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SENIOR PGA CHAMPIONSHIP PRESENTED BY KITCHENAID


May 22, 2014


Joe Durant


BENTON HARBOR, MICHIGAN

KELLY ELBIN:テつ With a birdie on his final hole, Joe Durant is in with a 6‑under par 65 with the lead after the first round of the 75th Senior PGA Championship Presented By KitchenAid.テつ Joe, great playing, if you would, some quick comments about your round and then the maybe a quick recap of the seven birdies and the one bogey, please.
JOE DURANT:テつ All in all the conditions were really good for the afternoon wave for scoring.テつ It warmed up pretty nice by the time I teed off.テつ Didn't have a ton of wind, a little bit here and there, but it was pretty mild.テつ It was beautiful this afternoon.テつ So we definitely in a nice end of the draw today for sure.
KELLY ELBIN:テつ You started off with a birdie on 10.テつ You birdied all of the par‑5s.テつ Just go through those maybe the length of the putts the shots to the green the length of the putts on the birdies.
JOE DURANT:テつ Sure, 10, I hit a wedge to about three feet and made birdie.
11, hit an 8‑iron about eight feet and made birdie.
15, the five par, I made about a 12‑footer.テつ Just missed the green in two and chipped it up and made a good putt there.
16, I made about an 8‑footer for birdie.
1, the bogey was actually the best drive I hit today, I got it way down there, but I was in a divot and pulled it over in the bunker and made a mess out of that.
The five par or what hole is that?テつ Five?テつ Hit a good wedge in this there about three feet from the hole.
7 I hit a 7‑iron about three feet.
9, I hit a wedge to about eight feed and made birdie there.
KELLY ELBIN:テつ You drove the ball beautifully, hitting 12 of 13 fairways, have you been driving the ball well coming in.
JOE DURANT:テつ I did, at Shoal last week I drove the ball real well, I only missed three fairways for the week.テつ It carried over today.テつ I hit a lot of fairways and hit a lot of good irons today and had a lot of good looks at birdies and was fortunate to make the ones that I did.
KELLY ELBIN:テつ Open it up for questions.

Q.テつ Can you just talk about playing three tours this year.テつ You've played on the web.com, PGA TOUR, and Champions Tour and now it seems like you can finally get some starts going in a row.テつ Top‑10 finish last week, is it nice to kind of get a flow going?
JOE DURANT:テつ It is.テつ It's been tough access on the Regular Tour this year.テつ I went through the fall process on the web.com to get my card back, because I wanted one more crack at it.テつ I haven't played very well, so I kind of reshuffled towards the bottom.
But it's been tough access.テつ A lot of medicals this year, a lot of career money exemptions have been taken, and some overlap with some of the other categories.テつ So the school's had a tough time.
So I was really looking forward to April getting here so I would have some flexibility in my schedule.テつ So it's been good.テつ I did go down to Mexico and play a web.com event, because I hadn't played much and I wanted to play before I started in Atlanta on this tour a couple weeks back.テつ It was nice to get a little rhythm going and play a couple weeks in a row.

Q.テつ Do you anticipate playing a lot more out here now or are you still going to try and get those TOUR starts?
JOE DURANT:テつ I would love to keep some type of TOUR status, but I got a long way to go.テつ Until August I'm going to kind of go back and forth, out here and on the Regular Tour.テつ But I know my future's more out here than out there.テつ But I would just like to play out there a little bit.テつ But doesn't get any easier out there, that's for sure.

Q.テつ Can you just talk about what it means to you to be first round leader at a Major Championship?
JOE DURANT:テつ I think it feels great.テつ I played very well today.テつ The golf course is in beautiful condition.テつ I know the trouble's that the East Coast has had weather wise, but this place looks fantastic, our hats are off the to the greens crew and greens keeper, because it's beautiful out there.テつ And with no wind the course is perfect for scoring.テつ The greens are at a good pace where you can be aggressive.テつ They're receptive right now.テつ Obviously that can change over the next three days, but it was good today.

Q.テつ How much fun was that round at a Major Championship to be having the score you had?
JOE DURANT:テつ It was good.テつ I just had a nice rhythm today, I didn't try to do anything fancy I just went from point A to point B and hit a lot of good shots and just worked out to be a nice round.
KELLY ELBIN:テつ Joe's best finish in a Major Championship on the PGA TOUR was a tie for 18th at the 2007 PGA Championship at Southern Hills in Tulsa.

Q.テつ You're known over your career as an excellent ball‑striker exemplified again today, how do you think your game will travel out on this tour, where it's three rounds, guys generally think they have to go lower from the start.テつ Have you thought about how your game will transfer out here?
JOE DURANT:テつ I hope it will transfer well, but I was fortunate to play a few holes with Bernhard last week on Tuesday at Shoal and he was kind of asking him do you have a different mindset or this or that, and maybe not so much in the four‑day tournaments but in the three days he said you have to get off to a little quicker start.テつ It's harder to just ease into it, because the guys shoot such good numbers out here.テつ So a little bit more of a birdie mindset, just try to go shoot the best you can.テつ But the guys, they shoot low every week, so it's no different than any other tour, you got to play great golf.

