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May 20, 2016

Graeme McDowell

Straffan, Co. Kildare, Ireland

GRAEME McDOWELL: Making the turn, I 3-putted 18, hung in there really well the front nine, which was my second nine. Scrambled well. Made some good putts and managed to stay in there.

So all in all, I was pretty happy with the round and nice to be in for the weekend. The golf course I thought was playing quite tricky this morning, even though there's some good scoring out there. I think anything sort of five, six off the lead here going into the weekend has a good shot, so looking forward to it.

Q. Good week for you at Sawgrass, good first two rounds here at The K Club. Confidence levels must be quite high.
GRAEME McDOWELL: I felt really good about my game all year. Kind of had a little bit of a speed wobble around Augusta. Had a couple weeks off just to clear the mind a little bit, and like you say, good weekend at TPC Sawgrass last weekend, coming here feeling really good about my game.

Obviously the Irish Open, it's a special event and nice to be out here in front of the home fans and enjoy my golf. So looking forward to the weekend. Just got to keep the momentum rolling and see if we can make a few birdies and get up the leaderboard a little bit.

Q. From the tournament's point of view, great to have yourself, Rory, the Masters Champion and Danny Willett on the leaderboard heading into the weekend.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, I think it's a watch-this-space from an Irish Open point of view; I think it's going to go from strength-to-strength. Obviously Rory putting his name behind it has done amazing things.

The European Tour, with the initiative of kind of giving some of the players some ownerships of the events, it's a really great idea, and I think we're going to see good things happening. So really proud obviously to be here and be part of The Irish Open.

Q. Were you pleased there today? It was a bit of a mixed bag?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I didn't play very well the first nine holes to be honest with you. I had the lefts going and really had to dig in and scramble well. Really hung in there well the second nine holes. Made a couple nice putts. Hit a couple of great ones that didn't go in.

All in all happy enough with my two days' work. I know there's 7- and 8-under on the board. I could have been a couple better both days. I think anything five, six off the lead here has a shot going into the weekend.

Obviously weather is going to play a big part and you've just got to hang in there this weekend. Coming off the back of a good performance last week, nice to hit it as well as I did yesterday and hang in as well as I did today.

Q. How important is it for you to play well here in front of your home fans? You don't get home very often; you're mostly based in America. Do you put pressure on yourself this week?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, the way I was hitting it the first nine holes, I thought I might get a couple days up in Portrush this weekend, but managed to hang in.

Listen, this is a very special event and it's an event I would love to win at some point. My record here is not very good. So I come here very motivated every year, and obviously nice to have friends and family here and obviously playing in front of the home fans.

This tournament is only getting better and better and going from strength-to-strength both financially and from a profile point of view. Obviously got Rory to thank for that and The European Tour. It's always great to be here.

Q. Great for the weekend to have you all up there, Danny, Rory.
GRAEME McDOWELL: It's great. And the more big names we can get on the leaderboard, the more Irish names we can get for the weekend, hopefully we get lots of people to come watch us. Anybody up north that wants to come down and spend a weekend at The K Club with me, it's a great place to be.

Q. Was that a round of two halves?
GRAEME McDOWELL: A game of two nines. Played pretty average the first nine holes to be honest. I was thinking at one point I was going to get a couple days off up in Portrush this weekend, if I kept playing that way. I managed to dig pretty deep, the three-putt on 18, my ninth hole for par, kind of was the kick I needed, and really started to scramble well.

Great up-and-down on 1, 2, 3, a birdie on 4 and just got me going and I felt the confidence coming back a little bit and I actually hit some good putts, as well. Nice to be in for the weekend. Obviously good leaderboard, some great names up there, and I think staying within five or six of the lead, got half a chance, depending on what the weather does this weekend. You've just got to be there or thereabouts.

Q. Tomorrow a big day?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Tomorrow is a big day. I've got to make a move if I want to have a chance on Sunday. There's a decent bit of pedigree on the leaderboard with Rory and Danny and guys like Martin Kaymer looming around, as well. Like I say, happy to be in for the weekend. I've missed my fair share of cuts at The Irish Open and it's always nice to get a cut in.

If I was to tailor make a golf course for me, it probably wouldn't look like this. This is a little softer than what I would look for and the greens are pretty tricky to putt. Like I say, happy to be hanging around.

Q. Do you put pressure on yourself to make the cut in The Irish Open?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I used to. I used to put a lot of pressure on myself. I used to feel I owed people something when I came back to play and I was trying to perform for them.

After 13, 14 years, I realised people just want to see you regardless of what you do, and it's nice to enjoy and relax and have family and friends around and enjoy it for what it is. It's a special week.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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