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June 20, 2014

Mikko Ilonen


Q.テつ How do you feel about your day's work?
MIKKO ILONEN:テつ I got to my goal.テつ I wanted to get to double digits.テつ I got there on 16 but then I lost it on 17, so it was good to birdie the last hole.テつ I wanted to get to at least 10‑under, and I just did that.

Q.テつ How much is this course testing the various aspects of the game?
MIKKO ILONEN:テつ Well, there's not a whole lot of lay‑ups off the tee.テつ There's a lot of drivers.テつ Most of the guys can hit driver on pretty much every hole.テつ Other than that, it does test your game, because it's firming up now as we speak.テつ The course is playing slightly shorter now than it was, and the wind is swirling around, so it makes it really tricky.テつ There's a lot of interesting holes out there.

Q.テつ We saw you hole a lovely putt for birdie on 15.テつ Have you always worn the glove when you putted?
MIKKO ILONEN:テつ Yeah, I have, it's something that I never understood why you take it off.テつ As a junior, I had grounded grips in all of my clubs including the putter, so I continued doing that.

Q.テつ How much are you looking forward to tomorrow in this situation?
MIKKO ILONEN:テつ Very much so.テつ I wanted to keep the lead.テつ I don't know what Romain is doing behind, he was pretty close, but looks like I can't drop out of the final group, anyway.テつ So it will be fun in the final group.
I was expecting to get to double‑digits today and I just did that.テつ Wasn't quite as easy today.テつ Didn't hit the ball that well and putt that well, as I did yesterday, but it was good enough.テつ But I got to my goal which is the most important thing.

Q.テつ And as usual, you just stayed patient, didn't let that frustrate you, just kept going?
MIKKO ILONEN:テつ I made one bogey yesterday, too, so there hasn't been that much trouble in there.テつ I managed to save a couple of nice pars today early in the round which kept me going.

Q.テつ Are you enjoying the atmosphere, feeding off the crowd, because there's plenty out there?
MIKKO ILONEN:テつ There's plenty out there.テつ We haven't seen them all, because obviously Rory and Pテδ。draig played a few groups ahead of us, and most of the people were there but we did see them on a few holes.テつ I heard them.テつ I don't know what Rory and Pテδ。draig shot.テつ It sounded like they were making birdies.

Q.テつ You're the man to catch; so have a bit of fun and keep your head?
MIKKO ILONEN:テつ Yeah, exactly, I said yesterday, one shot at a time, one hole at a time.テつ It's a long week.テつ I played, Tuesday, I played Wednesday, but two rounds of golf, it's a long way from here.テつ Got to keep the head down and go one shot at a time.

Q.テつ How would you assess day two?
MIKKO ILONEN:テつ Well, obviously it wasn't as easy as it was yesterday.テつ 68 backing up 64 is not too bad.テつ I got to my goal which was to get to double‑digits.テつ In the end, I had to fight hard for it.テつ So I had to be happy with a 68, because today I was a little off here and there.

Q.テつ Says a lot for your game if you can be off and have a round like that.
MIKKO ILONEN:テつ Well, I feel like the course is playing easy.テつ I've said it from Tucson wards, I said, you know, I'm expecting really low scores here.テつ We got one yesterday, got a good round today, and maybe there's one more really low round in there.テつ I certainly hope so.

Q.テつ When you look at the leaderboard, play hasn't finished yet, but some big names up there.
MIKKO ILONEN:テつ It's fantastic that Graeme has played so well and he's up there.テつ Obviously for the home crowds it's very important.テつ I don't know what Pテδ。draig shot, but I think he's made the cut, as well.テつ It's very important to the Irish players and it's good to go maybe head‑to‑head with some of them on Sunday.
I had double‑digits in my mind when I started the round, and in the end I had to fight hard for it and it didn't come as easy as it did yesterday, but all in all I'm pretty happy with the day.

Q.テつ You've put 10‑under par as a postmark for the halfway point in The Irish Open, and loads of people are predicting around 15‑under as a winning score.テつ You've been the dull being of the work, and it's not that easy on the weekend, but what do you expect with this big crowd and a lot of Irish contenders, as well?
MIKKO ILONEN:テつ I'm expecting to do the same thing.テつ I've said the winning score is going to be lower than 15‑under, so I need to go lower than that.テつ Maybe the second place is 15‑under, we'll see.テつ You never know.
If the weather stays like this as it's been the first two days, I'm still expecting the scoring to be low.

Q.テつ You know how to win European Tour events and you're a former Amateur Champion and you know how to win tough titles.テつ You won the Nordea Masters in front of big crowds?
MIKKO ILONEN:テつ The crowds are very similar.テつ Obviously in Ireland, a little bigger, or it feels bigger here for some reason.テつ Here most of the crowds are expecting the locals to do well, and Sweden was different for me because they were behind me.
The pressure, I think it's on the locals.

Q.テつ You really look like you like Fota Island, 64, 68, fits your eye, doesn't it?
MIKKO ILONEN:テつ It's fair to say I love the golf course.テつ There's only a couple of shots that are a little bit iffy as I look at it from the tee boxes, but that's just normal.テつ I haven't seen a golf course that suits my eye perfectly yet.テつ So this is as close as it gets.

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