MORE INTERVIEWS: Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic transcript archive
DAVE SENKO: Dan, 68, 4-under, thoughts on the day.
DAN FORSMAN: It was a beautiful day in Mississippi, gorgeous out there. It was funny, last night when I was sleeping in bed, I woke up to a couple of times in the night and I knew I was going to come and play this magnificent course today. I didn't play all that well yesterday in the Pro-Am so I was a little bit resistant about what may or may not happen out there today. I had a good warmup on the range, but even at that, you get a sense of the golf course drying out a little bit; and the greens are firm so fast and there are some good pins out there that it really demands a lot of your game.
Starting out, I knew I had a chance to birdie the first hole and that's a big plus. If you can get out to 1-under on this course, early, that kind of keeps your momentum going as you play those difficult holes like 2, 3, 4, 5; 6 is a reachable par 5 today.
But those are the holes that are really the meat of the front nine and if you get off to a less than good start, you can really battle this course all day. But fortunately for me I birdied 1. Unfortunately I gave it back with a 3-putt on the fifth hole from not that far away. But that's the nature of the golf course. The greens are lightning fast. Even with the skill level you know you need, they are skill streaky. And I ran it by and missed one coming back.
Other than that, I made two good birdies obviously on 7 and 8. 7 I made a nice downhill birdie putt from about 25 feet.
8, I hit a 6-iron in there eight feet left of the hole and hit a really good putt and knocked that in.
Parred 9 to shoot 2-under, which was a pretty good front nine all things considered.
And then 10, I parred 10.
11, had a good chance for birdie on 11 and got over it. Right when I got over it, I heard some people yelling down the fairway. And any time you have a putt of magnitude of a 4-footer downhill, sidehill, out here, you have to have your complete mental faculties completely focused. And any time you get a disruption (snapping finger) in an instant, all of the sudden, you have to back away and start again. Well I did that, and I go again, and was about to pull the trigger and he yells out again.
So it was almost like it was never going to be my chance to make this putt. Well, finally settled down out there and I don't know what was going on, but I hit this putt and I thought I made it in and it just burns the edge. Okay, fine, don't make the birdie. Which, again, the momentum, back nine; if I make that putt, I'm 3-under with birdie holes coming up. So I missed it.
So what do I do next hole? Of course I hit it to one yard short of the ridge and it spins back and I have a 25-footer and I leave it four feet short and 3-putt. So now not only do I not go birdie on 11, 3-under; now I'm 1-under.
And I'm stepping up on the par 5 and I know I can carry the bunker, but if you pull that drive at all you bring 6 or worse in play. Hit a beautiful drive, carried the bunker, knocked a 3-wood just short of the green on the left side, pitched it up to four feet and made that for birdie.
Okay. Got back to 2-under and almost holed it on the next hole, the par. Made that putt from about eight feet.
And then birdied the next hole with a 3-wood, 3-wood and hit a pitching wedge in there about six feet.
So now all of the sudden the momentum is back, I'm 4-under, hit a beautiful drive on 16, 8-iron right over the flag. Hit a great putt and thought I made that, burns the edge and goes a foot by and made par.
Now coming to the difficult 17th, which was a very tricky pin today because it was up on the plateau, bunker very close to the edge of the green and if you get it at all on left of the flag, it goes all the way down and you have a very difficult 2-putt. Almost went in the hole, had about a 6-footer above the hole and made that for two.
Now I've come all the way back, the momentum clearly is there. I'm 5-under and for some reason I came to 18 and looking down the right side, I just couldn't pick my target out as accurately as I should have. And I just made a poor swing and hit it into the left bunker, no shot, made a pitch out and hit a wedge up spun, and had a difficult little 12-footer. I had the line right, but I was a little worried about gunning it because it was straight downgrain, downwind but left it about four inches short so I made bogey to shoot 68.
But all in all, in the first round out here, 68 is a good score and I'm going to be right in the middle of it. I feel good about what I did out there for the most part. Obviously disappointed to make a bogey on the last hole, but that's golf and I'm excited for tomorrow.
The golf course is magnificent. The weather is going to be superb, and it's going to be a stern test the rest of the way. The pins are going to be tucked and the greens are firm and are going to get harder and faster. So my work is cut out for me so it's going to demand all of my faculties going out the next few days.
DAVE SENKO: Much change in the course from a year ago?
DAN FORSMAN: Yeah, it's matured. The greens are firm much more consistent. They are in marvelous shape. There were a couple of spots last year with some growth issues but they certainly have that solved.
I think we feel more accustomed to the golf course now having played it one year. You have a sense of what the scores are going to be a little bit. And having said that, it's still -- you give me Tom Fazio golf course, fast greens, our TOUR staff setting those pins, you know you're in for a test and that's the way it is out there.
It's a wonderful golf course to play and demands all aspects of your game. If you lose your focus or concentration, you'll usually pay the price and put yourself in a difficult place where you have to recover from. As a result, it's just one of the best courses we play all year.
Q. Having come back the way you did, how does that set you up mentally going rest of the way??
DAN FORSMAN: And that's the nature of this golf course. It's going to be the nature of the course the next two days. No matter how far a guy may or may not be ahead of you in terms of the lead. There was two instances out there -- playing with Phil Blackmar, I 3-putted, he birdied. That's two shots, like that, and we are both in a similar spot, you know, 15 feet away and we did it twice today.
And the second time I birdied and he missed put. That's how quickly the switches can take place out there because of the nature of the greens and how difficult they are in terms of speed and the challenge that they present with the slopes and such.
So it's really just a good golf course and there's just nothing you can take for granted. You have to play one shot at a time. It sounds so trivial, almost like a cliché if you will, but it is true.
I think that's really going to be my focus going forward. I can't get ahead of myself and I can't worry about the scoreboard or what other people are doing. I just have to go out there and give everything I've got to that shot that I'm playing.
Thank you very much.