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July 8, 2017

Justin Rose

Portstewart, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland

Q. 66 helped elevate you considerably up the leaderboard.
JUSTIN ROSE: A lot of good stuff today. I really putted well today, which obviously saved me. Obviously that's what created the birdies but also saved me when I made some mistakes. I didn't hit many fairways today, so I definitely have practiced this week a lot out of the rough, which is kind of a skin in itself.

Sometimes in links golf, you don't get to hit as many fairways as usually do, and judging the way the ball comes out of the rough is a skill. I've certainly had my fair share this week.

Q. You played the par 5s in 9-under par this week, great birdie and eagle chances here?
JUSTIN ROSE: They really are. I think they are the key to good rounds. I think if you can play them 3-under a day, I would say that's kind of the bare minimum for a good round. And then obviously try and pick off a few more when you can.

Q. If you need to try to chase tomorrow, if you're two or three shots behind, is this a course you can chase if you need to?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think the weather tomorrow might throw the curveball at us in the sense of, it may get a bit nasty tomorrow. So I don't know if that makes chasing easier or more difficult. Because obviously as it is right now, there's a low score out there.

We'll just have to wait and see. But yeah, this course does offer the opportunity to go low.

Q. Playing this golf again, learning links golf again through The Open at Birkdale, is it nice to have links two weeks in a row or three weeks in a row?
JUSTIN ROSE: Absolutely. Today was perfect links golf weather, you had a ten-mile-an-hour breeze to you had so play well and play for the wind and have some good feel in the wind with your ball flight and stuff. Yeah, today it was such a pleasant day out there. Great crowds and I really enjoy this course, and awesome weather.

I'm more pleased with no bogeys to be honest. I didn't drive the ball particularly well, I didn't hit many fairways out there, so really scrambled well when I had to. The putting felt very, very good today and that was one of the most enjoyable days on the greens I had for awhile.

Q. Conditions seem ideal.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, they are ideal. They are testing enough -- I would say the breeze is blowing ten-mile-an-hour which is certainly no gimmie. You have to play the ball well to get close to the hole; if you are on your game, you can get a really good feel for conditions and work your ball against the breeze a little bit. Today is an ideal links golf day. You still have to get your ball close to the hole, but it offers you an opportunity to go low.

Q. Your first Irish Open in seven years, does it feel like a much bigger event?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, the crowd really came out in force. I don't know if it's the weather or great field, or a bit of both which helps. It's a lot of fun to play in front of them. They have been very encouraging and supportive all weeks. It definitely feels like a step up now, this tournament. Has a great date in the calendar and obviously with Rory's involvement, it's wonderful. I think because of that, probably gets a couple more top players.

Q. Earlier this week you called your game an unknown after missing the cut at the U.S. Open. What would you call it now?
JUSTIN ROSE: Scrambling. You know, I think it's been a lot of fun this week. I haven't really hit many fairways. Didn't hit many today. But to go bogey-free on a day when you don't really have your best golf is exactly what I need at this point. You know, it's really sharpened up my short game this week after a couple weeks off.

Ahead of Birkdale, I've certainly tested myself, my scrambling capabilities, but come through so far strongly this week and it would be nice to start ironing out a few other tweaks and I'll be feeling pretty good about things.

Q. You played alongside one of the hottest players in the world, Tommy Fleetwood, a fellow Englishman. How much did you guys push each other today?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, for sure, in the middle of the round it was nice. We were both making birdies and Tommy kicked on with that eagle at No. 7 and it looked like he could go super low today, then he had sort of a 3-putt from nowhere which halted his momentum. You can really see the quality of his ball-striking now. Most of his shots are great but his good shots just look really good.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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