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THE OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP

July 16, 2015

Danny Willett

ST. ANDREWS, SCOTLAND

Q. Danny, it started well. It got better, and it finished brilliantly. What more could you ask for?
DANNY WILLETT: No, it was good. Tough day, obviously, with the wind pumping out there. Yeah, just hit some good golf shots. Played really nicely the front nine and actually missed a few and holed that good one on 10 and then just hit some really good, solid golf shots. It's pretty hard to hit it close on the back nine. To go 3-under on the back nine is pretty good.

Q. How tough was it out there?
DANNY WILLETT: It was tough. I mean, we hit a lot of good golf shots on the back nine. We had the ball flying under really good control which then enables you to semi-call numbers. If you don't know really how hard you can hit it, you can't really call the numbers because you don't know how much wind there's going to be. Luckily we had the ball flight under control and then me and Jon could talk through numbers and actually commit to golf shots, which was nice, and luckily enough they came off.

Q. Leading Englishman at the moment. You must be delighted.
DANNY WILLETT: Yeah, got a few good weeks of practice. I played pretty good the last month and a half and not really carried out. Since the U.S. Open and French Open I played good golf. Just a few things didn't go our way, missed a few cuts and all of a sudden you miss two cuts and it looks a bit worse than it is. But we kept working out and we kept doing the things we knew were right, and like I say, yeah, it's one round, but it's certainly nice to get it under the belt.

Q. The weather could bring some rain tomorrow --
DANNY WILLETT: I just have to see. You don't know what it's going to do. It could be Armageddon from the looks of the weather forecast, so we'll just have to wait and see.

Q. Because of how tough the back nine was playing, how chuffed are you that you made the most of the first round?
DANNY WILLETT: Yes and no. I mean, people say that about the par-5s, but we had two eight-footers for birdie and made two pars on what probably should be the easiest holes. But there's chances out there. If you hit good golf shots there's chances. There's a lot of wedges out there on the front nine which is why people think it's easy, but if they tuck flags on the side of hills it's still tricky to get close from downwind. If you play good golf there's a chance on every hole. It's just about staying patient and knowing that if you don't birdie all the ones downwind, even into the breeze, you can turn and still make a good score.

Q. If it is Armageddon type stuff tomorrow, does it just reduce this to a lottery?
DANNY WILLETT: No, I think today the amount of wind that there was today, you can play it. You know, it's 25-, 30-yard breeze at times, depending on the shot and the lie and all that stuff. It's playable. You'd roughly know how far it's going to move it and stuff like that. When it gets to be much more than that and raining, obviously, it is a little bit of a luxury, and ideally I think everyone would like to see it. Windy like it is today, that's an Open Championship. If you've got control of your ball you know you can still make birdies. When it starts to get worse, it can be a little bit of a lottery.

Q. (Inaudible.)
DANNY WILLETT: There will be up here. Obviously the Home of Golf, there's a lot of people out and it's not the warmest day, and they're still out there on the grandstands and right up the 18th. That walk up 18, it was pretty special.

Q. What would it mean for you to have a top-10 finish?
DANNY WILLETT: Again, that's looking a long way ahead. You never know what things are going to happen, so we're just going to keep doing what we're doing and see what happens.

Q. (Inaudible.)
DANNY WILLETT: What, than 10? The golf game is good enough. As everyone knows, in an Open Championship, in a major, you need a little bit of luck on your side. You need to hit the right shots at the right time, and if it's your week, it's your week, so not sure.

Q. When will you make the next step?
DANNY WILLETT: The golf game has been there for a while. Like I was saying, it's the more you play with the guys, the more you realise that they don't do things a great deal better than you, if not at all. The more and more you're in and around this atmosphere and in and around this kind of golf, the more you realise actually, yeah, I'm pretty equipped to do pretty well out here.

Q. The side of the draw you're on, were you perhaps surprised to shoot 6-under?
DANNY WILLETT: No, we were all unsure about how much it was going to pump. I wasn't quite expecting -- in fairness the breeze kind of flickered a little bit. We were expecting more out of the left on the back and it's kind of turning a little bit and come more in. I think a lot of people will be surprised -- if you all like golf shots down the breeze, obviously hold the line -- as soon as you spin it off line into the breeze, it's going to go a long way off line. I think you'll see a few good scores probably after 11 or 12 holes and then you'll see a few people maybe stumble.
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