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February 22, 2024

Issa Abou Ela

Malelane, Mpumalanga, South Africa

Quick Quotes

Q. 7-under par 65 today. How happy are you with today's performance?

ISSA ABOU ELA: I can't put into words how hard this golf course is, so to be able to shoot 65, honestly, thank you so much to the R&A and Mr. Rupert for inviting us.

It's a score that I'll never forget, even if I shoot 60. I don't think from my experience that I'll ever forget this round.

Q. Was that the best round you think you've played in a championship?

ISSA ABOU ELA: No, but it's the most memorable. You know such great players who have won this tournament, and our pride of people representing Africa, that I know that I can raise my head and know that I shot a good score when people play on this golf course.

Q. Talk us through some of the highlights of your round, the birdies on the back nine in particular.

ISSA ABOU ELA: Starting off on 11, I drove the green. I had a really tough putt coming out of the fringe, and then I holed a long putt.

Next par-3, I stiffed it from 150. I played pitching wedge and put it to maybe a foot and a half.

Obviously the rough here is pretty hard, so on the next hole, the par-5, I played it smart, put it to my favorite yardage, which was 65, put it close.

Then the next par-5, I played 3-wood because the day before I pulled it and lost the ball, so I was like, let me play smart, and then I went for it, two-putted, and then I almost had a hole-in-one on 16.

Looking back, I got some videos from people back home, especially my family, and I just realized it barely missed, so it would have been my second hole-in-one ever, but it's still a good birdie.

Q. Looking forward to the weekend, how much does a round like that give you confidence going into the third round and the fourth round on the weekend?

ISSA ABOU ELA: It gives me a lot of confidence. I know obviously I've had history playing African championships and stuff like that, so I know all the South Africans are really good, and I don't put past it, but I always know you can't win the tournament after the second round or the third. It comes down to the fourth. I put myself back in position after my first round, so I'm just looking forward, and whatever happens, I'm just going to accept it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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