Q.テつ You played well on the weekend last week, now today.テつ You talked about how well you're driving the ball, is it that simple or is there something else that you have kind of pin pointed for maybe this little bit of a hot streak?
JOE DURANT:テつ Just trying to be a little more patient with myself as far as once I get around the greens, I have a tendency to get frustrated with my putting, if I have a lot of opportunities and don't capitalize.テつ I finally just said, the heck with it, I'm just going to get up there and do the best I can with it and if it doesn't go in, I'm going to keep my chin up and go to the next hole.
A lot of times I get down on myself pretty quick if I don't make a few early and it just hasn't helped me any.テつ So I just kind of said, you know what, forget all that, I'm just going to go play golf and not worry about it.テつ So far it's working.テつ I hope I can stick to it.

Q.テつ Is that new attitude something you just figured out yourself or did you have some help from someone?
JOE DURANT:テつ I actually called Patrick Cohn, Doctor Cohn down in Orlando, because I talked to him a long time ago and he's helped me a lot, just in the last month or so, just talking with him and just breaking it down to the simplest form and it's made it a lot easier.テつ I'm just not going to fret over it anymore.

Q.テつ A lot of guys talk about when they come out that they want to play a little out there and they want to play a little out here and, I mean, clearly, you just said that you've had a bit of a struggle this year out there, so I guess my question is, why?テつ Why do guys want to just hold on so tightly to a last chance out there?
JOE DURANT:テつ I guess the reasoning behind it is that I think once you totally commit to this tour, it's really hard to go back, I think.テつ Granted, I haven't seen very many guys that have had a lot of success playing both.テつ It's hard.テつ It's hard. テつYou kind of have to put your eggs in one basket to a degree.
I guess there's that part of your ego that still thinks you can play on the Regular Tour and you still want to prove that you can do that.テつ But it hasn't been just this last six months that's been a struggle the last five years on TOUR for me have been hard.

Q.テつ I didn't want to say that.
JOE DURANT:テつ No, no, I'll be the first to admit it.テつ It's just, the courses are long and the guys hit it eight miles and I'm still decent length, but not like it is now.テつ It's just not easy.

Q.テつ I would be thinking you would be like when your 50th birthday came up you would be like, all right, I finally can go out there and I don't have to worry about being out here.
JOE DURANT:テつ And that is true.テつ That's a big part of it.テつ I love the guys out here, I love ‑‑ the events I've played so far have been great.テつ Trust me, most of my golf's going to be ‑‑ almost all of my golf's going to be over here after August probably, unless some miracle happens between now and then on the Regular Tour.テつ And I'm looking forward to it, I really am.
KELLY ELBIN:テつ The little that you played the golf course going in, did you have a good feel for it in terms of the appealing Tour style of game.
JOE DURANT:テつ Yeah, I feel likes there was just enough rough ‑‑ the fairways are pretty generous for the most part, but you needed to hit the fairways and it's a Jack Nicklaus second shot golf course and you need to put the ball in the right quadrant of the green.テつ That's kind of how I tried to break it down.
People talk about the 10th hole, well, to me, it's almost like two different greens really.テつ And there are several greens like that where you need to be in the right position and that's just how I'm attacking it.

Q.テつ Do you feel like you have any advantage with the draw playing late today, early tomorrow or was it pretty ‑‑ it seemed like the scores today were kind of similar in the morning as they were in the afternoon?
JOE DURANT:テつ I don't know if it was too windy this morning.テつ I know it was cold and we'll get that tomorrow.テつ So I think it's probably pretty fair for both waves the first two days.

Q.テつ Nice to get right back out there though?
JOE DURANT:テつ Yeah, I always preferred late/early than early/late.

Q.テつ To follow‑up on the other question, it seems like not in these tournaments, not the Majors, because they're four rounds and the courses are setup certainly much more difficult, but the other courses during the normal TOUR they seem to be setup perfectly for someone like you.テつ Where you don't have to hit it outrageously long, that you just have to get it in the fairway and then obviously try to make putts, which is what it comes down to.テつ Do you feel like, I know you were talking about your game translating, but do you feel like realistically your game is suited perfectly for what you're going to be seeing over the next couple of years?
JOE DURANT:テつ I hope so, but, again, it comes down to converting.テつ You can hit a bunch of greens ‑‑ and I hit a lot of greens the last five years, I just haven't ‑‑ I think with the longer clubs I've had to be a little more conservative with my approaches which leaves me longer putts which leads to fewer conversions.テつ I'll play more aggressively on the shorter holes out here and hopefully that will translate into good scores.テつ But it takes good scores to compete and one out here.テつ So I know that it's going to be tough duty.テつ I have to play well.
KELLY ELBIN:テつ Joe Durant, leader in the Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid.テつ Thank you.
JOE DURANT:テつ Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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