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May 26, 2016

Graeme McDowell

Surrey, England

Q. You've broken 70 for the first time on the new layout at Wentworth. How pleased are you with the day's work?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I didn't know that to be honest with you, that I hadn't broke 70. But no, listen, a good day's work. Not a good golf course for me generally at Wentworth. The set up this year is a little different. I don't think the rough's quite as penal as normal and the greens are much firmer and faster, and.

I've felt much more comfortable on the greens, much more comfortable than I have in years gone past. Felt like I positioned the ball well most of the day today, so pretty happy with that effort for day one.

Q. Great tee shot on 5; evidence of the firm, fast nature of the greens when the ball lands.
GRAEME McDOWELL: I hit a 5-iron, and be honest, I shoved it probably ten, 15 feet right of where I was looking, and pitched it up on top, and obviously used that little downslope nicely there. That was a good way to get the day started because I had just short-sided myself on the par 5 pretty decent, didn't get it up-and-down. That was one of those little swings that got the day going.

Q. On 6, you holed a big putt. How important is imagination, because you have to see it in your mind before you hole them.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Very much. So I've gone to like you say trying to see the high lines a little bit and trying to see my entry point into the hole. I felt like I was getting a little bit too obsessed with starting line lately, especially on those large, swinging putts.

Sort of went back to being a little more instinctful and feeling much more comfortable on the greens here at Wentworth this week. Nice to roll a couple of those in obviously.

Q. On 16, terrific bunker shot.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Wasn't happy with my lie here, and the bunkers are very deep this week. Just kind of trying to early release it a little bit and trying to pick it a little bit more than normal. I was really happy with the contact I made there. That was pretty nice, disappointed to miss that putt in the end. That was after my 3-wood, going just a little too far going to that trap.

It was nice to hit a nice fairway trap. This is a course a little like St. Andrews or Carnoustie from the point of view you must avoid the fairway traps here. They are very penal.

Q. 3-under 69, considering how you struck the ball today, what do you walk away with?
GRAEME McDOWELL: It was kind of a day of two nines really. I didn't play my best on the front but hung in there and scored well. The back nine, I started really to hit some nice shots and gave myself some nice looks at it, and didn't take them.

All in all, for a golf course that hasn't really been good to me in the past, very happy the way I hit the golf ball and the way I controlled the ball, and how comfortable I felt on the greens today. It was nice.

Q. You were even through four and able to birdie 5 and 6. How were you able to jump start your round at that point?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I hit a nice 5-iron into 5, the par 3, caught the slope beautifully, hit it close there and made a sort of 25-footer on 6. Those are the kind of things that can really kick start a day and played some nice golf after that. Really good sand save on 8 and like I say, gave myself some really nice looks coming down the stretch. It was perfect conditions. We don't often see the sunshine here this time of the year in London, but it was about as good and as kind of nice as it gets out here.

Feeling much more comfortable on the greens this week. They are actually rolling quite true. Talked a lot in the past about the two different types of grass in these greens. They have managed to suppress one of the types of grass and they are actually running much much better than I've seen them in years gone by.

Felt like they slowed them down today, the greens. They were super fast yesterday in the Pro-Am. I think European Tour maybe got a little scared of them and decided to back them off a little today. They were quite soft and receptive and a little slower and very scorable, as the score boards have suggested. So I felt comfortable out there, which is nice, on a golf course where I haven't typically felt comfortable in the past and hit a lot of nice shots.

Like I said there, the front nine, I was a little out of position at times and managed to hang in and hole a couple putts. The back nine, I gave myself a lot of looks and probably should have done better coming in.

Q. Was it an easy decision to come here, given as you say, you haven't always played well here.
GRAEME McDOWELL: It's a nice run of events obviously with The Irish Open last week, and listen, BMW are an extremely good sponsor to me and The European Tour. I always do my best to come here and support.

Yes, it's not a golf course that I like, but you look -- obviously you look at the field this week, and you've got to see an opportunity. Especially for a guy like me who needs a kick start on a lot of levels, World Rankings, Ryder Cups, all of these things. Of course I want to be here and I want to compete, and I want to try and break my sort of Wentworth duck, if you like. So I would love to compete here this weekend. It's such a great tournament. The crowds are always fantastic, give us tons of support. When the weather is like this, it's a pretty fun place to be, really.

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