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April 2, 2016

Henrik Stenson

Humble, Texas

Q. We know how good a ball-striker you are, but when you have putts going in like they were today, what sense of confidence does that give you about your round?
HENRIK STENSON: Definitely makes a big difference. The first two days I've hit the ball quite nicely but haven't been putting well. Worked again yesterday afternoon on my putting. Got it going a bit better. More comfortable, found some lies, and made a couple of beauties out there.

Q. As we have said in our broadcast, this golf course is set up to mimic a bit Augusta National. What have you seen not only today but your play this week that gives you momentum you feel like heading into the Masters?
HENRIK STENSON: That would be great. If you see a 66 in breezy conditions at Augusta next week, I'll take it. That one is heading my way. It is good prep in that way, and today we played in tough conditions. There's a lot of water out there. If you hit some poor shots at the wrong time, it's going to cost you, and that's why I'm moving up the leaderboard nicely with a good round. Yeah, all in all, I'm heading in the right direction and pleased with the day's work.

Q. Well done. See you tomorrow, Henrik.
Henrik, a round of 66 in tough conditions. How tough was that?

HENRIK STENSON: Very much so. I played nicely tee to green the first two days, but putting wasn't working and spent a bit of extra time yesterday afternoon on the putting greens. That seems to have paid off today, very pleased with that. Hit some lovely shots out there in tough conditions, as we say. Rolled a few in as well.

Q. You did. We want to see -- you mentioned when we saw you earlier in the week, you wanted to improve the ball-striking. This is a great example of it here.
HENRIK STENSON: It set up nicely with the numbers. Drove it in the fringe. Full 8-iron and I guess we'll take that one. Always looked like a 4.

Q. Pretty beautiful shot. You said putting has been a lot better. We're going to have a look at the first example of it here, the birdie putt on 11.
HENRIK STENSON: That one straight in the heart. I just got better strike and found the lines better today with an extra pace. Would have been some work. I had a similar one on 9 that lipped out. I guess you gain some and you lose some.

Q. Putting in the wind as well. Challenging as well?
HENRIK STENSON: It always is. Very quick greens. Few areas on the golf course you're quite exposed. Definitely want to take your time, and I definitely took time on 17, backed off a few times. It's hard to hit those slick downhillers if you don't feel ready and it's gusty winds.

Q. One more really big highlight. I'll let you do the honors on that one. Your very last hole. How important is the finish like this?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah. At that stage I was happy with a bogey. I've been going all over the place.

Q. Go again.
HENRIK STENSON: But it's back. So, I mean that definitely kept us in the ballgame a little bit better and, yeah, pleasing finish.

Q. Certainly seemed to bring the worst out. 2013 your last win on the PGA TOUR. Really consistent the last year, four 2nd places. What would it mean to get back over the line again tomorrow?
HENRIK STENSON: I've been trying hard to do that. I think I've put myself in great position a few times without playing great and confidence can always be higher. But at this time I feel like my ball-striking is there with me. Last couple of times I've been up there it's always been a little so-so, but, you know, we'll see what we can do tomorrow.

Q. Brilliant play today.
Henrik, congratulations. Seven birdies and a bogey, but those last three pars you made, especially the one at 18, were really special.

HENRIK STENSON: Yeah. That really keeps us in contention, I guess, and it's tough coming in. It's gusty conditions. It's a golf course which is really a mix of some great chances and some tricky holes and especially the way it played today. 18 is not really a birdie hole. I was lucky to get away with a par there and that certainly kind of wraps up with your day.

Q. How difficult were the winds? Because I was watching you on 17 and you went to the bag, I think, to change clubs, wound up hitting it short.
HENRIK STENSON: Just was a little bit on the angle. We had that on a few holes when it's just -- it should be fraction from the left and then it was perfect on the front and comes off and off to the right there. Just goes a little bit more and crossing. You're standing there waiting for the wind to go back the way it should be. I eventually ended up trying to play a three-quarter 7. Didn't get there with that one. It is a challenge. Occasionally on a few of the holes we have water. You can't afford to miss it in the wrong place. I kept in it play nicely and made a few good putts. That's why I shot a good number today.

