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November 20, 2014

Henrik Stenson


Q.  68 today, guessing you're satisfied with your round?
HENRIK STENSON:  Absolutely.  I thought I played quite nicely.  I hit the ball well.  On the greens, I missed a couple of chances good, chances for birdie early on and I made two bogeys in a row, which was a little frustrating.
But from there on, it was pretty steady and made some good birdies coming in.  I guess I got the luck back from I ended up in a bad spot on 7 off the tee with no stance and had a heck of a bounce on 18 that looked like that from down the fairway.  So got one back and 4‑under is good.

Q.  Whether you're paired with the world's top player in Rory McIlroy, does that raise your focus a bit?
HENRIK STENSON:  Yeah, possibly.  I mean, he's a fantastic player.  He's had a stellar season and yeah, he's going to be a tough one to beat here this week.  So of course I needed to bring some game if I want to be at the races.  Yeah, I think you're right.
It probably sharpens your focus just that little bit extra.  Pleased with my performance and look forward to the rest of the week.

Q.  I guess that goes down as a fine way to start the week, doesn't it?
HENRIK STENSON:  Yeah, I'm pleased with that.  I thought I played quite solid and hit a lot of nice shots.  I missed some good birdie chances early on and I made two bogeys in a row with possibly one or two bad decisions there which was a little frustrating but bounced back and made some nice birdies coming home.  Whatever bad luck I had on the tee shot on 7, got it back on the bounce on 18.  I guess things even out in the long run.
I've got a nice way for myself to play this golf course the most effective way, and I was just trying to stick to that.  No point in trying to change your game plan just because the results are not coming.  I was sticking to my plan and did pretty well from 9 onwards.  Managed to make a couple birdies coming in.

Q.  No surprise the guy you were playing with has started well again.
HENRIK STENSON:  He came out firing on all cylinders and he's driving the ball lovely, which makes it a whole lot easier around here.  He takes a few carries on that I'm laying up on and he was pretty much in position off the tee all day and it was pretty easy from there on.  He played a great round and saved himself when he needed to.  Solid start from Rory.

Q.  Is there sometimes a slipstream effect when you are playing with someone who is obviously in such great form, can it help, you, as well?
HENRIK STENSON:  I think so.  I came out and knew I had to play well and be focused to try and keep up with him.  I'm two behind, but it's possible to gain.  But if you're playing a bad round here and shoot level par or something when he shoots 6‑under, it's going to be a long week to try and catch up.  Pleased with the start and pleased I got him within arm's length.

Q.  Was that bounce of the year at the last?
HENRIK STENSON:  Possibly.  I had a bad break on 7, hit the driver a little bit left and ended up in a horrible spot on the bunker.  I guess it all evens out in the long run and thought I played a pretty solid round and gave myself lots of chances.  Missed a couple good ones for birdie early on.  I think I made four or five birdies from 9 onwards, and at least I'm keeping Rory in arm's length.

Q.  What's it like when he's off like a train?
HENRIK STENSON:  Yeah, there wasn't much rust there, was it.  He's obviously used his clubs a little bit during his time off.  He played lovely and drove the ball really well with his driver off the tee and that certainly helps to putt in good position.  He came in with some shorter clubs for sure but I was sticking to my plan from last year, and iron play was pretty good.  So even though I laid up for the back on a few of them, I managed to hit it pretty close and make some birdies.

Q.  Eight top fives but no victory.  How do you assess your year?
HENRIK STENSON:  I'm happy with it.  I thought it was going to be a tough one to follow up since I didn't have much of a break and I was definitely not rested and ready to go when the season started.  I've had to play catch up and still it's been a good year.  I'd love to get a win, there's no hiding in that, but if it happens now or early next year, I'll just have to try.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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