May 28, 2017 / 2:13 PM / 3 months ago

INTERVIEW-Golf-Larrazabal's 66 provides U.S. Open qualifying boost

VIRGINIA WATER, England, May 28 - Spain's Pablo Larrazabal was in seventh heaven after a swashbuckling closing round in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth on Sunday put him in great heart for U.S. Open qualifying.

The 34-year-old, who will bid to seal his place in the second major championship of the season during 36-hole qualifying at nearby Walton Heath on Monday, said the strength of his game was his mid-irons, particularly the seven-iron.

"I hit the ball very well and made few mistakes," Larrazabal told Reuters in an interview after a six-under 66 gave him a two-under aggregate of 286 on an ideal day for scoring played under cloudless skies.

"I almost had a hole-in-one at the short fifth and then made an awesome eagle at the 12th.

"I hit a lovely seven-iron that pitched 30 feet away at the fifth and it released nicely before finishing a couple of inches from the hole," said Larrazabal.

"My mid-irons have been great, I've been hitting them well all year. I also hit another perfect seven-iron to 10 feet at the 12th and made the putt for a three."

Low scores were few and far between on Friday and Saturday as the winds gusted up to 20mph but Larrazabal was among several early starters to take advantage of becalmed conditions in the final round.

"There was no wind so you could attack the course a bit more. Earlier in the week the wind dried the greens and it was tough to get it close to the hole," he said.

PLAY BY NUMBERS

"Today we could play more by numbers. You could hit it straight at the flag a bit more."

Larrazabal has four European Tour victories to his credit, the most recent coming at the 2015 BMW International Open in Germany.

The world number 93 has knocked on the door a few times this year, most notably when he finished tied second at the Abu Dhabi Championship in January and at last month's China Open where he wound up third.

Larrazabal believes his turn in the winners' circle will come soon enough as long as he keeps performing consistently.

"I've been working very hard and I know it will come if I keep doing what I'm doing," he said. "I've been in contention a few times already this year and it's all about doing that.

"Obviously I love to win tournaments but that's not my main goal. My main goal is to put myself in position to win on a Sunday afternoon.

"I've done that three times this season and I'm going to try to keep working that way. I know if I keep getting in that position I have more chances to win," added the Spaniard.

His immediate task now is to make sure he is well prepared for Walton Heath on Monday.

"I'm trying to concentrate on the big tournaments and the U.S. Open is a big one," said Larrazabal.

"Major championships are where all the good players play and I like to play against the best and beat the best." (Editing by Clare Lovell)

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