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May 25, 2018

Tommy Fleetwood

Surrey, England

Q. Great up-and-down on 17 and closing birdie on 18. How would you characterise the day?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: It started off a lot better than what it did. I struggled on the back nine with my iron play, really, and it was nice to have that great finish just coming in. It was more a case of my short game massively helped me out today which is really nice.

It's nice to use a different part of your game when you need it. At the end of the day, stayed patient and you know, somehow got it to 8-under and not too far back now.

Q. When you were starting your round, Rory McIlroy was finishing his round and he's at 12-under. How did you keep yourself from pressing too hard?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: I was just glad he didn't birdie the last two. By the looks of it, he was on fire.

It kind of makes you look forward, at least, because you know the leader is ten in front of you and you need to go that way, if anything, going the other way or staying the same is going to do no good. I got off to the perfect start and you just want to keep going and I wasn't able to kick on.

You know, the course kind of doesn't, as soon as you start attacking it around here a little bit, it bites you and doesn't allow you to go after things that much. Yeah, just very happy that I've made some ground at least.

Q. Flagship Event of The European Tour, Rolex Series Event, huge crowds expected. What's the most important thing you have to do?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: Concentrate on my game and rest up. Honestly this week coming back, I've been so excited about it and it's been really busy, in a good way, but rest is that much more important this week when it's like that.

Who knows what Rory is going to do. Obviously he's the one that everybody is going to be looking at and he's the one that's got the lead and for me, go out tomorrow. I might go out and play terrible but I'll be trying my heart and just concentrate on what I'm doing for sure.

Q. Seven birdies on the card. 13 and 16, fantastic shots just off the green.
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: Yeah, very pleasing. I think today was like two different sides. Obviously I had actually quite a few chances but in general, I didn't hit my irons as good as I would have liked to, or not as close, and I had to use different part of my game a little bit at times.

Chipping's always felt good. I had two of them today, which makes three in total for the week, so I'm happy if I keep racking them up, and just a really good finish which was important, really. You just want to hang in there and get the best out of it you can, and 8-under in a very good spot for the weekend.

Q. The one on 16, just after the bogey on 15 and when you chip-in like that with the crowd --
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: Yeah, 16, massively important. 15, I was fuming really with the second shot. I wasn't hitting it great at the second time, but hit that poor 6-iron and missed it in completely the worst spot you could have missed it and I was looking bogey straight in the face.

It was frustrating after chipping on 13, feeling like I had a bit of momentum, letting that go, and then 16 was really important and didn't hit that bad of a tee shot but this course, I was blocked out a little bit.

Just want to get that up-and-down. You've got two par 5s to come and hopefully you can grab one, maybe two. It was a bonus, really, 16.

Q. 18, close to an eagle. That putt turned at the last minute?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: I would have loved to have holed that one. Just when you're walking up 18, it's one of the best feelings for us, that, walking up 18, with the crowd and getting claps onto the 18 green. With the amphitheater and everyone around, you want to make that massive roar. I would have loved to make that eagle and got that roar and come off buzzing, but three birdies, I'm not going to complain about that.

Q. Starting the round you were ten shots behind and you've dragged yourself right back into contention, and now looking forward to what should be an exciting weekend having not been here for the weekend last year.
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: Yeah, so I've improved on last year already, so that's good. The year before, I made the cut and finished last. Hopefully I'm going to improve on the last two.

The atmosphere will be great tomorrow but you've got to just keep your head down and concentrate on what you're doing and who knows what Rory is going to do. He's four clear of me. He's one of the best players of all time. He's four clear of me so it's not going to be an easy task. Do what I can.

Hopefully I play well. It would be nice to get off to a fast start, but if not, just keep your head down and kind of showed today, birdie on the last three holes. You can get on a run around this golf course, as tricky as it is and as hard as it is to make birdies, you can always get on a little run and keep that in mind.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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