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July 17, 2015

Thomas Aiken


Q. Happy birthday.
THOMAS AIKEN: Thank you very much.

Q. What did you guys get up to?
THOMAS AIKEN: Not a hell of a lot. I had a 6:43 tee time this morning, so went to bed quite early.

Q. The start this morning, there was a wait. What was that like?
THOMAS AIKEN: It was like D-day. When we got out on the range, it was like, are you serious? Are we really going out in this? Yeah, I mean, we hit a tee shot and we couldn't even putt on the putting green. The putting green flooded by the time we had got to the first tee. The first group was on the green awaiting a ruling, and I thought they were going to call us off before we teed off, and they waited for all three of us to hit and then called us back in the clubhouse. Yeah, it wasn't the most ideal start, but I'm happy that we got a break because the weather was atrocious. We didn't get too lucky yesterday, either. We played pretty much every hole into the wind. We played the front nine into the wind and the wind switch and then we played the back nine into the wind. It was kind of tough because I felt like I wasn't playing that badly and just had to hang in there and try and not let it get too far away so I could have a chance today, and then we woke up this morning and it didn't look like the elements were giving us much of a chance, either. When we came back out, the breeze had kicked up quite a lot. It was really pumping. All downwind on the first nine. Didn't make it too easy because all the flags were on the front of the greens, so it was tough to get it close. I hit some good shots, but just didn't make any putts. Had nine straight pars going out and I knew I needed something special on the back nine. I started with a nice birdie on 10 and then hit it close on 11 and didn't make birdie, and then 12 I could have kicked myself, I three-putted from about 18 feet. I left everything else short the whole day and tried to give that one a go and lipped it out and it went like six-feet past. I knew I needed something really special coming home, and I hit an 8-iron to about three feet on 14 and then made par on 15, par on 16, and I was like, I've got to birdie the last two. I don't think anyone has birdied 17 the whole week. I hit a pretty good drive down 2's fairway because I didn't fancy getting over the shed, and I hit an unbelievable 2-iron to about 10 feet and made it. That really got me kick-started. Hit a good drive down 18 and capitalised and made birdie there, too. It was a great finish. Fingers crossed, I think I need a little bit of help from some wind, but I've got a chance.

Q. You're the second guy to birdie 17. What was it like yesterday? What did you hit there?
THOMAS AIKEN: I hit an unbelievable drive and had 276 yards to the flag which was tucked three yards over a bunker, which happens to be the deepest bunker in the world. Yeah, it was kind of tough. I hit two great shots to hit it about 20 yards short of the green and had no real shot from there and just putted it 15 foot right and unfortunately didn't make that but made a good par, 5.

Q. Obviously you hope that the wind blows this afternoon?
THOMAS AIKEN: I mean, it's forecast -- it was supposed to pick up towards around 4:00 or 5:00, so I think I'm going to need that if we have a chance. We'll see. It seems to be starting to switch direction, which is not ideal because then the back nine plays down breeze. This golf course has got a lot to do with the way -- it's very forgiving off the tee, but the wind direction just makes everything, and it tends to change a lot. I've played it a lot of times having played the Dunhill since 2003 and a lot of amateur tournaments here, and you can have rounds where you play, like yesterday, every hole into the wind, and you can have rounds where you play every hole downwind, and it just depends on what time you tee off as to what you get. I think out of all The Open courses, this one kind of depicts the most as to which wind direction blows and when it blows. Fingers crossed, hopefully we get a little bit lucky.

Q. The guys talk about the draw and how that impacts a tournament. Looking back, do you feel you were on the wrong side of the draw for this one?
THOMAS AIKEN: Definitely for the first round. We're waiting to see for the second. When I say definitely for the first round, I think -- I was off second to last in the morning, so it's kind of like an afternoon tee time. The guys in the afternoon yesterday had it worse, and we played -- as I said earlier, the whole front nine was kind of just dead off the right, slightly into, and then it switched on the back. By the time we got to like 7, it started to switch, and then the whole back nine played into off the left, which is the toughest wind for that back nine. The guys in the morning had a very big advantage who teed off early. I'd say anything up until about 9:00. And then after that it was a lot tougher. Today when we got out of bed we were the wrong side of the draw, but you never know. It was difficult for the first few holes with it pumping down breeze, but I think it's pretty playable out there now. As I said, the wind is starting to switch, which makes the back nine easier, but if it switches and really blows, the guys teeing off later this afternoon have to playing the front nine into the wind. It all depends on what happens with that breeze. Fingers crossed.

Q. (Inaudible.)
THOMAS AIKEN: Front nine. Definitely front nine, especially with where the flags are today. All the flags on the front you can use the wind to stop the ball. The back nine, no flags on the front. Only one is on the front of 17, which thank goodness it's on the front, and 18, but you can pretty much -- they're going to be driving 18 soon. Yeah, hopefully we get a bit lucky.
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