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March 13, 2008

Graeme McDowell


Q. Good start?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, I'm happy enough. Obviously 15- to 20-mile-an-hour breeze out there when it was gusting. Lacks a bit of rough and you can give it a lash off the tee. You've got to be quite smart coming to the greens. They are quite quick in places and you have to keep the hole below the hole as much as possible. The pins, they didn't tuck them very much so there was a little bit of scoring there. But you still have to be quite smart and the greens are quite quick in places.

Q. Nice to finish with birdie at the last?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Nice to finish with birdie. Hit a 3-wood over the back of the green and had a pretty good little flop shot down to about ten feet and made it.
Yeah, it was nice to finish on a good note. I played the last seven holes 3-under par or something, so that was pleasant enough.

Q. You're rumbling on nicely, the form is continuing.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yes, last week was disappointing because I probably played as good tee-to-green last week as I have in a very long time for four rounds. Course kind of dried up on the weekend and the greens were quite grainy, and I couldn't quite find the ball in the hole often enough on the weekend. And it was a low-scoring weekend and a bit of a putting contest; yeah, I was disappointed but trying to take the positives away.
Feel like I'm playing really well at the minute and I'm doing a lot of good things. It's great to come here and see a fantastic layout.
I really, really like the golf course and it's a beautiful spot here. I think obviously a lot of the guys headed home to Europe last week; I think they will be kicking themselves when they see how good this place is.

Q. Have you been pleasantly surprised here?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Obviously a bit of an unknown quantity, some of these places. Certainly for me, I have not played much golf in Asia until last year. And you come, you're not 100 per cent sure what you're going to expect, hotels, golf courses, weather. We've heard awfully negative things about the weather, that it can be cold and blah, blah, blah; and the golf courses, it's too early in the year for the golf course. But definitely a pleasant surprise so far.

Q. You talked about the fact that you had made the effort to come here and a lot of guys haven't, are you surprised not one person in the Top 15, in the Order of Merit?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Really? Not surprised, happy.

Q. Could be good for you.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, absolutely. I kind of like to target tournaments where we think there's going to be weak fields and good purses, and this is certainly one we looked at. I had this targeted early, early in the schedule this one. Big purse, I thought it was a natural three weeks, these three, India, Malaysia, Korea.
Certainly of any of the weeks I wasn't going to play, it was probably last week, kind of a small purse and very hard conditions and didn't play great last year in Malaysia. I certainly had no doubts about coming here.
So surprised, and obviously happy they are not here. You know, it gives me more of a chance to make a bit of an impact on the Order of Merit and keep my own momentum going.

Q. It's only Thursday but you have a chance of getting into Doral next week?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Certainly Doral will take care of itself. I'm just trying to string together four rounds this week. Of course there's the added benefits, I'm not sure what the numbers are but I think top two or three might give me a chance to get in next week which would be a nice bonus. I'm going to Orlando anyway, so I don't have to worry about my flights. I'm going to Orlando and if I go to Miami, it's all well and good.

Q. First time in Korea?
GRAEME McDOWELL: First time in Korea for me. Like I say, a bit of an unknown quantity. I think it's a very pleasant place. I mean, you know, I hear they are thinking about big things for this tournament, trying to get it a couple months later in the schedule and that could end up a proper event. I think they have got the golf course and the facilities here to make this into something pretty special.
So I've been very impressed. I really, really like the golf course from the fairways to the greens. I mean, off the tee it's a bit wide open and a bit of a bomber's track, but I think the wind has made it more of a thinker's course, as well.

Q. Do you think if the wind dropped people will tear it apart?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Could do, if they didn't tuck the pin as way. But I think they could protect this course as much as they want to by tucking the pins. I think going into the week with a forecast of 15- to 20-mile-an-hour per wind each day, so they are hopefully going to be generous enough with us with the pins. For example, today I hit drive 3-wood today to 18. It's a 490-yard par 4. I can only imagine some guys in the field are just not going to get there today.
I think obviously they have made a huge amount of changes to this golf course. There are lots of new tee boxes. 18 is a little severe, I would throw that up, it's a bit severe. There's no other option, because if they are going to use the up-tees 80 yards in front the back tee, there's no other option. But it's a fantastic layout, really happy.
It's a great finishing hole but just not in the 25-mile-an-hour wind when you slightly miss your tee shot and you have 230 left into the teeth, you know.

Q. Any standout shots?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I made a really good putt there on 5, the par 3, 4 or 5. It was nice to roll one in. I made the turn at 1-under, and obviously it was nice to birdie the last for 68. So I was very content with that obviously check.
I hit driver, rescue on the front edge of that par 5 and just chipped it about three feet and made it and I hit 6-iron about 25, 30 feet on the fifth, birdie. Obviously 3-wood over the back on the last and hit a good pitch. Birdied the 10th, which was our first hole. Just an up-and-down out of the front bunker.
The par 5s are pretty much all on in two, which is nice. It's a good mixture out there of short holes, length, good par 5s, tough par 4s. It's a good mixture.

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