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May 19, 2007

Padraig Harrington


RODDY WILLIAMS: Padraig, took a while to get in here because I think you've got a lot of support out there. Start us off by telling us how good it was playing on Saturday in the Irish Open.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, you know, it felt all the way around like I was playing the final round of a tournament. Certainly saying that coming up 18, going to have to go through it again tomorrow, another 18 holes of this, yet it did feel like it was a Sunday round. It was that sort of atmosphere and I suppose that sort of attention out there. It was very exciting playing.
Obviously I have to use that to my advantage when I need and play it down when I have to sort of thing. It is and it does make a big difference and no question about having the support. So it's a question of managing it well, as I said, and you know, when you need a boost to allow the support to cheer you up, and when you don't need it, you sort of need to -- at other times, you've got to keep yourself nice and level, and that's the time you kind of play it down in your head.
RODDY WILLIAMS: You have a three-shot lead going into the final round, can you sum that up for us?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: My goal today was to go out there, and I felt like I could go out there and basically win the tournament today by maybe shooting 66 and running away from the field. That was my thought process going out. You know, I felt like I could get a good one in there, sort of play like yesterday; if I get a good one in there I could have run away and sewed this up on Saturday evening, but that's not to happen.
I was taking the ball out of the hole on 18 thinking, was a little disappointed, but whether I'm three shots ahead or four shots ahead it won't make much difference tomorrow. At the end of the day, it's not a big enough lead that I can be at all complacent. I have to get out there and play good golf, play my own game, and there's a lot of work to be done tomorrow.
It's a hard day's grind ahead of me.

Q. (What happened on 6 and 7)?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You know, 6 and 7 were the two bogeys, two mental errors really. 6 would sit down off the left and for some reason I decided -- I wasn't listening and thought it was down off the right and hit it just right of the green and didn't chip-and-putt it, so that was careless.
The next hole, I was trying to be very aggressive with my second shot and get it right into, you know, a short wedge distance from the pin, and it ballooned up in the air and went in the water, which it was disappointing to hit such a good -- you know, to hit a good solid shot and put it in the water was a bit awful but there are two mistakes.
I think the big boost for me was very made a very nice 2-putt from eight yards off the green on 8. Holed a very tricky four-footer downwind and I felt good after that. I felt good all the way -- I suppose 10, holing the putt, considering I thought I hit my second shot, you know, when everybody clapped, I thought I hit it to six feet at most, straight down the pin. And to come and find it where it was, a very awkward chip. To hole that 15-footer I suppose felt like it was a good day for me.
Interestingly for me I, left a lot of putts short because I found the greens very quick. So I was a little bit off all day, felt a little uncomfortable any time I was putting on the golf course. I really did find the greens a lot quicker than maybe what I felt they were yesterday or the day before and that certainly caused me to leave a lot of putts just short and in line. But I really did manage my way up around the golf course well, and I suppose that was the strongest part of it. I managed myself quite nicely today.

Q. Will you be nervous tomorrow?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I'll have to wait and see. If I prepare myself right, that will certainly reduce any nerves. But I tell you what, every time I get wedge in my hand out there, I'm a bit nervous. There's a lot of sand in the top, a lot of topdressing on these fairways. I knifed my pitch on the seventh hole today. They are very, very -- just very soft on top and you're quite afraid of hitting them fast. Again, when I have a short club in my hand I'm a little bit nervous, but the rest is okay.

Q. You say you went out there with the intention of trying to shoot 66, but given the pressure and everything else, you must be very satisfied with the way you played.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Well, I would have taken it. There's no question about it. I know what my goals were going out there, the idea, but if you said to me, you're going to go out there and shoot 71, I definitely would have taken it. If you told me I was going to go out there and increase my lead, I certainly would have taken that as well.
So, yeah, there's no question about it. It's just when you're leading a tournament going into Saturday, sometimes, you know, it tends to be easier when you're behind trying to catch the leader. The leader kind of stalls on a Saturday normally, so my goal on a Saturday is if I have the lead to try and actually take most of the field out, if not all of the field out, by going low.

Q. Weather was better today than yesterday.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Different sort of weather for me. You know, the tiny change in the wind and it made all of the difference. I was hitting -- I had only 216 front on 9 yesterday with a good drive and 276 front today, same good drive. Just a little angle change in the wind, very, very small, but it made some of the shots not play as easy for me.
7 was the first time I played 7 there. I had to lay up and I laid it up in the water. So there was a slight change of wind that certainly knocked me back on a few of the holes. You know, it was a little bit of an angle change and that to me, maybe it was just as easy as another day, but yesterday, I was comfortable of where the wind was coming from at all times and certainly today I was a little bit more -- a little bit more hesitant.

Q. Have you any situations where you've had a three-shot lead going into the last round?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I really don't know. I think the biggest lead I ever had going into the final round of the tournament I got disqualified, so I wouldn't think -- I think, you know, five shots or something like that.
I would suggest that nobody is a good front runner when they have -- it's not easy to go out there and let everybody chase you. It's always easier when you're behind and chasing in terms of playing quality of golf. I think we all take the option of leading and try and manage ourselves around.
But yeah, you are a little bit more cautious when you've got a lead, no question about it. And that leads to a steadier type of play and maybe a little bit more hesitation in your play at times. It's a difficult concept. We don't win that many tournaments and we don't lead that many from the front that any of us can say -- well, maybe one player in the world can say, yes, I'm a great front runner or something like that.
We'll have to wait and see how it goes tomorrow. I know in past experience at the odd time when you're in there, do you get a little bit more steady and hesitant with your play and play a little bit safer. You're not as aggressive, let's say. But hopefully I'll just go out there and play the right shots at the right time tomorrow.

Q. Damien McGrane played well today, also. Does that give the tournament a big boost for the Irish men?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, I would hope so. I would hope so.
You know, it was a great crowd out there supporting me today and I hope that they all turn out and more tomorrow. But the biggest event tomorrow, no question about it. Today there was a few sideshows, but tomorrow, hopefully, you know, the crowds will turn out. They were fantastic today and you know, it's certainly a big bonus. It's good to see Damien playing well and there will be support. I think there was great support for everybody today. I think the crowds were very generous with Simon. When he hit good shots, they were applauding. You know, if he missed there was "oohing" and "ahhing," too. So there was nice generous support I think out there.

Q. (Tough day for Simon).
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I tell you what, he played nicely and really didn't get the breaks at all. You know, he's only three shots behind, and, you know, if he looks on the positive, that's not too bad. At the end of the day, 73 is not a bad return considering that they definitely didn't get the breaks out there. A couple of, you know, must have been careless observation on the short putts missed and a few other things, a few horseshoes. He definitely played the golf shots; you know, 3- or 4-under out there.
So I think he could feel hard done, but if I was him, I'd be looking on the positive. But don't tell him. He's only three behind. (Laughter).
RODDY WILLIAMS: Can you just rattle through the clubs for us?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I hit a very nice drive and a three-quarter 7-iron down the pin at the first but came up a little bit short and rolled it in, 30 feet, very nice.
I birdied the par 5. I hit a good drive and 5-wood just off the green in the left about 45 feet away and chipped it up stone dead on 12.
And I birdied 17. I hit a nice drive and I hit pitching wedge to about four feet and holed the putt.
RODDY WILLIAMS: Padraig, thanks very much and good luck tomorrow.

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