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February 2, 2017

Ian Poulter

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Q. Well played, nice tidy start. What's your verdict?
IAN POULTER: I'd be pretty happy with that. Haven't been here for nine years. Spent a week off practicing, so been tough to have walked off not shooting a good round today. Feel fresh, ready and I played nice today. Holed a couple of putts, played real steady and added up to 5-under.

Q. Took advantage of the par 5s obviously on the back nine, your front nine. Absolutely crucial around here?
IAN POULTER: You have to do it. It's something I haven't done for awhile and every time I've played well, I've played the par 5s well, and that was the key to that back nine, five birdies on around that back side, three par 5s. So you have to take advantage of them, otherwise you're going to get backpedalling pretty quick.

Q. You had the long layoff last summer, and you didn't hit a ball or 11 weeks. You can make that into a positive. Do you feel now that you're hitting your stride again after that tough year?
IAN POULTER: Yeah, I feel ready to go. I'm not sure I'm hitting my stride just yet. I played, as well as I played today, I think there was still a couple of mis-hits in there. And the perfectionist I am, I want to eradicate those, and when I do, we'll start to shoot some real low rounds of golf.

But I'm happy, 5-under par is a good score. It's a course, as I say, it's been nine years since I've been here and I've got to familiarise myself with it again and I've done that pretty well again today.

Q. You've not been back here for awhile. What are your thoughts on that round?
IAN POULTER: I'm happy with that round. It's been nine years since I've been here. Played 27 holes in practice, 18 holes in the Pro-Am and then obviously nine holes the day before.

So to play well around this golf course, you've got to score well on the par 5s. I did that on the back nine today. Three of those, which was handy, five birdies on the back side and played steady on the front. Just managed to roll a nice putt in on the last. 5-under par is a good position on a course that I guess I don't really know all that well, in the last ten years, I've played once.

Q. I believe that's your lowest round here and matches your lowest round here. Do you feel confident about your game?
IAN POULTER: I didn't know that, so thanks for letting me know. I feel brilliant now, knowing that; my lowest round of golf at the Emirates. There was never any reason why I shouldn't play this golf course well.

So I'm really happy with today's round. While I was here last week practicing, I didn't play the course, but I played other courses, which was nice. It was nice to get out, relax, practice. Not that it's nice to be away from home but in some respects it's nice to be able to focus on the golf and get some good practice done.

Q. Talking about the par 5s, which part of your game were you most pleased with today?
IAN POULTER: I think the whole game was solid. I didn't miss many fairways, and I think the mid-iron shots I hit were pretty good. And obviously you know, the putter was working. I holed one pretty decent-length putt and the rest were opportunities that I would have liked to have converted and I did that quite nicely. So I think the putting is just about coming back and that's obviously a nice feeling.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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