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June 30, 2012
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND
Q. An interesting day where things started very quickly and then very calm after that.
RORY McILROY: Yeah, I started well. The first few holes were downwind so you could make a few birdies. Then I felt like with the conditions, the rest of the course played very tough. I gave myself a few chances for birdies and didn't take them, but you know, out there this morning in these conditions was a pretty good score I thought.
I felt like I played some good golf out there. Gave myself a few chances for birdies and struggled on the greens all week. I could be a few shots better if a few putts had dropped. But happy with how my game felt out there.
Q. Given the start of the week, the pressure you're under to perform here, how do you feel about your situation going into the final round?
RORY McILROY: It's okay. I'll see what the guys are doing or what they do over the final few holes. I would expect them to be six, seven back going into tomorrow. I'll go out there and try to shoot a good one tomorrow and see what happens.
Q. What you said at the start of the week about being aware of the fact when things go against you, it's maybe something you need to work onto get back into it. Have you been actually working on that this week?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, for sure, especially in conditions like that, just to keep your head down and keep grinding and just keep trying to play good shots and make your pars and wait for the birdies to come. I tried to do that this morning, and I felt I did that really well. As I said, I felt 71 was a decent score out there.
Q. 71 in those conditions seems like a good score. How does it feel how?
RORY McILROY: It was pretty good. Felt like I played pretty well. Gave myself a lot of chances for birdies and didn't quite take them. But yeah, I felt pretty good out there. As I said, could have been a few shots better but pretty happy overall.
Q. A lot of pars on the back nine, but was it, you were playing well and just not getting the putts?
RORY McILROY: I played well and didn't get the putts and there were a couple of holes where I got good up‑and‑downs, as well. Maybe if I had held the putts, I might not have got the up‑and‑downs. Overall I'm pretty happy with my score.
Q. You've played Portrush a lot. Was that the most difficult conditions you've played in it?
RORY McILROY: For sure that was the most difficult I've played it in. A lot of the holes played long and a lot different to what they usually play. Yeah, for me, that's the hardest I've seen this course.
Q. So when you were turning back towards the clubhouse, 13 to 17, must have been really tough?
RORY McILROY: It was tough for sure. 14, 15, 16, 17, especially. So I gave myself a couple good birdie chances on those holes and got up‑and‑down on 15. Felt like I played some solid golf coming in.
Q. Tomorrow, where would you like to be?
RORY McILROY: Wherever, I just want to go out there tomorrow and shoot a good score and see what happens. It would be nice to shoot a good one and put in a good finish and look forward to the Open in a couple weeks' time.
Q. Do you try to alter your ball flight when you're playing in windy conditions like that or is it the same kind of strike all the time?
RORY McILROY: Of course, you have to try to alter it. You have to hit it high when it downwind and hit it through the wind whenever it's into. Yeah, you're trying, and that's the thing about windy conditions, you have to really control your ball, control your ball flight, do different things with it. So you've got to be on the top of your game.
Q. I sense perhaps by the look on your face, disappointed with the finish today?
RORY McILROY: More frustrated than anything else. Felt like I played pretty well and didn't really get much out of the round. A 71 is still a decent score in those conditions this morning but as I said, I felt like with the way I hit the ball, could have been a few lower.
Q. How big of an endurance test was that out there?
RORY McILROY: It wasn't great. The first sort of 13 holes were pretty tough, and then after that, it sort of started to clear up a bit. But I wouldn't mind seeing the weather come back in again.
Q. How many problems did the wind cause?
RORY McILROY: The wind, it seemed to‑‑ it got up from the start. It was tough from the start. It was windy, but it just got so cold and so wet that it made things even more difficult. But yeah, it was definitely the strongest wind we've played in all week.
Q. I know you've commented on the fantastic crowd this week; does that pose problems with people trying to take photographs?
RORY McILROY: I don't mind. This is nothing compared to when we go over to Asia and play in China and Korea and stuff; a few clicks here and there doesn't bother me.
Q. Are you too far back to win this tournament or will you still try to putt in a low one?
RORY McILROY: I'd love to go out there and put a low one in there, 64, 63 or something and see where that gets me.
Looks like the leader is going to finish around 12‑under today, maybe a bit higher, a bit lower, but yeah I'm going to need to try to get to at least 14 tomorrow to have any sort of a chance.
Q. That's possible for you, isn't it?
RORY McILROY: For me, yes, I think. So we'll see.
Q. Lots of people are listening and have been enjoying watching you playing the golf, have you got a message for everyone who has come to support you this week?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, I think the fans that have come out to support not just me but everyone this week have been absolutely incredible. Even in horrific weather conditions like it was this morning, to step onto that first tee box and see both sides of the fairway lined with people, it's just fantastic, and I think not just the local guys, but on behalf of everyone that's playing here this week, I just want to say thank you for making it such an incredible atmosphere.
