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July 5, 2018

Rory McIlroy

Ballyliffin, Republic of Ireland

Q. Your thoughts on 70?
RORY McILROY: It could have been a lot better. It's the best I hit the ball in a long time. I put the ball in play, what I needed to do, and drove the ball very well. Iron play was good. I just struggled on the greens. It was either I hit good putts and just didn't read them right, or sometimes it was maybe a reaction of putts I had hit previously on a couple holes earlier.

Yeah, I sort of just got into my head a little bit. I held some decent putts. I held a couple of good ones for par. I held a nice one on 12 for birdie but I'm going to need to putt a little bit better over the next three days to have a chance.

Q. We looked at a montage of the missed opportunities, and most were left. Did you feel anything in your struggle?
RORY McILROY: A little bit. Definitely the one on 18 I felt like I pulled it but some of the other ones I missed left, it was more I didn't read them right but I did see the break, it was there. I'm going to go do a bit of work this evening and see if I can straighten it out.

Q. Will you consult with Phil Kenyon?
RORY McILROY: No, Phil and I haven't worked together for a few months. I'll sort of figure it out on my own and yeah, I mean, I don't think it that far away because there's a lot of putts I felt like I hit good and were just shaving by the edges. I wasn't missing them by that much. A little bit of confidence, seeing a couple go in early tomorrow and hopefully it will be a different store.

Q. How much have you enjoyed this golf course?
RORY McILROY: It's been fantastic. The weather has cooperated and it's playing like a true links test. The wind today was slightly different than the wind we've had the last couple days, so some different clubs off tees. It makes the holes play so much differently. It's fun. It's a proper test. You've got to put your ball in play, and I did that for the most part today. Looking forward to the next three days.

Q. Do you feel you deserved better than 70?
RORY McILROY: I wouldn't say I deserved better but it could have been better. I hit the ball very well. I gave myself a lot of chances, which is what you need to do around here. You need to put the ball in play off the tee and I was able to do that. And able to do that a lot better than I have done the last few weeks which is positive.

I just need to hole a few more putts and see a few drop and hopefully that will give me bit of momentum to go into the next few days.

Q. An on going problem for you, but how frustrating is this with the putter?
RORY McILROY: I wouldn't say it's been a problem. I've putted well in periods this year. There have just been times where I haven't held that many. But I still feel like I've holed my fair share this year, but you know, I just need to try and be a little bit more consistent.

Q. You've been here since Monday. Seeing the benefit of that in terms of your other play?
RORY McILROY: I think so. I did quite a bit of work on the range Monday, Tuesday, and even last night after all my sort of commitments and stuff. It's been a good week for that. I feel like I've made some great steps in the right direction, some positives there.

So you know, I'm right in it. I'm only three behind. I'm not too far off the lead and if I can hit the ball similar to today over the next few days and just get a few more to drop, I should be right in.

Q. I think that sigh of relief on 12 summed up your round, frustrating having played so well tee-to-green, not to have that little bit of luck you needed perhaps on the greens.
RORY McILROY: Yeah, I felt like I was for the most part, I hit good putts and they didn't go in. So whether it was a misread or the speed wasn't quite there; there was a couple along the end of the round, I didn't quite start on my line.

But I hit it well. I've got to take the positives. I hit the ball as good as I have done in a long time. You know, if I can keep that up over the next few days, hopefully I won't be far away.

Q. We spoke about you not feeling comfortable over the ball a couple of weeks ago. That seems to have disappeared, so whatever you've done seemed to work today?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, didn't see my golf clubs for seven days. That helped. And I picked them back up this week, and I've done some really good work with my coach, Michael, over the last three days and felt more comfortable out there. Just need to hit more balls on range so I can trust it out there on the course. I trusted everything well out there today. A couple of loose shots but for the most part pretty good.

Q. What did you make of the setup?
RORY McILROY: Setup was good. I thought with how firm the greens are and where the wind was, some of the pins were a little tricky. 13 was a good example, the par 5. It's playing like a true links test. It's firm and fast and you need to think about what you're hitting off tees and where you land the ball. Hopefully the weather cooperates and it can keep playing like this the next few days.

Q. A lively crowd?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, it was fantastic. Any time we come back and play here, they are always enthusiastic, and they are right behind you, which is fantastic. Felt like I needed that today. At some points I was guessing down on myself and they kept me going, that was good.

Q. Excited to get going out there early tomorrow?
RORY McILROY: Looking forward to it. I like these late/early tee times. I feel like if you do shoot a decent round, you can get back out on the course straightaway in the morning and try to keep the momentum that you have. I'll go practise a little bit here now and get a bit of dinner and right back at it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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