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January 26, 2017

Graeme McDowell

Doha, Qatar

Q. Your thoughts on today's round?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, very happy with that. Incredibly benign conditions for Doha. Even when it doesn't blow here, it typically blows 15, and it was perfect conditions this morning.

Great to get off to a fast start right out of the gates, birdieing the first three holes, and that kind of set the tone for the day. I really felt like I gave myself a lot of chances, even on the tougher front nine, for my second nine.

I felt like I left a couple out there, and always nice to shoot 6-under par and feel like you left a few out there. Just the start I was looking for, and felt nice.

Q. You mentioned the wind; it is calm here. Is it hard to adapt to your game, because everyone is expecting the wind.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, I suppose. I spent the last seven, eight weeks in Florida and the weather has been perfect. The days of growing up in the wind like I did in Ireland, those days are gone. I'm a little bit more of a spoiled child these days playing golf in the sunshine.

Tuesday afternoon, I practiced here and it was very difficult. Certainly you're gearing your game for a tough weekend, and it's a nice surprise when you get benign conditions like we had this morning.

Q. 66, one of your best rounds here. Great way to start your week.
GRAEME McDOWELL: It's always been one of those golf courses that has appealed to me on a lot of levels. Obviously the conditions being tougher, typically a tough golf course, I play them well. To go out and obviously post a low one this morning was nice to start the proceedings.

I felt good on the greens and my iron play was pretty good and I got the ball in play mostly off the tee. Obviously long way to go. It's only round one, but like the way I felt out there today.

Q. A shame about the finish at 9, but very strong start nonetheless.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, I was very happy with that. I think the front nine probably plays a little tougher than the back nine on this golf course. Incredibly benign conditions for Doha. You don't typically get the wind this calm, and it was nice to take advantage of it this morning. I hit some fairways and hit some really nice iron shots and made some putts.

Felt like I left a few out there, so always nice to post a low number and feel like you left a couple on golf course. Looking forward to getting back out there tomorrow. It is only round one and a long way to go.

Q. Your 2017 couldn't have got off to a better start. Talk us through the birdies at 10, 11, 12.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, it's, always nice, that little bit of anticipation: First tournament out, first round of the 2017 year, and to birdie 10,11, 12 was a special way to start and certainly got me in a very relaxed frame of mind.

It was nice to keep building and keep hitting good shots from there. Like I say, a long way to go. It's early days and lots of good players here, and definitely keep the head down and hopefully keep playing well.

Q. I know it was five years ago since you were last year, I presume back then, it was a lot windier. Were you surprised how benign the conditions were?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Very much. So I saw the forecast and I knew it was potentially going to be calmer. But calm in Doha, it typically still blows. It looks like the wind will show backup again tomorrow afternoon and got to prepare ourselves for that.

Even though conditions were benign, you've got to go out there and play the golf and take advantage, and thankfully managed to do that this morning.

Very happy with that round this morning. I'd certainly have taken 6-under par and stayed at home this morning, no problems. Obviously I got off to a very fast start. Disappointing maybe to leave a couple out there coming in, but I'm very, very happy with that, and obviously a long way to go and we'll keep playing well.

Q. What about your expectations for this tournament?
GRAEME McDOWELL: My expectations were fairly low I suppose coming in. Game felt a little bit rusty the last week or so, and you know, I was expecting tougher conditions. But no, now that I've got off to a good start, I've got to keep my expectations in check and not get too far ahead of myself and just keep calm and keep enjoying myself and stay patient and see what happens.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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