Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic interview: Pernice

March 23, 2013

MORE INTERVIEWS: Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic transcript archive

DAVE SENKO: Tom, thanks for joining us, 137, 7‑under, seven‑shot change from yesterday. Maybe just ‑‑ looks like you had nine birdies, you bogeyed the first two and then nine birdies in your last 15.

TOM PERNICE JR.: Yeah. It was a good stretch. I kind of struggled a little bit yesterday there for a while, but hung in there and got it to 2‑under, and got a little unfortunate break on No. 9. I pushed my 5‑iron and it bounced into the bunker and it plugged when it bounced under the lip. So I had to play out backwards and sideways, and I got it on the front and didn't get up‑and‑down so I think it was a double.

So today I come out and I bogeyed the first two. So kind of got myself behind the eight ball. I really didn't hit any bad shots really on the first. I three‑putted 2, and No. 1 I just hit a bad chip.

But just hung in there and made a nice ‑‑ two good shots at 4 and made birdie and two good shots at 5 and made birdie and then pitched it up there close on the par‑5 and made another birdie. So that kind of settled me down a little bit and got it going in the right direction.

And then No. 9 I hit a 6‑iron in there about, oh, a foot and a half and caught fire on the back nine. I had five birdies in a row starting on the twelfth hole.

DAVE SENKO: Can you take us through the shot sequence?

TOM PERNICE JR.: Yeah. 12, I hit my L‑wedge in there about ‑‑ I hit a good shot. I had driven it in the left rough a little behind the tree, so I had to hit a hook around the tree and hit a good shot in there pin high about, oh, 30 feet and made it.

And the next hole was a par‑5. I hit a wedge to about six feet and made it. And the par‑3, I hit an 8‑iron about 12 feet and made it. The next par‑5 I hit a pitching wedge to about three feet and made it for birdie. And then 16 I hit an 8‑iron about 30 feet and made the 30‑footer down the hill. That was good. And then 17, I had two putts and 18 I had two putts for par.

DAVE SENKO: What was your bogey on 2? What happened there?

TOM PERNICE JR.: 2, I three‑putted. Hit a good second shot in, but it rolled past the pin and left it short and missed about a, oh, 7‑footer for par.

Q. Obviously you had a good round. There are several guys that have gone fairly low today. What was different about today that MADE it a little easier to score?

TOM PERNICE JR.: Well, for some reason they watered the golf course. I don't know why. The greens are much softer. And then you have no wind, a lack of wind. A little warmer temperatures and the greens being receptive definitely made a difference. The greens are in great condition and they soften them up with no wind. Great opportunities out there.

Q. Your patience paid off. You talked about finishing yesterday and then kind of a slow start today. How do you push yourself to ‑‑

TOM PERNICE JR.: Well, there's a lot of holes left, and I just said, you know, just have some trust and faith and just hit some good shots and give yourself some opportunities, and felt good about my putting.

I did. I mean I hit some good iron shots, but I was able to capitalize and made some nice putts. So I putted really well today, and obviously that made the difference.

Q. I covered that tournament up in Annandale a few years ago. You played really well. Mississippi, I guess some good vibes down here?

TOM PERNICE JR.: Yeah. Must be. The people here really ‑‑ the hospitality is phenomenal, and I enjoy good Bermuda greens, and they're Bermuda greens here. It's a great spot. Really, I mean it's really a quiet, beautiful, peaceful place out here and the hospitality in Mississippi is always pretty special.

Q. Was there a point in today's round where it did start to click for you where you felt, okay, now I've got something?

TOM PERNICE JR.: Well, the two birdies at 4 and 5 really turned the day around, and then I had a par‑5 in front of me. You know, those were big because I hit two good shots in on both of them, but they were still, you know, 20‑footers, so to hole those two 20‑footers, 25‑footers, that really turned it around, and then to capitalize I had it right in front of the par‑5 and then to pitch it up and make the putt kind of put me back in the game a little bit.

Q. The weather is supposed to change a little bit overnight, maybe a little more wind tomorrow. Do you think you're going to have to go low again to win this one?

TOM PERNICE JR.: You know, I don't really think about stuff like that. I just kind of go out, stay in the process of ‑‑ try to execute the shots and not try too hard and see what happens.