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July 14, 2018

Rickie Fowler

Gullane, Scotland

Q. Five birdies and three bogeys, give us your verdict on your play?
RICKIE FOWLER: It was definitely nice to come back on the back nine and get ourselves back in a good spot for tomorrow. Made a few mistakes and some missed judgments early in the round. Came back nicely and felt like we made some good swings out there and a couple nice putts. Definitely a good spot and ready to go have some fun tomorrow.

Q. How much did this course playing in those conditions test the various aspects of the game?
RICKIE FOWLER: Well, it made you think of it more. The last two days, the golf course has been fairly gettable and you could get away with some things, and today, you had to control your golf ball and either use the wind properly or hold the ball up into it, and working it both ways definitely helps. It was fun. It was nice to finally play again here with a bit of breeze.

I've kind of always felt in a way that driver, when I am swinging well, is one of the straightest clubs in the bag for me and another way to think about it, is the biggest face. With the bunkering on 18, there's not really a safe play. At some point you're going to have to challenge one of the bunkers out there and the only way not to is if you lay up short of the two, which at the very front, you're going to have a pretty long club in and you're going to deal with controlling spin into this green. I thought it was worth the risk of hitting driver. It the same width of fairway if you hit a long iron out there. So didn't exactly take advantage of it with a lob-wedge but it was tough to judge the ball bouncing and spinning downwind today.

Q. You're kind of defending champion this week because the last time you played this course, you won. How excited at the opportunity to successfully defend?
RICKIE FOWLER: I'm looking forward to it. I enjoy playing this golf course. Looks like we're having to have some more similar wind tomorrow, which is nice, that's how the golf course is supposed to play. The first two days, it did not exactly show its teeth. It's a good test out there today and I think tomorrow, with those conditions, it's going to be fun. It's going to, someone is going to have to go out and earn it.

Q. How well did you strike the balance of being aggressive and conservative?
RICKIE FOWLER: I feel like I did a good job on the back nine. The front nine, I had a few I think missed judgments. Made a lot of good swings out there today. Feel like we did a good job of staying patient and making sure that we didn't hit it in the absolute wrong spots. So managed ourselves well and when we got into trouble, got ourselves out.

So a fun day. Nice to get back to playing this place in some win. First two days here were a bit calm. So it started to show its teeth today and I think we're going to have something similar wind-wise tomorrow.

Q. Speaking of this place, you're 24-under par in seven rounds here, including your victory in 2015. How much can you lean on that tomorrow?
RICKIE FOWLER: Well, definitely some good memories here. I enjoy this golf course. Enjoy playing it. I feel like it suits my eye and my game. Tomorrow is going to be tough. We've got a pretty jam-packed leaderboard with a lot of guys within a few shots of the lead. Someone is going to have to go out and earn it.

I'm looking forward to the challenge. Obviously this week has been good to us before, and looking forward to giving ourselves a chance at, I guess you call it, defending.

Q. A much tougher day out there today but you battled hard and still come away with a sub-70 score?
RICKIE FOWLER: It was a lot more fun to be out there in the wind and have the course show its teeth today. Obviously not the toughest it could play but it was a good, solid test. Try and figure out how far the ball was going to run downwind, how much the wind was affecting into. It was definitely a good test. I enjoyed it. Glad we stayed patient. Kept looking forward and was able to make up for some of the bogeys early in the round and hopefully finish off a solid round of golf out there today. I feel like we're in a great spot for tomorrow.

Q. You must be delighted with that second shot into 17, as well, which helped you save par.
RICKIE FOWLER: Yes, it wasn't necessarily that hard of a par 3 today. Just tugged it a little bit and the ball got a little higher in the air than I wanted it to. Obviously when it's blowing 15 or so, pretty strong, it gets right in that crosswind. You can't ask for it to do enough and it just goes with it.

Luckily we're in a position where we're hitting the shot back into the wind and have a bank there and took advantage.

Q. How excited are you going into Sunday back in contention again?
RICKIE FOWLER: We're right where we wanted to be, so I'm looking forward to it. I've had success here before. Obviously played a lot of good golf around this place. I enjoy playing Gullane. It suits my eye and my game. We've got a jam-packed leaderboard. Nothing is going to be easy tomorrow, so going to have to go out and earn it. Looking forward to the challenge.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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