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PGA CHAMPIONSHIP


August 9, 2012


Gonzalo Fernandez Castano


KIAWAH ISLAND, SOUTH CAROLINA

KELLY ELBIN:¬† Gonzalo Fernandez‑Castano with consecutive bogeys.¬† He finishes his round with a 5‑under par 67 in the opening round of the 94th PGA Championship here at the Ocean Course.¬† Gonzalo, congratulations.¬† Six birdies, one bogey on the day.¬† Sounds like an enjoyable round of golf this afternoon.
GONZALO FERNANDEZ‑CASTANO:¬† It's been great.¬† It's been great.¬† Funny enough, I wasn't hitting the ball very good at the range this morning, but you know how this works.¬† It's just one of those days.¬† I was playing very well coming into the tournament, into this tournament, but just results weren't there, and all of a sudden today, probably the day that I wasn't really feeling 100 percent on the range, all of a sudden it just clicked out there.
Probably that birdie on the first calmed down a little bit, and it was, as I said, a very good round, especially with the wind that picked up this afternoon.¬† Most of the time on this course we are playing with cross‑winds, which is not easy, but it did help me on a couple of holes.¬† Some par‑5s it's kind of helping, so they make it a little reachable.¬† It was good.
KELLY ELBIN:  If you would go through your scorecard starting with the birdie on No.1.
GONZALO FERNANDEZ‑CASTANO:¬† I got a good break on No.1 because I blocked my driver into the right‑hand side, and you know, once it clicks on those trees, anything can happen.¬† I was lucky that I found my ball on the waste area just in between the fairway and the hazard, and I hit a great shot in to 10 feet and holed the putt for birdie.
Birdie at 8, I hit a good shot, 7‑iron, to just short of the reach.¬† I thought the ball was going to just roll down, but it didn't, and I holed a great putt from about eight meters, nine meters.¬† I'm going to talk meters because I'm no good with feet.
KELLY ELBIN:¬† And then your first of back‑to‑back birdies starting at 11.
GONZALO FERNANDEZ‑CASTANO:¬† 11, I hit a good drive, and then I tried to hit the green in two, but just the 3‑wood came a little low and just rolled off the back.¬† I had a funny lie with some sand behind the ball just made by hands, so I got a free drop, a drop into a bunker, which is quite unusual, even though they are not playing as bunkers.¬† So I dropped the ball in a bunker and made up‑and‑down from there.
And then on the 12th I hit a great 3‑wood into the middle of the fairway and then I knocked my wedge to about three feet and holed a birdie putt.
14, I'm not proud of 14.¬† I almost shanked my 2‑iron into the beach, and then I got a good break, it just kicked left and the ball was quite playable, and knocked it to about five, six meters and didn't hole the par putt.
And then on 15, I holed an important par putt there for‑‑ from nine feet, which I would say that was the crucial point of the round because if I would have bogeyed that hole, too, it would have been back‑to‑back bogeys, which is never a good feeling.¬† And then on the other hand I finished with birdies on 16 and 17.
16, I hit a lovely‑‑ I laid up because even though I hit the fairways I was on an up slope and I wasn't really confident with that cross‑wind to be able to hit the fairway from there.¬† And I laid up, and even though my ball finished in a divot, I hit a great shot to about four feet and then holed the birdie putt.
And on 17 after long discussions with my caddie, which were about what club to hit, I decided to go for a 5, knocked it to about eight, nine meters and holed a great birdie putt.

Q.  This golf course has been consistently ranked the toughest in America, and yet you look at the leaderboard and it's just bleeding red.  Can you explain this?
GONZALO FERNANDEZ‑CASTANO:¬† Well, I think the only explanation I have for that is that it's playing a little bit soft because of all the rain we had on the last few days.¬† The greens are softer.¬† Fairways are quite generous.¬† I mean, they are wide.¬† You want to be on the fairway‑‑ you need to be on the right part of the fairway.¬† You have holes like the 3rd or the 16th, 15th, where it's not only being on the fairway but being on the right side of the fairway just to get a decent lie.
And I don't know, I guess that this is the fourth major of the year.  I mean, everybody can play out here.  And if you see the names on the leaderboard, they are all great players.  But it's only round 1.  Still three to go, so anything can happen.

