MORE INTERVIEWS: Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic transcript archive
DAVE SENKO: Thanks for joining us. You have to be happy with a 6-under 66 which I believe ties the course record, a 66. Maybe just talk about your day and then we'll get some questions.
JEFF SLUMAN: First I'd like to just say last year, I really had a nice feel for the golf course tee-to-green. I didn't putt very well last year. I did like the golf course and how it's set up and it's a very difficult test.
Different conditions this year, certainly, than last year. But you know, I was fortunate enough today to kind of continue the type of ball-striking rounds that I had last year, and I guess essentially I hit 17 greens today. I holed a 9-iron on 4 for eagle.
And hit it to ten or 12 feet for eagle on 6 and missed that putt.
7 I made birdie from three feet. So I really wasn't holing a lot of putts.
On the back nine, I chipped it to a foot on 13, the par 5.
And then I kind of caught a lucky break. I didn't hit a very good shot on the par 3, 14, hit it to the right of the green and knew it was going to kick but I didn't know it was going to kick that well and ran down to a tap-in there. So there was my 6-under there.
Longest putt I made was three feet. If I'm going to have a chance to contend in the golf tournament, I've got to make some putts over three feet. And the greens are firm perfect. I just had a lot of nice rolls. A few not so good I guess could you say. But you know, like I said, over 54 holes, you can't hit it like that. You're probably not going to, so you have to make some putts. That's what I need to work on.
DAVE SENKO: On 4, what was your shot sequence?
JEFF SLUMAN: I hit the driver.
DAVE SENKO: How far was the 9-iron?
JEFF SLUMAN: It started blowing pretty good downwind. And I think I had 154 to the hole and we were kind of in between, but just looked like a perfect 9 that if you got it over the slope, it was going to kind of run back in the right. It was just going to kind of run towards the hole. I hit it and I said, boy, that's as good as I got. They said it just went in like a one-putt.
So of course I didn't see it go in, but judging by the reaction on the back of the green, we figured it went in -- unless they were playing an April fool's joke on me, which really would have been pretty funny -- for a few moments (laughing).
Q. Can you talk about scoring, was it just a really good feel the way it sets up??
JEFF SLUMAN: It sets up well. On a couple of the tee shots -- but if you're playing well, just getting up and trust your ability to get it down there and play. But overall, it feels good out there.
Q. Looks like you have to make some putts in the next couple of days, but also it's important to tee-to-green here, as well??
JEFF SLUMAN: Oh, yeah. You're going to see a guy like Nick Price have an unbelievable chance here. I mean, he's probably the best-ball striker we have out here day-in, day-out. I think he's 4-under and finishing and probably be in here in a minute. Nick is playing great now. Jay Haas, another tremendous ball-striker. You're going to have to hit the ball well, but you can't play well enough on the PGA TOUR or the Champions Tour and not putt well and win. You still have to make some putts.
Q. No. 18 has jumped up on some people today.
JEFF SLUMAN: Yeah, that's a tough hole.
Q. What makes it so tough??
JEFF SLUMAN: You just have to drive it in the fairway. They have got that huge oak tree right, and if you're hung up behind that -- they have a multitude of bunkers that are jail on the left.
I haven't been down in them or anything, but I can't imagine that you're going to be able to drive it in there and still have a chance to knock it on the green. So you're going to have to get the ball up-and-down from there. You're going to have opportunities probably not to advance it very far out of those bunkers.
And the next shot is on a little angle and water and the green slopes back down away from you. And the slope, it runs -- not only does it run away from you, but it's downgrain. So usually you're hitting a longer cut shot in there to a green like that; it's just a bear.
Q. When is the last time you had a round where you're in there close but you don't have to make that many putts.
JEFF SLUMAN: Probably the last round before (chuckling). I played pretty much the same way.
I'm not putting poorly certainly. I did make that one key par save on 16, which that kind of keeps the round alive. It can get frustrating if you miss one green and make bogey and that. So I didn't do that. So that made me feel okay.
But like I said, I've hit a lot of good putts and Eduardo, you know, he didn't score well today. But I'm telling you, he hit at least ten putts that just hung right on the lip and didn't go in.
So I think in general, the guys seemed to last year, and the little bit I saw this year so far, have struggled with reading the greens here. Maybe a little more knowledge, you get a little better feel for the greens.
DAVE SENKO: Thank you.