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November 21, 2014

Henrik Stenson


Q.  What pleased you most?
HENRIK STENSON:  My putting.  I was hitting it all right but I was good on the greens today.  Made some nice putts all day long and yeah, that really helps.  The one I made on 16 and the one here on 18, as well.
So it was a pretty solid round of golf, but more than anything, it was made up on the greens.

Q.  You've had success in the past, obviously last year shooting 25‑under par, how much are you feeding off that this year?
HENRIK STENSON:  Yeah, I just came in knowing that I got a good game plan to play this golf course and I'm trying to stick to that one.  So far, so good, so I'm sticking with that and making no changes really and hopefully I keep on producing birdies.

Q.  Give us insight into that game plan.
HENRIK STENSON:  Try to hit the fairway.  Try to give myself uphill putts and hopefully roll them in.  But you want to avoid the bunkers.  It's not the tightest course off the tee, but you want to avoid those fairway bunkers more than anything.  They are pretty deep and keep it on the short stuff.
And you can place your iron shots and I think I've been hitting pretty good iron shots these first two days so give myself plenty of chances and rolled quite a few of them in.

Q.  How would you compare this round to your opening round?
HENRIK STENSON:  I think I probably hit the ball slightly better yesterday, but it was still a solid round ball‑striking‑wise and the difference was the putter.  I putted nicely today and made a couple of great putts for birdie and kept the round going all the time, so I'm pleased with that.

Q.  That was a very pleasant first round and all the more so today.
HENRIK STENSON:  It was mainly the putter that was the big difference.  I think I possibly even hit it better yesterday on a couple of occasions, but I was definitely better on the greens today.
So I made some great putts for birdie.  One dropped shot on the difficult fourth, it's a long par 3, it's a full 2‑iron and I missed it in a bad spot.  So not much to do on that one.  But other than that, I was bogey‑free and made some good birdies.

Q.  Finished in a nice bit of style and put yourself in prime position.
HENRIK STENSON:  I was about five yards to the right of my plaque from last year's Sunday shot.  I wanted to hit like a little cut‑up 3‑wood but it just came out a bit too strong.  So I ended up in the back portion of the green and that's not the spot to be for that flag.  But managed to get a 2‑putt down with a solid second putt there.

Q.  An excellent first couple of days, how much of this is down to the fact that you feel so comfortable on this golf course, would you say?
HENRIK STENSON:  Yeah, I mean, it's hard to give you a number but I got a strong game plan the way I want to play this golf course, executed that really well last year and I didn't see much point changing it.
So I'm sticking to the same plan and just trying to execute as well as I can and tee‑to‑green, it's been solid.  It was probably even a little bit better yesterday but I was much better on the greens today and made some great putts for birdie.
Kept it going and another solid performance.

Q.  Your approach to the 18th was very close from the plaque from the shot from last year.  How many courses actually have plaques that commemorate shots that you've hit?
HENRIK STENSON:  There's probably about a dozen (laughter).  No, this is the only one.  So of course that's special, and it's always good fun when you're playing a course where you've done something really well.
Down at Emirates Golf Club, Monty has a plaque on 18 where he hit the driver off the deck, and at my home course at Lake Nona in Florida, we have one where Fred Couples made a double‑eagle.  So it's special to have my own at Jumeirah Golf Estates.

Q.  Perfect platform for the weekend, good names on the leaderboard, as well, shaping up beautifully.
HENRIK STENSON:  Still a lot of golf to play and I'm really happy with how I closed this round.  Around the 12th hole I felt like I was running out of steam.  It was difficult mentally from there on.  I had to really focus hard and drag myself over the finish line.
First I was thinking about going hit a couple of shots on the range, but I'm straight in to physio for stretching and then home, because I was feeling it toward the end of the round.

Q.  Putting stroke was the key?
HENRIK STENSON:  Absolutely.  I made some great putts and felt more committed on the lines than yesterday.  I came out and under‑read a few yesterday in the beginning but managed to dial that in today and hit some solid strokes.  So pleased with my performance on the greens for sure.

Q.  Do you feel wrung out right now, or is it anything more than that?
HENRIK STENSON:  I guess, and the heat, it's a bit sticky and hot here.  I just felt like even though I'm drinking well and getting plenty of energy, I just felt like I hit the wall on 12, really.  If it's one or two holes left, you normally feel like, okay, I can hang on.  But it was a bit of an uphill from there.  But I managed to finish in good style anyway.  So pleased with that.

Q.  Doesn't look like it's anywhere near that 25?
HENRIK STENSON:  I was planning 7‑under‑‑ to be fair of course with that eagle finish, and I had a four‑shot lead coming up the last, so that would have been 19‑under but it's still‑‑ Ian was 19 and I was 25.  But even to get to 19, now it's going to take some good golfing.  Maybe we have a hair more breeze.  Other than that if anything, I think the rough might be a little bit less this year.  Not quite sure what would make‑‑ I guess everyone's just a little bit worse this year.

Q.  Were you serious about only feeling like 6 or 7 on a 10 scale in terms of confidence, physical health?
HENRIK STENSON:  I definitely feel like I can‑‑ I've felt better.  There's still more there.  But don't tell the other guys.  Tell them I'm a 10 on 10 and can't miss a shot from here on.  Scare them a little bit.

Q.  An early start for you, by your standards?
HENRIK STENSON:  Early start at 12.20, yeah.  Yeah, of course, that's nice, keeping it late and getting decent lay‑in every day.  I don't mind that, and I'm just going to go back and rest up and hopefully I don't feel tired on 12 tomorrow.

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