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July 7, 2017

Jon Rahm

Portstewart, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland

Q. 67 in slightly more difficult conditions today. Give us your verdict on that?
JON RAHM: Yeah, it kind of looked on and off. Warming up it seemed like the day was going to be absolutely awful. The closer we got to the round, the weather cleared up.

Again, just like yesterday, keep the positive mind-set going. It helps when you hit three perfect shots -- actually two perfect shots to two feet for birdie on the first hole, but I just kept it going. Even that birdie on the par 5, 13, a couple of really good shots from 14 and making that putt, just got me going and took a lot of confidence out of that eagle and kept playing good.

I did have a couple of mistakes today that I didn't have yesterday, a couple of missed putts, 3-putts and a couple of missed iron shots but I kept focussed and I knew I was going to make some putts and just gave myself opportunities.

Q. You mentioned your attitude. It's something you talked about this week and you apologised for your behaviour at the U.S. Open and we know you're a passionate player, a fiery player. How difficult is it for you to stay calm, because that's the way you are naturally.
JON RAHM: Really, it does help when I play this good, right. But you know, I do get excited. I do get excited and passionate about it. It's just the way you react to it. If I let myself go a little bit, it's hard to come back to a calm state of mind.

It's what I said; I found myself in a really peaceful mind-set, really relaxed state of mind.

Q. Sergio, Olazábal, Ballesteros have all won The Irish Open and you're now in great position going into the weekend. It would be really special to join them. These were your idols, weren't they.
JON RAHM: Yeah, they still are. Still great to just be able to tee it up with Sergio in practise rounds.

If I was able to join them, it would be absolutely amazing. But like I said yesterday, there's still a ton of golf to be played and hopefully I keep playing the same level I've been playing. Like I said, there's still a lot of golf to be played. Tried to stay patient.

Q. You told us at the Match Play that you were really looking forward to a 16-ounce bone-in rib-eye steak after having a good round. What is Ireland offering for you cuisine-wise?
JON RAHM: I think the last three nights in a row I had the same dinner.

Q. Which?
JON RAHM: T-bone steak, rare. I don't think that's going to change. Maybe, maybe a little bit, maybe I'll try to go on a little healthier run today. But the good thing that I didn't have yesterday, I actually have a chance of lunch today. So I'll be able to keep my figure a little better.

But probably for dinner, I'll keep saying I'm going to eat seafood and the closer I get, the more my mind is set to steak again, so probably steak.

Q. Your mental game may be in the best spot it's been in all season. Why is that?
JON RAHM: I would say I learned from my mistakes. I made a couple mistakes on my last two events in the States. I was a little too anxious, a little too excited, a little too aggressive in every sense and it showed. Like I've said many times, I've apologised and I could not feel any worse about it.

I thought about it and I learned and I tried to let things happen a little bit and take some stress out and it's been working out a lot. I think this area reminds me of back home, or the fact that I'm back in Europe, it just helps me be in that calm state of mind and it's showing in the results.

Q. You reminded us yesterday you grew up playing in this type of golf. What makes a great links player in your mind?
JON RAHM: Many things. There's so many different players. You've got Tom Watson and then to the other extreme you have Seve. So I think that's the beauty of links; it's not one type player. You can have no strategy and all feel and do well, and then be a more methodical player and do well, as well.

Q. How were conditions today compared to yesterday?
JON RAHM: It started a little bit tougher, windy. It was a little windier. The rain was there on and off for the first few holes, a little colder, which always makes it a little harder. I was able to adjust, and starting the way I started with two perfect shots to two feet for birdie, it kind of gives me a lot of confidence. And then hang on till that putt on 14 and making that bomb for eagle really got me going.

Q. Overall you must be very, very happy with the way your game is shaping up at the moment.
JON RAHM: I mean, I would be foolish if I wasn't. Like I said yesterday, it's been a while since I opened up with a 7-under par round, and it's been even a longer time since I followed up with a 5-under round.

Extremely happy with how I've played, how I've thought around the golf course and how I've been able to make some putts and stay patient. I'm really proud of what I've been doing and hopefully I can keep doing it.

Q. How happy are you now going into the weekend and obviously contending up there at this very prestigious tournament?
JON RAHM: As happy as I could be. I mean, I know how prestigious this event is; the fact that Rory McIlroy, it's got Rory's name, it makes it even that much more important. I know the Spanish history in this tournament, too, is quite large. It's definitely a special week. But I'm just trying to, still two more days to play. I'm in a good spot and hopefully I can take advantage of it.

Q. Could you feel the disappointment out there today, the home support, and Rory not playing the way he would expect?
JON RAHM: Yeah, I mean, I feel like it's tough when you see things are not happening. In his case, he hit -- probably I can think of 12 putts he hit perfectly that just caught the edge. It's unbelievable that just one of those didn't drop in. Just one would have shifted the attitude completely.

He's playing well. I mean, I know he's not happy, but probably looking up to The Open, he'll be just fine.

Q. Is there a certain sort of feeling, you look at your scorecard and you're almost relieved it get around unscathed and be in the position you are after two days here?
JON RAHM: I'm definitely relieved, that's for sure. To be honest at the start of the week, I would not expect myself to be in this position with this score.

Like I said, I haven't played my best golf on links courses yet, but the last two days have put myself wrong. I've been playing some great golf and hitting some great shots and putting better than I have probably all year long. All together, some really good scores.

Q. What's pleased you most about today's round in particular?
JON RAHM: To be honest, I would say the way I've driven it. I was really comfortable with the driver. I know I missed a couple fairways to the right, but I was really happy. Like I told Adam, starting on 17, I hit a lot of quality drives in a row, which it had been quite a while since I had done that, especially in windy conditions. So I was really happy about it.

Q. Going into the weekend, you're just one shot off the lead. Fantastic position for you, and just your second event on European soil?
JON RAHM: It's an amazing position. Like I said, I haven't played my best golf yet, so I really surprised myself to put myself in this position. Once I get on a roll, I keep trying to get the ball rolling.

It's great position and it looks like there's some good weather coming back, and I know people like Ross Fisher are seeing off in the afternoon, and they might get a good round. But even if I'm two, three, four shots off the lead, it will still be a great spot to be at.

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