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January 22, 2016

Andy Sullivan

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Q. Three birdies to start, three to finish, how pleased are you with that performance?
ANDY SULLIVAN: Massively. I think obviously got off to a great start out there straightaway, putter was getting hot early doors and sort of lost my way in the middle there. Started losing the ball left a little bit and really happy with the fight back at the end to finish at 3 and put me at the top of the leaderboard. It's great.

Q. Your short game, the up-and-down on the third, can you tell us about that and just how important it is to have those skills?
ANDY SULLIVAN: Yeah, literally, the shot come off, it was come absolute perfect. We was playing for ten to 15 feet past the flag and trying to hole it.

When it landed, we just like couldn't believe how soft it come out. And to get it to there and hole that, just kept the momentum going. I knew I wasn't swinging it great at the time, and I knew them sort of putts and getting up-and-down from there was key.

So really helped me try to kick on from there. It was good. Like I say, if your short game is good enough, it keeps that momentum building for the rest of the round.

Q. A little bit of work on the range on the swing before tomorrow?
ANDY SULLIVAN: Yeah, probably a little but I think it's not necessarily the swing. I was just generally aiming left. I was just struggling. Felt like I put a lot of good swings out there that just went left. I don't think it's too much work to do out there. I put three really good swings coming in. Happy with it, really.

Q. Playing alongside Captain Clarke for the last two days, does that add extra excitement when you play that well alongside The Ryder Cup captain?
ANDY SULLIVAN: You know, for sure, obviously I think Darren knows what I'm capable of, so it's awesome. He's been giving me a bit of jip the whole way around today, which is great; the banter between us has been really good. Hopefully just try to use that and kick on for the rest of the week.

Q. Yesterday buzzing after a 67 and you've had another one. You're 10-under and you lead. So what's the word today?
ANDY SULLIVAN: Buzzing again. I think today was even more impressive than yesterday. I think yesterday, I had it under a lot of control and it felt quite easy.

Today, started off great, lost my way through the middle part of the round and dug deep and finished really strong with three birdies to finish. I think on the whole, much much happier with today and obviously puts me in good stead finishing that way for the rest of the tournament.

Q. Isn't that special to get those three birdies out of the box when you've had two and three quarter hours delay?
ANDY SULLIVAN: For sure. I think literally, I warmed up and the fog came in and I was in there for two hours, sit down for a bit, quick 20-minute warmup and then straight out the blocks, which is great. Obviously to get out that quick is great. You don't expect to all the time; feel your way into the round a little bit. But I got off to a flyer and hopefully that will be the thing for the week hopefully.

Q. Putt at the last, 30 foot?
ANDY SULLIVAN: Yeah, it was so funny, we've been putting really well the last couple of weeks. I said, we haven't holed one over 20 feet today, so I fancy this. And sure enough, it went in. It's nice when you call them, they go in. Putter has been working well the last couple of weeks and hopefully keeps going for the weekend.

Q. When you have had such a tremendous year as last year, are you the sort of players that comes in with different targets, new resolutions?
ANDY SULLIVAN: Yeah, for sure. I feel totally different coming in. This time last year, I had already won but still felt this tournament of this magnitude with the players, knew that I would have to go some to do it.

Coming in this year, I know if I bring any A Game, I'm going to have a good chance at being up there now. It's nice to do that, and obviously to go out there and actually put your A Game to the test is great.

Q. Better finish is the way to sum up that round; you must be thrilled to bits.
ANDY SULLIVAN: Yeah, obviously to get off to a great start like that, it's fantastic. But obviously to dig deep and finish the way I did there after struggling for literally four or five holes, just kept hitting it left.

To finish strong like that, I feel that's put me in good stead for the rest of the tournament, and to edge that little bit away from the guys, it's nice.

Q. Must be great to pick up at the end of where you left off last season.
ANDY SULLIVAN: For sure. Obviously I've got good feelings in the desert and I've played well out here. So just trying to use that and come out here, I mean, generally always seem to putt well on these greens out here. It's carried on this week, really.

You know, just trying to kick on, really. Don't want to be the guy that says, mark my career by winning three times in one season and will be it. Hopefully kick on and try to win as many tournaments as I can.

Q. How important was last week for you, playing in the EurAsia Cup?
ANDY SULLIVAN: Massive. I feel like I've used that momentum from last week and the buzz of it to really try and kick on this week and I've felt really focused out there this week, and I know last week was just a little taste of what The Ryder Cup is going to be like. And obviously it's going to be amped up tenfold.

So for me, it just gave me that little bit more desire to go out this week and really perform and try and put my name in the mix and get it really in the rankings now.

Q. And you've done it for the last two days in the company of The Ryder Cup captain, Darren Clarke. Now I know speaking with him last night, he's very, very impressed with your game, he knows your game, but even so, to do that in his company is fabulous, isn't it?
ANDY SULLIVAN: It's always obviously good to do it face to face, but I think Darren knows what I'm capable of and I don't think it's any surprise to him for me to go out and do what I did today. I don't think it's particularly imperative to do it but obviously it bodes well when you do do it like that.

Q. And Ryder Cup I guess is the big goal for this year?
ANDY SULLIVAN: Yeah, I know that I've got to go out and play just as well as I did last year. It is definitely a goal of mine, but there's a lot of good guys and a lot of guys that are not in that rankings yet that will be pushing hard to get in it. So I know that I've got to keep my foot to the gas and try to keep pushing on.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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