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March 5, 2015

Henrik Stenson


Q.  Can you talk about the difficulty of the golf course?
HENRIK STENSON:  I think it's pretty easy out there.  It's just a nice breeze.
No, I see it as a great test leading into Augusta.  It's definitely going to give you an indication where you're at with your game, and you've got to play well to get a score out there and then mentally to keep your patience and focus and never give up.  That's got to be there, as well, if in our or five weeks' time.  And you have to have that around here if you want to do well, also.  It's a great week for that.
It's very tough.  It's borderline stupid‑tough at times, and on a few of the holes, but it is what it is there, and you've just got to come out with a good game plan and stick to that one and try and avoid disaster on a few of the holes.

Q.  Along those lines, what about 18, is that one of those borderline because of the way it's playing today?
HENRIK STENSON:  Not really as a hole.  You could always debate a little bit, if you hit a half‑decent shot into the left‑hand side of the green, it seems like it can sneak into the water, and it's the same on 8.
But the setup was great today because they moved the tee up I think about 25, 35 yards.  So it was nothing wrong with the setup, and it is the toughest hole on the golf course, I think if you're looking at the scoring average, or not far off it, anyway.
It's a tough drive and a tough second shot, and that's all good.  It played tough into the wind, as expected, and I was in trouble.  I managed to save a bogey which I was very pleased with, given my position after three shots.  Yeah, you're going to see some disasters around there; if you are the kind of person that likes to see disaster, 18 is definitely one place to go and see it.

Q.  Do you feel fresher this year, especially after 2013, trying to follow up that year?
HENRIK STENSON:  Yeah, I was pretty tired when I was around the spring last year.  It took me a while to get into things, so my season kind of I guess started from early summer and onwards, and I did really well.  I followed up my best year in 2013 with my second best year in 2014, so very pleased with that. 
       Yeah, I'm definitely fresher.  Even though I practiced a lot and worked pretty hard in the last four weeks, I'm coming off four weeks off.  I was hoping to feel maybe a little bit more spring in my step, but give it another week or two, and I'm not going to work as hard in the next couple of weeks, and try and recover some energy and be fresh.  Even though I'm playing a lot, you can still try and recover.  So looking forward to what's ahead.

Q.  What do you think is most intimidating, off the tee or around the greens?
HENRIK STENSON:  It's a mix.  I mean, there's a few holes off the tee certainly and then there's a few holes into the greens.  So I would say it's a 50/50 mix in that sense.
It's more that if you miss in the wrong place, it's virtually like hitting it out of bounds.  You're reloading off the tee or on 10, for instance, if you miss the tee shot left, you're hitting it over again.
A few others on a short hole like 15, if you stall one into the wind there on a short pin, you're reloading on the tee.  There's always that danger to take a high number if you miss it on the wrong holes with the wrong shot.

Q.  Did you find that you have rough shake off after a month‑‑
HENRIK STENSON:  Not really.  I thought my foe with us casual good.  Kept on my game plan and my game was in good shape.  Not really.  Certain things gets easier the more competitive golf you play.  But no, I actually felt less rusty than expected and that's a big positive.

Q.  Do you feel good about 3‑under?
HENRIK STENSON:  Absolutely.  I think that's a good score out there.  I don't know where it was, like fourth or fifth or something.  In a World Golf Championships, if you're in that position, you're not to go too much wrong I think.  I don't know what Ryan finished.  I saw he was 8‑under there, which is phenomenal today.  I certainly had it going early.
Like I said, I was 4‑under after 17 starting on 10, and missed a short putt on 12, so I could have been 4‑ or 5‑under at the turn.  But then you've got to step in the right place on every shot around here, and he seems to have done that so far.  Good for him and a great score.

Q.  How would you assess Rory's game?
HENRIK STENSON:  Yeah, it was just a couple of misses on a few holes there that cost him a little bit.  Wasn't playing bad but wasn't playing as good as he can be.  This is the‑‑ like we said, this is the kind of golf course where, you know, the scoring might go away from you if you hit a couple of loose ones.
No, he seems to be playing okay.  Not his best, like I said, but not his worst, either.  Some average day that just doesn't turn into a great score but he came back strong at the end and 1‑over par is not a disaster, anyway.  It's the first round.  He's definitely not out of the tournament at this stage.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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