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April 16, 2015

Graeme McDowell


Q. テつGraeme, a wet course, considering two and a half inches of rain or close to two and a half inches of rain last night.テつ What went well for you today?テつテつ
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ You know, everything, I got off to a slow start, bogeyed the first in the middle of the fairway.テつ Made a good putt on 2 which helped me.テつ I played really well after that.テつ I drove it in the fairway, which I haven't been doing enough this year.テつ And I just felt really good on the greens.テつ The golf course took the rain incredibly well.テつ I couldn't believe how dry the greens were and how well this golf course drains.

Q.テつ As a former champion here, obviously you play well on this golf course.テつ What's the biggest key to have success here?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ You just have to stay really patient.テつ You have to position the ball well at times.テつ You have to be really aware of the wind on this golf course.テつ It's tough to pick them out on the back nine today.テつ There's some really tough shots on this golf course.テつ And you've just got to pick your targets and flight the ball as well as you can.テつ Some good memories and some good visuals for me on this golf course, and it was nice to plug back into some of those and make a few birdies.
But it's a long way to go.テつ I'm looking forward to getting back out tomorrow morning.

Q.テつ I know you look forward to going to Augusta National, the Masters, but when you come here, how much of an opportunity is it for you to decompress and relax?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ Yeah, you know, Augusta is a tough one.テつ Jordan is standing over there, he found it pretty straightforward last week.テつ It's always a tough golf course for me.テつ I find it hard to walk away with much positives there, even though I love it as much as I do.テつ But coming here, the RBC, the hospitality does such a good job here, and there's always such a good vibe, good food, great atmosphere and great Southern hospitality.テつ And it's such a different golf course than last week.

Q.テつ Graeme, great round.テつ Bogey at 1 but six birdies after that, and the flat stick looked pretty good today.テつ Your thoughts on how you played today?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ Like you said, the flat stick was behaving itself after a rough week on the greens last week at Augusta.テつ I felt like I was starting the ball on line, but I had no speed control last week.テつ This week I'm really working hard on speed, seeing it better.テつ Seeing these greens so much better.テつ And I felt like I could really make everything out there.
So it was nice. テつGood memories and good visuals here from a couple of years ago winning.テつ And such a nice decompressing week after the pressures of last week.

Q.テつ The par at 14 is as good as some of those birdies.テつ You missed it left and still had a 12‑footer for par.
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ Yeah, it's such a hard tee shot on 14.テつ I kind of got the wind wrong, I thought it was more to the left than it was.テつ I didn't execute a very good shot, just a bit uncomfortable.テつ And that putt there was nice.テつ It was nice to hang in there.テつ That was just perfect speed.テつ I don't think I made a putt anything like that last week, not once.テつ And today I made several of them, and it was nice to feel more settled on the greens again.

Q.テつ Did you sense this round coming?テつ I know you've been trying to find the game to get in the hunt in these tournaments.
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ I've been grinding.テつ I really have.テつ I've got to be honest with you.テつ It's been four or five weeks of grinding for me.テつ We always say you've got to stick to process, not get obsessed with results.テつ Every now and then you need a little something, though, just to keep you happy.テつ I needed something like this.テつ And I hope that will settle me down, I look forward to the weekend, getting back out here tomorrow.テつ Nice to see some reward for the hard work I've been putting up.

Q.テつ Six birdies after that opening bogey.テつ Talk about your round a little bit.
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ Like you said, bogeyed 1.テつ Middle of the fairway, perfect position, just got the wind wrong.テつ That kind of suggested to us how difficult it was going to be out there today, kind of picking the wind.テつ It was hard, the back nine, especially.
And I made a great putt on 2, which again kind of showed me how the day was going to be.テつ I really felt good on the greens all day long.テつ I made some good putts, which was polar opposite really to a week ago at Augusta.テつ My speed was way off last week.テつ I was frustrated on the greens and blew everything through lines.テつ It was great to feel comfortable out there today, see my lines, hit my speeds and make a few putts.

Q.テつ Was it tough with the wind kind of gauging your distances and some of your trajectory out there?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ It was very hard.テつ The wind whips around in these trees.テつ You try to get a handle on it as early as you can, and try to stick to where you think it is.テつ But the wind forecast today was out of the northeast, and we lost kind of that northeaster on the back nine, couldn't find it, and it was really playing a lot more to the northwest.テつ So it was a hard wind to kind of get your head around.テつ I was looking forward to getting on the 18th tee.テつ That's the first time on the back nine where you know exactly where the wind is.テつ And 18 was playing pretty tough, as well.

Q.テつ Do you think your success today was because of the familiarity and the success you had here two years ago?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ Yeah, you know, I've been working really hard the last four or five weeks, especially.テつ I've been grinding.テつ Been frustrated with my game.テつ Been trying to sort of get some good shot patterns kind of bedded in, and good to come back here and have some good memories and good visuals on this golf course.テつ A golf course that doesn't demand length off the tee.テつ It demands positioning.テつ It demands ball flight control.テつ I did that well today.テつ And like I said, the greens are good to me here.テつ I enjoy them and putted well today.

Q.テつ How is your ankle?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ The ankle is a hundred percent.テつ It was a hundred percent last week at Augusta.テつ Thankfully it was an easy recovery on that one.

Q.テつ Not quite the start you've expected.テつ Is there something you're looking for?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ Yeah, it's been my fade.テつ Just hasn't been in there.テつ I haven't been able to hit fades well.テつ So I'm not going to say it's a hundred percent back in the bag, but it's really close.テつ I hit some good shaped shots out there today, sort of in that right‑to‑left wind.テつ It's getting there.テつ It's a work in progress.テつ And we always kind of say it's a process.テつ You've got to stick to your process.テつ Results are nice every now and then, as well.テつ You need a little something just to kind of give you some feedback to let you know you're on the right path.テつ That was important today.テつテつ

Q.テつ With these tight fairways, does that help with visualizing the shapes?
GRAEME McDOWELL:テつ Yeah, I like this golf course from the way targets are very easy to pick out.テつ You really have to be precise.テつ I heard Jordan last weekend at Augusta talking about small targets.テつ When you're at a big golf course like Augusta with wide open fairways, it's very hard to sometimes stay committed to small targets.テつ A golf course like Hilton Head kind of demands that.テつ It's kind of naturally there for you.
I felt like I did that well today and looking forward to getting back at it tomorrow.テつ A long way to go.

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