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July 8, 2017

Jon Rahm

Portstewart, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland

Q. Terrific round of 67. Let's talk about the early part of the round, 1-under par through 10 when other players are going low and making lots of birdies. How important was patience at that stage?
JON RAHM: It was key to be honest. I was playing good, making good swings and I was saving a couple good shots. Just the putts weren't dropping. It was just make sure that I was going to stay patient and keep hitting good putts.

I can think of a couple good ones that didn't go in, like the one, especially 4, 5, 7 putt for eagle, 8 was probably the best putt I hit on the front nine besides the birdie on 1 that didn't go in. I just kept telling myself: Keep putting it on the fairway and on the green and they will go in.

I was lucky to make a couple good ones on 11 and 12, and then the bonus one on 14. That was kind of a Seve birdie, all over the place, and make that one. And then, as well as I played on the last three holes, the putts didn't drop but still a great round.

Q. What was going through your mind, charging up the leaderboard and getting into a tie for the lead?
JON RAHM: When I hit the tee shot on 15, I thought it was absolutely perfect. There was no doubt in my mind that was going to be ten feet short and ten to the right, about 12-, 15-foot feet for birdie straight up the hill.

I was just surprised to see it land past the pin on the downslope. It was barely five feet, enough to go long right and leave myself a tough up-and-down. But when I was on that tee, I was fully confident, at least I was going to make one more. It was just a bad stroke, things that happen in golf. Overall, I had in mind was just keep making it.

Q. The Irish fans have really got behind you. Are you able to feed off the energy they are providing?
JON RAHM: Yeah, I really think it's unbelievable, even when I haven't played the best front nine yet, like today when I wasn't playing my best golf on the front nine. They were extremely supportive to every good swing, I had every putt.

Even when I made that bogey on 8 from the distance, I could still hear the cheers. People were supporting me and that obviously helps out a lot when you have a couple hundred people following you, supporting you, and especially when the one putt went in on 11. I could feel that, and I think I just let the energy just drive me. I got on the birdie train and lucky for me I made four in a row.

Q. Your thoughts on tomorrow, you have a chance to win for the first time on The European Tour?
JON RAHM: Well, hopefully I can enjoy the day as much as I can, have fun, enjoy the moment, and let's see if I can make a few more putts on the front nine like I've been doing the first few days.

Q. Last night you were undecided, seafood or your fourth steak in a row. Which way did you go?
JON RAHM: Well, we ended up going to, I'm going to name the restaurant wrong, Bushmill, and I had the lamb. Lamb, still meat. It's not the same. But I think the biggest steak they had was ten ounces; that's no good for me (laughs).

Q. What was the key to your great play at the end of the day?
JON RAHM: You know, I just told myself, it was time to make some birdies. I kind of realised what I was doing wrong on the first ten holes. I was a little tentative on some putts, not committed to a couple shots. They were still good but not as good as they could have. That drive on 11 kind of shifted the gear. It was a perfect drive down the center, perfect second shot that went a little bit too much through the wind and an even better putt, and hitting three shots like that just got me going through the rest of the round.

Q. If there's one part of the game you have to tighten up ahead of the final round, what is it?
JON RAHM: On this course, to be honest, if you hit every fairway, you're going to have a lot of birdie opportunities. I would say keep it in the fairway.

Q. Sunny today but supposed to rain tomorrow. How will your strategy change going into the final 18?
JON RAHM: Well, it all depends but if it's raining, you know, same thing. Make the course a little longer, the greens a little slower, you can get a little more aggressive but just make sure your attitude is the proper one and try to stay as dry as possible.

Q. You've spoken about your pride as a Spaniard and European. How important is tomorrow to you?
JON RAHM: Well, I'm going to try to make it as least as important as possible so I don't put pressure on myself.

But obviously it could be a very special day, right. This tournament has a very good Spanish history and it would be amazing to join that.

Q. Talk about the run of birdies on the back nine.
JON RAHM: What to say. It was kind of a hesitant to say for the better part of the first ten holes. Hit a perfect drive on 11, great second shot and really even better putt that went in. Three good shots like that will change the attitude and the dynamic of the day. I started making good swing after good swing and ended up making four in a row.

Q. You would be a very popular winner here tomorrow if you were to win. The support you got here today was something special, isn't it?
JON RAHM: It is. I mean, I don't know, I can't explain what it's been but it's been unbelievable to see how the Irish crowd has kind of taken me over, right. It seems like they decided to support me like if I was one of their own, and it's been incredible. It does help out when you have that kind of support.

Q. You won this year on the PGA TOUR. How much that have experience do you take into tomorrow?
JON RAHM: Well, I know they are still playing the last hole, but I've never led going into the final round. So talking about that, I would say I'm a little inexperienced in that sense. But when it comes down the stretch, I know what I did at Torrey Pines in the last five holes. Hopefully I don't need two eagles in the last five, but you know, I've been there. I know what I've done, the wrong and the right, so I know what I have to get done, and hopefully I can execute.

Q. The putter was fantastic all day. Seemed to go cold towards the end and you could have had an even better round.
JON RAHM: Well, it was kind of cold up until 11, really. I had a lot of really good birdie opportunities that I just didn't make. Once that one on 11 went in, I caught a little bit of fire. But like you said, the last three holes, I could have made one. But that's golf. I'm happy I made the ones I made.

Q. Have you exceeded expectations on this type of golf course, or did you know those scores were out there?
JON RAHM: I've exceeded my expectations massively. I've said many times this week that I haven't played my best golf, especially putting and short game has not been my best alley on links golf courses, and this week, it's been the complete opposite.

I've been really on in every aspect of my game. Maybe off the tee I haven't been as on as I could have been but my putting has been superb all week. I'm not used to making this many putts and it sure feels great. I have exceeded every expectation.

Q. Final group tomorrow. You've won on the PGA TOUR. What would it mean to you to win an event on The European Tour?
JON RAHM: To be honest, let's say before I won at Torrey Pines at the beginning of the year, it wasn't a possibility. The only chance for me to play one of those was to get invited and maybe I wouldn't have thought of that because I have a PGA TOUR career to take care of.

But winning that tournament and being able to come here and pick and choose what tournaments I could play made it a lot better. To achieve a goal that wasn't in my mind or in my plans at the beginning of the year, would be absolutely special.

Q. To go inside the world's Top-10, do you have to pinch yourself?
JON RAHM: Well, I've been there already. Hopefully if I make it there this time, I can stay there longer.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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