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July 6, 2018

Graeme McDowell

Ballyliffin, Republic of Ireland

GRAEME McDOWELL: Very pleased. This would have been disappointing, only seven, eight shots off the Lee, not a nice one to be sitting on the couch this weekend. You can't make a move on the couch, but you can get out here tomorrow morning and I really feel there is a low score to be had.

Was scratching my head why no one has shot a low score. Doesn't get any easier from a links golf point of view, the conditions we had today especially. Speaks volumes about how tricky this golf course is. I underestimated it from a trickiness point of view. Very hard to get the ball in play off the tee. A lot of threading off the tee, bunkers are in play, and greens are tough to get close to and hole putts. Greens are perfect, and yet no one can seem to make a putt out there. The greens are tough to read. Really good test of golf and like I say, slightly underestimated.

Q. Do you enjoy grinding out there or do you have to convince yourself to enjoy it?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I'm enjoying it. I'm not enjoying how I'm hitting it off the tee. Sprayed it all over the joint the last couple days, not even with driver, that's with 3-wood and 5-wood. I have to get those under control this weekend to have a chance to score and I feel like if you hit a lot of fairways, you can score. I really feel like my iron play is in great shape. I've just not given myself a chance -- you know, definitely room for improvement and I certainly feel like the putter can definitely heat up a little bit this week.

Like I say, I believe there is a 63, 64 out there. No one has just managed to do it yet, I don't think, and I think that's what makes for an intriguing weekend.

Q. Jon Rahm hit a lot of drivers?
GRAEME McDOWELL: He did. He went with the let's hit driver everywhere theory on this golf course. Ryan Fox did it well yesterday and Jon decided he was going to go with it today and hit a lot of quality drives. He hit in the bunker the first three holes today and continued just to hit driver. He didn't really make a lot of birdies. Just shows you how tough this golf course is and there are so many different ways to play this course, and to me, that's what really speaks volumes of this being a quality links golf here at Ballyliffin.

Q. Does this bring back summers of Portrush back in the day?
GRAEME McDOWELL: This is great. I'm just really happy for The Irish Open, Dubai Duty Free and everyone involved and especially Ballyliffin. This is going to look great on TV. They have a very underrated little track up here. It will look fantastic and hopefully lots of people can couple up here and visit. Hope the weather keeps up and, big crowd this weekend supporting the Irish lads and I really believe there's an opportunity for someone to make a big move.

Q. Do you feel you're still right in it?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I do. Being eight back, seven back going into a weekend, when links golf, the weather can really be so changeable and the mornings have typically been a little softer and flat-calm and the afternoons, the wind can kick up.

In the mornings you can see yourself shoot up that leaderboard, so looking forward to getting back out there. I've got an English caddie so he's very, very happy. He said to me, were you thinking about getting me an early tee time with a 3 o'clock kickoff. I said, try my best to look after you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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