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November 10, 2017

Darren Fichardt

Sun City, South Africa

Q. Tell us about your race to the first tee, having come to the tournament late. Tell us from your point of view?
DARREN FICHARDT: Last year, I was first reserve, as well, and I didn't get in.

I got the call on Wednesday night that I was first reserve and Matthew Southgate pulled out and Lee Slattery was in. So I decided to stroll down here in the morning, not too concerned. I thought I was going to get here around ten to 9.00, and about 12Ks out, I phoned Gaia, Tour secretary and I said, "What's the chances?"

Sp she said, "Just hang on quickly," started talking and she had, "wait a second. I've just heard Anthony Wall has pulled out."

I said, "Oh, that's fantastic."

She said, "There's one thing, teeing off at nine o'clock. So where are you, at the clubhouse? On the range?"

I said, "I'm actually 12Ks out -- so I'm going to be coming in pretty hot." I was quite flabbergasted the first nine yesterday and quite drained the second nine. I still can't believe I'm playing.

Q. Is there a sense of free flowing because it's an opportunity you didn't expect to have?
DARREN FICHARDT: Definitely. My wife always said "analysis leads to paralysis," so I had no time to think about this tournament.

Wednesday I was still thinking what else I was going to do in Thursday, playing in a couple competitions with my friends on Friday and stuff. I'm here, two days into it, and doing pretty good. So pretty happy.

Q. You are doing well. How important is the right attitude on days as difficult as today out there?
DARREN FICHARDT: Today, you've just got to take what you can get. All you can do is pick a shot you want to hit, commit to it, and if it doesn't work out, what can you do. But you've got to obviously make sure if it does gust, you've still got a chance to get up-and-down. That's why I wasn't taking on flags today because in case the gust comes up and then you're in really big trouble.

So just got to really think your way around and minimise mistakes.

Q. We talk about seizing opportunities in golf, particularly, and you've had yours, you didn't even realise you were playing until very late yesterday. It's been a good start. Great two days for you.
DARREN FICHARDT: Definitely. I was probably the most bitter person in South Africa on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, because I really, really am playing well and it was just a shame I wasn't getting into these events.

So unfortunately for Matthew Southgate and Anthony Wall, but fortunate for me, they had to pull out, and it gave me an opportunity to give it a crack.

That's just how the game those. I have an opportunity to play this tournament, and I love this track. My game is really where I want it to be.

Q. The wind is swirling around a lot more today. Was there a change in strategy in terms of the way you played?
DARREN FICHARDT: Definitely. The front nine, the fan was blowing pretty consistently, but the back nine, it was really gusting big time.

I think on 11, I had 163 pin, with the wind slightly in out the left and I pinned a 6-iron and I think I hit it like 130 metres, which is crazy.

You've got to look at, it shrug it off, dust yourself off and go from there.

Q. Won't be too many scores lower than yours. Nice to see that you're keeping yourself in touch.
DARREN FICHARDT: Definitely. I'm fortunate that I'm really hitting my driver well, so I'm getting myself into position on every hole, and then I'm putting pretty well. If I do make a mistake, I manage to up-and-down. So that is quite fortunate and is probably why on the score I am right now.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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