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February 5, 2017

Henrik Stenson

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Q. You cut the lead to two with a birdie on 14, played 16 and 18 so well. What were you thinking at that time?
HENRIK STENSON: Make it one. You know, obviously I was chasing all day and I was trying to push, even though I didn't play my best.

Yeah, with that birdie on 14, I was hoping I was going to be able to make it a bit interesting coming into the last couple of holes. If you're one or two behind, with 17 and 18, a lot of things can happen: You can eagle and someone else can end up in trouble.

Trying hard to push, and yeah, we picked the wrong wind and I hit the wrong shot at the same time. Airmailed the green on 15 and led to bogey. And Sergio hit a good shot to three feet and then it was pretty much game, set, match.

Q. With such a solid start to the season, how much confidence does this give you going into the rest of the year?
HENRIK STENSON: I've been happy with the progress. I came to the Middle East with very little practice and I managed to pick up some pace moving forward with my game, both my putting and even if my striking hasn't been my best, I feel like I've progressed in some of the things I've been working on.

So it's a good, solid start for the year, and gives us some momentum to go home and practice and get ready for México.

Q. I spoke with Pete Cowen early this week about being happy with maybe not having your best ball-striking and still contending. Is this an example of that and can you carry it forward?
HENRIK STENSON: I hope so. I haven't won too many times when I'm not striking it well but we are getting closer and closer. It's nice if you can win a bit ugly. If you have to, that's what you've got to try and do but at the same time, I'm working towards getting my game in better and better shape.

We have some big events coming up in April, so want to be ready for that time.

Q. What are your thoughts on that today?
HENRIK STENSON: I'm happy with the progress I've made here over the last couple of weeks. I came into Abu Dhabi with virtually no practice and I didn't have much time to practice there, either.

So you know, the couple of days I had here in Dubai before the tournament week did me good and I managed to pick up some pace. Game is getting in the right direction, and to be able to contend and only be a few behind, even though you're not feeling your best, it's always nice.

Q. Seemed to be getting quite interesting with four holes to play.
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I was trying. I was three shots back at the start of the day and Sergio made an early birdie, so I was trailing all day. I was expecting that. I needed to come up with some really solid play, and even though I didn't quite play my best, I still managed to sneak a couple of birdies in there in the middle of the back nine and move closer.

Yeah, you've got to push when you're behind, and we got the wind slightly wrong there on 15. I over-hit it a little bit at the same time. That's obviously that's where it all kind of finished. At the same time, Sergio hit a lovely shot to about two and a half feet, and it was pretty much game, set and match on the 15th green.

Q. Does this give you more confidence as the season goes on?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I'm just working away on my game, trying to move all the positions forward and the time when we want to be peaking is obviously early April. So that's what we're working towards, and yeah, it's a good, steady progress.

Q. Quick word for the champion, Sergio?
HENRIK STENSON: He played solid. I played three out of the four rounds with him, and he put a really good score together the first day and just carried that kind of momentum throughout the whole week. Kept it tidy and you know, took his chances when he had them and saved himself when he needed to.

Yeah, he did all the things you need to do to win a golf tournament, so congratulations to him. He's a worthy champion and I'll be back next year trying to make it a second time.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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