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June 15, 2018

Tommy Fleetwood

Southampton, New York

Q. Great finish to an outstanding round of golf.
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: A lot of good ones. Just happy to be -- happy to be off the course. It was middle of the round, like off to a good, solid start, and I was making pars. But then middle of the round, where it was 16, 17, 18, 1, 2, when it was -- like it was windy and it was cold and the rain was coming down, it was literally counting holes down and trying to survive and make pars. Brightened up a little bit, and then I made some birdies towards the end.

Really it just kind of happened. It was a really solid round. And just a couple of putts make all the difference really sometimes. And, you know, 5, 7 and 9, you hole a couple of nice birdie putts, and you walk off with a 66. But overall, just played really solid.

Q. Tommy, you had a good round last year on a tough Friday at Birkdale. Where did you learn to, you know, play so well in tough, brutal conditions?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: Well, I can't -- I mean, I do quite like it in sort of a funny way. But, I mean, I grew up in the town of Birkdale so it's not -- having said that, I wouldn't really go out and play golf on the Friday of Birkdale. That wasn't a day that we'd get our clubs out and go.

But I don't know. I like to think I can control my ball well, but I still feel like I'm getting a lot better at it. And I think that some of the strengths I have, I have a lot of patience, and I can kind of -- the tougher the conditions, the more I feel like I can grind it out and will my way around a little bit.

You still got to play well, but all those go together in a good round if everything still applies. If you play bad, I still feel like I can keep it together and keep going. Whether I shoot 10 over or 66 today, I feel like, when the weather is bad, I kind of have that in me, the mental side.

Q. Was it harder this morning or yesterday afternoon?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: It was harder yesterday, for sure. Yesterday just -- I played not far from today, but I had a run of -- I had a run of putts in the back nine where I had five, six-foot putts constantly, and the greens were bumpy, and it was windy, and they were firm and they were fast.

Just no matter what I did, the ball just did the opposite of what I was trying to, pretty much, and I couldn't get it in the hole in the back nine.

But having said that, it just shows then I was 6 over through 15 yesterday, three holes still left to play. And I think -- especially at a U.S. Open, you have to keep your head down. You have to keep going. I made a bunch of bogeys on that back nine in a row, made one birdie in the last three, and then get a round like today and you're back in it. It just shows that you have to keep going.

Q. There's always a feeling of a bit fear and trepidation as you come here this week, but the way you played last year, did you come in here with a much more positive attitude?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: Well, I mean I like -- I do like the setup of a U.S. Open. It is the ultimate test of golf in more ways than one. It tests your long game, short game, every aspect. It tests you mentally, physically. If you're going to win a U.S. Open, which is one of the biggest events in the world, it should be that kind of test.

And, I mean, you still never -- you still never -- nobody had played it like it did yesterday in practice. So whatever you practice and you know it's tough, it was nothing like yesterday. It was a completely different golf course. So I don't think anybody was like fully prepared for that.

Q. (No microphone)?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: It doesn't -- it doesn't change much, except that I know I did well in it last year, and I can compete. But at the end of the day, what happened a year ago has absolutely no effect on tomorrow or Sunday. I've still got to turn up and play well, and I've got to concentrate hole by hole.

But it did -- it has shown me that I can stand up and I can compete in the biggest tournaments in the world. I didn't win, but I felt pretty comfortable and I was a shot off second, really, which is -- you know, a shot is a quarter shot a round. If you're that close, you can kind of get there.

It did show me that I can do it and hold my own at the weekend. But a year ago to now, it's not going to -- has no play on tomorrow, unfortunately.

Q. (No microphone). What have you learned about how to keep yourself up there over the weekend?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: Yeah. I was up there all week. I'd like to keep it like that this week as well. Today was great, in the sense that I shot 5 over yesterday, and it was always going to be tough when you try and -- you don't want to think about the cut, but you're kind of on the mark, and you've got to make sure you're there for the weekend and play well today. And I've just ended up quite well.

I know Dustin's going well, so I might be a few shots out of full contention. But I'm all of a sudden in a position where I can have a good round tomorrow and be up there for Sunday, hopefully.

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