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October 6, 2007

Nick Dougherty


SCOTT CROCKETT: Nick, thanks, as always, for coming in to join us today. Flawless round of golf around the Old Course at St. Andrews, and a three-shot lead going into the Alfred Dunhill Links final day, can't be much better than that.
NICK DOUGHERTY: No, it's great. This was a course, which I've never played particularly well around it. I always seem to walk off it feel like I left my score out there. So to shoot 66 -- and it was quite an easy one, as well. It's not like I made everything out there. I missed a few chances coming in on the back nine, but 66 in that fashion gives me a lot of confidence going into tomorrow.
SCOTT CROCKETT: And your amateur partner (Peter Dawson) knows this place, as well.
NICK DOUGHERTY: Yes, and he did pile the pressure saying he's made the cut nearly every time in this and I've never made the cut with an amateur as well so we will just sneak in. So that will be nice coming up the last with Peter and I think it makes a bit of a difference. It's nice having the amateur there sometimes. It helps you to relax a little.
And I've been very lucky this week obviously playing with Simon Dyson. We're best friends, and it's added to what I'm trying to do with my game, which is relax a little bit more and enjoy what I'm doing.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Birdied 4. What did you do there?
NICK DOUGHERTY: 4, driver, 9-iron to five feet.
5, I hit driver, and then a utility iron, driving iron on the front just short of the front and chipped it to about ten foot and made it.
7, I hit 3-wood, sand iron to eight feet.
8, I hit 8-iron to ten feet.
11, I hit 5-iron to about ten inches.
17 was a good birdie. I hit a great tee shot and 9-iron in there to about 15, 18 feet maybe and made that so that was a good birdie.

Q. Is this your best round here?
NICK DOUGHERTY: I think the very first Alfred Dunhill, which I think was actually the very first Alfred Dunhill Links, I played in it. I shot 68 with (Sir) Michael Bonallack who was my partner that year. I think that's the best I've ever done. I seem to have shot a lot of 72s, 73s and 74s around here. So that was very pleasing.

Q. You said you wanted to try to have fun --
NICK DOUGHERTY: It was fun. Good company, beautiful weather, the home of golf. It's got to be fun, I suppose. But I really allowed myself to relax and really enjoy doing what I was doing and I played some really good golf. I feel like my game is in great shape going into tomorrow.
I definitely feel different to how I felt this year when I've been in the lead, which has been many times. I think that's a good thing.

Q. (About playing with amateur partners).
NICK DOUGHERTY: Yeah, I just need to be playing -- yeah, you know, it's nice. Peter is a fantastic player. Certainly in days gone by he was a very good amateur player. And I think it's nice when you have someone who can play a bit as well alongside you. We're going to make the cut in the team event, as well, and I'm very pleased for him, as well, and that we're going to get a chance to walk up the last; and also that he's going to have to walk up the last in the last group, rather than sitting up there in his binoculars watching us come up the 18th. So now it's his turn.

Q. What did you mean by your remark about feeling different?
NICK DOUGHERTY: I don't really know how best to explain that. I feel very relaxed. I don't feel that conscious of how I'm doing. I don't feel particularly stressed by the situation that I'm in front. I don't feel like I'm hung up as much on how it's going to make me feel if I don't go ahead and win tomorrow. And I think that's what holds me back is that I care so much, as all the players do. But it hurts more than I think it should do when I don't win, because it's not that easy.
And I think the fact that I know how it's going to make me feel if it doesn't work out adds to the pressure of the situation, and I think that was something I have to overcome.
You know, when I won in Singapore, it was all hunky-dory. Didn't really expect to win, playing with Monty and Thomas who are supposed to beat me and they didn't.
Since then, I am a tournament winner on The European Tour and I'd like to think I'm one of the best players on The European Tour now. It's more difficult, because I expect to compete every week. I expect to win golf tournaments. You like to do that as long as you can back it up and play good golf. But golf is not that easy, and sometimes you are going to screw up and sometimes it's not going to go your way.

Q. (About mind-set playing with lead and in this format).
NICK DOUGHERTY: Yeah, sure. You know, I got to the turn and I played really aggressive golf throughout -- when it's a three-round tournament, it's a bit more of a sprint than a marathon. The back nine, I tried to stay in front, which is the rookie mistake.
You know, I was playing so good that I didn't need to protect anything. It was all right to win by seven. You know, it would have been fine to win by seven. Instead, I tried to not make errors, because that way I could feel better about not winning if it didn't happen. If someone caught me -- if I didn't make errors instead of standing there thinking whatever, I'm going to take on the shot; if it goes wrong, it goes wrong, but at least I can hit it as best as I possibly can. And chasing, I'm really good at chasing and catching people and I need to take that to the course.
So tomorrow I'm going to go out there to shoot a great score, and if I do that, then it's going to be hard to catch me.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Do you think your Australian playing partner might have a little incentive to try and catch you?
NICK DOUGHERTY: That's great news, isn't it?
SCOTT CROCKETT: No. (Laughter).
NICK DOUGHERTY: Yeah, it is. Actually I found out on the 17th tee, so that obviously spurred me on because we made birdie on that hole. That's great. It just shows you that sometimes the unexpected -- (laughter) -- well, they still haven't played yet, have they.

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