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December 8, 2011

Robert Rock


Q.  A good round became a very good round with birdies at 16 and 17.  Tell us about those, because they are not easy holes?
ROBERT ROCK:  No, they are not but the flags are in quite an easy place on 16.  It's in the middle of a rally see that you can pitch on the front, run it up from quite along the left at flag, it will get around to the flag.  And I left it probably 20 foot short and holed a nice putt there.  That was a little bonus there.
Then I hit a good 7‑iron on 17 to about ten feet, but still a decent swing and putt and holed that, too.¬†¬† Nice to get some reasonable length putts going for a change.

Q.  How are you feeling about your game coming in?  Sounds like the putter has been cold?
ROBERT ROCK:  Yeah, the putter has been a little uninterested in things.  I practised really hard in Johannesburg, got the swing back in shape but putted poorly.  I played well today.  Had a spell in the middle where I was just hitting the edge of the holes, getting a bit frustrated and all of the sudden a couple went in.

Q.  You won for the first time this year, Italian Open, how much does that make Christmas dinner taste did and how much does it change what you think about yourself for next year?
ROBERT ROCK:  A goal achieved and took a long time to do, so really, really proud of that.  I will probably change my schedule a little bit, having an exemption for a couple of years means you don't have to quite push early on to feel like you want to get some money on the board, so I won't do that.
I'll play the tournaments I really want to play in, and I played too many this year.  I played 20 tournaments very quickly.  Didn't really miss any.  So I shan't do that.  I'll pace myself a bit.  Because normally I've played well at the start, because I played a lot and I got tired and played poorly at the end so I want to be able to maintain some form and hopefully score better World Ranking points doing that.

Q.  Thoughts on the day?
ROBERT ROCK:  I've not scored well on this course in the past but I opened up playing quite nicely, and enjoy playing with David Horsey, good company and pace of play was great and we were just flying.  Things were going smoothly, we were both under par and both holing putts.  That adds up to a nice day.

Q.  So what made the difference compared to other times on this course?
ROBERT ROCK:¬† I don't know.¬† I've just read the greens‑‑ well, Gary has been reading the greens well and I've just hit better putts.¬† I've normally come into here really frustrated after the end of a long season, and started to feel like I was putting better recently and hoping it would work, and today was better.
I holed some medium to long‑ish putts.¬† It's quite hard to get the ball close because the greens are firm and you're going in with decent long irons.¬† It's nice to feel like you can hole a putt from having hit 4‑iron or 3‑iron into the green.¬† Normally I'm struggling to 2‑putt then.¬† So a few of them went in.

Q.  Presumably, even though the season is still just as long, indeed maybe even longer than ever, you might be a bit more buoyant coming into it this time around?
ROBERT ROCK:  Yeah, it's been a good year for me really, and to win a tournament has just made everything feel a little bit better.  And I'm looking forward to next year, so I can actually plan my year better.  So I won't be playing quite as many tournaments and I'll be trying to focus on the ones I really want to play in, and it will be my 10th year next year.  So I shall try and do what I want for that year I think.

Q.  It is a nice and significant change, isn't it, because the rest of the time, you've really been chasing things?
ROBERT ROCK:  You get into a habit, because my first few years on Tour didn't go well and I was struggling to keep my card and my first good year, revolved around me getting my money up for my card early and took the pressure off.  So since that happened I've made sure to do the same thing again.  And I played a lot, and played almost every tournament I could until I felt like I got enough money to take that pressure off and then plan the end of the year after that.  Now I don't have to do that.
It may not work.  The other way might be the way that makes me play better, I don't know.  But I'll maybe have a slightly more relaxed schedule.

Q.¬† What's the attitude coming into this event?¬† Is it relaxed as a season‑ender?
ROBERT ROCK:¬† I don't really know.¬† I was talking to David about that.¬† It's a massive tournament with a lot of money but it does have a relaxed feel to it because you're only starting with 58 players, it's in two balls, and staying at a pretty cool place.¬† So there's a lot to be played for at the top end.¬† So I'm sure those guys have got goals.¬† I'll just see how I play the first round and then re‑evaluate as we go along.

Q.  And edge closer and closer to the top end yourself?
ROBERT ROCK:¬† Hopefully, if I keep shooting four rounds of 4‑under, might be okay.¬† Might not be good enough, but it will be a decent week.

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