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September 18, 2015

Rory McIlroy

Lake Forest, Illinois

Q. I know 6-under par is good, but I'd bet it's the highest you could have shot today.
RORY McILROY: Yeah, it definitely feels like it. I feel like I could have been a lot of shots lower than I was. I hit the ball really well from tee to green. That's been a problem over the past few weeks. It's just been converting the chances I'm giving myself, and being 6-under for the round after 14 holes, you know, with a few opportunities coming up, I had myself in good position. I hit it to three feet on 16 and missed that, hit it to 10 feet on 17, and I hit a good putt there, but it didn't go in, and 18, put myself in great position off the tee, and had to make a good 5 at the end. It could have been a lot better. But 6-under is a really good score and a lot of positives to take from it, but I know I'm going to have to shoot a couple of really good ones over the weekend to have a chance.

Q. Is that just part of getting back into scoring mode after being away for a while?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, I think it is. It's getting back into scoring mode, and just -- if I could just convert a few more chances and putt a little bit better -- I feel like it's definitely an improvement, but I still need to improve a little bit more if I want to try and contend.

Q. How is the ankle?
RORY McILROY: Ankle is fine. It's totally good. I played 20, 25 holes out there today, and it feels good.

Q. Just comment on your round today if you can for us.
RORY McILROY: Yeah, obviously it was a decent score. The scores are very low out there, so if you're not shooting something in the mid-60s you feel like you're going backwards. I mean, I feel like I left a few shots out there. I was 6-under through 14 holes, and the four coming in were good chances, and I gave myself chances on all four of them, and I guess on 18 I was in good position off the tee and hit it in the water. But yeah, I'm going to have to go really low over the weekend to have a chance. It looks like the guys that are going to be coming in the next hour or so aren't going to be letting up.

It could be with the way the course is set up this afternoon there with the last few holes, Jason could easily get to 17, 18-under par. From there it would be really tough for me to climb back up over the weekend.

Q. Did you shoot 65 and feel not all that great about it?
RORY McILROY: If I'd have ended after 14, I'd have felt good. But yeah, the last four holes, I was in good position on 15, hit it to three feet on 16 and missed that. Yeah, just a little disappointing coming off knowing that it could have been at least three or four shots better. But that's just the way the course is. It's soft. You've got guys that are really long and they're going to take advantage of it.

Q. There were a couple short putts that you missed for birdie. They didn't even hit the hole. Is there any reason for --
RORY McILROY: I misread the one on 16. I tried to hit it straight and it broke right on me and ended up hitting it like four or five feet by. And then, yeah, there's a couple -- I think it's probably a good approach. I'm working hard on my putting. There's a few technical issues I need to get straight. When you are working stuff like that, your confidence isn't quite there, either. It's a little bit of both. I still think it's an improvement. I just needed to try and keep getting better over the course of the next few weeks.

Q. Your reaction to seeing Jason flirt with 59 yesterday/today, and can you --
RORY McILROY: My reaction? You know, it's to be expected. He's playing very, very well at the minute. I mean, to set the record, low score in a major a few weeks ago, follows that up with a great win at the Barclays. As I said, you've got guys, a golf course that's as soft as this and the wind has died down and it's not overly long, they're taking advantage of the par-5s, a couple drivable par-4s, the par for us out here really should be 67 or 66. That is the par today.

As I said at the start, anyone not shooting scores around that or better, you're going to go backwards.

Q. You said earlier this week you've been a little bit under the radar. Is this a nice change for you?
RORY McILROY: It is. It is nice. Sort of nice to just come in and do my own thing. Crowds aren't as big out there. Yeah, I don't mind it. Obviously it's not the position I want to be in, but it's a nice little change.

Q. During the season when you've gone on certain tears, what does that feel like, and what's the key to sustaining that?
RORY McILROY: I guess it just feels like you give yourself a chance for birdie on every hole. That's sort of what it's like. You hit your tee shot, just everything -- you think your driving, getting your driver in play is good. For me anyway if I'm giving myself chances, my putting doesn't have to be that good, but if everything is on, like say in the middle of the summer last year, then that's sort of what happens, when everything hits on song, and that's sort of definitely what Jordan was doing in the middle of this year and what Jason is doing at the minute. It's nice to get on to those runs, and inevitably it's going to come to an end at some point, unless your name is Tiger Woods, but you keep it going for a while, and I guess if you have a couple of bad rounds, your confidence might -- it might eat away at your confidence a little bit, and then it's not a bad thing to take a week or two off and regroup and then go back at it again. I think that's why it's a good thing for probably Jason and Jordan to have last week off, because they were probably just mentally tired from all the golf they played over the summer and being in contention. Probably a good thing for them to come back and come out here fresh.

Q. Are you not as mentally tired as a lot of guys are at this time because you had that time off?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, I don't think so. I feel like I haven't really played much this year to be honest. Even though I only missed three or four events because of an injury, it was a big chunk of the season. I said to J.P. out there, I saw myself in the top 10, I was like, I haven't been in the top 10 since June, so it's quite a bit of time.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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