September 10, 2021
Virginia Water, Surrey, England
Wentworth Golf Club
Q. 66 today to get to 9-under, three eagles. How pleased are you with your performance?
JAMIE DONALDSON: Yeah, it's crazy, golf sometimes. Started off quite slow. Bogeyed the first and had two great up-and-downs on the third and fourth. Could have been easily 3-over after four. Then managed to find momentum.
Hole-out early on 8. But to have three eagles in a round, you never know what's coming in golf. You have to keep grinding and pushing and suddenly you've made three eagles and shot 66 and it's just crazy.
Q. It's a massive tournament and you've won big tournaments. How nice to hit this little number into 17.
JAMIE DONALDSON: Yeah, I was slightly blocked out. Hit a really good tee shot, perfect middle of the fairway. Had to hook it around the corner and managed to turn it nicely. Thought it was right and going to hang just short right which is the right spot to stick it in and it's obviously released and gone there and gone close.
But to see a ball close on that green is a real buzz because it's hard to find the target. So to see it there was fantastic.
Q. When you were at the peak of your powers in 2013, 2014, the magic moment in The Ryder Cup...what's the difference between that and can you put a finger on where you are at the moment, how close you are?
JAMIE DONALDSON: It's difficult. I was hitting it further then, a little bit better ball-striking generally. But overall, it's pretty good. You learn as you get older, you learn to manage your game differently. Might not be exactly where I was then but it just trying to keep it on the short stuff and keep working your way around and just be more patient because sometimes it's harder to find the same form.
But if it's not quite there, as long as it's there or thereabouts and you're able to get up-and-down when you need to and hole putts when you need to, that's what it's about really.
Q. Going into Gleneagles, you were in the position that so many of the guys are in this week, needing to deliver in the last event to make sure you're part of that team and you did it. You needed a top eight and went better than that at the Czech Masters in 2014...you've been there in this position. What's the key to it mentally when you have that much pressure?
JAMIE DONALDSON: Yeah, it is difficult. I had to finish top eight to get in my last event. I didn't know whether I might get a pick, anyway; probably not because I was a rookie and an old rookie at that.
I wanted it badly and I wanted to play my way in. I remember speaking to Paul before the last two events and it came down to that, having to finish Top-10. He said "Play your way in and then nobody's asking any questions. You're already in the team. Don't give me a chance to pick you because I want you in automatically."
It is very difficult. I just went out at Czech and just happened to play really good and managed to play well enough to win in the end is great. Sometimes it's easy when you have to finish in a certain position because everything is all out. You've got to take it all on and have to finish where you need to finish.
I played great that week and it was great memories.
Q. Fair to say the most eventful round of 66 you've ever played?
JAMIE DONALDSON: Yeah it was crazy. I had a slow start, and you ever know what's coming in golf. Kept plugging away and made a great hole-out on 8. I managed to have three eagles which was crazy. Like I say, you never know what's coming and I certainly didn't think of the way I struck the ball at the start I was going to make three eagles in the round.
Q. Had you ever made three eagles in a round of golf?
JAMIE DONALDSON: I've struggled to make three in a year to be honest, never mind three in 12 holes or whatever it was. Yeah, it's crazy.
But hit a lot of good shots and that was the pleasing thing to put myself in position. I made eagle on 12, hit two great shots in there. Nearly holed out on 14. This game is daft. Like I say, you never know what's coming.
Q. Talk us through 17. Did you think it was going to be as close as it was?
JAMIE DONALDSON: We had our target and had to finish it just at the right side. So if I hit it perfect, it was going to get there and if it didn't it was going to be short right. That was the plan so you've got an easy chip across the green. You don't want to short-side yourself here when the greens are getting firmer and faster, and then got down there and it was like ten feet from the hole.
You get the right bounce, it was a good shot, don't get me wrong but I didn't think it was that good.
Q. Good to roll it in?
JAMIE DONALDSON: Yeah, because I've already had two and I'm thinking, this is my day for eagles. I really fancied it and it went in.
Q. Good chance on the last?
JAMIE DONALDSON: About 20 feet. In between clubs. Hit a great tee shot right down in the perfect spot. But the wind was into and we got two clubs that seem to go the same distance in the wind. It was definitely, left it out slightly right. Good pitch, close but not close enough. Overall good round here, 66.
Q. You finished third a couple weeks ago. What does that do your confidence?
JAMIE DONALDSON: It was good. I've been playing don't but not been playing decent in the bigger events apart from this week, which you have to do, because we've been playing a lot for smaller prize funds and I've been playing decent in them. But you've got to be playing well in the bigger tournaments to get anything out of the season.
Q. Would you like to give Pádraig something to think about this week?
JAMIE DONALDSON: Of course I would. But only played two days. If I'm stood here top of the list on Sunday, then, yeah, it does ask the question, but it's a long way off. Two rounds to go, two big rounds of golf to go. So I need to just give it all.
Q. You'll be in the last couple groups tomorrow. How much do you relish that challenge?
JAMIE DONALDSON: It will be great. There's a load of good players up there. It's a very challenging golf course now and you have to go out there and play good golf. Yeah, playing the last two groups will be fantastic.
Like I say, I've not played brilliant in the bigger events this year, so it's nice to get going this week and be in position.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports