What they said: Russ Cochran

June 22, 2012
PGA TOUR staff

DAVE SENKO: Russ, maybe get us started, 6-under 66, it looks like seven birdies and the only bogey you had was on the par 3 No. 13. Maybe just talk about your day, and then we'll get some questions.

RUSS COCHRAN: You know, the golf course, I think is really a fun golf course to play. You're always trying to hit the fairway, No. 1; hit the right type shot into some of the pin placements out here. And then there's a little curveball thrown at us out there as far as some of the greens got kind of firm out there, too. So we were trying to kind of figure out which shots would kind of hold on the greens and drift and which ones kind of bounced and took off.

That, along with maybe that ten, 12-mile-an-hour wind the last part of the day, you know, got to be pretty tricky. I felt very fortunate to shoot what I did. Started off with a couple birdies on par 5s and then seemed to steady my game a little bit and then played pretty solidly from there on.

DAVE SENKO: Go through your birdies, starting with No. 5, the par 5, remember the shot sequence.

RUSS COCHRAN: I did. I hit it in the right rough, which was kind of disappointed with the shot. It laid up and hit, I think it had 103 yards. I hit a sand wedge in there to maybe eight, nine feet; probably eight feet or so. Made that.

And you know, was putting the ball in the fairway okay. Felt decent about it.

7, same situation. I hit a drive, I think I hit a shot next to the green and hit a good -- in the left hand bunker. I had probably maybe a 65-foot bunker shot from a downhill lie. So that was the best shot I've hit in a long time. It was a 54-degree and carried it just over the edge of the fringe there on to the green and it went by about maybe seven or eight feet and made that for birdie. But that was an unexpected up-and-down and that really made me feel confident.

9, I hit a drive, and trying to think, I hit it just to the left -- the left side of the fairway was very firm. I went through the fairways, had to actually take a drop from the cart path and I had to hit about a 130-yard 8-iron below the trees. It hit just short of the green and rolled up to about five feet, so very good fortune there to have a clear shot to be able to punch the ball, and it just came off perfectly and hit the bank and rolled up there to five feet.

Then I hit a hybrid and a sand wedge, or a pitching wedge, I'm sorry, from about 130 yards to about maybe five, six feet.

11, I hit a good drive and hit 3-wood; wind turned around into us and hit a 3-wood into the front bunker. Hit a bunker shot to a foot.

Bogey on 13. 13 I think is probably one of the toughest, going to play probably the toughest hole out there, besides possibly 9 or 18. I think the issue with 13 is the green is very firm, and we had the wind kind of down and it's hard know whether you should fly the ball on the green, short of the green, or whatever. You don't want to get too aggressive and start flying the ball well into the green because it's going to go over.

So I actually got a little break there. I hit a 5-iron, was going to hit it hard and carry it to the green and I hit it a little heavy and it hit short of the green and rolled up about maybe, you know, I was probably 45 feet, but from there, I three-putted. Had a good break and good fortune but kind of messed it up with the three-putt.

16, I hit a good drive. You have to get the right side of the angle to play the hole, it's a dogleg left. I hit a hybrid on the back part of the green and 2?putted from maybe 50 feet down the slope. Was one of my best putts of the day, probably down to two feet, and so I hit that green in regulation, 2-putt birdie.

17, I hit a good 3-wood off the tee. Went with a 9-iron and hit to I would say ten feet and got a good read off Mark Calcavecchia's putt. Went right past on Mark, so I had a pretty decent knowledge of what that putt was going to do, and made a good, solid putt there.

Q. You were in a similar position two years ago in the first round, you shot 65. What do you think of your position this week going into the next two days??

RUSS COCHRAN: Well, you know, I know I didn't finish it off a couple years ago. But I think this golf course -- it doesn't dictate the feeling that, hey, you just wake up in the morning and can't wait to get out there and shoot low, because you have to hit it very straight and keep it out of the of some of the bunkers, and the pin placements are very, very good. Depending how they set the golf course up with the firmness and depending on the pin placements, the pins they use, it could be a very -- that combination with the breeze could be a very, very tough golf course.

Obviously if the pins are not too tough, there will be lots of birdies out there. But as far as I'm concerned in my game, you know, I haven't had the year I've wanted so far, so this is, you know, helps build my confidence and gets me headed in the right direction. I'm very, very happy with the round.

Q. You birdied all the par 5s today. Do you think that's going to be key for the next two rounds for anybody??

RUSS COCHRAN: I think that's a big deal, but the fairways hard to hit on the par 5s. You have the crosswinds and you've got to take them over diagonally over bunkers and then hit the fairway, you know, slope pitched away from you or whatever. You've got to shape the ball right. You've got to hit it with some authority out there, and you've got to get lucky if you don't hit the fairway.

Today I did it a couple different ways. I was rough a couple times and was lucky to make birdie and a couple of times I played it really well.

Q. Can you just elaborate on what you started off saying about the course overall, your impressions of it??

RUSS COCHRAN: Yeah, the golf course is really a cool golf course, because it reminds me of something like a Hilton Head or a Harbour Town, because when you're looking on the tee, most golf courses, you peg it up and you say, okay, I'm going to hit my drive and I'm going to hit it as hard as I can or whatever and try to hit the fairway.

Here it's a little bit different. Here you have to see, if you have a right pin, some of the holes, even though some of them are not the longest holes in the world, if you have a right pin tucked over a bunker, let's say, you want that ball in the left side of the fairway, or even the left rough versus the right rough. You don't want to short-side yourself over there.

So you know, I think in that respect, you know, it's a very good golf course, and I think the fairways are certainly tight enough; and it just depends, like I said, depending on how much they want to put it over bunkers on slopes, and if they want to make the greens firm or whatever.

But very, very good golf course. Heard nothing but good things about it, and I think people see the possibilities in the course setup as, I think there could be a ton of people involved in the finish of the golf tournament. Always makes for a good tournament.

DAVE SENKO: Thank you all very much.