What they said: Jeff Sluman

March 24, 2012
PGA TOUR staff

MORE: Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic transcript archive PHIL STAMBAUGH: Jeff Sluman, a bogey-free 64 in the afternoon and 11 under par. You're the leader right now, played a few holes this morning and got that done, and come out and back up 69 with 64. Very nice.

JEFF SLUMAN: Thanks, Phil, yeah, I played obviously very well this afternoon. I finished this morning with Freddie, and he made six consecutive birdies, so that was very interesting to watch. It just was a beautiful day out there, and it was just remarkable what the superintendent and all the obviously volunteers have done to get the golf course in the condition it is. It was a shame the amount of rain we had, but the golf course weathered it terrific, and it's a real challenge out there.

I was fortunate to play well, and obviously no complaints. I think Freddie is probably on a birdie barrage again, so I've got a good chance to play with him again tomorrow.

PHIL STAMBAUGH: Just take us through your round, just take us through your day. What did you do between rounds?

JEFF SLUMAN: I just killed time. Pretty good at that. All the years, you get a lot of delays out here. You go in, you don't know whether you want to eat. You nibble a little bit, go in the locker room, go in the fitness trailer, just figure out a way to kill time, really.

But my round in the morning I hit the ball pretty well. I always felt like this was a good golf course for me tee to green, and I certainly didn't expect 64. I'm not feeling that great. I kind of have a cold and all that. But once you get started and feel a little momentum and make some birdies, you know it's going to happen, and obviously it happened this afternoon.

PHIL STAMBAUGH: Run through the holes if you could.

JEFF SLUMAN: I think my first birdie in the afternoon was I made a real long two putt on 6 for birdie. I hit a good drive and my 17 degree hybrid, and the pin was on the left, and we were both on the right, Nick and I, and we were probably 60 feet uphill into the green, and I made a good two putt there.

7, I hit, I think, 5 iron off the tee and a 60 degree wedge. It was blowing pretty good downwind from 113 yards, and I hit it right at the pin about 12 feet short, made that.

8, one of those unexpected birdies. I probably hit the wrong club on the hole. I wanted to hit 7. We ended up hitting 6, and I hit it kind of long and left on the green. I had a huge probably 50 foot putt that I frankly was just trying to get close, and it falls in. Those are the type of things that kind of make or sometimes break a round like this.

I made birdie on 12, good 3 wood off the tee and a wedge in there about 12 feet.

14 was playing straight downwind, par 3, and hit a 9 iron to about six feet.

15, third shot on the par 5, from the right collar, hit that in there about five, six feet.

16, hit a beautiful drive, 7 iron up against the wind, the wind was left to right and kind of hit and hit a beautiful shot to about 12 feet past the hole.

17, you look at that pin and you're just trying to keep the ball underneath the hole. I think I had 213, and it looked like Thorpie hit a great shot in there, and as it turned out, it was a birdie. So I kind of knew that maybe with the right shot and the shape and everything, you could get it close, and I just hit it perfect, just trapped a 5 iron, drew it off the right side of the green and it ran up there to about five feet, so I made that.

18, actually I had a long putt going back up to the hole and left it about two inches short dead in the middle. I'm not going to complain about the last one.

Q. I don't know in the afternoon if the conditions just got a little tougher, but not a lot of guys were able to go real low. What made it tougher this afternoon and how were you able to get all those birdies??

JEFF SLUMAN: Conditions certainly were tougher. The wind was up a little bit more than yesterday, coming from a little different direction. And we played some of the back tees, and we didn't yesterday. I think they wanted to get us through, the field staff, and played the up tee on two or three different holes, which today it was back. But the wind was up and it was swirling, and it was a difficult day. I just hit the ball very well today and didn't get in any major trouble, and hit a lot of greens, which is what you have to do when it's windy kind of conditions like that.

Q. After you're there, Fred gets a course record. What's kind of your attitude going out there??

JEFF SLUMAN: Well, I mean, Fred is obviously a great player. I think if he played every tournament like I do out here, he'd be our top player year in and year out. He's über talented. He obviously fights that bad back, and he can obviously still compete on the regular Tour, which he kind of crosses over quite a bit. But you see a guy make six birdies in a row, what it says to you if you hit quality shots like that, maybe it might happen to you. I certainly didn't think it was going to happen because I think if you go out planning on something like that you're usually going to get disappointed. But I just kind of let it happen today, and that's what I saw Fred do this morning.

Q. For the most part you played really well last year here, too. Is this golf course just suited for you, or are there aspects of it that just seem your fit your game??

JEFF SLUMAN: There must be. I think it's a very good golf course, and historically if you look at who's played well here, who's won, that would kind of pan out for sure. I will say the first couple of rounds I played two years ago here, I said, boy, I don't think this is a good golf course for me, and I'm not sure I like it and all that. But as the week went on and I played a little more the first year, I realized, geez, this golf course really does suit my game, and I played a good weekend the first year. Then last year I played very well for the most part all week until an errant drive on 18 on my last hole.

And this year the same thing. When you come into a golf course and feel good about it and you know you've played well, it doesn't mean you're going to, but at least you've got good vibes. That's kind of where I was at this year.

Q. How surprising is it when you see a guy like Jim at 63 years old shoot 65 out there today??

JEFF SLUMAN: Well, Thorpie is a wonderful player. He's got an unorthodox swing for sure, but it just kind of goes to show you that when you do get it going I was watching him over there and he's got arms like this, hands, he's a strong man and all that. He's a wonderful ball striker again. I think that's what he was noted for on the regular Tour was playing that, and he struggles with his putting sometimes, but this is a great golf course for him. So that really doesn't surprise me.

Q. You were talking about Fred getting six straight birdies. You got five out of six, obviously a very good back nine for you. How does that compare to how you've been playing this year??

JEFF SLUMAN: I think I've played well really all year long. I haven't won, but I've I think I've just hit the ball very solidly like I have actually the last couple years and just you kind of plod along. You can get frustrated when you feel like you've played well and had a chance to win and it doesn't happen. But that is golf in its essence. You just have to stay patient week in and week out. I'm playing very good golf tee to green, so I was excited to come here because I knew historically this has been a good golf course for me.

Q. (No microphone.)

JEFF SLUMAN: I think when you're in the moment, you really don't think about it, you're just letting it happen. You do that sometimes when you're a rookie just out on the Tour, you get it going a little bit and kind of wonder, geez, what's going on here. But I think all of us, we've done it enough, we've made mistakes like thinking about it before, and just with experience you kind of let it happen and try not to get in your own way. You're not going to play great golf, perfect golf every day, but when you're really on, making some putts and hitting it close, you're just trying to honestly stay out of your own way and let it happen.

PHIL STAMBAUGH: Jeff, good luck tomorrow. Thank you.