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March 13, 2005

Padraig Harrington


Q. At any point were you thinking 59?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Oh, yeah, big-time. I would say, you know, when I was getting through seven or eight holes, I think I was 5-under, and I was thinking, "Oh, yeah, you know, God, it's hard to do that." Then I birdied six in a row and I'm thinking, "I'm 10-under, it's there, how much more work do you have to do?"

It really is tough to shoot 59. To be honest -- I had not looked at a leaderboard, nothing. I was just thinking about shooting 59. I was intent on playing the last five holes trying to make three more birdies. You know, the last thing you want to do out there is play it safe. So I really wanted to go at it the last couple of holes, and obviously my bubble was burst when I bogeyed 14.

Q. But did you look at the leaderboard at all?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Only after 15. I hit a beautiful 6-iron on 15. My playing partner had hit 5-iron before me and come up short. I suppose I was thinking of hitting a smooth 6-iron, and instead I just hit a normal one and caught a bit of a gust of wind, moved a few yards left of where I wanted and went over the green.

I was a bit down after taking bogey because I hit a good tee shot and a good chip shot. But I had a look at the leaderboard to look to see if I was still in the tournament, and that gave me a boost over the last few holes. If I looked up and saw that I was three behind, I would have been down last couple of holes. But knowing that I still had a chance of winning, it refocused me on the last couple of holes.

Q. Have you given any thought to being the first Irishman to win on this Tour?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No. No, it doesn't, no -- I haven't.

Q. Have you shaken off the rust that you had coming into these four-week stretch?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yesterday I hit the ball lovely. I stepped up yesterday quite a bit. Today I hit it just fantastic for the first, certainly, the first 13 holes and putted well on top of that. I had not been putting well.

So, yeah, you know, it's exactly how I expect. You have to be patient and you know it doesn't matter how much you practice, you have to get out and play, get some rounds under your belt, certainly I do anyway, and it's nice to see some form coming around. I have a week off next week and hopefully I can build on this.

Q. At what point in the round do you realize, "Hey, this is my day?"

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You know, you realize when every putt is easy to read. After hitting it 12 feet and you're not staring at it trying to figure out a line, you just know the line. Those days, you just don't want to get in your way and you just want to keep going.

Today was one of those days, every putt I could see the line pretty quickly and didn't have to second-guess myself.

Q. Would you say this is a tune-up going into THE PLAYERS, because you've been very successful over the last two years.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I just have to try and play down my expectations for THE PLAYERS. There's no point in me going in there and thinking, "Oh, I finished second last two years, this is going to be easy." That is one of the toughest tournaments, one of the best fields of the year. I have to try and keep a level keel and not really look to the past two years, just try and focus on what I'm doing this year.

Q. Won't there be any pride involved with being the first Irishman if you were to win it?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: There would be a lot of pride, but, how do I put this. There still is two hours of the tournament to go, and I've got to keep my mind in the right place just in case I have to go and play more golf.

Q. What are you doing for the next two hours?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I'm going to eat. (Laughing.)

End of FastScripts.

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