young person, when you began to play and how you got your start.
KIYOSHI MUROTA: I'm a graduate of the Japanese, the athletic university. And I wanted to join the golf club, because there was a beautiful girl.
She was a member of the club. So that was the reason why I picked up the golf club.
KELLY ELBIN: Smart man.

Q. You obviously got the golf down right. Did you get the girl?
KIYOSHI MUROTA: I have no idea where she is at.
(Laughter.) But I did find golf though.
KELLY ELBIN: Kiyoshi Murota, thank you very much, the leader by four strokes. Thank you.

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