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July 7, 2017

Matthew Southgate

Portstewart, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland

Q. The 65, no bogeys in 36 holes and you're the only man in the field to achieve that.
MATTHEW SOUTHGATE: Yeah, I'm over the moon. I've sort of made a few tweaks to my wedges and it's really got my confidence up. So every time we missed a green, I've been confident of the strike and the distance, and obviously comfortable with the way the ball is running out.

SO every time I've been asked that question short game-wise, I've answered I've got them up and down and hi a lot of greens and a lot of sensible shots, too. Lovely obviously to keep the bogeys away and that's where I've been sort of falling apart, thinking in the weeks coming in here, just too many silly mistakes. No mistakes through 36 is a nice surprise.

Q. Highlight of the round, the eagle at 7. Talk us through that one.
MATTHEW SOUTHGATE: I got a good ball flight and my sort of natural fade there, and I just ripped one and it really rode the wind and ended up only going in with a 6-iron. The whole right-hand side of the green falls off and you have to be a bit careful. Played it to the left-hand corner and got a great bounce and ended up sort of 15 feet and holed a nice putt.

It was a nice boost because we felt like I should have been a couple better, where I missed a couple birdie chances and to have the eagle, it made up for all the missed chances which is really nice.

Q. You played 36 holes of Open Qualifying on Tuesday, you walked the course on Wednesday, had to get up early to get here. Yesterday you were saying you were feeling signs of fatigue. How was it out there today?
MATTHEW SOUTHGATE: I was fine. I didn't quite play as well today as I did yesterday. Sometimes there's a few tough battles mentally really where I sort of felt like I was drifting off. We dealt with it really well. Now chill out, relax, get some food and a nice night's sleep and obviously looking forward to this weekend.

Q. Great start, birdie on your first hole and then 14 consecutive pars and then an eagle. Was it a case of just staying patient out there today?
MATTHEW SOUTHGATE: Yeah, it was. Set up a lot of chances but at the same time we were sort of dodging bullets for bogeys. I was holing really good par putts, but then was missing the birdie putts. So makes pars was sort of a fair result. And popping in that eagle putt was sort of making up for the ones I missed. And turned it into sort of made the most out of how I played and we made a really good team effort out there today and I'm chuffed to be where we are.

It's been something that's been really hot recently, my putting. I sort of feel, it sounds really, really simple but I feel like I'm just hitting the ball where I'm aiming. So if I see a putt right edge, I feel like I'm sort of aiming it there and hitting it there. If you get the pace right, they are going in. We're making the most out of where we're hitting it, which is good.

Q. Great week, Open qualification, two rounds sub-70, having not played the course. You must be exceeding expectation.
MATTHEW SOUTHGATE: I'm chuffed to bits. We all work so hard on our games and I think a lot of the people have the same sort of passion as I do for the game. To play an event like this, and the putts are dropping in -- if you can't play golf with a smile when that's happening, you might as well give up. I'm absolutely thrilled to be in the position we're in.

This weekend's going to be tough but it's something I've done before and hopefully we can finish where we are or higher would be great for me this weekend.

Q. Last year obviously was a life-changer for you, finishing in fourth place. Good finish over the weekend and you're looking at a similar kind of scenario.
MATTHEW SOUTHGATE: I think so. Obviously I can't really control what everybody else is doing. If one of these guys decides to go and shoot a pair of 65s this weekend, best you're going to get is probably second.

I'll just keep trying to tick the boxes, fairways, greens, keep putting the way I'm putting and if I can look after myself mentally and not beat myself on the golf course, I think there's a good chance with the way I'm swinging we can contend. We sort of proved that over the first couple of days. Keep head strong and see what we get.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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