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July 6, 2017

Jon Rahm

Portstewart, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland

Q. A round of 65. We've thoroughly enjoyed watching your play today. How much fun was it for you to do?
JON RAHM: Thank you. It was extremely fun to start the way it did perfect tee shot and the second shot, and that putt, really calming effect. It was just a great day. The atmosphere was so good. My attitude, it was probably the best it's been all year. I was positive all day. Kept my routine going. Stayed calm and the result showed how good it was.

Q. You came here a couple of years ago to play and said you fell in love with the place immediately. Tell us particularly why.
JON RAHM: That's probably why I played so good. It's the surroundings. It's a beautiful golf course. I was telling Rory, I think it's probably the most beautiful opening tee shot I've ever seen and out there with one of the most beautiful front nines I've ever seen. The back nine is also amazing. Each hole you can say, this is really special.

Just the surroundings, both Portstewart and Portrush, great views, great atmosphere. I just love the feeling I get around here, and with the crowd that we had today, it really could not be -- it's an unbeatable feeling. I just like it so much that I think I just kind of forced myself to play good with that attitude.

Q. You mentioned play on the PGA Tour, very different style of play to here. How are you able to adapt so quickly?
JON RAHM: I think everybody keeps forgetting I grew up here. I grew up in Europe playing these golf courses. I think last week really helped a lot. I was struggling with my tee shots starting at Muirfield Village, and having to play little narrow courses I think was helping me out and today halfway through the round, I feel like I found something. I put it in the fairway and just made it a lot easier.

Also having a caddie so experienced as Adam, it helps a lot. He kind of guides me in the right direction to hit the proper tee shots, and the proper shaper shot, and it's just being a little more mature than what I was a couple years ago. I was able to kind of adapt fast. It really isn't much of a difference. It's just knowing what kind of shot you have to hit and trying to execute the best you can.

Q. A lot of Spaniards have had success in The Irish Open.
JON RAHM: I know Seve has won it. I think I've seen the images of him making the 40-footer on the last hole a thousand times.

I'm not aware of who else has won it, which is not good. But I also know that Rafa Cabrera-Bello played I think it was 2010 Royal Portrush, played amazing and had a chance to win. And I'm sure Oli has been close and Sergio have been close. Sergio actually won this tournament his first start as a pro. There's some history and hopefully I can contribute to that.

I was a little nervous at first. I know you have to drive it straight here, and my last few tournaments, I have not driven it straight, so I was a little nervous about that. After a couple holes of warm-up, and that seventh tee shot, I think it was, I found something with the driver and I was able to execute.

Besides that, I was really comfortable with everything in my bag. We worked really hard keeping the 4-iron low for a couple of tee shots and making sure I'm not making too aggressive of swings to be able to control the golf ball a little better in the wind, and it paid off. And on top of that, I made a couple of good putts. Overall, a really well-rounded day.

Q. You said this is one of the most glorious first tee shots in golf. Does this place inspire good golf?
JON RAHM: I think it does. Usually I really try to have positive thoughts going to the golf course, but having been here before and just coming again, seeing it, it's just -- I just feel positivity all over the place.

The beauty of the golf course is amazing. I think I feed off of that, as much as the fans and atmosphere. I think we all see it. I think it inspires all of us. That's what makes it such a special place.

Q. A lot of people forget that you actually grew up in Europe. What's it like to be back here playing on The European Tour?
JON RAHM: It's great. It was one of my long career goals. I wanted to play both tours, and spending some time in the States obviously made it a little easier to go to the PGA Tour path. But I wanted to be here as fast as possible and luckily I made it my first year and I could not be more thrilled to be here.

Last week in France with a Top-10 was unbelievable, and being able to follow it here is just amazing. Once I saw the tournament was playing on this course, I wanted to play here. I was still not in the European Tour but I wanted to play here. I was hoping for maybe Rory to give me an invitation but luckily I made it in my own right. I'm happy to be here. It really is a special place and hopefully I can keep playing the way I've been playing.

Q. How did you enjoy the experience in the big group?
JON RAHM: It was great. Just the atmosphere of Rory McIlroy usually is amazing, but here in this country and this tournament, it's great. You can tell he's really glad to be here and he feels really proud of what he's doing. He wishes he made a couple more putts, I think we all do. But I fed off the atmosphere, the people were great. I was in such a happy mood all the time that I was hoping for a good score and it came out.

Q. You must take a lot of confidence for tomorrow and the weekend.
JON RAHM: Yes, but tomorrow is a new day and it's a good start and hopefully I can keep it going.

Q. Fair to say it took you a little time to find your real rhythm?
JON RAHM: A little bit. It was kind of a hesitating shot on the second tee shot. Actually I thought I hit a good shot on three. It's just the wind switched and it started raining and ended up with a bogey. After the tee shot, I went in the fairway on four. I felt confident, even if the next tee shot was even worse. But yeah, I really felt confident and that's why I was able to make birdies and pars.

Yeah, it wasn't till hole No. 6 where I found rhythm. I was still under par, but it took me a couple holes.

Q. Great eagle, as well, on the front nine. That's always nice to see on the card.
JON RAHM: Yeah, my first eagle on European soil as a pro. It felt great. It was all set up by the tee shot. It was a great tee shot dead center in the fairway and I only had an 8-iron left. Obviously it was a great quality 8-iron and a really good putt.

But the tee shot was the one that made the opportunity happen.

Q. And that nice string of three in a row on the back, always nice to get a good run going.
JON RAHM: It was, yeah, but when you have two par 5s in a row, it can happen, not easily, but it can happen, especially if you hit the tee shots in the fairway like I did. I had a chance to go at both of them and was able to make up-and-down for birdie, and a little bonus putt on 15.

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