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July 7, 2006

Darren Clarke


DARREN CLARKE: I ground it out today and overall happy with the position. I've made some good changes with Ewen (Murray) and worked really hard the past month and I got back into some old bad habits but otherwise good.

Q. How important was the chip in at the first after the bogey on 18?

DARREN CLARKE: I tried to do the right thing on 18 and not get too greedy and laid up but made a mistake and one was obviously lucky as the ball was going past when it dropped in. I handed back a few more shots but overall very pleased.

Q. Second time on this course. Are you learning more about it?

DARREN CLARKE: I don't know about learning more but it's certainly more playable. It seems that the wind is going to get up over the weekend and it could be tough.

Q. Do you prefer it windy?

DARREN CLARKE: Not the way I played the front nine! I would prefer it was the same as yesterday, but with the Open coming up in a couple of weeks if it's windy over the weekend it will be good practice for that.

Q. 69-68, more difficult conditions. Are you feeling confidence?

DARREN CLARKE: I played very well for 13 holes and lost it a little bit. I have been making some swing changes with Ewen Murray, the Sky commentator, and these holes on the front nine were into the wind and I tried to squeeze it a bit too much and made some mistakes.

Q. Tied at the top at the moment - what does it feel like to have an opportunity win here?

DARREN CLARKE: I haven't thought about that. I haven't been playing a lot of golf of late and this is an opportunity for me to go out and play and hopefully I will be able to play in The Open in a couple of weeks so if I can get myself under a bit of pressure at the weekend I will see how these swing changes are holding up.

Q. Any thoughts on The Ryder Cup? You are trying to move up?

DARREN CLARKE: Not really. That's way out of anybody's control. Heather's struggling a lot at the minute and even if I was in the team I don't know that I would be able to play in it.

Q. Your verdict on the day?

DARREN CLARKE: Pretty good grinding. I played nicely for the first eight holes and struggled after that. The course is playing tougher than yesterday and seven under is not bad. I don't know if I am playing in to form. I am certainly working hard at home and hitting a lot of balls. A pretty good position going into the weekend if the other guys don't et too far ahead. The wind can make it very difficult here so hopefully the weather forecast is wrong!

Q. Pleasantly surprised?

DARREN CLARKE: Yes and no. Things are tough for me at the minute but when I come out here I still want to play well. I have been making changes and hit a couple of pure ones but was able to hang in there and grind it out.

Q. You had huge galleries yesterday but more marshals than spectators on the tenth this morning?

DARREN CLARKE: It was cold and I wouldn't be there either! Yesterday was fantastic but unfortunately that's not going to happen every day.

Q. Does this course offer you a lot of links type shots?

DARREN CLARKE: Name me a links course where you can run the ball in over water, that will be a first!

Q. You played the wind well?

DARREN CLARKE: As tough as the course played a couple of years ago we don't want to get the wind up too much. It's a tough enough course anyway. Today with the strength we had today the course is a good thorough test

End of FastScripts.

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