Sunday notes and quotes
News, notes and quotes from Sunday's first round of the PGA Professional National Championship.
By The PGA of America
SEASIDE, Calif. -- Mike Small – his opening-round 66 tied his best first-round score in the Championship (2004)
What worked for you today?
I took advantage of the short holes today, which was huge. I birdied four of the short par 4s. That was the key for me. When the wedge was in my hand, I birdied those.
Highlight of the day was at No. 5, a par-3. I hit a 3-iron in there to four feet and made the birdie. Then I birdied the next two holes. I didn’t have to make too many long putts for birdie today, the wedge game was spot on.
What are your thoughts on Bayonet?
I need to start feeling comfortable on Bayonet. You have to drive it straighter then you do out here at Black Horse and I didn’t hit it straight today. I need to go work on my driver this afternoon. I think it is more demanding. You can’t fake it around Bayonet, that’s for sure.
We heard you may have been getting some tips from Michael Breed of Golf Channel?
Michael [Breed] and I did some work yesterday on the range. But I have been getting tips from everybody the last 3 or 4 weeks. I have been searching for it and I still have some work to do. I didn’t hit a lot of fairways but I wedged it close. That saved me a bunch.
Jim Estes – In his seventh career appearance, he shot an opening-round 68 to match his best first-round score (2011).
His thoughts about posting the best score among early finishers at Bayonet Golf Course.
I played calm today. I hit the ball well and putted well, and you have to do that here. I think experience helps here. I’ve played in a few tournaments.
The wind getting up now in the early afternoon, and with those holes playing into the wind makes it tough. You got to hit it straight AND hit it long. This golf course is probably the best of all the courses that I have played yet in this Championship.
I missed qualifying for the U.S Open by four strokes, but thought I played well. I put a little bit of time into practice for a change.
On his round – Posting a 33 on the back nine with only one par- had 1 eagle, three bogeys and three birdies.
I birdied 14 from 25 feet off the green, and made a nice birdie on 15 from about 10 feet.
I had a tough chip on 18, and told my caddie that I should have come up and looked at the slope, and ran it over the green. You are going to make mistakes. You think about my making three bogeys and I shot 3-under on the back nine. I had only one par!
Defending Champion David Hutsell – shot an opening-round 72
On his play in the opening round
I made a couple of bogeys early. I was pretty happy with 36-36 around here. I felt solid with my putter today and hopefully I can go out there and give myself some chances to make birdie s tomorrow.
The wind will be up a little more tomorrow since I am playing at Bayonet in the afternoon, but we do get a little protection from the wind over there. I will take even par before even going out there tomorrow.
Brian Gaffney – shot an opening-round 68 On his round today and his whirlwind past two weeks, which included being one of four PGA Club Professionals to earn a berth in the U.S. Open.
I feel like I should be at work. But I am alone out here so I should take advantage of all the practice I can. I putted particularly well today. There is a long way to go but I am off to a good start.
On this course I knew two things were going to happen – I would end up in a divot and I would end up in one of those “fingers” that stick out in the bunkers. On the first hole, first tee shot I was in a divot and I hit a squirrely out of that and end up in one of those fingers in the bunker. I made a good bogey on the first hole!
On playing at Olympic Club and now coming to Bayonet Black Horse
That course was different than anything I have ever touched. You have to shape everything right to left or left to right. Most courses are just there and don’t force you to have to do something. I thought it would be a relief to come here after OLYMPIC, but I had lunch with Jason Dufner and I told him where I was going and he said if you think Olympic is tough, that place (Bayonet) is impossible.
I enjoy the competition. I need to do more physically. I don’t have the talent that other guys have, but I have the will to do well. But that can only take me so far. Now I need to build the talent level up. It’s nice to know that’s what I have to do to get better.
I know I can make the cut at the U.S. Open and I want another chance at that.
Frank Bensel – shot an opening-round 68
On his play in the opening round
I just had one bogey and five birdies. I birdied all the par 5s. I drove it pretty well and didn’t hit any bad shots. I managed my game well.
Bayonet is a little tighter off the tee and you have to hit higher s into the greens so you have to hit the ball good and I am looking forward to that.