Q.  You're 11th in European Ryder Cup points right now.  Is making that squad something that weighs on your mind out there?
GONZALO FERNANDEZ‑CASTANO:¬† Oh, yeah, definitely.¬† I've been hitting the ball very good for the last month or so, and I haven't really scored.¬† And that's probably because of that.¬† I've been thinking too much about the Ryder Cup.¬† It would be a dream come true for me to be a part of that team, not only for the Ryder Cup itself but having Olaz√°bal as the captain, one of my childhood heroes and a Ryder Cup hero himself.¬† I mean, that would be the‑‑ definitely the icing on the cake.¬† Even though I'm not 11th, I know‑‑ it's a weird system that we have in Europe.¬† I'm not 11th, I'm pretty much more like 13 or 14, but I know I have a good chance, and of course I need to play well this week and probably in the next two weeks when we play Gleneagles, which is the last tournament before the Ryder Cup criteria just finishes.

Q.¬† Tell us your thoughts as your 2‑iron is sailing towards the beach.
GONZALO FERNANDEZ‑CASTANO:¬† Here we go again.¬† That was my thought.¬† I don't know, that hole was brutal today.¬† I think I had something like 230 meters to that flag, and I wasn't really thinking about going to that flag, I was more thinking about just middle of the green is fine.¬† But as I‑‑ well, I was hooking all my 2‑irons on the range this morning.¬† That was the first 2‑iron I was going to hit all day.¬† I said, come on, Gonzalo, don't hook it, and when I saw it‑‑ it was more like sailing to the beach than anything else.
As I said, I got a good break.  I left the hole with a bogey, which is never big damage on a course like this and on a hole like that, and I said, well, this is a major championship.  You're going to make a lot of bogeys, so just get away with it and try to focus on the next hole.  And as I said, for me the crucial putt of the day would probably be that par putt on the 15th hole today.

Q.  How much wind is required to be a big factor out here?
GONZALO FERNANDEZ‑CASTANO:¬† How much wind?

Q.  How much does it have to blow for it to become a problem?
GONZALO FERNANDEZ‑CASTANO:¬† I don't know.¬† I mean, it was quite breezy this afternoon.¬† I don't think it's so much about how much.¬† Maybe it's the direction.¬† The wind was kind of helping on the last few holes, helping off the right.¬† If it had been the other way around, it would have been a different story probably.¬† But I don't know.¬† I mean, those are my thoughts.¬† But maybe the rest of the players think another way.
But I think it was breezy enough today, but it just has to blow a little bit maybe in a different direction.

Q.  Can you talk about what it's like to stand on the tee box at 17 and what your discussion was like about how to approach that hole?
GONZALO FERNANDEZ‑CASTANO:¬† Well, I had 211 meters to the flag and 194 to carry the right corner.¬† We were just discussing about the wind and which club to hit.¬† My caddie thought it was a 4‑iron, and I wasn't really sure.¬† I thought the wind was helping more than it looked like.¬† We could see the‑‑ the good thing on 17 is also around all those hospitality marquees, and there's a lot of PGA flags all around the hole, so you can really see the direction of the wind, and I did believe it was helping more than sideways.¬† At the end I changed my mind at the very last minute, went tore the 5, and it was the perfect club because it pitched pin high and stayed pin high.¬† So that was a good decision.

Q.  What did your caddie say?
GONZALO FERNANDEZ‑CASTANO:¬† Well, we just laughed.¬† We are always teasing each other.¬† But no, he's been really good with the club selection today.¬† But that one just‑‑ one mistake‑‑ well, it's not even a mistake because at the end we hit the right club.¬† But it's good that we discussed about it.¬† We went through before the shot.¬† Maybe we were lucky that George, he hit a 5‑iron just before I did, and he went just through the green, and the way the ball flew, I knew 5‑iron was enough for me, too.
KELLY ELBIN:  Thank you very much.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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