Q. Not a bad score considering the conditions out there, just how tough were they today?
RORY McILROY: It was tough. It was tough. I felt like I played well. I could have been a few shots lower. I gave myself a lot of chances for birdies and didn't quite take them. But you know, it's a decent score. A little frustrated coming off the golf course because I do feel like I could have been better, but 71 out there, I'll take.
Q. Do you still feel you're in contention from tomorrow?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, I mean, it all depends on how far the leaders get away from me. You know, it's 12 at the minute. If it stays there, I still feel like I have a decent chance if I get off to a hot start tomorrow.
Q. You came here this week to try to get back on track, and you can use this as a benchmark before The Open; do you feel you've done that?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, I see there's a lot of positive signs in my game that I can really take with me into the next couple weeks. So yeah, as I said, if a couple more putts had of dropped the first three days, I'd be right there.
Q. Big crowds today in the weather and seem to have made a big impact all over the world, so all very, very positive?
RORY McILROY: For sure. The crowd have made this event; it's just incredible how many people have got behind it and how they have supported it and supported all the players.
Yeah, I mean, I would love to see a big tournament come back here in the future and hopefully an Irish Open in the not so distant future and ultimately it would be great to see the Open come here one day.
Q. You talked about the pressure going out the first day and the nerves; do you feel the pressure has listed and you can go out and enjoy the final day?
RORY McILROY: For sure, I've enjoyed every day I've been here. Yeah, it would be great if I was a little closer to the lead to really have a great chance to win. But if I can go out there tomorrow, as I said, and get off to a really fast start, then anything is possible.
Q. What do you think of Pádraig's chances? He's doing very well out there.
RORY McILROY: I played with him in Memphis a couple of weeks ago, the week before the U.S. Open, and he was playing very well, the best I've seen him play in a long time. He's obviously carried it through to here, and yeah, you know, it would be great to see one of the Irish guys challenge, and a few more, I see Michael Hoey is up there, as well. I just need to try and hole a few putts myself and hopefully join those boys at the top of the leaderboard.
Q. Tough conditions, looked like putts slipping by again. Maybe you could have gone lower?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, for sure, I definitely felt like I could have been a few shots lower. Played very well. One of the things I'm really happy about this week is my play from tee‑to‑green. I feel like it's been a really big improvement from the last couple of weeks, so that's been really good. And as you said, if a couple more putts had dropped, I'd be right there. But I'm not, and hopefully I'm saving them all for tomorrow.
Q. A couple of rounds today were turned in the mid 60s, were conditions do you think much tougher than the other two days?
RORY McILROY: I think so, yeah. Colder, it was wetter, windier, and just wasn't very pleasant out there for a few holes. But yeah, the guys still turned in really good scores and now it's brightened up a little bit so I would expect the scoring to be better this afternoon.
Q. You could be five off the lead or so; is the fire still in the belly that you could win this tournament?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, for sure. If I'm six, seven off the lead, I still feel like I can go out there and get off to a really fast start tomorrow and then put some pressure on the boys at the top of the leaderboard. But we'll see how far back I am and see what sort of challenge I can put up tomorrow.
Q. I heard you speaking at the start of the week about making a conscious effort to enjoy all this; three days in, has that worked for you?
RORY McILROY: Of course. It's been great, it's been great to be able to play in front of these crowds. We don't get to do this week‑in, week‑out. You know, you go to any other European Tour event, and you will rarely see crowds like this. So that's been great fun to be a part of.
And yeah, you know, I've enjoyed myself. Would have enjoyed myself a little bit more if I had held a few more putts, but yeah, I'm having a good time.
Q. And British Open on the horizon, game feeling better, do you go in there with a higher degree of confidence now?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, for sure, I feel like I'm hitting the ball a lot better than I was. I've got a new driver in the bag which I think is going to make a big difference, especially around Lytham.
Yeah, I'm hitting the ball, starting it online, controlling my ball flight better, I'm hitting more greens, and gave myself more chances for birdies. That's a very positive thing from this week.
Q. You had got off to a really good start, yourself and Darren, making birdies early on?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, the first few holes played a lot easier than the other few. The first few holes were downwind, so you could take it by, and I was only hitting 7‑iron into the par5 second hole, and 3 and 4 were playing a lot easier than they were the previous two days. So you could take the first five holes, you could make two or three birdies, definitely.
Q. You've mentioned your ball‑striking; that starting to come back or is today a day for just getting through it?
RORY McILROY: It is a day for getting through it, but I felt like I gave myself a lot of chances out there and I didn't quite take enough of them to shoot a lower score. But I was happy with how I hit it out there.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports