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January 12, 2020

Graeme McDowell

Honolulu, Hawaii

Q. Graeme, got off to a flier today: 5-under on the front nine and 1-under on the back. What was the key for you to start the final round?
GRAEME McDOWELL: The key was to play the front nine well. I really hadn't done that well this week. Back nine had been where I made most of my score.

But it was really nice to get out on the front. Difficult conditions, you know, a bit more sustained rain today and a little less wind. Golf course is so soft. I felt like I had to try and keep the pedal down as much as I could because I knew scoring would be a little bit better today.

All in all, happy with the week. Going to come up three or four short probably, but very content with a lot of the things I'm doing with my game right now.

Q. Feel normal week back in Northern Ireland?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah. Few people said that to me this week. Certainly playing golf is bad weather is something that I did as kid. You get a bit spoiled when you're on the PGA TOUR and you forget how do it. Thankfully deep down inside of me I still know how play in the wind and in bad weather.

Every now and again it certainly serves me well growing up in Ireland.

Q. Leader's gotten to 13-under. Obviously you're at 9. Never know what's going to happen. What are these guys going to face coming in on the back nine? Anything really challenging?
GRAEME McDOWELL: You know, the back nine, it's playing a little different from the front. The conditions are a little wetter. I think the water table is probably a little higher on the back nine. To me, the greens don't roll quite as well.

They're going to see sort of dryer smoother conditions on the front, and then come into some wet and sloppy-ish conditions on the back.

You know, obviously not pulling against anyone. A little bit of a sprinkle of rain here in these couple hours wouldn't go amiss. Like I say, it's not going to get the job done, 9-under par, but very, very happy with my week's work.

Q. 64 to close the tournament. How do you feel about that?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, I'm very happy with the week's work. Tough conditions last two weeks, Maui over to here. Just, yeah, a tough way to start the year really. Lots of wind, lots of rain. I'm pretty bullish about the way I'm playing. I like the direction I'm moving with a lot of things, and nice to have a big weekend and punch a nice position as I head into the rest of the season.

Long year ahead. I've got a lot of ambitions this year, and it's important to kind of get some momentum, get some mojo going to start of the -- early in the year.

Q. Yeah. I don't know if you're just starting the round thinking of shooting a good round, but then you go five in a row like that, you kind of start checking out the leaderboard or what are you thinking at the turn?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I had a look at the leaderboard. I knew where I stood, but I also knew that conditions were a little easier today and that scoring was going to be pretty low.

Three-putt on 11 really derailed me a little bit. I had it going. I had 20 feet on 10 for six in a row; missed it. I kind of tugged my tee shot into 11, but it was a straightforward two-putt and left it a little short and hit a bad second putt.

The back nine was pretty tricky after that. You're coming into the toughest stretch of the course, 12, 13, 14, 15; I managed to play those 1-under.

You know, just couldn't find those extra couple birdies down the stretch. Like I say, very content with what I'm doing and the way I'm playing, and looking forward to the rest of the season.

Q. What's exciting you the most about your game right now?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I started working with a new coach in August, Kevin Kirk, and he's really got my technique dialed back in again and got my head dialed back in again, which is most important. He's got me practicing the right way and thinking the right way.

So I'm excited just where he's got me. I'm just excited with the schedule ahead really. I'm in my 40s now. I'm trying to view this as really trying to enjoy what I'm doing out here. I know it's going to not be around forever. It's important to work hard, prepare hard, and just go out there and try and relax and enjoy myself as much as possible.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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