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DUBAI DUTY FREE IRISH OPEN HOSTED BY THE RORY FOUNDATION

July 6, 2018

Danny Willett

Ballyliffin, Republic of Ireland

DANNY WILLETT: It's nice to come out and hit the shots that you can see in practise and actually perform still under pressure when the clubs are in your hand and you're trying to obviously improve what you're doing. Very happy to be playing nicely. Had a great group with Thomas and Darren, as well. Always fun.

Q. We know how hard you've been working, and waiting for the results to turn around which they are starting to do. After a couple good finishes and performances, what has that done for you?
DANNY WILLETT: It's more you can see shots and certain things and you're starting to play slightly more clever golf. When you're struggling, it's very hard to hit it -- you're trying to hit it to safe sides, especially golf courses like last week and this week. It gives you a little bit of a buffer in there. Yeah, like I said, the results don't always come but it is nice that we've got a couple of nice rounds together here and we're playing the next three weeks. It's nice to hopefully build momentum.

Q. Is this a sign that the hard work you've been putting in is starting to pay dividends?
DANNY WILLETT: Yeah, results are what they are. I was more happy with the shots that we hit, the areas you put it in when we try to hit certain shots, and the game over the last two days, it's very pleasing to see. It's always nice to then sign for a decent score, as well.

Q. Bogey on 8 but fantastic birdie on 9 to get yourself back and get that good score in the bag?
DANNY WILLETT: Yeah, everything was really, really steady and obviously I had a little bit of a speed bump there on 5 and bounced back on 6 and silly one on 8 and bounced back nicely on 9. Nice to see that you don't try and chase too much. Just kept trying to hit solid golf shots and rolled a couple nice ones in.

I think around links golf course, you get a few bad breaks and this and that but if you can make your good moves and try to hit the shots you're trying to hit -- I really enjoy these challenges of links golf. We've played a lot of links golf as an amateur obviously and we don't get to play loads of it on The European Tour. It's really only this little spell in the year.

It's really enjoyable to come back and play this kind of golf and I think you've got to play it with that mentality. You look back over the years, and there was countless Americans who hated links golf at first and then Tom Watson, being one of the main ones, grew to love it and took that approach, if actually you embrace what links golf is and what it gives you, it can be a really enjoyable test of golf.

If you start to get a bit annoyed, the bounces start to get a little bit worse. Just take it what it is.

Q. Excited prospect now going into the weekend challenging for this big title?
DANNY WILLETT: Yeah, we're going to be in nice position. I think the wind is kind of flattening down a little bit. It's been a beautiful couple of days. You can see someone getting to 7- , 8- , 9-under par but we are still right there and a long, long way to go.

The greens are obviously pretty firm and a lot of crosswinds out there and flag positions are really tricky, so it is a great test of links golf. Hopefully more for the kind of spectators and the tournament, weather stays over the weekend.

Q. What's the key for you playing well over the next couple of days?
DANNY WILLETT: Keep hitting the shots we're trying to hit, progressing and playing nice, and enjoy what links golf gives you. It's going to give you a few bad bounces, bad breaks, bad lies, but at the same time you might get a few cheeky knocks off the side of some of these banks and kind of do good from it. You have to take everything on the chin and stay patient.

Q. Guaranteed a late tee time. You'll miss the World Cup?
DANNY WILLETT: It will be all right. I'm sure they will do all right without me watching. We'll have to get the television crew to keep us updated.

Q. What's the most satisfy aspect of the last two days for you?
DANNY WILLETT: Just nice to play real, true links golf in beautiful weather and kind of put the skills to the test and kind of come out on top so far after 36 holes. Hit some good shots and rolled some nice putts and kind of really eased our way in, stayed really patient and posted two nice numbers.

Q. What did the top eight finish in The Italian Open do for new terms of confidence?
DANNY WILLETT: Yeah, it was nice. We've been working really hard and things have been going okay at home. We've practised and you don't always get the results but that was nice to knock off a decent finish there and kind of move forward from that. We had a couple of minor issues in the couple in between that with a few little niggles that came up. I had a few weeks recovering from a few bits and the body is now feeling 100 percent again.

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