Q. I would assume you got now with the 3 pars you made, 16, 17, 18, some pretty good momentum going into tomorrow.
HENRIK STENSON: I'm going the try to play a good final round on a Sunday once again. It's a bunched-up leaderboard. I'm expecting the lead to change hands more than once tomorrow. So, just try to go out and play and enjoy.

Q. Well done today, good luck tomorrow.

Q. 6-under, 66. How pleased are you with the day's effort?
HENRIK STENSON: I'm very happy with that. I worked on my ball-striking to try to get that back in good shape. And I hit it nicely the first two days, but I didn't really put that well and today all kind of came to go much better. That's why I shot a good number. I was hitting some good tee balls and iron shots, even rolled a few nice ones in. All in all, a very pleasing day.

Q. How big was it the way you finished on 18?
HENRIK STENSON: It's always great to get a regulation par on the last. It's a tricky hole, and you don't want to come up short, and short again and make it. I mean, that really keeps us in the ballgame. I'd say it's all what the other guys could do, of course, but that really feels like we are in contention and could be useful to have in the back pocket tomorrow.

Q. Getting to 18, what was working for you, why you felt so good out there?
HENRIK STENSON: I'm hitting the ball better. Confidence can always be higher, that's for sure. I feel like I'm in the right direction and hit a lot of good tee balls and iron shots and you got to control your ball flight well in these gusty conditions. And I think I did that today and again the flat stick was working nicely and I hit some beautiful putts out there. It's one of the best rounds in a long time, I'd say.

Q. Have you always felt pretty good when you played here?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I've had some good results here and it's a golf course that suits my game pretty well and especially when it gets a bit tougher. I think the first day was a lot of guys shooting low numbers, and that's not quite going to be the case on a day like this.

Q. You've been in contention several times in the last couple years. What's going to be the key tomorrow to try and get it over the finish line?
HENRIK STENSON: Just play another solid round of golf. I think there's been both a bit of a blessing and a curse to put myself in contention a lot times when I don't feel like I quite have the confidence of the game, but I still manage to put myself in a decent position, and then you always feel a little frustrated when you can't show up on the tee with all five gears, and that's why it's been a lot of work to try and get back to where I know I can play my best and hopefully bring that out on the final days as well. And, you know, sometimes you need a bit of luck on a few occasions. I don't feel like I've quite had that. I think some of my fellow colleagues might have been more fortunate in those situations, and a few times I haven't delivered what I need to deliver. It's been a bit of a combo, but I'd love to get on the No. 1 podium again.

Q. Did you come in feeling better about your game this week than you were at Bay Hill?
HENRIK STENSON: Throughout the week I've started to swing it better, and, you know, at Bay Hill I feel like I scored very nicely with the game I had and then especially the shorter game around the greens and on the greens. This week I was not putting great the first few days. I was three-quarters of a shot worse on the strokes gained both days. I was definitely behind the field in putting, but I was a ahead in ball-striking. I guess that's the nature of this game, you gain on one end and lose on another. It's all about getting all the different parts together at the right time and if that's where we're at, it's looking good for -- it's a long year, lot of big tournaments and it's a good time to start playing well.

Q. What is it you've been doing to work on the ball striking this week?
HENRIK STENSON: I had my coach out, Pete was here for the first couple of days, and I mean it's just really -- it's always back to fundamentals. I've left the club behind a little bit and it shuts down a little bit and got a two-way miss because I feel I got a bit of a shut face which is going to lead to a bit of a hook and you got to fend that off. When I'm playing well and striking it nicely, I can virtually take one side out of the golf course. When you got a two-way miss going, it's always there in the back of your mind, and when you come into a crucial shot on a difficult hole and tough conditions, you don't feel that confident. I'm feeling better about that and it's a work in progress. Still can be better and yeah, take you one step at a time.

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